The last British monitors were dating back to the 1870s at a time there was great deal of experimentations. They resurfaced in WWI for the need of coastal bombardment, with the design and production in record time of dedicated vessels, not to risk more precious pre-dreadnought battleships.
They were three categories: Requisitions and modifications of Brazilian and Norwegian ordered vessels, new-built small coastal monitors and larger monitors with battleships gun turrets. Some even fired the humongus British BL 18-in gun at the end of the war. But as they were introduced in 1915-16, the monitors not only served with the Dover Patrol but also in the Dardanelles. Some even saw action in WW2, from Musmansk to the Mediterranean and Pacific
Development of British monitors
Journalists aboard the Monitor HMS Raglan in 1917
The term “monitor” was made famous during the American civil war and it gained traction even after the war, adopted by many small navies for their own coastal defence. They saw action in South America, and all along the XIXth century, later taking in account other developments such as the ram, the torpedo for new concepts that flourised in the 1880s. The Royal Navy, in its role of “fleet in being” gave relatively little attention to what was consider “small ships” of a green water navy.
For colonial service though, the Royal Navy capitalized on its gunboats, and in some cases, armoured ones, with a single, heavy shielded gun, such as the “flatiron gunboats”. But none had a rotating turret and were called a “monitor”. The arch-rival, the French Navy meanwhile under the influence of the ‘young school’, capitalized on a serie of monitors for coastal defence (as well as coastal battleships) but abandoned the type in the late 1890s. The USN “old navy” also maintained a fleet of monitors before they were abandoned under the influence of the Mahanian doctrine also in the 1890s.
When WWI broke out, however, the situation started to require the need of a monitor in two completely different occasions: The first bombardment raid on Flanders, in particular Zeebruge and the Belgian coastal bases of U-Boats and TBs, led by HMS Exmouth and Russel, on 23 November 1914. It was the one and only ever made by pre-dreadnoughts, considered more “expandable” than modern dreadnoughts, keep safe at Scapa Flow for any sortie of the Hochseeflotte.
This raid was devastating with 400 shells spent, making a lot of damage, but not crippling the German base capabilities for long. Although this brought some experience before the bombardments operations in 1915 in the Dardanelles, the admiralty feared all along a sortie with small torpedo boats or an attack from U-Boats. The Dardanelles’s campaign crippling losses of the allied fleet, gave them a lot of credency. From 1916 it was now difficult to risk a pre-dreanought so close to an enemy-occupied shore. And this started a reflexion on a dedicated vessel.
The second case, was to hunt down the remaining cruisers of admiral Graf Spee hiding in remote parts of the world including rivers, like the Rufiji for SMS Koenisgberg or the amazon. For this, and also for flanders operations, a smaller, lighter type of monitor was also put in study. But the story of British Monitors started in a peculiar, unwanted way: On 24 August 1912 were laid down three riverine monitors for the Brazilian Navy, at Vickers NyD.
They were launched in June to August 1913, but the Brazilian were in payment default, leaving the yard free to search for a new buyer. To avoid a resell to a possible hostile nation in international rising tensions, the admiralty made arrangements to purchase them. Completed in November 1913 to February 1914, they were modified for RN needs and renamed after rivers: The Humber class would be the first riverine monitors of the Royal Navy and would see action from the Channel to the Mediterranean, East Africa, Black Sea, and Balkans (Dvina and Danube). The other case was the Norwegian Nidaros class (see later), also requisitioned, and completed to British standard as the Gorgon class.
Humber class monitors
HMS Humber, Severn, Mersey
Three small river monitors had been ordered by Brazil from Vickers in January 1912, and the first, the Janary, had started trials in October 1913. All three were ready by February 1914, but by this time the Brazilian Navy could not affend to pay for them and they were laid up in the Devonshire Dock at Barrow awaiting a buyer. Just before the outbreak of war the Admiralty made arrangements to buy them for £155,000 cach to prevent them from falling into enemy hands, and they were formally taken over on 3 August 1914. Although nominally capable of 12ks, none of them achieved these figures in RN service, although Javary had reached 11 kts during river trials in 1913. They were totally unsuited to operate in the open sea, as their shallow draught permitted them to be blown sideways.
Design and modifications
The ships underwent a series of alterations, starting in September October 1914 when they received additional l-in plating over the magazine. By the end of 1914 42 they had worn out their guns and serious thought was given to replacing the turrets with spares from the County’ class armoured cruisers (the turret was a Vickers commercial variant of the RN twin 6in). The work would have been too complex and time-consuming and so Severn and Mersey’s turrets were removed entirely.
In their place the ships were each given 2-6in BI. Mk VII each, one forward and one aft. The 2-4.7in. howitzers were moved from the quarterdeck to the boat deck. As Humber’s guns were not so badly worn she kept her turret, but in
December 1914 she received an additional 6in Mk VII on the quarter deck. Severn und Mersey were given 3pdr AA gun in place of the after searchlight in September October 1914. It was proposed early in 1919 to re-arm all three with triple in for service in North Russia but Humber was sent to Murmansk with her original armament, apart from a 3in/20cwt Mk II AA gun in place of the 3pdr AA. Her sisters were not altered as their orders were cancelled.
Humber was ready for RN service by 25 August 1914 and reached Dover four days later. Took part in Belgian coast operations October-November 1914 and then repaired at Chatham DYd. Remained in Medway until March 1915 and left for Mediterranean with her sisters, in company with the liner Trent.
Arrived Malta 29 March but did not reach Gallipoli until June 1915. Refitted and given new guns at Alexandria in January 1916 and remained in Egyptian waters. Guardship at Akaba August 1917-February 1918 and sent to Mudros with her sisters in October 1918. Went through Dardanelles after Armistice and after three months at Istanbul returned home in March 1919. Refitted and left Devonport for Murmansk 20 May 1919. Left Archangel in September 1919 in tow, paying off at Chatham on 24 October. Sold in September 1920 to Dutch salvage company for conversion to a crane barge, and was still doing salvage work in 1938. Probably BU post 1945.
