HMS Isis (1896)

HMS Isis was an Eclipse-class protected cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1890s.

Sister ship Venus at anchor during World War I
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Isis
Namesake: Isis
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering, Govan
Laid down: 30 January 1895
Launched: 27 June 1896
Completed: 10 May 1898
Fate: Sold for scrap, 26 February 1920
General characteristics
Class and type: Eclipse-class protected cruiser
Displacement: 5,600 long tons (5,690 t)
Length: 350 ft (106.7 m)
Beam: 53 ft 6 in (16.3 m)
Draught: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 Inverted triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph)
Complement: 450

Technical details

Eclipse-class second-class protected cruisers were preceded by the shorter Astraea-class cruisers. Isis had a displacement of 5,600 long tons (5,700 t; 6,300 short tons) when at normal load. It had a total length of 373 ft (114 m), a beam of 53 ft 6 in (16.31 m), a metacentric height of around 3 m (9 ft 10 in), and a draught of 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m).[1] It was powered by two inverted triple-expansion steam engines which used steam from eight cylindrical boilers. Using normal draught, the boilers were intended to provide the engines with enough steam to generate 8,000 indicated horsepower (6,000 kW) and to reach a speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph); using forced draft, the equivalent figures were 9,600 indicated horsepower (7,200 kW) and a speed of 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph). Eclipse-class cruisers carried a maximum of 1,075 long tons (1,092 t) of coal and achieved maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) in sea trials.[2]

It carried five 40-calibre 6-inch (152 mm) quick-firing (QF) guns in single mounts protected by gun shields. One gun was mounted on the forecastle, two on the quarterdeck and one pair was abreast the bridge.[3] They fired 100-pound (45 kg) shells at a muzzle velocity of 2,205 ft/s (672 m/s).[4] The secondary armament consisted of six 40-calibre 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns; three on each broadside. Their 45-pound (20.4 kg) shells were fired at a muzzle velocity of 2,125 ft/s (648 m/s).[5] It was fitted with three 18-inch torpedo tubes, one submerged tube on each broadside and one above water in the stern.[6] Its ammunition supply consisted of 200 six-inch rounds per gun, 250 shells for each 4.7-inch gun, 300 rounds per gun for the 76 mm (3.0 in)s and 500 for each three-pounder. Isis had ten torpedoes, presumably four for each broadside tube and two for the stern tube.[7]

Service history

Isis deployed to the Mediterranean in 1898 for service in the Mediterranean Fleet. She participated between September and December 1898 in the operations at Crete of the International Squadron, a multinational force made up initially of ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, French Navy, Imperial German Navy, Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina), Imperial Russian Navy, and Royal Navy that intervened between February 1897 and December 1898 in the 1897-1898 Greek Christian uprising against the Ottoman Empire′s rule on the island. By the time Isis joined the squadron, Austria-Hungary and the German Empire had withdrawn from the squadron, but the other four countries remained active in it. In the wake of a violent riot by Cretan Turks against British soldiers, sailors, and Christian civilians in Candia on 6 September 1898, Isis anchored in the harbor and men convicted of murdering British subjects during the riot were held aboard her while awaiting trial and execution. They were hanged in Candia during October and November 1898.[8][9][10][11][12]

Isis was still in service with the Mediterranean Fleet when Captain George Morris Henderson took command in early 1900. Captain Charles Windham was appointed in command on 28 December 1900,[13] as she served on the China Station, and remained with the ship until January 1902. In late October 1901 she left Hong Kong homebound,[14] arriving at Spithead in December.[15] She paid off at Chatham on 18 January 1902 and was placed in the Fleet Reserve as emergency ship.[16] In May 1902, she was briefly tender to HMS Britannia, cadet training ship at Dartmouth.[17] Following a refit with new steam and gunnery trials, Captain Godfrey H. B. Mundy was appointed in command on 19 September 1902,[18] when she was recommissioned as tender to the Britannia.[19] In early October she left Plymouth for Gibraltar with cadets from the Britannia, following which she went to Las Palmas, cruising in the vicinity of the Canary Islands until she returned to Plymouth via Madeira in late November.[20]

On 22 April 1914, she collided with the British cargo ship Carbineer in the English Channel, sinking Carbineer 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) south-southeast of the Owers Lightship; Isis rescued Carbineer′s crew.[21]

In August 1914 with the outbreak of war, Isis was brought out of the reserve and attached to the 11th Cruiser Squadron based on Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland. She was later transferred to the North American and West Indies Station, and was scrapped in 1920.


  1. McBride, pp. 138–39
  2. McBride, pp. 137–39
  3. McBride, p. 137
  4. Friedman, pp. 87–88
  5. Friedman, p. 92
  6. Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 78
  7. McBride, p. 139
  8. Clowes, pp. 447-448.
  9. McTiernan, pp. 32, 34, 42.
  10. The British in Crete, 1896 to 1913: British Justice
  11. The British in Crete, 1896 to 1913: Iraklion, 25th August Street…then and now
  12. The British in Crete, 1896 to 1913: Candia Water
  13. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36344). London. 5 January 1901. p. 8.
  14. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36600). London. 31 October 1901. p. 11.
  15. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36641). London. 18 December 1901. p. 6.
  16. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36669). London. 20 January 1902. p. 6.
  17. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36771). London. 19 May 1902. p. 8.
  18. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36848). London. 16 August 1902. p. 4.
  19. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36877). London. 19 September 1902. p. 8.
  20. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36893). London. 8 October 1902. p. 4.
  21. "Cruiser in collision". The Times (40505). London. 23 April 1914. col C, p. 10.


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