At the outset of war in September 1939, Royal Sovereign was with the Home Fleet. By mid 1940, she had moved to the Mediterranean Fleet, where she was present at the Battle of Punta Stilo on July 18, but her slow speed prevented Cunningham forcing Italian battleships Giulio Cesare and Conte di Cavour to a decisive fight.
She performed Atlantic convoy escort duty during 1940-41. In October 1942, Royal Sovereign was briefly assigned to the Eastern Fleet. Initially based at Trincomalee, Ceylon, she was withdrawn, together with the other older battleships of the fleet (Ramillies, Resolution and Revenge), to Kilindini, Kenya. These warships had been deemed too obsolete to challenge the Japanese Navy’s warships or to be risked against naval air power.
During 1942-43, Royal Sovereign underwent a refit in the United States.
On May 30 1944 she was transferred on loan to the Soviet Navy as Arkhangelsk in lieu of war reparations from Italy. A Soviet crew commissioned the Arkhangelsk on 30 May 1944 and she sailed with convoy JW.59 on 24 August 1944. The Arkhangelsk remained inactive in the Arctic for the remainder of the war and she was returned to the Royal Navy on 4 February 1949. She arrived at Inverkeithing on the 18 May 1949 to be scrapped.
Part of her gun turret mechanism was later reused in the 250 foot (76 m) “Mark I” radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire built in 1955-57.
23CM HEIGHT X 17CM WIDTH