H.M.S. Argonaut was one of the eight "Diadem" class protected cruisers ordered for the Royal Navy in the mid-1890s. One of the last of the class to be laid down, she was built by Fairfield's at Govan, on the Clyde, and launched on 24th January 1898. Completed in April 1900, she displaced 11,000 tons (fully loaded) and measured 435 feet in length with a 69 foot beam. With her ram bow and four huge funnels, she appeared far more powerful than she was and whilst her armament consisted of 33 guns of mixed calibre, none was larger than 6ins. Undeniably fast at 21 knots, she nevertheless proved very expensive to maintain and, apart from her first commission on the China Station from 1900-04, spent much of her life in various reserve fleets. After service in the Atlantic in 1914-15, she became first a hospital ship at Portsmouth and, later, an accommodation ship in 1918 prior to being sold for scrapping in 1920.