HMS Mars

HMS Mars was a Majestic class pre-dreadnought battleship that served as a guardship before being disarmed and used as a troopship. At the start of 1914 the Mars was in the 4th Division of the Home Fleet, part of the reserve. At the start of the war she was sent to the Humber, to form part of a new 9th Battle Squadron. She remained there until December, when she was moved south to join the Duncan class battleships at Portland, initially to take part in a planned attack on Zeebrugge.

Plans of Majestic Class Battleships
Plans of
Majestic Class Battleships

In February 1915 she was moved to Belfast, and her 12in guns were removed to arm the Lord Clive class monitors Earl of Peterborough and Sir Thomas Picton. The Mars was then used as a troopship – in September 1915 Mars, Magnificent and Hannibalwere all used to take troops to the Mediterranean. At the end of the Gallipoli campaign Mars and Magnificent were used to evacuate the troops – during the 18-19 December evacuated Mars was able to carry 2,000 troops, while on 8-9 January 1916 at Helles Mars and Prince George took 3,400 troops.  This ended the active career of the Mars, and she was paid off to become a depot ship.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

16kts natural draught
17kts forced draught

Armour – belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - gun houses


 - casemates


 - conning tower


 - deck





Four 12in guns
Twelve 6in quick firing guns
Sixteen 12pdr quick firing guns
Twelve 2pdr quick firing guns
Five 18in torpedo tubes, four submerged

Crew complement



30 March 1896


June 1897

Sold for break up



Captain R. M. Harboard (1914)
Captain Pyddoke

British Battleships 1889-1904 New Revised Edition, R A Burt. Magnificent study of the Royal Navy's pre-dreadnought battleships, amongst the most powerful ships in the world when built, but seen as obsolete by the outbreak of war in 1914. Traces the development of the 'classic' pre-dreadnought design and the slow increase in the power of the secondary armament, leading up to the all-big gun ships that followed. [read full review]
cover cover cover

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 October 2007), HMS Mars ,

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