HMS Queen (1902)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Queen.
HMS Queen
HMS Queen
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Queen
Builder: Devonport Dockyard
Laid down: 12 March 1901
Launched: 8 March 1902
Completed: March 1904
Commissioned: 7 April 1904
Decommissioned: November 1919
Fate: Depot ship 1917; Sold for breaking up 4 September 1920
General characteristics
Class and type: Queen-class pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 15,000 tons (approx)
Length: 431 ft 9 in (131.60 m)
Beam: 75 ft (22.9 m)
Draught: 25 ft 4 in (7.72 m)
  • Cylindrical boilers
  • 2 × vertical triple expansion engines
  • 2 shafts
  • 15,500 ihp (11.6 megawatts)
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h)
Range: 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 747
  • Belt 9 inches (229 mm)
  • Bulkheads 12 -9 inches (305 – 229 mm)
  • Barbettes: 12 inches (305 mm),
  • Turrets: 10 -8 inches (254 – 203 mm)
  • Casemates: 6 inches (152 mm)
  • Conning tower: 14 inches (356 mm)
  • Deck: 1 to 2.5 (25.4 – 64 mm)

HMS Queen was a London or Queen class battleship commissioned in 1904, a sub-class of the Formidable class battleships of the British Royal Navy. It was the tenth Royal Navy ship to bear the name.

Construction and design[edit]

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[1]

She was launched and named by Queen Alexandra on 8 March 1902, in the presence of King Edward VII. It was the first major public event attended by the couple since the end of the mourning period after his accession the previous year.[2] She was completed in March 1904.[3]

The Formidables were similar in appearance to and had the same armament as the Majestic and Canopus classes that preceded them. The Formidables are often described as improved Majestics, but in design they really were enlarged Canopuses; while the Canopus class took advantage of the greater strength of the Krupp armour employed in their construction to allow the ships to remain the same size as the Majestics with increased tonnage devoted higher speed and less to armour without sacrificing protection, in the Formidables Krupp armour was used to improve protection without reducing the size of the ships.[4] The Formidables thus were larger than the two preceding classes, and enjoyed both greater protection than the Majestics and the higher speed of the Canopus class. The Formidables' armour scheme was similar to that of the Canopuses, although, unlike in the Canopuses, the armour belt ran all the way to the stern; it was 215 feet (66 m) long, 15 feet (4.6 m) deep and 9 inches (230 mm) thick, tapering at the stem to 3 inches (76 mm) thick and 12 feet (3.7 m) deep and at the stern to 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick and 8 feet (2.4 m) deep. The main battery turrets had Krupp armour, 10 inches (250 mm) on their sides and 8 inches (200 mm) on their backs.[4]

The Formidables improved on the main and secondary armament of previous classes, being upgunned from 35-calibre to 40-calibre long 12-inch (300 mm) guns and from 40-calibre to 45-calibre long 6-inch (150 mm) guns. The 12-inch (300 mm) guns could be loaded at any bearing and elevation, and beneath the turrets the ships had a split hoist with a working chamber beneath the guns that reduced the chance of a cordite fire spreading from the turret to the shell and powder handling rooms and to the magazines.[4]

The Formidables had an improved hull form that made them handier at high speeds than the Majestics. They also had inward-turning propellers, which allowed reduced fuel consumption and slightly higher speeds than in previous classes but at the expense of less manoeuvrability at low speeds.[4]

After the first three, 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,[5] 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 and some other detail changes to the armour scheme, and the consequent lower displacement.[6]

Queen and her sister ship Prince of Wales were the last two London-class ships built. They were identical to the first three Londons except that they had open 12-pounder gun batteries mounted in the open on the upper deck amidships, had a lower displacement, and had a few minor details of their design changed.[6] Queen and Prince of Wales were laid down after the Duncan class battleships that succeeded the Formidables and Londons to create with their six sisters a tactical group of eight ships, and were completed after the Duncans as well. They generally are considered part of the Formidable[7] or London class,[6] 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.[8]

Due to service problems with the water tube Belleville boilers the original plans were changed during construction, and HMS Queen was fitted with Babcock & Wilcox cylindrical boilers instead. Her nearly identical sister ship Prince of Wales was fitted with the problematic water tube Belleville boilers.

Queen and Prince of Wales were the last battleships for which Sir William Henry White had sole design responsibility. Like all predreadnoughts, they were outclassed by the dreadnought battleships that began to appear in 1906, although they took on some front-line duties early in World War I.

Operational history[edit]

Pre-World War I[edit]

HMS Queen was commissioned on 7 April 1904 at Devonport Dockyard for service with the Mediterranean Fleet.[9] She returned to the United Kingdom and paid off in April 1906, then recommissioned on 8 May 1906 to return to the Mediterranean.[10] She refitted at Malta in 1906–1907 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.[9] 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 1910–1911.[9] On 15 May 1912, Queen transferred to the 3rd Battle Squadron, First Fleet.[11] 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.[9]

World War I[edit]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Ernest Henry Cooper (1891–1970), in the uniform of HMS Queen. He was a stoker aboard Queen from 5 June 1914 to 18 March 1919 and was present aboard her during the Dardanelles campaign.

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.[14] Along with the battleships Implacable, London, and Prince of Wales,[15] 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.[14] 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.[14]

Post-World War I[edit]

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.[14]


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.[14]


  1. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36401). London. 13 March 1901. p. 7. 
  2. ^ "Royal launches and H.M.S. Queen". The Times (36711). London. 10 March 1902. p. 6. 
  3. ^ Burt, pp. 218, 227
  4. ^ a b c d Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, p. 36
  5. ^ For example, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, p. 37, and Burt, pp. 175–194, refer to the Londons as a separate class while Gibbons, p. 151, lists them all as part of the Formidable class. Burt refers to the Londons as the Bulwark class.
  6. ^ a b c Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, p. 37
  7. ^ Gibbons, p. 151
  8. ^ Burt, pp. 215–228
  9. ^ a b c d Burt, p. 227
  10. ^ Burt, p. 218
  11. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921, p. 8, although Burt, p. 227, says this transfer was to the Second Home Fleet
  12. ^ Burt, p. 227-228
  13. ^ Burt, p. 170
  14. ^ a b c d e Burt, p. 228
  15. ^ Burt, p. 172


  • Burt, R. A. British Battleships 1889–1904. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-061-0.
  • Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. New York: Mayflower Books, Inc., 1979. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Gibbons, Tony. The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers: A Technical Directory of All the World's Capital Ships From 1860 to the Present Day. London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983.
  • Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-907-3.

External links[edit]