HMS Valiant (02)

Valiant in late 1939, after major reconstruction. Note the single funnel, and the removal of her old casemate guns for turrets in the secondary battery. Photo in the collection of the US Naval Historical Center.

Laid Down

HMS Valiant, a Queen Elizabeth-class dreadnought, was laid down in 1913, and commissioned 19 February, 1916. Valiant fired 288 15" shells at the Battle of Jutland, and took no damage in the battle, but collided with her sister Warspite in late August. For the first decade of peace, Valaint served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, before being taken in for refit from 1929-30. She received anti-torpedo bulges and her funnels were trunked into the single one, distinctive of her class. After recommissioning, Valiant was deployed in the Atlantic until 1935, when she was transferred to the Med. She underwent a second refit in 1937-39, where her engines were upgraded, and her secondary battery was modernized. Her deck armor was also greatly strengthened. In June, 1940, Valiant was back in the Mediterranean, assigned to Force H in Gibraltar, taking part in the attack on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, and later transferred to Egypt. On March 28-29, 1941, Valiant engaged the Italian fleet in the Battle of Cape Matapan, and followed this action up with bombarding Tripoli harbor, and covering the evacuation of Crete, where she was struck by two bombs. More serious damage was incurred in December, 1941, when Valiant and Queen Elizabeth were attacked by Italian midget subs. Valiant was able to give the impression of being unharmed to the press, but was subsequently under repair in South Africa until 1943. Valiant was back in time for the Invasion of Sicily, and provided gunfire support there and at Salerno, before transferring to the Far East. After taking part in raids on the Japanese-held Dutch East Indies, Valiant was severely damaged in an incident with a floating drydock, where the dock was mishandled and sank under her. Valiant's inner propellers and one of her rudders were disabled, but she limped back to England under her own power. She was decommissioned in July, 1945, and served as part of the stokers training school until 1948, when she was sold for scrap.