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  • R08 HMS Bulwark

    UK Royal Navy

    1954 to 1983    


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    Flight Deck: B
    Call Sign: GKYD
    Shipyard: Harland and Wolff
    See Also: L Albion class L15


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    History of UK R08 HMS Bulwark

    1945-may-10Laid downYard No. 1281
    1954-oct-29Commissionedaka The Rusty B
    1956-aug-13DeploymentMTGrand Harbour / il-Port il-Kbir / Valletta Arrived in Malta, covertly preparing for Op Musketeer. SAR Flt equipped with Dragonfly HR.3 WP502 / 983, WG720 / 984 & WG750 / 985.
    1956-nov-1DeploymentNile Delta Port Said Operation Musketeer Participated in Suez Canal fixed wing operations.
    1956-decRefitRefit at HMD Portsmouth, which included a flight deck magnetic loop communications system, until c Apr 1957
    1957-jul-25Port VisitFRCherbourg to Cherbourg in company with HMS Salisbury, until 30 Jul.
    1957-aug-28Aircraftembarked Whirlwind HAS.7 of 845 Squadron, until 21 Oct.
    1958-jan-17Deploymentdeparted Portland for 2nd commission deployment, having embarked 845 Squadron with its second batch of brand new Whirlwind HAS.7 on 10 Jan. After initial visits to eastern Atlantic and Caribbean, arrived Singapore on 28 Apr. The return leg completed at HMNB Portsmouth in Nov 1958.
    1958-sep-8AircraftYEAden Harbour Accident 845 NAS Whirlwind XL833/390/A suffered engine failure while storing the ship and ditched in Aden inner harbour, 8 Sep. Airframe recovered but jettisoned next day.
    1958-sep-13DeploymentStrait of Hormuz (SN) assisted with recovery of mv Melika which had caught fire in the Straits of Hormuz after colliding with another oil tanker. Taken under tow by Bulwark and made for Muscat, escorted by Type 41 frigate HMS Puma.
    1958-novRefitCommando Carrier refit until 1960 at HMD Devonport, converted to first UK Commando Carrier and recommissioned on 19 Jan 1960
    1960-mar-14DeploymentSGSembawang naval base departed for Far East with 42 Commando and sixteen Whirlwind HAS.7 of 848 NAS embarked. Routed via the Mediterranean, Aden and Colombo, disembarking in Singapore on 30 May 1960.
    1961-apr-19Deploymentdeparted for Hong Kong 19 Apr and embarked 825 NAS (transferring in from HMS Victorious air group).
    1961-may-26AircraftMYOff Sipadan Island Accident Lost 848 Sq Whirlwind XM683 / T-B, when it ditched 1 nm from carrier while operating off Borneo
    1961-jun-29DeploymentAirborne insertion Operation Vantage sailed with 42 Commando Royal Marines embarked, from Karachi to support Kuwait against possible Iraqi invasion. 42 CDO was airlifted into Kuwait on 1 Jul by Whirlwinds of embarked 848 NAS. HMS Bulwark withdrew on 21 Jul.
    1961-nov-21AircraftHKHong Kong Port Accident lost 848 Sq Whirlwind HAS.7 XN301 / M-B when it ditched during a formation landing.
    1962-janDeploymentAUCervantes Islands Exercise Tombstone amphibious assault in Cervantes area, with 42 Commando Royal Marines and 848 NAS.
    1962-mar-27Port VisitSGSembawang naval base arrived at Singapore for 3 week maintenance period.
    1962-aprAircraftembarked 815 NAS Wessex HAS.1, for first of type familiarisation
    1962-jul-24DeploymentMYPulau Tioman South China Sea Exercise FOTEX 62 participated in Exercise FOTEX 62 with Far East Fleet, RAN and RNZN
    1962-octPort Visitvisited Kuwait in Persian Gulf
    1962-decRefitrefit at HMD Devonport for full conversion from Whirlwind to Wessex operation, until Dec 1963
    1964-janAircraftembarked 706 Sq B Flt and 43 Commando Royal Marines to work up with Wessex HAS.1 after refit. Culminated in Exercise Sandlfy 2 assault on Libyan coast.
    1964-mar-2Aircraft1st Scouts for Far East Konfrontasi Landed on 16x Scout AH.1 from Middle Wallop destined for various Flights in the Far East, plus 10 Flight which had been reassigned from 651 Sq to 656 Sq (already in theatre). Arrived at Singapore during Apr.
    1964-aprDeploymentGulf of Aden relieved HMS Albion off Aden, as the Far East station carrier
