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

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HMS Queen



1st July 1914 HMS Queen  

HMS Queen

HMS Queen, member of Formidable Class - Queen subclass of pre-dreadnought Battleships.

The Royal Navy's Formidable-class battleships were an eight-ship class of pre-dreadnoughts designed by Sir William White and built in the late 1890s. The class is often further divided into a separate London class, and the London class sometimes is divided further into a separate Queen class.

Queen subclass

The last two London class ships to be built, Prince of Wales and Queen, were identical to the other Londons except that they had open 12-pounder gun batteries mounted in the open on the upper deck amidships and had a lower displacement. Queen and Prince of Wales were laid down after the Duncan-class battleships that succeeded the Formidables and Londons, and were completed after the Duncans as well. They are generally considered part of the Formidable or London class, but the difference in the mounting of their 12-pounder guns, their lower displacement, and their later construction than the Duncans lead some authors to view them as constituting a Queen class separate from the Formidable and London classes.

The last of the ships to commission, Prince of Wales, was the last battleship for which Director of Naval Construction Sir William Henry White had sole design responsibility. She also was the last of the 29 battleships of the Majestic, Canopus, Formidable, London, Duncan, and Queen classes, commissioned between 1895 and 1904, which had all been based on the single, standard Majestic design and reached their final development in Queen and Prince of Wales.

Like all pre-dreadnoughts, the Formidables, Londons, and Queens were outclassed by the dreadnought battleships that began to appear in 1906. However, they continued in front-line duties through the early part of World War I.

HMS Queen was laid down at Devonport Dockyard on 12 March 1901. Lady Charles Scott (wife of Admiral Lord Charles Scott), Lady Ernestine Edgcumbe, Mrs. Jackson (wife of Rear-Admiral T. S. Jackson), and Mrs. Champness (wife of Chief Constructor of Devonport Dockyard H. B. Champness) took part in the ceremony. She was launched by Queen Alexandra on 8 March 1902. She was completed in March 1904.

Pre-World War I

HMS Queen was commissioned on 7 April 1904 at Devonport Dockyard for service with the Mediterranean Fleet. She returned to the United Kingdom and paid off in April 1906, then recommissioned on 8 May 1906 to return to the Mediterranean. She refitted at Malta in 19061907 for duty as a flagship, and on 20 March 1907 became Fleet Flagship, Vice Admiral. Her second commission for Mediterranean Fleet service ended when she paid off at Devonport on 14 December 1908. On 15 December 1908, Queen recommissioned for service with the Atlantic Fleet. She collided with the Greek merchant steamer SS Dafni at Dover on 1 February 1909, suffering no serious damage, and underwent a refit at Devonport in 19101911. On 15 May 1912, Queen transferred to the 3rd Battle Squadron, First Fleet. In April 1914 she became 2nd Flagship, Rear Admiral, in the 5th Battle Squadron, Second Fleet, and was assigned duties as a gunnery training ship at Portsmouth.

World War I

When World War I broke out in August 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was based at Portland and assigned to the Channel Fleet. Queen returned to full commission and continued as second flagship of the squadron, which was engaged in patrolling the English Channel. She was attached temporarily to the Dover Patrol on 17 October 1914 for bombardment duties along the coast of Belgium in support of Allied troops fighting at the front, and on 3 November 1914 was detached to support the East Coast Patrol during the Gorleston Raid, then returned to the 5th Battle Squadron. The squadron transferred from Portland to Sheerness on 14 November 1914 to guard against a possible German invasion of the United Kingdom, but transferred back to Portland on 30 December 1914.

In March 1915, Queen transferred to the Dardanelles to participate in the Dardanelles Campaign, departing England on 13 March 1915 and arriving at Lemnos to join the British Dardanelles Squadron on 23 March 1915. She served as Flagship, Rear Admiral, 2nd Squadron, and supported the ANZAC landings at Gaba Tepe on 25 April 1915. Along with the battleships Implacable, London, and Prince of Wales, Queen transferred to the Adriatic Sea on 22 May 1915 to reinforce the Italian Navy against the Austro-Hungarian Navy when Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary. She arrived at her new base, Taranto, Italy, on 27 May 1915. From December 1916 to February 1917, Queen was refitted for service as a depot ship for the personnel of the Adriatic anti-submarine net barrage patrol in the Strait of Otranto. Most of her crew returned to the United Kingdom, leaving only a care-and-maintenance crew behind, and she was gradually disarmed as her guns were allocated to other duties. Most of her 6-inch (150 mm)) guns had been removed by April 1917, and all of her 12-inch (300 mm) guns had been put ashore by October 1917, where they were turned over to the Italian Army for use in repelling attacks by the Austro-Hungarian Army, although the turrets were left aboard. Queen became flagship of British Naval Forces, Taranto, serving as such until February 1918.

Post-World War I

Queen left Taranto and returned to the United Kingdom in April 1919 and was placed on the disposal list at Chatham Dockyard in May 1919. She won a temporary reprieve from the scrapper's torch in June 1919 when she was removed from the list and attached to the Pembroke Establishment to serve as an accommodation ship.

Disposal

Queen was placed on the sale list in March 1920 and sold for scrapping on 4 September 1920. She arrived at Birkenhead on 25 November 1920 to be lightened so that she could reach her scrapping berth at Preston, then arrived at Preston for scrapping on 5 August 1921.

John Doran


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