"Approved for H.M.S.Warspite
to be scrapped". In these seven words the Admiralty, in March 1946,
announced the death of H.M.S. Warspite, Britain's Grand Old Lady of the
Royal navy, after 30 years' service through two world wars, having been
laid down in 1912 and completed in 1915.
The many historic actions, in which she had taken part, started with her baptism of fire at the Battle of Jutland, and ended with the bombardment of Walcheren in support of the Scheldt landings.
Built originally at a cost of pounds 2,500,000, she entered World War II after extensive reconstruction, one of the most powerfull and up-to-date battleships in the world.
It was the second Battle of Narvik in which H.M.S. Warspite and her brood of destroyers forced their way into a fiord and wrought havoc among the German craft.
A week later H.M.S. Warspite went back to Narvik and battered the shore with her guns once more.
By May, 1940, she was back in the Mediterranean. One of her operations was to bombard Fort Capuzzo, then she went to Valona and poured 94 tons of shells into the Albanian port.
The Battle of Crete was the climax of the work of H.M.S. Warspite in the Mediterranean.
In three days over 400 bombs were aimed directly at her and she dodged all except the last which caused some damage on her port side.
H.M.S. Warspite sailed to Singapore, then to the Phillipines and Pearl Harbour. From Pearl harbour she went to Bremerton Navy Yard near Seattle for permanent repairs to her bomb damage. From Bremerton the battleship went to Australia and called at Sydney, but within a few days she sailed to join the Far East Fleet at Colombo.
From then on she was at war with the Japanese until she was recalled to the Mediterranean where she played a big part in the Salermo campaign after the surrender of Italy.
She returned to home waters in 1944 where, on 6th June, she bombarded the Normandy beaches in preparation for the first landings of the invasion of the Continent and, in November 1944, she lent valuable support to the landings of Walcheren during the operations in the Scheldt, the last major engagement of her outstanding career.
H.M.S. Warspite cheated the shipbreaker's yard, when she went aground on the Cornish Coast in 1947.
H.M.S. Warspite had a length of 639ft 9in, a beam of 90ft (104ft outside bulges) and a draught of 30ft 9in.
Her armament consisted of eight 15in. guns, eight 6in. guns, eight 4in. A.A. guns, four 3 pdr. guns and numerous 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns.
She was capable of carrying four aircrafts and had a fixed catapult.
Her peacetime complement was 1.124 officers and ratings.
The four shaft geared turbines gave her a speed of 24 knots.