Warspite file photo [3355]

HMS Warspite

CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassQueen Elizabeth-class Battleship
Builder NameDevonport Royal Dockyard
Laid Down31 Oct 1912
Launched26 Nov 1913
Commissioned8 Mar 1915
Decommissioned1 Feb 1945
Displacement33,410 tons standard
Length640 feet
Beam91 feet
Draft34 feet
Machinery24 boilers, 4 direct drive turbines, 4 shafts, 2 oil driven and 2 turbine driven dynamos, 1 reciprocating engine driven dynamo
Bunkerage3,300 tons of oil, 100 tons of coal
Power Output75,000 SHP
Speed24 knots
Range8,600nm at 12.5 knots, 3,900 nm at 21 knots
Crew1220
Armament4x2 381mm, 12x152mm, 4x2 102mm, 4x8 2-lb AA, 4x4 0.5cal machine guns
Armor4-11in belt, 4-6in bulkheads, 4.25-13in turrets, 4-10in barbettes, 3-11in conning tower, 6in torpedo conning tower, 1-3in deck
Aircraft1
Catapult1

Contributor:

ww2dbaseWarspite was among a WW1-era battleship class whose existance had much to do with the influences of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John "Jackie" Fisher and First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Churchill was present when she conducted her first gunnery trials in 1915. In the subsequent months she was damaged twice, first running aground in the Forth then colided with battleship Barham. After repairs, she joined the rest of the 5th Battle Squadron and participated in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. She received 15 hits from German capital ships. She lost 14 men and many more were injured while the ship sustained serious damage, plus she was twice hunted by German submarines, but she was eventually able to make it to Rosyth for repairs. Bad luck with collisions and other incidents kept her more so in the shipyards than in battles. At the end of WW1, she was among the ships of the Grand Fleet that received the surrendering German High Seas Fleet.

ww2dbaseWarspite served mostly in the Mediterranean Sea in the years following WW1. Between 1924 and 1926, she was modernized, receiving an array of small caliber guns among other changes. She returned to the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, then spent some time with the Atlantic Fleet. In 1934, she underwent a complete modernization, radically altering her superstructure and adding an aircraft hangar. She returned to active duty in 1937, once again as the flagship in the Mediterranean. In Jun 1939, Vice Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham came abroad as the new commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.

ww2dbaseWW2 began for Britain on 3 Sep 1939, and Warspite was immediately set sail for the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. In Apr 1940, she operated off Norway and on 10 Apr she lent gunfire support at Narvik where British ships sank three German destroyers and damaged 5 others (all 5 were eventually scuttled to avoid capture). Also off Norway, Warspite's Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber sunk German submarine U-64, making it the first U-boat sinking by aircraft in WW2. In the summer of 1940, Warspite returned to the Mediterranean Sea. At the Battle of Calabria on 9 Jul 1940, her shell traveled a distance of 26,000 yards to hit Italian battleship Giulio Cesare. At the Battle of Matapan on 28 Mar 1941, battleships Barham, Valiant, and Warspite and other ships sank three Italian cruisers and two destroyers. In May 1941, she was damaged off Crete by German dive bombers.

ww2dbaseBetween Aug and Dec 1941, Warspite received repairs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the United States. When she left the shipyard on the Pacific coast, it was decided that she would join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean to counter the new enemy power, Japan.

ww2dbaseIn Jan 1942, Warspite became the flagship of Admiral Sir James Somerville of the Eastern Fleet, who relocated the Eastern Fleet's base from Ceylon to the Maldives. In Apr 1942, the Japanese attacked Ceylon in force, sinking cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire and carrier Hermes; Warspite and other ships were dispatched to intercept the Japanese fleet, but they failed to locate it.

