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February 28, 2004

Past glories ...

This is a picture to get some of the warship buffs going. It is HMS Barham entering Grand Harbour, Malta in 1936/37. The recognition stripes across "B" turret mark her as having been engaged in the "protection" duties of the Spanish Civil War.

HMS Barham.jpg
Entering Grand Harbour, Valetta, HMS Barham in her prime.

This ship did not have the benefit of the major refits given her sisters, Warspite, Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, she and Malaya having only a partial modernisation carried out in 1925 - 27. One of the modifications done then would sink this fine ship and kill over 800 of her crew when she was torpedoed by U 331 off Mersa Mutruh in 1941.

The modification? To save money, the civil servants of the day decided to place the new 4" magazines inside the anti-torpedo bulges, outboard of her after 15" magazines. One of the torpedoes hit a magazine. The rest, as they say, is history. It was captured on a film clip by a Movietone News cameraman sailing in HMS Queen Elizabeth. 2,000 tons of cordite and TNT do not take kindly to being kicked up the rear end and then heated by a fire. Particularly in a confined space.

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 28, 2004 10:56 PM


Wow, that's a fantastic picture, Pat; I'd never seen that one before.

Posted by: Paul Jané at February 29, 2004 09:25 PM