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HMS Anson (1886)
HMS Anson circa 1897
Name: HMS Anson
Namesake: Admiral George Anson
Builder: Pembroke Dockyard
Launched: 17 February 1886
Completed: May 1889
Fate: Broken up, 1909
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Admiral-class battleship
Displacement: 10,600 long tons (10,800 t)
Length: 330 ft (100 m) p.p.
Beam: 68 ft 6 in (20.88 m)
Draught: 27 ft 10 in (8.48 m)
Installed power: 7,500 ihp (5,600 kW) (normal)
11,500 ihp (8,600 kW) (forced darught)
Propulsion: 2 × Humphreys compound inverted steam engines
2 × screws
Speed: 15.7 kn (18.1 mph; 29.1 km/h) (normal)
17.4 kn (20.0 mph; 32.2 km/h) (forced draught)
Complement: 530

4 × BL 13.5 in (340 mm) guns
6 × BL 6 in (150 mm) guns

12 × 6-pounder guns
5 × above-water torpedo tubes
  • Belt: 8–18 in (20–46 cm)
  • Bulkheads: 7–16 in (18–41 cm)
  • Barbettes: 12–14 in (30–36 cm)
  • Conning Tower: 2–12 in (5.1–30.5 cm)
  • Battery Screens: 6 in (15 cm)
  • Deck: 3 in (7.6 cm) (upper); 2.5 ft 8 in (0.97 m) (lower)

HMS Anson was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy, and was the last member of the Admiral-class to be laid down.

In common with Rodney, Howe, Camperdown and Benbow, she was a progressive development of the design of Collingwood and was an exact sister ship of Camperdown.


She was armed with 13.5 in (340 mm) guns, which was a significant advance on earlier ships; this gun was chosen because it was of virtually the same weight and power as the guns which the French naval architects were shipping in their Formidable and Amiral Baudin. It was a much more powerful weapon than the 12 in (300 mm) gun mounted in Collingwood and in some earlier ships, and would in theory penetrate the thickest armour carried on any warship then afloat. Tests indicated that a charge of 630 lb (290 kg) of gunpowder or 187 lb (85 kg) of cordite would fire a 1,250 lb (570 kg) shell through an iron plate 27 in (69 cm) thick at a range of 1,000 yd (910 m). Because of delays in the manufacture of these weapons the completion of Anson, and of all of her sisters, was vastly prolonged. Delays spanned six or seven years between laying-down and commissioning.


In Anson and Camperdown, the thickness of the armour plate on the barbettes was increased, as compared to Howe and Rodney, as was the length of the armour belt. To accommodate these changes without an increase in displacement, these later two ships were lengthened by 5 ft (1.5 m), and had their beam increased by 6 in (15 cm) over their earlier sisters.


Anson arrived at Portsmouth from the builder's yard in Pembroke in March 1887, and lay at anchor for two years, slowly completing for sea while waiting for her guns to be manufactured. She finally commissioned on 28 May 1889 as flagship of the Rear-Admiral, Channel Fleet. On 17 March 1891 passenger steamer SS Utopia accidentally collided with stationary Anson in the Bay of Gibraltar. 562 of Utopia's passengers and crew and two rescuers from HMS Immortalité were killed in the accident.[2] Anson did not report any injuries or damage.

In September 1893, Anson was transferred to the Mediterranean, where she served until January 1900, with a refit at Malta in 1896. She returned home and paid off at Devonport in January 1901, re-commissioning for the newly-formed Home Fleet in March of the same year. In May 1904, Anson finally paid off into reserve, where she remained until sold on 13 July 1909.


  1. Chesneau, Koleśnik & Campbell 1979, p. 29.
  2. The Dead of the Utopia. The New York Times, 20 March 1891.


  • Oscar Parkes, British Battleships ISBN 0-85052-604-3
  • Chesneau, Roger; Koleśnik, Eugène M.; Campbell, N.J.M. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 

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