Turkish ships had just been completed and commissioned, one at
Armstrong's and the other at Vickers', and were on the eve of
sailing when war was declared. As both vessels were subject to
preemption in the event of war, the Government promptly took
them over and added them to the British fleet under the names
of " Agincourt " and " Erin " respectively.
Of the two Chilean ships building in England at Armstrong's,
the " Almirante Latorre " (10 i4-in. guns and 16 6-in. guns) was
the further advanced, and she was taken over and renamed
" Canada." She was completed in Sept. 1915. The " Almirante
Cochrane " was taken over in 1918 for conversion into an air-
craft carrier, being renamed " Eagle."
There were thus at the outbreak of war the following com-
pleted capital ships on the offensive British list:
" Erin " and " Agincourt " (purchased) .... 2
" Iron Duke " class . . . . . . . .2'
" King George V." class 4
" Orion " class 4
" Colossus " class 2
" Neptune " i
" St. Vincent " class 3
" Bellerophon " class 3
" Dreadnought " i
Battleships " . .22
" Queen Mary " i
" Lion " and " Princess Royal " 2
" Indefatigable," " Australia," and " New Zealand " . 3
" Invincible," " Inflexible," " Indomitable " . . .3
Battle cruisers 9
The total armament comprised in the above completed ships was
as follows: 134 13'5-in. guns; 162 12-in.; 60 6-in.; 360 4-in., of
which 18 were anti-aircraft 3 ; 62 3-in. and 12-pdr., of which 38 were
anti-aircraft ; 46 6-pdr. and 3-pounder.
Of the older battleships, from the "Majestic" class (1895)
onwards, the British navy possessed:
" Lord Nelson " class 2
" King Edward VII." class 8
" Swiftsure " class 2
" Duncan " class 5
" Formidable " class .2
" Canopus " class 6
" Majestic " class 9
These older ships, whose speeds ranged from 17 knots to igj
knots, comprised a total armament of 152 1 2-in.; 8 lo-in. ; 52 9'2-in.;
28 7'5-in.; 4^16 6-in.; 28 14-pdr., and 530 12-pounder. They were, of
course, not in a position to meet modern " Dreadnoughts " on equal
terms, but they compared favourably in offensive and defensive
qualities with contemporary German warships, while being numeri-
cally in considerable superiority. They all rendered useful service
during the war.
The old " Revenge," completed in 1894 (renamed "Redoubt-
able " in 1914), the last available vessel of the old " Royal Sov-
ereign " class, was commissioned and rendered useful service in
the Belgian coast bombardments of 1914 and 1915.
In addition to the " Tiger " and the two remaining ships of the
" Iron Duke " class which were approaching completion, there
were five " Queen Elizabeths " in a more or less advanced state
of construction, and five " Royal Sovereigns " laid down eight to
ten months previously. The " Queen Elizabeth," being the far-
thest advanced, was pushed on with all possible speed, and by
Jan. 1915 she was sufficiently completed to be commissioned and
sent out to the Mediterranean, where she took part in the bom-
bardment of the Dardanelles forts.
With regard to the design of British capital ships in the past, a
most serious limitation had been the restricted width of the graving-
docks in Great Britain. This involved keeping the extreme beam
of the ships within about 90 feet. Had wider docks been available,
thus making it possible to have had a greater beam, the designs on
the same length and draught could have embodied more fighting
qualities, such as armour, armament, greater stability in case of
damage, and improved under-water protection. This condition sub-
sisted until the completion of the two big floating docks for Ports-
mouth 4 and the Medway, the two locks at Portsmouth, and
the large graving-docks at Rosyth ; but the shortage of wide docks
was a serious handicap during the war, and it was necessary to
make use of the Gladstone Dock at Liverpool and the dock at
1 Two more nearly complete.
1 One more (" Tiger ") nearly complete.
3 The anti-aircraft armament was not provided until after the
outbreak of war, when such provision became necessary.
* Portsmouth floating dock was transferred to Invergordon in
1914, and the Medway Lock to the Tyne in 1915.
SHIP AND SHIPBUILDING
FIG. 14. H.M.S. Ceres.
