REFERENCE DOCUMENTS & RESOURCES - OFFICIAL ADMIRALTY DOCUMENTS
ADM 1/10139: BATTLESHIP AND BATTLE CRUISER STRENGTH (1939)
Updated 18-Oct-2007

This document is a modern transcription of Admiralty record ADM 1/10139. It highlights considerations and factors concerning proposed battleship/battle cruiser asset refits/upgrades and their affect on force strength. It was transcribed by Richard Hunt on behalf of the the Royal Navy Flag Officers 1904-1945 website. The original file is held at the The National Archives at Kew, London. This Crown Copyrighted material is reproduced here by kind permission of The National Archives.

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Minute Sheet No 3.

Register No. DO 722

1939

It is now contemplated to take one ship of the ROYAL SOVEREIGN class in hand for reconstruction in 1940 and a second subsequently. It is understood from D.N.C. that the most suitable ships of the Class for re-construction are RAMILLIES and ROYAL SOVEREIGN, and I should like this matter to be considered now.

The re-construction should include the fitting of 4” armour over the magazines and 2 ½ “ armour over machinery spaces, but it is not contemplated to provide these ships with new machinery, no is it intended to fit them to carry aircraft, except possibly on X turret as in ROYAL OAK. It would be desired to re-construct the bridges, probably on the general lines carried out in ROYAL OAK, and also to improve the water-tight sub-division in any manner reasonably possible. No torpedo armament need be provided. The elevation of the 15” guns should be increased to 30 °.

It is requested that an estimate of probable time and cost be given. When this information is available I will arrange a meeting to discuss the details.

It would be important to get the work on these ships carried out as expeditiously as possible, and therefore any step which could be taken in advance to expedite the work should be stated. It would not be practicable to take one of these ships in hand until VALIANT and RENOWN are completed and in commission.

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Minute Sheet No 2.

Register No. D.O. 722/39.

 

In the absence of details covering the proposed alterations, it is possible to give only very approximate figures of the cost of these. Assuming that the additional armour and modification to the bridge is on the lines of ROYAL OAK the approximate costs of the Dockyard work would be of the order of:-

Deck protection £170,000
Bridge 25,000

To this must be added cost of armour, about £90,000. The time for this would be 12 – 15 months, dependent on the degree of priority of the work, and is governed by the deck armouring.

For the more extensive armouring and bridge modification on the lines of QUEEN ELIZABETH (which means fitting armour over the Boiler Rooms in addition to that fitted as in ROYAL OAK) the approximate costs would be:-

Deck protection £275,000
Bridge £100,000

To which must be added the cost of the armour £130,000.

The time required for this would be about 18 month for each item. It may be extended if the work over the Boiler Rooms is complicated by the possibility of altering the size of the existing boiler hatches.

In addition to the foregoing items it is understood modification to the bulges may be required and the costs of this work and that of any watertight subdivision possible is dependent upon the settlement of details. A very figure for the bulge modification based on information available is of the order of £50,000.

At present these ships have been refitted to give a life of four years and if these alterations are carried out it may be necessary to give consideration to refitting so as to increase the life.

[signature]

D. of D.

9.3.39

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[transcribers note – this entire page was in handwritten scrawl, and may have been transcribed incorrectly]

In view of D.N.C.s statement will D.N.O. please remark.

M de Maric?
for D.N….
14 MAR 1939

The cost of elevating guns to 30 ° would be approx. £180,000 per ship. The minimum time 18 months., provided prior provision of castings etc. had been made before that.

E.V. Simpson?
D.N.O.
14.3.39

D.N.C.

As arranged would do this with reference to D of D’s minute, especially in probability of answering to written terms

The question was discussed at 1 st Sea Lords meeting re ‘modernisation’ last week.

[signature]
D.N.E.
17 MAR 1939

Noted. This matter is being further dealt with on DO780/39

W. Sanders
D.N.O.
6 MAY 1939

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Proposal for large repair and or modernization of “NELSON”, “RODNEY” and “HOOD” have been prepared and I understand that you wish to hold a meeting to discuss them. I would propose that D.N.C., E-in-C., D.N.O. and D. of D. should attend from Controller’s Departments.

2. In the meantime I attach a few notes which seem to me to present the broader aspects of the questions and which can be developed at the meeting.

[signature]
for Controller.
1 st March, 1939.

Copies to:-

D.C.N.S.
A.C.N.S.
D.N.E.
N.N.C
D. of D.
E-in-C.
D.N.O.
Head of M.F.

——page break——

Request remarks on the proposals in this paper, more especially as regards a possible program.

Unless the world situation improves considerably in the coarse of the year I think it is most improbable that we could agree to another modern ship being taken in hand for reconstruction or large repair until QUEEN ELIZABETH is nearly completed, about August 1940. On the other hand, I should see much less objection to one of the ROYAL Sovereign being taken in hand after both RENOWN and VALIANT are in commission.

[handwritten] Request paper back by p.m. Thurs. 9 th [/handwritten]

[initials]
3rd March 1939.

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Minute Sheet 8

The attached diagram A. shows the forecast of the future increases that are likely to be made in British capital ship strength (in black) compared with those which it is estimated will be made in German and Japanese capital ship strength (in red). It is desired to emphasise that the graphs show only the relative numbers likely (omitting the DEUTSCHLAND’s and Japanese “large cruisers”) and in no way represent the actual comparative strengths.

2. D.N.I.’s estimate of Japanese building also indicates the possibility of one heavy cruiser (armed with guns exceeding 8”) being completed during each of the years 1939, 40, 41 and 42, but evidence as to the size of these ships is still indefinite. These ships are not shown in the diagram.

3. The third, fourth and fifth German 8” gun cruisers are likely to be completed during 1940. These also are omitted from the diagram.

4. It will be seen that our most unfavourable periods occur as follows:-

(a) Until RENOWN and VALIANT are completed towards the end of this year.
(b) At the end of 1940 and early in 1941 when the first two German battleships and the first new Japanese battleship are expected to be completed. We cannot yet toll exactly how the dates of completion of these ships will compare with the first three ships of the KING GEORGE V. Class.
(c) Towards the end of 1943 and early in 1944 when Germany is likely to have built up her full quota of three more capital ships, making 7 modern ships in all.

