HMS Queen (1902)

HMS Queen (1902)

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

Technical Description

HMS "Queen" was laid down at Devonport Dockyard on 12 March 1901 and launched by Queen Alexandra on 8 March 1902. She was completed in March 1904. [Burt, pp. 218, 227]

The "Formidable"s 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 "Majestic"s, but in design they really were enlarged "Canopus"es; 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 "Majestic"s with increased tonnage devoted higher speed and less to armour without sacrificing protection, in the "Formidable"s Krupp armour was used to improve protection without reducing the size of the ships. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36] The "Formidable"s thus were larger than the two preceding classes, and enjoyed both greater protection than the "Majestic"s and the higher speed of the "Canopus" class. The "Formidable"s' armour scheme was similar to that of the "Canopus"es, although, unlike in the "Canopus"es, the armour belt ran all the way to the stern; it was 215 feet (65.5 meters) long and 15 feet (4.8 meters) deep and 9 inches (229 mm) thick, tapering at the stem to 3 inches (76.2 mm) thick and 12 feet (3.7 meters) deep and at the stern to 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) thick and 8 feet (2.4 meters) deep. The main battery turrets had Krupp armour, 10 inches (254 mm) on their sides and 8 inches (203 mm) on their backs. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36]

The "Formidable"s improved on the main and secondary armament of previous classes, being upgunned from 35-calibre to 40-calibre long 12-inch (305-mm) guns and from 40-calibre to 45-caliber long 6-inch (152-mm) guns. The 12-inch 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. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36]

The "Formidable"s had an improved hull form that made them handier at high speeds than the "Majestic"s. They also had inward-turning screws, which allowed reduced fuel consumption and slightly higher speeds than in preious classes but at the expense of less maneuverability at low speeds. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36]

After the first three, there was a change in design for the last five ships, starting with HMS|London|1899|2; as a result they are often considered to constitute the "London" class, [For example, "Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 37, and Burt, pp. 175-194, refer to the "London"s as a separate class while Gibbons, p. 151, lists them all as part of the "Formidable" class. Burt refers to the "London"s as the "Bulwark" class.] but also can be viewed as in effect a sub-class of the "Formidable" class. The main difference in the "London"s was thinner deck armour and some other detail changes to the armor scheme. and the consequent lower displacement. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 37]

"Queen" and her sister ship HMS|Prince of Wales|1902|2 were the last two "London"-class ships built. They were identical to the first three "London"s 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. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 37] "Queen" and "Prince of Wales" were laid down after the "Duncan" class battleships that succeeded the "Formidable"s and "London"s in order to create with their six sisters a tactical group of eight ships, and were completed after the "Duncan"s as well. They generally are considered part of the "Formidable" [Gibbons, p. 151] or "London" class ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 37] , but the difference in the mounting of their 12-pounder guns, their lower displacement, and their later construction than the "Duncan"s lead some authors to viewed them as constituting a "Queen" class separate from the "Formidable" and "London" classes. [Burt, pp. 215-228]

Due to service problems with the water tube Belleville boilers the original plans were changed during construction, and HMS "Queen" was fitted with Babcock and 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 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

HMS "Queen" was commissioned on 7 April 1904 at Devonport Dockyard for service with the Mediterranean Fleet. [Burt, p. 227] She returned to the United Kingdom and paid off in April 1906, then recommissioned on 8 May 1906 to return to the Mediterranean. [Burt, p. 218] 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. [Burt, p. 227]

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. [Burt, p. 227]

On 15 May 1912, "Queen" transferred to the 3rd Battle Squadron, First Fleet. ["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] . 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. [Burt, p. 227]

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. [Burt, p. 227-228] 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. [Burt, p. 170]

on 25 April 1915. [Burt, p. 228]

Along with the battleships HMS "Implacable", HMS "London", and HMS "Prince of Wales", [Burt, p. 172] "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. [Burt, p. 228]

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 (152-mm) guns had been removed by April 1917, and all of her 12-inch (305-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 12-inch turrets were left aboard. "Queen" became flagship of British Naval Forces, Taranto, serving as such until February 1918. [Burt, p. 228]

"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. [Burt, p. 228]

"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. [Burt, p. 228]



* Burt, R. A. "British Battleships 1889-1904". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0870210610.
* Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds. "Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905". New York: Mayflower Books, Inc., 1979. ISBN 0831703024.
* 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 0870219073.

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