HMS Minotaur Postcard

HMS Minotaur was the last cruiser in her class, laid down in 1905 and launched in 1906. She displaced 14,600 tons and was armed with two twin 9.2 inch guns, ten single 7.5 inch guns and sixteen quick fire 12 pounder guns together with five 18 inch torpedo tubes. She was a fast ship, with two four cylinder expansion engines giving her a maximum speed of 23 knots and had a complement of 825 men by 1909. With a length of 4980 feet, she was an elegant vessel, even with her multitude of different guns and this postcard shows the ship in full colour:

By the outbreak of the Great War, Minotaur was in the Far East as part of the China Station. Minotaur was in Wei Hai Wei on 3 July 1914 when most of the ships assigned to the China Station were ordered to assemble at Hong Kong. Shortly after the start of the First World War, the ship, together with the armoured cruiser Hampshire and the light cruiser Newcastle sailed for the German-owned island of Yap. They captured the collier Elsbeth on 11 August and destroyed the radio station there with gunfire. They then unsuccessfully searched for the ships of the East Asia Squadron until the light cruiser Emden was reported to have destroyed several ships in the Bay of Bengal in mid-September. Minotaur was ordered to the west coast of Sumatra to search for the German warship, but was unsuccessful. She was then ordered to escort a troop convoy from Wellington, New Zealand in late September. The ship was detached from the convoy and ordered to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope and reinforce the squadron there on 6 November after the Admiralty learned of the defeat at the Battle of Coronel. Upon her arrival Minotaur became flagship of the Cape of Good Hope Station under the command of Vice Admiral Herbert King-Hall and escorted a South African troop convoy to Luderitz Bay in German South-West Africa. The ship was near Table Bay, South Africa when the East Asia Squadron was destroyed during the Battle of the Falklands in early December and she was ordered home on 8 December.

Upon her arrival, Minotaur became flagship of the 7th Cruiser Squadron, under the command of Rear Admiral Arthur Waymouth, based at Cromarty Firth. She received a brief refit in early 1915 and was then assigned to Northern Patrol for the next year. The ship received a QF 12-pounder (three-inch) 12-cwt anti-aircraft (AA) gun and a QF three-pounder (47 mm) AA gun in 1915–16. The 12-pounder gun was mounted on the aft superstructure and the three-pounder on the quarterdeck at the extreme rear. The ship was transferred to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron on 30 May 1916 and participated in the Battle of Jutland on the following day as flagship of Rear Admiral Herbert Heath. She remained unengaged throughout the battle and did not fire her 9.2 or 7.5-inch guns at all during the battle. Minotaur was also present during the attempted interception of the High Seas Fleet by the Grand Fleet on 19 August although no combat occurred. For the rest of the war, the ship was assigned to the Northern Patrol. On 11 December 1917, together with her sister Shannon and four destroyers, she was assigned to patrol the convoy route between Lerwick and Norway, but the Germans successfully destroyed a convoy off the Norwegian coast on the following day and returned home without being spotted. The British ships were only able to rescue survivors and escort the sole surviving ship from the convoy, the crippled destroyer Pellew, back to Scapa Flow.

In 1917–18 the 12-pounder AA gun mounted on the aft superstructure was moved to the roof of the forward 9.2-inch gun turret and a fire-control system was installed with a director mounted on a platform fitted to the foremast. Minotaur was paid off on 5 February 1919, placed on the disposal list in May, put up for sale in March 1920 and sold the following month.

One comment

  1. Retired rather than go on a boat, but THAT was a big ship !!!
    (Might want to check the decimal point for her length 😉 )
    Feel free to erase this afterward.

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