HMS New Zealand

HMS New Zealand was an Indefatigable class battlecruiser that had been paid for by the dominion of New Zealand, but then presented to the Royal Navy on completion. At the start of the First World War she formed part of the Grand Fleet at Scapa, but in mid-August she was moved to the Humber, to form a new squadron with the Invincible. The idea was that they would be able to intervene more quickly against any German raids in the southern North Sea than the squadrons at Scapa or Rosyth.

HMS Princess Royal and HMS New Zealand
HMS Princess Royal and HMS New Zealand

This Humber squadron had a short lifespan. The New Zealand and the Invincible both took part in the battle of Heligoland Bight, but so did Beatty’s battlecruisers from further north. Soon after the battle the limited advantages of the southern harbour were removed when the Germans laid a minefield off the east coast. The Humber and the Tyne were both abandoned as fleet anchorages while the extent of the minefield was checked, and the New Zealand and Invincible rejoined the Grand Fleet. The New Zealand formed part of Admiral Beatty’s Battlecruiser Fleet, based at Rosyth.

In that capacity she took part in the battle of Dogger Bank. Her first target was the German armoured cruiser Blücher, which came under attack from a number of British battlecruisers, making it hard to judge the effectiveness of the New Zealand’s gunnery, although she fired 147 12in shells during the battle.

On 22 April 1916 the New Zealand was involved in a collision with the Australia during a Grand Fleet sortie. She was repaired in time to serve with the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron at the battle of Jutland, where she was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Pakenham. During the first battle cruiser phase of the battle, both the Tiger and the New Zealand attacked the Moltke. The New Zealand fired 420 12in shots, scoring four hits. In return she received one hit from a German heavy shell, but was undamaged. On 3 June she was one of three battlecruiser reported to be ready to go to sea.

HMS New Zealand from the left
HMS New Zealand from the left

The New Zealand spent the rest of the war with the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron. She was present at the action of Heligoland Bight of 17 November 1917, reinforcing the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron. She was sold for break up in December 1922 under the terms of the Washington Treaty.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



6,330 nautical miles at 10kts

Armour – deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - turret faces


 - conning tower





Eight 12in Mk X guns
Sixteen 4in Mk VIII guns
Four 3pdr guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



1 July 1911


November 1912


Captain L. Halsey
Captain Green

Sold for break up


British and German Battlecruisers - Their Development and Operations, Michele Cosentino & Ruggero Stanglini. A useful volume that covers the development, design and construction of British and German battlecruisers, their wartime deployments and both side's plans for the next generation of battlecruisers, of which only HMS Hood was ever completed. Having all of this material in a single volume gives a much better overview of the two Navy's battlecruisers, their advantages and flaws, and their performance in and out of battle. Concludes with a look at other nation's battlecruisers and battlecruiser designs [read full review]
cover cover cover


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 November 2007), HMS New Zealand ,

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