Previous HMS COLLINGWOODs
THREE SHIPS AND A BATTALION
THERE WERE FOUR principal bearers of the Collingwood name from his death in 1810 to the commissioning of the present establishment at Fareham in 1940. The first three were ships and the last a battalion.
The first HMS COLLINGWOOD 1840 -1866
A second rate ship (i. e. over 80 guns) launched at Pembroke in 1841. She was 2,585 tons, 190 feet in length and had an initial complement of 750. Subsequently she was fitted with 400 H.P. engines and a screw, and must therefore have been of the "down-funnel, up-sails" class. The allegation that she was the last wooden-walled battleship built is questionable. In the wardroom a painting shows her in the Pacific as the flagship in 1846.
She was sold in 1866 for £8,531.
The Second HMS COLLINGWOOD 1882-1909
was a ten-gun, twin-screw, barbette battleship launched at Pembroke in 1882 and completed in 1887. She displaced 900 tons, was 325 feet long, and became the first battleship to steam at 16 knots. Her guns were placed five feet higher than in previous ships and she marks the breakaway from the central-citadel type of vessel. Commissioned in 1887 for the Jubilee Review she served in the Mediterranean from 1889 to 1897 then at Bantry Bay from 1897 to 1903. Lack of freeboard and poor sea-going qualities proved her major faults and this, together with the fact that ship design in this period was subject to frequent change, made her alone in her class. She was finally scrapped in 1909 at Newcastle for £19, 000.
The Third HMS COLLINGWOOD 1909-1922
was launched at Devonport in 1908 and completed two years later. She was an improved Dreadnought with ST. VINCENT and VANGUARD as sister ships. Displacing 19,250 tons, 500 feet long with 24, 500 H.P., she was capable of 21 knots. The complement was 769 officers and men, many of whom must have been employed in manning the 18 water-tube boilers and Parsons turbines. Out of a total of thirty guns, the main armament was the ten twelve inch fifty-calibre guns mounted in five turrets. They were hydraulically manoeuvred by six-cylinder radial engines. Whereas the previous Dreadnoughts had forty-five calibre twelve inch guns the fifty-calibre of the improved class produced a greater muzzle velocity and penetrating power. They were later replaced by the 13.5 inch guns in the super-Dreadnoughts. A further improvement was the re-siting of the forward funnel aft of the forward directors to keep the smoke out of the aimers' eyes.
Her life seems to have been spent entirely as a unit of the First Battle Squadron under Jellico. It is interesting to note that Prince Albert (later King George VI) records in his diary that he was on the bridge as Midshipman of the middle watch when war broke out in 1914. Her only engagement - leading to the only COLLINGWOOD battle honour - was at Jutland in 1916. In the confusion of the battle she joined forces with COLOSSUS to sink LUTZOW, one of Germany's few major losses. Prince Albert's action station was in A-turret in this engagement. She was scrapped in 1922, possibly under the Washington Treaty.
The HMS Collingwood Battalion 1914-1915
The battalion bearing the name Collingwood was formed at Walmer in September 1914 as part of the 1st Brigade, Royal Naval Division. It immediately embarked for the Continent and relieved a Belgian force near Antwerp. Under bombardment for three days, it was ordered to retire. The withdrawal was carried out under circumstances so difficult and confusing that only twenty-two of the original seven hundred men returned to England. The others were mainly interned in Holland or taken prisoner.
The twenty-two survivors were given seven days' leave before their merger into a new battalion, formed from men of Collingwood's own county of Northumberland, at the Crystal Palace. Early it moved to Blandford Forum as part of the 2nd Division to complete training. It then sailed to Gibraltar and Malta and finally disembarked at Cape Helles in the Dardanelles. Having dug in for a few days, it took part in the disastrous Gallipoli assault. Of the sixteen hundred men there were over five hundred casualties; of the thirty-one officers, sixteen were killed and eight wounded.
A memorial to the battalion stands on the roadside two miles to the north-east of Blandford. A remembrance guard, from HMS Collingwood, forms there each year.