HMS Irresistible (1900)

Irresistible, c.1914, before deployment to the Dardanelles. Note the identification bands on her funnels. Photo in the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

Laid Down

HMS Irresistible was the second Formidable-class pre-Dreadnought, but the last of the three to be completed. Laid down 11 April, 1898, she commissioned in 1902, and spent the next six years with the Mediterranean Fleet. In 1908, Irresistible was transferred to the Channel Fleet, and began a refit on 1 June, 1910. Rejoining the Fleet in February, 1911, she was stationed at Portland as part of the 5th battle Squadron, and saw action covering the British landings in Belgium, in August, 1914. She bombarded German positions in Belgium through November, before returning to home waters to guard against invasion. Unfortunately for her, Irresistible was deployed for the Dardanelles Campaign in February, 1915, and served as the flagship of the British Squadron until 18 March, when she struck a mine. With both engine rooms flooded, Irresistible was abandoned, and sank later that evening, demonstrating once again the vulnerability of the pre-Dreadnoughts to naval mines.

Bonus Photos

Irresistible listing after striking a mine and being abandoned, 18 March, 1915. Photo in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: The minefield that claimed Irresistible and two other battleships that day had been found by minesweepers, but their civilian crews only destroyed three mines before they were scared off by Turkish gunfire.