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DUNCAN 1 class battleships (6, 1903 - 1904)


Albermarle as completed




Yard No


Laid down




Russell 23 750 Palmer, Jarrow 11.3.1899 19.2.1901 2.1903 sunk 27.4.1916
Albermarle 07, 06, N39   Chatham DYd 8.1.1900 5.3.1901 11.1903 gunnery tender 5.1913 - 8.1914, barrack ship 5.1917 - 11.1918, sold for BU 11.1919
Montagu     Devonport DYd 23.11.1899 5.3.1901 10.1903 wrecked 30.5.1906
Duncan 43, 59, N53   Thames Iron Wks, Blackwall 10.7.1899 21.3.1901 10.1903 gunnery tender 5.1913 - 8.1914, sold for BU 2.1920
Cornwallis 33   Thames Iron Wks, Blackwall 19.7.1899 13.7.1901 2.1904 sunk 9.1.1917
Exmouth 12, 63, N44 638 Laird, Birkenhead 10.8.1899 31.8.1901 5.1903 gunnery TS 7.1913 - 8.1914, sold for BU 2.1920

Technical data

Displacement normal, t

Russell: 13270

Albermarle: 13440

Montagu: 13420

Duncan: 13640

Cornwallis: 13745

Exmouth: 13500

Displacement full, t

14900 - 15200

Length, m

123.4 pp 131.7 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 4-cyl VTE, 24 Belleville boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 2000

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mm

belt: 178, bulkheads: 279 - 178, gun houses: 254 - 203, barbettes: 279 - 102, casemates: 152, decks: 51 - 25, CT: 305


2 x 2 - 305/40 BL Mk IX, 12 x 1 - 152/45 BL Mk VII, 10 x 1 - 76/40 12pdr 12cwt QF Mk I, 6 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 - 450 TT (beam)




<i>Albermarle</i> as completed
Albermarle as completed

Project history

Duncan, Cornwallis, Exmouth and Russell were provided under the supplementary estimate of 1898 in answer to large additions to the French and Russian building programmes. Albermarle and Montagu were provided under the 1899-00 Estimates. Smaller editions of Formidable, they scarified armour for high speed to match the reported fast Russian battleships. The designed load displacement was 14000t. Duncans were actually designed before London class and initiated improvements in protection adopted in those ships, but their construction was delayed and the first two Londons were laid down prior to Duncans.

High speed was provided for by increasing the machinery power by 3000hp and modifying the hull form for a designed maximum speed of 19kts and a sea speed of 18kts. 4-cyl TE engines were adopted for the first time, and these employed wind-sails instead of cowl ventilators. They were good steamers, the best of the class on trials being Cornwallis (19.56kts) and the best in service was Albermarle.

Ship protection

The armour distribution was similar to that of London but with belt and barbettes of reduced thickness. The main 178mm belt was 72.6m long by 4.6m deep and continued to the bow with 127mm, 102mm and 76mm plates. The barbettes were 279-254mm, reducing to 178mm and 102mm forward and 102mm aft behind the belt. The decks were as in London except that the middle deck was 25mm on the slope as well as on the flat.

Modernizations 9.

1916-5/1917, Albermarle: - 8 x 1 - 152/45 on main deck; + 4 x 1 - 152/45 on the battery deck

Naval service

Albermarle became gunnery tender in May 1913 and joined Grand Fleet again in August 1914. 11.11.1915 while heavily loaded with spare ammunition she was badly damaged by bad weather in the Pentland Firth, losing her bridge, ship was under repair till December. From May 1917 to November 1918 she served as an overflow ship to naval barracks at Devonport, in reserve. Cornwallis 9.1.1917 E of Malta was hit by three torpedoes from German submarine U32 but remained afloat long enough for all but 15 men to be taken off. Duncan ran aground in May 1906 on Lundy while trying to help Montagu and suffered damages. In May 1913 - August 1914 she served as gunnery tender and in 1917 went into reserve to provide manpower for other ships. Exmouth in July 1913 - August 1914 served as gunnery TS at Devonport, in 1917 she was paid off into reserve. Montagu 30.5.1916 while in thick fog ran hard aground on Lundy Island. She proved beyond salvage, but her guns and other equipment were recovered, leaving the wreck to be broken up where it lay. Russell was mined off Malta 27.4.1916 with the loss of 126 men.

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