ww2dbaseIn Jun 1943, Warspite once again returned to the Mediterranean and joined Force H at Gibraltar. She provided gunfire support during the Sicily invasion in Jul 1943, and on 8 and 9 Sep 1943 bombarded German positions while fending off air attack during the Allied landing at Salerno. ON 10 Sep, she was among the British ships escorting the surrendering ships of the Italian Navy to Malta. She returned to Salerno on 15 Sep to continue the naval bombardment aimed to assist the Allied ground forces ashore. On 16 Sep, she was attacked by a squadron of German aircraft and struck by three FX-1400 guided bombs. Casualties were minor at 9 killed and 14 wounded, but the ship was crippled as one of them pierced the hull. American tugs towed her to Malta then to Gibraltar for emergency repairs, then she sailed on her own back to Rosyth for permanent repairs.

ww2dbaseIn Jun 1944, with the Eastern Task Force, Warspite bombarded German positions on Sword and Gold beaches during the Normandy beaches. On the way back to Rosyth, she set off a magnetic mine, causing heavy damage, but was able to return without further incidents. After repairs, she bombarded Brest, Le Havre, and Walcheren. By Dec 1944, Royal Navy warship involvement in the Atlantic was reduced to very little, and she was decommissioned on 1 Feb 1945 before the European War had ended.

ww2dbaseDespite pleas to convert her into a museum ship, Warspite was sold for scrap in 1947.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2007

