“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” Avenger aircraft sink submarine U-118

“On this day in history” 12 June 1943, German Type XB submarine U-118 (KrvKpt. Werner Czygan) was sunk with depth charges by a flight of Avenger aircraft operating from the US Navy escort carrier USS Bogue (ACV/CVE-9). There were 43 dead (including Czygan) and 16 survivors. The wreck of U-118 lays west of the Canary Islands at 30.49N, 33.49W.

Remarkably, a gun camera photo of the attack exists. The photo is in the collection of US Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Fourth attack run on U-118, TBF pilot Ltjg W. F. Chamberlain, USNR. Staffed U-boat and dropped two depth charges. (NHHC 80-G-6894)

“Last Call” (1965) with HMS Bulwark and the Far East Fleet on Exercise Dark Night

Feature length documentary (61 minutes) demonstrating a Royal Navy and Royal Marines exercise in the Far East. Filmed during 1964/65 and based on Exercise ‘Dark Night.’

With 40 Commando, 42 Commando, and 845 NAS aboard the commando carrier HMS Bulwark (R08). The “Rusty B” was deployed East of Suez with the Royal Navy’s Far East Fleet throughout the 1960s and served during the Konfrontasi with Indonesia.

Also features strike carriers HMS Victorious (R38), HMS Eagle (R05), and the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21). Aircraft include the De Havilland Sea Vixen and the Blackburn Buccaneer.

Also the (new for 1964/5) County-class guided missile destroyers HMS Kent (D12) and HMS London (D16). Additional escorts include Battle-class destroyers HMS Barrosa (D68) and HMS Corruna (D97), C-class destroyer HMS Caesar (D07), Type 61 aircraft direction frigate HMS Lincoln (F99), Australian destroyer escort HMAS Derwent (DE49), New Zealand frigate HMNZS Otago (F111), and Type 15 frigate HMS Zest (F102).

Ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary include the replenishment oilers RFA Tidepool (A76), RFA Tidesurge (A98), and RFA Bayleaf (A79).

Buccaneer of 809 NAS circling HMS Ark Royal, 1977

Blackburn Buccaneer of 809 Naval Air Squadron circles Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (R09). Oil on canvas by Dugald Cameron, 1977. Painting in collection of Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Looks like a Phantom of 892 NAS ready to launch from the waist cat.

Wessex HAS1 from Ship’s Flight also visible.

Cameron, Dugald, b.1939; HMS 'Ark Royal'

Dugald Cameron, 1977.

“On this day in history” Royal Navy ships assemble for Fleet Rview, 1953

On this day in history, 9 June 1953, Royal Navy ships assemble for the Coronation Fleet Review of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

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“A part of the great assembly of warships taking form at Spithead in preparation for the Coronation Fleet Review.” (IWM A 32574)