HMS Severn was commissioned in August 1914 and arrived at Dover on 29 August. Took part in Belgian coast operations in October-November 1914, then refitted at Chatham in November-December 1914, Ordered to Dardanelles in March 1915 but was diverted at Malta to go with Mersey to East Africa, to help destroy the cruiser Konigsberg in the Rufiji River. Arrived at Mafia Island on 31 June and between 6 and 11 July destroyed the enemy with long-range gunfire. Remained off East African coast until April 1918 (refitted Durban April 1917), then sent to Egypt. Sent to Mudros in October 1918 and served on Danube for three months. Ordered home in March 1919 for service on Dvina River as part of White Sea Squadron, but remained at Devonport in C&M until moved to Queenstown (Cobh) in July 1919
Mersey was commissioned in August 1914 and served on Belgian coast operations until November 1914. Refitted at Chatham and then towed to Malta March-April 1915. Diverted with Severn to deal with Königsberg in East Africa. Refitted at Durham March 1916 and towed back to Mediterranean by liner Trent, March-May 1918. Sent to Mudros in October 1918 and then to Black Sea and Danube after Armistice. On her return to Devonport in May 1919 was paid off into C&M. Moved to Queenstown in July 1919 and sold in 1921.
⚙ Humber class specifications
|Dimensions||81,3 x 14,9 x 1,7 m|
|Displacement||1,260t – 1,520t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines, 2 boilers, 1.450 hp|
|Speed||9-1/2 knots top speed,|
|Range||Coal/oil 187/90 tons, 1000 nm?|
|Armament||1×2 6-in, 2x 4.7-in Hwz, 4x 3pdr, 6x 7mm Hotchkiss LMGs|
Gorgon class monitors (1914)
HMS Gorgon, Glatton (1914-15)
HMS Glatton in drydock, with the her bulges installed, 1917
These very unusual monitors were originally built as coastal defence ships, for the Royal Norwegian Navy, ordrered in 1913 as the nidaros class: HNoMS Nidaros and HNoMS Bjørgvin. Bad timing as they were requisitionedby the Britsh government for launch ahd complettion to British standards. It was too late though to modify them, and they were kept with their coastal battleship configuration, not being proper monitors. They were refunded 2/3 of their £370,000 purchase price.
The Norwegians wanted them from Armstrong Whitworth to support their older Eidsvold and Tordenskjold classes, and were sized upon the largest basin available in Oslo: They measured 290 feet (88 m) long overall. They aldo werae not very beamy at 55 feet (17 m), this time, for the drydock at Horten. For these slender dimensions, displacement was limited to 4,807 long tons (4,884 t). They were armed with sub-standard calibers for battleships, 9-inches/45 (240 mm) Armstrong guns, in single turrets fore and aft.
This was completed by Four 6-in/50 (150 mm) guns in single turrets amidship on the superstructure, and two superfiring over the main turrets, plus 4-in QF (102 mm) in the superstructure for anti-TB defence. They also had two submerged 18 inches (450 mm) torpedo tubes. Their Krupp cemented armour armored belt was 7 inches thick (180 mm), tapered down on both ends. The armor scheme comprised a 1–3.5 inches (25–89 mm) KC protective deck which was all along the ship and thus, there was no citadel, nor tranverse bulkheads. There was also a high-tensile steel main deck above. There was also a 6-in thick walled CT.
They were powered by two vertical triple expansion steam engines fed by four Yarrow watertube boilers, rated for 4,000 ihp (3,000 kW) giving them 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph).
In August 1914 Nidaros just had been launched while Bjørgvin followed soon. Renamed Glatton and Gorgon, (former 1871 breastwork monitors), many changes were made during completion, starting with the boilers, originally coal only, converted tpo mixed oil and coal plus the addition of twelve double-bottom tanks filled with oil also acting as ASW protection. This started on 9 January 1915 only, was suspended in May, due to Furious and Courageous having the utmost priority.
The British engineers also added ASW bulges as other monitors, which cost them 2 knots, down to 10, and extra displacement. In all, they carried 364 long tons (370 t) of coal, 171 long tons (174 t) of fuel oil for 2,700 nautical miles (5,000 km; 3,100 mi) at 11 knots, better than the previous vessels. All guns had to be relined to accept British ammunition, ansd the main ones became the BL 9.2-inch (230 mm) Mk XII guns, with new mountings allowing a -5 – +40° elevation. Remarkably they used a light shell with supercharge (muzzle velocity of 3,060 ft/s), reaching an amazing 39,000 yards (36,000 m), making them the longest range naval artillery at the time, only beaten by the 1918 BL 18 inch Mk I naval gun.
Both the Norwegian 100 mm guns and torpedo tubes were removed, while a large tripod mast was installed behind a single funnel, supporting British standard directors for main and secondary guns. Also for AA defence a single QF 3 inch 20 cwt was placed on each superfiring 6-in turret and four 3-pdr Hotchkiss guns, four 2-pdr guns, also for AA defence.
HMS Gorgon was completed at last and commissioned on 1st May 1918, just in time to bombard German artillery positions in Belgium in July, including the Snaeskerk bridge on 28-29 September. She also fired on German artillery batteries on 14 October but was straddled in returned, having near-misses splinters. She shelled a bridge and was the last RN ships to bombard Occupied Belgium.
Back in Portsmouth postwar, she was used to investigate the her sister ship’s magazine explosion. Paid off on 31 August 1919, Reserve Fleet, she was offered back to the Norwegians, which found her unsuitable now for them, so she was disarmed in 1922, became a target for underwater bomb tests and six-in gunfire, sold for BU on 26 August 1928, in Pembroke.
After completion she was sent on the Dover patrol on 11 September 1918 but by 16 September her midships 6-in magazine had a small explosion, igniting nearby cordite stored closeby, resulting inj the explosion of ‘Q’ turret starboard midside, while a fierce fire started to spread aft. Though, the forward magazines were flooded, but the rear magazines had flames already blocking access to the controlling valves.
Immediately, the nearby ammunition ship Gransha, just 150 yards from there, was frantically signalled to move away, tugs were called in since everybody remembered about the Halifax explosion the past December. Dover could be flattened if Glatton’s rear magazine exploded, transmitted to Gransha. Vice-Admiral Keyes ordered destroyer Cossack in emergency to torpedo Glatton but these were not powerful enough (18-in torps) as the blisters played their role ironically. Keyes then ordered the HMS Myngs, a destroyer, to fire its own 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes, aimed at her hole blown blow starboard so she can capsize, resting on the harbor bottom. Casualties numbered about 60 killed outright, 124 injured (19 later died).
For such event, a Court of Enquiry was held immediately afterwards and located the provenance of the initial explosion. The cause was hypothesised about the use of stokers to pile red-hot clinker and ashes from the boilers against the bulkhead next to the magazine. Although well insulated with 5 inches (130 mm) of cork and ¾-inch (1.9 cm) wood planking plus cooling equipment so this should never happened.
