HMSAS Crocodile (TS/ML-1906)


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The two King Edward VII class pre-dreadnoughts were transferred to Southern Africa specifically for duties as training ships. Both ships had been partially demilitarised before being released to to the SAN. This had removed both 12" turrets and the after pair of 9.2" guns. The South Africans added a pair of 6" guns to the foredeck and seven 20mm replaced the machine guns fitted for AA work through to the late 1930's. The biggest change for the ships was to be their use as minelayers in time of war. Mine rails that turned the quarterdeck into Paddington Station!

As training ships they were also used to police the coastal waters for pirates and other nasties. The 50ft pinnaces, of which two were carried, were used to send up rivers and into hidden bays and lagoons which gave the marines as much training as the cadets. While the ships were still credited with 18 knots, the SAN limited the engines to no more than 80% of maximum power and most of the time the ships max was 15 knots which reduced to 12 knots the closer the ships came to their refits. The ships with their triple-expansion engines spent all their lives coal fired. This presented no problems as all the ports up and own the coasts of Central and Southern Africa carried stocks of coal. If the war had not started in 1939 both ships were slated for the breakers yard in 1940.

Both ships were renamed on arrival to free up the original names for use by the RN.


Displacement 17,000 tons full load
Length 454 ft
Breadth 78 ft
Draught 26 ft
Machinery 2 shaft triple expansion,  18,000ihp (coal)
Speed 18 knots
Range 8,000 miles at 10 knots
Armour 12" side, 2.5" deck
Armament 2 x 9.2" (2x1)

10 x 6" (10x1)

4 x 4" (4x1)

7 x 20mm (7x1)

Aircraft nil
Mines 300-380 depending on size.
Complement 640 + trainees/marines


HMSAS Crocodile as HMSCommonwealth with the Royal Navy during WW1.


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