HMS Lion was a Battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy in 1910. She was the lead ship of her class, which was nicknamed the ‘Splendid Cats’. They were significant improvements over their predecessors of the indefatigable class in terms of speed, armament and armour. This was in response to the first battlecruisers, the Moltke class, which were very much larger and more powerful than the first British Battlecruisers, the Invincible class.
Lion served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet battlecruisers throughout World War One, except when she was being refitted or under repair. She sank the German light cruiser Cöln during the Battle of Heligoland bight and served as Vice-Admiral Beatty’s flagship at the battles of Dogger Bank and Jutland. She was so badly damaged at the first of these battles that she had to be towed back to port and was under repair for more than two months. During the battle of Jutland she suffered a serious propellant fire that could have destroyed the ship if it had not been for the bravery of Royal Marine Major Francis Harvey, the turret commander, who posthumously received the Victoria Cross for having ordered the magazine flooded. The fire destroyed one gun turret which had to be removed for rebuilding while she was under repair for several months. She spent the rest of the war on uneventful patrols in the North Sea, although she did provide distant cover during the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1917. She was put into reserve in 1920 and sold for scrap in 1924 under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.
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