Modernization of the ROYAL SOVEREIGN Class.
5. In D. of P’s view it is unwise to lay up any of these ships,/

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Ships for modernization for the following reasons:-

(a) These ships are most required to act as “stop gaps” while out new ships are building. To place them out of action during this period would be to surrender one of the main purposes for which we are retaining them.
(b) It is likely that the heavy expenditure involved will, in the eyes of the Treasury, re-act against our case for building new capital ships.
(c) The additional armour required will presumably re-act against our ability to build new 15” and 16” gun ships, or alternatively, result in increased reliance on Czechoslovakian armour – a situation which must be fundamentally unsound.
(d) An additional load will be place on our dockyards at a time when we are most anxious to press on with a heavy A/A re-armament programme for our old cruisers and destroyers.
(e) As we cannot afford again to have more than one capital ship out action at a time before 1942, the modernisation of the ROYAL SOVEREIGN Class is bound to prejudice the large repairs of NELSON and RODNEY which are already overdue.

Large Repairs of NELSON and RODNEY.
6. It is considered that at this stage of their lives, it is preferable to take RODNEY and NELSON in hand for normal large repairs only, for the following reasons:-

(a) We cannot afford to have both these ships out of action together, and if full modernization of one is undertaken, the other will not be taken in hand until 15 years old.

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(b) We cannot afford at this stage to plan for either of these ships to be out of action at the end of 1940 and early in 1941, as it is quite possible that our KING GEORGE V. Class will not complete in time to the three German and Japanese ships expected to come into service during this period.
(c) Full modernization of these ships would appear to be more appropriately undertaken about 1946-50, when they will be 19 to 23 years old. It is, moreover, not until about this period (i.e. when the last of the WARSPITE Class are likely to be scrapped that their comparatively low speed will become a serious handicap.
(d) The available money, armour and dockyard capacity would probably be better spent in other directions during the next few years. It is particularly desirable to reserve sufficient money and armour to be able to proceed with the construction of a 15” , in addition to the maximum programme of 16” gun ships permitted by gun mount capacity.

HOOD.
7. It seems that we cannot afford to consider taking HOOD in hand until early 1942 when the last of the KING GEORGE V Class completes. Whether she is given normal large repair or complete modernization will probably depend on the political and financial situations at the time, but it does not appear to be necessary to make the decision on this point just yet.

Conclusions.
8. D. of P. concludes that -

(a) RODNEY should, if the political situation allows,

be/

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be taken in hand for a long refit only, towards the end of this year on the completion of RENOWN or VALIANT, and completed not later than September or October 1940. Modernisation to be deferred to about 1946.

(b) NELSON should be taken in hand for a long refit only, about March 1941 or as soon as the situation regarding the KING GEORGE V. Class and the new German and Japanese Battleships is clear, completed about mid 1942. Modernisation to be deferred to about 1948.
(c) HOOD should be taken in hand on completion of the last ship of the KING GEORGE V’s early in 1942 for large repair or complete modernization according to the circumstances then prevailing. (These proposals are shewn in Diagram ‘A’, as is the tentative programme proposed by the Controller).
(d) Should the political situation not allow of RONDEY being taken in hand towards the end of 1939 or if the 9-10 months proposed for RODNEY’s refit is not considered sufficient, (a) & (b) above to be postponed so as to start after the second ship of the KING GEORGE V Class has been completed in 1941.
(e) ROYAL SOVEREIGN Class not to be modernized.

9. If the proposals in (a), (b), (c) and (e) above adopted the war situation would probably be as follows:-

Jan. – Sept. 1940. ( RODNEY in hand)

Britain Home Waters.
 
Germany.
3 Battlecruisers
 
2 Scharnhorsts
2 “R” Class
 
3 Deutschlands
5
 
2+3 Deutschlands.

Britain/

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Minute Sheet No. 10

Britain Far East.
 
Japan.
1 NELSON
 
2 NAGATOS
2 WARSPITE
 
4 FUSOS
2 BARHAMS
 
4 KONGOS
3 "R" Class.
 
-
8
 
10 ?+1 or 2 Heavy Cruisers

April 1941 ( NELSON in hand)

Britain Home Waters.
 
Germany.
2 KING GEORGE V.
 
2 BISMARCKS
3 Battlecruisers
 
2 SCHARNHORSTS
2 "R" Class
 
3 DEUTSCHLANDS
7
 
4+3 DEUTSCHLANDS
     
Britain Far East.
 
Japan.
1 RODNEY
 
1 New Ship
3 WARSPITE
 
2 NAGATOS
2 BARHAMS
 
4 FUSOS
3 "R" Class.
 
4 KONGOS
9
 
11 ?+1 or 2 Heavy Cruisers

(The completion of 2 more KING GEORGE V’s later in the year will release 2 more ships for the Far East.)

March 1942 . ( NELSON and HOOD in hand)

Britain Home Waters.
 
Germany.
5 KING GEORGE V.
 
2 BISMARCKS
2 Battlecruisers
 
2 SCHARNHORSTS
-
 
3 DEUTSCHLANDS
7
 
4+3 DEUTSCHLANDS
     
Britain Far East.
 
Japan.
1 RODNEY
 
1 New Ship
3 WARSPITE
 
2 NAGATOS
2 BARHAMS
 
4 FUSOS
4"R" Class.
 
4 KONGOS
11
 
11 ?+1 or 2 Heavy Cruisers

[signature]
D. of P.
[handwritten] 10th March, 1939.

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Unless the international situation changes considerably for the better, I think the proposals made by the D. of P. are the best we can safely undertake.

2. I fully appreciate the reasons given in D. of P.’s para.5 against the modernization of ships of the ROYAL SOVEREIGN Class, but I do not think they can be regarded as ‘stop gaps’. In his para. 9 I noticed all 4 ROYAL SOVEREIGN class ships are included in the fleet for the Far East, to oppose a Japanese fleet all of which are new or reconstructed.

3. I feel we must do something to give them more protection against air attack and underwater damage if they are to be expected to be in the line of battle.

[signature]
9th March, 1939

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Minute Sheet No. 11

At a meeting held by the First Sea Lord in the Controller’s room on Thursday, 9th March, at which the Controller, D.C.N.S., A.C.N.S., D.N.E., D.N.C., E. in C., D. of D., and Directors of Staff Divisions concerned were present, the programme of large repairs to Battleships and Battlecruisers was discussed.

2. At present 3 Capital Ships, RENOWN, VALIANT and QUEEN ELIZABETH, are in hand for reconstruction and it would be inacceptable [sic] that any more should be placed out of action for a long period until these are nearer completion. RENOWN completes in September 1939, VALIANT about January 1940, and QUEEN ELIZABETH about August 1940.

