1906 The Future Looks Bleak

In 1904 Admiral Sir John Fisher had become First Sea Lord. He was the driving force behind the creation of HMS Dreadnought, launched in 1906, the revolutionary turbine driven battleship armed with ten 12″ guns. The Dreadnought’s design reputedly made all other battleships instantly obsolete, repeating the situation caused by the launching of HMS Warrior back in 1860. More particularly for Pembroke Dock, a yard which simply wasn’t big enough to build ships of the Dreadnought’s size, as far as Admiral Fisher was concerned all gunboats could be scrapped immediately. In Fisher’s opinion the Navy’s gunboats were “too weak to fight, too slow to run away”. Since the building of gunboats had been the Dockyard’s mainstay for the last 40 years, and there was nothing in the pipeline to replace them, the outlook was decidedly bleak. By 1907, in an unprecedented action, 700 Dockyard workers had been laid off.