HMS Erebus (I02)

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HMS Erebus I02.jpg
HMS Erebus in 1944
United Kingdom
NameHMS Erebus
Operator Royal Navy
BuilderHarland & Wolff, Govan
Yard number492
Laid down12 October 1915
Launched19 June 1916
Completed2 September 1916
Commissioned2 September 1916
RefitAugust 1939
FateScrapped July 1946
General characteristics
Class and type Erebus-class monitor
Displacement7,200 long tons (7,300 t)
Length405 ft (123.4 m)
Beam88 ft (26.8 m)
Draught11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
Installed power6,000 ihp (4,500 kW)
  • 2 × Reciprocating engines
  • 2 screws
Speed12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)

HMS Erebus was a First World War monitor launched on 19 June 1916 and which served in both world wars. She and her sister ship Terror are known as the Erebus class. They were named after the two bomb ketches sent to investigate the Northwest Passage as part of Franklin's Lost Expedition (1845-1848), in which all 129 members eventually perished.

Monitors were designed as stable gun platforms with a shallow draught to allow operations close inshore in support of land operations, and were not intended to contest naval battles. Erebus was equipped with two 15 in (381 mm)/42 guns (removed from Marshal Ney[1]) in a single forward turret mounted on a tall barbette to extend the range of fire to 40,000 yd (22.7 mi; 36.6 km).

The Erebus class were designed to outrange German heavy shore batteries and they were also fitted with highly effective anti-torpedo bulges on each side of the hull.

Service history[edit]

First World War[edit]

During the First World War, Erebus bombarded German naval forces based at the Belgian ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge.

On 28 October 1917, she was damaged by a remote controlled German FL-boat, and suffered the loss of 50 ft (15 m) of anti-torpedo bulge.

Inter-war period[edit]

In 1919, Erebus took part in the British Invasion of Russia providing gunfire support in the White Sea and in the Baltic Sea.

In 1921, Erebus took part in gunnery trials against the surrendered German battleship SMS Baden. She then served as a gunnery training ship between the two world wars. Erebus had a refit, completed in August 1939, and was earmarked as guardship at Cape Town, but due to the outbreak of World War II this did not occur.

Second World War[edit]

In the early war years, Erebus served with the Eastern Fleet and the Mediterranean Fleet, where she was used to run supplies to besieged Tobruk and bombard enemy concentrations. She was present at Trincomalee during the Japanese attack on the harbour there, receiving a near-miss hit from Japanese aircraft, suffering casualties.[2] In 1943, she was damaged while bombarding Sicily during the Allied invasion of Sicily.

Erebus was used for coastal bombardment during the Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944, firing at the batteries at Barfleur and La Pernelle. She suffered one 15-inch gun destroyed due to a premature explosion of the high explosive round in the bore.[3]

On 10 August 1944, she was used against the defenders of the harbour at Le Havre. She was damaged by the battery at Clos des Ronces and was out of action for some time. In November 1944, she supported Operation Infatuate, the amphibious assault on Walcheren, Netherlands.

She was scrapped in July 1946. It is believed that one of Erebus' 15-inch guns was used to equip Vanguard, the Royal Navy's last battleship.[4]


  1. ^ a b c HM Ships from As extracted from Jane's Fighting Ships for 1919 Archived 1 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ BR 1736(9) Battle Summaries (PDF). British Admiralty. 1943. pp. 14, 23. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. ^ Accessed 14 January 2008. HMS Roberts suffered in the same way. The fault was traced to defective fuses in some US-built shells
  4. ^ The 15 inch Guns of HMS Vanguard

External links[edit]