HMS Eagle

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Aircraft Carrier histories. Royal Navy aircraft carriers of the Eagle Class. Aircraft carrier history of HMS Eagle from its launch 19th March 1946 to its participation in conflicts also notice board for naval enthusiasts & families of ex-crew of the carrier HMS Eagle.

HMS Eagle entered service in October 1951 and was a sister ship to HMS Ark Royal. Her most well known role was in the Suez assisting the Anglo-French ground forces.

Displacement: 43, 340 tons (1957), 54,100 tons (1964).     Draught: 33ft.     Compliment: 2500.     Length: 804 ft.    Beam: 135 ft.     Speed: 32 Knots.     Armament: Sixteen 4.5 inch guns in pairs with 40mm Bofors in various arrangements.     Aircraft: 65.

Eagle was broken up at Cairnryan. I served on Eagle during 1971 - 1972 during her last commission and on retiring from the Royal Navy shortly afterwards moved to Northern Ireland and took employment with the Shipbuilder Harland and Wolff, which was where Eagle was built.  So there was a good deal of interest by myself and my shipyard colleagues when Eagle was finally towed to Cairnryan, on the Scottish shore just upposite Larne.  I well remember seeing Eagle at various stages of her dismantling on occasions when travelling between Larne and Stranraer and Cairnryan and thinking what a sad site it is to see a ship being broken up. (This information supplied by Tony Sheppey)

HMS Eagle, c.1952.

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HMS Eagle, May 1959.

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HMS Eagle, May 1959.

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HMS Eagle, December 1964.

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HMS Eagle, August 1972.

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HMS Eagle, August 1972.

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HMS Eagle, laid up, August 1974.

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HMS Eagle, laid up, August 1974.

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HMS Eagle pictured c. December 1951

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HMS Eagle moving at speed in the Mediterranean (photographs courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publishing from the book HMS Eagle).

HMS Eagle anchored at Spithead in March 1952. Parked on the after end of the flight deck are three Firebrand torpedo/strike aircraft of 827 squadron, which were phased out of service that year (photographs courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publishing from the book HMS Eagle).

HMS Eagle circa 1951

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HMS Eagle.

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A firebrand is caught by HMS Eagle's barrier

With repairs to the funnel completed, the Eagle sailed for the Mediterranean. She is shown here arriving at Gibraltar on Monday 13th June 1955 (photographs courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publishing from the book HMS Eagle).

Commanding Officers as listed by dates appointed (taken from the book HMS Eagle by Neil McHart):
  • 1951 - Captain G Willoughby, RN
  • 1952 - Captain A N C Bingley OBE, RN
  • 1953 - Captain D E Holland-Martin, DSO, DSC, RN
  • 1955 - Captain E D G Lewin, CBE, DSO, DSC, RN
  • 1956 - Captain H C D MacLean, DSC, RN
  • 1957 - Captain M Le Fanu, DSC, RN
  • 1958 - Captain J B Frewen, RN
  • 1963 - Captain L D Empson, RN
  • 1965 - Captain J C Y Roxburgh, DSO, DSC, RN
  • 1967 - Captain J E Pope *
  • 1968 - Captain J D Treacher, RN
  • 1970 - Captain I G W Robertson, DSC, RN

Items marked * contributed by J & S Wilson