May 31 – The RN ships of Jutland – 1

HMS Ajax and HMS Ardent

HMS Ajax

HMS Ajax was a King George V-class battleship (one of four ships of the class), built at Scotts’ shipyard at Greenock on the River Clyde.

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 Floe 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 1. She saw action only at Jutland on 31/05/1916. 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 27/10/1914. 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 targets.

She was deployed in the Mediterranean and Black Seas in 1919, before being decommissioned in 1924.

ROLL OF HONOUR HMS AJAX

+BOYD, John
Born Belfast 31 Mar 1883. ADM 188/498/305774

+CHAMBERS, William
RN. Leading Seaman. 233445. Born Ballymoney, 08/08/1888. First Ballymoney – PCI RH. ADM 188/413/233445

+MAYNE, William
J19567. Born Antrim 09/10/1896. ADM 188/686/19567

+McCOLLUM, Hugh
232688. Born Coleraine 27/09/1888. ADM 188/412/232688

+McNEILL, Henry
J26082. Born Belfast 01/07/1897. ADM 188/699/26082

+McQUADE, Francis
K2594. Born Londonderry 01/02/1891. ADM 188/872/2594

+MOORE, William
219247. Born Belfast 05/08/1886. ADM 188/385/219247

+WARING, Richard
J33817. Born Lisburn 20/03/1898. ADM 188/714/33817

+WHITLA, James
J26083. Born Portadown 07/07/1897. ADM 188/699/26083

HMS ARDENT

HMS Ardent was an Acasta-class destroyer and the seventh Royal Navy ship to bear the name. She was launched in 1913 and was sunk at Jutland in 1916. She was laid down under the 1911–1912 construction programme by William Denny & Brothers Limited and launched on 08/09/1913.She joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla on completion and served with the Grand Fleet on the outbreak of World War 1.

She was sunk on 01/06/1916 during the Battle of Jutland by secondary fire from the German dreadnought SMS Westfalen – 78 men went down with the ship, there were only 2 survivors.

ROLL OF HONOUR HMS ARDENT

+McCONNELL, William J
RN. Stoker 1st Class. HMS Ardent. Died 02/02/1915. Born 02/07/1886. Son of James and Maggie McConnell. The family lived at Matlock Street in1901, Connsbrook Avenue in 1911 and Crimea Street, Belfast. Stranraer (Glebe) Cemetery. Eglinton Street – PCI RH

+McCONNELL, William John
228579. HMS Ardent. Jutland. Born Belfast 02 Jul 1886. ADM 188/404/228579

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