3. It was agreed that arrangements should be made for RODNEY to be taken in hand for about six months for alterations and refit towards the end of November 1939, after the Autumn Cruise of the Home Fleet. This would give RENOWN time to commission and be near to the completion date of VALIANT. Work on RODNEY would include the fitting of the horizontal armour forward, the second set of H.A.C.S., and two additional pom poms if practicable.

4. After completion of QUEEN ELIZABETH it will be desirable to take another capital ship in hand for large repair. The ships due will be NELSON, RODNEY and HOOD, and of these it was decided that HOOD was the most urgent in view of the state of her main machinery which is wearing out after 20 years service, and if left in its present state would be a continual source of anxiety. Thoroughly to refit

the…

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the existing turbines would take about two years. To fit new machinery would take about three years so far as is known HOOD’s hull is in very good condition, although there are certain other alterations which it is desirable to carry out when the ship is in hand. A great advantage in fitting new machinery would be that it would enable much more efficient sub-division of the machinery spaces to be arranged to which great importance is attached. This re-arrangement could not be done if the present turbines remain in the ship. Assuming that HOOD was taken in hand about January 1941 and that it is decided to renew the machinery the order would not be placed until about the end of 1939.

5. As regards the ROYAL SOVEREIGN Battleships, as there would only be three, ROYAL OAK, RAMILLIES and ROYAL SOVEREIGN left after 1943, it was not intended that any major work should be carried out on REVENGE and RESOLUTION. ROYAL OAK has already been given additional horizontal armour over the magazines and engine room.

The extent to which RAMILLIES and ROYAL SOVEREIGN would need re-construction depended on the life that would be required of them, and this was considered unlikely to be more than 8 years from the completion of the refit.

It was estimated that the horizontal armour required for protection of magazines and engine rooms could be ready about the middle of 1940. It would not be required by the dockyard until some months after the refit had commenced and the refit would take about 15 months, or at least 18 months if it were decided to increase the elevation of the 15” guns also. The bridges would also require to be reconstructed in each ship, probably as in ROYAL OAK. It would not be practicable…

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Minute Sheet No. 12

To provide armour protection for the boiler rooms unless some compensating reduction in weight could be decided upon, which was thought to be improbable.

6. Although the dockyards would be ready to take one of the ROYAL SOVEREIGN Class in hand in January 1940, it would be undesirable to start on either of them until RODNEY was in full commission again. This would be about June 1940. [sic] when work should start on ROYAL SOVEREIGN or RAMILLIES.

7. It was noted that it was intended that REPULSE should be taken in hand for about 8 months (August 1941 to March 1942) for new fire control (low angle) and new 15” shell, and also to remove the present 4” secondary and H.A. armaments and replace them by a combined 4.5 inch H.A. and L.A. armament. (This work might have to be deferred until after completion of the fourth ship of the KING GEORGE V Class)

8. It must be understood that the above arrangement are necessarily subject to alteration depending upon the political situation.

9. In the case of each ship, the Controller would be asked to report the full proposals for the intended alterations, with approximate estimate of cost, in good time before it became necessary to place any order for new material. If necessary these can be discussed previously at a meeting.

[initials]
15 th March, 1939.
[handwritten] This paper should be returned to me by 31 st March.

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[handwritten]

With reference to the attached memorandum for D. of P dated 14/3/39 I feel that in these matters were cannot rely solely on mathematical calculations however valuable they may be as a guide.

It would seem, (in view of E. in C.’s remarks at the conference), that the proposals of D. of P., which on paper will show that the conditions he lays down are complied with, may be entirely offset by a complete breakdown of Hood’s machinery if her reconstruction is put off for 2 ¾ years from now.

It would I believe be preferable to accept the one year delay in the completion of Ramillies.

There is the further point of arranging the Dockyard programme, about which no doubt D. of D. will remark.

[initials]
15/3/39

No further remarks

[initials] 16.3.39

It will be seen from the enclosed report of D.N.E., dated 31/3/39, that, since the meeting held by the First Sea Lord on 9 th March, 1939, the position has been radically altered on account of three factors.

(a) Replacement of “HOOD’s” machinery can be deferred, and I am satisfied that is a reasonable risk to take.

(b)…..

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Minute Sheet No 13.

Register No. D.O. 780/39

 

(b) “NELSON” and “RODNEY” must be taken in hand.
(c) The alteration in elevation of the 15” guns in “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” and “RAMILLIES” would undoubtedly delay work on new production.

2. With regards to the additional armour for “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” and “RAMILLIES”, it seems important that the magazines should be protected so as to prevent the ships from being blown up. I do not think that the extra 6 months required to armour the engine rooms can be justified, taking into consideration the remaining life of these ships. Undoubtedly the best way of dealing with the “R” Class would be to replace them by fast ships utilizing the former main armament.

3. I propose, therefore that the large repair programme should be taken in hand in accordance with the slip attached to D. of P’s chart, marked Controller’s proposals, and that the work on “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” and RAMILLIES should be confined to providing the additional armour for the magazines, together with the taking in hand of defects as possibly as much reconstruction of bridges as is possible in the time required for armouring.

4. An early decision is desired in order that the orders for armour for the “R” Class may be placed now.

[initials]
6th April, 1939.

[handwritten]
D. of P.
D. of D.

D.C.N.S requests your early remarks on the Controller’s proposals of 6 th April.

[signature]
[initials] D.C.N.S.
11/4/39.

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Minute Sheet No 14.

Register No. D.O. 780/39

[handwritten initials] D.C.N.S

In the light of the new international situation which has arisen from the events of March and Easter, it is considered that the Controller’s proposals of 6th April are no longer acceptable. Before March it was justifiable to hope that if we could get through 1939 there might be a return to something approaching normal peace time conditions. D. of P’s proposals of 14th March (in green on slip attached to Diagram “B”) were based on this assumption as were C.N.S’s proposals on Diagram “B”.

2. Recent events, however, make apparent that plans cannot be drawn up on the assumption of a return to normal conditions by 1940. It is considered that our plans for this and next year must be based on the assumption that war may break out at any time. Everything points to the fact that this period will be of critical importance and one in which the British fleet, if maintained at strength, may have a considerable restraining effect on potential aggressors.

