Known familiarly in the Navy as “K. G. Five”, H.M.S. King George V has a displacement of 35,000 tons and a main armament of ten 14-in. guns. She was commissioned on October 1, 1940. In May 1941, as flagship of Admiral Sir John Tovey, she joined the Rodney in engaging the German battleship Bismarck, a considerably bigger ship. The Bismarck was reduced to a blazing wreck, and as she would not surrender a cruiser was directed to finish her off with torpedoes.
During the thick fog on May 1, 1942, the King George V collided with the destroyer Punjabi, which sank, exploding her depth charges against the battleship's plating. It took some weeks to repair the damage. A year later the King George V formed part of the covering force at the landings in Sicily and at Salerno. At the end of 1943 she returned to the Home Fleet. On October 28, 1944, she sailed for the East. On arrival at Colombo, on December 13, 1944, she hoisted the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, Second-in-Command of the Pacific Fleet, under whom she supported the naval air attacks on Palembang, in Sumatra, the following month. During the invasion of Okinawa she took part in attacks on the Saki Islands.
In June and July 1945, she was flagship of the British portion of the Allied Fleet operating against Tokyo and other places in the main islands of Japan. Air attacks were also undertaken under cover of the Anglo-American Fleet, the last being made on Tokyo on August 13. A contingent of 300 drawn from the ship's company took part in the landing operations which followed. The King George V returned to this country on March 1, 1946, and is now flagship of Admiral Sir Neville Syfret in the Home Fleet.