Postcard of HMS Triumph

HMS Triumph, and her sister ship HMS Swiftsure were oddities in the Royal Navy. They were laid down for the Chillean government in 1902 by Armstrongs but were purchased by the Admiralty to help prevent a South American arms race. Despite serving the Royal Navy for many years, they always retained a certain ‘foreign look’, as seen in this postcard of HMS Triumph:

The ship had small round funnels, short masts and a pair of distinctive curved cranes amidships:

Triumph displaced 13,640 tons and had twelve yarrow boilers powering two sets of vertical triple expansion engines. She was armed with four ten inch Mk VIII guns in two twin turrets:

Her secondary armament was fourteen 7.5 inch guns along the waistline:

The ships were the last vessels in the Royal Navy to have scroll work on the bow:

These vessels were always oddities and needed special ammunition ordered for their guns which did not match any others in the Royal Navy. Despite this Triumph remained in service into the First World War when she was sent to the Dardanelles with other pre-Dreadnoughts to support the Gallipoli campaign. It was here, on 25th May 1915 that Triumph was torpedoed by U21. The torpedo hit the ship amidships on the starboard side and quickly started sinking. Luckily she remained afloat for about half an hour, allowing many of the crew to be rescued, although three officers and 75 ratings were lost with the ship.

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