This week’s image is a fine portrait of the pre-Drednought Canopus class battleship, HMS Albion:
HMS Albion was laid down in 1896 at the Thames Ironworks at Blackwell in London and Launched by the Duchess of York in 1898. There were delays to her machinery so she didn’t begin trials until 1900 and commissioned in 1901 when she sailed for the China Station. It would be 1905 before she returned to the UK and she paid off into reserve in 1906. She was refitted and joined the Atlantic Fleet in 1907. She was refitted and in the Channel fleet at the start of World War One. As an older ship she spent the war in secondary theatres including actions off West Africa, the Dardanelles and Salonika before taking up the role of Humber Guardship for the last two years of the war.
When they were commissioned in the last years of the nineteenth century, the Canopus class battleships were state of the art and boasted four 12 inch guns in a pair of turrets, one for’ard and one aft. Here the turret can be seen, with the bridge immediately behind:
The class were the first to receive Krupps cemented armour which was 30 percent more effective than the older Harvey type used up until this point and the ship’s had a very respectable speed of 18.25 knots, the fastest battleships in the navy when they were launched. The ships were powered by two sets of triple expansion engines, supplied with steam by twenty Belleville water tube boilers, with two funnels amidships giving the ships and handsome and purposeful look:
Note the secondary armament that can be seen here, the ship had twelve six inch guns, ten 12 pounders and six 3 pounder guns to protect it against small fast moving targets such as destroyers.
Two platforms can be seen on the foremast. The lower top housed the searchlights, whilst the upper top, fitted to Albion in 1906 or 1907 housed fire control and range finding equipment :
After nearly twenty years of service, including an active early war, HMS Albion was outdated and un-needed by the end of the Great War. She was sold to T W Ward in 1919 for £32,755 and travelled under her own steam from Devonport to Morecambe for scrapping in January of 1920.