Ship's lifebelt, HMS Formidable

Catalogue number
  • MAR 66
Department
Exhibits
Display status
IWM North
Alternative names
  • full name: Ship's lifebelt, HMS Formidable
  • simple name: equipment : lifebelt : British
Category
Vehicles, aircraft and ships

© IWM (MAR 66)

Purchase & License
Label

This lifebelt, from HMS Formidable, was washed up on the Dutch coast during the First World War and stored in Magazine Kattenburg, Amsterdam. It was later handed over by the Dutch authorities to Captain S C Manning, who presented it the Imperial War Museum in June 1920. HMS Formidable was a pre-Dreadnought battleship, built in 1901. She was obsolete by the outbreak of the First World War, when she was in the 5th Battle Squadron. She was sunk on 1st January 1915 in the English Channel, off Portland Bill, by torpedoes from the German U-Boat U-24. 547 men were lost, from a complement of 780. The high loss of life was attributed to the speed of her sinking, combined with bad weather.

Physical description

Circular lifebelt of cork and canvas painted white and bearing the painted inscription in yellow / brown 'H.M.S. FORMIDABLE.'

History note

HMS Formidable was a pre-Dreadnought battleship, built in 1901. She was obsolete by the outbreak of the First World War, when she was in the 5th Battle Squadron. She was sunk on 1st January 1915 in the English Channel, off Portland Bill, by torpedoes from the German U-Boat U-24. 547 men were lost, from a complement of 780. The high loss of life was attributed to the speed of her sinking, combined with bad weather. The lifebelt is associated with Ordinary Signalman (J/15440) Walter Ernest Melluish was one of the crew of HMS Formidable who lost on 1 January 1915. Walter Melluish was just 18 when he died. His name is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial); he was the son of Ernest and Mary Melluish of 5x, Peabody Avenue, Ebury Bridge, London.

History note

This lifebelt, from HMS Formidable, was washed up on the Dutch coast during the First World War and stored in Magazine Kattenburg, Amsterdam. It was later handed over by the Dutch authorities to Captain S C Manning, who presented it the Imperial War Museum in June 1920.

Inscription

H.M.S. FORMIDABLE.

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