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HMS Prince George in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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HMS Prince George



1st July 1914 HMS Prince George  

HMS Prince George

HMS Prince George. (1897 - 1921) (Briefly renamed Victorious 2 during ww1 whilst acting as destroyer depot ship alongside her sister ship HMS Victorious)

Majestic Class - pre-dreadnought Battleships.

The Majestic class was a class of pre-dreadnought battleships, built under the Spencer Programme (named after the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer) of 8 December 1893, that sought to counter the growing naval strength of France and the Russian Empire. With nine units commissioned, they were the largest class of battleships in history in terms of the number of member ships. This class was designed by Sir William White.

  • Ships in Majestic Class
  • Caesar
  • Hannibal
  • Illustrious
  • Jupiter
  • Magnificent
  • Majestic
  • Mars
  • Prince George
  • Victorious

When the lead ship, Majestic, was launched in 1895, at 421 ft (128 m) long and with a full-load displacement of 16,000 tons, she was the largest battleship ever built at the time. The Majestics were considered good seaboats with an easy roll and good steamers, although they suffered from high fuel consumption. They began life as coal-burners, but HMS Mars in 19051906 became the first battleship converted to oil-burning, and the rest were similarly converted by 19071908. The class was the last to have side-by-side funnels, with successor battleship classes having funnels in a line.

Except for Caesar, Hannibal, and Illustrious, they had a new design in which the bridge was mounted around the base of the foremast behind the conning tower to prevent a battle-damaged bridge from collapsing around the tower. Although the earlier ships had pear-shaped barbettes and fixed loading positions for the main guns, Caesar and Illustrious had circular barbettes and all-around loading for their main guns, which established the pattern for future classes.

Although Harvey armour had been used on battleship HMS Renown of the Centurion class, in the Majestics it was used in an entire class of British battleships for the first time. It allowed equal protection with less cost in weight compared to previous types of armour, allowing the Majestic class to have a deeper and lighter belt than previous battleships without any loss in protection.

The Majestics were given a new gun, the 46-ton BL 12 inch (305 mm) Mk VIII /35 gun. They were the first new British battleships to mount a 12 inch main battery since the 1880s. The new gun was a significant improvement on the 13.5 inch (343 mm) gun which had been fitted on the Admiral and Royal Sovereign classes that preceded the Majestics and was lighter. This saving in weight allowed the Majestic class to carry a secondary battery of twelve 6 inch (152 mm) 40-calibre guns, a larger secondary armament than in previous classes.

The Majestics were to be a benchmark for successor pre-dreadnoughts. While the preceding Royal Sovereign-class battleships had revolutionized and stabilised British battleship design by introducing the high-freeboard battleship with four main-battery guns in twin mountings in barbettes fore and aft, it was the Majestics that settled on the 12 inch (305 mm) main battery and began the practice of mounting armoured gunhouses over the barbettes; these gunhouses, although very different from the old-style, heavy, circular gun turrets that preceded them, would themselves become known as "turrets" and became the standard on warships worldwide.

More directly, the Majestic design itself also was adapted by the Imperial Japanese Navy for its own Shikishima-class pre-dreadnoughts, as well as Mikasa, which was largely based on the Shikishimas.

World War 1 Service

Upon the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Prince George returned to full commission on 8 August and briefly was the squadron's first flagship, until relieved in this role by the battleship Vengeance on 15 August. On 25 August, Prince George covered the passage of the Plymouth Marine Division to Ostend, Belgium, and in September she covered the movement of the British Expeditionary Force from England to France. Prince George's Channel Fleet service ended in February 1915 when she transferred to the Dardanelles for service in the Dardanelles campaign[4] as a "mine-bumper". She arrived at Tenedos on 1 March 1915, which would be her base until February 1916. She took part in attacks on Ottoman Turkish forts covering the Turkish Straits on 5 and 18 March. On 3 May, while firing on Turkish batteries, she took a 6-inch (152-mm) hit below the waterline, and returned to Malta for repairs.

Prince George was back in action on 12 and 13 July, supporting French troops with gunfire support from off of Krithia and Achi Baba. On 18 and 19 December she covered the evacuation of Allied troops from Suvla Bay, and the evacuation from West Beach on 8 and 9 January 1916; she was hit by a torpedo off Cape Helles on 9 January, but it failed to explode and she suffered no damage. She was at Salonika in January and February.[4] Prince George left the Mediterranean at the end of February and paid off at Chatham Dockyard in March to provide crews for antisubmarine vessels. She remained at Chatham in a care and maintenance status through February 1918, serving as an auxiliary sickbay and in other subsidiary duties, then served as an accommodation ship there from March 1916 to May 1918.

In May 1918, Prince George began a refit a Chatham for conversion to a destroyer depot ship. She was renamed Victorious II in September 1918 and emerged from refit in October 1918. She was then attached to repair ship (her sister ship and former battleship) Victorious at Scapa Flow, where she served as a depot ship to destroyers of the Grand Fleet. She reverted to the name Prince George in February 1919, and in March transferred to Sheerness to serve as depot ship to destroyers based on the Medway. Prince George was placed on the disposal list at Sheerness on 21 February 1920, and was sold for scrapping to a British firm on 22 September 1921. She was resold to a German firm in December 1921, and departed for Germany for scrapping. During the voyage, Prince George was wrecked on 30 December 1921 off Camperduin, the Netherlands. She subsequently was stripped of valuable materials and left as a breakwater, remaining there to this day.

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