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HMS Queen Elizabeth (1913)

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Oct 2010 at 18:55

HMS Queen Elizabeth (pennant number 00) was the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of Dreadnought battleships, named in honour of Elizabeth I of England. She saw service in both World Wars.

HMS Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth in the 1930s
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Laid down: 21 October 1912
Launched: 16 October 1913
Commissioned: 1915
Decommissioned: 1948
Struck: 7 July 1948
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Displacement: As built:
33,020 tons deep
Length: 640 ft 10.5 in (195.339 m) (overall)
646 ft 1 in (196.93 m) (with stern-walk fitted)
601 ft 4.5 in (183.299 m) (waterline)
Beam: 90 feet 6 inches

30 feet 6 inches–30 feet 11.5 inches (mean)

33 feet 10 inches–34 feet 2.5 inches (deep)
Propulsion: 24 × boilers at 285 psi maximum pressure
4 × direct drive turbines
4 × shafts
75,000 shp at 300 rpm
2 × oil driven 450 kW dynamos2 × turbine driven 200 Kw dynamos
1 × reciprocating engine driven 200 kW dynamo added shortly after commissioning
Speed: 24 knots (design)
Endurance: 8,600 nmi (16,000 km) at 12.5 knots (23 km/h)
3,900 nmi (7,200 km) at 21 knots (39 km/h)
Capacity: 3,300 tons of oil
100 tons of coal
Complement: 950 - 1300

As built:
8 × Mk I 15-inch/42 guns (4 x 2)
16 (Queen Elizabeth) or 14 (other ships) × single Mk XII 6-inch guns
2 × single 3-inch anti-aircraft guns
4 × single 3-pdr (47 mm) saluting guns
4 × 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes

1915-1916 changes :
4 6-inch guns in stern removed, replaced by 2 guns on forecastle deck
1916 changes
2 6-inch guns on forecastle deck removed
From 1938 :

6-inch guns replaced by 20 x QF 4.5 inch dual purpose guns (10 x 2)
Armour: As built armour:
Belt: 13 inch tapering to 6 inch forward and 4 inch aft
Upper belt: 6 inches
Bulkheads: 6 inch and 4 inch forward; 6 in ch and 4 inch aft
15 inch Turrets: 11 inch sides; 13 inch faces; 4.25 inch top
Barbettes: 10 to 7 inches above belt; 6 to 4 inches below belt
6 inch guns: 6 inch
Conning tower: 11 inch side; 3 inch roof; 4 inch revolving hood
Conning tower tube: 6 inches to upper deck; 4 inches below
Torpedo conning tower: 6 inch
Torpedo conning tower tube: 4 inches to upper deck
As built protective plate:
Torpedo bulkheads: 1 inch + 1 inch
Magazine-end bulkheads: 1 inch + 1 inch (extra 1 inch layer added after Battle of Jutland)
Funnel uptakes: 1.5 inches
Forecastle: 1 inch over 6 inch battery
Upperdeck 2 to 1.25 inches from A–Y barbettes
Main deck: 1.25 inches at forward and aft ends
Middle deck: 1 inch (2 inches after Battle of Jutland)
Lower deck: 3 inches at extreme ends; 2.25 inches over steering gear; 1 inch forward

HMS Queen Elizabeth (pennant number 00) was the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of Dreadnought battleships,



World War One

She was launched on 16 October 1913 at Portsmouth, Hampshire, and entered service in January 1915 during World War I.

Queen Elizabeth at the Dardanelles 1915

While still undergoing testing in the Mediterranean, the Queen Elizabeth was sent to the Dardanelles for the Allied attempt to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war. The Queen Elizabeth was the only modern battleship to participate, though a number of battlecruisers and pre-dreadnought battleships were also involved. She became the flagship for the preliminary naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign, leading the first line of British battleships in the decisive battle of 18 March 1915. During the military invasion of the Gallipoli on 25 April, the Queen Elizabeth was the flagship for General Sir Ian Hamilton, commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. However, after the sinking of HMS Goliath by a Turkish torpedo boat on 12 May, the Queen Elizabeth was immediately withdrawn to a safer position.

She joined Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th Battle Squadron (consisting of Queen Elizabeth-class battleships) of the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow, but she missed the Battle of Jutland due to being in dock for maintenance.

Inter war period

With trunked funnels, circa 1936

Between the wars she was the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet from 1919 to 1924. The future First Sea Lord John H. D. Cunningham served aboard her as Master of the Fleet, in 1922. From 1924 she was the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. Following a refit, she rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet in 1927, went to the Atlantic Fleet in 1929, and later that year returned to the Mediterranean, where she served until 1937.[1] During the 1930s she participated in the non-intervention blockade during the Spanish Civil War.

She was rebuilt twice between the world wars. In 1926–1927 bulges were added, the funnels were trunked, four 4 inch guns were added, and a new foretop was installed. In her 1937-1941 rebuild she was fitted with a tower bridge in place of her old bridge; her 6 inch (152 mm) guns were removed and in their place received 20 4.5 in (114 mm) guns and several smaller anti-aircraft guns; horizontal armour was added; engines and boilers were replaced; and the elevation of her main battery was increased to 30 degrees. Deck armour was increased to 5 inches over the magazines, 2.5 inches over the machinery, while the new 4.5" guns had between 1 and 2 inches of armour.[2] She also received facilities for aircraft with a launching catapult amidships.[1] New fire control equipment was installed, including the HACS MkIV AA fire control system and the Admiralty Fire Control Table Mk VII for surface fire control of the main armament. This reconstruction was completed in January 1941, when Britain had been at war for over a year.

World War Two

HMS Queen Elizabeth in Alexandria harbour surrounded by anti-torpedo nets

When her reconstruction was complete, Queen Elizabeth rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet, covering the evacuation of Crete in June 1941.[1] She, along with HMS Valiant, was mined and seriously damaged by Italian frogmen in a daring attack on 19 December 1941 in shallow water in the harbour at Alexandria, Egypt, with the loss of nine men of her complement.

Although grounded on the harbour bottom, her decks were clear and the Italian crews were captured. For this reason, the British maintained the illusion of full operational status, in order to conceal the weak British position in the Mediterranean during the period the two ships were patched and refloated. However, this concealing action lasted through a few days only, whereas the Valiant went back into service after many months and the Queen Elizabeth after more than a year and half. Following completion of temporary repairs in June 1942, she steamed to the Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia in the United States. From September of that year until June 1943, she was comprehensively repaired.

Queen Elizabeth went to the Home Fleet in July 1943, and in December she left for the Eastern Fleet, which she joined in January 1945. She took part in raids on Japanese bases in Indonesia, and was placed in reserve in August 1945.

The vessel was paid off in June and scrapped in July 1948.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Lyon, Hugh; Moore, John E. The Encyclopedia of the World's Warships. London: Salamander Books. pp. 32–33. ISBN 051722478X. 
  2. ^ Raven and Roberts, British Battleships of WW2, p247
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Rob L. View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob L. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2013 at 11:27
Although initially withdrawn from Gallipoli on 12th May 1915, a book I have states that she was back in the area in around August-October 1915, is this correct?
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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2013 at 17:06

As far as I can make out she was part of the Grand Fleet from late May 1915 and she was in docks in the UK until June 1916 undergoing a refit when some of her armaments were changed.

She missed Jutland because of the refit.

Edited by Peter Trounson - 28 Sep 2013 at 21:55
To protect our history, we must secure it's future.
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