HMS Ark Royal

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Aircraft Carrier histories. Royal Navy aircraft carriers of the Courageous Class. Aircraft carrier history of HMS Ark Royal from its launch to its participation in major wars also notice board for families of ex-crew of the carrier HMS Ark Royal.

HMS Ark Royal  (91) built by Cammell Laird,  and launched 13th April 1937. and completed 16th November 1938. HMS Ark Royal was the first Large Aircraft carrier designed and laid down as a carrier for the Royal navy, she served in the Home Fleet and south Atlantic in 1939 and The in the home Fleet and Mediterranean in 1940./ and part of Force H in 1941. on the 13th November 1941 she was hit by a single torpedo from the German U-boat U81. the torpedo hit  on the starboard side. near the Starboard Boiler room causing a 130 ft by 30 ft. hole. water poured in causing a 10% list straight immediately. The flooding spread quickly  the middle of the ship and then to the port Boiler room. Electric power failed. and after 14 hours while in tow to Gibraltar she capsized and sunk the following day.

Displacement 22, 000 tons,  Speed 30.75 knots, Compliment 1575. Armament sixteen 4.5 inch AA guns in pairs. forty eight 2 pounder AA guns (in eights)  thirty two .5 inch Machine guns.  and seventy two aircraft.

Dimension  685 (pp)  800 (oa) x 94.75 feet x  27.75 feet (deepload)

HMS Ark Royal, March 1939.

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HMS Ark Royal, March 1939.

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HMS Ark Royal, March 1939.

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HMS Ark Royal, March 1939.

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HMS Ark Royal, June 1938.

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HMS Ark Royal, March 1939.

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HMS Ark Royal, c.1940.

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HMS Ark Royal as completed with axial flight deck.

HMS Ark Royal with HMS Cumberland and HMS Gambia.

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HMS Ark Royal

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This photograph has been sent in by Mr K Chambers and shows HMS Ark Royal shortly after her launch.

HMS Ark Royal with her planes. 

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HMS Ark Royal showing her deck and the complement of planes she carried. 

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HMS Ark Royal.  

A stern view of HMS Ark Royal

HMS Ark Royal and Paddle Steamer 'Sprite'

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HMS Ark Royal

The launch of HMS Ark Royal.

I have recently been scanning photographs from my wife's grandmothers photo album and came across this picture. We believe that it was taken in 1937 and wonder if it could be of the launch of the Ark Royal. We do have a couple of other photograph's of the launch if you would be interested. My wife's grandmother was from a naval family and was living in Birkenhead at the time.   Nick and Jane Cottam

HMS Ark Royal - the Launch. Contributed by Eric Peters

Below is the log book of a Swordfish pilot initially from HMS Ark Royal.   The first entry shows the pilot left HMS Ark Royal for Gibraltar on the day the ship sunk. 

HMS Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird and launched on the 13th of April 1937. Displacement of 22,000 tons, had a top speed of 30.75 knots and carried 72 aircraft. HMS Ark Royal's complement was 1,575 men. She served in the home fleet and south Atlantic in 1939, Home fleet and Mediterranean 1940 and Force H 1941. on the 13th November 1941 she was torpedoed by U-81 in the western Mediterranean, and while under tow was lost the following day.