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Abercrombie Class Monitors

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    Posted: 14 Feb 2011 at 18:05

Abercrombie class monitor

HMS Abercrombie July 1915 right broadside AWM G01083.jpeg
The starboard profile of HMS Abercrombie off Gallipoli in July 1915.
Class overview
Name: Abercrombie
Operators:  Royal Navy
Completed: Four
Lost: One
General characteristics
Type: Monitor
Displacement: 6,150 long tons (6,250 t)
Length: 320 ft (98 m)
Beam: 90 ft (27 m)
Draught: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Installed power: 2,000 ihp (1,500 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × vertical triple expansion reciprocating engines,
2 × boilers,
2 × screws
Speed: 7 kn (8.1 mph; 13 km/h)
Complement: 198

2 × 14 in (360 mm)/45 cal guns
2 × 6 in (150 mm) guns

2 × 12-pounder (3 in (76 mm)) guns
Aircraft carried: 1 × seaplane (designed but seldom carried)

The Abercrombie class of monitors served in the Royal Navy during the First World War.


The 14-inch (356 mm) gun turret of an Abercrombie-class monitor during World War I. It mounted two 14-inch (356 mm) Mark II guns.

The four ships in this class came about when the contracted supplier of the main armament for the Greek battleship Salamis being built in Germany was unable to supply due to the British blockade. The company — Bethlehem Steel in the United States — instead offered to sell the 14 in (360 mm) twin gun turrets to the Royal Navy. To use them, a monitor hull was quickly designed and built, and the ships were laid down and launched within six months. The rushed design resulted in a very poor speed. The single main gun turret was forward of a tripod mast, which was itself in front of a single funnel.

During the planning and build, they were to be the Styx-class named after four American figures; General Ulysses S. Grant, General Robert E. Lee, Admiral David Farragut and General Stonewall Jackson. Because the United States was still a neutral power at that time, using these names would have been undiplomatic and so they were simply called M1 through M4 before receiving their final names.

The design included a seaplane for spotting the guns, but it was found that land-based aircraft were more effective; as monitors, they would never operate in the open sea, and storing the seaplane on top of the turret meant it had to be removed to avoid damage, even if not required before the guns could fire.


Ship Namesake Builders Launched Fate
M1 (Abercrombie) James Abercrombie Harland and Wolff, Belfast 15 April 1915 paid off after the Armistice and sold for scrap to TW Ward of Inverkeithing in 1927.
M2 (Havelock) Henry Havelock Harland and Wolff, Belfast 29 April 1915 sold in 1927 for Breaking up
M3 (Raglan) FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan Harland and Wolff, Govan, 29 April 1915 sunk off Imbros in January 1918, by Goeben and Breslau
M4 (Roberts) Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts Swan Hunter, Wallsend, 15 April 1915 used as a static drillship after the First World War, Scrapped in 1936

See also


  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1922
  • Buxton, Ian, Big Gun Monitors, 2nd Edition , Seaforth Publishing, 2008

Edited by Mal Murray - 14 Feb 2011 at 18:06
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