3. To meet these conditions not only do we require every available capital ship to match the strength of our potential enemies, but it is important to maintain our numbers as high as possible until new ships of modern design have been completed, since the reliability and security against bombs, mines, and torpedoes of many of our existing ships fall so far short of modern requirements. This can only be done by postponing further the long refits after QUEEN ELIZABETH’s completion until the ships of the KING GEORGE V class come into service. It is proposed, therefore, that unless her condition absolutely forbids, RODNEY’s repair should be postponed till late in 1940, NELSON’s repair being correspondingly postponed until the completion of RODNEY, on the understanding that some anxiety

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As to the efficiency of the electrical equipment in NELSON and RODNEY will have to be accepted.

4. Nevertheless, D. of P. concurs with the arguments in paragraphs 2 and 3 of Controller’s minute of 6 th April, 1939, and that ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES should be taken in hand in accordance with his proposals.

5. If this arrangement can be accepted, we shall at least be able to face the world in 1940 with 13 capital ships, although some of them will be causing anxiety, but his anxiety will surely be less than that we should suffer if they were definitely out of action; and if one of these does indeed break down, we shall not be worse off than we would if she had been taken in hand.

[signature]
D. of P.
13. 4. 39.

[handwritten] (…proposals…..)

[handwritten] Concur generally with D. of P.
[signature]

[stamped] D.O.D.
14 APR 1939
Admiralty

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Minute Sheet No 15.

Register No. D.O. 780/39

I agree with the D. of P. ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES should be taken in hand in accordance with Controller’s proposals in his paras. 2 and 3.

I suggest that the case of RODNEY be reviewed again in September and that if the situation admits she should be taken in hand.

I fully realise that to plan to take RODNEY in hand in the autumn and then cancel the arrangement may mean some dislocation in D. of D’s programme, but I hope it can be accepted.

[signature] [handwritten] …for C.N.S.
18th April, 1939.

Concur with D.C.N.S., i.e. follow the proposals in Controller’s minute of 6th April, 1939, subject to the case of “RODNEY” being reviewed in September of this year.

2. If “RODNEY” is not taken in hand in November, 1939, “RAMILLIES” could be taken in hand at the same time as “ROYAL SOVEREIGN”. This would get both ships done quickly and might be acceptable, since the object of laying them up is to equip them so that they will not blow up.

3. If “RODNEY”, and consequently “NELSON”, are postponed, we shall quite definitely be taking an electrical risk in those ships, particularly if a war were prolonged.

4. Action should now be taken as follow :-

(a) The paper to be referred to the Secretary for his information, in view of the expenditure involved.
(b) Proposals for ordering the armor for “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” and “RAMILLIES” should be put forward now, bearing in mind the possibility of “RAMILLIES” coming in hand concurrently with “ROYAL SOVEREIGN”, if “RODNEY” is not taken in hand.
(c) Relevant authorities informed of the proposals, letters being submitted for Board approval.

(d)…..

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(d) Consideration to be given to the work to be done in “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” and “RAMILLIES” within the framework set out in paragraph 3 of Controller’s minute of 6th April, 1939.
(e) C.N.S to see these papers on his return.

[initials]
21st April 1939.

[handwritten] in the light of the enclosed report by DNC dated 1 May, no financial objection is seen (b)

I suggest that D of D be asked to report the effect of these decisions on the Dockyard programme

[signature]
PAS (ME)
1/5/39

[handwritten] Concur
[initials]
2/5/39.

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Minute Sheet No. 16.

Register No. D.O. 780/39

 

Rodney was programmed to come in hand at Portsmouth during the current financial year for fitting of additional armour protection forward. If work on RODNEY is deferred, the funds provided would become available for commencing the work proposed to be carried out on RAMILLIES.

For ROYAL SOVEREIGN provision was made for an ordinary refit at Devonport, but as the large repair of COURAGEOUS has been deferred funds would be available for commencing armouring ROYAL SOVEREIGN.

After action, D.N.C. referred, re paragraphs 4(b) and (d) of Controller’s minute dated 21st April, 1939, and for confirmation that delivery of the armour for both ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES can be arranged to commence in February 1940 and complete by early June 1940.

Guidance drawings, particularly of the armouring arrangements, will be required by Devonport at the earliest possible date to enable detailed drawings to be prepared and for taking off the necessary information from ROYAL SOVEREIGN during the summer leave period.

It is observed that the time quoted assumes that the protection on magazines will not be more extensive than in ROYAL OAK.

In accordance with paragraph 4(c) of Controller’s minute dated 21 st April, 1939, relevant authorities (CinC’s) should be informed of the proposals as follows:-

RODNEY to be taken in hand (subject to review in September, 1939,) at Portsmouth on completion of RENOWN for about eleven months for repairs, particularly electrical, fitting horizontal protection forward, the second set of H.A.C.S. and tow additional multiple pom-poms.

NELSON…..

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NELSON. - to follow RODNEY at Portsmouth for about ten months for repairs, particularly electrical.

HOOD. – to follow NELSON at Portsmouth for large repairs.

REPULSE - to be taken in hand at Portsmouth for about eight months from August 1941 for new fire control (low angle) and new 15” shell and also to remove the present 4” secondary and H.A. armaments and replace them by a combined 4.5 inch H.A. and L.A. armament.

ROYAL SOVEREIGN. – to be taken in hand at Devonport for about nine months on completion of VALIANT for fitting protection to magazines, together with defects and possibly reconstruction of bridges (on lines of ROYAL OAK) as is possible in the time required for armouring.

RAMILLIES – to follow ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Devonport for similar work.

If RODNEY is not taken in hand in November 1939, RAMILLIES could be taken in lieu at Portsmouth at the same time as ROYAL SOVEREIGN is in hand at Devonport.

To ensure that the supply of armour is made by the required date it will be necessary for information to be taken from ROYAL SOVEREIGN by Devonport Yard Officers during the summer leave period (whilst she is at Sheerness.) This may necessitate the partial clearance of compartments involved and it is requested that arrangements be made accordingly by ship to meet Yard requirements.

Detailed drawings will be prepared by Devonport for ROYAL SOVEREIGN and forwarded to Malta to enable similar information to be taken from RAMILLIES at the first convenient opportunity, and facilities should be afforded by ship to enable this to be done.

Copy of outletter should be forwarded to Admirals Superintendent, Portsmouth, Devonport & Malta, and to Captain Superintendent, Sheerness.

Admiral Superintendent, Devonport, should also

be…..

