Click below to view large scale drawings of the Prince of Wales Battleship

Port side view

Starboard side view


Builder:

Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, UK.

Laid down:

2nd January 1937

Launched:

3rd May 1939

Commissioned:

31st March 1941


Dimensions:

Length:

745 ft 1in (overall)

740ft 1in (waterline)

700ft 1 in (between perpendiculars)

Beam:

112ft 5in (max)

103ft 2in (waterline)

Displacement:

43,786 Tons (deep)

Draught:

29ft (mean standard)

32ft 6in (mean deep)

35ft 6in (max)


Machinery / Capacities / Performance

Engines:

4, Parsons single-reduction geared turbines

Boilers:

8, admiralty three drum small tube boilers with superheaters

Shafts:

Four total

Speed:

28.5 knots (max design speed)

Fuel oil capacity:

3,452 tons

Machinery power output (max.):

110,000 S HP

Radius of action:

3,100 nm at 27 knots

5750 nm at 20 knots

10,250 nm at 15 knots

14,400 nm at 10 knots

Guns:

10x14 in./45 cal. main guns

16x5.25 in/50 cal. secondary guns

2x4.1 in/40 cal. AA guns


Armour / Protection

Vertical side armour:

Main Belt:

(height- 23ft x length- x width- 14.7in tapering down to 5.5in at ends)

Armoured Bulkheads:

11 .7in forward, 9.8in & 4in aft

Conning Tower:

2.9in sides, 1.5in roof

Funnels:

1 inch

Bridge Plating:

up to 1 in

Horizontal deck armour:

Main deck:

up to 6in (over magazines)

Lower deck:

up to 5in, tapering to 2.5in at front & 4in at rear

Protective Bulkhead:

1.7in

Magazine Splinter Protection:

1.5in sides & crowns

14 inch gun emplacements:

Turrets:

12.7in face, 8.8in sides, 6.9in rear, 5.9in roof

Barbettes:

up to 16 in

5.25 inch gun emplacements:

Turrets:

1.5in face, 1in sides, rear & roof

Casemates:

up to 2in sides, 1in roof

Barbettes:

11.7in centre-line forward, 12.7in sides, 10.8in centre-line aft


Click here to go to the HMS Prince of Wales Gallery page


A Brief History of HMS Prince of Wales (Supplied by Frank Allen)

1st Jan 1937

Keel was laid at the Cammell Laird Ltd. shipyards in Birkenhead

3rd May 1939

The ship was launched by the Princess Royal 

1940

A German bomb narrowly missed the ship and exploded alongside...light damage was sustained and minor flooding occurred. 

31st March 1941

Considered officially complete. 

April- late May 1941

Underwent "shake-down" cruises, crew underwent intensive training. 

21-27 May 1941

Participated in the pursuit of German battleship Bismarck. Took part in one of the most famous naval battles of all time- the Battle of the Denmark Strait. During the battle Prince of Wales may have struck battleship Bismarck at least twice (though it is possible that Hood also may have done so). One of these hits was serious enough to end the German sortie. Prince of Wales suffered from grievous mechanical difficulties throughout the fight. She was also struck 7 times (4 from Bismarck, 3 from Prinz Eugen) during the battle...one hit being through the Compass Platform. This resulted in the deaths of 14 men. Prince of Wales exchanged fire with Bismarck again later, but no hits were scored by either side. 

June-July 1941

Underwent repairs (defective machinery as well as damage received from Bismarck and Prinz Eugen) and further training. 

August 1941

Transported Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill to Ship Harbour, Newfoundland. The purpose of the trip was to meet with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and create the Atlantic Charter. 

September 1941

Participated in "Operation Halberd." Along with battleships Nelson and Rodney as well as aircraft carrier Ark Royal, Prince of Wales escorted a merchant convoy from Gibraltar to Malta. Encountered Italian "resistance" along the way. During the process, Prince of Wales gunnery crews shot down 2 Italian aircraft and one British fighter. 

25th October - 2nd December 1941

As part of "Force G," Prince of Wales travelled to Singapore. Stopped at Freetown, Sierra Leone, then Capetown, South Africa and Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) along the way. Arrived in Singapore on 2nd December 1941. 

10th December 1941

"Force G" re-designated "Force Z." Sunk (along with battle cruiser HMS Repulse) by Japanese torpedo and bomber aircraft aircraft off Kuantan on the Malayan coast. The wreck is upside down at a depth of @ 36 fathoms. Out of a crew of 1612 men, 20 officers, 280 sailors and 27 marines were lost. Among the dead were Admiral Sir Tom Phillips, CinC of the Eastern Fleet, and Prince of Wales commanding officer, Capt John C. Leach.


We'd like to express our grateful thanks to Frank Allen of the HMS Hood Association for supplying the information on this page