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

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- HMS Zealandia during the Great War -

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HMS Zealandia

1st July 1914 HMS Zealandia  

HMS Zealandia formerly New Zealand

HMS New Zealand was ordered under the 1902/03 Naval Estimates and built at Portsmouth Dockyard. She was laid down on 9 February 1903, launched on 4 February 1904, and completed in June 1905

HMS New Zealand was a King Edward VII-class battleship of the Royal Navy. Like all ships of the class (apart from HMS King Edward VII) she was named after an important part of the British Empire, namely New Zealand. She was renamed HMS Zealandia in 1911, the only Royal Navy ship to have carried this name. This was to allow the later Battle Cruiser HMS New Zealand to carry her own name.

Early career

HMS New Zealand commissioned on 11 July 1905 at Devonport Dockyard for service in the Atlantic Fleet. She underwent a refit at Gibraltar from October to December 1906, and transferred to the Channel Fleet on 4 March 1907. Under a fleet reorganisation on 24 March 1909, the Channel Fleet became the 2nd Division, Home Fleet, and New Zealand became a Home Fleet unit in that division.

To release her name for use by the new battlecruiser HMS New Zealand, which had been presented to the Royal Navy by the government of New Zealand, it became necessary to rename New Zealand in 1911. At first the name Caledonia, the Roman name for northern Great Britain, was favoured, but this met opposition in New Zealand. Eventually, the name Zealandia, a personification of New Zealand, was agreed upon, and New Zealand was renamed Zealandia on 1 December 1911.

Under a fleet reorganisation in May 1912, Zealandia and all seven of her sisters of the King Edward VII class (Africa, Britannia, Commonwealth, Dominion, Hibernia, Hindustan, and King Edward VII) were assigned to form the 3rd Battle Squadron, assigned to the First Fleet, Home Fleet. The squadron was detached to the Mediterranean in November 1912 because of the First Balkan War (October 1912 May 1913); it arrived at Malta on 27 November 1912 and subsequently participated in a blockade by an international force of Montenegro and in an occupation of Scutari. The squadron returned to the United Kingdom in 1913 and rejoined the Home Fleet on 27 June 1913

World War I

Upon the outbreak of World War I, the 3rd Battle Squadron was assigned to the Grand Fleet and based at Rosyth. It was used to supplement the Grand Fleet's cruisers on the Northern Patrol; during this duty, Zealandia rammed a German submarine on 10 September 1914. On 2 November 1914, the squadron was detached to reinforce the Channel Fleet and was rebased at Portland. It returned to the Grand Fleet on 13 November 1914. During sweeps by the fleet, she and her sister ships often steamed at the heads of divisions of the far more valuable dreadnoughts, where they could protect the dreadnoughts by watching for mines or by being the first to strike them.

On 6 November 1915, a division of the 3rd Battle Squadron consisting of battleships Hibernia (the flagship), Russell, Albemarle, and Zealandia was detached from the Grand Fleet to serve in the Dardanelles Campaign. Albemarle had to return for repairs assisted by Hibernia and accompanied by Zealandia after suffering severe damage on the first night of the outbound voyage, but the other three ships pressed on and arrived at the Dardanelles on 14 December 1915. In late January 1916, Zealandia and Hibernia left the eastern Mediterranean to return to the United Kingdom, arriving at Portsmouth Dockyard on 6 February 1916. Zealandia underwent a refit there that lasted until March 1916, then rejoined the 3rd Battle Squadron and the Grand Fleet on 26 March 1916.

On 29 April 1916, the 3rd Battle Squadron was rebased at Sheerness, and on 3 May 1916 it was separated from the Grand Fleet, being transferred to the Nore Command. Zealandia remained there with the squadron until September 1917, undergoing a refit at Chatham Dockyard from December 1916 to June 1917.

On 20 September 1917, Zealandia left the 3rd Battle Squadron and paid off into reserve at Portsmouth Dockyard. While in reserve, she was refitted between January and September 1918 for use as a gunnery training ship, receiving much of the upgraded fire control equipment that her sister ship Commonwealth did, although not torpedo bulges. Although she never recommissioned or entered service as a gunnery training ship, she was included in many experiments, including the use of various types of fire control equipment. She was used as an accommodation ship at Portsmouth beginning in 1919.


Zealandia was placed on the disposal list on 2 June 1919, and on 8 November 1921 she was sold for scrapping to Stanlee Shipbreaking Company. She was resold to Slough Trading Company, then resold again to German scrappers, and left Portsmouth on 23 November 1923 for scrapping in Germany

John Doran

1st July 1914 HMS New Zealand (1905)  HMS New Zealand, King Edward VII Class pre-dreadnought battleship.

for details see HMS Zealandia - She was renamed to allow gift of new Battle Cruiser paid by New Zealand government to be named as HMS New Zealand.

John Doran

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HMS Zealandia

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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