Battleships unique in British naval construction

This ship is now known to be either HMS Rodney or HMS Nelson entering Portsmouth Harbour
This ship is now known to be either HMS Rodney or HMS Nelson entering Portsmouth Harbour

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Many thanks to the dozens of you who got in touch so swiftly to point out the error earlier this week.

I published a picture which purported to be of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Of course, as so many of you quickly told me, it wasn’t.

The battleship entering Portsmouth Harbour was either HMS Nelson or her sister ship HMS Rodney. The majority of you were certain it was Nelson.

Tim King was one of many who said both these 33,900-ton battleships were unique in British naval construction as they were cut-down versions of those originally planned, due to size limitations imposed by the 1922 Washington Treaty.

He said: ‘This is why all the main armament was positioned forward of the bridge, giving the warships their easily identifiable silhouettes.

‘The nine 16-inch guns mounted in three turrets were the biggest calibre ever mounted in a Royal Navy battleship.’

Tim recalled that both had distinguished war records, Rodney helping to administer the coup de grace in the sinking of the Bismarck.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (32,700 tons) was built in Portsmouth and was a conventionally-shaped battleship, with eight 15-inch guns mounted in two turrets forward of the bridge and two turrets aft of the superstructure.

Launched in October 1913, she entered service in January 1915 and saw action in both World Wars, including the Dardanelles Campaign in the first.

Tim said she was badly damaged by Italian frogmen in Alexandria in 1941, but was repaired and went on to see action in the Mediterranean and Far East. She was scrapped in July 1948.

Tim added: ‘My grandfather served in Queen Elizabeth in the First World War and I have many of his records and papers in his officer’s cabin trunk.’

He sent these two pictures which clearly show the difference between the two ships.