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Sister ship: DUKE OF EDINBURGH
Notes: The first Royal Navy vessels to be designed under the direction of Sir Phillip Watts, the DUKE OF EDINBURGH class showed a substantial change in style over earlier types. In addition, attempts to restrict the size of first-class cruisers was finally abandoned and displacement was increased to allow for improvements in armament, protection, and machinery power. The 9.2" gun was re-adopted and fitted in single turrets. Unfortunately, the 6" guns were located so close to the waterline that they were unworkable in anything but very calm weather. They were very "wet" ships, but the high forecastle allowed them to maintain a high speed in a seaway. The 3-pdr. guns were virtually useless as an anti-torpedo weapon. And despite the improvements over earlier classes, the ineffective secondary battery reduced the value of these ships considerably and they did not enjoy a high reputation.
BLACK PRINCE served with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron until 1907, and then with the 1st CS, 1907-08; 5th CS (Atlantic Fleet) 1908-12; 3rd CS 1912-13. She captured a German merchant ship in the Red Sea in August, 1914. BLACK PRINCE was stationed at Gibraltar in November, 1914, and transferred to the 1st CS, Grand Fleet in December, 1914. During the night action at Jutland on 31 May 1916, BLACK PRINCE scored 2-6" hits on the German battleship RHEINLAND. Shortly after midnight, while supporting destroyers and light cruisers attempting a torpedo attack, BLACK PRINCE approached to within 750 yards of the German battle line. After being illuminated by searchlights from the THÜRINGEN, she took at least 12 heavy-caliber shell hits and a minimum of six 5.9" hits from at least five different German battleships; the first salvo from THÜRINGEN hit her aft turret (which appeared to have been blown overboard) and set her on fire. During the ensuing action, BLACK PRINCE was heard to have suffered two heavy explosions and sank quickly with the loss of all hands (857); she was able to fire two salvos as OSTFRIESLAND, but scored no hits. THÜRINGEN is generally credited with her sinking. (Campbell, "Jutland"'; see Bibliography.)