HMS Hawke


The Ship

Torpedoed and sunk 15 October 1915

HMS Hawke, launched in 1891, was the sixth British warship to be named Hawke. She was an Edgar class cruiser, a 12-gun twin-screw protected cruiser displacing 7,350 tons. The twin screws delivered 12,000 horsepower giving a top speed of 20 kt (37 km/h).

In 1897-1898 Hawke, under the command of Captain Sir Richard Poore, was in action in the Mediterranean in the operations which led to the pacification of Crete and the appointment of Prince George of Greece as High Commissioner under the suzerainty of the Sultan of Turkey. At one point she was used as a troopship, taking on a Greek military force in Platania Bay and transporting them back to Greece.

On 20 September 1911, HMS Hawke, under command of Commander W.F. Blunt, collided in the Solent with the White Star liner RMS Olympic. In the course of the collision Hawke lost her prow. (This was replaced by a straight bow). The subsequent trial pronounced Hawke to be free from any blame. During the trial a theory was advanced that the large amount of water displaced by the Olympic had generated a suction that had drawn Hawke off course. Appeal after appeal followed the decision of the first court to try the case.

During 1914, at the start of the First World War, the Hawke, commanded by Captain Hugh P.E.T. Williams, was engaged in various operations in the North Sea. On 15 October, out on patrol Hawke was torpedoed by a German submarine U 9. Her sister ship HMS Theseus, which was in company, was attacked at the same time but was undamaged. The Hawke sank in a few minutes, with the loss of her Captain, 26 officers and 500 men - only 4 officers and about 60 men were saved.

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