The investigating team found the magazine red lead paint was blistered beneath the lagging. National Physical Laboratory estimated in its report the temperature would have ben in the order of 400 °F in the magazine, which at all time was no to exceed 83 °F (28 °C). However the heat was not attributed to red-hot ashes, but the cork, which led to flammable fumes with much heat and pressurized air, making the sandwhich wall the equivalent of a boiler.
Her cork was replaced by more secure silicate wool, and when emptying it, large quantities of cork were found missing, while folded newspapers were found instead, and some rivets missing meant paper could have been directly in contact on the hot ashes, added to forced draught pressure in the boiler room, supplying air through rivet holes, fanning the whole and igniting the cordite. She remained in port, a hazard to navigation while the harbour could not pay for the £45,000 asked for a salvage operation.
Eventually funds were found with external help and work started in May 1925, removing 12,000 long tons of silt from underneath HMS Glatton, her mainmast and superstructure blasted away, holes sealed, air pumped until buoyancy was restored, with a first lifting on 2 December 1925 and with the tide, moved on 16 March 1926 next to the western pier of the submarine harbour, for total of £12,000. Remains were buried by landfills.
⚙ Gorgon class specifications
|Dimensions||310 x 55 x 16 ft (94 x 22,43 x 17 m)|
|Displacement||5,756t – 5,900+t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft VTE engines, 4 mixed boilers, 4.000 ihp (3,000 Kw)|
|Speed||12 knots top speed (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Range||2,700 nmi (5,000 km; 3,110 mi)/11 knots|
|Armament||2× 9.2-in, 4× BL 6 in, 2× QF 3 in 20 cwt, 4× 3-pdr, 4× 2-pdr AA guns.|
|Armour||Belt 7 in, Bulkheads 5 in, Turret, CT: 8 in, Decks 3.5 in|
The “big boys”: Heavy artillery Monitors (1915)
HMS Lord Clive shelling German forts on the Belgian Coast with her 18-inch gun
However, the idea of coastal bombardment had it’s supporters already after the war broke out, in September 1914. In October 1914, following a maskeshift bombardment force composed of pre-dreanoughts and gunboats, it was made clear that the first were more precious in secondary threaters like the Mediterranean, while the second were more suitable for colonial operations. A really tailored design, made precisely for the task and mostly immune to German coastal threats, such as mines and torpedoes, would be more useful. It did not need either range or speed and only protection and heavy artillery.
Fortunately at the time, there was no sortage of heavy guns, in particular of the 14-inches caliber. In addition to the manufacturer’s spare barrels, there were plenty of older pre-dreadnoughts being retire to free crews. For the sold task of direct fire on shore targets, there was no need either of complicated ballistic computer or fire table. These precious equipments could be saved for dreadnoughts. No need either for secondary guns, as in case of a German attack, destroyer cover was there. So this ended as a requirement quickly drafted for a new type of ship, which, by default of a better denomination, was called “monitor”.
In all, the Royal Navy would accept in service in a short span no less than 18 Monitors, and many more coastal ones. This was unique among belligerent and proved woth the time and money invested in the endeavour. So much so, that in WW2 the Royal Navy still had four active monitors: Two modernized, late WW2 vintage, and two newly built. Unfortunately, the nature of fast engagements of this war made them of little use, until the allies took again the ititiative and starts a serie of landings. Their role was overtaken by air support, battleship bombardment, and rocket-launcher assault crafts.
Abercrombie class monitors (1915)
HMS Abercrombie, Raglan, Havelock, Roberts
HMS Abercrombie in July 1915 (AWM)
The makeshift fleet of old battleships and gunboats which bombarded the Belgian coast in October 1914 showed clearly that whatever opportunities might be presented for warships to influence events ashore, the Royal Navy lacked ships suited to the task. Thus when on 3 November 1914 the President of Bethlehem Steel, Charles M. Schwab, called on Winston Churchill to offer four twin 14in turrets, the First Lord of the Admiralty saw the possibility of
using them for shore bombardment.
Abercrombie class monitor, 14-inch turret
The guns were destined for the Greek ship Salamis but Schwab recognised that they would never get through the British blockade, and was quite happy to sell them to the British instead. Literally the following day the DNC was instructed to investigate the building of two armoured monitors with a draught of 10ft, within four months. The design, although pushed through very rapidly, incorporated the new anti-torpedo ‘bulges’ but in combination with the extremely bluff bow and stern, they made the monitors unwieldy and slow. Had Fisher been prepared to wait for the results of tank tests the proper power needed for 10kts speed (roughly double what had been specified) would have been available in time, but construction was rushed ahead.
The builders were told to use whatever mercantile engines were available. To preserve secrecy the four monitors were referred to as the “Sty” class, but soon had numbers MI-M until February 1915, when American names were allocated to commemorate the US origin of their guns. But the Schwab deal, with its flagrant breach of neutrality, had already drawn strong State Department protests, and the ships were renamed: M7 was hurriedly renamed “Admiral Farragut” in Februrary. Their distinguishing features were a massive tripod mast and the large gun turret, and the diminutive funnel and bridge emphasized the bareness of the hull. All except HMS Raglan had two derricks at the after end of the forecastle deck for handling seaplanes, making them the first British warships designed to carry aircraft.
The secondary guns were carried below the forecastle, behind hinged bulwarks ahead of the 14in turret. In addition they carried a single 3pdr and a 2pdr pom-pom for air defence. They underwent few modifications, the first being to raise the funnel by 12ft at the first refit. To help the monitors provide routine harassing fire, a 6in Mic XII was added on the forecastle deck in Abercrombie and Raglan (in 1917 and 1916 respectively, Ragian’s gun being sal-
vaged from M 30).
HMS Raglan 1915
In 1916 Roberts received a 6in QF Mk I on an improvised AA mounting, mounted at upper deck level on the starboard side aft, while the barrel and the ary 1915, then Abercrombie in May, M2 was renamed General Grant in February 1915. then Havelock int May; M 3 was allocated the name Robert E Lee in February 1915 but commissioned as Af 3 on 3 June 1915 as the order cancelling her name had been issued on 31 May: the name Lord Raglan was approved for her on
19 June but shortened to Ragian four days later, M 4 was named Stmetall Jackson in February 1915, then Earl Roberts in May, but shortened to Roberts on 22 June Several variants such as Lord Roberys and General Abercrombie have been quoted they were never official.
