"It was a grey morning when we finally arrived at Clydebank. I shall never forget the first sight of this magnificent ship; although she was covered with the grime of the dockyard, I felt a catch in my throat as I said, ‘What a wonderful ship!’ I stood gazing at her full length, nearly 700 foot long with a beam of 90ft 6ins. A friend nearby exclaimed, ‘What a Tiger! Long, lean and hungry!" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 45-46.

The Royal Navy Estimates for 1911 called for one battlecruiser design. The last design that had made it through the process was that of the Queen Mary of the 1910 program and the Admiralty requirements for the 1911 ship called for an improved Queen Mary design. Philip Watts, the Director of Naval Construction, was not happy with mere improvements of the prior design. He thought that he could do better and he was right. His creation for the 1911 program was a warship of surpassing beauty, the HMS Tiger.

"Some old sailors will tell you that there are ships that are good and some that are bad, and some ships that have souls. Well, this good ship Tiger was a ship in a thousand and she most certainly had a soul – a ship whose name would live forever. But I must record for all her goodness she was unlucky in some respects; she was a ship that had many fatal accidents occurring in her and a few suicides." HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 49. Philips was DNC when the first battlecruiser, HMS Invincible, was designed and had been responsible for each battlecruiser design of the Royal Navy since then. The HMS Tiger was to be his last battlecruiser design. In preparation for this design, the DNC prepared three sketch designs based upon the prior Queen Mary, labeled A, A1 and C, which were presented on July 31, 1911.

Plan, Profile & Quarter Views
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Design C was the most like Queen Mary. With the same length and one foot more beam, the design had the same main (eight 13.5-inch) and secondary (sixteen 4-inch) armament of the previous design on 250 tons more displacement. C Design also had only 135 tons more armor than Queen Mary, while the other two designs featured significantly more armor additions. The design had the two aft turrets separated, as in Queen Mary, but Q turret was aft of the funnels and masts increasing the arc of fire to 300 degrees from the 240 degrees in Queen Mary. Design C was soon ruled out. The Royal Navy had already switched to a 6-inch secondary gun with the latest battleship design of the Iron Duke and the Admiralty did not to retain 4-inch secondary guns for the new battlecruiser design.

The A and A1 designs both had the forward and aft turrets paired together in an arrangement similar to the later Queen Elizabeth Class. Both designs called for 6-inch secondary guns with A having 16 and A1 having 12. Both designs had two-feet more beam than Queen Mary with a displacement of more than a 1,000 tons greater. Besides the number of secondary guns the designs differed in other ways. A was 350 tons heavier than A1 and had an additional 1,000 shp to achieve the same designed speed of 28 knots. Design A also had 50 tons more armor than A1. The Admiralty was leaning towards the A1 design, when Watts came forward with a 4th design designated A2.

Design A2 had the guns disposed as in Queen Mary but with no mast, funnel or superstructure intruding in the aft field of fire, this new design would allow Q turret to fire directly aft. Side armor was carried all the way up to protect the ten main deck casemate positions. With all four designs, A, A1, A2 and C, the armor belt ran over 24 feet above and six-feet below waterline, compared to 16-feet above and 3 ½-feet below waterline in Queen Mary. Design A2 was selected and approved on August 18, 1911. Work on the design continued throughout the fall December 21, when bids were invited from the shipyards. The last design change was made on that same day by providing that all available spaces on the double bottom be fitted with oil tanks. This addition marked a half-way point in the conversion of Royal Navy designs from coal fired to oil fired. Of course the next design out, the Queen Elizabeth, went completely to oil fired machinery. It also gave Tiger a range of 4,500 nm at 20 knots, more than a thousand miles greater than the Lion Class at the same speed. Speed also jumped from 27.5 knots to 29 knots.

