Commissioned ships of the Royal Navy

This list is extracted from the Sunlight Almanac for 1895, which from internal evidence was written in the last few months of 1894; dispositions of ships are probably thus those of late 1894.

All spellings, numbers, etc. are as given in the original source. Please contact me if you wish one of these double-checked for transcription errors.

Major warships are listed in three categories - battleships, coastal defence ships, and cruisers - which are divided here into groups (A, B, C) and classes (I, II or III).

Battleships were those which fought in the line of battle - ie, against other battleships. Group A included those of 10,000 tons displacement and upwards; Group B those under 10,000 tons. Class I indicates a modern vessel; Class II one which was obsolescent in armament, armour, or speed.

Coastal defence ships were intended to guard the coasts and ports against any enemy warship which had broken through the main line of battle; some of these were built expressly for the purpose, but most were former battleships now obsolete for reasons of age or armament. Group A were seagoing vessels, Class I vessels of this group being capable of 14 knots and carrying breechloading armament, whilst A.II indicated seagoing but slow or badly armed. Group B were fit only for harbour defence, with B.I vessels being capable of 12 knots, and equipped with breechloading armament, and B.II vessels deficient in either regard.

Cruisers filled the role of "the lower rates of olden times, and the frigates"; they would act as protection for commercial traffic, or as scouts and messengers for the main battlefleet. Group A was those of more than 7,000 tons with horizontal and steel decks, or those with partial vertical armor; A.I indicated a vessel with breechloading armament capable of 16 knots, and A.II a vessel deficient in either regard. Group B was of vessels with complete or partial steel decks and 4-7,000 tons displacement; B.I indicated a vessel with breechloading armament capable of 18 knots, and B.II a vessel deficient in either regard. Group C was of vessels with deck-protected or partially protected vessels, and unprotected vessels from 2-4,000 tons displacement; C.I indicated a vessel with breechloading armament capable of 18 knots, and C.II a vessel deficient in either regard. All vessels listed here as C.II were noted as having no protective deck.

There were a total of eighteen first-class (A.I) battleships, with ten more building, plus three rated A.II, two B.I, and seventeen B.II, for a total of forty with ten under construction. In addition, there were three first-class (A.I) coastal defence ships, and another twelve in classes B.I and B.II. There were a total of 89 cruisers of all classes with another eleven under construction, and a large number of smaller craft; the Royal Navy did not, at this time, possess any submarines. (These figures do not count ships on the ineffective list) With regard to the location of ships, it is interesting to note that the force in the Mediterranean was nearly twice as strong as that in the English Channel.

The original source used "Reserve" and "Fleet Reserve" somewhat indiscriminately; these have been listed together. The 1st Reserve Squadron was noted seperately, and a number of ships were given as "Reserve" with no location. These are listed at the end under "[Unknown assignments]".

Channel Squadron
Battleships (A.I)Royal Sovereign, Repulse, Resolution, Revenge, Empress of India
Cruisers (A.I)Blenheim, Endymion
Scouts and Torpedo CraftBellona
Torpedo GunboatsSpeedwell
Mediterranean Squadron
Battleships (A.I)Ramilies, Hood, Nile, Trafalgar, Anson, Camperdown, Howe, Rodney, Sans Pareil
Battleships (A.II)Collingwood
Battleships (B.I)Dreadnought
Cruisers (A.I)Edgar, Hawke
Cruisers (B.II)Amphion, Arethusa
Cruisers (C.I)Aeolus, Spartan
Scouts and Torpedo CraftScout, Fearless, Surprise, Barham
Torpedo RamPolyphemus
Torpedo GunboatsSkipjack, Gleaner
Battleships (A.I)Centurion
Cruisers (A.I)Undaunted
Cruisers (B.II)Severn, Leander
Cruisers (C.I)Pallas
Cruisers (C.II)Mercury
Scouts and Torpedo CraftArcher, Porpoise, Alacrity
West Indies
Cruisers (A.I)Blake
Cruisers (C.I)Magicienne
Cruisers (C.II)Canada, Cleopatra
Scouts and Torpedo CraftMohawk, Tartar
East Indies
Cruisers (C.I)Marathon
Scouts and Torpedo CraftBrisk, Cossack
Cruisers (A.I)Royal Arthur
Cruisers (C.II)Champion
Irish Sea
Torpedo GunboatsJason
Cape of Good Hope
Cruisers (C.I)Phoebe, Philomel
Scouts and Torpedo CraftRacoon, Blanche, Blonde
Coast Defence (B.II)Cerberus
Cruisers (A.I)Orlando
Cruisers (C.I)Katoomba, Ringarooma, Mildura, Tauranga, Wallaroo
Cruisers (C.II)Curacoa
Torpedo GunboatsBoomerang, Karrakatta
Torpedo GunboatsAssaye, Plassy
South-East Coast of America
Cruisers (C.I)Sirius
Scouts and Torpedo CraftBarracouta


