70477 - Battleship HMS Ajax, 1912, 1/700



Ajax was laid down at Scotts yard on 27 February 1911. She was launched on 21 March 1912 and completed in March 1913. She underwent sea trials during April 1913, and was commissioned into the first division of the second battle squadron of the Grand Fleet at Devonport on 31 October 1913. Her only distinctive pre-war activity was her participation, with her sisters HMS King George V, HMS Audacious and HMS Centurion, at the Kiel canal celebrations in June 1914. She transferred to Scapa Flow with the rest of the Grand fleet on 29 July 1914, in response to the increasing political tension in Europe.

She remained with the Grand Fleet for the duration of World War I. She saw action only at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. In this action the first division of the second battle squadron, commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir Martyn Jerram, consisted of HMS King George V, HMS Ajax, HMS Centurion and HMS Erin. The fourth sister ship, HMS Audacious, had been sunk by a mine on 27 October 1914. She sighted the leading ships of the battle line of the German High Seas Fleet and the German battlecruisers and fired on them. She herself received no hits; because of the number of ships involved it was not possible to establish if she made any hits on her target

She remained at Scapa Flow until June 1919, being transferred to the third battle squadron for the final four months of her time there. In June 1919 she was transferred to the fourth battle squadron, which formed part of the Mediterranean Fleet. She took part with her battle squadron in actions against the Bolsheviks and Turkish nationalists in 1919 in the Black Sea and in the Sea of Marmora. When the Sultan of Turkey was deposed in 1923 he was conveyed to Mecca in HMS Ajax.

In April 1924 she returned to Devonport, and was part of the Reserve Fleet until October 1926, when she was paid off onto the disposal list. On 10 December 1926 she was sold to Alloa Shipbreaking Company, and broken up at Rosyth from 14 December 1926.

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Line drawings are created by R.A. Burt and are used with his permission.


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