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HMS Revenge

Laid down:22nd December 1913
Launched:29th May 1915
Commissioned:March 1916
Fate:Scrapped 1948
General Characteristics
Displacement:28,000 tons standard 31,200 tons max
Beam:88ft/27m Later expanded to 102ft/31m
Armament:8 x 15-inch guns in twin turrets, 14 x 6-inch guns in single casemates, 2 x 3-inch guns in single mountings, 4 x 47mm guns in single mountings, 4 x 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes
Propulsion:Steam turbines, eighteen boilers, four shafts, 40,000 hp
Speed:23 knots
HMS Revenge (1915-1948) was the nameship of a majestic looking class of dreadnoughts. Revenge was launched during the First World War in 1915. Though the class is often referred to as the 'Royal Sovereign' class, in actuality, at least from official documents of 1914-18, the type was actually the Revenge-class. She was commissioned in 1916, just before the largest naval battle took place at Jutland. She was a truly gargantuan warship at the time, especially imposing when seen from her bow.

Revenge was the only ship of the class to actually be operational for the Battle of Jutland. Revenge, the ninth to bear the name, as well as having the prestigious honour of being the flagship of Sir Francis Drake in 1588, was the second ship of the powerful 1st Battle Squadron that was actively involved in the battle. The flagship of that Squadron was HMS Marlborough, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney.

During the ensuing battle, Marlborough was torpedeod, which forced the Vice-Admiral to transfer his flag to Revenge which was under the command of Captain E.B. Kiddle, thus making the battleship the flagship of a most formidable squadron. During the battle, Revenge was engaged with the enemy for an hour and a half, suffering no casualties or battle damage, a commendable achievement.

The day before the Grand Fleet departed their base to confront the surrendering German High Seas Fleet, a visit was made senior members of the Royal Family, HM King George V, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales. The King and his son, the Prince of Wales visited USS New York, an American battleship attached to the Grand Fleet and the two most senior battleships of the Fleet, Lion flagship of the Commander-in-Chief and Revenge flagship of the Second-in-Command. The Queen herself, had tea in Revenge, no doubt enjoying the marvellous hospitality onboard the majestic battleship.

In 1919, at Scapa Flow, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order to the now interned German High Sea Fleet to scuttled the entire fleet of 74 ships to prevent their use by the victorious Allies. After the incident, the Admiral was brought to the quarterdeck of Revenge, flagship of Admiral Freemantle and accused of breaching naval honour.

The German Admiral 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, for the actions of which he ordered.

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 in their war against Turkish Nationalists, and remained in the Black Sea, due to concerns about the Russian Civil War until July, when she returned to the 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 pressured 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.

Postcard of Silver Jubilee Review 1935

In 1928 she paid off for refit at Devonport Dockyard. She recommissioned after the refit in March 1929 into the Mediterranean Fleet. On the 16th July 1935, Revenge was part of an incredible Naval Review at Spithead in celebration of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. An astonishing 160 warships displayed the wide and powerful array of ships of the Royal Navy. Later in 1935 she was stationed at Alexandria due to potential dangers posed by the Italian-Abyssinian war.

In 1936 she was paid for yet another refit. She was recommissioned a year later into the 2nd Battle Squadron of the immense Grand Fleet. On 9th August 1939 she was part of another Fleet Review that was observed by HM King 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. On the day she was actually attached to the Force, on the 5th October 1939, she departed home shores to head for Canada, carrying valuable gold bullion.

On July the 3rd 1940, Revenge's crew board the French battleship Paris, the submarines Thames and the gigantic Surcouf, along with others French ships also being captured while in Britain. Revenge undertook further vital convoy duties throughout the rest of her involvement in WWII, including the escort of a convoy carrying the Australian Division back to their country in February 1943 to enable them to take part in the Pacific theatre, after Japanese succeses in that region, which posed a significant and very real threat to Australia herself.

In October that year, she was withdrawn from operational service due to her very poor condition, being reduced to Reserve status. Her initial service was as a Stoker's training ship, though a memo Sir Winston Churchill remarked that the venerable battleship should be put to greater use and so Churchill embarked aboard Revenge, where she sailed to Malta, en route 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 who were to be vital during the bombardardment of the beaches of Normandy during D-Day in which they proved to be a very successful addition to already potent invasion force.

On the 8th March 1948, after so many years of dedicated service to the Royal Navy and the nations interests, she was placed on the disposal list, being sold for scrap four months later.