Marshal Soult class monitors

The two Marshal Soult ships were probably the least successful monitors built for the British navy during the First World War. They closely resembled the earlier Abercrombie and Lord Clive class monitors, but were armed with a twin 15in turret. This turret was far too big to be entirely contained inside the shallow hull of the monitors, and so a large part of the barbette was exposed above the deck. The biggest problems with these ships were caused by their under-powered and unreliable diesel engines.

Marshal Ney served with the Dover squadron from September 1915, but after just over a year had to be withdrawn because of engine problems. She had already lost her 15in guns earlier in 1916, and given one 9.2in gun and four 6in quick firing guns. She was then placed at the Downs as a fixed guard ship. There she did perform some service, helping to defeat a German raid on Ramsgate in April 1917. Despite her problems, she was retained after the war, serving as a depot ship and then a training ship, while undergoing four name changes, ending up as HMS Alaunia after the Second First War.

HMS Marshal Soult suffered fewer problems, and remained with the Dover Patrol from November 1915 until the end of the war. After the war she was retained as a gunnery training ship, having retained her 15in turret throughout the war. During the Second World War she returned to limited active service as a trawler depot ship.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

6kts in service



Armour – deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - turret face


 - conning tower


 - deck





355ft 8in


Two 15in Mk I guns
Two 12pdr quick firing guns
One 3pdr anti-aircraft guns

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Marshal Ney
HMS Marshal Soult

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 October 2007), Marshal Soult class monitors ,

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