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

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- HMS Thunderer during the Great War -

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HMS Thunderer


HMS Thunderer was the third Orion-class battleship built for the Royal Navy and was the last vessel to be constructed by Thames Iron Works. She was the last and largest warship ever built on the River Thames, and after her completion her builders declared bankruptcy. She was ordered in 1909, laid down on 13 April 1910, launched on 1 February 1911 and commissioned in May 1912 at a cost of 1,892,82 Displacement was 22,000 long tons (22,000 t) Length: 581 ft (177 m), Beam: 88 ft 7 in (27.00 m), Draught: 24 ft 6 in (7.47 m). Her Propulsion consisted of Steam turbines fed by 18 boilers, propelling 4 shafts, with 27,000 hp (20 MW), giving a top speed of 21 kn (39 km/h) Crew Complement:= was 750 to 1,100 officers and ratings. Her armament consisted of 10 x BL 13.5-inch (342.9 mm) Mk V guns, 16 x BL 4-inch (101.6 mm) Mk VII guns and 3 x 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes (submerged)

On commissioning in June 1912 Thunderer and her three Orion-class sisters Orion, Conqueror and Monarch formed the 2nd Division of the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet and she remained with her sister ships throughout.

In December 1914, she was refitted. She was present with her squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, firing 37 13.5" (343 mm) shells. Thunderer first came to action on the 31st Of May 1916 at 18:30 when indistinct ranges of 22 to 18,000 yards were obtained on some German ships. Due to poor visibility from smoke she did not open fire at this time, it must be remembered Thunderer was at the rear of the 2nd division and her visibility would be affected by the smoke of the three leading ships. At 1915 Thunderer sighted two enemy battleships visible between the Royal Oak and the Iron Duke. She fired two salvoes of Common Percussion Capped shell at the leading ship; no hits were made and the second salvo was actually fired over the top of the Iron Duke. Thunderer did not sight the enemy again, however during the German fleet's run to the south after they broke off the engagement the Moltke sighted four large ships at 2240; these were the four Orion-class ships, so she had a lucky escape that the British lookouts did not see her. In total, Thunderer fired just 37 rounds of 13.5 all being Common Percussion Capped, she did not use her 4 in batteries at all. She suffered no damage. Post-Jutland, the Orion class ships spent their time on routine fleet manoeuvres.

John Doran

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HMS Thunderer

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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