Military Wiki

Coordinates: 55°17′53″N 6°12′25″W / 55.298°N 6.207°W / 55.298; -6.207

HMS Drake (1901)
HMS Drake.jpg
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Drake
Builder: Pembroke Dock
Cost: approx. £800 000
Laid down: 24 April 1899
Launched: 5 March 1901
Christened: Mrs. Lort Phillips
Fate: Sunk by U-79, 2 October 1917
General characteristics
Class & type: Drake-class armoured cruiser
Displacement: 14,100 long tons (14,300 t)
Length: 533 ft 6 in (162.61 m)
Beam: 71.3 ft (21.7 m)
Draught: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Installed power: 30,000 ihp (22,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × 4-cylinder triple expansion steam engines
43 × Belleville boilers
2 × screws
Speed: 23 kn (26 mph; 43 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (8,100 mi; 13,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)
Complement: 900

2 × BL 9.2-inch (233.7 mm) guns
16 × BL 6-inch (152.4 mm) Mk VII guns

14 × 12-pounder (76-mm) guns

HMS Drake was a 14,100 long tons (14,300 t) armoured cruiser of the Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class.

Operational history

HMS Drake was laid down at Pembroke Dock 24 April 1899,[1] and launched on 5 March 1901, when she was christened by Mrs. Lort Phillips, wife of landowner F. Lort Phillips, of Lawrenny.[2]

John Jellicoe, future First Sea Lord and commander at Jutland captained Drake in 1903-1904.[3] Another notable figure who served aboard Drake was Humphrey T. Walwyn, a future Vice Admiral of the Royal Indian Navy, who served aboard her as a Gunnery Lieutenant. At the time of her sinking, the Drake was commanded by Captain Stephen Herbert Radcliffe.[4]

Drake served in the First World War and was torpedoed by the German submarine U-79, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Rohrbeck on 2 October 1917 in Rathlin Sound. Eighteen men, all serving in Boiler Room No. 2 were killed. Her wreck in Church Bay, Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland is a favourite site for divers. The ship was used to ferry gold to the US during the war. Gold to the worth of 39 million dollars was shipped aboard at night October 1914, 30 miles off the coast of Archangels. The shipment was due as a guarantee from Russia in order to get loans for the war effort.

In the 1990s the Royal Navy destroyed the wreck due to its unstable ammunition, and location near to Rathlin harbour being considered a hazard.


  1. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 5 March 1901. 
  2. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 6 March 1901. 
  3. Pembroke Dock Community Website: History Section
  4. Wilson, Ian (2011) HMS Drake. Rathlin Island Shipwreck. Rathlin Island: Rathlin Island Books. ISBN 978-0-9568942-0-5

External links

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