HMS Malaya was a
Queen Elizabeth-class battleship
Queen Elizabeth-class battleship built for the Royal
Navy during the early 1910s. Shortly after commissioning in 1916, she
participated in the
Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland as part of the Grand Fleet.
Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her
service during the
First World War
First World War generally consisted of routine
patrols and training in the North Sea.
1 Design and description
2 Construction and career
2.1 Between the wars
2.2 Second World War
6 External links
Design and description
The Queen Elizabeth-class ships were designed to form a fast squadron
for the fleet that was intended to operate against the leading ships
of the opposing battleline. This required maximum offensive power and
a speed several knots faster than any other battleship to allow them
to defeat any type of ship.
Malaya had a length overall of 643 feet 9 inches
(196.2 m), a beam of 90 feet 7 inches (27.6 m) and
a deep draught of 33 feet (10.1 m). She had a normal displacement
of 32,590 long tons (33,110 t) and displaced 33,260 long tons
(33,794 t) at deep load. She was powered by two sets of
Brown-Curtis steam turbines, each driving two shafts, using steam from
24 Yarrow boilers. The turbines were rated at 75,000 shp
(56,000 kW) and intended to reach a maximum speed of 24 knots
(44.4 km/h; 27.6 mph). Malaya had a range of 5,000 nautical
miles (9,260 km; 5,754 mi) at a cruising speed of 12 knots
(22.2 km/h; 13.8 mph). Her crew numbered 1,217 officers and
ratings in 1919.
15-inch guns of 'A' and 'B' turrets trained to starboard, 6-inch guns
in casemates below, c. 1920
The Queen Elizabeth class was equipped with eight breech-loading (BL)
15-inch (381 mm) Mk I guns in four twin gun turrets, in two
superfiring pairs fore and aft of the superstructure, designated 'A',
'B', 'X', and 'Y' from front to rear. Twelve of the fourteen BL 6-inch
(152 mm) Mk XII guns were mounted in casemates along the
broadside of the vessel amidships; the remaining pair were mounted on
the forecastle deck near the aft funnel and were protected by gun
shields. Their anti-aircraft (AA) armament consisted of two
quick-firing (QF) 3-inch (76 mm) 20 cwt Mk I[Note 1] guns.
The ships were fitted with four submerged 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo
tubes, two on each broadside.
Malaya was completed with two fire-control directors fitted with
15-foot (4.6 m) rangefinders. One was mounted above the conning
tower, protected by an armoured hood, and the other was in the
spotting top above the tripod foremast. Each turret was also fitted
with a 15-foot rangefinder. The main armament could be controlled by
'B' turret as well. The secondary armament was primarily controlled by
directors mounted on each side of the compass platform on the foremast
once they were fitted in April 1917.
The waterline belt of the Queen Elizabeth class consisted of Krupp
cemented armour (KC) that was 13 inches (330 mm) thick over the
ships' vitals. The gun turrets were protected by 11 to 13 inches (279
to 330 mm) of KC armour and were supported by barbettes 7–10
inches (178–254 mm) thick. The ships had multiple armoured
decks that ranged from 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) in thickness.
The main conning tower was protected by 13 inches of armour. After the
Battle of Jutland, 1 inch of high-tensile steel was added to the main
deck over the magazines and additional anti-flash equipment was added
in the magazines.
Construction and career
Malaya was built by Sir W. G.
Armstrong Whitworth and Company at High
Walker and launched in March 1915. She was named in honour of the
Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States in British Malaya, whose government paid for
her construction. She served in Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th
Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. She took part in the Battle of
Jutland, on 31 May 1916, where she was hit eight times and took
major damage and heavy crew casualties. A total of 65 men died, in the
battle or later of their injuries. Among the wounded was Able Seaman
Willie Vicarage, notable as one of the first men to receive facial
reconstruction using plastic surgery and the first to receive radical
reconstruction via the "tubed pedicule" technique pioneered by Sir
Harold Gillies. Uniquely among the ships at the battle, HMS Malaya
flew the red-white-black-yellow ensign of the Federated Malay States.
