Royal Navy at War: King George V Class

SKU: SH1639


60 mins

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Apart from HMS Vanguard, the King George V Class were the last battleships to be commissioned by the Royal Navy and played a major role in the Second World War. A total of five King George V Class battleships were built – the Howe, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, the Anson and, of course, the King George V. In this totally unique DVD, Royal Navy historian Roland R Smith gathers together much rare and previously unseen film footage of these magnificent warships from diverse archives.

The focus is on film material from the years 1941 and 1942, but other rare and historic material is also included. Highlights include the King George V being launched, at anchor in Scapa Flow and sailing with the Renown, Duke of York, Victorious and Kenya in wild seas in the Arctic Circle in 1942. Also included is a fascinating contemporary film account of life below her decks. The Prince of Wales, which joined the Hood in fighting the Bismarck, is featured with extensive coverage of her ferrying Winston Churchill to Newfoundland for a historic meeting with President Roosevelt and sailing through a vast merchant convoy on the return voyage. Other scenes featuring the Prince of Wales include her sailing for the Far East and with the Repulse at Singapore. She would later be sunk off Malaya and a survivor provides a harrowing account of her sinking. The fourth of her class to be completed, the Anson, is seen on the Clyde sailing for Scapa Flow in June 1942, while the Howe is seen being fitted out in 1942 and there is coverage of her commissioning service and scenes of her exercising her guns en route.

Other ships of note featured include the battlecruiser Hood, with film of her at anchor at Scapa Flow, rare material recording life below decks and an interview with one of her few survivors after her ill-fated encounter with the Bismarck. The battleship Rodney is also included, with the 1st Lord of the Admiralty addressing her crew after the sinking of the Bismarck.

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