Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,478 pages of information and 233,901 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

HMS Ark Royal

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December 1938.
  • The first ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy was launched in 1587. She was the flagship of the English fleet during the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588.
  • The second ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy was purchased in 1914 shortly after her keel had been laid as a merchant ship and she was still only in frames; this allowed the ship's design to be modified almost totally to accommodate seaplanes, becoming the first ship of its type. She was renamed HMS Pegasus in 1934 and sold in 1946[1]
  • The third ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy was an aircraft carrier was designed in 1934 to fit within the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty.

Ark Royal was built by Cammell, Laird and Co at Birkenhead. Completed in November 1938, she served in some of the most active naval theatres of the early stages of World War II. She was involved in a number of notable actions, including the first aerial kill of the war, operations off Norway, the search for the Bismarck, and the Malta convoys, making her one of the most famous ships of the Royal Navy. Ark Royal survived several near misses in her short career, and gained a reputation as a 'lucky ship'. The Germans incorrectly reported her as sunk on a number of occasions. HMS Ark Royal (91), British aircraft carrier launched in 1937 that participated in the Second World War and was sunk by U-boat U-81 on 13th November 1941.

Her design as one of the first purpose-built carriers incorporated many new features, and differed in numerous ways from previous designs. Ark Royal was the first ship where the flight deck was an integral part of the ship, instead of an add-on or superstructure deck. Designed to carry a large number of aircraft, she was fitted with two hangar deck levels. She served during a period that first saw the extensive use of naval air power; a number of carrier tactics were developed and refined aboard Ark Royal.

1941 HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed on 13 November 1941 by the German submarine U-81, sinking the following day.

Her sinking was the subject of several inquiries, with the investigators keen to know how the carrier was lost, given that there were significant efforts to save the ship and tow her to the naval base at Gibraltar. The inquiries found that several design flaws contributed to the sinking, which were rectified in new British carriers. Although recorded as sinking 22 nautical miles (41 km) from Gibraltar, this was proved incorrect when Ark Royal was located in December 2002 by a BBC crew, approximately 30 nautical miles (56 km) from Gibraltar. [2]

  • The fourth ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy was an aircraft carrier.

1950 HMS Ark Royal (R09), an Audacious-class fleet aircraft carrier launched in 1950, decommissioned in 1979

  • The fifth ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy was an aircraft carrier.

1981 HMS Ark Royal (R07), an Invincible-class aircraft carrier, launched in 1981, decommissioned in 2011

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia [1]
  2. [2] Wikipedia