Viscount Hall, First Lord of the Admiralty, had a sad announcement to make before the House of Lords. Five of His Majesty's oldest and most revered men-o'-war, once the symbols of Britain's might, had been ticketed for the scrap yards. Said Hall: "The First Sea Lord and I feel like two padres conducting the funeral service of a number of old friends."

Almost every Briton carried in his heart a bit of proud nostalgia for the Navy's giants; almost every British family had shared in some way the triumphs and the dark hours of...

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