HMS Iron Duke (1912)

Iron Duke in Port Said, Egypt, in 1921. Photo in the collection of the National Museum of World Cultures.

Laid Down

HMS Iron Duke was laid down and launched in 1912, commissioning in 1914, not long before the outbreak of the Great War. She was the flagship of the Grand Fleet during the War, mostly participating in fruitless sweeps of the North Sea and missing the action during the few battles that occurred. Iron Duke finally saw action at Jutland, where she dealt heavy damage to the dreadnought SMS K├Ânig. She was taken in for a refit in October, 1916, which added an additional 100 tons of armor to her decks, and installed flying-off platforms on two of her turrets. Relieved as flagship in January, 1917, Iron Duke remained with the Grand Fleet until 1919. She was transferred to the Mediterranean, and participated in the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. She became a training ship in 1926, and was demilitarized in 1931. In September, 1939, she was moored in Scapa Flow as a port defense ship. She was hit by German bombers the next month, and was grounded to avoid sinking. She served as a stationary AA platform for the rest of the war, and was re-floated and sold for scrap in 1946, but no work was begun until 1948.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Iron Duke was in the 1935 film Brown on Resolution, which was the first movie to feature real Royal navy warships.