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Minute Sheet No. 17

be informed that guidance drawings will be forwarded at an early date. Detailed drawings are to be prepared and prints forwarded to Portsmouth and Malta. Arrangements are to be made for taking off from ROYAL SOVEREIGN all necessary information as regards supports, finished sizes of armour plates, etc. during the summer leave period at Sheerness to enable armour to be ordered and material prepared in advance of the ship coming in hand. The necessary particulars to enable contractors to complete manufacture of the armour for RAMILLIES is to be prepared at Devonport on receipt of information from Malta to enable the armour for this ship to be manufactured concurrently with that for ROYAL SOVEREIGN.

Admiral Superintendent, Malta, should be informed that on receipt of drawings from Devonport all necessary information as regards supports, finished sizes of armour plates, etc. should be taken from RAMILLIES at the earliest opportunity and copies forwarded to Portsmouth and Devonport to enable the former to prepare material in advance, if required, and the latter furnished the necessary information to contractors for the supply of armour.

Copy of all letters to Admirals Superintendent, Portsmouth, Devonport and Malta.

___________

Draft letters submitted for Board approval.

[signature]

[handwritten] no objection
[signature]
…..11/5

[handwritten] Proposal:-
Approved
[initials]
12/5/39

——page break——

Approved.

The carrying out of this programme will actually depend on the international situation. It could hardly be carried out if there is no improvement in present conditions.

It may be necessary to delay RODNEY for a month or two till VALIANT is ready in view of the fact that Italy may have some six battleships early in 1940.

[initials]
[handwritten] + for C.N.S.

[stamp]
DOCKYARD
16 MAY 1939
DEPT.

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[stamp]
D.O. 780
1939

“NELSON” and “RODNEY”

-----------

1. These two ships are already overdue for Large Repairs, and ought therefore to be taken in hand for this purpose before long. Cost would probably be about £600,000 and time about 15 months.

2. Modernization. There would be a natural desire to take the opportunity of the Large Repair to bring the ships up to date. Certain proposals have been made, all of which have their points and which are subject to discussion. These are :-

Item.
Cost.
Time Required .
A. New Belt
£650,000
2 years.
B. New Machinery
£700,00
2 ½ - 3 years.
C. H.A. Re-armament
£900,000
2 years.
D. Aircraft arrangements.
£180,000
During re-armament.
E. New Bridges
£100,000
1 ½ years.
F. Torpedo Tube removal
£10,000
During repairs
 
£2,540,000
 
Add for defects and ( normal alterations and ) additions
£460,000
 
 
£3,000,000
 

3. Of the above A is important, B would give two knots more speed, C is in my opinion of doubtful value, D still more doubtful except perhaps on turrets, E is desirable, F should be done.

4. An important aspect of the modernizing “NELSON” and “RODNEY” within a reasonable time is that, in order to provide a new belt (A above), it would almost certainly be necessary to increase our order with Vitkovice in the near future.

5. Apart from the above large scale “modernization”, “RODNEY” could have additional armour and better H.A. control arrangements fitted in about 6 months, to make her similar to “NELSON”.

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[handwritten] 18

“HOOD”

---

1. “HOOD” had a large repair ending in 1931. While not so badly off in this respect as “NELSON” and “RODNEY”, she should have another. Cost would be about £600,000 and time required would be about 15 months.

2. Modernization. The following proposals have been made :-

Item.
Cost.
Time Required .
A. New Machinery
£1,625,000
3 years at least
B. Protection
£750,00
2 “ “ “
C. Underwater protection
£300,000
2 “ “ “
D. Re-armament
£1,000,000
2 “ “ “
E. Aircraft
£180,000

During large repairs

F. Conning Tower and Bridges
£150,000
“ “ “
G. Extension of Forecastle
£30,000
“ “ “
 
£4,035,000
 
Add for defects and (normal alterations and) additions
£465,000
 
 
£4,500,000.
 

3. The above all inter-act to some extent on each other; for example, the ammunition supply to 5.25” guns on re-armament would be adversely affected unless new machinery or boilers were installed. If the cost in time and money could be faced, there is no doubt that, after it was all done we would have for all practical purposes a new Battle Cruiser, but 3 years is a long time.

4. Unless it is possible to face the whole thing, I should doubt if it would be worth attempting more than New Bridges and extension of Forecastle, both to be done during her next Large Repairs.

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Tentative dates for taking “RODNEY”, “NELSON” and “HOOD” in hand.

----------

Assuming such alterations will involved a long time in Dockyard for all ships, propose :-

1. “RODNEY” at Portsmouth from October, 1939, or January, 1940 till October, 1941 or January, 1942, i.e. wait for completion of “RENOWN” anyhow, and possibly “VALIANT” also.

2. By the end of 1940, “KING GEORGE V” and “PRINCE OF WALES” should be out. “NELSON” might then be taken on at Devonport from December, 1940 to December, 1942.

3. By then end of 1941, 3 more “KING GEORGES” will be out. “HOOD” might then follow “RODNEY” at Portsmouth from January, 1942 – January 1945.

4. If the above program works out, we can “large repair and modernize these ships in rather less than 6 years from now.

5. “ROYAL SOVEREIGNS” could, if they can be spared, be taken in hand concurrently with the above programme, starting about the middle of 1940. Each would take about 18 months if elevation of the 15” guns is to be increased, or about a year if only the re-armouring were required.

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D.C.N.S.
C.N.S.

The attached diagram ‘B’ has been made out to embody the programme envisaged in the First Sea Lord’s minute and on the supposition that Hood will be in hand for three years (new engines) and ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES for eighteen months (new bridges).

2. From the strategical point of view, the results are not altogether satisfactory. D. of P. proposes three conditions which should be applied, as far as possible, to produce satisfactory results:-

(A) The blue line, showing capital ships available, not to fall below the red line;
(B) After the completion of the German ship G, there should never be less than 5 fast British ships available;
(C) If ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES are to be reconstructed, it should be done as early as possible.

3. As regards (A), if the German ships F and G and Japanese 1. keep to completion dates shown (and these are thought to be conservative estimates), either HOOD or ROYAL SOVEREIGN must be postponed at least until the completion of PRINCE OF WALES, in order to fulfill condition (A).

4. With regard to (B), when the German ship G is completed she will have 2 battleships, F and G, modern and fast, 2 battlecruisers modern and fast and 3 DEUTSCHLANDS. It is thought that to provide for the possibility of having to detach one or more fast ships into the Atlantic to chase the DEUTSCHLANDS and battlecruisers, we should not allow the number of fast ships available to fall below 5. This necessitates postponing HOOD’s refit at least until the completion of DUKE OF YORK.

