Aircraft Carriers

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History of the aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy from the seaplane carrier HMS Pegasus to HMS Furious, to the classic aircraft carriers of world war II and beyond with the latest helicopter carrier HMS Ocean. Each aircraft carrier has a dedicated page to its history and details including displacement, armament, complement, squadrons and is shown in photographs supplied by ex-crew and family and by fine naval art supplied courtesy of the Naval Art Company.

HMS Unicorn, HMS Ocean and Transport HMS Empire Halladale at Kure, during the Korean War, 1953.  

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LIST OF ROYAL NAVAL AIRCRAFT CARRIERS BUILT FROM 1914 TO THE PRESENT DAY.

To see details of the ships class click the 'view class' link. To see details on a specific ship click the ships name.

Name

Launch Date

Fate

 
HMS Ark Royal 5th September 1914 Became depot ship 1923.  Renamed Pegasus 21st December 1931.  Became catapult ship April 1941 and accommodation ship 1944.  Sold 18th October 1946 and scrapped 1950.
 
HMS Empress Acquired 11th August 1914 Returned to owners 1919.
 
HMS Riviera Acquired 11th August 1914 Returned to owners 1919.
 
HMS Engadine Acquired 11th August 1914 Returned to owners 1919
 
HMS Campania Acquired 27th November 1914 Sunk in collision with HMS Royal Oak and HMS Glorious, 5th November 1918, in the Firth of Forth.
 
HMS Anne Acquired 1914 Became collier January 1918.  Sold 1919.
 
HMS Raven II Acquired 1914 Became collier January 1918. Sold 1922.
 
HMS Pegasus 9th June 1917 Sold for scrapping 22nd August 1931.
 
HMS Argus 2nd December 1917 Used for harbour service from December 1944.  Sold for scrapping 5th December 1946.
 
HMS Ben My Chree Acquired 2nd January 1915 Sunk 11th January 1917
 
HMS Vindex Acquired September 1915 Sold 12th February 1920
 
HMS Manxman Acquired 1915 Commissioned 17th April 1916, Sold February 1920.
 
HMS Nairana Acquired 27th February 1917 Sold 1920
Courageous Class                   View Class
HMS Glorious 20th April 1916 Converted to carrier 1924-30. Sunk by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau on 8th June 1940.
HMS Courageous 5th February 1916 Converted to carrier 1924-28. Sunk by U-29 on 17th September 1939.
 
HMS Furious 15th August 1916 Converted to carrier 1922-25. Broken up 1948.
 
HMS Hermes 11th September 1919 Sunk by Japanese aircraft 9th April 1942.
 
HMS Albatross 23rd February 1928 Transferred from Australian Navy, commissioned 29th September 1938.  Became a repair ship 1943.  Damaged by torpedo 11th August 1944 and not repaired.  Sold 1946.
 
HMS Ark Royal   13th April 1937 Sunk 14th November 1941.
 
HMS Eagle 8th June 1918 Sunk by U-73 on 11th August 1942.
Illustrious Class                    View Class
HMS Illustrious 5th April 1939 Broken up 1956.
HMS Victorious 14th September 1939 Broken up 1969.
HMS Formidable 17th August 1939 Broken up 1953.
 
HMS Indomitable 26th March 1940 Broken up 1955.

Implacable Class          View Class

HMS Implacable 10th December 1942 Broken up 1955.
HMS Indefatigable 8th December 1942 Broken up 1956.
Eagle Class                       View Class
HMS Eagle 19th March 1946 Broken up 1978.
HMS Ark Royal 3rd May 1950 Stricken 1979.
HMS Unicorn 20th November 1941 Broken up 1959.
Colossus Class                  View Class
HMS Colossus 30th September 1943 Sold to France 1946.
HMS Glory 27th November 1943 Broken up 1961.
HMS Ocean 8th July 1944 Broken up 1962.
HMS Venerable 30th December 1943 Sold to Holland 1948.
HMS Vengeance 23rd February 1944 Sold to Brazil 1956.
HMS Theseus 6th July 1944 Broken up 1962.
HMS Triumph 2nd October 1944 Used as a repair ship in 1964.
HMS Warrior 20th May 1944 Sold to Argentina 1958.
HMS Perseus (ex HMS Edgar) 26th March 1944 Completed as aircraft maintenance ship
HMS Pioneer (ex HMS Mars) 20th May 1944 Completed as aircraft maintenance ship
Majestic Class                        View Class
HMS Hercules 22nd September 1945 Sold to India 1957, becoming Vikrant.
HMS Leviathan 7th June 1945 Broken up incomplete 1968.
HMS Magnificent 16th November 1944 Broken up 1965.
HMS Majestic 28th February 1945 Sold to Australia 1955, becoming HMAC Melbourne
HMS Powerful 27th February 1945 Sold to Canada 1952, becoming HMCS Bonaventure
HMS Terrible 30th September 1944 Sold to Australia 1948, becoming HMAC Sydney
Hermes Class                       View Class
HMS Albion 6th May 1947 Stricken 1972.
HMS Bulwark 22nd June 1948 Extant 1980.
HMS Centaur 22nd April 1947 Broken up 1972.
HMS Hermes 16th February 1953 Sold to India to become Viraat
Invincible Class              View Class
HMS Invincible (R05) 3rd May 1977 In service.
HMS Illustrious (R06) 1st December 1978 In service.
HMS Ark Royal (R07) 2nd June 1981 In service.
 HMS Ocean Helicopter Carrier
HMS Ocean   ( L12 )

