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HMS Queen Elizabeth. A question about Flying Off Platforms.

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Following the discovery of my grandfathers service record at Christmas, I have developed an interest in WW1 & Interwar Royal Navy ships.


He served in the Royal Marines from 1912 to 1934 when he joined the Royal Marine Police. I am looking to model a few of the ships he served on during this period, including HMS Queen Elizabeth.


During his period on the HMS Queen Elizabeth, she had flying off platforms installed on her B and X turrets.


Looking at photos, this has got me thinking. Were these platforms semi-permanent or temporary? What would happen to them, and the aircraft, if the main armament was fired?




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The framework was semi-permanent, the 'runway' on top of it was constructed of planks and could have been dismantled fairly easily - see this photo. If you scroll down to the photo on this page captioned "HMS Queen Elizabeth 1919 with flying off platforms and sternwalk removed", you can see that the rails on the gun barrels of X turret are still in place, as is the portion of the runway that sits on top of the actual turret. The bare framework would not have been very vulnerable to blast, as it presents minimal surface area: on early dreadnoughts,12 pdr or 4" guns were mounted on the turret roofs and while they couldn't be manned while the 12" guns were being fired they withstood the blast well enough., The aircraft, on the other hand, would undoubtedly have been reduced to matchwood! However, the main armament would only have been fired (a) during gunnery practice, which was pre-planned (so the aircraft could be left behind) or in action, when the survival of the aircraft would have been a minor consideration. They were completely expendable anyway, as unless the ship was within easy reach of land every flight would end in a ditching. A Camel cost about £2,000, which would likely equate to the cost of a salvo or two of 15" shells from a £2M Queen Elizabeth.

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