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ASTRAEA 2 class cruisers (8, 1894 - 1896)


Bonaventure 1900s


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Bonaventure     Devonport DYd 9.12.1890 2.12.1892 5.7.1894 submarine depot ship 4.1908
Cambrian   227 Pembroke DYd 1.4.1891 30.1.1893 9.1894 harbour TS 3.1916
Astraea     Devonport DYd 14.8.1890 17.3.1893 5.11.1895 sold 7.1920
Charybdis D56, P56, N21   Sheerness DYd 28.9.1891 15.6.1893 14.1.1896 harbour service 1917
Fox     Portsmouth DYd 11.1.1892 15.6.1893 14.4.1896 sold 7.1920
Hermione P17, N32, N57   Devonport DYd 17.12.1891 7.11.1893 14.1.1896 HQ ship 12.1916, sold 10.1921
Flora   228 Pembroke DYd 1.3.1892 21.11.1893 3.1895 harbour service 4.1915
Forte     Chatham DYd 21.9.1891 9.12.1893 1.1895 sold 4.1914

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t 
Length, m

97.5 pp 103.5 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 3-cyl VTE, 8 cylindrical boilers

Power, h. p.

natural draught: 7500, forced draught: 9500

Max speed, kts

natural draught: 18, forced draught: 19.5

Fuel, t

coal 1000

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmsteel; deck: 51, gunshields: 114, engine hatch: 127, CT: 76

2 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk I/II, 8 x 1 - 120/40 QF Mk I/II/III/IV, 10 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 1 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 - 450 TT (aw, 1 bow, 2 beam, 1 aft)



Standard scale images

<i>Astraea </i>1904
Astraea 1904


<i>Bonaventure </i>1900s
Bonaventure 1900s

Project history

Provided under the Naval Defence Act of 1889, these vessels were improved Apollos in which an increase of 1000t in displacement was employed to provide a hull of improved seaworthiness and a slightly heavier and better placed armament. The general arrangement of the hull, protection, armament and machinery was similar to that in the Apollo but the broadside guns were increased to 4 120mm and 3 57mm on each side and fitted on a new full length deck provided in place of the separate forecastle and poop. This greatly increased the freeboard amidships, making the ships drier and giving the guns a higher command. The end 120mm guns on each side were fitted in sponsons to supplement the 152mm weapons in ahead and astern fire. The class was heavily criticised for showing little or no improvement on the Apollos in armament, speed and endurance despite being larger and more costly, but the fact that the increased weight was largely absorbed in improving seaworthiness was ignored by many of these critics. Whatever the faults of the design they were certainly improvements on the Apollo class and with a further increase in size formed the basis for future second class cruiser designs. On trials the ships of the class averaged 9250ihp and speeds varied between 19.5 and 20.5kts. All the ships of the class were sheathed in wood and copper.

Ship protection

The protective deck was 51mm thick on the flat and 51mm on the slope, and the engine cylinders, where they projected above this deck, were protected by a 127mm armoured glacis around the engine room hatch.



Naval service

Bonaventure in 1906-April 1907 was converted to submarine depot ship and sold for BU in April 1920. Cambrian early in 1914 was put on sale list but in August 1914 reinstated, fitted out as Stokers` TS and renamed Harlech in March 1916, sold for BU in February 1923. Charybdis was damaged in collision 9.1.1915, laid up, in 1917 commissioned for harbour service and in March 1918 converted to cargo carrier for loan to mercantile operator. She was returned to RN in January 1920 and sold in January 1922. Flora was put on sale list in 1914 but in April 1915 reduced to harbour service and renamed Indus II, sold in December 1922. Hermione 14.2.1909 ran aground at Zanzibar but was refloated and recommissioned in July. She again ran aground off Killingholme in the Humber 6.8.1909 and recommissioned in June 1910. In August 1914 she became guardship but from December 1916 to 1919 served as HQ ship for ML motor launches and CMB coastal motor boats. She was sold in October 1921 but resold to MArine Society in 1922, became TS Warspite in December 1922 and sold for BU only in September 1940.

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