1910 - Launch of ORION
20th August. The Marchioness of Winchester launched the heaviest battleship yet built at Portsmouth dockyard, HMS Orion.
She was the first British battleship to mount all her main armament on the centre-line in superimposed turrets and the first to mount the new 13.5 inch guns. She was laid down on 29th November 1909 and completed 2nd Jan 1912. Orion was one of a class of four ships the others being Conqueror, Monarch & Thunderer.
In describing the class, Sir Philip Watts has recorded (I.N.A. 1911) that for once the Constructive Department had almost a free hand without the restrictions imposed by financial considerations. There was a growing sense of impending trouble in the not distant future which tended to ease the strings around the money bags and, having decided upon a clean sweep in design and fighting equipment, the ships were to be generously fashioned. Hence a rise of 2.500 tons in Orion’s nominal displacement - the biggest jump yet recorded in our tale of battleships.
On commissioning she became flagship of 2nd Battleship Squadron Home Fleet and remained in that position for the duration of the war. She was present at Jutland and was finally discarded under the Washington Treaty 1922 at barely ten years old.