His Majesty's Ships - H.M.S. Warspite
Motto: “I Despite the Hard Knocks of War.”
There is scarcely a ship in the Royal Navy that is so well known to the public as the 30,600-ton battleship H.M.S. Warspite. Launched at Devonport in 1913, she was heavily damaged at the Battle of Jutland, May 31, 1916, but her stout construction enabled her to withstand a concentration of fire when her helm jammed, causing her to steer in circles till it could be cleared.
In 1937 she completed an extensive refit, amounting practically to entire reconstruction at a cost of £2,362,000. She was this enabled to fight in a second Great War. She wore the flag of Vice-Admiral Whitworth at the second Battle of Narvik in April 1940, and that of Sir Andrew Cunningham at the Battle of Matapan in March 1941. Detached to the Eastern Fleet in 1942, she was for a time flagship of Sir James Somerville.
The Warspite was one of the ships which covered the Salerno landings with her 15-in. guns in 1943, suffering extensive damage from two 1,500-lb. German glider-bombs. Sher performed a similar function during the Normandy landings, and received further injuries through striking a mine. Her last important task was to cover the assault of the Royal Marines at Walcheren in 1944. Such a fine record of service had seldom been equalled, and there was widespread regret when it was definitely confirmed in March 1946 that H.M.S. Warspite was to be scrapped.
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