D e t a i l s o f W a
r S e r v i c e
more ship information,
and type name in
1 9 3 9
deployment with Mediterranean Fleet.
deployment with Mediterranean Fleet.
- On completion of repairs at Malta sailed for
Alexandria escorted by the destroyers DAINTY
1st - Sailed from
Alexandria for Malta escorted by destroyers
DAINTY and DEFENDER.
6th - Sailed from Malta for the Clyde escorted by the
destroyers DUNCAN and DUCHESS.
11th - West of Ireland the destroyers ECHO,
ECLIPSE and EXMOUTH joined the escort.
12th - At 0437 hours 9 miles west of the Mull
of Kintyre she was involved in a collision
with DUCHESS. The destroyer was rolled over by
the force of the impact and sank at 0503 hours
taking 124 crew with her. BARHAM continued
into the Clyde escorted by DUNCAN and EXMOUTH,
leaving ECHO and ECLIPSE to pick up the 23
15th - In company with the battleship WARSPITE
and the battlecruiser HOOD sailed from the
Clyde to a position 300 miles west of Malin
Head to provide cover for the troop convoy
TC.1 which was carrying 7450 Canadian troops.
28th - At 1450 hours 66 miles west of the Butt
of Lewis when returning from patrol in company
with battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers ISIS
and NUBIAN, she was hit on port side by
torpedo from U.30. Four crew were killed and
extensive damage caused to her A & B shell
rooms. She proceeded under her own power
escorted by the destroyers FAME, ICARUS and
30th - Arrived at Liverpool and entered
Gladstone Dock for repair.
9 4 0
January to June
repair. For details see BRITISH BATTLESHIPS.
1st - Sailed from Liverpool for Scapa Flow
escorted by destroyers ATHERSTONE, FERNIE,
IMOGEN and WARWICK.
2nd - Arrived at Scapa Flow where she carried
out stability and firing tests. Following
which she commenced working up exercises.
Nominated for support of planned French
landings at Dakar.
(Operation MENACE –
For details see MENACE by A Marder, ENGAGE
MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, and Naval Staff
- Took passage from
Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers ECHO,
- Sailed from Gibraltar in company
with aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser
RENOWN, battleship RESOLUTION, and screened by
destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, FORESTER,
FURY, GREYHOUND, ECLIPSE, ESCAPADE and
INGLEFIELD. (ECHO joined later after
completing repairs at Gibraltar).
- Pre-operation conference held on board at
- Sailed from Freetown for Operation MENACE.
(Note: cruisers DEVONSHIRE, CORNWALL, AUSTRALIA (RAN) and
DEHLI had joined MENACE at Freetown.)
- Arrived off Dakar to find the area shrouded
1000 hours in a momentary clearance of the fog
the shore battery at Cap Manuel opened fire on
BARHAM without scoring any hits. Between 1100
and 1130 hours BARHAM, RESOLUTION, AUSTRALIA,
CUMBERLAND and DEVONSHIRE bombarded French
warships including battleship FS RICHELIEU in
Dakar harbour and also the shore batteries at
Cap Manuel and Gorée Island.
- In misty weather BARHAM, RESOLUTION,
AUSTRALIA and DEVONSHIRE carried out a further
bombardment of the port area and the shore
batteries at a range of 14000 yards. BARHAM
concentrated her fire on the RICHELIEU. The return fire from RICHELIEU
and the shore batteries was concentrated on
BARHAM and she was hit by two shells causing
1325 hours the bombardment was checked and the
bombarding force moved out to sea. An
assessment of the results was that despite the
battleships having fired 400 rounds of 15in
little or no damage had been caused to
RICHELIEU or the shore batteries. Engaged
French submarine PERSÉE with depth charges
- In clear weather she launched her Walrus
aircraft which then spotted for her when a
further bombardment of RICHELIEU was carried out which obtained one hit. (Note: Post war evidence
records this caused no damage.) The Walrus was
At 0910 hours RESOLUTION was torpedoed by French submarine BÉVÉZIERS.
Shortly after this BARHAM was hit in the bows
by a 15in shell from
0930 hours the attack was called off. BARHAM
took RESOLUTION in tow and they proceeded to
- BARHAM towing RESOLUTION arrived at
release from MENACE took passage to Gibraltar from Freetown.
- Arrived at Gibraltar where she was dry-docked for repairs to damage sustained at
Gibraltar where she was subjected
to a failed attack by an Italian Chariot.
Nominated to join the Mediterranean Fleet.
- Embarked 750 troops (4th Battalion the
Buffs) and stores at Gibraltar for passage to
- Formed Force F for Mediterranean transit
covered by ARK ROYAL and SHEFFIELD screen by
destroyers of Force H For details see Naval
Staff History, Operation COAT. (Note:
Operation CRACK and air attack from ARK ROYAL
took place coincidentally with COAT.)
- Joined ships of Mediterranean Fleet. See
above reference and THE BATTLE FOR THE
MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre.
- Disembarked troops and stores in Malta.
Rejoined battleships VALIANT and WARSPITE,
cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER, ORION, SYDNEY (RAN)
and YORK, screened by Mediterranean Fleet
destroyers. (Note: These ships of the
Mediterranean Fleet were providing cover for
passage of Convoy ME3 to Alexandria. aircraft
carrier ILLUSTRIOUS sailed for this operation
but detached during passage ton carry out
attack on Italian Fleet at Taranto. (Operation
JUDGEMENT) (For details see above references.)
