Portsmouth Naval Base is alive with history. Serving as one of the main bases for the Royal Navy for centuries, for hundreds of years it has seen great ships bearing famed names. The most famous of all ships of the line, Nelsonís flagship at Trafalgar, HMS Victory, still resides there along with the first "Black Snake" of the channel, HMS Warrior. However, one type of warship is not there and can not be found in Great Britain, the all big gun battleship of the 20th century. It is odd and unfitting that the navy that built the first all big gun battleship and gave the name to all of those that followed, Dreadnoughts, should have no surviving representative of a type that the Royal Navy defined to great extent. Dreadnought, Iron Duke, Tiger, Queen Elizabeth, Rodney, Renown, King George V and above all, Warspite, all went to the breakers. All consigned to the bone yard with minimal thought to posterity by short sighted, cash strapped governments.
In September 1986 a battleship again appeared at Portsmouth Naval Base, not one of the Royal Navyís finest, but a Yankee cousin, the USS Iowa. "The ship was enormously popular with hundreds of Brits eager to get on board." Those are the words of Jeff Stevenson, one of the citizens of the Sceptered Isle, who went aboard BB61 on September 24, 1986. Jeff took these photographs and provided the captions.