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

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- HMS Erin during the Great War -

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HMS Erin


HMS Erin

HMS Erin was a dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy, built for an order placed by the Ottoman government with the British Vickers company, originally under the name of Reşad, but was renamed Reşadiye during construction. The Ottomans intended was to procure a battleship which was at least the equal of any other ship currently afloat or building. The design was based on that of King George V, but with some features of Iron Duke. The ship was laid down at Vickers shipyard on 6 December 1911, launched on 3 September 1913.

In 1914, when the First World War broke out the ship was nearly completed; at the orders of Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, she was seized for use by the Royal Navy and renamed Erin. She was completed in August 1914. She was taken over for the Royal Navy on 22 August 1914. She had a displacement of 27,500 long tons (27,940 t) (normal), 30,250 long tons (30,740 t) (full load) Length: 559 ft 6 in (170.54 m), Beam: 91 ft (27.7 m), Draught: 28 ft (8.5 m) Her power was 26,500 shp (19,800 kW), produced by 4 Parsons steam turbines fed by 15 Babcock boilers and driving 4 shafts, giving her a top speed of 21 kn (38.9 km/h) Her complement was 1,070 officers and ratings. Armament consisted of 10 × 13.5 in (343 mm) Mk VI guns (5x2), 16 × 6 in (152.4 mm) guns, 6 × 6-pounder 57 mm (2.2 in) guns, 2 × 3 in (76.2 mm) 20 cwt anti-aircraft guns and 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes. Her Armour Belt was 12 in (30.5 cm), Main armour was 9 in (22.9 cm) and Turrets 4–11 in (10.2–27.9 cm)

It has been claimed that the seizing of Erin and the Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel (renamed Agincourt) was instrumental in bringing the Ottoman Empire into the war on the side of the Central Powers, but this is disputed given that the Ottomans and Germans had concluded a secret alliance on 2 August. An attempt by the British to compensate the Ottomans for the loss of their battleships was ignored. On 5 September 1914, she joined the Grand Fleet at its principal war base at Scapa Flow in Orkney. She was briefly part of the Fourth Battle Squadron, being transferred to the Second Battle Squadron in October 1914.

On the 31st of May 1916, she was present at the Battle of Jutland. After the deployment of the battle fleet, the Second Battle Squadron formed the head of the line; its first division consisted of King George V (the flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir T. H. Martyn Jerram), Ajax, Centurion and Erin, which was therefore the fourth ship in the line. She remained with the Grand Fleet for the remainder of the war, seeing no further enemy action.

In October 1919, she was placed in Reserve at the Nore. From December 1919, she was used at Chatham Dockyard as a turret drill ship. In July and August 1920, she underwent a refit at Devonport Dockyard. It had been intended that under the terms of the Washington treaty of 1921 she should be retained as a training ship, but a change of plan meant that this rôle was filled by Thunderer, and in May 1922, she was placed on the disposal list. On 19 December 1922, she was sold to the shipbreaking firm of Cox and Danks, and in 1923 she was broken up at Queenborough.

John Doran

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HMS Erin

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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