The Last British Central Battery Ship, H.M.S. Alexandra

By Admiral G.A. Ballard, published August 1946


By 1897 H.M.S. Alexandra, armed mainly with muzzle loading weapons, was the last example, in seagoing commission, of warships that, for three hundred years, had carried their heavy guns internally between decks. Built at Chatham of malleable iron, of length 325 feet, displacement 9490 tons, with watertight compartments and a double bottom, she was launched in 1875 during the mid-Victorian period of transformation in naval architecture practices. She was the largest, fastest (exceeding 15 knots), longest lived of the eighteen central battery ships which formed the backbone of the British armoured fleet during the intermediate stage between the full broadside vessel, armed with numerous light calibre guns and turret ships. She was armed with a pair of 11inch 25 ton rifled muzzle loaders and eight 10 inch of 18 tons, all mounted on Scott carriages, in a central battery over two decks and a dozen Whitehead torpedoes. Paid off at Chatham in 1901 she was finally sold for breaking up in 1908.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

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