FIG. 16. H.M.S. Danae.
- a \
FIG. 1 8. H.M.S. Hawkin
FIG. 29. H.M. Submarine Mi.
FIG. 22. H.M.S. Shakespeare.
FIG. 23. H.M.S. Torch.
FIG. 27. H.M. Submarine
FIG. 26. H.M.S. Primula.
FIG. 28. H.M. Submarine La.
FIG. 30. H.M.S. Argus.
SHIP AND SHIPBUILDING
Even in 1921 there was a great need for more British floating docks
of the largest description. This was more especially apparent on
the Clyde, where there was no dock, either floating or graving,
which could take capital ships.
The German ships were not handicapped in this way, and most
of their later capital ships had widths of between 90 and 100 ft.,
which enabled them to carry more armour, and as far as it is possible
to judge, they stood a good deal of battering without showing any
lack of stability, while they proved to be good gun platforms, at any
rate for work in the North Sea.
Immediately after war was declared great pressure was exer-
cised to complete the ships then building for the British navy,
and to order such other vessels as could be designed and finished
in the shortest possible time. The view held in the early days
that the war would only last a year necessarily coloured all Uiat
was done in the way of naval design and construction. Generally
speaking, therefore, the construction of new battleships was
ruled out. With the acquisition of the" Agincourt,"" Erin "and
" Canada," which were building in England for foreign Govern-
ments in private yards, and in view of the certain early comple-
tion of the remaining two vessels of the " Iron Duke " class,
shortly to be followed by the vessels of the " Queen Elizabeth "
class, Great Britain had a great preponderance of heavier capital
ships, or Dreadnoughts, over the enemy; and as this class of
ship takes longer to design and construct than any other, it was
obviously a prudent course to concentrate on such types as were
specially needed and could be built more quickly.
It should also be remembered that the menace of the subma-
rine, which was from the first beginning to loom as a vital factor
in the war, pointed in the direction of large numbers of patrol
boats, torpedo-boat destroyers, and smaller types of vessels to
deal with this menace. No time, therefore, was lost in placing
orders for additional British destroyers, submarines, light cruis-
ers, sloops, mine-sweepers, patrol boats, etc.; and it very soon
became clear that the Royal dockyards and the regular warship-
building contractors would not be able to cope with the mass of
new construction that was required. Accordingly, orders for
many of the last-named classes were placed with builders who
had hitherto only been accustomed to mercantile work. With
the arrangements that were made, however, for superintending
and overseeing the work by the Admiralty, with the assistance of
the registration societies Lloyd's and the British Corporation
very little difficulty was experienced in getting the work satis-
factorily carried out by the firms new to this class of shipbuilding,
and success attended the arrangements made.
Table II. gives the number and tonnage of vessels added to the
British navy during the war. The total number (including other
classes besides those in the table) was 1,513, of approximately
2,356,000 tons displacement.
TABLE II. British Warships Completed and Lost Between Aug. 4
1914 and Nov. II 1918.
Battle cruisers ....
Light cruisers ....
Flotilla leaders ....
Torpedo-boat destroyers .
P. and P. C. boats
Paddle mine-sweepers .
Twin screw mine-sweepers .
Patrol gunboats ....
Oilers and petrol carriers .
Whalers, trawlers and drifters .
Battleships. To take ships added to the British navy during the
war in the proper order, it is necessary to begin with battleships of
the " Iron Duke " class. The particulars of Dreadnoughts built
after the " Hercules " are given in Table III.
The " Iron Duke " class (see fig. i), of which there were four,
followed the " King George V." class, both in sequence of time and
in general characteristics. The same main armament, similarly
arranged, with the five turrets all on the centre line of the ship,
was adhered to, the chief difference in the " Iron Dukes " being
that instead of the 4-in. guns forming the secondary armament, a
battery of 12 6-in. guns protected by 6-in. armour was finally
decided upon. The protection also was somewhat increased over
that of the " King George V.," involving an increase in dimensions
over any previous British battleships. Two of the class were laid
down in Jan. 1912 and two in May, the four vessels being completed
,in March, June, Oct. and Nov. 1914, so that two were ready just
TABLE III. Particulars of British Battleships.
