10 Mar 1942 HMS Warspite leaves SA

On this day the British Battleship HMS Warspite sailed from the Spencer Gulf in South Australia for Ceylon.

Her bomb damage from the Battle for Crete was under repair in America when the war in the Far East started and Warspite was sent by the Admiralty to Australian waters to bolster local maritime defence.

The loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse in December 41 confirmed the vulnerability of battleships to air attack and she was wisely sent south of Australia to join the RN Eastern fleet at Trincomalee rather than north through contested waters.

Her presence in Australian waters was highly secret and unknown to the public or the press.

This veteran of the Battle of Jutland would go on to survive bombing, shellfire, mines, torpedoes and even a guided missile attack at the Salerno landings in Italy. Her final task was to provide Naval Gunfire Support for the Normandy Landings where on 6 June she fired 350 rounds from her main armament in support of British and American troops.

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