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HMS Warspite in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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HMS Warspite



   

HMS Warspite

HMS Warspite was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship, built at HM Dockyard Devonport, laid down on 31st of October 1912, launched on 26th of November 1913 and commissioned on 8th of March 1915. She was the seventh warship of the Royal Navy to carry the name. Her thirty-year career covered both world wars and took her across the Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Pacific Oceans. She was involved in several major engagements, including battles in the North Sea and Mediterranean, earning her the most battle honours ever awarded to an individual ship in the Royal Navy and the most awarded for actions during the Second World War. For this and other reasons Warspite gained the nickname the "Grand Old Lady" after a comment made by her most famous commander, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham in 1943.

When she was launched in 1913 the use of oil as fuel and untried 15-inch guns were revolutionary concepts in the naval arms race between Britain and Germany, a considerable risk for Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty and Admiral John Fisher who had advocated the design. However, the new fast battleships proved to be an outstanding success.

In 1916 she was damaged during action at the Battle of Jutland. Upon the completion of her repairs, Warspite rejoined the 5th Battle Squadron. Further misfortune struck soon afterwards, when she collided with Valiant after a night-shooting exercise, necessitating more repair work at Rosyth. Captain Philpotts avoided reprimand on this occasion, but was moved to a shore-based job as Naval Assistant to the new First Sea Lord, Admiral Jellicoe. He was replaced by Captain de Bartolome in December 1916. In June 1917, Warspite collided with a destroyer, but did not require major repairs. In the following month, Warspite was rocked at her moorings in Scapa Flow when Vanguard, a St. Vincent-class battleship, exploded with the loss of hundreds of her crew when an ammunition magazine detonated. Early in April 1918 she joined the Grand Fleet in a fruitless pursuit of the German High Seas Fleet which had been hunting for a convoy near Norway. In 1918, Warspite had to spend four months being repaired after a boiler room caught fire. Captain Hubert Lynes relieved Captain de Bartolome and on 21st of November he took the Warspite out to escort the German High Seas Fleet into internment at Scapa Flow following the signing of the Armistice.

HMS Warspite was refitted twice between the wars, but advances in technology and the cumulative effects of battle damage relegated her to the role of shore bombardment towards the end of the Second World War. She was decommissioned in 1945 and wrecked off the Cornish coast on the way to the scrap yard.

John Doran


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There are:2 articles tagged HMS Warspite available in our Library

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Those known to have served in

HMS Warspite

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Mar 2017

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Want to know more about HMS Warspite?


There are:2 articles tagged HMS Warspite available in our Library





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