Devonshire Class first class armoured cruisers

The Devonshire Class first class armoured cruisers were an improved version of the Monmouth class ships with increased firepower. This was initially provided by replaced the twin 6in gun turrets with single 7.5in turrets, and then by replaced the forward two storey casemate with two more 7.5in turrets, front-right and front-left. The remaining six 6in guns were in the same position as on the earlier ships – four in two-storey rear casemates and two in one-storey central casemates. The ships could fire three of their 7.5in guns and three of their 6in guns against the same target.

Plans of Devonshire Class First Class Armoured Cruisers
Plans of
Devonshire Class
First Class
Armoured Cruisers

The Devonshire Class ships were used as test beds for four different types of watertube boilers (Yarrow, Babcock, Durr and Niclausse), backed up by three cylindrical boilers.

During the First World War the Devonshire class ships served with the Grand Fleet and on the North American and West Indies Station. HMS Carnarvon led the cruiser squadron at the battle of the Falklands, while HMS Hampshire was involved in the hunt for the SMS Emden and was present at the battle of Jutland. HMS Argyll was wrecked off the coast of Scotland on 28 October 1915

Perhaps not the luckiest of ships, the Devonshire class is best known for the fate of HMS Hampshire. This ship was taking Lord Kitchener to Russia, when on 5 June 1916 she hit a mine and sank with the loss of all but twelve of the crew. Lord Kitchener was amongst the dead. His lose caused a great deal in Britain, and was the subject of a series of conspiracy theories in later years.

The Devonshire class cruisers were the last of a series of seven classes descended from William White’s Blake class cruisers, laid down in 1888. The Duke of Edinburgh class of 1904-1906 were the first to be designed by Phillip Watts, and were substantially different ships.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - casemates


 - turrets


 - barbettes


 - ammo tubes


 - conning tower



473ft 6in


Four 7.5in guns
Six 6in quick firing guns
Two 12pdr quick firing guns
Eighteen 3pdr quick firing guns
Two 18in submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Antrim
HMS Argyll
HMS Carnarvon
HMS Devonshire
HMS Hampshire
HMS Roxburgh

Before the Battlecruiser - The Big Cruiser in the World’s Navies 1865-1910, Aidan Dodson. Looks at the development and careers of the ‘big cruiser’, the most heavily armed cruisers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a type that eventually evolved in the battlecruiser. Covers the development of the type, its combat experience while still state of the art, its role in the First World War, as well as looking at the technical specifications of all of the ships that fell into this category (Read Full Review)
cover cover cover


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 September 2007), Devonshire Class first class armoured cruisers ,

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