The 14in/45cal BL. Mk II had a but trunnions projected through the forecastle deck. The 12pdrs were removed in 1915-16 and remounted on the forecastle deck on modified high-angle mountings. By 1918 they had the following armaments:
Abercrombie: 2-14in, 1-6in, 2-12pdr AA, 1-3in/20cwt AA, 1-3pdr AA, range of 19,900yds at 15 elevation and was electrically worked. The construction of the gun was considerably different from anything seen in the RN and it used nitro-cellulose tube (NCT propellant. The first 1-2pdr AA. Havelock: 2-14in. 2-12pdr AA. 2-3in/20cwt AA. shells and charges were supplied Raglan: 2-14in, 1-6in, 2-12pdr AA, 1-3pdr AA, 1-2pdr AA. from the USA, the nose-fused 4 crb shells being made to British specifications. The US Navy subsequently Roberts: 2-14in, 1-6in AA, 2-12pdr AA, 1-3in AA, 1-3pdr AA, 2-2pdr AA, supplied four similar 14in guns and in 1917 the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich made two wire-wound versions, to replace worn-out guns in Abercrombie.
Although called “monitors” the new ships bore little resemblance to the low freeboard turret ships built in the 1860s, but the name had been applied to single turreted ships built for coast defence and service in South American rivers, so the name was applied to the new Although designed to operate seaplanes none of them did for any length of time as shore-based RNAS aircraft proved far better for spotting duties. Another problem was that each time the guns fired the seaplane had to be hoisted over the side to prevent blast damage.
In September 1915 HMS Roberts operated a Short 166, as did Raglan for several days in October 1916. HMS Abercrombie carried out similar exper HMS General Wolfe with 18in gun 1918 imes with a Sopwith Schneider. In September 1917 Raphm carried an Short 184 seaplane on top of her 14-in turret.
Abercrombie commissioned (as Admiral Faragut) in May 1915 and ailed for Darstanelles en 24 June in company with the cruiser Theseus, which gave her a tow to speed up the pape. On her arrival at Kephalo on 12 July 1915, she became fliigship of apparting forces and immediately. went into action against Turkish defences. She was hit frequently but suffered no serious damage. In September 1915 she and her sisters were femned into 1st Division, Special Squadron After evacuation of Cape Helle in January 1916 went to Imbecs, from where the fired sporadically against Turkish troops and positions.
Refitted at Malta in May 1916 and returned to Imbros. In action at Smirka by October 1916 and then supported various Aegean operations before returning to Kephalo early in 1917. Refitted at Malta in May 1917 and again in May 1918, when her guns were replaced, saw very little action. By Late in August 1918, she was near missed by the same U-boat which torpedoed Emlywo. Went through Dardanelles on Armistice Day 1918 and returned home in February 1919. In April she was sent to Birmingham to await for disposal. Paid off in May 1919 and disarmed at Portsmouth in June 1920. Sold for HU in May 1921 but retained by Admiralty and laid up at Ports touch until June 1927 when she was resold and BU.
HMS Havelock 1915
Commissioned as General Grant in May 1915, went to Dardanelles with cruiser HMS Jano; joined Ist Division, Special Squadron in September. After evacuation from Cape Helles in January 1916 returned home, and was sent to Lowestoft in
May to act as guardship against German raids. Refitted on Tyne in June 1917 but apart from AA firing and occasional false alarms saw no further action. Paid off into C&M at Immingham in May 1919 and disarmed at Portsmouth in June 1920. Sold in May 1921 but remained laid up at Portsmouth until sold for BU in June 1927.
HMS Raglan leaving malta
Raglan was commissioned as M 1 in June 1915 and went to Dardanelles for bombardiment duty, in company with cruiser Thana. Formed part of Ist Division, Special Squadron September 1915-January 1916 After evacuation served in Argean. To Port Said in September 1917 for operations against Turks in Southern Palestine. In January 1917, returned to Imbros to guard against a breakout by the Goeben and Breslau, a duty which she shared with the Abercrombie and a number of small monitors as the 2nd Detached Squadron of the Aegean Squadron.
Raglan with the grand fleet
Early on the morning of 20 January 1918 she came under accurate fire against first the Breslau and later the Goeben she was set on fire and after being abandoned she sank on an even keel in shallow water (127 dead). Guns and other valuable equipment were salvaged.
HMS Roberts (NARA)
Roberts commissioned as Stonewall Jackson in May 1915 and went to the Dardanelles in company with cruiser HMS Endymion. Formed part of 1st Division, Special Squadron September 1915-January 1916; returned in May for service as guard
home in February and sent to Yarmouth. But apart from air raids saw little action. Docked in June 1917 on the Tyne and then moved to Thames Estuary to take part in the projected Belgian landings (as a reserve monitor) Returned to Yarmouth in October, refitted at Portsmouth in July 1918 and paid off into C&M Immingham in May 1919, but was towed to Portsmouth in October 1920 and not disarmed. Sold in May 1921 but retained by Admiralty for trials. In 1925 she was considered for conversion to an airship mooring mast and refuelling point, and in the early 1930s was used for trials of underwater protection for new construction. Sold for BU in September 1936.
⚙ Abercrombie class specifications
|Dimensions||334 x 90 x 10 ft (101.96 x 27.48 x 3m)|
|Displacement||6,150t – 8,000+t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines, 2 boilers, 2,000 hp|
|Speed||6-1/2 knots top speed|
|Armament||1×2 14-in/45, 2x 12pdr, 1x 3pdr, 1x 2pdr AA, 4 Maxim LMGs|
|Armour||Int. belt 4 in, bkds 4 in, barb. 8 in, turrets 10 in, decks 2 in|
Lord Clive class monitors (1915)
Lord Clive, General Craufurd, Earl of Peterborough, Sir Thomas Picton, Prince Eugene, Prince Rupert, Sir John Moore, General Wolfe
Lord clive in November 1918
Slow progress on the front meant the army pressed the admiralty to prepare more shore bombardment ships, using spare heavy guns. Since 13.5-inch and 15-inch guns had no available mountings, in the meantile, single twin 12-inch (305 mm) gun turrets were taken from decommissioned Majestic-class pre-dreadnoughts instead. They were ordered after the Abercrombie class was just started, keeping the same hull form and general design. But ehy were provided with extra quick-firing artillery for close defence, from destroyers and torpedo boats, mostly four six-inch guns and sole AA.