Battleship HMS Warspite Interactive Map

HMS Warspite Operational Timeline

8 Mar 1915 Warspite was commissioned into service.
13 Apr 1940 At Narvik, Norway, a British naval force consisted of battleship HMS Warspite and 9 destroyers under the command of Vice Admiral William Whitworth entered Ofotfjord; in the Second Battle of Narvik, Warspite's Swordfish torpedo bomber sank German submarine U-64 with bombs, while surface vessels sank 3 destroyers, with another 5 German ships scuttled by their own crews after suffering extensive damage; three British ships were damaged in the battle; without their ships, 2,600 German sailors went on land and served as infantrymen; Whitworth radioed London, noting that German forces at Narvik were now stranded, and a single brigade could defeat them. Meanwhile, off Trondheim, Norwegian cruiser-minelayer Frøya was damaged by German warships while defending the Agdenes fortress; German submarine U-34 scuttled Frøya to prevent salvage.
9 Jul 1940 At 1515 hours, 50 miles south of Italy, heavily escorted Italian convoy for Benghazi, Libya ran into an equally powerful British convoy for Malta. British battleship HMS Warspite hit Italian battleship Giulio Cesare at the range of 24 kilometers, making it one of the longest naval gun hits of the war. Although Italian ships withdrew first, Italian aircraft forced the British ships back by 1700 hours.
12 Jul 1940 In the Mediterranean Sea, Italian bombers attacked British battleship HMS Warspite and cruiser HMS Liverpool between 0850 and 1150 hours. HMS Liverpool was hit by a dud, but it still killed 1 and wounded 2. One Italian bomber was shot down by a Sea Gladiator carrier biplane fighter from HMS Eagle.
8 Oct 1940 The British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to escort a supply convoy to Malta. The fleet consisted of battleship HMS Warspite, battleship HMS Valiant, battleship HMS Malaya, battleship HMS Ramillies, aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, 12 cruisers, 16 destroyers, and 6 submarines; they escorted four British transport ships.
19 Dec 1940 British battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Warspite shelled Italian defensive positions at Vlorë, Albania overnight in support of Greek advances.
20 Dec 1940 The British Royal Navy battleship, HMS Warspite, arrived at Malta's Grand Harbour to a rapturous welcome from the islanders.
3 Jan 1941 At 0530 hours, the British artillery barrage began, hitting Italian defensive positions at Bardia, Libya. At 0600 hours, Australian 6th Division began its assault from the west, clearing anti-tank obstacles for the 23 tanks of the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment that began attacking at 0650 hours. Between 0810 and 0855 hours, battleships HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant, and HMS Barham, along with destroyers, monitors, and gunboats, bombarded Bardia with 244 15-inch shells, 270 6-inch shells, 250 4.5-inch shells, and many smaller caliber shells. The ground forces would penetrate 2 miles into the Italian lines.
7 Jan 1941 Admiral Cunningham's Mediterranean Fleet, consisted of battleship HMS Warspite, battlesip HMS Valiant, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, and 7 destroyers departed Alexandria, Egypt, to meet the Excess convoy.
27 Mar 1941 Battleship HMS Warspite, battleship HMS Barham, battleship HMS Valiant, carrier HMS Formidable, and nine destroyers of the British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to hunt for an Italian fleet known to have departed bases in Italy. Four cruisers and four destroyers also departed from Piraeus, Greece, launching spotter planes to search for the Italian fleet, locating it at noon.
28 Mar 1941 150 miles off Cape Matapan, Greece at 0635 hours, Italian seaplane spotted a group of four Allied cruisers, and three Italian cruisers moved in to attack, engaging in combat at 0812 hours, to be joined by the big guns of Italian battleships at 1055 hours; after the morning's exchange of shellfire, all four Allied cruisers were damaged by near misses. At 1200 and 1509 hours, Allied torpedo bombers from HMS Formidable attacked, putting battleship Vittorio Veneto out of action for about 90 minutes at the cost of one aircraft. At 1936 hours, HMS Formidable's aircraft returned, joined by land-based aircraft from Crete, Greece, putting cruiser Pola out of action, but failed to catch Vittorio Veneto as she had received temporary repairs and was already en route back to Taranto, Italy. After dark, British battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite moved in within 3.5 kilometers of the Italian cruisers undetected, opening fire at 2330 hours on the unsuspecting Italians.
29 Mar 1941 British battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite continued to shell the Italian fleet off Cape Matapan, Greece. Italian cruiser Fiume, cruiser Zara, destroyer Alfieri, and destroyer Carducci were sunk, while destroyer Oriani was heavily damaged. At 0400 hours, British destroyers HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian approached damaged Italian cruiser Pola, captured her crew, and sank her with torpedoes. British ships rescued 905 Italian sailors but hurriedly departed at daybreak, fearing Luftwaffe attack; the Royal Navy would provide coordinates of remaining survivors to Italian ship Gradisca to continue to rescue. The Battle of Cape Matapan would close with 5 Italian warships lost, killing 2,303 men; the British suffered only 3 killed, the air crew of a single torpedo bomber lost on 28 Mar 1941.
22 May 1941 Before dawn, British warships searched for an Axis convoy off the Greek island of Milos; after sunrise, German aircraft spotted the ships, damaging HMS Naiad (6 killed), HMS Calcutta (14 killed), and HMS Kingston (1 killed) at 1000 hours. At 1200 hours, HMS Greyhound was sunk (76 killed) and HMS Warspite was damaged (43 killed). Shortly after, HMS Gloucester (722 killed) and HMS Fiji (257 killed) were also sunk. Meanwhile, at Crete, Greece, Australian and New Zealand troops counterattacked at Maleme at 0330 hours, but German 5. Gebirsgäger Division troops repulsed the attack. During the day, additional Ju 52 aircraft brought two more battalions of troops to Maleme. Australian and New Zealand troops were pulled back from Maleme to Suda Bay to protect the main supply point while regrouping for another counterattack.
2 Sep 1943 The British Royal Navy battleships HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant bombarded Reggio Calabria at the southern tip of Italy, eliminating a six gun battery.
1 Feb 1945 Warspite was decommissioned from service.
23 Apr 1947 The battleship HMS Warspite was wrecked on the rocks of Mounts Bay, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, while being towed to the breakers.