Battleships (B.I)Inflexible
Battleships (B.II)Devastation
Battleships (B.II)Thunderer
Simons Bay
Coast Defence (B.I)Penelope
Cruisers (A.I)Warspite


1st Reserve Squadron
Battleships (A.II)Colossus, Edinburgh
Battleships (B.II)Alexandra, Superb
Cruisers (A.I)Aurora, Australia, Galatea
Cruisers (B.II)Mersey
Battleships (A.I)Royal Oak
Battleships (B.II)Neptune, Sultan, Hercules, Invincible, Iron Duke, Swiftsure
Coast Defence (A.I)Hero
Coast Defence (B.I)Glatton
Cruisers (A.I)Impérieuse, Crescent, Gibraltar, St. George
Cruisers (A.II)Warrior, Achilles
Cruisers (C.I)Indefatigable, Intrepid, Iphigenia, Latona, Naiad, Melpomene
Cruisers (C.II)Iris, Calliope, Cordelia
Torpedo GunboatsRattlesnake, Seagull
Cruisers (C.II)Comus
Battleships (A.I)Bayleur, Benbow
Battleships (B.II)Ajax, Monarch, Audacious
Coast Defence (B.I)Hotspur
Coast Defence (B.II)Cyclops, Hydra
Cruisers (A.I)Grafton, Theseus
Cruisers (A.II)Agincourt
Cruisers (C.I)Brilliant, Andromache, Apollo, Sappho, Scylla, Terpischore, Thalis, Tribune, Medea, Medusa
Torpedo GunboatsGrasshopper, Salamander, Sheldrake, Gossimer, Alarm, Dryad, Circe, Hebe, Jaseur, Onyx, Renard
Battleships (B.II)Agamemnon, Temeraire, Bellerophon, Triumph
Coast Defence (A.I)Conqueror
Coast Defence (B.I)Belleisle
Coast Defence (B.II)Gorgon, Hecate
Cruisers (A.II)Northumberland, Black Prince
Cruisers (B.I)Bonaventure
Cruisers (B.II)Forth, Thames, Phaeton
Cruisers (C.I)Pigne, Rainbow, Retribution, Sybille, Pearl
Cruisers (C.II)Carysfoot, Conquest, Constance
Torpedo GunboatsSpider, Sharpshooter, Spanker, Antelope, Harrier
Coast Defence (B.I)Orion
Torpedo GunboatsSandfly
Coast Defence (B.II)Abyssinia, Magdala

Not in service

Battleships (A.I)Renown, Magnificent, Majestic, Prince George, Victorious, Hannibal, Illustrious, Caesar, Jupiter, Mars
Cruisers (A.I)Powerful, Terrible
Cruisers (B.I)Eclipse, Minerva, Talbot, Venus, Diana, Dido, Isis, Juno, Doris
Torpedo GunboatsHussar
Torpedo-Boat DestroyersArdent, Banshee, Boxer, Bruiser, Charger, Conflict, Contest, Daring, Dasher, Decoy, Dragon, Ferret, Fervent, Handy, Hardy, Hart, Hasty, Havock, Haughty, Hornet, Hunter, Janus, Lightning, Lynx, Opossum, Porcupine, Ranger, Rocket, Salmon, Shark, Skate, Snapper, Spitfire, Starfish, Sturgeon, Sunfisk, Surly, Swordfish, Teaser, Wizard, Zebra, Zephyr
Cruisers (B.I)Flora, Forte, Fox, Hermione, Astraea, Cambrian, Charybdis
Torpedo GunboatsHalycon, Hazard
Under Trial
Torpedo GunboatsSpeedy

Other ships

Training Squadron
Cruisers (C.II)Calypso
Coastguard Service
Torpedo GunboatsLeda, Niger
Ineffective List
Coastal DefencePrince Albert, Scorpion, Wivern, Viper, Vixen
CruisersNelson, Northampton, Shannon, Inconstant, Raleigh, Boadicea, Active, Volage, Emerald, Garnet, Ruby, Tourmaline
[Unknown assignments]
Coast Defence (A.I)Rupert
Cruisers (A.I)Immortalité, Narcissus
Cruisers (A.II)Minotaur
Scouts and Torpedo CraftBarrosa
Torpedo Depot ShipVulcan
Torpedo Boats[77 boats over 100 feet in length]