1000 Days-Miscellaneous

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project

(Introduction) | (1910) | (1911) | (1912) | (1913) | (1914) | (1915) | (1916) | (Epilogue) | (The Ship) | (Battle Cruiser) | (Design) | (Protection) | (Ordnance) | (Machinery) | (Miscellaneous) | (Sources) | (Artwork) | (Photos - Build) | (Photos - Pre-War) | (Photos - On board) | (Photos - WW1) | (Photos - Beatty’s Battlecruisers) | (Photos - Miscellaneous)



An indication of the structure and composition of the ship’s medical structure in action can be gauged from the narrative of the Medical Officer of Princess Royal, noted in ‘The fighting at Jutland’.

In all the battle-cruisers there are two main ‘dressing stations’, one in the fore and the other in the after end of the ship. The fore dressing station is below the main deck, and is surrounded by about 9 inch of armour, and here the Majority of instruments and dressings are kept, since it is the most protected and convenient locality for operations. In size about 10 feet by 15 feet, there were two bunks against one bulkhead, or wall, of the station for bad cases, a small medical storeroom adjoined one corner, and a folding operating table. With another small table for the tray holding the instruments, was rigged in the centre of the station. The surgeon-commander was stationed here with a party of ten hands, which included the stretcher party. A similar party under the next senior surgeon was stationed in the after dressing station, which was aft on the port side of the mess deck unprotected by armour, but possessing the advantages of accessibility, an X-ray apparatus, and hot water led to it. The first aid party, all told, was about thirty strong, three medical officers, the chaplain, five sick berth ratings, and about twenty ship’s police, cooks, stewards, and writer ratings, who were trained in first aid duties but had no skilled medical knowledge. Each turret had two of the first aid party, with a supply of tourniquets, bandages, and simple dressings.


Queen Mary was provided with a fairly respectable wireless installation, with an output of some two kilowatts. According to the ambitions of 1909, she and her sisters had Service Gear Mark II wireless upon completion. This office’s outfit comprised of both Mk.I and Mk.II Type 9 short-radius sets. Further to these a Type IX main signal decoding installation was provided. The Fragile aerials and spreaders emanating from this office, were strung out between the fore and mainmast yards. These thin steel wire lines, were exposed and vulnerable to being severed by shell and splinter damage. Visual signals encompassed flags and searchlights. At night it was obvious that light signals could clearly give away a ships position. Therefore only carefully shaded searchlights were used if essential, they only visible for a distance of about a quarter of a mile by the ship directly addressed. Sometime before 1913, she may have had a Type 3 Battleship Auxiliary set, but it was to be replaced by a Type 10 Cruiser Auxiliary set.


Upon completion Queen Mary had been provided with sixteen twin 24 inch searchlights mountings, each of 25,000 candlepower. These where located in high commanding positions on the bridge platforms, with two pairs on the middle bridge, two pairs on the lower bridge, and four pairs positioned on platforms at the base of the after funnel. The cost of providing and installing these units, and the ships electrical fittings, had entailed an expenditure of around £60,000.

It is noted that in late 1913, one 24 inch Automatic Motor Lamp manufactured by Messrs. Clarke, Chapman & Co. Ltd., a model which had recently been trialled in Vernon, was to be installed in the ship at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard for a three-month trial. The results of this trial are not recorded.

On the 9 August 1914 a general message to the units of the 1BCS was received on-board Queen Mary from the flagship. Part of this concerned the future employment of the ships searchlight outfit in an action, a message that goes some way to envisaging the nature of another important role for these mountings and their crews:

It is possible that we may engage the enemy's ships during the night. There being considerable light from the moon it is not considered necessary to switch on searchlights to engage the enemy's torpedo-boats; this does not preclude the use of searchlights. Should the moon become obscured and captains consider it very desirable, but in doing so he must remember he might give away information to enemy's heavy ships. If engaged with heavy ships it May become necessary to switch on for the purpose of dazzling enemy's gun-layers and prevent them spotting fall of shot. Flagships movements to be followed in this respect.

It is noted that Lion and Princess Royal (but seemingly not Queen Mary, whose twin projectors may have been Vickers-made) were fitted with Siemens' No. 3 Twin Mountings for 24-in projectors. In 1914, some or all of these were to be modified to permit 90 degree elevation for use in anti-aircraft work.


As is quite obvious when inspecting journals and dairies from this period, the receipt of current news was regarded by the crew in harbour, or undertaking a sweep as a very important matter. Therefore it was a subject of some interest that every night that signals from the British press high power wireless station at Poldhu in Cornwall was listened into. Therefore the question ‘Is there a Poldhu’ was the invariable opening remark passed around the wardroom and mess deck each morning. Black indeed was the day without one. Sometimes the corresponding French station might be intercepted, as well as the German Wolff Agency, or their naval stations at Nauern near Berlin and Eilnese in Hanover. It is however noted that the latter’s version of the news was universally greeted by some scepticism, useful in just proving some much needed light relief.

Ship’s boats

Her designed complement called for two 50 feet steam pinnace, one 42 feet steam launch, one 36 feet sail powered pinnace, four 34 feet and one 30 feet cutters, one 30 feet gig, three 27 feet whalers, and finally one 16 feet dinghy and a 13.5 feet balsa raft. This outfit would have weighed in at around 71t. Provision was made in peacetime for carrying an extra dinghy, galley, and an Admirals barge, at 10 tons, if she had been commissioned as a flagship.

