Named for ‘Good Queen Bess’ in whose reign the Armada had been defeated, H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth was the name-ship of the five ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class of battleships ordered in 1912-13, all of which were completed in time to play major roles in the Great War. Not only was the class the first to mount 15-in. guns and to be able to steam at 24 knots, it was also the first to be equipped with oil-fired boilers thus signalling the beginning of the end of the coal-burning era at sea. Laid down at Portsmouth and launched in October 1913, Queen Elizabeth was commissioned just before Christmas 1914 and joined the Mediterranean Fleet in February 1915 as Flagship to the East Mediterranean Squadron. Employed in the Dardanelles and in support of the ill-fated Gallipoli landings, she transferred into the Grand Fleet in May 1915 where she remained until 1919. Fleet Flagship to Admiral Beatty from 1916-19, the historic surrender of the German High Seas Fleet was effected aboard her on 21st November 1918.
Flagship of the Atlantic Fleet from 1919-24 and again, briefly, in 1929, she spent most of the inter-war years in the Mediterranean and was refitting when War broke out in 1939.She rejoined the Home Fleet early in 1941, but after being badly damaged by limpet mines in Alexandria that December, she had then to be docked until June 1943 such was the scale of repairs required. Ordered to the Far East in December 1943, she saw extensive action there until sent home in July 1945, after which she was placed in Reserve until scrapped in 1948.
Collection of P.M. Jones
Christies, London, 18th December 1964, lot 195. Sold for £31.10 (30 gns)
Believed to be exhibit 1265 at the Royal Academy, London in 1915 entitled “In line ahead”; unfortunately, the RA is unable to confirm the dimensions of the exhibit.