They also experienced many armament changes durent their career. They served both the in Channel and Mediterranean and all survived the war, being sold for BU from 1921 to 1927.
Lord clive in November 1918
They displaceed 6,150 tons, for a length of 335 ft (102 m), a beam of 87 ft (27 m), draught of 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m), and were propelled by 2 shafts with reciprocating steam engines fed by two boilers for 2,310 hp and 6.5 knots (12.0 km/h). Originally they were given two BL 12 inch Mk VIII in a single turret forward. A director atop a tripod was installed aft of it like the prvious vessels. Two QF 3-pounder guns were installed as auxiliary armament. Lord Clive and General Wolfe in fact were given a single BL 18 inch Mk I, in 1918, aft. This was planned but cancelled for Prince Eugene. The war ended sooner.
Their Armour Belt was 6 inch thick, the turret had the originalk faceted armour 10.5 inch thick for the frontal arc, and its barbette was 8 inch thick. Her main armour deck was 2 inch thick.
18 inches monitors: The beasts of WWI coastal bombardment
Lord clive in November 1918, showing her aft gun
HMS General Wolfe, Lord Clive and Prince Eugene were all at some point in 1918 to received the new freed BL 18-inch gun from HMS Furious, converted as an aircraft carrier. They still kept their main turret forward to maintain stability. The aft 18-in gun was in fact permanently arranged to fire over the starboard beam to ease construction. The custom mounting had two massive side girders parallel to the barrel and a support at the rear on which the gun could train in a limited way through an hydraulic cylinder providing 10° of traverse either side. Loading was at fixed angle at 10°, but it could fire from 22 to 45° elevation, ot horizontally, in order to better distribute forces on supports. The “turret” was a simple 0.5 in plating shield, fixed to the deck, in which the while mount traversed and elevated.
This behemoth installation meant rounds and charges went to the gunhouse on a light railway, fixed to the main deck, going to an elevator. Work was not completed for Prince Eugene. The original 12-inch turret. In action after this conversion, General Wolfe fired on a railway bridge at Snaeskerke, 6 km south of Ostend on 28 September 1918 at 36,000 yards, the largest hit by the Royal Navy vessel in hoistory to that point. Lord Clive fired just four rounds. Prince Eugene would have been given the forward gun of HMS Furious, Wolfe had the aft gun, and Clive, the only spare available.
HMS Lord Clive
She spent the war in the English Channel, bombarding German positions along the Belgian coast (Dover Patrol), as flagship. First Ostend Raid of 1918 and later fitted with a single 18-inch (457 mm) gun in 1918 but saw little action in October. After gunnery trials in the 1920s she was sold for scrap in 1927.
HMS General Craufurd
She spent the war in the English Channel, shelling the Belgian coast for the Dover Patrol. Took part in the 1st and 2nd Ostend Raids in 1918, shelling coastal artillery to block the Bruges–Ostend Canal. Also took part in coastal battles during the “100 days Offensive” until German evacuation by mid-October. Decommissioned after the war ended, reactivated in 1920 for gunnery training and sold for scrap in 1921.
HMS Earl of Peterborough
Although built in 1915 to engage German shore artillery in occupied Belgium she was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean and by 1916, shelled Turkish positions in the Dardanelles, and was called for many action later against Turkish units in Egypt, Palestine and Turkey. After the armistice she was placed in reserve pending scrapping and 1921 sold for BU.
HMS Sir Thomas Picton
She served after completion in November 1915 on the Eastern Mediterranean, shelling Turkish positions at the Dardanelles ans assist the Britush Army in Egypt, bombaridng Ottoman objectives in Palestine and Turkey. Placed in reserve in 1919, she was sold for BU in 1921.
HMS Prince Eugene
As completed on 2 September 1915, she conducted shore bombardments of Belgium with the Dover Patrol and covered the Inshore Squadron during the 1st Ostend Raid. Converted with a 18-in gun (December 1918-March 1918), she awaited delivery of her mount until November 1918 and cancellation. Decommissioned in early 1919 she was sold for scrap on 9 May 1921 at Thos. W. Ward’s Preston in 1923.
HMS Prince Rupert
HMS Prince Rupert 1915
Completed on September 1915, she engaged German shore artillery in occupied Belgium as part of the Dover patrol (Dover Monitor Squadron) striking objectives sometimes way inland after after the armistice of November 1918, placed in reserve and sold, then BU in 1923 after being briefly attached to the stone frigate HMS Pembroke at Chatham.
HMS Sir John Moore
Laid down on 13 January 1915 at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering NYD of Greenock, launched on 31 May, she was commissioned on 22 July and was par tof the Dover patrol, having the same combat records as the others. She was placed in reserved in November 1918, but shortly served as a tender for the gunnery school. She was sold for scrap on 8 November 1921, BU from 23 December 1922.
HMS General Wolfe
HMS General Wolfe 1916
Wolfe spent her carrer with the Dover Patrol, shelling the heavily fortified Belgian coastline until the spring of 1918 when she was taken in hand for being fitted with an 18-inch (457 mm) gun, making the longest-range firing in of the Royal Navy at 36,000-yard (20 mi) on Snaeskerke rail line in Belgium. Sold on 1920 and scrapped in 1923.
⚙ Lord Clive class specifications
|Dimensions||335 x 87 x 9 ft 7in (102 x 27 x 2.92m)|
|Displacement||6,150t – 8,000+t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines, 2 boilers, 2,000 hp|
|Speed||6-1/2 knots top speed|
|Armament||1×2 12-in/45, 2x 3pdr. See notes|
|Armour||Int. belt 6 in, barb. 8 in, turrets 10.5 in, decks 2 in|
Marshal Ney class monitors (1915)
HMS Marshal Soult, Marshal Ney
Marshal Ney underway 1915
Design of these was planned under the Director of Naval Construction, Eustace Tennyson d’Eyncourt, and his Assistant Constructor, Charles S. Lillicrap at a time 33 monitors were already ordered. At the time the planned battleships Renown and Repulse, two extra Queen Elisabth vessels, were converted as Battlecruisers, they freed two 15-in turrets (381 mm), now available for extra monitors at the suggestion of First Sea Lord Lord Fisher and Winston Churchill.
However as it happened, they were not ready at the time, and those intended for the battleship HMS Ramillies were used instead.
