In the lead-up to World War 1 (1914-1918) the British Royal Navy invested in a new class of fighting surface warship - the Iron Duke-class. These battleships numbered four in all and preceded the earlier King George V-class vessels. The new group was launched from October 1912 into November of the following year and followed closely - both in form and function - the King George V-class ship design.
HMS Benbow made up one quarter of the Iron Duke-class. She was ordered in 1911 and saw her keel laid down by William Beardmore and Company of Glasgow on May 30th, 1912. She was formally launched on November 12th, 1913 and officially commissioned on October 7th, 1914 - in time for service in World War 1.
As completed she displaced 25,000 tons (long) and held a length of 622.8 feet, a beam of 90 feet and a draught of 29.5 feet. Installed power was from 18 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeing 4 x Parsons turbines developing 29,000-31,000 horsepower to 4 x shafts. Maximum speed was 21.25 knots with a range out to 7,800 nautical miles. There were as many as 1,022 crew aboard. Armor protection ranged from 2.5" at the deck to 12" at the belt.
Armament was led by 10 x BL 13.5" /45 caliber Mk V main guns with 12 x 6" /45 caliber Mk VII guns as secondary. There were also 2 x QF 3" 20 cwt guns carried for Anti-Aircraft (AA) defense and 4 x 3-pounder guns for close-in surface work. As with other warships of the period, Benbow was outfitted with 4 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes as an added ranged measure.
HMS Benbow's notable service occurred in World War 1 (1914-1918) where she was one of the participants in the famous Battle of Jutland. The battle spanned May 31st, 1916 to June 1st, 1916 and pitted forces of the British Royal Navy against the might of the German fleet. It became the largest naval battle of the entire war though, in the end, with over 200 warships committed to the fracas, both sides claimed the victory in this otherwise indecisive engagement.
In the immediate post-war period, Benbow was assigned to the Mediterranean and supported the White Russian initiative during the Russian Civil War (1917-1923) that followed, using her guns in anger from positions in the Black Sea. These actions took her to 1920 to which point she was relocated back to Mediterranean waters until 1926. From there, she was stationed in the Atlantic until decommissioned in 1929. She was stripped of her war-making value the following year and sold for scrapping in 1931 to adhere to the requirements of the London Naval Treaty signed back in April of 1930 (signees included the United States, France, Italy and Japan).