HMS Bulwark (1899)

Bulwark, date unknown. Photo in the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

Laid Down

Part of the London sub-class of the Formidable-class pre-dreadnought battleships, HMS Bulwark was laid down and launched in 1899. Commissioned 18 March, 1902, she was assigned to the Mediterranean, and hosted several heads of state, including King Edward VII, Carlos I of Portugal, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Bulwark was used as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet from 1902-07, and and became the flagship of the Channel Fleet's Nore Division in February, 1907. Bulwark was assigned to the 5th Battle Squadron in 1912, and the Channel Fleet after the outbreak of WWI. She saw little action, after escorting the British Expeditionary Force to France in August. She was destroyed by an internal magazine explosion while at anchor in the River Medway on 26 November, 1914, likely set off by cordite charges overheating against the engine room bulkhead. Twelve crew survived, while 741 went down with the ship. The wreck is protected, and permission of the Ministry of Defense is required to dive on it.