Initially they were called M 13 and M 14, but renamed after the French Napoleonic War marshals Nicolas Soult and Michel Ney, something quite unique in the annals of the Royal Navy. And at that they would have a fairly long career, spanning two wars, although in different roles.
Their machinery relied not ion steal engines, but this time on diesel engines, a novelty which eliminated the boiler rooms, allowing a lower draught, freeing space for extra, larger ammno, and giving them more range and flexibility. These engines were originally intended for emergency freighters, so they were now however not military grade, both weak and unreliable though.
The turret was mounted high on a multi-sided barbette easier to built than a traditional one. The eight single 4-inch (102 mm) guns along the sides ensures a good defence against TBs, completed by AA cover with a 3-inch (76 mm) gun. They were about 600 tonnes heavier than the previous vessels, but with a smaller crew, and were longer for the same beam, marginally improving their top speed to 9 knots as designed (they never pushed beyond 6). Ney was Built by Palmers, Newcastle, Launched in June 1915 and Completed in August. She diverged from her sister by having MAN diesels. From the same yard, but launched in August and completed in November, Soult had Vickers Diesels.
They were both more heavily armed and armored than previous vessels, the turrets being 13 in thick for example, but the barbettes still had 8-in plating (203 mm). The fact that they were only ones kept after the end of WWI was reflective of their modern main armament and new RN standards rather than other reasons. They were however so plagued by their diesels, never replaced, that they were almost considered as a failure as told by Reginal Bacon (Dover Patrol) after the war:
Reliability both in officer and a ship is the first thing that an Admiral values. The Marshal Ney, judged by this standard, was a hopeless sinner; but her officers and men made up for her deficiencies. Her engines not infrequently exploded when asked to start; her engine-room was scarred as if by shrapnel from the fragments of burst cylinder heads, and the escapes of the engine-room staff were miraculous. Her Chief Engineer, Mr. Swan, stuck to the engines like a Trojan and almost overcame their bad habits; and really, when talking to him, you were almost converted to the opinion that just one little alteration would make them start next time the ship was required. Added to this, when they did not burst, they usually would not start, and when once started no one liked to stop them for fear of not being able to start them again. But, without exaggeration, the more they burst and the worse they behaved, the more Mr. Swan loved them and the more cheery Captain [Hugh J.] Tweedie became.”
Shge served with the Dover Patrol as her sister, and after sea trials, went on to serve on the Belgian coast until her 15 inch turret was removed ands replaced on a new monitor at Elswick in January 1916. Its new mount allowing her a 30° elevation. This turret was shipped to Belfast and fitted to HMS Terror which joined the Dover Patrol with Erebus.
Instead, she was rearmed with a single 9.2 in (234 mm) gun, four 6 in (152 mm) from HMS Terrible. In another refit she saw her main gun removed and sent to the front in France. In addition she received six BL 6-inch Mk XI naval guns from the pre-dreanought HMS Hibernia. She became a moored guardship at The Downs after that, and saw combat actually: She indeed engaged German destroyers raiding Ramsgate in April 1917.
In 1919, Marshal Ney became a base ship at Queenborough, was disarmed and ended as a depot ship at Fort Blockhouse in 1920. She became HMS Vivid in July 1922, and later an accommodation ship for stokers in Devonport… until 1957, being renamed Drake in January 1934 and Alaunia II in 1947. She was sold for BU to Thos. W. Ward’s (Milford Haven) on 6 October.
HMS Marshal Soult performed many bombardment operations in Flanders, notably she took part in the First Ostend Raid in April 1918. In October she was reclassified as tender to the gunnery school HMS Excellent, in Portsmouth. Later she was moved in March 1919 at Devonport for the same. Stricken in March 1921 there were all chances that she would be sold for BU, but alas, she was recommissioned in 1924 and moved to Chatham in April 1926 as gunnery training ship, quite useful since she had the standard turret used by British BBs.
She held this role until March 1940, seeing her main turret removed, given to the new Roberts-class monitor HMS Roberts completed in 1941. From there, she served as a depot ship for trawlers, based in Portsmouth and was sold at last for BU on 10 July 1946.
⚙ Marshal Ney class specifications
|Dimensions||355 x 90 x 10 ft 5in (108 x 27 x 3.18m)|
|Displacement||6,670t – 6,900+t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft diesels, 1,500 hp|
|Speed||6 knots top speed|
|Armament||1×2 15-in/45, 8x 4-in, 2x 3-in AA, 2x 12 pdr.|
|Armour||Int. belt 6 in, barb. 8 in, turrets 13 in, decks 4 in|
Erebus class monitors (1916)
HMS Erebus, Terror
The Erebus class were a follow-up of previous designs, created with some insight and lessons learned with the previous 1915 monitors of the emergency program. They had a main battery of two 15-inch/42 Mk 1 guns in a single turret forward, and due to the scarcity of the latter, only two, HMS Erebus and Terror, were ordered. They were named after the two ships lost in the Franklin Expedition. Launched both in 1916 at Harland and Wolff, Govan, they saw service off the Belgian coast and after some reserve, also served in World War II.
These were larger vessels overall compared to the previous classes, flirting around 7,000 tonnes. The Erebus were rated at 8,000 tons standard and up to 8,450 tons fully loaded, for a length 405 ft (123 m), a beam 88 ft (27 m), draft 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m), so much larger than the previous Marshal Ney. Also, errors in powerplant were not repeated: They were fitted with commercial, reliable and proven reciprocating engines, which, coupled with 4 oil-fired boilers on two shaft, were rated at 6,000 hp (4,500 kW) for a top speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), twice as much as the Marshal class.
Their Complement was a bit larger at 204, but with interwar and WW2 additionons in armament, rose to 315, making them rather cramped vessels for such extension. Their 1916 armarment comprised the following: A stock twin turret 15-inch/42 Mk 1 from HMS Furious, plus two single 6-inch/40 (152 mm) QF Mk II guns for close defence against destroyers under masks either side, four single mount, unprotected 3-inch/50 (76 mm) anti-aircraft guns, inclusing two 12pdr 18cwt QF Mk I and a single 76/45 20cwt QF Mk I and four single 7.7 mm (0.3 in 87 caliber) Vickers AA MGs.