(length over all)
" Orion "
" Thunderer "
545 ft. (581 ft.)
88 ft. 6 in.
27 ft. 6 in.
" Conqueror "
1 6 4-in.
" Monarch "
3 2i-in. T. T.
" King George V."
" Centurion "
27 ft. 6 in.
" Ajax "
" Audacious "
3 2 1 -in. T. T.
" Iron Duke "
" Marlborough ".
580 ft. (622 ft. 9 in.)
" Emperor of
4 2 1 -in. T. T.
" Benbow " .
" Queen Eliza-
beth " .
" Warspite "
" Barham "
90 ft. 6 in.
28 ft. 9 in.
" Valiant " .
" Malaya " .
4 2i-in. T. T.
" Royal Sov-
" Royal Oak " .
" Revenge ".
88 ft. 6 in.
28 ft. 6 in.
" Resolution "
102 ft. with
4 2 1 -in. T. T.
" Ramillies "
" Agincourt "
14 !2-in.20 6-in
3 2i-in. T. T.
" Erin "
525 ft. (559 ft. 6 in.)
91 ft. 7 in.
28 ft. 6 in.
4 2i-in. T. T.
" Canada " .
625 ft. (661 ft.)
28 ft. 6 in.
10 i4-in.i6 6-in
4 2l-in. T. T.
SHIP AND SHIPBUILDING
before, and two shortly after, the declaration of war. Four torpedo-
tubes were carried in lieu of three in the previous ships, and after
the battle of Jutland a considerable amount of additional protec-
tion was added over the magazines a course which was practically
adopted in all British ships at that time as a precautionary measure.
Only in one case was any portion of a shell found to have pene-
trated below the protective deck; but with the ever-increasing
range at which actions were fought, and the increasing penetration
of improved shell, the danger of the decks being inadequate had to
be considered. Special interest is attached to this class, as the " Iron
Duke " was the fleet flagship during the whole time of Adml. Jelli-
coe's appointment as commander-in-chief, and she was in action at
Jutland with her sister ships.
The " Marlborough," it should be specially noted, was the only
British battleship of the post-" Dreadnought " type struck by a
torpedo during the whole war, and the value of the longitudinal pro-
tective bulkhead and of the subdivision and arrangements adopted
was clearly shown, as the ship was able to remain in the line, no
vital damage being done. She was afterwards safely docked in the
Tyne and repaired. This is specially interesting, as many of the
older ships, some with centre-line bulkheads and with other arrange-
ments not so good for dealing with under-water damage, were sunk
in the Dardanelles and elsewhere by enemy torpedoes.
The next type to note is the " Queen Elizabeth " class of the
1912-3 programme (see figs. 2 and 3). Three of these vessels, after
taking a little more than two years to build, were completed in
Jan., March and Oct. 1915. The other two were completed in
Feb. 1916. A very considerable departure was made in the " Queen
Elizabeth " from any previous " Dreadnoughts," the 15-in. gun
taking the place of the 13'5-in., and the designed speed being
increased by 4 knots over previous " Dreadnoughts," whilst the
secondary armament was similar to that of the " Iron Dukes,"
consisting of 6-in. guns. Their very great increase of speed involved
more than doubling the H.P. of the " Iron Duke " to give the 25
knots desired, and the great increase in the weight of the 15-in.
guns and mountings over the 13-5-in. meant accepting only four
turrets with eight 15-in. guns, as against five turrets with 10 13-5-in.
guns in the previous ships, and even so the armament was consid-
erably heavier. The further great departure from previous practice
in battleships was the adoption of oil only as the fuel. This necessi-
tated special arrangements of the oil bunkers, many of which were
30 ft. in height, and required special construction to withstand the
head of oil. The armour and protection were fully maintained as
compared with previous ships, but all these additions involved
increasing the displacement to 27,500 tons.