As for the capacity of these boats in an orderly abandon ship situation. It was intended that the steam pinnace could embark around a maximum of 90 men, the launch 140, the sail pinnace 90, each of the cutters some 49 men, 24 in each whaler, 26 for the gig, and about 15 in the dinghy. Obviously not enough space to accommodate all the increased wartime crew, the balance would have had to rely upon their individual life vests, additional rafts and carley floats carried in wartime. On the outbreak of war in August 1914 a number of boats had been land in the general reduction of inflammable material from the ship. The exact status of this complement carried during the war has not been discovered, but certainly the steam pinnaces were retained along with most of the cutters.

It is noted that battle-cruisers of the Lion class were ordered in July 1914 to surrender their 30 feet cutters. In October 1914, Lion and Princess Royal were provided 42 feet sailing launches after these boats had motors installed.

Ground tackle

Three 150 cwt Admiralty stockless anchors where located forward, the two Bower anchors being located in the hawse pipes forward, one on either side of the bow, with the sheet anchor in the rear location to starboard: A 42 cwt stockless Stream anchor was stowed aft, while a light 5 cwt Admiralty Pattern Kedge anchor was also included in this outfit, housed against the upper deck casing. A 6.25 cwt Kedge anchor might have been carried at some time in her career. All told there was 15 shackles of 2.75 inch cable stowed for the bowers, and 8 shackles on the sheet, each shackle being 75 feet in length: All told, she carried some 160 tons of cables, anchors, and steel wire hawsers.


To accommodate for the needs of the over 1,000 men in her complement, Queen Mary obviously had to have a number of store rooms and refrigerated compartments for a considerable amount of consumables. Weighing in at around 49t of provisions in her stores. Required for just two weeks was a typical store of:

60 ton of potatoes
30 ton of fresh beef
0.5 ton of kidneys
180 sides of bacon
2,400 pounds of margarine
15 hundredweight of salted cod
10 hundredweight each of kippers, haddock and bloaters
0.5 ton of onions
6 hundredweight each of salt, macaroni, lard, and tinned herrings
720 dozen eggs
36 cooked hams
24 dozen bottles of sauce
12 dozen bottles of curry powder
Plus, various quantities of fruit, tinned goods, cheese, tea
Evaporated milk, and condiments

Further to this impressive mass of stores, the ship bakery also provided a ready supply of fresh bread baked from its supplies of flour and ingredients. From that authoritative set compiled by H.W. Wilson ‘The Great War’, is a splendid drawing of the magnitude of the task involved in keeping the crew of such a capital ship in fighting trim. In this sketch a train with five vans of meat and six wagons of potatoes lies alongside a battleship. With rank upon rank of horse and hand drawn carts conveying such produce as is mentioned above, but also such luxury items for her canteen, with its 20 tons allocation for stores, as:

1,000 boxes of cigarettes
5 cwt of soda
150 boxes of chocolate
120 pounds of cakes

Fresh water for the crews domestic needs was also a vital consumable, one that her design incorporated tanks for 84t capacity at load, and 116t at deep condition displacement. Although a total figure of 200 tons of fresh water for her crew had been incorporated into her ‘as designed’ layout, a figure excluding the 15t held in her filter and gravity tanks.


The accompanying extensive photographic coverage of Queen Mary in mid 1913, when she was undertaking her acceptance trials, does reveal her finish at a rather interesting transitional stage. Upon inspection of these views the somewhat noticeably rough application of her painted surfaces is quite apparent, with vertical bands and sections of varying shades of dark grey from seemingly different builder’s stocks of paint appearing on her hull, with also horizontal bands on her funnels in dissimilar hues.

By comparison, as commissioned in September 1913, the then immaculate Queen Mary was completed in the standard Admiralty finish of dark sea grey overall with scrubbed bare teak weather decks, complimented by sections of brick red corcelene decking on the upper superstructure and bridge levels. Completing this distinctive appearance was her black waterline boot topping, funnel caps and upper portion to her masts. Queen Mary also possessed at this time an individual identification mark applied to her funnels, which was in the form of a single white band painted to the upper portion of her foremost funnel.

On the 19 August 1914 while Queen Mary and her squadron where at Scapa Flow, the hands were called to paint ship. In this exercise her appearance was to be considerably altered, with one interested observer passing on a graphic account of this day’s work:

All sorts of vivid designs in grey and white, ‘Q’ turret guns look like zebras in all the glory of their stripes, ‘A’ turret like crocodiles, ‘X’ like a chessboard, while the funnels look like nothing on earth: (Major Rooney)

It is to be regretted therefore that no photographic record of Queen Mary in this apparently striking pose has been discovered. A brief diary entry dated the 14 September 1914 suggests that the ship had been painted GF light grey overall. Shortly after this on the 27 of that month her distinctive sternwalk aft was badly smashed up in a gale, with only the base for this retained.

During 1915 Queen Mary, along with ten other identifiable capital ships in the GF, she was given an experimental camouflage pattern consisting of long lower hull panels of dark blue/grey against their otherwise light grey finish. This was to give the static impression of a ship alongside. While from photographic coverage it appears that Queen Mary had her hull band painted over by the time of Jutland in May 1916. Her general appearance at the end of her service was an overall light grey one, against which the black of her boot topping, funnel caps and upper masts, stood out from quite clearly.

(Introduction) | (1910) | (1911) | (1912) | (1913) | (1914) | (1915) | (1916) | (Epilogue) | (The Ship) | (Battle Cruiser) | (Design) | (Protection) | (Ordnance) | (Machinery) | (Miscellaneous) | (Sources) | (Artwork) | (Photos - Build) | (Photos - Pre-War) | (Photos - On board) | (Photos - WW1) | (Photos - Beatty’s Battlecruisers) | (Photos - Miscellaneous)