H.M.S. Queen Mary was the last of the three "Lion" class battlecruisers ordered in 1909-10, all of which were finished and ready for service by the time the Great War began in 1914. Built by Palmers at Jarrow, on the Tyne, Queen Mary was laid down in March 1911, launched a year later and completed in September 1913 at a cost of £2,078,491. Displacing 27,000 tons (normal load) and measuring 700 feet in length with an 89 foot beam, her main armament consisted of 8-13.5in. guns and her quadruple screws could achieve 27 knots at full power. With her sisters Lion and Princess Royal, she was the fastest and largest capital ship of her day and began the War -- along with all the new battlecruisers -- as the 'toast of the fleet'.
Present at the first naval encounter of the Great War, in Heligoland Bight on 28th August , when Admiral Beatty's squadron sank three German cruisers and one destroyer after tempting them out of harbour using the Harwich light cruiser force as bait, Queen Mary was refitting at the time of the Dogger Bank incident and did not see action again until Jutland. Far from being a single decisive fleet engagement however, the battle of Jutland was, in fact, a series of smaller actions spread over many hours during which the two opposing fleets separated into their constituent parts. The opening salvoes were fired at about 3.00pm. on the afternoon of 31st May 1916 and at 4.20pm., Queen Mary found herself engaged simultaneously by the German battlecruisers Derfflinger and Seydlitz. More than holding her own for five minutes, Queen Mary was then hit by a plunging salvo at 4.26pm. A massive internal explosion followed immediately whereupon she rolled over and sank in barely a minute with the loss of every man aboard. It was at this point that Beatty, in Lion, having just seen Indefatigable blow up, turned to his flag captain and uttered his memorable line: "There's something wrong with our bloody ships today."