5. As regards (C), unless we intend to exceed

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22 capital ships in 1944 (and later), or do not have any new construction capital ships in 1940 (and later), it will be necessary to scrap ROYAL SOVEREIGN in 1944 and RAMILLIES in 1945, 3 years and 2 years respectively after the completion of the proposed modernization in the First Sea Lord’s programme. It is thought that this will make it exceedingly difficult to justify the expenditure or alternatively to obtain money for the new construction of capital ships in 1940. The deduction is that ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES should be taken in hand as early as possible for as short a time as possible, i.e. refit should not be prolonged to increase the elevation of the guns or build new bridges.

6. To fulfil these conditions, D. of P. proposes:-

(a) That ROYAL SOVEREIGN should be taken in hand for 15 months on completion of RODNEY;

(b) That RAMILLIES should be taken in hand for 15 months on completion of PRINCE OF WALES;

(c) That HOOD should be taken in hand for 3 years on completion of DUKE OF YORK, REPULSE should be postponed to completion of BEATTY or, alternatively,

(d) That REPULSE should be taken in hand on completion of DUKE OF YORK; HOOD on completion of BEATTY.

This proposed programme… is shown on the separate slip attached to diagram ‘B’.

[signature]
D. of P.
14. 3. 39.

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Diagram B

——page break——

C. N. S.

I agree with the conditions set out in paragraph 2 of the Director of Plans’ minute and his suggested refitting programme allows of their fulfillment. It must, however, all depend on the question of whether HOOD’S engines can be relied upon for so long a period, i.e., till the beginning of 1942.

2. The diagram shows that under the present intended programme there is a danger period where the combined German and Japanese capital ship strength exceed the British extending for the last two months of 1940 to the end of the first three months of 1941. As these are the winter months, it is possible that this risk could be accepted.

3. I feel that REPULSE could, if necessary, be deferred.

[signature]
14th March, 1939

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LARGE REPAIR PROGRAMME - CAPITAL SHIPS.

I held a meeting today 31 st March attended by D.N.C., E-in-C., D. of D. and D.D.N.O.

2. The following main conclusions emerged :-

anyhow

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anyhow be small unless new shell were also provided, which would present difficulties.

3. I, therefore, conclude that, of the 3 modern ships, the requirement is that they should be taken in hand in order “RODNEY”, “NELSON”, “HOOD”, the two former for electrical and boiler tube repairs, and the later for modernization (details to be decided later). “RODNEY “ should also be made similar to “NELSON” as regards armour and H.A. control. Further, if “RAMILLIES” and “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” are to be altered, it should be confined to armouring the magazines, i.e. the object being to prevent them blowing up.

4. DATES.

(i) Referring to D. of P’s. chart, it seems to me that we must face “RODNEY” being in hand for most of 1940 (11 months from November, 1939).
(ii) It seems clear that “RAMILLIES” and “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” should be done as soon as possible from every point of view, and I should propose the first to start in January, 1940, and the second as soon after completion of the first as possible. They would then be out again before the critical period preferred by D.C.N.S. at the end of 1940 and beginning of 1941. (Each ship would be in hand for 9 months.) This must depend on whether ships can be

allowed….

——page break——

allowed to be out of action at the same time as “NELSON” and/or “RODNEY”, but, unless the work is done in 1940, it seems doubtful if it is worth doing at all.

5. As regards provision of armour, that for “RODNEY” is available, “NELSON” requires no more on the above proposals, and that required for “RAMILLIES” and “ROYAL SOVEREIGN” should be ordered now.

[signature]
31st March, 1939.

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[handwritten]

Very …

Can you say please what would be the cost of armour for the Royal Sovereign & Ramillies: how much would fall on this years vote, & whether it can be met out of expense provision

[signature]
28/4

[end handwritten[

The details of re-armouring ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES are not yet fully worked out.

It is probable that the weight of armour per ship will of the order of 850 tons and on this basis the total armour cost would be £170,000.

If the vessels are brought forward concurrently early in 1940, approximately £70,000 would fall on this years Vote. and could be met from the aggregate.

[signature] S. V. Goodall.
1/5/39
[stamp] D.N.C 1 May 1939

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Any further communications
Should be addressed to –

Admiralty S.W.1

The Secretary of the Admiralty 17 th May, 1939.
London, S.W.1.

quoting D.0780/39

SECRET.

Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet.
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station.
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth.
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth

Copies to: -

Admiral Superintendent, Portsmouth.
Admiral Superintendent, Devonport.
Admiral Superintendent, Malta.
Captain Superintendent, Sheerness.

I am to acquaint you that Their Lordships have had under consideration the question of carrying out certain necessary major alterations and repairs in Capital Ships, and they propose to work to the following programme: -

RODNEY To be taken in hand (subject to review in September, 1939) at Portsmouth on completion of RENOWN for about eleven months for repairs, particularly electrical, fitting horizontal protection forward, the second set of H.A.C.S. and two additional multiple pom-poms.

NELSON To follow RODNEY at Portsmouth for about ten months repairs, particularly electrical.

HOOD To follow NELSON at Portsmouth for large repairs.

REPULSE To be taken in hand at Portsmouth for about eight months from August 1941 for new fire control (low angle) and new 15” shell; also to remove the present 4” secondary and H.A. armaments and replace them by a combined 4.5 inch H.A. and L.A. armament.

ROYAL SOVEREIGN To be taken in hand at Devonport for about nine months on completion of VALIANT for making good defects, fitting protection to magazines and

——page break——

possibly such reconstruction of bridges (on the lines of ROYAL OAK) as is possible in the time required for armouring.

RAMILLIES To follow ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Devonport for similar work.

2. I am to state that if RODNEY is not taken in hand in November, 1939, RAMILLIES could be taken in lieu at Portsmouth at the same time ROYAL SOVEREIGN is in hand at Devonport.

3. To ensure that the supply of armour is made by the required date, it will be necessary for information to be taken from ROYAL SOVEREIGN by Devonport Dockyard Officers during the summer leave period (whist she is at Sheerness). This may necessitate the partial clearance of compartments involved, and Their Lordships request that arrangements may be made accordingly by the Ship’s Officers to meet Dockyard requirements.

4. Detailed drawings will be prepared by ROYAL SOVEREIGN and forward to Malta to enable similar information to be taken from RAMILLIES at the first con-

venient opportunity, and facilities should be afforded by the Ship’s Officers to enable this to be done.