Hull Detail
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On March 2, 1912 the offer from John Brown Shipyard was accepted for the construction of HMS Tiger, with the contract being signed on April 4. Laid down on June 20, 1912 Tiger was launched on December 15, 1913. She was ready for trials in August 1914 when World War One erupted. Trials were expedited and Tiger was nominally completed in October 1914. In reality the Tiger still had teething problems. "Tiger had not yet joined the squadron, and was to prove far from ready when she did join." With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at page 55. "The Tiger had disappeared in the night, and reappeared with rather a dissipated air in the course of the morning, alleging, in reply to urgent signals, that she had lost visual touch with the squadron. Reproof was duly administered. I even remember the wording of it: ’Your extraordinarily bad lookout will cause a disaster." "We were doing target practice with 4-inch guns, and the Tiger again came in for reproof because she was late and kept us all waiting." "She certainly came in for a good deal of scolding on her first day with us." With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at pages 68-69. However, when she joined the fleet she was without a doubt one of the most graceful and handsome warships in the world. The beauty of her lines could only be equaled by the subsequent, Renown, Repulse and Hood.

When HMS Tiger received her commission on October 3, 1914 she joined the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet with construction personnel still aboard, working day and night to finish her. She was still being worked up on January 24, 1915 when she was present at the Battle of Dogger Bank. During the battle Tiger engaged Blucher, Seydlitz and Moltke. She was hit seven times with the port gun of B turret being disabled and the ship’s distributing office being wrecked. One officer and nine seamen were killed. At Dogger Bank Tiger wore an odd camouflage scheme which had a dark gray angled panel amidships from the waterline up to the bottom of the casemates and four broad white stripes on each of the three funnels. Admiral Beatty, commander of the battlecruisers, considered Tiger’s performance during the battle to be less than satisfactory. This was due in part to her green status. "…while the Tiger, who was second in our line, fired first at their No. 1 and, when interfered with by smoke, at their No. 4. This was unfortunate, as it left the second enemy ship unfired at, and she concentrated on Lion." From Paragraph 11, Vice Admiral Beatty’s Dogger Bank Dispatch of January 26, 1915 to the Admiralty, With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young, Appendix A, at page 267. "Engage corresponding ship in line.’ On this signal being made and hauled down, the Lion’s guns were trained on the enemy’s leading ship, leaving the second ship, the Moltke, to the Tiger, while the Princess Royal and New Zealand had the Derfflinger and Blucher respectively as targets. It was not until afterwards that we discovered that the Tiger had not obeyed this order, but had continued to fire on the Blucher, thus leaving the Moltke to uninterrupted target practice on the Lion." With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at pages 190.

HMS Tiger Vital Statistics


Dimensions: Length - 704-feet oa; 697-feet 9-inches wl; 660-feet pp: Beam - 90-feet 6-inches: Draught - 28-feet 3-inches legend; 32-feet load:
Displacement - 28,100 tons as designed; 28,800 tons legend; 27,550 tons light; 32,800 tons load; 33,677 tons deep load:
Armament: Eight 13.5-Inch/45 MkV; Twelve 6-Inch/45 MkVII; Two 3-Inch QF; Four 21-Inch Torpedo Tubes, Submerged Beam

Machinery: 39 Babcock & Wilcox boilers; Four Shaft; Brown Curtis Turbines; Design 85,000shp; As Completed 108,000shp:
Maximum Speed: 29 Knots: Complement: 1,109 as designed; 1,344 in May 1915; 1,459 in April 1918


"Their destroyers then showed evident signs of an attempt to attack, and I signalled to the Squadron to that effect. Lion and Tiger opened fire with 4-inch and 6-inch guns respectively, and caused them to retire and resume their original course. The 6-inch guns of Tiger performed very useful service at a long range, and certainly succeeded in placing 2 salvoes among them at 12,000 yards. Paragraph 13, Vice Admiral Beatty’s Dogger Bank Dispatch of January 26, 1915 to the Admiralty, With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young, Appendix A, at page 267. "Southampton reported that one ship, probably Tiger, was consistently ‘over." From Paragraph 15, Vice Admiral Beatty’s Dogger Bank Dispatch of January 26, 1915 to the Admiralty, With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young, Appendix A, at page 268. "The Tiger and the Princess Royal apparently did not alter course in answer to either of the Admiral’s two signals." "There was nothing for it, apparently, but to follow the Tiger’s course in the direction of the unfortunate Blucher…She (Princess Royal) and the Tiger now proceeded to circle around the Blucher, firing all the time, and the other two ships (New Zealand & Indomitable) fell into line astern of them. The doomed Blucher, already shot to pieces and in the act of dissolution, might well have been left to the squadron of light cruisers and flotillas of destroyers which were rapidly closing her; but her actual destruction seems to have been a kind of obsession with the captains of the two British battle cruisers." With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at pages 199-200. "At first firing common shell we changed to the more deadly lyddite of greater explosive power. Soon our shots were exploding all over the pre-Dreadnought cruiser. So short became the range that we could see our projectiles exploding on the target. Ben Smyth, our trainer, at this dramatic moment stopped the gun following the target, saying, ‘It’s bloody murder, Bill,’ shouting at the gunlayer who was firing, pressing the trigger by means of a hand grip on the handles." HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 67.

Of course the big test would come on May 31, 1916 at the Battle of Jutland. Tiger was fourth in line, following Lion, Princess Royal and Queen Mary but ahead of New Zealand and Indefatigable. When the six battlecruisers of Beatty sighted the five battlecruisers of Hipper, the Run to the South started. In somewhat of a repeat of Dogger Bank, Tiger as well as Queen Mary, missed Beatty’s signal and did not fire on the designated ships, leaving Derfflinger free to fire with no disturbance. Tiger targeted Moltke, who was supposed to be her target at Dogger Bank. Within five minutes Tiger was hit. "Gunnery Officer of Tiger: - "Q" and "X" turrets did not come to the "ready". I had felt the concussion from hits on our armor, though I did not know for some minutes that both these turrets had been penetrated. "X" turret came in again after missing two or three salvoes, though with only one gun except at long intervals. I increased the rate of fire as much as possible, firing double salvoes. We received several more hits – In the engine-room of Tiger: - a heavy thud, followed by a deafening report immediately overhead, intimated that a heavy shell had penetrated the side armour and had burst inboard. The shell bursting in the ammunition passage killed a dozen men, cut through the fresh and salt water mains, and finally the base of the shell, in penetrating to the engine-room, severed the H.P. air pressure ring main." Jutland by Stuart Legg at page 45. "Suddenly, a few minutes later, the ship seemed to lift bodily sidewards and we received the worst hit we had had until then. Just one shell only had exploded underneath the warrant officers’ mess, through the ship-side armoured belt, and into a storeroom below. A great fire raged around the ammunition passages and the port after 6 inch magazine had to be flooded to save the ship from blowing up. The German 12 inch shell did an immense amount of damage and almost brought the ship to a standstill." HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 103.

Hull with 01 Deck
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After Beatty lost Indefatigable and Queen Mary and sighted Scheer’s fleet, the Run to the North started. During this period Seydlitz and then Derfflinger were the targets of Tiger. "We received several further hits and our armoured steel split open like pea-pods, but nothing of any consequence. Suddenly however the ship lurched and we felt the deck heave beneath us, and in our gun casemate the rammer tub slid across the deck, kissed the stacked shells like a curtsey, and slid back again. Then the Tiger righted herself and steamed on at the speed of the Fleet. Later I remarked to our Battery Officer, ‘Cargo Bill’, that we must have had a big hit just then. He replied, ‘Nothing much, Hayward, a shell in the after forecastle deck. Go up and get some Woodbines (cigarettes) out of the dry goods canteen. It’s been knocked out and the Stoker Fire Party will only ruin them with their hoses.’ I ran up to the after forecastle deck. Complete chaos met my eyes. An 11 inch shell had exploded on the deck and started a small fire, and a huge ghastly hole gaped at me through which one could have driven a bus. I salvaged a box of Woodbines and then stepped through where the door had previously been, and out on to the upper deck. Away in the distance I saw the magnificent 5th Battle Squadron." HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 112-113.

"Beatty, by putting on speed, had drawn too far ahead and we suddenly found ourselves out of range. We were invited to go on deck for a breather. I went up with our gunners to have a look at ‘Q’ turret. I could see she had had a very nasty hit and the right gun hanging at a curious angle of depression which gave the turret a hangdog look, the barrel almost touching the deck." HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 113-114.

HMS Tiger suffered 14 hits, of which at least ten were heavy caliber. Damage included the forecastle being badly damaged. Holed above the waterline, there was considerable damage internally. A barbette was hit by a 12-inch shell, which did not penetrate. Q turret was hit. One 11-inch shell temporarily disabled the left gun and both guns and loading gear damaged. Another 11-inch shell penetrated the side and deck armor aft of Q turret, burst inside and caused a bad fire. Due to this fire the port 6-inch magazine had to be flooded. Tiger lost 24 killed and 37 wounded from the battle. She rejoined the fleet on July 2 after repairs and was flagship of the Battle Cruiser Squadron, until the more heavily damaged Lion was placed back into service.

Tiger along with Repulse, Glorious and Courageous took part in the Helgioland operations. On November 21, 1917 the battlecruisers were sweeping the Kattegat. German ships were sighted to the south. "I was able, therefore, to get once again a bird’s eye view through the eyes of our friend up in the 6 inch gun control tower. This voice pipe commentator started off well: ‘Heavy smoke to the south-east boys.’ Then, a little later, ‘Increasing speed. Repulse going like a bomb. Got a bone in her gizzard! We are off now! Good Alf Bentick is giving her the big stick." HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 160. The German forces turned south and managed to break off the action. This was the last time Tiger fired her guns in anger.

01 Deck, Lower Superstructure, Stacks & B Barbette
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In April 1919 Tiger was the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet until Hood was ready for the duty. In May 1920 Hood and Tiger took off for the Baltic for operations against Bolshevik Russia. They reached the Baltic before being recalled. The British government had made a change of policy towards the Soviet government. That fall Tiger’s bad luck reappeared as Tiger collided with Royal Sovereign, causing damage to the battleship. She became gunnery training ship in February 1924 until June 1926 when she joined the Atlantic fleet in place of Hood, which went in for a refit. She stayed with the fleet until her end. On April 28, 1931 she was withdrawn from the fleet and on July 26 placed on the disposal list. In spring 1932 she was sold and broken up. "Look, there’s the old Tiger. I believe she’s being de-commissioned before being broken up.’ I replied, ‘What a shame! I still think she’s the finest battle cruiser in the world.’ He answered, ‘You’re probably right. The Hood looks very powerful but she is not as good as your old ship.’ How true his words were! The Hood was sunk by Bismarck in the Denmark Straits in May 1941 – we could have done with the mighty Tiger then…" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 180-181. (History from British Battleships of World War One, by R.A. Burt; HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward; Jutland by Stuart Legg; With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young)

There is a beauty in the howling of the blast,
There is fury in the raging of the gale,
There is a terrific outpouring
When the Lion starts a-roaring,
And the Tiger starts a-lashing of her tail.

Vice Admiral David Beatty to the men of the Battle Cruiser Squadron three days after Dogger Bank. HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 70-71.

Hull Casting
The Combrig hull casting for the HMS Tiger is one of the largest 1:700 scale hulls in their extensive range. With it Combrig has tried some new techniques. The barbettes for A, Q, and X turrets are hollow all of the way to the base and there is a large opening in which the 01 deck fits. Other than saving some amount of resin in casting the hulls, I really don’t understand the purpose for these voids. What I do understand from seeing the hull is that it is excellent. To my mind, it is the best yet from Combrig.

Bridges, Platforms & Superstructure
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First of all, to appreciate the care used in developing the master pattern for the Tiger, all you have to do is compare the deck plan on the Combrig model with the deck plan of Tiger published in British Battleships of World War One by R. A. Burt. Although the plan is as of 1924, the fittings should not have changed much or at all since Tiger’s commissioning ten years earlier. Hatch for hatch, fitting for fitting, detail for detail, the two match almost perfectly. There are a few of the smaller fittings missing, such as those found immediately behind the breakwater. Not only does the quantity of detail excel but the quality of the individual fittings is also a cut above.

Since the Tiger was partially coal fired, scuttle hatches were found on the deck of the ship for loading the coal. Those scuttles are readily ascertainable on this Combrig model. Just remember in painting the model that the scuttles are metal so that they will be steel deck gray. Deck hatches and coaming panels have individual hinges and some have dogging handles. There is plenty of other deck detail. The breakwater is thin with twelve support braces. The anchor chains cast into the hull run into recessed deck hawse openings. Of course there are all the other standard details, such as bollards and cleats.

The sides of the hull also have their share of detail. Starting with the forward casemate positions, there is a long run of overhang. The forecastle deck slightly overhangs the casemates all the way along the amidships area. This overhang on each side has four lateral braces. Combrig has done very well on this overhang as well as on the casemates, which are crisp and well defined. The anchor hawse holes are significantly hollowed out, giving a really great sense of depth.

HMS Tiger References

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British Battleships of World War One Written by R.A. Burt this volume is the one essential reference for not only HMS Tiger, but also every Royal Navy capital ship design from HMS Dreadnought of the 1905 Estimates to Admiral Fisher’s curious HMS Furious design of 1915. The volume is 320 pages crammed with in depth text, hundreds of photographs and multiple drawings. As a reference it is absolutely top drawer and none finer.

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Battlecruisers - Written by John Roberts. This is an 128 page study of the battlecruiser designs of the Royal Navy from HMS Invincible to HMS Hood. Mr. Roberts well written text, the many photographs, tables, along with some line drawings, make this a one volume reference on this peculiar and very dramatic type of warship.

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British Battle Cruisers - Written by Peter C. Smith. This volume is basically an introductory volume on the subject of the battlecruisers of the Royal navy. However, it does have features not found in other titles, such as color artwork. The title is 80 pages in length and covers HMS Invincible through the 1921 battlecruiser designs doomed by the Washington Treaty. 

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HMS Tiger at Bay - Written by Victor Hayward. The author served on HMS Tiger for six years. He joined the ship when she was fresh from the builders in the fall of 1914 and served in her company for all of World War One and a couple of years thereafter. His descriptions of duty on Tiger are especially vibrant; from climbing up the internal ladder in the leg of the foremast in a storm to serving in the six-inch battery at Dogger Bank and Jutland, his text brings to life service on this Splendid Cat. His love of his ship sometimes fogs his common sense, as in his belief that Tiger could have handled the Bismarck, if she had been around in May 1941.


However, everything is not perfect with the hull casting on the Combrig Tiger. The most significant problem is the shape of the cutwater. With the Tiger as the edge of the bow approached the waterline, it flared gently forward. It had just a slight hint of a ram bow. With the Combrig Tiger the cutwater appears perpendicular, going straight down from the forward end of the forecastle to the waterline. The fix appears to be fairly easy but will require some care. Since the flare is slight, some careful sanding of the upper part of the cutwater will put the curve in it. Of course care will have to be used so as to prevent the bow from becoming too blunt.

Falling in the minor column is a small gap in fitting the 01 deck to the hull. After a few dry fits, I still have not managed to fit the 01 deck to the hull without this narrow gap. A little sanding on the lower flange of the 01 deck that fits into the sleeve in the hull should result in a clean joinder and fit but I have yet to try it. Falling into the nit picking to miniscule would be the few small fittings missing from the deck plan as already mentioned.

Smaller Parts
The 01 deck is the largest piece, other than the hull. Half the B barbette, all of the forward superstructure and all three funnels are located on this deck. The deck detail of this piece has the same outstanding detail of the deck on the hull casting. There are 28 deck hatches or coamings on this part alone, 21 of which have hinge detail. There are fine lines that serve as locator guides for the superstructure tower and the three funnels. The first level of the tower also has the conning tower. The most outstanding feature of this piece is extraordinarily thin tapering splinter shielding. With this piece has designed a well to act as a sleeve for the vertical portion of the superstructure tower.

Armament & Smaller Fittings
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The tower bridge has slots on the rear face into which the different decks fit, which should make assembly a little easier than the more common, level by level, wedding cake fashion assembly. All of the different platforms and bridge levels are casting on a square of resin film. The film is so thin, that at most, minimal sanding might be needed to get them just right. This square also has the control top deck with a nicely done starfish supporting the deck. When looking at the hull, the 01 deck and all of the other parts, I did not observe any unintentional casting voids or breakage, except for one part. Some of the splinter shielding on the control top was broken but could be easily replaced with resin film from the kit.

The 13.5-Inch turrets and stacks are also significant features in this kit. The turret roofs have discernable armor plate separation lines as well as the classic three sighting hood arrangement, typical of warships of the Royal Navy. The turrets have a very good fit into the barbettes. The gun openings however, are a little shallow. The resin gun barrels do not have blast bags. The funnels have short resin plugs on the bottom that will have to be removed by cutting or sanding. They do have some nice base and cap flanges. There are plenty of other goodies. There is the raised twin searchlight platform between the 1st and 2nd funnels and there are plenty of searchlights to go around. Separate anchor capstans, boat derrick, well done ship’s boats, 3-Inch open mount guns, casemate 6-inch gun barrels, B barbette, anchors, masts and yards form the balance of the parts package. Another departure from the past is the use of separate boat cradle/chocks.

Normally Combrig has cast these as part of the hull, however, there may be a simple explanation for this change found in this sentence in the instructions, "Available from White Ensign Models: PE757 1/700 HMS Tiger photoetched brass set". The Combrig kit does not have photo-etch but from the above statement as well as the inclusion in the instructions of the WEM Colourcoat colors to be used on the Tiger, it is clear that Combrig and WEM have discussed joint releases for the Tiger. Since WEM’s practice is to include boat cradles/chocks as part of the brass fret, Combrig may have made the resin boat cradles separate to facilitate usage of the WEM brass parts.

Box Art & Instructions
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If you have seen a set of Combrig instructions for their 1:700 scale series, you will recognize the common format that Combrig uses. The instructions for the Combrig HMS Tiger are no exception. There is one page, which is back-printed. The front side has the traditional plan and profile used by Combrig. Normally they print the plan and profile in 1:700 scale, however, because of the size of the Tiger, it is in 1:1000 scale in these instructions. There is a history and vital statistics section in Russian as well as being covered in a more abbreviated version in English. However, the painting instructions are in English and refer to shades in the WEM Colourcoat paint range by name and WEM code number.

The reverse is also in the same format. There are photos of the different parts but at a reduced size from the resin parts in the kit. Then there is the isometric assembly diagram with a separate inset showing the bridge/tower assembly. Not all parts are shown on the assembly diagram. The parts not shown in the assembly drawing are the boats, boat cradles, There are twelve searchlights but the assembly drawing only shows placement for ten. These two go to one of the bridge levels. Whenever in doubt, go to the plan and profile for further elaboration on placement of the parts.

It is about time. For years no producer approached the creation of a model of one of the most majestic warships ever built, HMS Tiger. The model is one of the finest that Combrig has produced. The detail sets a new high standard for the Russian company. To add spice to the mix, the fact that White Ensign Models is already preparing a brass photo-etch fret designed specifically for the Combrig kit, makes this release something very special.

"Speed and beauty were welded into every line of her. The highest ideals of grace and power had taken form at the bidding of the artist’s brain of her designer. Wherever she went she satisfied the eye of the sailorman and I have known them to pull miles just that the sweetness of her lines might delight their eyes. She was the last warship built to satisfy the sailor’s ideas of what a ship should be like, and nobly she fulfilled that ideal. Beside any others she made them look like floating factories. No man who ever served in her fails to recollect her beauty with pride and thankfulness.’ (Years of Endurance, Muir, p. 56.)" British Battleships 1860-1950 by Oscar Parkes at page 553.