HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH ARRIVING AT THE DARDANELLES, 1915
Maritime Originals. Watercolour signed and dated Frank W Wood 1917.
12 x 27 3/4 ins (30.5 x 70.5 cms)
Price on application
In Februuary 1915 with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Fisher's Baltic project failed, Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, turned his mind to the launching of a naval and military assault against Turkey. Forcing the Dardanelles by bombardment followed by a speedy landing and the capture of Constantinople would prove a winning strategic move that would strike Turkey a fatal blow it was hoped. Fisher saw the dangers and advised Churchill accordingly but the First Lord's mind was made up and the campaign went ahead. It was to prove one of the Allies' worst strategic defeats of the First World War and its failure also led to the resignation of both First Lord and First Sea Lord.
The pre-dreadnought battleships HMS LORD NELSON and AGAMEMNON together with other Allied heavy ships were despatched to the Mediterranean and carried out preliminary bombardments with little success; the newly commissioned super dreadnought HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (Captain George Hope RN) was accordingly sailed for the area as it was hoped that her 8 new into-service 15 inch guns would provide the necessary punch finally to overcome the stubbornly resistant coastal defences leading into Constantinople. But strings of mines laid across the channel coupled with the fact that these large capital ships were in effect sitting ducks as their manoeuvrability was so circumscribed by the geography of the Straits and the mines, led to repeated failure and to avoid risking QUEEN ELIZABETH further to such damage by shellfire or mine, she was withdrawn in April and returned home to the Grand Fleet.
This watercolour annotated by the artist (lower right) "British Squadron 18th March 1915 Approaching the Dardonelles (sic)" shows QE left foreground with the battlecruiser HMS INFLEXIBLE (Captain R F Philimore CB ADC RN) in the van and followed by HMS LORD NELSON (Captain J W L McClintock RN) and AGAMEMNON (Captain H A S Fyler RN) as they turn in towards the Dardanelles.