Photographs

Warspite and a British destroyer during Second Battle of Narvik, 13 Apr 1940HMS Eagle at Alexandria, Egypt, 20 Jul 1940; note HMS Warspite in backgroundWarspite in the Indian Ocean, circa 1942Martlet fighter of No. 888 Squadron FAA from HMS Formidable in flight over the Indian Ocean off Madagascar, late Apr to early May 1942; note HMS Warspite in background
See all 8 photographs of Battleship HMS Warspite



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
1 Aug 2009 02:08:08 AM

With fourteen Battle Honours to her name Warspite was the most decorated ship in the Royal Navy during World War II. In second place was HMS Nubian with thirteen Battle Honours.
2. Norman Young says:
2 Oct 2009 01:51:26 PM

Perhaps the greatest warship of all time. Scrapping her was an act of historical vandalism. It's a shame that her history seems to have been forgotten by the British Government, otherwise the Second of the QE class Carriers would have been named Warspite (just as the 2d of the QE class Battleships was).
3. Paul lloyd says:
29 May 2010 11:25:29 AM

My dad was on that ship his name was James Lloyd
4. Jeff Carlson- Australia says:
28 Jun 2010 08:51:02 PM

Was the Warspite beached at Normandy so as to be able to shell inland targets?
5. Tim Spiers says:
5 Sep 2012 12:19:43 PM

I agree that she was the stand out candidate for preservation and that it what should have happened. After the war the Government was broke and also I do not know if the public at that time wanted reminders of the war.
6. Sandra says:
21 Sep 2012 03:26:37 AM

My Grandad was on that ship. He was a true hero. Grandad was seasick for the whole 5 years he was in the Navy but never gave in to the Germans and helped preserve our freedom.
7. william bradley says:
25 Sep 2012 11:16:42 AM

im looking for info about my uncle William Bradley , he served one the Warspite 1940/43.
8. phil godfrey says:
20 Dec 2012 10:08:58 AM

my grandfather Charles Bourne was on Warspite untill badly injured late on in the war, he was part of the crew that was aboard whilst the ship was repaired in the USA, and brought back many gifts and stories of his time there.Never talked of the horrors of war but talked fondly of his shipmates and the scrapes they used to get into. Brave men one and all
9. Emily Clements says:
24 Feb 2013 11:53:59 AM

My grandad Roland Clements was communications officer if HMS Warspite in WW2 I'm trying to find his records but cant find them, I have all his medals and pictures ect any suggestions to help please
10. Wesley Cassar says:
28 Apr 2014 03:29:49 PM

My grandfather Carmel Cassar served on HMS Warspite during WW2, he was the only one of three brothers to return from combat. It is a real shame they scrapped her, it would have been an honour to stand on that ship.
11. Jason Bristow says:
6 Jun 2014 05:44:42 AM

Thank you to all who fought on our behalf in WW2: Able seaman Frederick Charles Bristow was my Granddad - he was on HMS Warspite at Normandy. One of his duties was to shoot the sea mines to clear the channel. Granddad was one of the lucky ones that survived the war, over 60 million were not as lucky. We salute you all.
12. Anonymous says:
30 Jun 2014 11:26:25 AM

my father also served on the warspite his name was john richardson
13. J Michaels says:
19 Jul 2014 12:19:43 PM

My father Albert Thomas, often known as Tommy was also on The Warspite. He rose to Chief Petty officer. My dad celebrates his 90th birthday this September. I wonder if there is anyone alive still who served with him on the ship. Dad was so proud to have sailed on The Warspite and was also very sad when she went for scrap. I have a great photo of dad in his white naval uniform in Malta. If anyone does remember the young man Albert Thomas please do get in touch via this site - would make dad's birthday. Or any photos etc. Thanks so much.
14. mark Frederick dent says:
5 Aug 2014 01:52:53 PM

Hi my dad was on the hms warspite is name was frederick john dent all so none as jack. Captain cunningham was his ships captain . If eney one can help me get pictures or eney information about him I would be over the moon to here from. You sadly he past away . I would love to keep his past a live with my kids . He is not forforgotten . Nore the men who fought the side of him
15. Alison Underwood says:
22 Sep 2014 05:21:03 AM

