“On this day in history” Royal Navy battleship HMS London placed in commision

On this day in history 7 June 1902, the Royal Navy Formidable-class battleship HMS London was placed in commission.

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HMS London at Malta, 1915.

Built at Portsmouth Dockyard, London was a battleship of the pre-dreadnought era, armed with four Armstrong Whitworth 12-inch naval guns, firing semi-armour-piercing shells weighing 850 lbs.

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At the outbreak of war in 1914, London was assigned to the Channel Fleet, and later served in the Dardanelles campaign and with the Mediterranean Fleet.

In 1918, now obsolete as a battleship, London’s main armament was removed and she was converted to service as a minelayer. By 11 November 1918, London had laid 2,640 mines as part of the Northern Mine Barrage.

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HMS London as minelayer, painted in dazzle camouflage, 1918.

Reduced to reserve status in 1919, London paid off in 1920 and was towed to the breaker’s yard in 1922.

British naval expenditure 1900-1905

British expenditure on the Royal Navy between 1900 and 1905.[1]

1900-01 £32,131,062 7s 3d
1901-02 £33,726,491 10s 11d
1902-03 £34,201,994 4s 8d
1903-04 £39,221,000
1904-05 £42,001,400

This represents a remarkable 31 percent (£9,870,338) increase in the naval budget over the five year period.

[1] HC Deb 29 February 1904 vol 130 c124.