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HMS Iron Duke

By October 22nd, 2020No Comments

This postcard from WW1 shows HMS Iron Duke and Admiral Jellicoe. Admiral of the fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl of Jellicoe was a Royal Navy Officer. He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic to Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory given that they outnumbered the enemy.

 

HMS Iron Duke served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet during the First World War, including at the Battle of Jutland. There, she inflicted serious damage on the German Battleship SMS König early in the main fleet action. In January 1917, she was relieved as fleet flagship. After the War, Iron Duke operated in the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. She participated in both the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea and the Greco-Turkish War. She also assisted in the evacuation of refugees from Smyrna. In 1926, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, where she served as a training ship.

Iron Duke remained on active duty for only a few more years; in 1930, the London Naval Treaty specified that four Iron Duke-class battleships be scrapped or otherwise demilitarised. Iron Duke was therefore converted into a gunnery training ship; her armour and much of her armament was removed to render her unfit for combat. She served in this capacity until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, when she was moored in Scapa Flow as a harbour defence ship. In October, she was badly damaged by German bombers and was run aground to avoid sinking. She continued to serve an anti-aircraft platform for the duration of the war, and was eventually refloated and broken up for scrap in the late 1940’s.

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