You are not logged in.
HMS King Edward VII in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- HMS King Edward VII during the Great War -

Great War>Ships
skip to content

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.

If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.

    Site Home

    Great War


    Add Stories & Photos


    Allied Army

    Day by Day

    War in the Air

    Prisoners of War

    The Royal Navy

    Training for War

    The Battles

    Those Who Served


    Civilian Service

    Women at War

    Life on Home Front

    Central Powers Army

    Central Powers' Navy


    World War Two


    Add Stories & Photos

    Time Capsule


    Help & FAQ's

    Our Facebook Page




    Contact us

    Great War Books



World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

HMS King Edward VII


HMS King Edward VII

HMS King Edward VII was laid down at Devonport Dockyard on 8 March 1902. She was launched by King Edward VII on 23 July 1903, and completed in February 1905. Named after King Edward VII, was the lead ship of her class of Royal Navy pre-dreadnought battleships. King Edward VII consented to having King Edward VII carry his name on the condition that she always serve as a flagship. The Royal Navy honoured this wish throughout her career. She was commissioned in 1905, and entered service with the Atlantic Fleet as Flagship, Commander-in-chief (by request of the King, she was always to serve as a Flagship). Rendered obsolete in 1906 with the commissioning of the revolutionary Dreadnought, she underwent a refit in 1907, following which she was assigned to the Channel Fleet and then to the Home Fleet. In 1912, she, together with her sister ships, formed the 3rd Battle Squadron.

At the outbreak of the Great War, the 3rd Battle Squadron was assigned to the Grand Fleet and based at Rosyth, with King Edward VII continuing her service as squadron flagship. The squadron was used to supplement the Grand Fleet's cruisers on the Northern Patrol. On 2 November 1914, the squadron was detached to reinforce the Channel Fleet and was rebased at Portland. The squadron returned to the Grand Fleet on 13 November, although King Edward VII remained behind temporarily, not returning to the Grand Fleet until 30 November 1914.

King Edward VII served in the Grand Fleet until her loss in January 1916. During sweeps by the fleet, she and her sisters often steamed at the heads of divisions of the far more valuable dreadnoughts, where they could protect the dreadnoughts by watching for mines or by being the first to strike them.

On 6 January 1916, King Edward VII having transferred her flag temporarily departed Scapa Flow at 07:12 on a voyage around the northern coast of Scotland to Belfast, where she was scheduled to undergo a refit. At 1047, she struck a mine that had been laid by the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Mwe off Cape Wrath. The explosion occurred under the starboard engine room, and King Edward VII listed 8 to starboard. Her commanding officer Captain Maclachlan ordered her helm put over to starboard to close the coast and beach the ship if necessary, but the helm jammed hard to starboard and the engine rooms quickly flooded, stopping the engines. Counterflooding reduced her list to 5.

Signals to the passing collier Princess Melita induced her to close with King Edward VII and attempt to tow the battleship; soon, flotilla leader Kempfenfelt also arrived and joined the tow attempt. Towing began at 14:15, but King Edward VII settled deeper in the water and took on a 15 list in a rising sea and strong winds and proved unmanageable. Princess Melita's towline parted at 1440, after which Captain Maclachlan ordered Kempfenfelt to slip her tow as well. With flooding continuing and darkness approaching, Captain Maclachlan ordered King Edward VII abandoned. The destroyer Musketeer came alongside at 14:45, and she and destroyers Fortune and Marne, took off the crew with the loss of only one life (a man fell between the battleship and one of the rescue vessels), the last man off being Captain Maclachlan, who boarded destroyer Nessus at 16:10. Fortune, Marne, and Musketeer departed to take the battleship's crew to port, while Nessus stayed on the scene until 1720 with tugs that had arrived to assist. After Nessus departed, the tugs continued to stand by, and saw King Edward VII capsize at 2010 and sink around nine hours after the explosion.

At the time it was not clear whether King Edward VII had hit a naval mine or a been torpedoed. The presence of the minefield was determined from an examination of German records after the war.

Divers first visited the wreck of King Edward VII, in 377 feet (115 meters) of water, in April 1997.

John Doran

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Want to know more about HMS King Edward VII?

There are:1 articles tagged HMS King Edward VII available in our Library

  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Those known to have served in

HMS King Edward VII

during the Great War 1914-1918.

    This page is new, as yet no names have been submitted.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

The 1st of September 2017 is The Wartime Memories Project's 18th Birthday. If you would like to send us a present, a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web.

Looking for help with Family History Research?   

Please see Family History FAQ's

We are unable to provide individual research free of charge, but do offer a paid service at competitive rates, the small profit from these services will be put towards the costs of keeping this website running. For more information please see our Research Services Leaflet

Can you help?

The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors.

If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.

If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.


  • The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website

    This website has been running for 18 years and receives in excess of a million hits per month. The website and our group will continue long after the 2014-18 events are over. We hope that people will continue to support us by submitting material and stories in addition to submitting to the new websites set up for the anniversary.

  • We are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy. We currently have a huge backlog of stories and historical documents which need to be edited or transcribed for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to the Great War. If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted.

We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates, add a comment or ask a question.

If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.

Sep 2017

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 235634 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.

Want to know more about HMS King Edward VII?

There are:1 articles tagged HMS King Edward VII available in our Library

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

Items from the Home Front Archive

Do you have any photos, postcards, documents or memorabilia relating to this unit? Please add to this archive.


    Suggest a link

    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.

    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library

    Website Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
    - All Rights Reserved