HMS Queen Elizabeth (1913)
Queen Elizabeth in the 1930s
|Name:||HMS Queen Elizabeth|
|Laid down:||21 October 1912|
|Launched:||16 October 1913|
|Commissioned:||22 December 1914|
|Struck:||7 July 1948|
|Identification:||Pennant number: 00|
|Fate:||Sold to Arnott Young and scrapped in Dalmuir, Scotland|
|Class & type:||Queen Elizabeth-class battleship|
|Beam:||90 feet 6 inches|
30 feet 6 inches–30 feet 11.5 inches (mean)33 feet 10 inches–34 feet 2.5 inches (deep)
|Speed:||24 knots (design)|
|Crew:||As of 1913: 1124|
HMS Queen Elizabeth was the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of dreadnought battleships, named in honour of Elizabeth I of England. She saw service in both World Wars. She and the other super-dreadnought battleships were the first of their type to be powered by oil instead of coal.
First World War
While still undergoing testing in the Mediterranean, the Queen Elizabeth was sent to the Dardanelles for the Allied attempt to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war. The Queen Elizabeth was the only modern battleship to participate, though a number of battlecruisers and pre-dreadnought battleships were also involved. She became the flagship for the preliminary naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign, leading the first line of British battleships in the battle of 18 March 1915. During the attempted military invasion of the Gallipoli on 25 April, the Queen Elizabeth was the flagship for General Sir Ian Hamilton, commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. However, after the sinking of HMS Goliath by a Turkish destroyer on 12 May, the Queen Elizabeth was immediately withdrawn to a safer position.
She joined Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th Battle Squadron (consisting of Queen Elizabeth-class battleships) of the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow, but she missed the Battle of Jutland due to being in dock for maintenance.
Inter war period
Between the wars she was the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet from 1919 to 1924. The future First Sea Lord John H. D. Cunningham served aboard her as Master of the Fleet, in 1922. From 1924 she was the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. Following a refit, she rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet in 1927, went to the Atlantic Fleet in 1929, and later that year returned to the Mediterranean, where she served until 1937. During the 1930s she participated in the non-intervention blockade during the Spanish Civil War.
She was rebuilt twice between the world wars; in 1926–1927 bulges were added, the funnels were trunked, four 4 inch guns were added, and a new foretop was installed. In her 1937–1941 rebuild she was fitted with a tower bridge in place of her old bridge; her 6 inch (152 mm) guns were removed and replaced by 20 (10 x 2) 4.5 in (114 mm) guns and several smaller anti-aircraft guns; horizontal armour was added; engines and boilers were replaced; and the elevation of her main battery was increased to 30 degrees. Deck armour was increased to 5 inches over the magazines, 2.5 inches over the machinery, while the new 4.5" guns had between 1 and 2 inches of armour. She also received facilities for aircraft with a launching catapult amidships. New fire control equipment was installed, including the HACS MkIV AA fire control system and the Admiralty Fire Control Table Mk VII for surface fire control of the main armament. This reconstruction was completed in January 1941, when Britain had been at war for over a year.
Second World War
When her reconstruction was complete, Queen Elizabeth rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet, covering the evacuation of Crete in June 1941. She, along with HMS Valiant, was mined and seriously damaged by Italian frogmen (Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat), in an attack on 19 December 1941 in shallow water in the harbour at Alexandria, Egypt, with the loss of nine men of her complement.
Although badly damaged, with her draught increased to 41.8 feet (12.5m), Queen Elizabeth was not grounded on the harbour bottom, her decks were clear and the Italian crews were captured. For this reason, the British maintained the illusion of full operational status, to conceal the weak British position in the Mediterranean during the period the two ships were patched and refloated. However, this concealing action lasted through a few days only, whereas the Valiant went back into service after many months and the Queen Elizabeth after more than a year and half. Following completion of temporary repairs in an Alexandria drydock in June 1942, she steamed through the Suez Canal and around Africa to the Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia in the United States. From September of that year until June 1943, she was comprehensively repaired.
Queen Elizabeth went to the Home Fleet in July 1943, and in December she left for the Eastern Fleet, which she joined in January 1945. She took part in raids on Japanese bases in Indonesia, and was placed in reserve in August 1945.
The vessel was paid off in June and scrapped in July 1948.
- Lyon, Hugh; Moore, John E. The Encyclopedia of the World's Warships. London: Salamander Books. pp. 32–33. ISBN 0-517-22478-X.
- Raven and Roberts, British Battleships of WW2, p247
- Burt, R. A. (2012). British Battleships 1919–1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 9781591140528, pp.120-121: "Prior to the attack Queen Elizabeth had a draught of 33ft 5in forward and 32ft 7in aft; after the explosion: draught 41ft 10in forward, 33ft 10in aft." Queen Elizabeth was moored in approximately 48ft (8 fathoms) of water.
- Brown, David (2002). The Royal Navy and the Mediterranean: November 1940 - December 1941, Volume II. Routledge, ISBN 0-7146-5205-9, p. 225.
- "Norman Ough's HMS Queen Elizabeth". Royal Museums Greenwich.
- Royal Navy History HMS Queen Elizabeth loading cordite and shells for firing.
- Maritimequest HMS Queen Elizabeth Photo Gallery
- HMS Queen Elizabeth at navalhistories
- IWM Interview with Geoffrey Norman, who commanded HMS Queen Elizabeth from 1943 to 1945
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