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HMS Royal Oak in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- HMS Royal Oak during the Great War -

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HMS Royal Oak


HMS Royal Oak

HMS Royal Oak, a Revenge Class Battleship was built at HM Dockyard, Devonport, laid down on 15 January 1914, launched on 17 November 1914 and commissioned on 1st May 1916 at a final cost of 2,468,269. She was the eighth vessel to bear the name Royal Oak, replacing a pre-dreadnought scrapped in 1914. She had a displacement of 29,150 tons standard, 33,500 tons full load. Length: 624 ft (190 m), Beam: 88.5 ft (27.0 m), Draught: 28.6 ft (8.7 m) Her propulsion was provided by Steam turbines, driving 4 shafts, fed by 24 boilers, giving 26,500 shp (20 MW) with a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/h) and a range of 5,000 nmi (9,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h). Her Ships Complement was 9971,150 officers and ratings. Armament consisted of 8 15 in /42 guns (381 mm), 14 BL 6-inch (152.4 mm) Mk XII guns, 2 QF 3-inch (76.20 mm) 20 cwt anti-aircraft guns, 4 47 mm guns and 4 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (submerged). Her Armour Belt was 13 in (330 mm) amidships; 46 in (102152 mm) ends. Deck: up to 5 in (127 mm). Turrets: 13 in (330 mm) faces; 5 in (127 mm) sides; 5 in (127 mm) roof. Barbettes: up to 10 in (254 mm) and Citadel: 11 in (279 mm)

Upon completion Royal Oak was assigned to the Third Division of the Fourth Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet and engaged the German High Seas Fleet in the Battle of Jutland. Under the command of Captain Crawford Maclachlan, Royal Oak left Scapa Flow on the evening of 30 May in the company of the battleships Superb, Canada and Admiral Jellicoe's flagship Iron Duke. The next day's indecisive battle saw Royal Oak fire a total of thirty-eight 15-inch and eighty-four 6-inch shells, claiming three hits on the battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger, putting one of its turrets out of action, and a hit on the cruiser SMS Wiesbaden. She avoided damage herself, despite being straddled by shellfire on one occasion. Following the battle, Royal Oak was reassigned to the First Battle Squadron.

On 5th November 1918 the final week of the First World War she was anchored off Burntisland in the Firth of Forth accompanied by the seaplane tender Campania and the light battlecruiser Glorious. A sudden Force 10 squall caused Campania to drag her anchor, collide with Royal Oak and then with Glorious. Both capital ships suffered only minor damage; Campania, however, was holed by her initial collision and sank five hours later without loss of life.

At the end of the First World War, Royal Oak escorted several vessels of the surrendering German High Seas Fleet from the Firth of Forth to their internment in Scapa Flow and was present at a ceremony in Pentland Firth to greet other ships as they followed. She was sunk at Scapa Flow in October 1939.

John Doran

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HMS Royal Oak

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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