|HMS Revenge (06)|
HMS Revenge at sea July–August 1940
|Laid down:||22 December 1913 (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Launched:||29 May 1915|
|Commissioned:||1 February 1916|
|Class & type:||Revenge-class battleship|
|Displacement:||28,000 tons standard 31,200 tons max|
|Length:||624 ft (190 m)|
|Beam:||88 ft (27 m), later expanded to 102 ft (31 m)|
|Draught:||28 ft (8.5 m)|
|Propulsion:||Steam turbines, eighteen boilers, four shafts, 40,000 hp (30 MW)|
|Speed:||23 kn (43 km/h)|
HMS Revenge (pennant number 06) was the lead ship of the Revenge class of battleships of the Royal Navy, the ninth to bear the name. She was launched during World War I in 1915. Though the class is often referred to as the Royal Sovereign class, official documents of 1914–1918 refer to the class as the Revenge class. She was commissioned in 1916, just before the Battle of Jutland.
First World War
Revenge was present at the battle of Jutland, where she was under the command of Captain E. B. Kiddle, and served in the powerful 1st Battle Squadron, second in line behind Marlborough flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney. During the ensuing battle, Marlborough was torpedoed, which forced Burney to transfer his flag to Revenge. Revenge was engaged with the enemy for an hour and a half, suffering no casualties or battle damage.
The day before the Grand Fleet departed their base to confront the surrendering German High Seas Fleet in Operation ZZ, a visit was made by senior members of the British Royal Family: King George V, Queen Mary and Edward, Prince of Wales. The King and his son visited USS New York, HMS Lion (flagship of the Commander-in-Chief David Beatty when he commanded the battlecrusiers at the Battle of Jutland), and Revenge, flagship of the Second-in-Command. Queen Mary had tea in Revenge.
In 1919, at Scapa Flow, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order to the now interned German High Seas Fleet to scuttle the entire fleet of 74 ships to prevent their use by the victorious Allies. After the incident, von Reuter was brought to the quarterdeck of Revenge, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sydney Fremantle and accused of breaching naval honour. Von Reuter replied to the accusation, "I am convinced that any English naval officer, placed as I was, would have acted in the same way." No charges were brought against him.
In January 1920, the 1st Battle Squadron was detached to the Mediterranean due to crises in the region. While in the area, Revenge supported Greek forces and remained in the Black Sea, due to concerns about the Russian Civil War until July, when she returned to the British Atlantic Fleet.
In 1922, Revenge, with her sister ships Ramillies, Resolution and Royal Sovereign, was again sent to the Mediterranean due to further crises, in no small part due to the forced abdication of King Constantine I of Greece. Revenge was stationed at Constantinople and the Dardanelles throughout her deployment to that region. She rejoined the Atlantic Fleet the following year.
In 1928 she was paid off for refit at Devonport Dockyard. She was recommissioned after the refit in March 1929 into the British Mediterranean Fleet. On 16 July 1935, Revenge was part of the Naval Review of 160 warships at Spithead in celebration of the Silver Jubilee of George V. Later in 1935 she was stationed at Alexandria due to potential dangers posed by the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
In 1936 she was paid off for yet another refit. She was recommissioned a year later into the 2nd Battle Squadron of the immense Grand Fleet. On 9 August 1939 she was part of another Fleet Review, Royal Navy that was observed by George VI. Though Revenge was now becoming rather antiquated and slow, she was still used in abundance throughout the war, being assigned to the North Atlantic Escort Force, together with her sister-ship Resolution.
Second World War
On 5 October 1939, the very day she was attached to the North Atlantic Escort Force, she departed from home shores to head for Canada, carrying valuable gold bullion. During one stop in Halifax on 12 May 1940, she accidentally rammed and sank the Canadian Battle-class trawler HMCS Ypres although without loss of life. For the duration of the war that she served, whenever Revenge came to Halifax, the crews of other gate ships would make elaborate and exaggerated "Abandon Ship" manoeuvres in mockery of the old vessel.
Revenge undertook further vital convoy duties throughout the rest of her involvement in World War II, including the escort of a convoy carrying the Australian 9th Division back to their country in February 1943 to allow them to take part in the Pacific theatre.
On 3 July 1940, Revenge's crew boarded the French battleship Paris, submarines Thames and Surcouf, and other French ships seized in British ports after the fall of France. In August of that year she was with the Channel Fleet on anti-invasion duty, before returning to escort duty.
In October 1943, she was withdrawn from operational service due to her very poor condition, being reduced to Reserve status, initially serving as a stoker's training ship. However, Winston Churchill remarked in a memo that the venerable battleship should be put to better use and so Churchill embarked on Revenge to sail to Malta, as a leg of the journey to the Tehran Conference being held in Iran.
In May 1944, her main armament was removed to provide spare guns for the battleships Ramillies and Warspite, as well as monitors which were to be vital during the bombardment of the beaches of Normandy during Operation Overlord. She spent the rest of the war as part of the stokers' training establishment HMS Imperieuse.
On 8 March 1948 she was placed on the disposal list, being sold for scrap four months later. Some of Revenge's gun turret rack and pinion gearing was reused in the 76 metre diameter Mark I radio telescope built at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, in the mid-1950s.
- Claude Choules, the last living British World War I veteran, served aboard HMS Revenge during the Great War.
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