“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.
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.
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.
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.
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” 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.
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 history 8 June 1897, the Royal Navy Majestic-class battleship HMS Jupiter was placed in commission.
Built by J & G Thomson, Clydebank, Jupiter was a pre-dreadnought battleship carrying main armament of four Vickers 12-inch Mk VIII guns mounted in twin turrets.
Secondary armament included twelve QF 6-inch guns mounted in casemates and twelve QF 12-pounder guns.
Jupiter served with the Channel Fleet and took part in the Fleet Review for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and for Edward VII’s Coronation in 1902. During the First World War, Jupiter served in the Channel, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea. She paid off at Devonport in 1916 to provide crews for new antisubmarine vessels and served the remainder of the war as an accommodation ship. Jupiter met her fate at the breaker’s yard in 1920.
On this day in history 7 June 1902, the Royal Navy Formidable-class battleship HMS London was placed in commission.
Built at Portsmouth Dockyard, London was a battleship of the pre-dreadnought era, armed with four Armstrong Whitworth 12-inch naval guns, firing semi-armour-piercing shells weighing 850 lbs.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, London was assigned to the Channel Fleet, and later served in the Dardanelles campaign and with the Mediterranean Fleet.
In 1918, now obsolete as a battleship, London’s main armament was removed and she was converted to service as a minelayer. By 11 November 1918, London had laid 2,640 mines as part of the Northern Mine Barrage.
Reduced to reserve status in 1919, London paid off in 1920 and was towed to the breaker’s yard in 1922.
On this day in history 7 June 1915, Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Warneford, a pilot serving with No.1 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service, attacked the German naval Zeppelin LZ 37 and consigned it to flames.
The Zeppelin’s explosion overturned Warneford’s aircraft and damaged his engine. He made a forced landing behind enemy lines, whereupon he quickly repaired his engine, then took off and returned to base.
For his actions on 7 June 1915, S/Lt Warneford was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation reads:
For most conspicuous bravery on the 7th June 1915, when he attacked and, single-handed, completely destroyed a Zeppelin in mid-air.
This brilliant achievement was accomplished after chasing the Zeppelin from the coast of Flanders to Ghent, where he succeeded in dropping his bombs on to it from a height of only one or two hundred feet. One of these bombs caused a terrific explosion which set the Zeppelin on fire from end to end, but at the same time overturned his Aeroplane and stopped the engine.
In spite of this he succeeded in landing safely in hostile country, and after 15 minutes started his engine and returned to his base without damage.
Warneford was also awarded the Légion d’honneur.
Sadly, on 17 June 1915, while conducting a test flight, Warneford’s aircraft suffered a catastrophic failure of its airframe and he was killed in the crash. He is buried at Brompton Cemetery in London.
On this day in history 7 June 1917, the Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer HMS Zubian was placed in commission.
Zubian was constructed at Chatham from the forward end of HMS Zulu (damaged by mine in November 1916) and the rear and mid sections of HMS Nubian (damaged by torpedo in October 1916). The name “Zubian” is a portmanteau of Zulu and Nubian.
Windy Corner, Jutland, 1916. Oil on canvas by William Henry Bishop. In collection of National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.
The First Battlecruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916. Oil on canvas by D. W. Smith in collection of National Maritime Museum.