Always ask the experts

Two things:
1. Just because a photo archive provides a caption it doesn’t mean the information in that caption is factual.
2. So always ask an expert.

“On this day in history” HMS Furious placed in commission, 1917

“On this day in history” 26 June 1916, Royal Navy Courageous-class battlecruiser HMS Furious was placed into commission.

Furious was modified to become an aircraft carrier trials ship, her forward turret was removed and a flying-off deck added. Floatplanes, such as the Short Admiralty Type 184, would land on the water for recovery.

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HMS Furious as completed. Note flying-off deck forward (IWM SP 89).

Between November 1917 and March 1918, Furious underwent further conversion. Her aft turret was removed and a landing deck added. Elevators were installed to service aircraft hangars.

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HMS Furious in 1918 with landing deck aft (NHHC 42000).

The modifications proved unsatisfactory, particularity due to the separate flying-off and landing decks, and in 1921 Furious was taken in hand for further conversion.

The work was intensive and took place at HM Dockyards Rosyth and Devonport. Her bridge superstructure and funnels were removed to provide for a full-length flight deck. A two-level hangar was built under the flight deck and serviced by two elevators. Furious recommissioned in 1925.

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HMS Furious after completion of her major redesign (NHHC 60973).

By the outbreak of war in 1939, Furious was serving as a deck landing training carrier. She was then assigned to the Home Fleet to replace Courageous, lost on 29 September.

On 10 April 1940, Furious embarked Swordfish aircraft of 816 and 818 Naval Air Squadrons for service in the Norway campaign. Without fighter aircraft, she was vulnerable to German attack, and on 18 April bombs dropped by an He.111 damaged her propeller shafts.

After repairs, Furious sailed for Canada carrying £18,000,000 in gold bullion. This was part of Operation Fish, the temporary evacuation of British wealth to safety in Canada during the Second World War. The British bullion – amounting in total to $25 million (~ $28 billion in 2016) – was stored in a specially constructed vault at the Sun Life Building in Montreal.

Furious served with Force H during Operation Torch in 1942 and with the Home Fleet during two operations against the Tirpitz – Operation Tungsten in April 1944 and Operation Mascot in July 1944.

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Fleet Air Arm crewman chalks message onto bomb carried by one of Furious‘s Barracuda aircraft during Operation Tungsten, April 1944 (IWM A22640).

Showing signs of age, Furious was placed reserve in September 1944 and paid off in April 1945. She was sold for scrap in 1948.

 

 

 

 

“On this day in history” German submarine U-200 sunk, 1943

“On this day in history,” 24 June 1943, German Type IXD2 submarine U-200 (KrvKpt. Heinrich Schonder) sunk with depth charges by a Liberator aircraft from No. 120 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command.

Amazingly, a photograph of the attack is in the IWM archives.

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Dept charge attack on U-200 (IWM C3763)

The Liberator (serial 120/H) was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Alexander Fraser, Royal Australian Air Force, operating from Reykjavik, Iceland. As you can see from the photograph, Fraser caught U-200 on the surface and his two depth charges straddled the U-boat perfectly.

Fraser was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross for his “magnificent example of determination to destroy the enemy in the face of opposition.”

U-200 was lost with all hands. The figure of 67 dead includes not only the U-boat’s crew, but also a 7-man German special forces unit of Brandenburg commandos. The Brandenburg unit was in transit to South Africa, where they were to be landed and make contact with anti-British sympathizers in the Boer community.

 

The loss of HMS Victoria, 22 June 1893

The loss of Royal Navy battleship HMS Victoria “on this day in history” 22 June 1893 following collision with HMS Camperdown.

Oil on canvas by A. R. D. Ligmore.

Ligmore, A. R. D.; 'HMS Victoria' off Tripoli, Lebanon, 22 June 1896

Victoria’s wreck lays off Tripoli, Lebanon.

Victoria sank in just 13-minutes, slipping into the water bow first.The men in the engine room never received orders to abandon ship and went down with her. Other men in the water were sucked down with the ship. Of her ship’s company, 357 were rescued and 358 lost.

 

“On this day in history” German submarine U-122 missing presumed lost, 1940

“On the day in history” 22 June 1940, German Type IXB submarine U-122 (KrvKpt. Hans-Günther Looff) missing presumed lost in the North Atlantic.

U-122’s last reported position was approx. 56.00N, 10.30W on 21 June 1940. The submarine was reported missing on 27 July 1940 after repeatedly failing to report its position.

It is possible that U-122 was lost due to a collision with SS San Felipe on 22 June 1940, but there is no record of a wreck.

All 49 officers and men aboard U-122 were lost.

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“On this day in history” HM Submarine A12 placed in commission, 1908

“On this day in history” Royal Navy A-class submarine HMS A12 placed into commission.

Getty seem to have captioned this photo “HMS Aurora A12,” but this is a mistake. The Aurora with pennant no. 12 was an Arethusa-class cruiser. Definitely not a submarine.

The A-class were the Royal Navy’s first submarines built to a British design. All thirteen submarines in the class were built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness.

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Flotilla of A-class submarines, including HMS A12.

Already obsolete by the outbreak of war in 1914, A12 and the other submarines in her class were used for harbour defence and training. After the war, A12 was placed on the disposal list and scrapped at Ardrossan in 1920.

“On this day in hisstory” German submarines at sea during Battl of the Atlantic

German submarines at sea “on this day in history” 22 June during the Battle of the Atlantic.

1940 21
1941 41
1942 74
1943 99
1944 81
1945 2

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The two U-Boats still at sea in 1945, more than six weeks after the official German surrender, were U-530 and U-977, both on their way to Argentina.

“On this day in history” HMS Gravelines placed in commission, 1946

“On this day in history” 14 June 1946, Royal Navy Battle-class destroyer HMS Gravelines (D24) was placed in commission.

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Ordered in the 1942 naval estimates, Gravelines was built at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, and launched in November 1944. She was not completed until 1946 (RN priorities towards the end of the war did not call for her immediate completion, and indeed many other Battle-class orders were cancelled) and after acceptance trails she was placed immediately in the Reserve Fleet.

In 1949, Gravelines was brought out of reserve and joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla serving in the Mediterranean with her sister ships HMS Armada (D14), HMS Vigo (D31), and HMS Saintes (D84). Based in Malta, the flotilla served in continuation with the Mediterranean Fleet based in Malta.

In 1951, Gravelines was detached for service East of Suez, serving at Basra during a crisis over proposals for Iraqi oil nationalization.

Gravelines was in reserve again from 1953 to 1955, when she rejoined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, serving with the Home Fleet.

In 1958, Gravelines commenced a refit at Devonport, but this was cancelled and she was laid up pending disposal. Gravelines was scrapped at Rosyth in 1961.