After their interwar refit, they were given eight single mount, shielded 4-inch (102 mm) BL Mk IX guns, they kept two single mount 3-inch AA guns, and obtained two quadruple .50-inch (12.7 mm) Vickers machine gun AA mounts. This AA armament was obsolete and again modified in WW2, with the 3-in and Vickers deleted and replaced by “pom-pom” AA guns and in 1944, 20 mm Oerlikon guns were added.
Protection wise, not much change, they had a belt and bulkheads 4 inch thick, 8 inch for the amin circular barbette, the turret itself being protected by 13 inch on the frontal arc, the deck still having a 4 inch plating, and the longitudinal anti-torpedo bulges being 9 ft (2.7 m) wide. The general design was classic, with a conning tower just in front of the barbette, a small command bridge behind on a tripod atop of which was placed the main spotting top. Behind was located the main funnel, larger than usual, and a small quartemaster structure aft and the radio room.
During their later interwar refit in August 1939, Erebus bridge was replaced by solid structure, but the tripod was kept received a new telemeter and fire control system installed, plus revision of AA. She had twi 12-pdr AA guns, two 3 in (76 mm) AA guns and two 2-pdr AA guns plus a single quad .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers MG. In 1945 she had six 102/45 HA Mk III, two 76/45 Mk IV AA, three quad 40mm/39 Mk VII and a single 40mm/39 Mk VIII pompom and fifteen 20mm/70 Mk III, plus a type 276, a type 279B radar and two type 282, plus two type 285 FC radars
Main guns (painting)
Erebus shelled the Belgian ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge. On 28 October 1917, she was damaged by a remote controlled German FL-boat, having 50 ft (15 m) of anti-torpedo bulge destroyed. In 1919, she operated in the White Sea and in the Baltic Sea in support of the White Russians. In 1921, she made gunnery trials against the war prize SMS Baden. She served as a gunnery training ship between and was refitted on August 1939, becoming guardship at Cape Town, south africa. However when the war broke out she was retained to defend the channel instead.
She served with the Eastern Fleet and Mediterranean Fleet, notably running supplies to besieged Tobruk while bombard enemy positions. She was in Trincomalee during the Japanese raid, having a near-miss hit. In 1943, she was damaged when supporting Operation Husky, the landing on Sicily. She was also there at D-Day, covering the Landings and silencing the German batteries at Barfleur and La Pernelle. She had a premature explosion in the bore of one 15-in shell which had her retired and her barrel replaced to return for coastal support.
On 10 August 1944, she silenced batteries of Le Havre but was damaged by the battery at Clos des Ronces and repaired again. In November 1944, she supported “Operation Infatuate”, the assault on Walcheren in the Netherlands. After the war, she was placed in reserve until July 1946, when stricken and BU later.
HMS Terror in 1918, IWM
From the summer of 1916 when she was commissioned, Terro was assigned to the Dover Patrol, shelling various targets off occupied Belgium, notablyZeebrugge and Ostend. In October 1917 she was attacked by German fast boats and hit by three torpedoes, having her bow pierced bulkheads demolished. She was towed into Portsmouth and repaired, being back in April 1918 for the Zeebrugge raid and latter supporting the Fifth Battle of Ypres in September.
After the war she was attached to the HMS Excellent gunnery school in Portsmouth. In January 1934 she was a base ship at Sembawang Naval Base, Singapore. From May 1939, she underwent an extensive refit in Singapore and was ordered back to Europe by January 1940. She took part in the battle of malta, defending the island against axis air raids and then supporting a landing in North Africa by late 1940. In January 1941 she supported the assault on Bardia and Tobruk and defended Benghazi. After air attacks and mines damaged (22-23 February 1941), judged irrecuperable, she was scuttled off the coast of Libya on the 24th, her crew were evacuated. Note: These monitor class will be covered in the future by a dedicated post in the WW2 section.
⚙ Erebus class specifications
|Dimensions||405 x 88 x 11 ft (123 x 27 x 3,56 m)|
|Displacement||8,000t – 8,450t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines, 4 boilers, 6.000 hp (4,500 Kw)|
|Speed||12 knots top speed (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Armament||2x 15-in, 2x 6-in, 4x 3-in AA|
|Armour||Belt, bulkheads, deck 4 in, Barbette: 8 in, Turret 13 in|
The coastal British Monitors (1915)
M17 Firing, note the camouflage
However this idea of riverine vessels inspired a kind of intermediate type more suitable for coastal operations: This resulted in two classes as per the Emergency War Programme, in 1915, built in record time. Unlike the laegr fleet monitors they were armed with armoured cruiser’s turret guns (M15) or battleships secondary guns (M29) and tested various propulsion. They served both the Channel and Mediterranean. The serie srtad with M15 because all previous monitors had been numbered M1-M14 before being renamed.
M15 class monitors
M15 to M28, built. in 3 months
Ships of this class were ordered in March 1915, as part of the Emergency War Programme (ship construction) and designed to use the 9.2 inch Mk VI gun turrets removed from the Edgar class cruisers and spare Mk X turrets for the Drake and Cressy-class armored cruisers. The first four were built by William Gray & Company of Hartlepool with Mk X mounting and the remaining ten by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co. of Middlesbrough with Mk VI mountings.
From September 1915, 9.2 inch guns on HMS M24, M25, M26 and M27 were sent as field artillery and replaced by 7.5-inch guns while M24 and M25 received spare guns for the lost HMS Triumph, M26 from Swiftsure’s spare guns and M27 had surplus 6-inch guns. M21 and M23 also had their 9.2-inch gun removed, but in 1917 having instead 7.5-inch guns from decommissioned HMS Swiftsure.
Propulsion design varied, as M21 and M22 received triple-expansion steam engines but M24 tested a four-cylinder paraffin engine and the remainder Bolinder 4-cylinder semi-diesel engines. This was in part to test them for possible future production.
The M15 class in action
Admiral Reginald Bacon, former commander of the Dover Patrol, stated in 1919 that his experience with these was mostly positive but noted their tendency to roll and about M25 noticed “…while in the mouth of the Thames at anchor, (M25) rolled 180° in ten seconds, making two complete rolls of 45° each way for five seconds each.”. In general their career was fairly short, spanning until 1920 only before being sold. They only had use in war. Guns were resold as the hulls to various shipbreakers. A few were lost in action though:
- M15 was sunk by UC-38 on 11 November 1917.
- M21 hit a mine on 20 October 1918.
- M25 was scuttled 16 September 1919 in Kronstadt.