October 1995

In Service
Escort Carriers
HMS Audacity 29th March 1939 Torpedoed and sunk by U751 on 21st December 1941.

HMS Audacity, 1942.

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HMS Activity 30th May 1942 Sold for breaking in April 1946.
 
HMS Pretoria Castle Acquired July 1942 Sold 26th January 1946
Vindex Class
HMS Vindex 4th May 1943 Sold 2nd October 1947

HMS Vindex, September 1946.

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HMS Nairana 20th May 1943 Lent to Dutch Navy as Karel Doorman March 1946 - 1948.  Sold 1948.
 
HMS Campania 17th June 1943 For scrapping 11th November 1955.
 
HMS Archer 14th December 1939 Used in the Mercantile service 1945.
Avenger Class                     View Class
HMS Avenger 27th November 1940 Sunk 15th November 1942.
HMS Biter 18th December 1940 Sold to France 9th April 1945.
HMS Dasher 12th April 1942 Sunk 27th March 1943.
Attacker Class               View Class
HMS Attacker 27th September 1941 Sold to USA 5th January 1946.
HMS Battler 4th April 1942 Sold to USA 12th February 1946.
HMS Chaser 15th January 1942 Sold to USA 12th May 1946.
HMS Fencer 4th April 1942 Sold to USA 21st December 1946.
HMS Hunter 22nd May 1942 Sold to USA 29th December 1945
HMS Pursuer 18th July 1942 Sold to USA 12th February 1946.
HMS Ravager 16th July 1942 Sold to USA 27th February 1946
HMS Searcher 20th June 1942 Sold to USA 29th November 1945
HMS Stalker 5th March 1942 Sold to USA 29th December 1945.
HMS Striker 7th May 1942 Sold to USA 12th February 1946.
HMS Tracker 7th March 1942 Sold to USA 29th November 1945.
Ruler Class                     View Class
HMS Ameer 18th October 1942 Sold to USA on 17th January 1946.
HMS Arbiter 9th September 1943 Sold to USA on 3rd March 1946.
HMS Atheling 7th September 1942  
HMS Begum 11th November 1942  
HMS Emperor 7th October 1942  
HMS Empress 30th December 1942  
HMS Khedive 27th December 1942 Sold to USA on 26th January 1946.
HMS Nabob 9th March 1943  
HMS Patroller 6th May 1943 Sold to USA on 13th December 1946.
HMS Premier 22nd March 1943  
HMS Puncher 8th November 1943 Sold to USA on 16th January 1946.
HMS Queen 31st July 1943  
HMS Rajah 18th May 1943  
HMS Ranee 2nd June 1943  
HMS Reaper 22nd November 1943  
HMS Ruler 21st August 1943  
HMS Shah 21st April 1943  
HMS Slinger 15th December 1942  
HMS Smiter 27th September 1943  
HMS Speaker 20th February 1943  
HMS Thane 15th July 1943  
HMS Trouncer 16th June 1943  
HMS Trumpeter 15th December 1942 Sold to USA on 6th April 1946.

Converted Merchant Carriers

HMS Empire MacAlpine December 1942 - January 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war

HMS Empire MacAlpine.

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HMS Empire MacKendrick December 1942 - January 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacAndrew December 1942 - January 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacDermott December 1942 - January 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacRae December 1942 - January 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacCallum December 1942 - January 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire Mackay May 1943 - July 1943 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacColl May 1943 - July 1943 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacMahon May 1943 - July 1943 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Empire MacCabe May 1943 - July 1943 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Acavus Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Adula Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Alexia Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Amastra Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Ancylus Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Gadila Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Macoma Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Miralda Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war
HMS Rapana Converted 1942 - 1944 Returned to Merchant service after the war