In the battle of Jutland the Fifth Battle Squadron, consisting of
four vessels of this class, were heavily engaged for several hours,
and although they inflicted and sustained heavy punishment, espe-
cially in the case of " Warspite," all the vessels gave a splendid
account of themselves and were not seriously damaged or put out
of action. After the battle of Jutland additional protection was
added to the magazines. The oil fuel proved a complete success in
the stress of war conditions, it being found easier to keep up a high
sustained speed, with the smaller complement carried.
It should be noted that Sir Philip Watts was responsible as
Director of Naval Construction for the design of the " Iron Duke"
and " Queen Elizabeth " classes, thus completing a series of 27
battleships of the " Dreadnought " type designed and built during
his tenure of office at the Admiralty in addition to the large num-
ber of battle cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers and other vessels
built during that period truly a great record.
Following the " Queen Elizabeths " came the " Royal Sov-
ereign " class of the 1913-4 programme (see figs. 4 and 5). These
were the first capital ships built by the Admiralty to Sir Eustace
d'Eyncourt's designs, he having succeeded Sir P. Watts in Aug.
1912. These vessels were to have the same armament as the " Queen
Elizabeth," but as there was some question about the supply of oil
fuel when the design was discussed, it was decided to revert to coal,
ana also to accept the slower speed of 21 knots, which would make
them more homogeneous with other " Dreadnoughts." Subse-
quently, when the vessels were in process of construction and the
great advantages of the use of oil fuel with other types of warships
became apparent, it was decided to change from coal to oil, so enab-
ling increased power, giving a speed of about 23 knots, to be obtained.
When fully laden with about 4,000 tons of oil, the " Revenge "
attained 22 knots, which was equal to about 23 knots in the designed
load condition. A somewhat different disposition of deck and side
armour was also adopted by which the thick protective deck at the
centre of the ship was brought up to the level of the main deck;
this portion of the protective deck being thus well above the level
of the deep load line, and giving more protected freeboard in the
damaged condition than on any of our earlier battleships. This
was an important feature, as a somewhat reduced metacentric
height was decided upon for these ships with a view to making them
steadier gun-platforms than some of the ships with more initial sta-
bility. The vessels were provided with good under-water protec-
tion, which was later reinforced by adding outside bulge protec-
tion. This was done to " Ramillies " before her launch and to the
other vessels of the class after they had been in commission some
time. The addition of " bulges " was suggested first by Sir E.
d'Eyncourt originally for the Edgar " class, for which this form of
protection was added in 1914 after experiments had been made.
The results proved the efficiency of the bulges.
The three battleships taken over by Great Britain from foreign
Governments were of different types. H.M.S. "Agincourt" (see
fig. 6) was commenced in Sept. 1911 for the Brazilian Government,
from designs got out under Mr. Perrett at Elswick, but modified
by Sir E. d'Eyncourt in Rio Janeiro, where he was then represent-
ing the Armstrong firm, before his appointment at the Admiralty.
The Brazilian authorities, after much discussion, decided upon 14
12-in. guns, twin-mounted in seven turrets. This involved a ship
with a length of 632 ft. between perpendiculars and 670 ft.^pver all.
The main armour was somewhat lighter than that of British " Dread-
noughts " and in other respects, such as fuelling facilities, the ship
hardly came up to the British standard. However, she was well
reported on, and the 14 big guns were liked by the gunnery officers,
who preferred a large number of guns for their salvoes. Certain
alterations had to be made to fit her for the British service, but in
the main she was left as designed.
It should be mentioned that in 1914 the " Agincourt " was trans-
ferred by Brazil to Turkey and she was on the point of leaving the
Tyne for Constantinople when, on the declaration of war, she was
taken over by the British Government.
The design of the " Erin " was settled by three firms, Armstrong's,
Vickers and John Brown, in consultation with the Turkish authori-
ties, for whom the vessel was built, being commenced in 1911. In
general characteristics she more nearly followed the " King George
V." class than any other British ship, except that the secondary
armament consisted of 6-in. guns, as in the " Iron Duke " class.
This vessel also was taken over by the British Government in Aug.
1914, and certain modifications made to fit her for the British
service. In respect of quantity of fuel carried, the " Erin " was
below the standard adopted for vessels designed for the British navy.
