HMS Pyramus

HMS Pyramus was a Pelorus class third class cruiser that served in the Pacific, off the east coast of Africa, in the Persian Gulf and in the East Indies during the First World War, taking part in the operations that destroyed the German cruiser Königsberg in July 1915.

HMS Pyramus from the left
HMS Pyramus from the left

At the start of the First World War the Pyramus was part of the New Zealand Division, with her sister ship Psyche and the Pearl class cruiser Philomel (often grouped together as the “P” class cruisers”). With this division she escorted the New Zealand expedition that captured Samoa at the end of August 1914. After that the division escorted the first New Zealand troop convoy on the first stage of its journey to Britain, taking it as far as Albany, on the south west coast of Australia.

In November the New Zealand Division was split up. Philomel and Pyramus were sent to Singapore to form part of the cordon being put in place to prevent Admiral von Spee’s powerful East Asian squadron from breaking into the Indian Ocean. She was then sent to East Africa, where she relieved HMS Fox on the blockade of the Königsberg in the Rufiji River. There she destroyed the British tug Adjutant to prevent her falling into German hands after her crew had been forced to surrender. She remained off the Rufiji until the Königsberg had been destroyed in July 1915.

From East Africa she was sent to the Persia Gulf, to help protect the vital Persian oil supplies. On 20 August she took part in operations against the Turkish garrison of Doha fort, which was handed over to the Sheikh of Qatar.

Once the danger in the Persian Gulf was over, the Pyramus joined the East Indies squadron. During the raid of the Wolf in 1917 she was used to guard the transport route between Aden and Colombo.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

18.5kts natural draft
20kts forced draft

Armour – deck


 - gunshields


 - conning tower



313ft 6in


Eight 4in quick firing guns
Eight 3pdr quick firing guns
Three machine guns
Two 18in above water torpedo tubes

Crew complement



15 May 1897




Commander Viscount Kelburn
Lt. Tonkin, R.N.R.
Commander Crispin

Sold for break up


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 November 2007), HMS Pyramus ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy