HMS Implacable

HMS Implacable was the only Formidable class battleship to survive the First World War. With the rest of her class she formed part of the 5th Battle Squadron at the outbreak of the war, helping to protect the BEF as it crossed the channel. On 17 October the French requested the help of two Formidable class battleships at Dunkirk, and the Implacable was one of the two chosen. In the event they never reached Dunkirk, and were instead diverted to Dover.

Plans of Formidable and London Class Battleships
Plans of
Formidable and
London Class

HMS Implacable was the last of the class to remain with the Channel Fleet. The Formidable was sunk by a U-boat on 1 January 1915, while Irresistible was soon detached to go to the Dardanelles. By February there were only four battleships left at Portland, and by March that had been reduced to two – HMS Implacable and HMS Ocean. That month they too were ordered to go to the Dardanelles to replace ships already lost.

They were not present on 18 March for the unsuccessful attempt to force the narrows – at that point they were still a days steaming away from Malta, but they arrived soon afterwards, helping to make up for the ships lost during the attempt. During the Gallipoli landings of 25 April HMS Implacable was part of the First Squadron of the fleet at the Dardanelles, the biggest of the two battleship squadrons. She took a direct hand in the landings, towing boats containing the Royal Fusiliers to their beach on the western side of the peninsula then supporting the boats with heavy gunfire until they were safely ashore. She then supported their attack with a barrage, which only ended when some of her shells fell close to other Allied beaches. On 26 April her guns broke up one Turkish unit being brought forward for a counterattack.

On 18 May HMS Implacable was one of the ships withdrawn from Gallipoli to fulfil the terms of the Italian Convention. The Italians had agreed to enter the war as long as a strong force of warships joined their fleet to help them against the Austro-Hungarian Fleet in the Adriatic. She was later deployed in the East Indies, but in June 1917 was back in the Mediterranean as the flagship of Admiral R. A. Hayes-Sadler. She took part in the operations that forced the abdication of King Constantine of Greece and the entry of Greece fully into the war, observing events in Athens. By July 1917 she was the only fully commissioned British battleship in the Mediterranean, and was already at Gibraltar, on her way home. Once back in Britain she formed part of the Northern Patrol, one of the most important parts of the anti-submarine war. During 1918 she played a part in experiments with hydrophones, carrying Captain H. T. Walwyn, an acknowledged expert on the subject.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed




Armour – deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - gun houses


 - casemates


 - conning tower



431ft 9in


Four 12in guns*
Twelve 6in quick firing guns
Sixteen 12pdr quick firing guns
Six 3pdr quick firing guns
Four 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



11 March 1899


September 1901


Captain H. C. Lockyer
Captain Evans

Sold for break up


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cover cover cover

* HMS Implacable was the first battleship to feature the 40 calibre Mk IX 12in gun

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 November 2007), HMS Implacable ,

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