H.M.S. Thunderer (1911)

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H.M.S. Thunderer (1911)
Pendant Number: 32 (1914)
A3 (Jan 1918)
36 (Apr 1918)[1]
Builder: Thames Iron Works, Millwall[2]
Ordered: 1909 Programme[3]
Laid down: 13 Apr, 1910[4]
Launched: 1 Feb, 1911[5]
Commissioned: 15 Jun, 1912
Sold: 17 Dec, 1926[6]
Fate: Scrapped

H.M.S. Thunderer was a dreadnought battleship of the Orion Class in the Royal Navy. Her class was the first of the so-called super-dreadnought battleships armed with the heavier calibre 13.5-inch guns.

Construction

The Mayor of Poplar, J. E. Le Manquais, along with Members of Parliament (including John H. Bethell) made numerous deputations for a vessel of the new programme to be built on the Thames. Thames Iron Works Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Canning-town was invited to tender for one of the ships. In early December the tender was provisionally accepted. In February, 1910 the contract for the majority of the steel to be used in the Thunderer was awarded to Messrs. H. J. Skelton and Company.

On Wednesday, 13 April, 1910 the keel plate of Thunderer was laid by Mrs Arnold F. Hills, the wife of the chairman of Thames Iron Works. In attendence were the mayors of Poplar and West Ham and the M.P.s mostly responsible for the Admiralty contract being given to the Thames; William J. Thorne, Bethell and Charles F. G. Masterman.

On 10 May a worker, John Joseph Aylatt, was killed when a 5½ cwt section plate dropped on him, the chain raising it having broken. At the inquest it was determined that the chain had been old and had broken due to a "latent defect". On 13 December another worker, a plater, was killed. Frederick Coates had been working late and while walking across the upper deck to leave the ship, his candle was blown out and he fell down a hatch to the engine room to his death. At the inquest it was recommended that deck lights, which would normally have been lit, should be turned on for longer.

Launch

The Thunderer was launched in the afternoon of Wednesday, 2 February, 1911 by the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mrs Randall Davidson. In attendance were the directors of Thames Iron Works led by Arnold Hill, the First Lord of the Admiralty Reginald McKenna, the Secretary of State for the Colonies Lewis Harcourt and numerous other dignitaries, among whom was also the former Director of Naval Construction Sir William White. When the tide had flooded, the ship was launched by Mrs. Davidson at three in the afternoon. The ship took 2 minutes 45 seconds to go down the ways to the sound of "Rule Britannia".

Fitting Out and Completion

Thames Iron Works' growing financial woes (due to trade union intransigence and a lack of orders) led to the fitting out of Thunderer being delayed considerably. In January, 1912 trials were delayed by at least two weeks for unrevealed reasons.

Radio

At the end of 1912, she had one of the twelve Short Distance Radio Sets then installed in sea-going ships of five-mile range, situated behind armour near the fore bridge.[7]

Service

She commissioned at Devonport on 15 June, 1912.[8]

Thunderer served in the Second Battle Squadron from at least December 1912, remaining with that squadron throughout the war. In May 1919, the ships of that squadron were redesignated as the Third Battle Squadron.[9]

Jutland

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

Post-War

Thunderer reduced to reserve at Portland on 12 August, 1920.[10]

She re-commissioned at Devonport on 27 May, 1924.[11]

Captains

Dates of appointment are provided when known.

Main Armament

Thunderer was built with 13.5-inch Mk II mountings for her guns.[37]

Alterations

In 1912, Thunderer received one of the first directors for her main battery. It was a prototype system which was updated to the new standard developed in Neptune as part of the twelve ship order placed in 1913.[38]

In late 1913, the ship landed a Pattern 873 Zeiss stereo spotting telescope Mark II at Portsmouth in order to take on a Ross model of the same pattern for a three-month comparative evaluation.[39]

In October 1914, the ship was to be given 4 Pattern 1582 Electric Radiators to warm cabins whose stoves could not be used for heating them.[40]

In 1916 or soon thereafter, she would have received Evershed Bearing Indicators for her main battery, as approved in 1916.[41]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 33.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 28.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 28.
  4. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 28.
  5. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 33.
  6. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 33.
  7. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1912. W/T Appendix, p. 8.
  8. The Navy List. (April, 1914). pp. 383-4.
  9. See Second Battle Squadron and Third Battle Squadron for citations.
  10. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 873.
  11. The Navy List. (April, 1925). p. 275.
  12. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 319.
  13. The Navy List. (August, 1912). p. 386.
  14. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 319.
  15. Gaunt Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 161.
  16. Gaunt Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 161.
  17. Jackson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 496.
  18. Jackson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 496.
  19. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  20. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  21. Fergusson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 199.
  22. Fergusson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43 f. 199.
  23. Gilbert Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 19643/164. ff. 164, 248.
  24. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 919.
  25. Gilbert Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 19643/164. ff. 164, 248.
  26. The Navy List. (November, 1919). p. 919.
  27. Davidson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/6. ff. 7, 53.
  28. "Naval Appointments" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 18 May, 1920. Issue 42413, col F, p. 16.
  29. Davidson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/6. ff. 7, 53.
  30. Mackenzie Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/259. f. 259.
  31. "Naval Appointments" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 28 September, 1920. Issue 42527, col E, p. 18.
  32. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 274.
  33. Campbell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/341. f. 341.
  34. Campbell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/341. f. 341.
  35. Monroe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 438.
  36. Monroe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 438.
  37. Hodges. The Big Gun. p. 62.
  38. The Technical History and Index: Fire Control in HM Ships. pp. 9-10.
  39. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 662 of 21 Nov, 1913.
  40. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 512 of 16 Oct, 1914.
  41. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 145.

Bibliography


Orion Class Dreadnought
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