HMS Canada

HMS Canada was one of three battleships under construction for foreign powers in Britain in 1914 that were taken over by the Royal Navy. HMS Canada had been ordered as the Almirante Latorre by Chile, one of two battleships ordered in response to the Brazilian battleship Rio de Janeiro, then being built by Armstrongs. The Brazilian ship had been laid down in September 1911, and work on the Almirante Latorre began three months later. While the Brazilian ship had been designed to carry as many big guns as possible (fourteen 12in guns), the Chilean design featured larger guns, carrying ten 14in guns.

At the start of the First World War the Royal Navy purchased the two ships from Chile. The Almirante Latorre had already been launched, and so was completed as a battleship. Her sister, the Almirante Cochrane, was completed as the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.

The basic design of the ship was similar to that of contemporary British dreadnoughts, which since the Colossus class of 1909-1911 had carried their guns in five turrets on the centre line, four in superfiring pairs fore and aft and one amidships, although HMS Canada was longer than any of the British designed battleships. The only British battleship of this period to be longer was HMS Agincourt, formerly the Rio de Janeiro, then the Sultan Osman I, also taken over in 1914.

She was commissioned into the Fourth Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet, fighting with that squadron at the battle of Jutland. She took part in the two brief battleship actions, suffering no hits and no casualties. She finished the war with the First Battle Squadron

In 1920 she was returned to Chile. She was modernised at Devonport in 1929-31, where she was given anti-torpedo bulges, modern fire control equipment and converted to burn oil. After Pearl Harbour the United States attempted unsuccessfully to buy her. She was modernised again in 1950, but in the following year suffered accidental damage that ended her career.  

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4,400 nautical miles at 10kts

Armour – deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - turret faces


 - conning tower





Ten 14in Mk I guns
Sixteen 6in Mk XI guns
Two 3in Mk I AA guns
Four 3pdr guns
Four 21in submerged torpedo tubes.

Crew complement



27 November 1913


September 1915

Returned to Chile

April 1920

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 November 2007), HMS Canada ,

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