1906 - Launch of DREADNOUGHT
10th February. Launch of the epoch making battleship, HMS “Dreadnought”, by King Edward VII. This ship made all other battleships obsolete and gave her name to a new class of warship.
The first keel plates were laid on No. 5 Slipway on the 2nd October 1905. She was launched four months later and commenced her sea trials on 3rd October 1906. It was a speed of building that astonished the world. Between 1905 & 1915, Portsmouth dockyard built the lead ship in all classes of battleship. As for the Dreadnought she had the distinction of being the only battleship to ram and sink a submarine, when on 18th March 1915, while steaming in formation with other battleships, she sighted a periscope. She increased speed and, leaving the formation, rammed and sank the German U-boat, U29.
On completion of trials she commissioner for special service; Flagship C-in-C Home Fleet from April 1907- May 1912, when relieved by Neptune, and then went into 1st Division, Home Fleet. Flagship 4th BS December 1912-1914. After the German Lowestoft raids she was transferred to the Thames estuary as Flagship 3rd BS. Placed in reserve at Rosyth February 1919. Sold for £44.000 in 1922 and broken up at Inverkeithing in 1923. Her original building cost was £1,783,885.
Dr. Oscar Parkes OBE.,AINA, in his book British Battleships, admirably sums up the impact of Dreadnought:
“In appearance the Dreadnought, with her grim, awe-inspiring sense of efficiency, was something essentially British, outclassing anything else afloat, and unique in contrast to any other battleship. Her successors, although bigger and better armed, could never strike the same note of novelty and overwhelming power. The first sight of her completing in dock was an unforgettable experience and, as Flagship of the Home Fleet, she dwarfed her consorts to an extent that mere difference in tonnage would never suggest. Although accepted as the basis for future battleship development, in 1906 it was difficult to realise that we should possess her like in squadrons and that the mighty Dreadnought would in due course pass into obsolescence and the sale list.”