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

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- HMS Collingwood during the Great War -

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HMS Collingwood


HMS Collingwood

HMS Collingwood was a St. Vincent-class dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy. Her design was essentially similar to the design of the previous ships, the Bellerophon class. The Admiralty perceived in the planned building of German dreadnoughts a potential threat to the naval security of Great Britain, and saw the need to construct a significant modern battle fleet as fast as possible. Building to an existing concept clearly saved time. It was intended that there should be initially a core battle-fleet of eight similar battleships; HMS Dreadnought, three Bellerophon class, three St. Vincent class and one further unnamed ship, later authorised as HMS Neptune. Collingwood was ordered on 26 October 1907. She was laid down at Devonport dockyard on 3 February 1908; launched on 7 November 1908 and completed in May 1910. On 3 May 1910, she was commissioned at Portsmouth into the first division of the Home Fleet.

With other members of the fleet she took part in regular peacetime exercises and in February 1911 damaged her bottom plating on an uncharted rock off Ferrol, needing dockyard repair. On 24 June 1911 she was present at the Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead. On 1 May 1912 the first division was renamed the First Battle Squadron. She underwent an extensive refit in 1912–1913 and recommissioned on 21 April 1914 as flagship of the second-in-command, first battle squadron.

Between 17 and 20 July 1914, she took part in a test mobilisation and fleet review. There were more dreadnought-class battleships present at this review than at any review before or since. On 29 July 1914 she sailed to the war station of the fleet at Scapa Flow. She was based briefly (22 October to 3 November 1914) with the greater part of the fleet at Lough Swilly while the defences at Scapa were strengthened.

Collingwood was in the battle line at the Battle of Jutland, being the twentieth ship from the head of the line after deployment. She engaged a König-class dreadnought between 1854 and 1926 and claimed hits on her. During the charge of the German battle cruisers she engaged SMS Derfflinger.

Prince Albert (the future King George VI) was a sub-lieutenant commanding "A" turret and he is reported as having sat in the open on the turret roof to watch the action. The ship saw no other action during World War I except for routine patrolling and exercises but was present in the Southern line of the Grand Fleet at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918.

In March 1919 she was reduced to reserve, becoming for a short time a gunnery training ship at Portsmouth. In March 1921 she was placed on the disposal list; on 1 December she was sold to Stanlee Shipbreaking Company and in March 1922 she was towed to Dover and broken up.

John Doran

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HMS Collingwood

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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