Illustrious Class

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Aircraft Carrier histories. Royal Navy Illustrious Class aircraft carriers. Aircraft carrier website dedicated to the history of HMS Illustrious, HMS Victorious, HMS Formidable, HMS Indomitable, HMS Implacable and HMS Indefatigable from their launch to their participation in major wars also notice board for families of ex-crew of Illustrious class carriers.

HMS Illustrious built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow and launched 5th April 1939. She served in the Mediterranean from 1940-41, then Eastern Fleet 1942-43, Was part of Force H in 1943, moving to the Eastern Fleet in 1944 then Pacific Fleet in 1945. She was finally scrapped at Faslane on 3rd November 1956.

HMS Victorious built by Vickers Armstrong on the Tyne laid down 4th of May 1937 Launched 14 Sept 1939 and completed 15th May 1941 Served in the Home Fleet 1941 - 43  moved to the South Pacific in 1943 and in 1944 to Home and Eastern Fleets and rejoined the Pacific fleet in 1945.  While in the Pacific was twice hit by KAMIKAZES.  Finally scraped in June 1969 at Faslane on the Clyde.

Displacement: 23,000 tons,       Speed: 30.5 knots,       Range: 11,000 nautical miles at 14 knots.  Compliemnt:1200           Aircraft 36               Guns  Sixteen 4.5 inch  and Forty Eight 2 pounders.

FAIREY SWORDFISH, Torpedo Bomber and reconnaissance Biplane, crewed by Three, with a top speed of 154mph, reduced to 136mph as a float plane. maximum ceiling 19,000 feet. reduced as a float plane. armed with a .303 Vickers machine gun fixed forward and one in the rear cockpit..  One 1610lb Torpedo or up to 1500lb bomb load

At the outbreak of world war two the Fleet air arm had 13 operational squadrons .The Fairey Swordfish has earned its place in history for major contributions to naval warfare.  during the Norwegian campaign, and especially during the raid on Toranto.  During November 1940, Twenty Swordfish  to off from HMS Illustrious (operation Judgement ) to attack the Italian Fleet in their Harbour of Toranto. At Least nine torpedoes hit their targets. Seven Italian Ships were badly damaged including The Italian battleships, Caio Duillio, Littorio and Conte De Cavour.  this was followed in February 1942, by a Heroic but suicidal attack on German Battle Cruisers in the English Channel by six swordfish of 825 squadron from RAF Manston. all aircraft and crews were lost. This resulted in a Victoria Cross for the leader Lieutenant Commander E Esmonde.   The next major event was the Torpedo Attack on the Bismarck from Swordfish from HMS Ark Royal, which badly damaged the steering gear of the Bismarck  which helped in the final destruction of the German battleship by Royal Navy Battleships.   The fairey Swordfish was also used in anti-submarine and anti-shipping roles,  The Swordfish sunk more enemy ships (by Tonnage) than any other aircraft acting in the same roles.  By the end of the War the Fleet Air Arm still had nine active squadrons. but were finally disbanded in May 1945. A total of 2399 Swordfish Were Built.

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.
HMS Illustrious

HMS Illustrious, October 1954.

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HMS Illustrious, Portsmouth, June 1951.

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HMS Illustirous, October 1954.

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HMS Illustrious, June 1951.

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HMS Illustrious, June 1951.

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HMS Illustrious, October 1947.

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HMS Illustrious, October 1947.

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HMS Illustrious, 1944.

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HMS Illustrious, 1944.

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HMS Illustrious, c.1940.

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HMS Illustrious, Malta, September 1943.

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The Chapel of HMS Illustrious  

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HMS Illustrious pictured July 1946

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HMS  ILLUSTRIOUS BEING ATTACKED FROM THE AIR OFF STRAITS PANTELLERIA JAN.10TH 1941 Thanks to Syd Millen

HMS Illustrious.

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HMS  ILLUSTRIOUS BEING BOMBED IN GRAND HARBOUR VALLETTA, JAN  1941 Thanks to Syd Millen

A Crash Landed plane on HMS Illustrious.

A Crash Landing on HMS Illustrious.  February 1946.  This crash killed pilot Lt Hutton, 887 Sqdn.

On HMS Illustrious.

Plane VR941.  1949.  The pilot escaped from this crash on Illustrious.

VR952 of 736 Sqdn on HMS Illustrious

VX651 52 TAG, 12-7-50.   Lt Boweman.

CW129 on Illustrious.

SW808 15-9-50, Lt Davison.  HMS Illustrious.

MB718 Ships Flt,   HMS Illustrious

VX650, 767 Sqdn, Dec 1949, HMS Illustrious

Aircraft landing on Illustrious, 1951

After a crash on Illustrious, 1951.

After a crash on Illustrious, 1951.

A landing on Illustrious, 1951.

 

HMS Formidable and HMS Implacable.