THE HMS Nelson was once described as “35,000 Tons of Modern Mechanism” and “the most formidable fighting craft in the world.”
The Nelson cost a whopping £7,000,000 and was laid down in December 1922 and built in the Hebburn, South Tyneside by Armstrong-Whitworth.
Prior to her launch, the Sphere reported: “The greatest secrecy has been maintained concerning this new vessel it is, how ever, stated that she will carry more aircraft than has hitherto been the case in battleships. According to the Washington Treaty it is not possible to construct a vessel of a greater displacement than 35,000 tons, and the guns must not be larger than 16-inch.”
Launched in September 1925, she was commissioned in August 1927 and joined by her sister ship HMS Rodney in November.
The decks were bomb-proof, made of hardened steel, as a protection against attack from the air, while an extensive system of subdivision and a special design render her capable of sustaining the shock of the coincident explosions of four torpedoes at once under water.
She had a length of 702 ft., a beam of 106 ft., and carried a complement of 1.300 officers and men.
Nelson was decommissioned in February 1948 and used as a target ship for aerial bombing exercises for several months.