- HMS Venerable during the Great War -
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HMS Venerable at Malta 1915
HMS Venerable (1902 - 1922) pre-dreadnought battleship.She was laid down at Chatham Dockyard on 2 January 1899, launched on 2 November 1899, and completed in November 1902. She was scrapped in 1922.
After the first three Formidables, there was a change in design for the last five ships, starting with London; as a result they are often considered to constitute the London class, but also can be viewed as in effect a sub-class of the Formidable class. The main difference in the Londons was thinner deck armour, some other detail changes to the armour scheme and the consequent lower displacement.
Pre-World War I
After many delays due to difficulties with her machinery contractors, HMS Venerable commissioned on 12 November 1902 for service as Second Flagship, Rear Admiral, Mediterranean Fleet. During her Mediterranean service, she ran aground outside Algiers harbor, suffering slight hull damage, and underwent a refit at Malta in 1906–1907. On 12 August 1907 she was relieved as flagship by battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and her Mediterranean service ended on 6 January 1908, when she paid off at Chatham Dockyard.
Venerable recommissioned on 7 January 1908 for Channel Fleet service. She paid off at Chatham for an extensive refit in February 1909.
The refit complete, Venerable recommissioned on 19 October 1909 for service in the Atlantic Fleet. On 13 May 1912 she transferred to the Second Home Fleet at the Nore and went into the commissioned reserve with a nucleus crew as part of the 5th Battle Squadron.
World War I
When World War I broke out in August 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was assigned to the Channel Fleet, based at Portland. Returning to full commission, Venerable patrolled the English Channel, and on 25 August 1914 covered the movement of the Portsmouth Marine Battalion to Ostend, Belgium,
In October 1914, Venerable was attached to the Dover Patrol for bombardment duties in support of Allied troops fighting on the front, and bombarded German positions along the Belgian coast between Westende and Lombardsijde from 27 October 1914 to 30 October 1914. She also served as flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Dover Patrol, Rear Admiral Sir Horace Hood, from 27 October 1914 to 29 October 1914. On 3 November 1914, she was detached to support the East Coast Patrol during the Gorleston Raid, then returned to the 5th Battle Squadron.
The 5th Battle Squadron transferred from Portland to Sheerness on 14 November 1914 to guard against a possible German invasion of the United Kingdom. The squadron returned to Portland on 30 December 1914. Venerable again bombarded German positions near Westende on 11 March 1915 and 10 May 1915.
On 12 May 1915, Venerable was ordered to the Dardanelles to replace battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Dardanelles Campaign. From 14 August 1915 to 21 August 1915, she supported Allied attacks on Ottoman Turkish positions at Suvla Bay.
In October 1915, Venerable arrived at Gibraltar for a refit. Emerging from the refit in December 1915, she transferred to the Adriatic Sea to reinforce the Italian Navy against the Austro-Hungarian Navy, serving there until December 1916.
Venerable then returned to the United Kingdom, arriving at Portsmouth Dockyard on 19 December 1916, where she was laid up. In February and March 1918 she was refitted there as a depot ship, and she moved to Portland on 27 March 1918 to serve as a depot ship for minelaying trawlers. She was attached to the Northern Patrol through August 1918, then to the Southern Patrol from September to December 1918.
Venerable paid off into care and maintenance at Portland at the end of December 1918. She was placed on the disposal list there in May 1919 and on the sale list on 4 February 1920. She was sold to Stanlee Shipbreaking Company for scrapping on 4 June 1920, resold to Slough Trading Company in 1922, then resold again to a German firm in the middle of 1922. She was towed to Germany for scrapping.John Doran
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