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HMS IRON DUKE - ex-13.5in gun Battleship, Training and then Depot/Base Ship

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 1998 - further editing and formatting is required

HMS Iron Duke, 1931-32  (Maritime Quest, click to enlarge)

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Super DREADNOUGHT-Class Battleship ordered under the 1911 Programme and built by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth. The ship was laid down on 15th January 1912 and and launched by the wife of the 4th Duke of  Wellington on 12th October 1912 as the 2nd RN ship to carry the name, previously used for an ironclad in 1870. Build was completed on 9th March 1914. She was deployed in the Grand Fleet during WWI and was Flagship of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. After the armistice she took part in Black Sea operations to support the White Russians. She remained on the Active List until 10th December 1931 when Paid-of and  de-militarised. B and Y turrets, the torpedo tubes and some of the armour plating were removed. The ship was then deployed at Portsmouth as Gunnery Firing Ship and after 1936 used as Boys Training ship. In August 1939 she attended  the Review of the Reserve Fleet and took up her war station on 26th August for use as a Depot  Ship at  Scapa Flow. She was one of the last British battleships to be coal fired..


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field:Red, Profile head of the Duke of Wellington


M o t t o

Virtuosi Fortune Comes: “Fortune is the companion of Valour.”



S u m m a r y   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 3 9


August                Attended Review of Reserve Fleet in Weymouth Bay.

                             Passage to take up War Station at Scapa Flow.

           26th           Arrived at Scapa Flow


September            Used as a Base ship at Scapa Flow to provide facilities for Home Fleet and accommodation for

                              personnel in transit to and from ships of the Home Fleet.


October                Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.

            16th          During attack by Ju88 aircraft on Scapa Flow sustained some damage from near misses.

                              One Boiler Room and two magazines were flooded

                              Ship developed significant list had to be beached at Ore Bay..


November             Remained at Scapa Flow as Base Ship with reduced complement.



            14th           Moved to Longhope


1 9 4 0


January                  Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.

             26th          Re-beached in position where ship remained aground at all states of tide.




February                 Depot Ship deployment in continuation


March                     Deployed as Depot Ship at Scapa Flow

             16th            Sustained slight damage during air attack.


April                       Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.




1 9 4 1   to   1 9 4 4



                                Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.



1 9 4 5


January                    Depot ship deployment in continuation at Scapa Flow.





               6th            Paid-off

                                Nominated for transfer to Clyde and Laid-up.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


The ship was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO on 2nd March 1946 for demolition. She arrived in tow in the Clyde in August that year. On 30th November 1947 this battleship arrived at the breakers yard in Port Glasgow. (Note: One source records that this ship returned to Portsmouth after VJ Day but this requires confirmation.)


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revised 5/6/11