- Arrived at Alexandria with ships of the
- Deployed with battleship MALAYA to provide
cover for aircraft carrier EAGLE during air
operations on Tripoli. (Note: This was part of
coincident Operation C)
- Provided support for military operations
with MALAYA (Note: Ships bombarded supply
routes in Cyrenaica and were covered by cruiser screened by destroyers.)
1 9 4 1
- Joined Force A with MALAYA and VALIANT
screened by 11 destroyers for bombardment of
Bardia with cover from ILLUSTRIOUS and cruiser
- Deployed with EAGLE, AJAX and destroyer
screen to carry out air attacks on Dodecanese. (Note: This operation was cancelled after ILLUSTRIOUS had been
seriously damaged in air attacks whilst
covering passage of Convoy to Alexandria. See
- Part of escort for damaged aircraft carrier
ILLUSTRIOUS during passage from Malta. (Note:
VALIANT and Australian cruiser PERTH were also
- Provided Distant Cover with EAGLE and
VALIANT during passage of cruisers AJAX,
GLOUCESTER and ORION, destroyers MOHAWK and
NUBIAN taking troops to Malta (Operation MC8)
- Provided Distant Cover for passage of MW6A
to Malta with aircraft carrier
WARSPITE, cruisers GLOUCESTER and YORK
destroyers of Mediterranean Fleet deployed
as force A (Operation MC9) (Note:
Italian Fleet units were known to be at sea
covering passage of a convoy to North Africa.)
- Sailed from Alexandria with WARSPITE,
VALIANT and FORMIDABLE screened by Fleet
destroyers to intercept Italian Fleet units
intending to attack convoys between Egypt and
Piraeus. The subsequent encounter with these
Italian warships is known as The battle of
Matapan.) (Note: This deployment was made on
the basis of interception of Italian Navy
signals traffic and is described in MATAPAN by
S W Pack which with the above references give
details of the action.) Took part in sinking
of two enemy ships.
- Covered passage of Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE
to Malta and return Convoy ME7 with
FORMIDABLE, WARSPITE, VALIANT, cruisers AJAX,
CALCUTTA, GLOUCESTER, ORION and
PHOEBE screened by Fleet destroyers.
- Detached with WARSPITE, VALIANT, GLOUCESTER
screened by four destroyers identified as
- Took part in bombardment of Tripoli for 49
minutes covered by Force C comprising
FORMIDABLE, AJAX and HMAS PERTH.
- Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units
(Note: A proposal by the Prime Minister that
this ship should be used as a blockship
for an operation to
carry out an attack on Tripoli was rejected
by C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet.)
- Deployed with FORMIDABLE, VALIANT,
ORION, HMAS PERTH
and cruiser Minelayer ABDIEL screened by 12
to provide Distant Cover for passage of
Convoy MW7 from Alexandria to Malta and
military convoy on passage to Egypt
(Note: This operation also covered transit
of battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, cruisers FIJI,
GLOUCESTER and NAIAD to reinforce the Fleet at
- Under air attacks, which were repelled by
aircraft from FORMIDABLE and ships AA gunfire.
- Deployed with QUEEN ELIZABETH to provide
cover for units of Mediterranean Fleet engaged
in support of military operations in defence
- Provided cover for air attacks by FORMIDABLE
- Under air attacks and sustained serious
damage after a bomb hit on Y-turret and effect
of near misses. See BRITISH BATTLESHIPS.
- Return passage to Alexandria.
arranged in Durban and prepared for passage by
local resources. Took passage to Durban for
repair at Durban.
completion took passage to rejoin Fleet at
for Fleet duties in eastern Mediterranean.
duties in continuation including support of
military operations by bombardment of coastal
- Deployed with QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT
for diversionary cruise to draw off enemy
aircraft during bombardment of Libyan coast
positions by 7th and 15th cruiser Squadrons
(Operation ME4) Although Fleet units were
shadowed by enemy aircraft, no attacks
developed. (Note: The bombardment support was
the RN contribution to planned military
advance in the western desert, Operation
- Deployed with same ships for further
diversionary cruise during support bombardment
by cruisers. (Operation ME7).
- Deployed with Fleet units to cover passage
of cruisers for support bombardment. Under air
attacks which were driven off by Fleet Air Arm
aircraft based at Mersa Matruh.
- Returned to Alexandria with QUEEN ELIZABETH,
VALIANT and destroyer screen.
- Took part with QUEEN ELIZABETH , VALIANT and
screen of eight Fleet destroyers for provision
of cover to cruisers of 7th and 15th Squadrons
carrying out search for military convoys on
passage to Benghazi (Operation ME7). (Note:
cruisers were deployed as Force B – See Naval
- Under constant observation by enemy
aircraft. Under attack by U331 and hit by
three torpedoes which struck between funnel
and X turret on port side. Ship sank in
position 32.34N 26.24N within 4 minutes after
the magazine detonated. (On VALIANT, the
closest ship to BARHAM when she was hit, was
the Gaumont News cameraman John Turner who
shot 2 minutes of movie film, all he had left
in the camera, of the sinking. This film
became one of the most poignant shots in the
whole war). Only 450 survived from the
complement of about 1312.
At the subsequent Board of Inquiry it was
suggested that the fires started caused the
explosion of the 4in and 15in magazines.
All internal communications failed and
the speed of the development of a list made it
impossible for many to escape. See above
references and TUBAL CAIN by E Muspratt.)