Minotaur-class armored cruiser (4f/2m). L/B/D: 519 × 74.5 × 26 (158.2m × 22.7m × 7.9m). Tons: 16,100 disp. Hull: steel. Comp.: 755. Arm.: 4 × 9.2 (2 × 2), 10 × 7.5, 16 × 12pdr; 5 × 18TT. Armor: 6 belt, 2 deck. Mach.: triple expansion, 27,000 hp, 2 screws; 23 kts. Des.: E. N. Mooney. Built: Pembroke Dockyard, Eng.; 1907.
Assigned first to the Home Fleet and then to the China station (1910-12), at the beginning of World War I HMS Defence was the flagship of Admiral Ernest Troubridge's First Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean. Ordered to avoid a superior force, Troubridge followed, but failed to engage, the German Goeben and Breslau, which escaped to Constantinople in August 1914. Although cleared by a court-martial, his sea duty was at an end. After duty at the Dardanelles, Defence was sent to the South Atlantic. Recalled to home waters, Defence became the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot's First Cruiser Squadron. At The Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916, Arbuthnot took Defence and her sister ships HMS Warrior and BLACKPRINCE to attack the light cruiser SMS Wiesbaden, which lay dead in the water between the opposing fleets.
Brought under concentrated fire from Rear Admiral Paul Behncke's Third Battle Squadron, Defence sank with the loss of all her 893 crew at 1815.
Warrior and Black Prince withdrew, but around midnight the latter blundered back into the German line and was sunk with the loss of 857 men.