War at Sea
When war broke out in 1939, Britain was a maritime superpower with a vast overseas empire to which it was connected by the largest merchant fleet and most powerful navy in the world. Across the oceans the Royal Navy fought to maintain this control and the Merchant Navy worked tirelessly to ensure vital supplies reached Britain and the fighting fronts.
Battle of the Atlantic
Within hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, the first engagement took place in a battle that would rage for the next six years.
Hood and Bismarck
On 21 May 1941, the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen left the safety of Bergen harbour in Norway and slipped into the stormy waters of the North Sea.
In late 1941, tensions with Japan were growing in the Far East and the British sent a force of powerful warships which they hoped would deter further Japanese aggression.