My granddad served on the Warspite during WW2. His name was James Rodda and he was Leading Seaman. He was on the ship during the Battle of Narvik and remembered candidly the sinking of the Italian battleship at the Battle of Calabria almost as if they couldn't believe they had hit it from such a long range! He sadly saw an accompanying ship bombed and sunk with his best friend on it and remembered the Warspite being hit by Germans and one of his colleagues being literally blown out of his boots off the deck and overboard never to be seen again. They were all incredibly brave...
16. Sapphina Hopkins says:
12 Nov 2014 03:23:56 AM

Hi my Grandad was on HMS Warspite i have a picture of him the day after D-Day with his pals on deck.he survived the war and was wondering if anyone knew or remembers him. His name is Gerald Hopkins i dont know much and im trying to find more pics if anyone remembers or knows it would be great to hear from you.
17. Chris Blyth says:
8 Mar 2015 08:29:17 AM

My Dad served on both the Warspite and Carnarvon Bay. William Cranston Blyth. Would anybody possibly have any photos with him in them? I know Bruce Gunn was a mate of his.
18. Chris Blyth says:
8 Mar 2015 08:38:42 AM

My father William (Bill) Blyth served on both the Warspite & The Carnarvon Bay. I know he had a mate Bruce Gunn on either or both battleships. Dad & Mum emigrated to Australia in 1952. Any info would be appreciated
19. Paul alexander says:
2 Jan 2016 10:15:27 AM

has any one any warspite crew pictures,from 1941 to 1943 or have any knowledge of a Albert William price thank you so much for your time
20. AnonymousSharon Brophy says:
5 Jan 2016 11:41:44 AM

I'm trying (and failing) to get hold of any info on a relative called William Newmarch who served during WW2. Any news would be great :)
21. gary holt says:
24 Feb 2016 07:42:02 AM

My father was on HMS Warspite his name Albert holt,from Liverpool
22. Doug Cormack says:
15 May 2016 08:59:22 AM

My father in law Tom Lawson ( South Shields) served on HMS Warspite and kept noted of events and people he served with.We forget there bravery . God bless them.
23. Steve Abbott says:
20 May 2016 05:27:37 AM

I believe my uncle William Bass served on Warspite during the second world war
24. Chris Watson says:
24 Sep 2016 03:48:50 AM

My father-in-law was serving on Warspite during the D Day landings and I'd like to find out more about his naval service but to do so though I need his service number. Can anyone advise me as to how I might be able to obtain this please?
25. Anonymous says:
20 Jan 2017 11:19:48 AM

My grandad also served on the warspite as a chief petty officer his name was Thomas George Puckett I would be interested to hear from anyone that knew him.
26. Liza says:
23 Jan 2017 12:58:38 PM

My Grandad (Peter John Criddle) served on the Warspite in the far east
27. Anonymous says:
10 Apr 2017 12:24:52 PM

My cousin served on Warspite a Royal Marine .He got away with a broken arm think this was in the Med,
28. Anonymous says:
9 Jun 2017 01:38:26 PM

my uncle was on the warspite anyone remember him his name was Tom wright
29. Debbie says:
6 Aug 2017 12:20:03 PM

My granddad Earnest Watson was on this ship in the Second World War. I would be grateful if anyone has any photos of the navel staff on the ship to see if I can spot him. Thanks
30. Anonymous says:
21 Sep 2017 12:36:24 AM

Your operational timeline is poor and needs updating. For example the battles of Jutland Narvik and Matapan - the main events in her career!
31. Anonymous says:
26 Nov 2017 10:02:10 AM

My dad was on the Warspite. He was with the Royal Marine Band. Wilfred (Nobby) Clarke.
32. Patricia says:
4 Dec 2017 11:36:43 AM

My uncle Robert Gower served on Warspite during the 2nd World War.
33. Alan H Spriggs says:
14 Jan 2018 08:57:43 AM

My father, Clifford Spriggs served as a gunner on HMS Warspite from the outbreak of WW2 till the battle of Crete.He then spent three years on North Atlantic convoys serving on HMS Loostrife. Would appreciate coments from anyone who new him.
34. arthur may says:
5 Feb 2018 01:21:44 PM

my father as a royal marine served on the wars pie his name was Arthur Sidney May. any one help find any records
35. Megan Morgan says:
15 Apr 2018 03:27:56 AM

