The Loss of HMS Barham in November 1941

U331 struck of the Libiyan coast

The Loss of HMS Barham in November 1941
Image Source - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HMS_Barham_explodes.jpg
In late 1941 the Royal Navy found itself fully stretched. Veteran battleship Barham was not alone in been threatened by German bombers and submarines.

First World War Service

Built on the Clyde in Scotland Barham was the third of the Queen Elizabeth class battleships to enter Royal Navy service. These ships were ordered by Winston Churchill whilst he was at the Admiralty.

In the absence of the Queen Elizabeth (then been refitted after the Galipoli campaign) Barham was given the honour of been the flagship of the 5th Battle Squadron at Jutland. Unlike her sister ships Valiant and Warspite she emerged unscathed from the battle.

Like the rest of her class Barham survived the naval cuts imposed upon the Royal Navy by the Washington Naval Treaty. All were refitted in the late 1930s at the cost of around £3 million each.

More action in the Second World War

When the Second World War started she was transferred from the Mediterranean to the Home Fleet. Barham was torpedoed for the first time in late 1939 and the extra protection added in the refit paid off. Ironically enough that transfer was to replace HMS Royal Oak torpedoed in Scarpa Flow on September 3 1939.

Later she returned to the Mediterranean.

Britan had done so well fighting the Italians in North Africa that Hitler intervened, which meant that the Royal Navy faced greater dangers.

 

Barham took part in the successful Battle of Matapan in 1941 before been damaged by Luftwaffe bombers off Crete and undergoing emergency repairs at the South African port of Durban.

Her luck finally ran out on November 25 1941 off the coast of Sidi Barrani. After been struck by a salvo of torpedoes fired by U 331 she sank within five minutes. Due  to the speed that she sank 862 members of her crew could not be saved.  The torpedoes had penetrated  the magazine and all it's 15 inch shells exploded. 
 
Bibliography

Ballantyne I (2001) Warships of the Royal Navy Warspite, Leo Cooper, Barnsley


Let us know how you like this article. Like it and Rate it below.
79 2
0
0 stars - by 0 user(s)

Related Articles

As a Christian who is committed to a bi-vocational life, it is expected that challenges will never escape in their lives. If you are one among those non-stipendiary ministers, balancing every aspect of your life, what maybe the common challenges that you will experience? .

God in His loving mercy had given the world His written Word many centuries ago. In His loving mercy He saw to it after the end of the Middle Ages that eventually every person could have it in their native tongue.

There are total of 195 Independent countries in the World. From there, I have highlighted 10 smallest countries in the World by their size and area covered.

Post Your Comment

They were brave times and it is good to remember them. What a sad ending though, so many lives lost.

0