The British Government's 1909 programme of battleship construction provided funding for eight new battleships, including the four vessels of the Orion Class. These were the first ‘Super-Dreadnoughts’ constructed by the Royal Navy, and ushered in another new era of battleship construction.
HMS Thunderer was the last Royal Navy vessel to be constructed on the Thames at Blackwall. This vessel was not only the largest battleship in the Royal Navy during this period, but she also saw a return in the use of 13.5 inch/45 calibre armament. These guns provided the vessels with greater fire range and power.
HMS Thunderer saw action at the Battle of Jutland, as part of the British Grand Fleet. This was the largest surface naval battle of the First World War and took place on 31 May 1916. At the end of the war, she became a cadet training ship as a result of the Washington Treaty's restrictions on the size of navies. The vessel was finally sold and broken up in 1926.
HMS Thunderer was built at the Thames Iron Works based at Blackwall. Unfortunately, the completion of this vessel resulted in the demise of the company. Following her launch, the financing banks refused to give the company any further credit and the Thames Iron Works was declared bankrupt in December 1912.
· One of four vessels of the Orion class · Displacement (full load): 22, 850 - 22, 200 tons (standard) · Length: 177.1 metres (581 feet) · Beam length: 27 metres (88 feet 6 inches) · Depth: 7.6 metres (24 feet 11 inches) · 4-shaft Parsons turbines · 18 Babcock & Wilcox (Monarch Yarrow) boilers · Speed 21 knots · Armament: ten 13.5 inch guns, sixteen 4 inch guns, and three 21 inch torpedo tubes · Full complement of 752 men
The keel is laid down on 13 April
HMS 'Thunderer' is launched on 1 February
HMS 'Thunderer' is completed in June. She is commissioned for Annual Manoeuvres and joined 2nd BS Home Fleet
Joined the Grand Fleet in August
Topmasts are reduced and torpedo nets removed
Battle of Jutland
Aeroplane platforms installed on the ‘B’ and ‘X’ turrets
Under the terms of the Washington Treaty, becomes a cadets’ training ship
The vessel is sold to Hughes Bolckow, Blyth in December and is broken up