My great uncle Vivien Thomas served as a petty officer on the Warspite during WWII and the offensive in Narvik. I would love to know more about him. My father thinks he was buried in Greenland after dying on board.
36. Roy Glassborow says:
17 Jun 2018 11:51:25 AM

Any information regarding Chief Petty Officer Douglas Vernon Glassborow would be appreciated
37. Nigel Gregory says:
20 Jul 2018 05:51:36 AM

My grandfather Francis (Frank) Alfred Gregory served on the Warspite between 16/07/38 and 17/04/41 when he transferred to HMS Pembroke 2.
In January 1941 he was Acting Chief Engine Room Artificer (engineer?)
I would appreciate any info on him, the ship and the campaigns and any advice on good websites to gain info.
38. Anonymous says:
31 Oct 2018 03:44:55 AM

My Grandfather John Butler served on the HMS Warspite. I am trying to find as much info on him and his service time as possible. Thanks
39. Alan Gardiner says:
14 Nov 2018 03:29:11 AM

My dad Joseph (Joe) Gardiner was Chief Petty Officer (Stoker) on Warspite does anybody remember him?
40. Daniel O\'Keefe says:
15 Dec 2018 12:51:22 PM

I know My Grandad Gerald Normally served time on this ship
41. Karl Fell says:
4 Feb 2019 02:37:04 PM

My grandad was on the Warspite his name was Alan Fell he was blown off along with turret at the battle of Sicily, he was a gunner. Looking to find as much info as possible
42. Jon Thompson says:
1 Mar 2019 01:40:48 PM

My Uncle Ron (Ronald Hudson) was a Royal Marine on HMS Warspite WW2. Like Karl Fells Grandad, he too was seriously injured whilst manning a gun turret - perhaps the same incident
43. Russell Hull says:
10 Apr 2019 04:14:24 PM

Where can I get a crew listing for HMS Warspite. I beleive my father Maurice Eric Hull served on her in 1943/1944. He received the Italian Star so was involved in the Italian landings. He also mentioned he was involved in D Day bombardment
44. Sian says:
14 Apr 2019 07:31:53 AM

My great grandfather served on the Warspite during the First World War and was at the battle of Jutland. His name was Albert cusworth and he was a stoker. We have a postcard of him in his uniform and his own technical manual of the boilers. So proud of him and his comrades.
Does anyone else know how and where to find out any more information about them?
45. Robert little says:
14 May 2019 03:44:03 PM

Hi my grandad was on HMS WARSPITE the grand old lady as a royal marine
46. Roy Banks says:
3 Jun 2019 03:32:54 AM

My Grandfather Hans Banks served throughouit WW11 on the Warspite and when I was young I remember him telling me so many stories about his time aboard her. Sadly my Grandfather died round about 1989 before the advent of Google and I can find no mention of him and his service. Is there a list of the crew who served on the Grand Old Lady during WW11?
Roy Banks.
47. Keating says:
6 Jun 2019 12:47:49 PM

My Dad was on the Warspite in the2war ,He was always very proud of that ship.His name was Sid Bamford he has now passed away and I wish now I asked more questions.I would love to get a list of the crew.
48. Dick Bilbe says:
11 Jun 2019 05:14:05 AM

I can't find any records of my Brother Charles V L Bilbe
I know he served on the Warspite and later on the Vanguard
Where do I Look

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More on HMS Warspite
Personnel:
» Crutchley, Victor
» Cunningham, Andrew
» Pound, Dudley
» Somerville, James

Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of Denmark and Norway
» Malta Campaign
» Balkans Campaign
» Battle of Matapan
» Madagascar Campaign
» Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender

Battleship HMS Warspite Photo Gallery
Warspite and a British destroyer during Second Battle of Narvik, 13 Apr 1940
See all 8 photographs of Battleship HMS Warspite




Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937