SHIP AND SHIPBUILDING
The third ship taken over from a foreign Government was ordered
and commenced in 1911 at Elswick from designs prepared at Els-
wick by Mr. Perrett for the Chilean Government. There were two
. ships of the class, the " Almirante Latorre " (which became H.M.S.
" Canada "), and the sister ship the "Almirante Cochrane" (now
H.M.S. " Eagle "). The " Canada " had 10 14-in. guns, twin-
mounted, in the centre line, and was originally designed to have
22 4-7-in. as the secondary battery, but this was subsequently
altered to 16 6-in. guns. The protection again was somewhat lighter
than that of the British " Dreadnoughts," but the speed was rather
higher, viz. 22 f knots, and as a matter of fact this speed was con-
siderably exceeded on trial. The ship was taken over by the British
Admiralty in Sept. 1914, and completed, after certain necessary
modifications, a year later. Her fuel consisted of coal, with the
addition of a certain amount of oil, as in most British battleships.
In 1920 the " Canada " was returned to the Chilean Government
under her original name.
The sister ship, " Almirante Cochrane," remained in an uncom-
pleted condition on the stocks at Elswick till early in 1918, when
she was taken over by the British Government and rearranged as
an aircraft-carrying ship. She was renamed H.M.S. " Eagle,"
and as a compliment to the U. S. navy, she was, at the request of
the Admiralty, launched by Mrs. Page, the wife of the then Ameri-
can Ambassador to Great Britain.
Battle Cruisers. As regards the British battle cruisers later than
the " Princess Royal," particulars are given in Table IV.
The "Tiger" was included in the 1911-2 programme and fol-
lowed on the " Queen Mary," the general features of the two ships
being much alike, the chief differences being that the secondary
armament of " Tiger " is 12 6-in. guns in lieu of 16 4-in. in " Queen
Mary," and " Tiger " has two submerged torpedo-rooms, whereas
" Queen Mary " had only one.
The " Tiger " was laid down at Clydebank on June 12 1912, and
completed in Oct. 1914. In common with so many ships completed
during the war, the early commissioning and joining of the fleet
was so imperative that no exhaustive trials in deep water were car-
ried out, but the runs made on the Polperro course showed that the
designed power of 108,000 S.H.P. could be obtained with little diffi-
culty, corresponding to a speed of 30 knots. In the early stages of
the design the oil-fuel capacity was very largely increased from
1,000 tons originally intended to a maximum oil stowage of 3,480
tons, in addition to the 3,320 tons of coal.
At the commencement of the war two additional battleships of
slightly modified " Royal Sovereign " type, viz. the " Renown "
and " Repulse " (see figs. 7 and 8), had been laid down, but in view
of the long time it would take to complete these ships, the construc-
tion was not pressed forward. Immediately after the battle of the
Falkland Is., in which the British battle cruisers " Invincible " and
" Inflexible," in company with other smaller cruisers, annihilated
Von Spec's fleet, the value of the battle cruiser type became very
apparent, and on the initiative of Lord Fisher, then First Sea Lord,
it was decided to stop the construction of " Renown " and " Re-
pulse " as battleships and to alter the design completely into that
of very fast battle cruisers.
Instructions to redesign these ships were given about Christmas
1914. The new design had to give a speed of 32 knots, with the
largest number of big guns possible for such a vessel, and with pro-
tection similar to that of the " Invincible " class. A modified form
of bulge was adopted in these ships to give additional under-water
protection against torpedo attack. After the war further addi-
tions were made to the bulge protection and to the armour.
The general outline design was completed and approved in ten
days, and 6 15-in. guns adopted as the main armament, the second-
ary armament consisting of 17 4-in. guns, of which 15 were mounted
in five specially designed triple-gun mountings. It was necessary
that the ships should be completed at the earliest possible date,
and the "Tiger's " machinery was repeated with some additional
boilers, with oil as the fuel, thus increasing the power to 120,000,
which, with the extra length given to the ship, made it possible to
obtain the desired speed of 32 knots.
Lord Fisher also insisted that the ships must be completed within
15 months an abnormally short time for an entirely new design
this period of completion was not realized, although not greatly