Allied Warships

HMS Warspite (03)

Battleship of the Queen Elizabeth class


HMS Warspite as seen during the Second World War.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeBattleship
ClassQueen Elizabeth 
Pennant03 
Built byDevonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.) 
OrderedJun 1912 
Laid down31 Oct 1912 
Launched26 Nov 1914 
Commissioned8 Mar 1915 
End service1 Feb 1945 
History

Served in WW1 including The Battle of Jutland.

Rebuilt twice between Wars. The second rebuild saw all the superstructure removed to the armoured deck and a new superstructure built along the lines of HMS Rodney/Nelson. New engines and boilers were fitted at this stage and she was to be the fastest of the class. A new LA DCT (Low Angle Director Control Tower) was installed above the bridge, two new HA DCT (High Angle Director Control Tower) were fitted. The single 4" AA guns were replaced with twin mounts, four additional 8 barrelled 2 pounders were fitted around the funnel, a quad 0.5 inch machine gun mount was fitted to the top of B and X turret. Subsequentually the two new HA DCT (High Angle Director Control Tower) were each fitted with a Type 285 Air Radar, a Type 271 (surface warning) radar was fitted at the top of the lower foremast, a Type 286 (aircraft warning) radar at the masthead, a Type 284 (Surface Warning) radar to the LA DCT. At various times additional 20 mm Oerlokon cannons were fitted so by 1945 there were 15 single mounts.

Decommissioned on 1 February 1945. Sold 12 July 1946 to Metal Industries, wrecked in Mounts Bay and broken up.

 

Commands listed for HMS Warspite (03)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Victor Alexander Charles Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN1 May 193727 Apr 1940
2Capt. Douglas Blake Fisher, OBE, RN27 Apr 194027 Mar 1942
3Capt. Fitzroy Evelyn Patrick Hutton, RN27 Mar 194223 Jan 1943
4Capt. Herbert Annesley Packer, RN23 Jan 194312 Oct 1943
5A/Capt. the Hon. David Edwardes, RN12 Oct 194317 Mar 1944
6Capt. Marcel Harcourt Attwood Kelsey, DSC, RN17 Mar 194429 Aug 1944
7Capt. Charles Peter Frend, RN29 Aug 194414 Sep 1944
8Capt. Marcel Harcourt Attwood Kelsey, DSC, RN14 Sep 194428 Dec 1944
9Capt. Markham Henry Evelegh, RN28 Dec 19448 Feb 1945
10Cdr. George Fellowes Blaxland, OBE, RN9 Feb 194514 Mar 1945
11Capt. (retired) Philip Hugh Calderon, RN14 Mar 194526 Jul 1945

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Notable events involving Warspite include:


13 Apr 1940
German U-boat U-64 was sunk in the Herjangsfjord near Narvik, Norway, in approximate position 68°29'N, 17°30'E, by a bomb from Swordfish aircraft L 9767 carried on the British battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN).

17 Aug 1940
In the early morning the British battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) escorted by the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hostile (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and the Australian destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) carried out a bombardment of Italian positions around the fortress of Bardia.

8 Oct 1940
Operation MB-6;

A British convoy with the merchants
Memnon (7506 GRT),
Lanarkshire (11275 GRT),
Clan Macauley (10492 GRT) and
Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT)
left Alexandria for Malta on 8 October 1940. This convoy was escorted by the British Anti-Aircraft cruisers
HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN),
HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN)
and the Australian destroyers
HMS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN),
HMS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN),
HMS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN)
and the British destroyer
HMS Wryneck (Cdr. R.H.D. Lane, RN).

Cover was provided by the Mediterranean Fleet (Admiral Cunningham) with the British battleships
HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN),
HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN),
HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN),
HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN),
the British aircraft carriers
HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN),
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN),
the British heavy cruiser
HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN),
the British light cruisers
HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN),
HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN),
HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN),
HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN),
the Australian light cruiser
HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN)
escorted by the British destroyers
HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN),
HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC, RN),
HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN),
HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN),
HMS Hasty, (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN),
HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN),
HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN),
HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN),
HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN),
HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN),
HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN),
HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN),
HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN),
HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN)
and the Australian destroyers
HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and
HMAS Vendetta (Cdr. R. Rhoades RAN).

The convoy was not spotted and arrived safe at Malta on 11 October. The only damage sustained was to the destroyer HMS Imperial that was mined off Malta and was out of action for over 6 months.

While on the return trip the Mediterranean Fleet was sighted by an Italian aircraft. The Italian Navy tried to intercept them in the Ionian Sea. In the night of 11/12 October the first Italian torpedo boat flotilla with Airone, Alcione and Ariel attacked HMS Ajax. The attack failed and Ajax sank Airone and Ariel, Alcione escaped. A little while later the Italian 11th destroyer flotilla, with Artigliere, Aviere, Camicia Nera and Geniere arrived at the scene. They were surprised by the radar-directed gunfire from HMS Ajax. Artigliere was heavily damaged and Aviere was slightly damaged. Camicia Nere tried to tow Artigliere away but she was sighted by a British Sunderland aircraft that homed in 3 Swordfish aircraft from HMS Illustrious. However, the torpedoed they fired didn't hit the Italian ships. Later the British heavy cruiser HMS York arrived at the scene. Camicia Nera quickly slipped the towing line and sped off. After her crew had left the ship Artiglire was sunk by York.

While the Mediterranean Fleet was still on the return trip aircraft from HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle attacked Leros and in the evening of the 14th the British light cruiser HMS Liverpool while south-east of Crete was hit in the bow by a torpedo from an Italian aircraft. The cruiser was heavily damaged and was repaired at the Mare Island Navy Yard in the USA. HMS Liverpool was not operational again until January 1942.

21 Apr 1941
Submarine HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, RN) acts as beacon for the Mediterranean Fleet during a bombardment of Tripoli. The bombardment was carried out by the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN), and HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, RN), light cruiser HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN), and destroyers HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), and HMS Juno (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN). The Italian torpedo boat Partenope and six freighters were damaged in the bombardment. According to Italian sources the steamers Assiria (2705 GRT, built 1928) and Marocchino (1524 GRT, built 1920) sank in shallow waters, the motorboat Ciconetti sank in deep waters and the steamer Sabbia (5787 GRT, built 1926) was damaged.

Later on this day Truant attacks what is believed to be the small Italian tanker Prometeo (1080 GRT, built 1920) with 2 torpedoes off Tripoli, Libya. Both torpedoes missed their target. Italian sources cannot confirm the identity of the ship attacked.

(All times are zone -2)
In position 033° Tajura 3.5 nautical miles sighted the Italian Auxiliary Prometeo to the Southward. Closed to attack.

1410 hours - In only 50 feet of water fired 2 torpedoes from 2000 yards. The torpedoes were sighted by the enemy which altered course to avoid.

1430 hours - Surfaced and proceeded to deeper water on the main engines.

1520 hours - Dived. (1)

Media links


British Battleships, 1919-1945, Revised Edition

R. A. Burt


amazon.com
($ 81.95)

amazon.co.uk
(£ 63.38)

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(EUR 75.99)


British Battleships of World War One

R. A. Burt


amazon.de
(EUR 72.51)


British battleships 1939-45 (1)

Konstam, Angus


amazon.com
($ 17.95)

amazon.co.uk
(£ 7.73)

amazon.de
(EUR 11.99)


The Battleship Warspite

Watton, Ross


Warspite

Ballantyne, Iain

Sources

  1. ADM 199/1861

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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