His Majesty's Ships - H.M.S. Iron Duke

The War Illustrated, Volume 10, No. 240, Page 298, August 30, 1946.

Motto: “Fortune is the Companion of Valour.”

H.M.S. Iron Duke was a battleship of 21,250 tons, launched at Portsmouth on October 12, 1912. She wore the flag of Admiral Sir George Callaghan from March to August 1914; that of Sir John Jellicoe in the Grand Fleet from August 1914 to November 1916 and of Sir David Beatty from November 1916 to February 1917. Thenceforward she was a private ship in the Battle Squadron until July 1919, when she hoisted the flag of Sir John de Robeck, Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean.

It was on the bridge of the Iron Duke at Jutland that Admiral Jellicoe made his instant decision to deploy the Grand Fleet to port on sighting the German fleet through the mist. This had the effect of placing the enemy at a disadvantage which soon compelled a retreat.

During the years 1919-28 the Iron Duke was flagship in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Fleets of a succession of distinguished admirals, including Sir Osmond Brock, Sir Michael Hodges and Sir Roger Backhouse. Unfortunately the ship had to be demilitarized under the London Naval Treaty of 1930, but she continued to be used for training purposes until the outbreak of the late war. Her next service was as base ship at Scapa Flow, a duty she performed from 1939 to 1945. Not till the end of the war did it become generally known that in a German air raid on Scapa in October 1939 the Iron Duke was so badly damaged that she had to be beached in shallow water. Thus, with the conclusion of hostilities, the grand old ship had to be sold for scrap after a record of service in two wars which has seldom been equalled.

Articles in the His Majesty's Ships category