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HMS Bellerophon in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- HMS Bellerophon during the Great War -

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HMS Bellerophon


HMS Bellerophon

HMS Bellerophon was the first of the class of three dreadnought battleships in the Bellerophon class. The cost of building was 1,763,491, making her the most expensive of her class. She was laid down built Portsmouth Dockyard on 6th of December 1906, launched 27 July 1907 and commissioned into the fleet on 20 February 1909. On trials she made 21.25 knots, a speed lower than that of her sisters due to inferior shp; she developed 25,061 shp, as opposed to HMS Superb's 27,407 shp and HMS Temeraire's 26,966 shp. Upon completion she joined the 1st Battle Squadron of the Home Fleet. On 26 May 1911 she was in a collision with the battlecruiser HMS Inflexible. Bellerophon received damage whilst Inflexible took bow damage which put her in the dockyard until November.

On the 1st of August 1914, after the Fleet Mobilisation and the formation of the Grand Fleet, she joined the 4th Battle Squadron. On the 27th of August during the journey to the fleet anchorage at Scapa Flow, Bellerophon collided with the vessel SS St Clair off the Orkney Islands but sustained no major damage. In May 1915, she headed to the Royal Dockyard, Devonport for a refit.

At the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, the vessel was under the command of Captain Edward F. Bruen in the Fourth Division (commanded by Rear Admiral Alexander Duff) of the 4th Battle Squadron under Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee. The 4th Battle Squadron deployed behind the 2nd Battle Squadron in line ahead during the main part of the battle, and Bellerophon fired 62 12 inch rounds without receiving one hit. After the battle she swept with the other vessels of the Grand Fleet regularly. Between June and September 1917 she served as the flagship of the 2ic of the 4th Battle Squadron, carrying the flag of Rear Admiral Roger Keyes and then Rear Admiral Douglas Nicholson. Unlike her sister ships she was not deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron in October 1918.

Placed in reserve in 1919 by dint of their less powerful main armament (in comparison to the later super-dreadnought-type ships of the Orion, King George V, Iron Duke, Queen Elizabeth, and Revenge classes), she and sister ship Superb were used as Gunnery Schools (Turret Drills); her sister Temeraire became a cadet training ship (seagoing). With a view towards both the relative obsolescence of the class and the need for compliance with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty that was shortly to be signed by Great Britain, HMS Bellerophon was sold to the breakers in November 1921 and broken up in 1923. The ship in profile can be seen on the ten-dollar note from the Royal Bank of Canada issued in 1913.

John Doran

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Those known to have served in

HMS Bellerophon

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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