Online Library of Selected Images:
SHIPS of the BRITISH NAVY

HMS Prince of Wales (Battleship, 1941-1941)

HMS Prince of Wales, a 35,000-ton King George V class battleship built Birkenhead, England, was completed in March 1941. In late May, while still not fully operational, she was sent into action with the German battleship Bismarck and received significant damage from heavy gunfire. Following repairs, Prince of Wales carried Prime Minister Winston Churchill across the Atlantic to Newfoundland. There, on 9-12 August, Churchill joined U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Atlantic Charter conference, the first meeting between the two English-speaking leaders of what was emerging as the "Grand Alliance" against the Axis powers.

Following her return to British waters, Prince of Wales went to the Mediterranean, where she successfully engaged Italian planes off Malta in late September. Sent to the Far East with the battlecruiser HMS Repulse to counter the swiftly developing Japanese threat in the region, she arrived on 2 December 1941. On 8 December, the day of the Pearl Harbor Raid on the other side of the International Date Line, the Japanese landed in northern Malaya. Prince of Wales, Repulse and four destroyers were sent to attack the invasion force. After finding no targets, the British ships were returning to Singapore when, late in the morning of 10 December, they were attacked by a strong force of Japanese high-level bombers and torpedo planes. With no friendly planes to protect them, both heavy ships were hit several times. Repulse sank at about 1230. Prince of Wales capsized and followed her to the bottom less than an hour later. The first capital ships to be sunk by air attack while operating on the high seas, their loss further shocked a naval world already stunned by the events at Pearl Harbor only a few days earlier.

This page features all the views we have of the British battleship Prince of Wales (1941-1941) and selected views of her activities.

Click photograph for larger image.

Photo #: 80-G-190724

HMS Prince of Wales

(British Battleship, 1941)

Photographed in 1941, sometime prior to her 24 May 1941 engagement with the German battleship Bismarck. She is lowering a Supermarine "Walrus" amphibian aircraft over the side.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 88KB; 740 x 525 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 50741-KN (Color)

Sinking of HMS Hood

Painting by J.C. Schmitz-Westerholt, depicting Hood's loss during her engagement with the German battleship Bismarck on 24 May 1941. HMS Prince of Wales is in the foreground.

Courtesy of the U.S. Army Chief of Military History.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 116KB; 740 x 570 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 67194-A

Atlantic Charter Conference, 10-12 August 1941


HMS Prince of Wales off Argentia, Newfoundland, after bringing Prime Minister Winston Churchill across the Atlantic to meet with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Photographed from USS Augusta (CA-31).

Donation of Vice Admiral Harry Sanders, USN(Retired), 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 92KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 67195

Atlantic Charter Conference, 10-12 August 1941


USS McDougal (DD-358) alongside HMS Prince of Wales, to transfer President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the British battleship for a meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Photographed in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.

Donation of Vice Admiral Harry Sanders, USN(Retired), 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 74KB; 740 x 535 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 67208

Atlantic Charter Conference, 10-12 August 1941


Church service on the after deck of HMS Prince of Wales, in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, during the conference. Seated in the center are President Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Standing behind them are Admiral Ernest J. King, USN (between Roosevelt and Churchill); General George C. Marshall, U.S. Army; General Sir John Dill, British Army; Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN; and Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, RN.
USS Arkansas (BB-33) is in the center distance.

Donation of Vice Admiral Harry Sanders, USN(Retired), 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 105KB; 740 x 525 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 67209

Atlantic Charter Conference, 10-12 August 1941


Conference leaders during Church services on the after deck of HMS Prince of Wales, in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) and Prime Minister Winston Churchill are seated in the foreground.
Standing directly behind them are Admiral Ernest J. King, USN; General George C. Marshall, U.S. Army; General Sir John Dill, British Army; Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN; and Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, RN.
At far left is Harry Hopkins, talking with W. Averell Harriman.

Donation of Vice Admiral Harry Sanders, USN(Retired), 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60566

Loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, 10 December 1941


Photograph taken from a Japanese aircraft during the initial high-level bombing attack. Repulse, near the bottom of the view, has just been hit by one bomb and near-missed by several more. Prince of Wales is near the top of the image, generating a considerable amount of smoke.
Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

Donation of Mr. Theodore Hutton, 1942.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 82KB; 525 x 765 pixels

 

High-Resolution JPG
Photo #: 80-G-413520

Loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, 10 December 1941


Photograph taken from a Japanese plane, with Prince of Wales at far left and Repulse beyond her. A destroyer, either Express or Electra, is maneuvering in the foreground.
Dulin and Garzke's "Allied Battleships in World War II", page 199, states that this photograph was taken "after the first torpedo attack, during which the Prince of Wales sustained heavy torpedo damage."

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 125KB; 740 x 600 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

 
Photo #: SC 301094

"Sea Battle off Malaya"


Japanese war art painting by Nakamura Kanichi, 1942, depicting Japanese Navy aircraft making successful torpedo attacks on the British battleship Prince of Wales (center) and battlecruiser Repulse (left) on 10 December 1941.
Planes shown include "Betty" bombers.

Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 104KB; 740 x 500 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 



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