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HMS Warspite

HMS Warspite

My mother took this picture in the 1950s.
Off Marazion beach ...
The Warspite was a part of the scenery and had to be explored, despite warnings and father's controls.


As a part of the Atlantic Fleet tour of Great Britain,
on the 13th to the 19th September 1919, HMS Barham, HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant were in Mount's Bay.
My cousin took photographs of them in The Bay in 1919, which I will post here later.
HMS Barham was torpedoed and sunk on the 25th November 1941 off Sollum in Egypt, with the tragic loss of 900 lives.

Queen Elizabeth Class
Displacement 30,600 tons; 640 ft x 90 ft x 30 ft;
Geared turbines; 80,000 hp; 4 shafts; 25 knots
Cost £2,500,000
Completed March 1915 Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Britain
Fourteen battle honours
1946 Sold out of the Royal Navy
Warspite was determined not to be taken past Mount's Bay.
23rd April 1947 Went aground in Mounts Bay, Cornwall, en route to the breakers.

Minus her guns, WARSPITE was under tow from tugs BUSTLER and METINDA III,
heading from Portsmouth to the breakers yard on the Clyde.
A southwest gale swept up on the 21st April.
BUSTLER’s hawser parted, just to the south and fifteen miles off Wolf Rock Lighthouse.
The storm raged, and the three vessels ( battling for 20 hours already ) drifted closer in towards Mount’s Bay.
At noon, METINDA III had to slip her hawser. The crew on WARSPITE dropped anchor. It did not hold.
Fifty minutes later she was on Mountamopus Ledge, a mile to the southwest of Cudden Point.
The 30,000 ton battleship had been driven about thirty miles by the raging sea and high winds.
Huge waves of thirty feet swept over the battleship, taking her closer to the shore,
and driving her on to the rocks at Cudden Ledges, Prussia Cove.
The Penlee lifeboat managed to get into the narrow 40 yard channel to the landward port side of WARSPITE,
and got two lines aboard, the lifeboat rising and falling twenty feet with the waves.
It was impossible to stand on deck; the boat crew had to kneel.
The lifeboat engines were continually being set full ahead and full astern, to keep the lines,
and to prevent the lifeboat from being thrown on the rocks.
It took 35 minutes to get the eight man towing crew off WARSPITE;
it was 8 o’clock when they arrived at Newlyn harbour.
The storm had done more damage to WARSPITE than she had received in the two World Wars.
It was decided to dismantle her where she lay.
However, after she had been partially dismantled and then lighter,
she was eventually moved, towed by tugs ENGLISHMAN and BRAHMAN,
and beached at Marazion, and it took ten more years to demolish her;
some parts of her remain to this day.

Other ships in tandem with her story here were also either to be damaged or become lost to the sea.
Full story, more pictures and details on

Raymond Forward
Wow... Treeve, I ve only seen pictures of the Warspite in books. This really brings home to you just how involved the people in Penzance were in the war.
All anyone has to do is to take a look at the names on the war Memorials at Penzance and Newlyn, as well as throughout Penwith, to see just what sacrifice was made, and death knew no social barriers.
I was pleased to have all this info as I am asked on the Mount from time to time about Warspite and knew little before.
I cannot understand that the warspite went aground in mounts bay in 1947 as I was in the ATC then and i flew over her in a sea otter aircraft from Culdrose while she was aground at Prussa Cove in about 1949 -1950 as I was 14 at that time:confused:
As my report states, aground in Mount s Bay 1947, later towed to Marazion, there was a lot of dismantling to be done at Prussia Cove before she was moved; I do not have the precise date of removal, but I have photographs that my father took at Prussia Cove. From your evidence it appears that she stayed there until 1950.
Thanks for your reply if you go to this website (...) it may trow a bit more light on the subject.
Hi royh, the site does not normally allow url s in the comments; please can you send a PM with the url; as well as my own website pages on her, I have assisted other websites with histories of Warspite as far as her last days are concerned.
Thank you for that; I asked a good number of people about that, and no one (not even naval historians) could come up with a solid fact. The question now is just how royh s recollection fits in; I have no way of dating my father s/mother s pictures.

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