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HMS Canada in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- HMS Canada during the Great War -

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HMS Canada


HMS Canada

HMS Canada was built as the Almirante Latorre, named after Juan José Latorre, a super-dreadnought battleship for the Chilean Navy. Construction began at Armstrong Whitworth's Elswick yard in Newcastle upon Tyne soon after the ship was ordered in November 1911. She had a displacement of 25,000 long tons (25,401 t) standard and 32,000 long tons (32,514 t) full load. Length: 625 ft (191 m), Beam: 92.5 ft (28.2 m), Draught: 33 ft (10 m) Her propulsion was provided by coal and oil fuel in 21 Yarrow boilers feeding low pressure Parsons and High pressure Brown-Curtis steam turbines, giving 37,000 shp (27,591 kW), Her top speed 22.75 knots (42.13 km/h; 26.18 mph) Her Ships Complement was 834 officers and men and her armament consisted of 10 × 14 in (356 mm)/45 caliber BL guns, 16 × 6 in (152 mm) guns, 2 × 3 in (76 mm) anti-aircraft guns, 4 × 3-pounder guns and 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (submerged). Her Armour Belt was 9 in (230 mm), Deck: 1.5 in (38 mm), Barbette: 10 in (250 mm), Turret: 10 in (250 mm) and Conning tower: 11 in (280 mm). She was launched on the 27th of November 1913, as Almirante Latorre and was approaching completion when she was purchased by the United Kingdom's Royal Navy on the 9th of September 1914. she was not forcibly seized like the Ottoman Reşadiye and Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel, two other ships being built for a foreign navy, because the Allies' reliance on Chilean munitions imports made retention of Chile's friendly neutral status with the United Kingdom a matter of vital importance. The ship was modified for British service, the bridge was taken off in favour of two open platforms, and a mast was added in between the two funnels to support a derrick that would service launches. The super-dreadnought completed fitting-out on 20th of September 1915 and was commissioned into the Royal Navy on the 15th of October 1915, she served in the Grand Fleet as HMS Canada for the duration of the war. She saw action during the Battle of Jutland, firing 42 rounds from her 14-inch guns and 109 6-inch shells during the battle, and suffered no hits or casualties. During the battle, she got off two salvoes at the disabled cruiser Wiesbaden at 1840, and fired five more at an unknown ship around 1920. Her 6-inch guns were utilized for firing at German destroyers at 19:11. HMS Canada was transferred to the 1st Battle Squadron on 12 June 1916. In 1917–18, she was fitted with better rangefinders and range dials, and two of the aft 6-inch secondary guns were removed after they suffered blast damage from the middle 14-inch turret. In the latter year, flying-off platforms for aircraft were added atop the superfiring turrets fore and aft.

HMS Canada was put into the reserve fleet in March 1919 and was repurchased by Chile in 1920. She took back her original name of Almirante Latorre, and served as the Chilean flagship and frequently as presidential transport. She underwent a thorough modernization in the United Kingdom in 1929–31. In September 1931, crewmen aboard Almirante Latorre instigated a mutiny, which the majority of the Chilean fleet quickly joined. After divisions developed between the mutineers, the rebellion fell apart and the ships were returned to government control. Almirante Latorre was placed in reserve for a time in the 1930s because of the Great Depression, but she was in good enough condition to receive interest from the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This overture was declined and the ship spent most of the Second World War on patrol for Chile. She was scrapped in Japan beginning in 1959.

John Doran

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Those known to have served in

HMS Canada

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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