HMS Ocean (1898)

Photograph of Ocean c.1900. Original taken by Bourne & Shepherd, of Calcutta, for Cassell & Co. Believed to be in the public domain.

Laid Down

HMS Ocean was a Canopus-class pre-dreadnought, laid down in 1897. Commissioned 20 February, 1900, she spent her first year in the Mediterranean, before departing for China in January, 1901, due to the Boxer Rebellion. Ocean visited Korea in 1902, but was damaged in a typhoon, requiring several months of repairs. She returned home in 1905, after the Royal Navy reduced its presence in China with the ratification of an alliance with Japan. Ocean spent a few months in reserve, before rejoining the Channel Fleet. She underwent a couple minor refits, and was redeployed to the Mediterranean in mid-1908. She returned to the Channel in early 1910, and remained there until the outbreak of World War I. The Admiralty couldn't make up their minds where they wanted Ocean, and she was redirected to seven postings in as many weeks. Ocean settled into the Persian Gulf for a couple months, before she was redirected again, to Egypt, providing gunfire support against Ottoman ground attacks. In February, 1915, Ocean was assigned to the Dardanelles Campaign, and was one of the ships assigned to force the channel on 18 March. Ocean was detailed to tow the crippled Irresistible out of the strait, but first ran aground, then struck a mine. Continued fire from Ottoman shore batteries prevented repairs, and her crew was taken off by destroyers. Ocean went down around 10:30 that night.