Vandy Aglow

70 years ago: HMS Vanguard (23), the last British dreadnought, floodlit on a visit to Rotterdam, Holland, in early July 1952. 

IWM A 32246

The ship was lit for the occasion of a reception aboard the battlewagon by Commander in Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Sir George Creasy, for HM Queen Juliana and Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, and after dinner, the Queen– who was no stranger to British warships— went afloat in the C in C’s barge to see the illumination. 

The building in the background is Hotel New York, former headquarters of the Holland-America Lines.

Vanguard, commissioned in 1946– with a somewhat antiquated main battery left over from the 1920s– visited Rotterdam for a week after exercises with NATO warships.

At the time this photo was taken, she was still assigned to the Heavy Squadron of the Home Fleet. Minimally manned at the time, she operated with many of her turrets sealed off and with shells loaded in the magazines of just two of her 15-inch turrets while only star shells were carried for her secondary battery of 5.25-inch guns.

“HMS Vanguard entering Rotterdam during her visit to the Netherlands, 28 June 1952. She is the largest ship to enter the port.” Nationaal Archief Materiaalsoort.

Laid up in 1955 at Portsmouth after less than a decade of service– where she appropriately became Flagship of Reserve Fleet– Vanguard was decommissioned on 7 June 1960 and scrapped soon after, still in her teens.

One comment

  • Chuck Ziegler

    A great ship, scrapped well before her time. I have a British Triang metal model of the ship mounted on a piece of wood from her deck.

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