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HMS Valiant

Queen Elizabeth Class BB

Valiant in the Indian Ocean during the Surabaya raid - May 1944
Valiant in the Indian Ocean during the Surabaya raid - May 1944
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Valiant joined the 5th Battle Squadron on completion and was present at the Battle of Jutland, firing 288 rounds of main armament and one torpedo. In 1919 she transferred to the 1st Battle Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, where she remained until November 1924, after which she joined the 1st Battle Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet. On 23 March 1929 she paid off to begin a major refit which lasted until 2 December 1930 when she recommissioned for the Atlantic Fleet again. In March 1932 this became the Home Fleet, where she remained until ordered to the Mediterranean Fleet in July 1935. She returned home in 1937, paying off on 1 March for reconstruction at Devonport Dockyard, which was finished in 1939. Valiant recommissioned on 30 November 1939 and in December sailed to the West Indies to work-up. She escorted a Halifax convoy to England after which she joined the 2nd Battle Squadron, Home Fleet at Scapa Flow on 7 January 1940. She screened Atlantic troop convoys and from 7 April took part in the Norwegian campaign during which she covered the evacuation of Narvik and escaped a torpedo attack by U38. At the end of this phase she was ordered back to the Mediterranean, consequent upon the Italian entry into the war. On 28 June she became part of the initial composition of Force H, based at Gibraltar. On 3 July 1940 she took part in the British assault on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, but in August she was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet during Operation 'Hats' 29 August-6 September, to be based at Alexandria. On 15 September she sailed to cover a carrier attack on Benghazi, and at the end of the month covered a troop convoy to Malta. For the remainder of the year she was engaged in Malta convoy operations and Fleet sweeps, bombarding the Adriatic port of Valona on the night of 18/19 December. In January 1941 she bombarded Bardia on the 3rd and was a part of the covering operation for convoys to Malta and Greece from 6 to 13 of the month. On 28 March Valiant was present at the Battle of Cape Matapan, firing five broadsides at Zara, and the following month participated in a bombardment of Tripoli on 20/1 April; during her return to Alexandria she detonated a mine but sustained little damage. In May she participated in the operations around Crete, being hit twice aft by bombs then underwent a refit at Alexandria until July. For the remainder of the year she operated in the eastern Mediterranean, but on 19 December 1941 she was heavily damaged by Italian Miale at Alexandria at the same time as Queen Elizabeth, with a 60ft by 30ft hole blown in the bulge abreast 'A turret and her forward magazine spaces flooded. Temporary repairs were made locally before she could sail to Durban in May 1942 for full repairs, which were not completed until July. After her return to service the ship was transferred to the Eastern Fleet & stationed at Kilindini/Mombasa until ordered home for a refit in February 1943, which was completed by May. Although ordered to the Eastern Fleet, she worked-up for the invasion of Sicily then joined Force H, sailing from Scapa Flow on 17 June and arriving at Alexandria on the 23rd. On 7 July she sailed as part of a covering force for the invasion of Sicily, stationed in the Ionian Sea. At the beginning of September she shelled shore positions in support of the landings in Calabria and then supported the landings at Salerno 9-16 September. She returned to England in October for a refit which was completed on 1 December 1943, then joined the 1st Battle Squadron, Eastern Fleet, in January 1944. She participated in several operations against Sabang and Surabaya from April to July, but on 8 August 1944 floating dock AFD28 at Trincomalee, in which she was undergoing maintenance, collapsed and the ship was badly damaged. After emergency repairs Valiant left for home via the Suez Canal but grounded at the southern end on 21 October and remained at Suez until December before eventually sailing via the Cape and arriving back home in January 1945, paying off for refit on 1 February. Although taken in hand for repairs, these were terminated incomplete at the end of the war, after which she became a barracks hulk for the stokers' training ship, Imperieuse, at Devonport. On 19 March 1948 she was handed over to BISCO and allocated to Arnott Young Ltd. for breaking up. She arrived at Cairnryan on 16 August 1948, the hull being finished at West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co. Ltd. Troon, where it arrived on 10 March 1950.

Valiant following her 1929-30 refit carrying a Fairey III-F floatplane on her fantail catapult. This catapult was only carried during 1930-33. NH52518
Valiant following her 1929-30 refit carrying a Fairey III-F floatplane on her fantail catapult. This catapult was only carried during 1930-33. NH52518
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Valiant
Valiant
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Valiant leads the line as the Italian fleet steams into Malta, under the terms of the Italian Armistice, framed by the after 15-inch guns of HMS Warspite. September 1944. SC188574
Valiant leads the line as the Italian fleet steams into Malta, under the terms of the Italian Armistice, framed by the after 15-inch guns of HMS Warspite. September 1944. SC188574
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