“On this day in history” Royal Navy battleship HMS Mars placed in commission, 1897

On this day in history 8 June 1897, the Royal Navy Majestic-class battleship HMS Mars was placed in commission.


HMS Mars underway, 1898.

Built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead, Mars was a pre-dreadnought battleship carrying main armament of four Vickers 12-inch Mk VIII guns mounted in twin turrets. Secondary armament included twelve QF 6-inch guns mounted in casemates and twelve QF 12-pounder guns.

Mars served in the Portsmouth Division of the Channel Fleet and took part in the Fleet Review for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and for Edward VII’s Coronation in 1902.


HMS Mars departing Portsmouth, 1901.

During the First World War, Mars served as guard ship on the Humber, then transferred to the Dover Patrol. In 1915, she had her main armament removed and recommissioned as a troopship for service in the Dardanelles campaign. Later, she served as an accommodation ship at Invergordon. Mars was sold for scrap in 1921.


Accomodation ships Algiers, Akbar (former Temeraire), and Mars at Invergordon.


“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.


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.


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.


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.