HMS Warspite

Photo of HMS Warspite being towed between Prussia Cove and Hogus Rocks. The tug boats are Brahman (front) and Englishman (rear). Private Collection.

On February 24th we attended a talk about the battleship HMS Warspite at the Cornish Story Cafe in Marazion. The talk was given by Richard Holme and sponsored by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

HMS Warspite had done service in both world wars before she was wrecked off Prussia Cove in April 1947. The Penlee lifeboat W & S which was stationed at Penlee Point 1930-1960 rescued the crew from the Warspite on St George’s Day 1947.  

The Archive contains a collection of material about Warspite, which we were able to share with Richard and which he kindly acknowledged at his talk. This includes information in Newlyn Pier and Harbour Minute Book 1943-1953, which is one of a series of 19 books held in the Archive that record in hand-written detail the proceedings and debates at various meetings of the Newlyn Pier and Harbour Authority Board of Commissioners.

The wreck of the Warspite had been beached in Prussia Cove, to the East of St Michael’s Mount, and had been in the hands of a salvage company who were scrapping her. Their salvage team were refusing to continue the breaking up process in her position in Prussia Cove because of difficult access to the site and the salvors were seeking a better position to continue their work, whilst the hulk was still able to be floated to a new position. There were proposals to berth the ship for scrapping either alongside the South Pier at Newlyn or by the quarry a little bit along the coast. The Newlyn Harbour Commissioners and the quarry owners objected strongly to the plan and it was abandoned.

The wreck of Warspite was moved to the beach off Marazion for final demolition in July 1950. We would value information from those Friends of the Archive who remember this.