Motto: “Let him bear the palm who has deserved it.”
At the outbreak of war in 1939 H.M.S. Nelson was one of our two most modern battleships, though it is now over 19 years since she was completed. A ship of 33,950 tons, she mounts nine of the heaviest guns in the Royal Navy, of 16-in. calibre.
In December 1939 she was mined in a Scottish loch, and with great difficulty and hazard was brought south to Portsmouth for dry docking and refit. During the first half of 1941 she was engaged in escorting convoys bound for the Cape. In the summer she joined Admiral Sir James Somerville's Force H in the Western Mediterranean, and in September was hit forward by a torpedo from an enemy aircraft while escorting a convoy to Malta. She went to Gibraltar for temporary repairs, and in December sailed for Rosyth with survivors of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal. Back in the Mediterranean, she was again engaged in a fierce convoy action there in August 1942. She was one of the fleet supporting the landings in North Africa in Nov. 1942, and in July 1943 helped to cover the invasion of Sicily. The conference between General Eisenhower and Marshal Badoglio, resulting in the Italian surrender, took place on board her in September 1943.
She received damage from a mine during the Normandy landings in June 1944, and was sent to Philadelphia for modernization and repairs. Returning in January 1945 she proceeded to the East Indies, where she wore the flag of Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker. The Japanese surrender at Penang was signed on board her in September 1945. She is now flagship of the Training Battleship Squadron, Home Fleet.