Ministry of Defence
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Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

H.M.S. CRESSY

HMS Cressy

HMS CRESSY was a Cressy Class Armoured Cruiser built to defend merchant shipping against raids by French cruisers and to operate with the battle fleet and were all sheathed for tropical service. She was built at Fairfield, Govan, laid down October 1898, completed May 1901. Length 440 feet pp 472 feet overall, beam 69 feet 6 inches, draught 26 feet, displacement 12,000 tons load. Rough cost £800,000. The introduction of Krupp armour enabled this class to re-introduce side armour in the British cruisers, making them the first modern Armoured Cruisers in the British navy. The class also were the first British ships to use wood that had been treated to be fire proof. Crew 760. She was initially part of the 7th Cruiser Squadron North Sea as part of Cruiser Force C, in the area of the North Sea known as the Broad Fourteens (HMS Eurylus, HMS Aboukir and HMS Hogue were the other three cruisers). On 28th August 1914 she was part of the covering force at the Battle of Heligoland Bight.

HMS Eurylus had technical problems and returned to port. Early on September 22nd 1914 the German submarine U9 under the command of Commander Otto Weddigen sighted the Cressy, Aboukir and Hogue steaming NNE at 10 knots without zigzagging. Although the patrols were supposed to maintain 12-13 knots and zigzag the old cruisers were unable to maintain that speed and the zigzagging order was widely ignored as there had been no submarines sighted in the area during the war. HMS Aboukir was hit by a torpedo first and rolled over within half an hour of the attack. HMS Hogue was picking up survivors when she was hit by two torpedoes, sinking within 10 minutes. HMS Cressy had stopped to pick up survivors, but got underway, before she was hit by a torpedo and damaged. Shortly afterwards, a second torpedo hit her and she sank within 15 minutes. 837 men were rescued but 1459 men were killed in total

Last updated 15 August, 2008

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