Marshal Ney Class Monitor (1915)

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The Marshal Ney Class of monitor (sometimes known as the Marshals) was the first in the Royal Navy to be armed with the 15-inch gun. The two ships, Marshal Ney and Marshal Soult were also one of the first classes of British warship to be powered by diesel engine.

Overview of 2 vessels
Citations for this data available on individual ship pages
Name Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Marshal Ney 1915 31 Jul, 1920
Marshal Soult 1915

Background and Design

After the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December, 1914 it had been decided to convert two of the battleships of the 1914 Programme into battlecruisers. The Revenge class battleships Repulse (formerly Resistance) and Renown were consequently modified. The resulting battlecruiser design called for three 15-inch turrets per ship instead of four, leaving two turrets spare for use in monitors. The transfer of Repulse's construction from Palmer's to John Brown and the launch of HMS Resolution on 14 January, 1915 left the former yard with two large free building berths. Marshal Ney was laid down at the end of January and the Marshal Soult in mid-February.

First Sea Lord Fisher ordered that the diesel engines from the 2,400 dwt oilers Trefoil and Turmoil, then building in Pembroke Royal Dockyard, the rationale being that fuel consumption would be less than that of oil and coal-fired ships, especially when coupled with the decreased speeds due to the increased displacement of the monitors. The lines of the monitor themselves slowed the ships down considerably; the Director of Naval Construction (DNC) having rejected the advice of the Admiralty Experimental Works on hull form. Consequently, the two ships of the class proved extremely unwieldy and slow in service.


The machinery of the oilers had already been completed (in the case of Trefoil already installed) and was shipped to Jarrow in preparation for installation. Vice-Admiral Francis Bacon of The Dover Patrol, the main utilisor of the monitors pressed hard for swift delivery to augment his bombardment fleet. The "Y" turrets of Repulse and Renown, whose availability had been one of the main reasons to build the Marshals, were not due to be completed until 1916. The first set due to complete were "X" and "Y" turrets for Ramillies being constructed at Vickers. The two turrets were then sent to Elswich for modification and erection in the two monitors.


The ships were armed as follows.[1]

As built:

  • two 15-in B.L.
  • two 12-pdr 18 cwt Q.F. guns
  • two 3-in H.A.
  • two pom-poms

In November 1918:

Marshal Ney:

  • one 9.2-in B.L. Mark VIII
  • six 6-in Mark XI
  • two 3-in H.A.
  • two 2-pdr pom-poms

Marshal Soult:

  • two 15-in B.L.
  • eight 4-in B.L. Mark IX on C.P. I 30 degree mountings
  • two 12-pdr 18 cwt Q.F. guns
  • two 3-in H.A.
  • two pom-poms

See Also


  1. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 28. pp. 31, 36.


  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1917). The Director Firing Handbook. O.U. 6125 (late C.B. 1259). Copy No. 322 at The National Archives. ADM 186/227.
  • Admiralty, Technical History Section (1919). The Technical History and Index: Fire Control in H.M. Ships. Vol. 3, Part 23. C.B. 1515 (23) now O.U. 6171/14. At The National Archives. ADM 275/19.
  • Buxton, Ian L. (1978). Big Gun Monitors: The History of the Design, Construction and Operation of the Royal Navy's Monitors. Tynemouth: World Ship Society. (on and

Marshal Ney Class Monitor
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