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HMS Howe

King George V Class BB

Howe is towed from the builder's yard - June 1942
Howe is towed from the builder's yard - June 1942
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Howe was suspended in May 1940 because of the need to build escorts and merchant ships, this being lifted in about July. When completed she joined the 2nd Battle Squadron, Home Fleet. She was employed as distant cover for Russian convoys, starting with JW52/RA52 in January-February 1943, following which she was part of the force based at Hvalfiord, Iceland, to cover North Atlantic convoys March-April. The following month she was ordered to join Force H for the invasion of Sicily, and sailed from Scapa on 21 May. With her sister, King George V, she was used for diversionary bombardments (Favignana, 11-12 July) and then returned to Algiers, but on 7 September she sailed for Augusta where she was stationed as a reserve force for the Salerno landings. The collapse of Italy saw the ship participating in the occupation of Taranto in September, after which she and King George V escorted the surrendered Italian battle fleet to Malta and then on to Alexandria. She sailed for home on 1 October 1943. She rejoined the Home Fleet, but in January 1944 was selected for transfer to the Eastern Fleet and steamed to Devonport to refit for that theatre, January-April 1944. After work-up Howe sailed for Ceylon on 1 July, arriving at Trincomalee on 3 August. She covered the carrier raid on Padang in south-western Sumatra (Operation 'Banquet') on 24 August, and in September a raid against northern Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands by Victorious and Indomitable (Operation 'Light'). In November the British Pacific Fleet was formed for operations with the US Navy in the main Pacific theatre and Howe became Flagship on 2 December. She arrived at Sydney later that month, but the fleet did not sail from Australia until 28 February 1945 by which time she was no longer Flagship. TF57 reached the operational area on 26 March to join the attacks against Formosa and the Sakashima Gunto Islands, in support of the Okinawa campaign. TF57 became TF37 on 27 May 1945, but in June Howe was ordered to Durban to refit. This was not completed before the end of hostilities and then she transferred to the East Indies Fleet to relieve Nelson in September as Flagship. She returned home in January 1946 and transferred immediately to the Home Fleet where she relieved Queen Elizabeth. In August 1946 she joined the Training Squadron, where she remained until starting a refit at Devonport in May 1948 which extended to April 1949, after which she reduced to reserve on 21 April. She, like her sisters, never recommissioned and in April 1957 was placed on the Disposal List. She was sold to T. W. Ward Ltd. on 2 June 1958 and towed to Inverkeithing for breaking up, where she arrived on 4 June of that year.

Howe in Arctic waters with ice accumulating on the forward turrets
Howe in Arctic waters with ice accumulating on the forward turrets
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Howe in 1943, a very impressive pic
Howe in 1943, a very impressive pic
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after her Dec. 1943-May 1944 refit at Devonport.
after her Dec. 1943-May 1944 refit at Devonport.
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1944.
1944.
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underway, 1944.
underway, 1944.
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Howe, a good view over the fore turrets.
Howe, a good view over the fore turrets.
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Far East - 1944 or 1945
Far East - 1944 or 1945
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