HMS Collingwood – The ship of the future King George VI and a Roll of Honour of the NI men who served with him
HMS Collingwood was a St Vincent-class dreadnought battleship built in the first decade of the 20th century. She spent her whole career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets and often served as a flagship, Prince Albert (later King George VI) spent several years aboard the ship before and during World War I. At the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, Collingwood was in the middle of the battle and lightly damaged a German battlecruise. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.
During the first stage of the general engagement, Collingwood fired eight salvos from her main guns at the crippled SMS Wiesbaden from 18:32, although the number of hits made, if any, is unknown. Her secondary armament then engaged the destroyer SMS G42 which was attempting to come to Wiesbaden’s assistance, but failed to hit her. At 19:15 Collingwood fired two salvoes of high explosive shells at the battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger, hitting her target once before she disappeared into the mist. The shell detonated in the German ship’s sickbayand damaged the surrounding superstructure. Shortly afterwards, during the attack of the German destroyers around 19:20, the ship fired her main armament at a damaged destroyer without success and dodged two torpedoes that missed by 10 yards (9.1 m) behind and 30 yards (27 m) in front. This was the last time she fired her guns during the battle.
Following the German destroyer attack, the High Seas Fleet disengaged, and Collingwood and the rest of the Grand Fleet saw no further action in the battle. This was, in part, due to confusion aboard the fleet flagship over the exact location and course of the German fleet; without this information, Jellicoe could not bring his fleet to action.
Collingwood fired a total of 52 armour-piercing, capped and 32 HE shells from her main armament and 35 four-inch shells during the battle.Prince Albert was a sub-lieutenant commanding the forward turret during the battle and sat in the open on the turret roof during a lull in the action.
See also the Remembrance NI post of June 5 – Jutland – Northern Irish true tales… King George and a gunner from Portadown, John Campbell, named below.
ROLL OF HONOUR HMS COLLINGWOOD
RN. AB. Gunner. J14717. Boy service from 28/10/11. Enrolled 25/12/1913 for 12 years. War service in Collingwood, Vivid, Snowdrop and Colleen. Demobbed 21/12/1926. Served in HMS Collingwood as a boy, a gunner, and as an instructor when she was demoted to a gunnery training ship. He was in A turret, Maintop Division at Jutland and served with Prince Albert (King George VI) in the same gun crew 1913 – 1916. The Prince was known as Mr. Johnston and was second – in – command of the turret. After Jutland the future king was transferred to HMS Queen Elizabeth. His Majesty came to Belfast in July 1937 during his Coronation visit and John Campbell, then Chief Heath Inspector of Portadown, was introduced, the King said, ‘Hullo Campbell, I haven’t seen you for a long time…” His Majesty then promptly halted the proceedings for 5 minutes in front of a cheering, singing crowd of 150,000 loyal subjects, brass bands and a coterie of Ulster dignitaries, to speak to his old gun crew mate about their times together and share memories of their experiences, inform him of the illness of their former captain, James C Ley (later HMS Canada), and recall the whereabouts of old ship mates in the Collingwood. The King remembered Turret Commander W E C Tait who “made cocoa as usual for me and the gun crew during the battle.” The Portadown News carried a front page photograph of the King and his former crew member with the headline, “Ulster Jutland Hero meets the King”. A framed copy hung in the Ulster Museum for over twenty years. An earlier report stated, “Johnny Campbell, AB of HMS Collingwood has been home on a flying visit. He relates how the guns of the ship were trained on the German battleships when they shelled Scarborough, and the fate which would have befallen them but for the fog”.- Portadown Times 13/02/1915. Born Lurgan 25/12/1895. Moyallen, Portadown. ADM 188/676/14717
AB. 228893. HMS Collingwood, Jutland. Enrolled 01/11/1905, re-engaged 03/02/1921. War service in Vivid and in Collingwood 01/04/1914 – 13/06/1918. Served to 14/02/1922. Born Belfast 01/11/1887. ADM 188/404/228893
RN. AB. 232570. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 26/12/1905 for 12 years. Demobbed 06/09/1919. In Collingwood 12/04/1912 – 16/09/1919. Born Kilroot 26/12/1887. ADM 188/412/232570
JONES, Frederick John
RN. AB. 221827. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 23/04/1904 for 12 years. In Collingwood 01/08/1911 – 03/03/1919. Joined RFR 03/04/1921. Born Belfast 23/04/1886. ADM 188/390/221827
RN. AB. 214445. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 01/06/1901 for 12 years. Re-engaged 22/01/1912. War service in Collingwood 18/01/1914 – 28/08/1917, Vivid and Gorgon. Invalided 06/10/1920. Born Kilmore, Co. Down 01/06/1883. ADM 188/375/214445
RN. Petty Officer. 234090. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 31/08/1906 for 12 years. Served to 07/03/1919. In Collingwood 06/12/1912 – 07/03/1919. Born Belfast 31/08/1888. ADM 188/415/234090
MORTON, Thomas John Gordon
RN. AB. J473. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 26/06/1908 for 12 years. Served to 26/06/1920. War service in Collingwood 03/02/1912 – 24/05/1919. Born Belfast 26/06/1890. ADM 188/647/473
RN. Petty Officer. 217177. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 24/05/1914 for 12 years. Re-engaged 24/04/1916. Served to 18/11/1922. In Collingwood 12/01/1912 – 08/09/1919. Born Castlewellan, 24/04/1886. ADM 188/381/217177
RN. AB. J217. HMS Collingwood. Jutland. Enrolled 11/10/1908 for 12 years. Re-engaged 11/10/1920. Served to 18/04/1928. War service in Warrior, Vivid I, and Collingwood (11/03/1916 – 01/03/1919). Born Belfast 01/10/1890. ADM 188/647/217
HMS Collingwood. Born Lurgan
Further information on any of the above would be most welcome –