HMS Revenge (06)

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Career RN Ensign
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
Length: 624 ft (190 m)
Beam: 88 ft (27 m), later expanded to 102 ft (31.1 m)
Draught: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Armament: Eight 15 inch (380 mm) guns in twin turrets
Fourteen 6 inch (200 mm) guns in single casemates
Two 3 inch (80 mm) guns in single mountings
Four 47 mm guns in single mountings
Four 21 inch (530 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
Propulsion: Steam turbines, eighteen boilers, four shafts, 40,000 hp (30 MW)
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Complement: 997

HMS Revenge was the name 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 19141918 refer to the class as the Revenge class. She was commissioned in 1916, just before the battle of Jutland. She was a truly gargantuan warship at the time, especially imposing when seen from her bow.

Revenge was the only ship of her class to actually be operational for 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 senior members of the British Royal Family: George V, Queen Mary and Edward, Prince of Wales. The King and his son visited USS New York, Lion, the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief David Beatty, 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 Admiral Freemantle 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 in their war of independence, 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.

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Postcard of Silver Jubilee Review 1935

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 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. On the day she was actually attached to the Force, on 5 October 1939, she departed home shores to head for Canada, carrying valuable gold bullion.

On 3 July 1940, Revenge's crew boarded the French battleship Paris, the submarines Thames and Surcouf, along with other French ships seized in British ports after the fall of France. 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 Division back to their country in February 1943 to enable them to take part in the Pacific theatre, after Japanese successes 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 Winston Churchill remarked that the venerable battleship should be put to better 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 which were to be vital during the bombardardment of the beaches of Normandy during Operation Overlord.

On 8 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.

See HMS Revenge for other ships of the name.

Revenge-class battleship
Revenge | Royal Sovereign | Ramillies | Resolution | Royal Oak

List of battleships of the Royal Navy

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