H.M.S. Bellerophon (1907)

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H.M.S. Bellerophon (1907)
Pendant Number: 72 (1914)
11 (Jan 1918)
63 (Apr 1918)[1]
Builder: Portsmouth Royal Dockyard[2]
Laid down: 3 Dec, 1906[3]
Launched: 27 Jul, 1907[4]
Commissioned: 20 Feb, 1909
Sold: 8 Nov, 1921[5]
Fate: Scrapped

H.M.S. Bellerophon was a dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy. She was the lead ship of the Bellerophon class, and the fourth Royal Navy vessel to bear the name of the mythic Greek hero. Built at the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth and completed in 1909, Bellerophon first joined the First Division of the Home Fleet (from 1912 the First Battle Squadron of the Home Fleets), and shortly before the outbreak of the First World War in August, 1914, she joined the Fourth Battle Squadron, where she remained until 1919. She was present at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May, 1916, where she fired sixty-two 12-inch rounds and received no damage. At the end of the war she was placed in the Reserve Fleet and sold for scrap in 1921, before being taken to the breakers two years later.

Design

Due to the scaling down of coal bunkerage, she had a modest range of 5,720 miles at 10 knots. Her four Parsons single reduction steam turbines were constructed by The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company.

During the war she was fitted with a Dreyer Table Mark I and the Vickers Director system for her main battery.

Navigational Equipment

The ship was one of seven which tested Willis and Robinson Electric Revolution Telegraphs. Testing was completed in late 1913.[6]

Radio

At the end of 1909, she was to receive one of eleven Short Distance Radio Sets, to be installed at her next refit behind armour near the fore bridge, intended to supplant flag signaling.[7] In mid-1913, this gear was redesignated as Type 3.[8]

Performance

Her tactical turning diameter was 445 yards at full speed (worst of the class), with the rudder being put over in 8 seconds.[9]

Service

Laid down the month H.M.S. Dreadnought was commissioned and largely mimicking her design, Bellerophon was the name ship of her three-ship class and was the first to be completed.

She was launched on Saturday, 27 July, 1907, by Princess Henry of Battenberg. The ship went down the ways to the sound of "God Save the King" and "Rule Britannia."[10]

The cost of building was £1,763,491, making her the most expensive of her class. She was laid down on December 06, 1906, launched on July 27, 1907 and commissioned into the fleet in February 20, 1909. On trials she made 21.25 knots, a speed lower than that of her sisters due to inferior shp; 25,061 shp as opposed to Superb's 27,407 shp and Temeraire's 26,966 shp.

Upon completion she joined the First Division of the Home Fleet. On May 26, 1911, she was in collision with the battle cruiser Inflexible. Bellerophon received damage whilst Inflexible took bow damage which put her in the dockyard until November. In the 1913 Battle Practice the ship came 7th out of fifteen dreadnoughts and battle cruisers with a score of 550. During December she visited with the First Battle Squadron the ports of Toulon, Gibraltar, Salamis and Barcelona. Upon the commissioning of Iron Duke on 10 March, 1914 into the First Battle Squadron, Bellerophon was transferred to the Fourth Battle Squadron, slated to join it on 8 April, 1914.[11]

While at Cromarty on 5 June, 1914, she suffered a coal gas explosion which injured four stokers.

On the journey to the fleet anchorage at Scapa Flow, Bellerophon collided with the vessel S.S. St Clair on 27 August off the Orkney Islands and sustained no major damage. In May, 1915, she headed to Devonport Royal Dockyard for a refit.

Jutland

Main article: H.M.S. Bellerophon at the Battle of Jutland

At the Battle of Jutland the vessel was under the command of Captain Edward F. Bruen in the Second Division (commanded by Rear-Admiral Alexander L. Duff) of the Fourth Battle Squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee, Bart. The Fourth Battle Squadron deployed behind the Second Battle Squadron in line ahead in the main part of the battle, and Bellerophon fired sixty-two 12 inch rounds without being hit in return.

Late War

After the battle she sweeped with the other vessels of the Grand Fleet regularly. Between June and September, 1917 she served as the flagship of the Second-in-Command of the Fourth Battle Squadron, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Roger J. B. Keyes and then Rear-Admiral Douglas R. L. Nicholson. Unlike her sister ships, she was not deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean in October, 1918.

Placed in reserve in 1919 at Sheerness as part of the Nore Reserve, she and her sister ship Superb were used as Gunnery School (Turret Drill) ships. On 20 September, 1919, Bellerophon was ordered to be paid off after receiving her annual refit in Devonport, and she indeed paid off five days later.[12] On 20 May, orders were given that her mechanical dough-kneaders were to be removed; a sure sign of disposal. She was sold to the Slough Trading Company on 8 November, 1921, and departed Britain for breakers in Germany on 14 September, 1922.

Alterations

In October 1914, the ship was to be given 5 Pattern 1582 Electric Radiators to warm cabins whose stoves could not be used for heating them.[13]

Directors

Bellerophon was fitted with a director after December, 1915 but prior to the Battle of Jutland,[14] seemingly, very soon, as it appears that her director was not wired up fully prior to the battle, and she fought without using it.[15]

Spotting

In late 1913, the ship landed a Pattern 740 Zeiss stereo spotting telescope Mark II at Portsmouth in order to take on a Ross Pattern 873 model for a three-month comparative evaluation.[16]

Captains

Dates of appointment are provided when known.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 32.
  2. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 32.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 22.
  4. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 32.
  5. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 32.
  6. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 607 of 24 Oct, 1913.
  7. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1909. Wireless Appendix, p. 25.
  8. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 306 of 20 June, 1913.
  9. Burt. British Battleships of World War One. p. 69.
  10. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 29 July, 1907. Issue 38397, col D, p. 8.
  11. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 284.
  12. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 731.
  13. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 512 of 16 Oct, 1914.
  14. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. pp. 9-11.
  15. Fawcett & Hooper. The Fighting at Jutland. p. 181.
  16. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 662 of 21 Nov, 1913.
  17. Evan-Thomas Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 105.
  18. Evan-Thomas Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 105.
  19. Napier Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 440.
  20. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 283.
  21. Napier Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 440.
  22. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  23. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  24. Bruen Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 418.
  25. Bruen Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 418.
  26. Watson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 272.
  27. Watson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 272.
  28. Molteno Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 260.
  29. Molteno Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 260.
  30. Mitchell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 134.
  31. Mitchell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 134.
  32. The Navy List. (August, 1919). p. 739.
  33. Bowring Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 317.
  34. Bowring Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 317.

Bibliography


Bellerophon Class Dreadnought
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