Prince Philip Served With Distinction and Bravery in the Royal Navy in World War Two

The Duke of Edinburgh often seems a man out of his time. And he can always be counted on to say something politically incorrect. Yet it is worth noting that he served with great courage in the Royal Navy in World War Two. From the Guardian of 28 December 2003:

Prince Philip’s war heroics come to light after 60 years
Old comrade reveals how Duke’s quick thinking saved his ship.

A remarkable act of heroism by Prince Philip that saved scores of lives during the Second World War has been revealed after 60 years by a grateful fellow veteran…

…Philip joined the Navy as a cadet after leaving Gordonstoun School in 1939. In January 1941 he joined the battleship HMS Valiant in Alexandria and was in charge of its searchlight control during the night action off Cape Matapan, for which he was mentioned in dispatches.

A Dashing Prince Philip from March 1952 (Courtesy of Anderson & Garland Ltd.)

It is worth noting that in the Battle of Cape Matapan the Royal Navy gave the Italian Navy a thrashing, inflicting the worst defeat suffered by the Italian fleet in World War Two. The British sank three Italian heavy cruisers and two Italian destroyers. The Royal Navy lost no ships.

[Source: The Guardian and Struggle for the Middle Sea: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater, 1940-1945 by Vincent P. O’Hara. Image courtesy of The Daily Mail.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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