'Past & Present'
While the date of the photograph is unclear one HMS Dreadnought’s presence in Portsmouth places it between 1907 when she was launched and 1911 when she ended her tenure as Flagship of the Home Fleet and transferred to the First Battle Division.
The photographs’s caption dates HMS Victory as ‘1805’ this is in fact incorrect as by 1805 Victory would already have been in service for 40 years. Instead the date probably refers to Victory’s most notable action, the Battle of Trafalgar.
These photographs from the early 20th century are marvelous as they show Victory still afloat and allows her to be compared to the then state of the art new battleships. During the first few years of the 20th Century Victory was still in use as a Signal School which operated from 1889 to 1904, sadly after 1906 she was left dormant at her mornings with not official use, it would not be until the 1920s when she was saved from dereliction. You can see on her deck, just behind the foremast, a large wooden hut built upon her deck. That was a Telegraphy room and mast which was a part of the Signal School.
HMS Dreadnought saw action during World War One becoming the only Dreadnought class ship to sink a submarine but was decommissioned in 1919 and scrapped in the early 1920s. Just as the public campaign to save HMS Victory gathered pace. Victory is still in commision today, restored to her former glory, but sadly not afloat. She has seen more than a dozen generations of warship evolve and eventually be surpassed.
More on HMS Victory
More on HMS Dreadnought