BY THE COMMAND OF THEIR LORDSHIPS,

[signature] C. S Coxwell

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SECRET.

D.0780/39

ADMIRALTY, S.W.1.
17th May, 1939.

Admiral Superintendent,
DEVONPORT.

Copies to:

Admiral Superintendent, Malta.
Admiral Superintendent, Portsmouth.

Referred to the Admiral Superintendent for information. Guidance drawings will be forwarded at an early date, and it is desired that detailed drawings should be prepared and prints forwarded to Portsmouth and Malta.

2. Arrangements are to be made for taking off from ROYAL SOVEREIGN all necessary information as regards supports, finished … of armour plates, etc. during the summer leave period at Sheerness to enable armour to be ordered and material prepared in advance of the ship coming in hand. The necessary particulars to enable contractors to complete manufacture of the armour for RAMILLIES should be prepared at Devonport on receipt of information from Malta to enable the armour for this ship to be manufactured concurrently with that for ROYAL SOVEREIGN.

3. The Admiral Superintendent, Malta is being informed that on receipt of drawings from Devonport all necessary information as regards supports finished sizes of armour plates, etc. should be taken from RAMILLIES at the earliest opportunity and copies forwarded to Portsmouth and Devonport to enable the former to prepare material in advance, if required, and the latter to furnish the necessary information to contractors for the supply of armour.

[stamp] DESPATCHED [stamp] (Sgd.) A. W. Cluett
19 MAY 1939
CENTRAL COPYING BRANCH

——page break——

SECRET.

D. 0780/39

Admiralty, S.W.1.
17th May, 1939.

Admiral Superintendent,
MALTA.

Referred to the Admiral Superintendent for information and necessary action in accordance with paragraph 3 of the enclosed letter addressed to Admiral Superintendent, Devonport.

[stamped] (Sgd.) A. W. Cluett
Director of Dockyards.

——page break——

[stamped] D.O.
1939

Arising out of the meeting held by C.N.S. on 9th March on the future programme of large repairs of capital ships, the following remarks are submitted as to the necessity for the large repairs in NELSON and RODNEY.

Hull:-

As far as information is available, there is nothing from a hull point of view that necessitates large repairs for either ship in the near future – say within three or four years. In the last three years both ships have spent over 50% of their time in the Dockyards and considerable sums have been expended on their upkeep. They completed construction in 1927 and in view of the foregoing, and their generally heavy hull construction, they should be capable of carrying on beyond the average periods as regards large repair. For RODNEY additional deck protection requires to be fitted.

Machinery:-

In NELSON there are no machinery defects necessitating a large repair, but the boilers will probably require retubing in 1941-42. This work will take eight months working ordinary time.

In RODNEY similar work on retubing boilers will also be necessary in 1941-42, also in additional the astern turbines will require new rotor wheels. These are available and will be fitted in about nine months working ordinary time. The Diesel generator is out of action until a new bed plate which is available can be fitted. Work entails extensive opening up of decks and sending certain parts to Glasgow for final machining. Estimated time for job – six months ordinary time.

Certain large alterations and additions, which would be carrier out at large repairs are also outstanding, vis:-

——page break——

2.

(1) Fitting electro-hydraulic steering gear, which is available and can be fitted in seven months ordinary time.

(2) Division of main machinery into unit system which would take three months.

(3) Fitting closed boiler fronts which could be dine concurrently with retubing of boilers.

(These, together with installation of bulk stowage for petrol, could be carried out within six months required for fitting additional protection forward and installing H.A.C.S. III* by working extensive overtime and shifts.)

Electrical:-

In NELSON the general condition of the cables is not good. They have been reported by ship’s officers as capable of lasting two years under normal conditions, with some exceptions, principally telephone cables which require renewal at the first opportunity. Under more exacting war conditions there is considerable doubt as to the reliability of the cable system as it is considered that this requires large repair as soon as it can be arranged, having regard to other commitments. The time required for this work, working overtime and shifts, is ten months ex tests, if not done in conjunction with a large repair of the hull.

The cable system in RODNEY is worse than that in NELSON and ship’s officers have reported the life as less than two years, with certain exceptions. Efforts have been made during recent refits to renew some of the worst items, but the general condition is such that the disturbance of cables causes further defects to appear, necessitating additional renewals. The installation is not regarded as satisfactory for war service and requires large repair as soon as the ship can be spared. The time required for the work with overtime and shifts is eleven months ex tests, if not done in conjunction with a large repair of hull.

——page break——

3.

To summarise, RODNEY is badly in need of large repair electrically and her machinery defects can be made good within the time required for electrical work. Boiler retubing is required in 1941-42. NELSON is in need of electrical large repair, bur less urgently than RODNEY, and her boilers will require retubing in 1941-42.

[signature] C. …Talbot
Director of Dockyards.

——page break——

Minute Sheet No. 1.

Register No. [stamped] D.O. 3194

 

1939

RODNEY is due to be taken in hand for major electrical repairs in November of this year; for a period of about 11 months,

2. It does appear likely that we could afford to have her in dockyard hands for such a period.

3. Would it be possible to do some

(a) Electrical repairs
(b) Armouring of soft ends

Each time she comes in hand for normal refit?

4. Would it be possible and advantageous to get on with electrical repairs of NELSON in the same manner?

[initials]
5th August, 1939

[handwritten]
D.N.E.
Will you investigate? I think they can be done in 3 months (a) is not do easy.
[initials]
8/8/39

——page break——

Minute Sheet No. 42

Register No. D.O. 3194/1939

 

With reference to paragraphs 3 and 4 of C.N.S’s. minute dated 5.8.39., it is not considered possible to deal with 3(a) piecemeal during the vessel’s normal refit periods.

RODNEY:-

The condition of the electrical wiring is such that the removal and replacement of part would have a prejudicial effect upon the remainder of the cables in close proximity, and would most probably result in the renewal of cables to such an extent that considerably more work would be involved than could be carried out during the normal refit period.

It is quite impossible to foreshadow the extent of the commitment that might be involved.

The electrical wiring system was, with a few exceptions, reported in November 1938, as having less than 2 ½ years life and the condition is progressively deteriorating. It is a matter of grave doubt whether the electrical wiring installation would stand the test of action conditions.

NELSON:-

The electrical wiring is not in such an unsatisfactory state as that of RODNEY and can be expected to be serviceable for 1 to 1 ½ years. It is a matter of extreme difficulty to forecast the effect of exacting war conditions on the installations, but it is felt that this period could be accepted.

