HMS Galatea

HMS Galatea was an Arethusa class light cruiser that served at Harwich and with the Grand Fleet, taking part in the battle of Jutland. On commissioning she joined the Harwich Force, leading the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla (December 1914-February 1915). In February 1915 she was transferred to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron under Commodore Goodenough, based at Rosyth. In that role she took part in the search for the German mine layer Meteor in August 1915, and the raid on the German Zeppelin sheds at Tondern. During that raid she shot down the Zeppelin L 7.

Admiral Sir William Goodenough (1867-1945)
Admiral Sir
William Goodenough

At the battle of Jutland, Galatea was the flagship of Commodore E. S. Alexander-Sinclair, commander of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron. Early on 31 May she was the port wing ship of Beatty’s advanced screen of light cruisers. At 3.50am an unseen U-boat fired a torpedo at her, missing. At 2.20pm she was the first British ship to raise the “enemy in sight” signal when she came into contact with German cruisers as both sides investigated a Danish steamer. During the battle the Galatea took no hits and suffered no casualties.

Galatea also took part in the British response to the German High Seas sortie of 18-19 August 1916, aimed at Sunderland. During the sortie she sighted the Zeppelin L 31.

In October 1917 Galatea was part of the British force deployed in an attempt to find the German fleet as it attacked a Scandinavian convoy. In the next month she was equipped to lay mines, and laid 220 mines in three trips.

On 16-17 November 1917 she took part in the action of Heligoland Bight as part of the 1st LCS. This was an attempt to ambush German auxiliary ships as they operated on the edge of their own minefield in the Bight, but it turned into a long stern chase, which ended when the leading British ships came under fire from German battleships and were forced to retreat.

After the war Galatea spend a few months in the Black Sea, returning to Britain in April 1919. She was part of the 2nd LCS for a year, before being sold for break up in 1921.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - belt





Two 6in Mk XII guns
Six 4in quick firing Mk IV guns
One 3pdr anti-aircraft gun
Four 21in torpedo tubes above water

Crew complement



14 May 1914


December 1914

Sold for break up





Commodore Alexander-Sinclair

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 October 2007), HMS Galatea ,

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