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TERROR (ordered as M.16)
Sister ship: EREBUS (ordered as M.15)
Pennant Number: I.03 (flag superior changed to "F" in 1940)
Notes: The urgent need for heavy bombardment ships to replace battleships in the Dardanelles led to an order being placed for four 15"-gunned monitors in May, 1915, to supplement the MARSHAL NEY class. Turrets were to be re-allocated from the battleship ROYAL OAK. However, after the Admiralty Board reviewed priorities early in June, 1915, it was decided that the battleship program could not be delayed, so the four monitors were cancelled on 10 June 1915.
The trials of the MARSHAL NEY class took place in August, 1915 -- and they were a severe disappointment to the Admiralty. Her diesel engines were very "balky" to start, and once started, the MARSHAL NEY could only make 6 knots instead of her designed speed of 9 knots. And due to both being underpowered and being very wide for her length, the MARSHAL NEY also proved almost impossible to steer. As a result of these trials, EREBUS and TERROR were re-ordered. They were to be armed with the turrets from MARSHAL NEY and her sister ship, MARSHAL SOULT. However, the latter's trials were deemed satisfactory, and she was commissioned into service. MARSHAL NEY's turret was installed in TERROR, and MARSHAL NEY was later completed with different armament. The turret installed in EREBUS was originally earmarked for FURIOUS, in case of failure of her newly-designed but untested 18" guns -- but as those guns proved quite satisfactory, one of the 15" turrets was installed in the EREBUS.
However, the lessons from the disastrous trials of the MARSHAL NEY were incorporated into the design of EREBUS and TERROR; the hull was lengthened by nearly 50' to accomodate the machinery needed for the design of 12 knots speed; in addition, this lengthening also improved the hull form, and made steering much more acceptable. A proper bridge was fitted, and the single funnel was both moved far enough aft and heightened, so that smoke interference on the bridge was eliminated. TERROR made 13 knots on trials, and made 12 knots in service. TERROR was accepted in service in August, 1916, and was assigned to the Dover Patrol. She took part in numerous bombardments off the Belgian coast. On the night of 19 October 1917, TERROR took three torpedo hits from the German torpedo boats A-59, A-60 and A-61; she was beached to avoid sinking. Following temporary repairs, she was towed to Dover and then to Portsmouth. While en route, TERROR was thought to be in imminent danger of sinking, and she was abandoned off Hastings on the night of the 27th. When she didn't sink, TERROR was re-boarded and brought into Spithead the next day. Permanent repairs took ten weeks, after which, she resumed service. In 1918, both ships had their 6" guns removed, and they were replaced by eight single 4" Mk. IX mounts.
After the Armistice at the end of World War I, TERROR relieved MARSHAL SOULT as Director and Fire Control Training Ship, arriving at Portsmouth in January, 1919. She was recommissioned as a turret drill ship in May, 1924. In 1939, her 3" and 4" guns were removed, and replaced by six 4" Mk. V HA guns; seven 20mm AA guns were also added. In 1940, TERROR's deck armor was increased to 4" over the machinery, and a minimum of 2" elsewhere. In April, 1940, TERROR arrived at Malta, and saw extensive duty as an anti-aircraft platform. In November, 1940, she sailed to Alexandria, Egypt, as an escort for a convoy. Upon her arrival, TERROR was assigned to the local forces there. She played an active role in Operation Compass, bombarding Italian positions in Libya. On 22 February 1941 while at harbor in Benghazi, Libya, TERROR was attacked by German Ju-87 dive bombers. While no direct hits were scored, three near-misses caused leaks in the bulges, and some seepage began to occur in her magazines. At dusk, TERROR sailed out of port, heading to Alexandria for repairs. She shortly struck two mines, suffering additional leaks as well as severe structural damage. While at sea the next day, TERROR was again attacked by Ju-87's; three more near-misses were scored. Her hull, weakened by the damage suffered the previous day, began to break apart between the 15" turret and the bridge. In addition, one of the hits started a fire in her boiler rooms, and soon TERROR's generators and pumps failed. An attempt by the sloop FAREHAM to take TERROR under tow failed. Settling by the bow and listing to port, TERROR's captain, Commander H. J. Haynes (DSC) ordered her abandoned. TERROR was scuttled on 24 February 1941, approximately 20 miles northwest of Derna.