3(b) The time required for rearmouring the forward portion of the Lower Deck if done in one period is 5 months working overtime and shifts. The possibility of doing this piecemeal was discussed at length in D.O.2428/36, (copy of D. of D’s. remarks therein are enclosed). By subdivision, the armouring could be carried out in 5 periods of 7 weeks and one of 10 weeks for Dockyard work, this being exclusive of destoring, storing and trials. Such a procedure would involve the vessel being

——page break——

away from the fleet for these considerable periods over a period of about 2 years, and also involves a considerable amount of duplication of dockyard work in opening up and replacing. In view of the practically continuous dislocation of the ship’s programme and the additional cost and absorption of labour, it was considered impracticable to do the re-armouring by stages, and it was decided to carry it out in one operation. This was done in NELSON July – December, 1937. These same considerations still apply to Rodney, and it is strongly recommended that the work be done in one operation.

In view of the foregoing remarks it is strongly recommended that steps be taken to deal with RODNEY without delay; the time required would admit of the re-armouring and machinery defects, including retubing boilers, being carried out during the same period; otherwise the ultimate position must arise that both RODNEY and NELSON will be in a most unsatisfactory condition on account of the electrical wiring installations and boiler tube defects.

Both ships still have their original boiler tubes, and the life of tubes in both ships expires in 1941. A recent partial wear and waste test in RODNEY indicates the necessity of retubing within a year from now.

The previous remarks of D. of D. are in D.01101/39, attached.

[signature] C. Talbot
Director of Dockyards
14.8.39

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Minute Sheet No. 3.

Register No. [handwritten] D O 3194/39

 

I am afraid there is no way of getting round this difficulty. The matter was exhaustively gone into early this year and it was then recognized that unless RODNEY is taken in hand for about 11 months, followed immediately by NELSON for about 10 months there would be grave risk that the electrical equipment would break down, especially in the stress of war service.

2. If war should break out in the immediate future the risk will have to be taken. If it does not, it seems to me we should face the other risk, i.e. that one of these two ships will be absent from the Fleet for something under 2 years from next November.

3. Armouring could, of course be done in less time as pointed out by D. of D., but until the electrical work is faced, the main danger will be with us, becoming more acute the longer it is postponed.

[stamp] DOCKYARD
25 AUG 1938
DEPT.

[signature]
D.N.E.
24 AUG 1939

——page break——

D. O2428/36.

The attached report has been forwarded following upon discussions between the Yard Officers and representatives of D.N.C and D. of D. in accordance with Controller’s verbal instructions to D.N.C

2. The report embodies proposals for fitting additional protection forward in NELSON in stages during leave periods, extended as necessary, completing early in 1939.

3. In connection with the report it is desired to draw attention to the following points:-

(a) The periods in hand quoted are approximate only, involve working shifts and overtime, and are times for dockyard work, exclusive of time required by ship’s staff to de-store the compartments concerned and to re-store on completion. No allowance has been made for insulation trials, if these are considered necessary after dismantling and reconditioning the cold and cool rooms. The total periods during which NELSON would be away from the Fleet would, therefore, presumably be greater than the seven and ten weeks quoted by Yard Officers.
(b) For the dockyard work only, ship would require to be in hand for five periods of seven weeks and one period of ten weeks. For four of these periods ship would require to be in dock and dates of arrival for these leave periods might need adjustment to meet tidal conditions. The work of stripping down and reconditioning the compartments concerned would be duplicated for the stages of fitting doubling and girders and of fitting armour. Compartments involved include cold and cool rooms, enriched air compartments, refrigerating machinery, fresh water tanks and torpedo body room.
(c) During the four periods in dock the only access to No. 3 Basin would be through B Lock, observing that D Lock is occupied practically continuously by ships under re-construction. This access would be satisfactory, except for capital ships and aircraft carriers.
(d) With the proposed arrangement of doing the work stage by stage, NELSON would complete early in 1939 – shortly before she is due for large repairs. RODNEY would be at least 16 months later, as, although preparatory work could be advanced during leave and docking periods shipping armour could not be commenced until after completion of NELSON, as this part of the work in RODNEY would have to be carried out at Portsmouth.
(e) The work involved is of such magnitude that it could not be undertaken without seriously interfering with

——page break——

Progamme work, observing that RENOWN and QUEEN ELIZABETH will be in hand at Portsmouth for large repairs during the periods involved. The ultimate effect of this work on the programme would be less if the work were done in one period instead of in stages.

4. Having regard to the above, it is for consideration whether arrangements could be made to spare NELSON and RODNEY, one at a time, for a sufficient period (estimated at approximately five months in the case of NELSON) to enable the whole of the work to be completed, in which case the following programme would be proposed

NELSON could be taken in hand at Portsmouth in July, 1937, subject to the armour being available and acceptance of delay in RENOWN and QUEEN ELIZABETH referred to in paragraph 3, and should be completed by the end of December, 1937, approximately.

Ship would be required in dock for about three months, and, with a slight re-arrangement of the projected dockings of IRON DUKE, and RODNEY, arrangements could probably be made so that both C and D Locks would be simultaneously occupied for a period of about six weeks, during which period movements of capital ships and Aircraft carriers into and out of No 3 Basin could not be carried out.

RODNEY To avoid further interference with Progamme work at Portsmouth, it would be proposed to carry out the work in RODNEY at Devonport, accepting interference with programme which includes VALIANT. Owing to the lack of docking facilities, this involves doing work afloat, decks being opened up as necessary, an alternative which is only possible if the work is done in one period. The time required would be somewhat greater than that for NELSON, in which armour would be shipped through the ship’s side in dock.

The work in RODNEY could be taken in hand commencing Xmas leave period 1937, nd could probably be completed within six months working shifts and overtime. If this be approved, it is proposed to request the Admiral Superintendent, Devonport, to forward proposals for carrying out the work in RONDEY, together with an estimate of the time required, shifts and overtime being worked to reduce the time to minimum.

5. It was approved on D.O2372/36 to proceed with the work of taking off information for doubling, girders and armour while RODNEY is in hand at Portsmouth, and this work has been well advanced. Early approval will be necessary to take off from NELSON during the Xmas leave period the remaining information required to enable the ordering of armour for ships to be proceeded with.

Various ships' dates of service
Above- Click to enlarge

END OF TRANSCRIPTION