Allied Warships

HMS Valiant (02)

Battleship of the Queen Elizabeth class


HMS Valiant during the war.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeBattleship
ClassQueen Elizabeth 
Pennant02 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
OrderedJun 1912 
Laid down31 Jan 1913 
Launched4 Nov 1914 
Commissioned13 Jan 1916 
End service 
History

Served in WW1 including Jutland.

Rebuilt twice between the wars. In the second rebuild both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant remained almost identical sister ships, the difference being HMS Queen Elizabeth had a tripod mainmast, HMS Valiant a pole mainmast. The changes included improvements to the main guns, allowing 30 degree elevation increasing their range to 32,000 yards. All the secondary armament was replaced with 20 4.5" AA gun mounts (10 x 2) (as installed on the Illustious-Class aircraft carriers). 32 2 pdr pom pom guns (4 x 8) were fitted arround the funnel, 16 0.5" (4x4) machine guns were fitted, two on B and 2 on X turret roofs, but these were quickly removed. New aircraft arrangements were made to accommodate 3 aircraft with an athwartships catapult. Throughout the war changes were being made to the anti aircraft weapons as the threat increased. Her final 20 mm Oerlikon's anti-aircraft fit was 52 (26x2), the quad machine-guns having been removed. Four HA/LA DCT (High Angle/Low Angle Director Control Tower) were fitted two above and forward of the bridge and two aft. Their heights had to be staggered because of their close proximity. Following the start of the war a Type 273 SR(Surface Radar) on the foremast, a Type SR (Surface Radar) 284 radar on the LA DCT (Low Angle Director Control Tower) and a Type HA (High Angle) 285 on each of the HA DCT's, a Type 291 AW (Air Warning) on the mastheads and an IFF interrogator.

Valiant's World War II service was far-flung: the Home Fleet in 1940, Mediterranean in 1941-42, Indian Ocean in 1942, Atlantic and Mediterranean in 1943-44 and back to the Indian Ocean in 1944. She took part in operations off Norway in April 1940. While in the Mediterranean in 1941, Valiant participated in the Battle of Cape Matapan in March, was bombed off Crete in May, and received serious damage from a daring Italian underwater commando raid at Alexandria, Egypt, in December. During 1943, she supported the invasions of Sicily in July and Salerno in September, twice bombarding enemy forces ashore during the latter operation. She also escorted the Italian Fleet into Malta after Italy had agreed to Allied terms. In August 1944, the venerable battleship was damaged in a drydock accident at Trincomalee, Ceylon, requiring her to return to England for extensive repairs that lasted into 1946.

After final service as a training ship, HMS Valiant was sold for scrapping in March 1948. Sold 19 March 1948 to Arnott Young, arrived Cairn Ryan 16 August 1945, arrived Troon for scrapping 10 March 1950.

 

Commands listed for HMS Valiant (02)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Sir Henry Bernard Rawlings, OBE, RN26 Aug 193924 Oct 1940
2Capt. Charles Eric Morgan, DSO, RN30 Oct 19403 Apr 1942
3Capt. Claud Barrington Barry, DSO, RN3 Apr 194222 May 1942
4Capt. Leslie Haliburton Ashmore, RN22 May 194215 Oct 1943
5Capt. George Eric Maxia O’Donnell, DSO, RN15 Oct 19434 Apr 1945
6Cdr. (retired) John Newton, RN4 Apr 1945

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Notable events involving Valiant include:


9 Jul 1940

This photograph show HMS Valiant (nearest to the camera) and HMS Resolution and is most likely taken during an Italian air attack (by SM 79 bombers) against Force H on 9 July 1940. The photograph is taken from HMS Enterprise.

Photograph with thanks to John Hancocks whose father Lt.(E) J.P. Hancocks served at HMS Enterprise during that time.

17 Sep 1940
British raid on Benghazi;
Aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN) attacked Italian ships in Benghazi harbour. Also mines were laid off the harbour. The destroyer Borea was sunk by torpedo, The destroyer Aquilone was mined and sunk. The merchants Gloria Stella (5490 GRT) and Maria Eugenia (4702 GRT) were also sunk during the attack.

Illustrious was escorted by the British battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN) HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN).

After the attack HMS Kent, escorted by HMS Nubian and HMS Mohawk, was detached to bombard Italian positions at Bardia early on the 18th. However before this could materialise HMS Kent was torpedoed and heavily damaged by Italian torpedo bombers just before midnight. Kent was hit in the stern and badly damaged. Kent was towed to Alexandria by HMS Nubian, escorted by light cruiser HMS Orion, AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and destroyers HMS Mohawk, HMS Jervis, HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN).

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.

Media links


British Battleships, 1919-1945, Revised Edition

R. A. Burt


British Battleships of World War One

R. A. Burt


British battleships 1939-45 (1)

Konstam, Angus


A Midshipman's War

Wade, Frank


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