Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Today’s HMS Prince of Wales crew pay tribute to heroes of wartime battleship

HMS Prince of Wales remembers
12 December 2017
While her older sister basked in the glory of the international media spotlight and a commissioning ceremony attended by the Queen, HMS Prince of Wales paused to remember her ill-starred predecessor.

Seventy-six years ago, 840 men died when the battleship Prince of Wales and the battle-cruiser HMS Repulse were pounced upon by Japanese bombers off Malaya.

Sent to deter Japanese aggression, the two capital ships lasted barely 90 minutes in battle without Allied air cover.

Three quarters of a century later, the name has been resurrected in the form of the second of the UK’s new aircraft carriers.

The ship’s company have forged links with the dwindling number of battleship veterans – today all in their 90s – keeping them up to date with progress on the 65,000-tonne leviathan.

HMS Prince of Wales. In memory of our splendid ship and all who perished with her. So short a life, so much accomplished

Survivor AB Richard Osborne

Survivors and their families took part in the naming ceremony in Rosyth earlier this year when they met the carrier’s sponsor, the Duchess of Rothesay (the title used by the Duchess of Cornwall in Scotland).

And survivors and descendants of those lost on December 10 1941 – just three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor – braved the wintry weather to join the Senior Naval Officer of the present HMS Prince of Wales Captain Ian Groom, laying a wreath at the memorial stone during a service of remembrance.

Former AB Richard Osborne toasted his former ship – and shipmates: “HMS Prince of Wales. In memory of our splendid ship and all who perished with her. So short a life, so much accomplished.”

And in the slightly warmer surroundings of a stores shed close to the dry dock where the carrier is being constructed, the ship’s company held their own memorial service.

You can learn more about both ships in this short video:

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.