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CANOPUS 1 class battleships (6, 1899 - 1902)


Canopus after addition of fire control platforms on the fore and mainmasts




Yard No


Laid down




Canopus N29, N17   Portsmouth DYd 4.1.1897 12.10.1897 12.1899 accommodation ship 1916, sold for BU 2.1920
Goliath N54   Chatham DYd 4.1.1897 23.3.1898 3.1900 sunk 15.5.1915
Albion N48, N00   Thames Iron Wks, Blackwall 3.12.1896 21.6.1898 6.1901 accommodation ship 1918, sold for BU 12.1919
Ocean N56   Devonport DYd 15.2.1897 5.7.1898 2.1900 sunk 18.3.1915
Glory P08, P92 630 Laird, Birkenhead 1.12.1896 11.3.1899 10.1900 depot ship 1920, sold for BU 12.1922
Vengeance N57, N1A 265 Vickers, Barrow 23.8.1898 25.7.1899 4.1902 ordnance depot 1917, sold for BU 12.1921

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t14300
Length, m

118.9 pp 128.5 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 3-cyl VTE, 20 Belleville boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 2300

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mm

Canopus, Goliath, Albion, Ocean, Glory: Harvey nickel steel; belt (Krupp steel): 152, bulkheads: 254 - 152, gun houses: 203, barbettes: 305, casemates: 152, decks: (51 + 25), CT: 305

Vengeance: Harvey nickel steel; belt (Krupp steel): 152, bulkheads: 254 - 152, gun houses (Krupp steel): 203, barbettes: 305, casemates: 152, decks: (51 + 25), CT: 305


2 x 2 - 305/35 BL Mk VIII, 12 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk II, 10 x 1 - 76/40 12pdr 12cwt QF Mk I, 6 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 - 450 TT (beam)




<i>Canopus </i> after addition of fire control platforms on the fore and mainmasts
Canopus after addition of fire control platforms on the fore and mainmasts

Project history

The first 5 ships were provided under the 1896-97 Estimates, and Vengeance under the 1897-98 Estimates. Smaller and faster editions of the Majestic, they were designed artly for the China station, to counter the growing naval power of Japan. A weight saving of 2000t was effected mainly by general reductions of armour thicknesses, but adoption of Krupp armour for the belt meant that the reduction in the protective value was not as great as the figures suggest (the 152mm Krupp belt was approximately as effective as 203mm of Harvey steel). They were nevertheless close to being second class ships. They were nevertheless close to being 2nd class ships.

Main guns were provided with all-round loading and circular barbettes of the same type as in Caesar and Illustrious. The Vengeance was fitted with improved mountings which allowed for loading at any elevation. Canopus class were the first British battleships fitted with water-tube boilers, which allowed for higher power without an increase in weight. The Belleville boilers worked at a pressure of 21kgf/cm2 compared with 11kgf/cm2 in the cylindrical boilers of earlier ships. Ships were good steamers and on full power trials made about 18.5kts with over 13500hp. The side-by-side arrangement of the funnels was abandoned in favour of fore and aft funnels, as this suited the disposition of the Belleville boilers.

Ship protection

The armour was arranged as in Majestic except for an extension of the belt to the stem, with 51mm plating and addition of a second 25mm protective deck across the top of the belt. The belt extension was intended to protect buoyancy fwd but was ineffective except as splinter protection and against light guns. The 25mm deck provided protection against howitzers which, it was reported incorrectly, the French intended to fit in their ships. The rest of protective decks were a uniform 51mm. The belt was 59.5m long, excluding 51mm section, by 4.3m deep, with the barbettes reduced to 152mm behind the belt. Gun houses of Vengeance were constructed of Krupp steel.


1916, Albion: + some x 1 - 76/45 20cwt QF Mk I HA

1917, Vengeance: - 4 x 1 - 152/40 main deck casemate guns; + 4 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk II in open shields on the battery deck.

Naval service

Albion was damaged by Turkish shellfire during bombardments of Dardanelles 28 April and 2 May 1915, including grounding off Gaba Tepe, in 1918 she was laid up as an accommodation ship. Canopus was paid off in 1916 and served as accommodation ship until sold, in 1917 she received 4 152mm guns on battery deck instead of 8 on main deck and also light AA guns in place of 76mm and 47mm guns. Glory in April 1920 was converted to depot ship and renamed Crescent, in 1917 she received 4 152mm guns on battery deck instead of 8 guns on main deck. Goliath was damaged by Turkish shellfire at bombarding of Dardanelles 25 April and 2 May 1915, on the night of 13.5.1915 she was torpedoed by Turkish torpedo boat Muavenet-i-Millet and sank quickly with the loss of 570 men. Ocean 18.3.1915 was damaged by Turkish gunfire at Dardanelles (field guns and shore batteries) and then hit a floating mine, she was abandoned and sank. Vengeance was damaged in collision with merchant vessel in June 1908, grounded in Thames in February 1909 and collided with destroyer Biter in November 1910. In April 1909-1912 and in 1913- August 1914 she served as a gunnery drill ship and in 1917 became an ordnance depot until paid off in 1919.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.