On the 1st November 1914 a pair of British armoured cruisers encountered a German squadron off the coast of Chile. The two German cruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisnau went into battle against the British cruisers, HMS Monmouth and HMS Good Hope, under the command of Rear Admiral Christopher Craddock. The Admiral’s flagship, HMS Good Hope was hit by Scharnhorst’s third salvo and had her forward turret knocked out and her forecastle set alight. Despite this, Craddock closed with the enemy and chased down the more powerful ships. The Scharnhorst continued to batter the smaller cruiser with gunfire and after 35 hits, HMS Good Hope’s magazine exploded, destroying the ship and her crew of 926 men.
HMS Good Hope was a Drake class cruiser that had been launched in 1901 and is the subject of this week’s postcard:
The ship had a displacement of 14,380 tons and measured 553 feet 6 inches from bow to stern. She was powered by two 4-cylinder triple expansion engines and needed 43 belleville boilers to give her a top speed of 23 knots, these exhausting out of the distinctive four funnels arrayed amidships:
Below the funnels can be seen some of the sixteen breach loading 6 inch guns that made up her secondary armament. These were placed in casemates on either side of the hull and half, on the main deck, were only useable in calm weather.
The ship’s main armament was a pair of 9.2 inch Mk X guns, mounted in single turrets at the bow and stern of the ship:
Immediately aft of the for’ard gun was the bridge, open and with two bridge wings as was typical for the period:
The Drake class were older ships by the time of World War One, but Good Hope’s sister ships would take an active part in the war and the Battle of Coronel ensured that HMS Good Hope and her crew would be remembered by history for their brave sacrifice in the opening months of the war.