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Sister ships: MINOTAUR, SHANNON
Notes: The MINOTAUR class were last and largest of the "conventional" armored cruisers; enlarged by 1,000 tons over the preceding WARRIOR class to allow for heavier armament. They were widely considered to be "over-gunned and under-protected". DEFENCE joined 5th Cruiser Squadron in February, 1909; she was transferred to 1st CS (Home Fleet) in July, 1909. DEFENCE escorted the royal yacht MEDINA, November-December, 1912, then went to China Station as the flagship. She rejoined 1st CS as flagship in 1913. At the outbreak of World War I, DEFENCE was involved in the hunt for the GOEBEN and BRESLAU in August, 1914. She was stationed off Dardanelles in September, but sent to South Atlantic to reinforce Admiral Cradock's squadron, but diverted to the Cape of Good Hope in November, 1914. DEFENCE returned to 1st CS, Grand Fleet, as flagship in January, 1915. DEFENCE was present at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, where she was sunk with all hands (903 killed) by gunfire from several ships of the High Seas Fleet; quoting Campbell in "Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting" (see Bibliography): "At 1819 the DEFENCE which had altered course to starboard, was heavily hit aft, flames shot out of her after 9.2" turret, and was followed by a series of flames from the 7.5" turrets, working forward until there was a large burst of flame from the fore 9.2" turret, and in less than 30 seconds from being hit aft, she had completely blown up and disappeared with all 903 of her complement." (pg. 153) The loss of DEFENCE is attributed to cordite charges catching fire in the ammunition passages. It is generally considered that a hit from the LÜTZOW sank DEFENCE, but she was also being fired upon by the KÖNIG, GROSSER KURFÜRST, MARKGRAF, KRONPRINZ, KAISERIN and KAISER.