The Portsmouth battleship that saw action in two world wars

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HMS Queen Elizabeth was the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of dreadnought battleships named after Elizabeth I.

Launched in Portsmouth on October 16, 1913, she served in both world wars. She and the other super-dreadnought battleships were the first of their type to be powered by oil instead of coal.

HMS Queen Elizabeth during her launch in Portsmouth on October 16, 1913

HMS Queen Elizabeth during her launch in Portsmouth on October 16, 1913

She entered service in January 1915 and while still undergoing testing in the Mediterranean was sent to the Dardanelles for the Allied attempt to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

The two postcards here come from Roy Legg, of Gosport. They show Queen Elizabeth – one of them taken on her launch day 101 years ago.

She was the only modern battleship to participate in the Dardanelles campaign, though a number of battlecruisers and pre-dreadnought battleships were also involved.

She became the flagship for the preliminary naval operations in the Dardanelles’ campaign, leading the first line of British battleships in the battle of March 18, 1915. During the attempted military invasion at Gallipoli on April 25, she was the flagship for General Sir Ian Hamilton, commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

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No Caption ABCDE PPP-140912-133701001

However, after the sinking of HMS Goliath by a Turkish torpedo boat on May 12, she was withdrawn to safety.

She joined Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas’s 5th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow, but she missed the Battle of Jutland because she was in dock for maintenance.

From 1919 to 1924 she became the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet and in 1924 assumed the same position in the Mediterranean.

During the 1930s she participated in the non-intervention blockade during the Spanish Civil War.

In the Second World War she covered the evacuation of Crete in June 1941, but was mined and seriously damaged in December that year in Alexandria harbour, Egypt.

Queen Elizabeth joined the Eastern Fleet in January 1945 and took part in raids on Japanese bases in Indonesia.

She was paid off in June and scrapped in July 1948.