Question about Royal Sovereign/Arkhangelsk

Nihon Fan
10th February 2008, 02:11
Hello everyone,

An admittedly odd 1st post. I'm a World War II military buff, in particular the naval war. Can someone help me with this?

As many of you probably know, during the war the Royal Navy lent a battleship to the Soviet Union, the HMS Royal Sovereign. The Soviets then renamed her the Arkhangelsk. This was in 1944. She was ultimately returned to the Royal Navy in 1949.

I seem to remember reading somewhere, either in a book or the internet, that when the Soviets turned her over, the Royal Navy was surprised that a number of the ship guns were loaded. I guess the protocol on a ship transfer is for the guns to be empty.

Additionally, certain parts of the ship had human waste in them, and I'm not referring to the toilets. I don't remember the parts in question.

Any chance anyone here knows anything about either part?

Thanks,
Bill

treeve
10th February 2008, 02:35
Hello Bill, and welcome aboard the ship Ships Nostalgia.
I am sure there will be some here that will be able to help you,
but just to be sure we are not "teaching you how to suck eggs",
Have you searched the NA on the ADM section to find her logbooks?
Best Wishes, Raymond

Nihon Fan
10th February 2008, 07:53
NA on the ADM section to find her logbooks

I take it you're referring to the National Archives on the Admiralty section? I've never been on that site before and am having trouble finding what I want. Then again I've only spent about 5 minutes searching through what I believe are the British National Archives.

gdynia
10th February 2008, 08:13
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage. There is a book out about this Navy vessel as follows

Great World War II Battles in the Arctic
By Mark Llewellyn Evans

Also a foreign website with photos of her in Russian colours as follows

http://www.forum.hr/showthread.php?t=219582&page=6

treeve
10th February 2008, 12:45
Hello Bill ..
NA search page is at
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp
and they have the Logs ... up until 1944.
example 1939-1944 (ADM 53/11036 - ADM 120433)
Best Wishes, Raymond

treeve
10th February 2008, 12:59
A Soviet crew was commissioned on the Arkhangelsk on 30th May 1944 and sailed on convoy JW.59 - 24th August 1944.
Arkhangelsk then remained inactive for the remainder of the war and was returned to the Royal Navy on 4th February 1949 as a rusting old hulk. Arrived at Inverkeithing 18th May 1949 for scrapping.

K urgess
10th February 2008, 13:13
Welcome aboard from northern England, Bill.
I see you've had a few replies already.
All our naval experts are scuttling for their books.
Find your way around and enjoy the voyage.

Nihon Fan
15th February 2008, 03:14
For anyone interested, I located the source I had read many years ago. It was in a local library in an encyclopedia set called "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare". This was in the section for Arkhangelsk:

"As a bizarre sidelight on the Russian character, when she was returned in February 1949 it was found that every gun on board was still loaded, from 15-in down to 2-pdr pom-poms. In addition the mess decks were covered in human excrement."

Thanks to all who attempted to assist me.

Nihon Fan
8th April 2008, 14:55
Trivia question. I just found this out the other day. I couldn't find an official answer, just speculation or rumor.
Why of all the BBs available was the Royal Sovereign selected to be lent to the Soviets?

Peter4447
8th April 2008, 16:52
I served with an old 3 badged Royal Naval Able Seaman who was one of the working party when she was returned to the UK.
He said she was in such a state and so flithy inside that at the end of every working day the overalls they had been wearing were taken off them (and destroyed) and they were handed a new pair ready for the following day.
Peter4447(Smoke)

Gavin Gait
8th April 2008, 17:01
I think the Royal Sovereign was selected to be lent to the Soviets simply because of her very poor material condition. She was in no condition to be used in any real way and it was gesture politics as we needed every available battleship at the time for fire support duties ( look at Warspite , towed to the Normandy beaches with only 3 out of 4 main turrets operational but still badly needed ) and for protecting the carriers from kamikaze planes in the Pacific

Nihon Fan
9th April 2008, 18:11
I served with an old 3 badged Royal Naval Able Seaman who was one of the working party when she was returned to the UK.
He said she was in such a state and so flithy inside that at the end of every working day the overalls they had been wearing were taken off them (and destroyed) and they were handed a new pair ready for the following day.
Peter4447(Smoke)

Well that confirms what I wrote above. Thanks.

Nihon Fan
9th April 2008, 18:18
As to the answer as to why the Royal Sovereign was chosen to be lent to the Soviets. It was never officially stated but it's believed Churchill chose her for her name, being that the Soviets had assassinated their own royal sovereign, Czar Nicholas in 1918.

From what I know of Churchill, I wouldn't put it past him to do this.

Chouan
9th April 2008, 18:29
I always wondered whether there was something of an edge to it!

melliget
10th April 2008, 01:09
Apparently the Royal Sovereign didn't have any saluting guns. Perhaps they contemplated firing off a few salutes with the big 'uns ;) Didn't the Russians lose another ship lent to them, the destroyer HMS Churchill?

tstoneman
16th April 2008, 21:39
Davie - please can you confirm that WARSPITE was towed to Normandy - I was under the impression that she was patched up after Salerno, and could still steam ('X' turret and one boiler room still out of action), and was further damaged by a mine on 13 June and again patched up before returning (under her own steam) to Normandy 25 August.