HMAS Marlborough (BB-1915 (1936-mod))

Back to Ship Index


Great Britain built 4 and Australis built 2 of the Iron Duke class. The Washington Treaty made 2 of the Great Britain Iron Dukes excess and to be discarded at the completion of the two Nelson class ships. The thought of discarding 10 year old battleships which could survive another 15 years in service was not a happy thought. So the two Iron Dukes from the Royal Navy were 'sold' to the Australis navy under a lease scheme. Sail now pay later.  The two ships arrived in Brisbane in 1928 and were commissioned into the Australis navy as the HMAS Marlborough (retained its name after a province in New Zealand) and HMAS Waikato (ex Emperor of India). These ships joined the Australis' Iron Dukes  HMAS Illawarra and HMAS Gippsland as the Eastern Fleet charged with keeping the seas from Cape York down the east coast in safe hands.


The rebuilding of the 4 Dukes started in 1934 and they were finished by 1937. They created the standard for all the rebuilds to come. The removal of Q turret, the fitting of new superstructure, engines and boilers, and a complete new anti-aircraft outfit. A new bow added a much needed 20 feet to the front of the ship and was one of the first ships to get away from the '0' degree bow. This aided ship handling and helped to stop the 'plunging' of the bow in moderate weather.


The comparrison above to below shows the amount of work that was required to rebuild the Iron Duke types into modern capital ships.

Iron Duke class ship HMS Benbow at Malta 1921.


Displacement 30,400 std 34,500 tons full load
Length 641 ft
Breadth 89.5 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 75,000shp
Speed 25 knots
Range 5000 miles at 18 knots
Armour 12" side, 5.5" deck, 11/9/5" turrets
Armament 8 x 13.5" (4x2)

20 x 4.5" (10x2)

40 x 2pd (5x8)

4 x 40mm (4x1)

Aircraft 4 (mix of Walrus and Swordfish)
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1300


Back to Ship Index