HMS Goliath (1898)

HMS Goliath (1898)

HMS "Goliath" was one of the six "Canopus"-class battleships built by the Royal Navy in the late 19th century

Technical Characteristics

HMS "Goliath" was laid down at Chatham Dockyard on 4 January 1897 and was launched on 23 March 1898. She was commissioned in March 1900. [Burt, p. 141]

"Goliath" and her five sister ships were designed for service in the Far East, where the new rising power Japan was beginning to build a powerful and dangerous navy, and to able to transit the Suez Canal. They were designed to be smaller (by about 2,000 tons), lighter, and faster than their predecessors, the "Majestic"-class battleships, although they were slightly longer at 430 feet (131 meters). In order to save weight, "Goliath" carried less armor than the "Majestic"s, although the change from Harvey armor in the "Majestic"s to Krupp armor in "Goliath" meant that the loss in protection was not as great as it might have been, Krupp armor having greater protective value at a given weight than its Harvey equivalent. Still, "Goliath's" armor was light enough to make her almost a second-class battleship. Part of her armor scheme included the use of a special 1-inch (2.54 mm) armored deck over the belt to defend against plunging fire by howitzers that France reportedly planned to install on its ships, although this report proved to be false. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 35]

"Goliath" had four 12-inch (305-mm) 35-caliber guns mounted in twin turrets fore and aft; these guns were mounted in circular barbettes that allowed all-around loading, although at a fixed elevation. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 35] She also mounted twelve 6-inch (152-mm) 40-caliber guns (sponson mounting allowing some of them to fire fore and aft) in addition to smaller guns, and four 18-inch (457-mm) submerged torpedo tubes. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 35, 36; Gibbons, p. 145]

"Goliath" and her sisters were the first British battleships with water-tube boilers, which generated more power at less expense in weight compared with the cylindrical boilers used in previous ships. The new boilers led to the adoption of fore-and-aft funnels, rather than the side-by-side funnel arrangement used in may previous British battleships. The "Canopus"-class ships proved to be good steamers, consuming 10 tons of coal per hour at full speed, [Gibbons, p. 145] with a high speed for battleships of their time, a full two knots faster than the "Majestic"s. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 35; Gibbons, p. 145]

Operational History

HMS "Goliath" commissioned on 27 March 1900 to serve on the China Station, where she underwent a refit at Hong Kong from September 1901 to April 1902. She left the China Station in July 1903 and returned home, where she paid off into the commissioned Reserve at Chatham Dockyard on 9 October 1903. [Burt, p. 158]

While in reserve, "Goliath" underwent a refit at Palmers on the Tyne between January and June 1904, then participated in maneuvers later in the year. [Burt, p. 158]

On 9 May 1905, "Goliath" returned to full commission at Chatham to relieve her sister ship HMS "Ocean" on the China Station. However, the United Kingdom and Japan ratified a treaty of alliance while she was on her outbound voyage, allowing the Royal Navy to reduce its presence on the China Station and recall all battleships from those waters; when "Goliath" reached Colombo, Ceylon, in June 1905, she was recalled, and was instead attached to the Mediterranean Fleet. In January 1906 she was transferred to the Channel Fleet. [Burt, p. 158]

, and underwent a machinery overhaul ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8] there between August 1907 and February 1908. [Burt, p. 158]

Upon completion of her refit, "Goliath" commissioned on 4 February 1908 for Mediterranean Fleet service. During her oyage to Malta, one of her propeller shafts fractured, and she required four-month repair ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8] period before she could begin her service. On 20 April 1909, she paid off at Portsmouth. [Burt, p. 158]

On 22 April 1909, "Goliath" recommissioned to serve in the 4th Division, Home Fleet, at the Nore. During this service, she was refitted at Chatham in 1910-1911 [Burt, p. 158] and was sent to Sheerness. In 1913, she was mothballed and joined the 3rd Fleet, ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8] also known as the Pembroke Reserve, at Pembroke Dock in Wales.

When World War I broke out in August 1914, "Goliath" returned to full commission and was assigned to the 8th Battle Squadron, Channel Fleet, operating out of Devonport. She was sent to Loch Ewe as guard ship to defend the Grand Fleet anchorage, ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8] and then covered the landing of the Plymouth Marine Battalion at Ostend, Belgium, on 25 August 1914. [Burt, p. 158; "Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8]

"Goliath" transferred to the East Indies Station on 20 September 1914 to support cruisers on convoy duty in the Middle East, escorting an Indian convoy to the Persian Gulf and German East Africa until October 1914. She then took part in the blockade of the German light cruiser "Königsberg" in the Rufiji River until November 1914, [Burt, p. 158] during which crew member Commander Henry Peel Ritchie won the Victoria Cross. She bombarded Dar es Salaam on 28 November and 30 November 1914. [Burt, p. 158]

"Goliath" underwent a refit at Simonstown, South Africa, from December 1914 to February 1915. When it was completed, she went back into service at flagship for Vice Admiral King Hall and resumed operations against "Königsberg" at the Rufiji River until March 1915. [Burt, p. 158]

On 25 March 1915, "Goliath" was ordered to the Dardanelles to participate in the campaign there. She transferred her flag to second-class cruiser HMS "Hyacinth" and departed for the Dardanelles on 1 April 1915. [Burt, p. 158]

Commanded by Captain Thomas Lawrie Shelford, "Goliath" was part of the Allied fleet supporting the landing at X Beach [Burt, p. 158, says it was Y Beach] during the landing at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915, sustaining some damage from the gunfire of Ottoman Turkish forts and shore batteries, and supported Allied troops ashore during the First Battle of Krithia that day. She covered the evacuation on 26 April 1915. She was damaged by Turkish guns again on 2 May 1915. [Burt, p. 158]

On the night of 12-13 May May 1915 "Goliath" was anchored in Morto Bay off Cape Helles, along with HMS "Cornwallis" and a screen of five destroyers, in foggy conditions. Around 0100 hours on 13 May 1915, the Turkish torpedo boat "Muavenet-i Milliye", which was manned by a combined German and Turkish crew, eluded the destroyers HMS "Beagle" and HMS "Bulldog" and closed on the battleships. "Muavenet-i Milliye" fired two torpedoes which struck "Goliath" almost simultaneously abreast her fore turret and abeam the fore funnel, causing a massive explosion. "Goliath" began to capsize almost immediately, and was lying on her beam ends when a third torpedo struck near her after turret. [Burt, p. 158-159] She then rolled over completely and began to sink by the bows, taking 570 of the 700-strong crew to the bottom, [Burt, p. 158-159] including Captain Shelford.

Although sighted and fired on after the first torpedo hit, "Muavenet-i Milliye" escaped unscathed. [Burt, p. 159] For sinking "Goliath", the German captain of "Muavenet-i Milliye", "Kapitänleutnant" Rudolph Firle, was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class as well as Austro-Hungarian and Turkish decorations.



*Burt, R. A. "British Battleships 1889-1904". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0870210610.
*Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds. "Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905". New York: Mayflower Books, Inc., 1979. ISBN 0831703024.
*Gibbons, Tony. "The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers: A Technical Directory of All the World's Capital Ships From 1860 to the Present Day". London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983.
*Gray, Randal, Ed. "Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921." Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0870219073.

External links

* [ Maritimequest HMS Goliath Photo Gallery]

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