- M27 was scuttled also, same day, same place
- M28 was sunk during the Battle of Imbros, 20 January 1918
Amazingly some managed to survive mych longer: M22 was kept for testing, renamed Medea in 1925 and was sold in December 1938. M23 was renamed Claverhouse in 1922 and was sold in 1959.
⚙ M15 class specifications
|Dimensions||117 x 31 x 7 ft (54 x 9.4 x 2,06 m)|
|Displacement||540 tons FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines (see notes), 640 hp|
|Speed||11 knots top speed (20 km/h; 13 mph)|
|Armament||1 × BL 9.2-inch, 1× 12-pdr, 1x 6-pdr QF|
M29 class monitors
M29 to M33, built. in 3 months
The M29 class comprised five monitors all built and launched during 1915. They were ordered in March 1915, as part of the Emergency War ship construction Programme and entrusted to Harland & Wolff of Belfast, sub-contracting the construction of M32 and M33 to Workman, Clark and Company, also in Ireland. Main armament consisted in two 6-inch Mk XII guns fore and aft under shields, intended originally for the five Queen Elizabeth-class, later surplus as their aft casemate were eliminated. So these were recent, high performance guns.
A painting of M31.
-M29 took part the Battle of Jaffa in 1917 and operations in the White Sea during the Russian Civil War in 1919. From 1925 she was a minelayer as HMS Medusa, and from 1941 the depot ship Talbot, then HMS Medway II, sold in 1946. But she was not broken up. Instead she was acquired by a Greek shipowner, converted as a cargo, the Gerogeorgakis, used for smuggling, and was seized off Cavallo Island in 1971, resold and BU in 1974…
-M30 enforced the Allied blockade in the Gulf of Smyrna, but she was targeted by a coastal Austro-Hungarian howitzer battery and sunk, on 14 May 1916.
-M31 in 1916 defended Yanbo in Saudi Arabia, against the Ottoman army, her fire directed Arab rebels’s led by Major Lawrence. In May-September 1919 she supprted White Russians in the White Sea. From September 1923, she was converted as a minelayer (with 52 mines), renamed HMS Melpomene and assigned later to HMS Defiance, Torpedo School Devonport. In September 1939 she became a torpedo training vessel with a single 21 in tube on the forecastle, became HMS Menelaus in 1941, and was sold in 1948.
-M32 took part in the the Battle of Jaffa. From March 1919 she was sent home and from May to September, supported the White Russians in the White Sea. Back home she was sold on 29 January 1920, and became the oil tanker Ampat (fate unknown).
M33 as preserved today in Portsmouth, with her Mediterranean 1915 dazzle camo.
-M33 was the last British WWI coastal monitor, and she was sent in the Mediterranean under command of Lieutenant Commander Preston-Thomas, covering the landings at Suvla Bay (Gallipoli) in August 1915. She supported other operations until the evacuation of January 1916. She also took part in the seizure of the Greek fleet at Salamis Bay, 1st September 1916.
M33 also was sent with M23, M25, M27, M31 plus HMS Humber to Murmansk in 1919, relieving the North Russian Expeditionary Force. In June, she was in Archangel and went up the Dvina River, covering the withdrawal of British and White Russian forces. But mater she ws slmost straned and her guns were removed, transported by cart. M25 and M27 were scuttled on 16 September 1919, but she returned to Chatham in October 1919.
In 1925 she became a mine-laying training ship, HMS Minerva (3 February 1925) and later became a fuelling hulk, a boom defence workshop as Hulk C23. She saw WW2 and in 1946 became a floating office, at the Royal Clarence Victualling Yardn Gosport.
Sold in 1984, she was acquired by the Hampshire County Council and listed in the National Historic Fleet to be reserved at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, close to HMS Victory. She opened on 7 August 2015, onbly great war veteran with HMS Caroline and President.
⚙ M29 class specifications
|Dimensions||170 x 31 x 7 feets (52 x 9.4 x 2.06 m)|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines, 2 Yarrow boilers, 400 hp|
|Speed||10 knots top speed (19 kph)|
|Armament||2x BL 6-in Mk XII, 1x 6-pdr, 1x 3-in AA|
|Armour||1–3 in magazine, 2.25 in belt, 1 in deck, turrets, bulkheads|
HMS Roberts in WW2. She was rearmed with Marshal Soult’s turret.
Roberts, completed in 1941, and Abercrombie, completed in 1943 were two largely similar modern monitors built for shore bombardment, in the planning of future landings. They still had the same armament as the Marshal Ney class, plus four twin 4-in AA and an octuple and two quadruple “pom pom” AA guns and tenwty 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns.
HMS Erebus in WW2, rearmed either with Furious or Marshall Ney’s turret.
They had about the same plans but were heavier and larger. Abercrombie in fact was even close to 10,000 tonnes at 9,717 tons (Full load). The first took part in Operation Torch in North Africa, the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Salerno landings, D-Day and the landing at Westkapelle on the Netherlands. She was an accomodation sgip after the war until 1965.
Her sister ship HMS Abercrombie supported the invasion of Italy, and was to servd on the Pacific after being repaired (mine damaged), but the war ended as she arrived and she went on a career as gunnery training and accommodation ship at Chatham until 1955.
The very idea of a monitor, for it’s usual tasks, was no longer relevant after 1955 with the missile age. However they will resurface at the occasion of the Vietnam War, for riverine warfare. In that guise, river monitors (their very origin by the way) were still in use during the cold war, notably on the Dvina and Danube especially. They could resurface for any conflict which involved extensive riverine operations in hostile territory, whatever their armament.
Gray, Randal (ed), Gardiner, Robert. Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1860–1905
Bacon, Reginald (1919). The Dover Patrol 1915-1917. (2 vols.). George H. Doran Co
Buxton, Ian (2008) . Big Gun Monitors: Design, Construction and Operations 1914–1945. Seaforth Publishing.
Crossley, Jim (2013). Monitors of the Royal Navy; How the Fleet Brought the Great Guns to Bear. Pen & Sword.
Dittmar, F. J. & Colledge, J. J., “British Warships 1914-1919”, (Ian Allan, London, 1972)
Dunn, Steve R (2017). Securing the Narrow Sea: The Dover Patrol 1914–1918. Seaforth Publishing.
Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One: Guns, Torpedoes, Mines and ASW Weapons of All Nations. Seaforth Publishing
Parkes, Oscar; Prendergast, Maurice, eds. (1969). Jane’s Fighting Ships 1919.