    1965-feb-25DeploymentMYLabuan Konfrontasi departed Singapore with RAF 230 Squadron Whirlwinds for transport from Seletar to Labuan.
    1965-mar-15DeploymentExercise FOTEX 65 Exercise FOTEX 65 Exercising off Singapore in multi-national Naval Force
    1965-octRefitrefit in UK, until c Mar 1966
    1966-augDeploymentRed Sea relieved HMS Albion in Red Sea, as the Far East station carrier
    1967-mar-9Deploymentsailed from Singapore in company with HMS Fearless for assault exercise off Penang.
    1967-mayDeploymentfollowing Cultural Revolution in China, reinforced (40 Commando RM embarked) Hong Kong after rioting began. Departed 12 Jun 1967.
    1967-octDeploymentGulf of Aden Recommissioned in Singapore with new Ships Company, flown out from UK to support British withdrawl from Aden. Embarked a Royal Marine Commando unit as a contingency against a disruptive withdrawl, until c Apr 1968
    1967-decDeploymentuntil mid Jan 1968, part of Task Force 318 to cover the British withdrawal from Aden during Operation Magister.
    1968-augRefitrefit at HMD Portsmouth. Ships Company took accommodation in HMS Centaur until c Feb 1969.
    1969-may-17AircraftAccident 845 NAS Wessex HU.5 XT774/F-B crashed on deck, off Cyprus
    1970-janDeploymentDeployed as Far East staion carrier, with 848 NAS embarked and left Singapore that Jun without a relief, leaving the Far East without a continuous amphibious capability. Returned to UK with 848 NAS by end Jul 1970.
    1970-augRefitrefit until c Apr 1971
    1970-aug-29HMD Devonport Navy Days 1970 present (in refit) at Plymouth Navy Days 1970.
    1971-mayDeploymentDeparted UK for the Baltic Sea with 845 NAS embarked. Returned to UK from Mediterranean in Nov 1971 for boiler repairs.
    1971-aug-28Port VisitHMD Devonport Navy Days 1971 Ship open to visitors at Plymouth Navy Days 1971.
    1972-janDeploymentMTGrand Harbour / il-Port il-Kbir / Valletta Malta withdrawal 3 months, during dispute with Maltese government over bases
    1972-may-19Deploymentdeparted HMNB Portsmouth for a 2 month WESTLANT deployment, with 845 Squadron and 41 Commando Royal Marines embarked and to re-establish 41 CDO in its Maltese base. Returned to HMNB Devonport on 17 Jul 1972.
    1972-novDeploymentparticipated in Exercise Corsica 72 off W coast of Corsica with HMS Ark Royal, HMS Fearless, and HMS Intrepid.
    1973-febPort Visitto Charleston, SC.
    1973-apr-19Aircraftembarked 16 Wessex HU.5 of 848 NAS at HMNB Devonport, prior to the ship departing for Malta
    1974-mar-8RefitRefit at HMD Devonport, until early Feb 1975
    1975-marPort VisitMTGrand Harbour / il-Port il-Kbir / Valletta Deployment to Gib. Malta.
    1976-jan-16AircraftAccident 848 NAS Wessex HU.5 XT758/VB-B w/o 16 Jan 1976 when ditched and sank SW of Azores
    1976-maywithdrawn from Service, into Reserve
    1978-mar-20RefitRefit until c Jan1979, to cover delays in bringing Invincible class to service. Conversion at HMD Portsmouth to operate Anti-Submarine helicopters alongside those in the Commando role.
    1980-janAircraftembarked 2 airframe Flight from 846 NAS, (including XT451/VL-B) for exercise in the western Atlantic, until early Apr 1980
    1981-marDecommissionedinto reserve
    1984-aprFate: scrappedCairnryan Breakers Yard sold for scrap.



        from Modified Centaur class
    23300light (tn)
    27700full load (tn)
    224.90length (m)
    27.40beam (m)
    6.70draught (m)
    29.50max speed (knots)
    4Naval Gun single 40 mm
    2Naval Gun twin 40 mm
    1Naval Radar air direction radar Type 277
    1Naval Radar air search radar Type 960



        Typical Max
    UK Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind 016
    UK Royal Navy Westland Wessex 016
    UK Royal Marines Westland Sioux 02
    UK Royal Marines SNIA SA341B Gazelle AH.1 06
    UK Royal Marines Westland Scout 03
    UK Royal Navy Westland Sea King 04
    UK Royal Navy Westland Wasp 11

    The Max option implies only aircraft of this model onboard    



    UK Harland and Wolff, Belfast

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