Between the wars
On 17 November 1922 Malaya carried the last Sultan of the Ottoman
Empire, Mehmed VI, from Istanbul into exile on
Malta (and later San
Remo). In August–September 1938 she served in the port of Haifa
during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine.
Unlike her sisters Queen Elizabeth, Warspite and Valiant, Malaya did
not undergo a comprehensive reconstruction between the wars. She did
Le Cheminant deck watch from the Royal Observatory on 5
Second World War
Malaya served in the
Mediterranean in 1940, escorting convoys and
operating against the Italian fleet. She shelled
Genoa in February
1941 as part of
Operation Grog but due to a crew error, fired a
15-inch armour-piercing shell into the south-east corner of the
Cathedral nave. The fuse failed to detonate.
Armour-piercing shell – with cap (left) fired on 9 February 1941
into the nave of
In March 1941, Malaya's presence in a convoy near Cape Verde was
sufficiently discouraging to the German commerce raiders Scharnhorst
and Gneisenau that they withdrew rather than risk damage in an
Malaya was damaged by a torpedo from U-106 at 2323 on 20 March 1941.
U-106 attacked the shadow of a merchant ship with a spread of two
stern torpedoes in bad light from the port side of the
Convoy SL 68
about 250 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
Jürgen Oesten heard hits after 2 minutes 37
seconds and 3 minutes 35 seconds. One torpedo damaged Malaya and
the other the Meerkerk. Malaya was hit by the torpedo on the port
side, causing considerable damage. Due to the flooding of some
compartments the ship took a list of 7 degrees, but safely reached
Trinidad. After temporary repairs were made, she continued to the New
York Navy Yard, where she was docked for four months.
On 9 July, under the command of Captain Cuthbert Coppinger, the
battleship left New York on trials and steamed to Halifax, Nova Scotia
to provide protection for an urgent fast convoy. No ships were lost,
and Malaya arrived in Rosyth on 28 July. Thereafter she escorted
convoys from the United Kingdom to
Cape Town until summer
Malaya was placed in reserve at the end of 1943. During this time her
entire secondary 6-inch armament was offloaded and her anti-aircraft
armament was enhanced. Between 15 and 17 May 1944, Malaya was used in
Loch Striven as a target ship for inert bouncing bomb prototypes, one
of which punched a hole in the ship's side. She was reactivated
just before the
Normandy landings to act as a reserve bombardment
Malaya was finally withdrawn from all service at the end of 1944 and
became an accommodation ship for a torpedo school. Sold on 20
February 1948 to Metal Industries, she arrived at
Faslane on 12 April
1948 for scrapping. The ship's bell can be seen in the East India
^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 20 cwt referring to the
weight of the gun.
^ Burt 1986, p. 251
^ Parkes, pp. 560–61
^ Burt 1986, pp. 255, 257–58, 261
^ Burt 1986, pp. 252–53, 256–57
^ Raven & Roberts, p. 20–21, 30
^ Raven & Roberts, pp. 21, 26
^ "21 June 1916 – Paul to Ted". familyletters.co.uk. 2016-06-01.
^ Fisher, David (2009). "Plastic Fantastic". New Zealand Listener.
Retrieved 23 September 2009.
Royal Navy and the Palestine Patrol By Ninian Stewart.
Routledge. 2002. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
^ Ledger of Receipts and Issues of Chronometers. Held by the Royal
Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK. Le
Cheminant Deck Watch No. 217241
^ "Obituary:Commander Henry Hatfield". Daily Telegraph. 4 July 2010.
Retrieved 5 July 2010.
^ Flower, Stephen (2002). A Hell of a Bomb: The Bombs of Barnes Wallis
and How They Won the War. NPI Media Group. p. 320.
^ Ballantyne, Iain (2001). Warspite warships of the royal navy. Pen
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to HMS Malaya.
Royal Navy History, HMS Malaya, Institute of Naval History
Page about the ship from battleships-cruisers.co.uk
HMS Malaya Photo Gallery
Queen Elizabeth-class battleships
Preceded by: Iron Duke class
Followed by: Revenge class
List of dreadnought battleships of th