(File pix) HMS Malaya leaving New York (Brooklyn Naval Yard) on 9 July 1941 following repairs. Courtesy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: HMS Malaya was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship, built by Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co., according to the naval ship archive www.naval-history.net.

The ship was launched on March 18, 1915, and commissioned on Jan 28, 1916.

It is learnt that the battleship, part of the Fifth Battle Squadron at Jutland, was built with money from the Federated Malay States (Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Pahang), totalling £2,945,709.

Weighing approximately 33,020 tonnes, the ship had a top speed of 25 knots and served in World War 1 and World War 2.

HMS Malaya was involved in the Battle of Jutland (also called the Battle of the Skagerrak) between the British and the Germans in the North Sea, under Royal Navy Grand Fleet Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, on May 31, 1916.

On Nov 17, 1922, HMS Malaya sailed with the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI, from Istanbul to Malta, where he sought exile.

HMS Malaya served in the Mediterranean during World War 2, escorting convoys and operating against the Italian fleet in 1940.

Part of Operation Grog in Genoa, it fired a missile, or a 15-inch armour-piercing shell, that failed to detonate at the Genoa cathedral.

In 1944, the battleship was decommissioned and it was turned into an accommodation ship for a torpedo school.

It was later sold to Metal Industries to be scrapped in 1948.

HMS Malaya’s connection to the Malay archipelago was more than just its name.

During the battleship’s short visit to Malaya in 1921, its crew engaged in friendly matches of football, rugby, hockey, sailing and golf with local clubs.

The ship stopped at Port Swettenham (now Port Klang), Singapore, Melaka, Penang and Port Dickson.

It was reported that three months after the visit, the FMS government chief secretary received a letter from HMS Malaya captain H.T. Buller, who presented two silver challenge trophies for football and rugby as tokens for the warm reception he and his crew had received during their stay.

Watch bell to be on display on April 13 and 14

(File pix) The watch bell from HMS Malaya is currently housed at the National Hydrography Centre, Pulau Indah Naval Base, Selangor.

As part of the 85th anniversary of the Royal Malaysian Navy on April 27, the watch bell from the British Royal Navy battleship, HMS Malaya, will be available for public viewing next month.

The bell, which had struck the hours through two world wars and in all seas, is currently at the National Hydrography Centre, Pulau Indah Naval Base, in Selangor, and people can view it on April 13 and 14.

On other days, members of the public are required to submit a request letter to the National Hydrography Centre for approval to view the bell.

Before being brought to the National Hydrography Centre, the bell was the tower bell for Victoria Institution (VI) in Jalan Hang Tuah for about 60 years.

In August 2007, the bell was presented to the then Navy deputy chief, Vice-Admiral Datuk Abdul Aziz, by school principal Azizah Othman.

According to the Royal Malaysian Navy Sea Power Centre, a navy think tank, the bell was traced through the discovery of the original HMS Malaya ensign by Sultan Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah in the United Kingdom during his solo sail around the world in 1994.

It was learnt that Sultan Sharafuddin bought the ensign and presented it to the navy. After conducting research, he traced HMS Malaya’s original bell to the school.

The HMS Malaya is a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship that was commissioned in 1916 and had served during World War 1 and World War 2.

It was decommissioned in 1944 after serving for 28 years.

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