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  • R09 HMS Ark Royal

    UK Royal Navy

    1955 to 1978    


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    Flight Deck: R
    Call Sign: GKXS
    Shipyard: Cammell Laird
    See Also: CVS Invincible class R07


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    History of UK R09 HMS Ark Royal

    1942-mar-19Orderedfrom Cammell Laird as HMS Irresistible
    1943-may-3Laid downas Yard No. V.1119
    1950-mar-3LaunchedCammell Laird Birkenhead as HMS Ark Royal
    1955-feb-26CommissionedDeck id O until 1957, then R
    1955-decAircraftSAR Flt SAR Flt Dragonfly HR.3 assigned WG752 / 970-O and WG718 / 971-O, until Apr 1956.
    1956-apr-30Refitat HMD Devonport to remove port-forward 4.5" gun interfering with aviation operations, until Nov 1956
    1957-febRefitRepairs repairs to steam turbines at HMD Devonport, until mid-May
    1957-may-27DeploymentCromarty Firth Fleet Review Took part in the Royal Review of the Home Fleet in the Cromarty Firth.
    1957-jun-8Port VisitUSHampton Roads International Fleet Review, Virginia 1957 Visited Virginia, USA for the International Naval Review
    1957-decAircraftuntil Sep 1958, Dragonfly HR.5 of 701 NAS B Flight embarked. Included Whirlwind HAR.3 XG577
    1958-jan-24Deploymentdeparted UK for Mediterranean, with embarked units and at least S-55 WV223 for delivery to 728 NAS C Flt at Hal Far.
    1958-junAircraft6 Whilrwind HAS.7 of 820 NAS embarked for Mediterranean operations until Aug 1958
    1958-jul-21RefitScimitar upgrade refit air search radar Type 965 Refit at HMD Devonport, removed deck edge lift, added Type 965 radar (replacing Type 293). Fire broke out 9 Apr 1959 during the refit, delaying completion to 28 Dec 1959.
    1959-may-16Port Visitat HMNB Devonport for Navy Days 1959.
    1960-mar-4Aircraftuntil Oct 1960, Whirlwind HAS.7 of 820 NAS B Flight embarked
    1960-mar-4Aircraftuntil Feb 1961, Whirlwind HAS.7 of 824 NAS embarked
    1960-apr-6AircraftAccident Whirlwind HAS.7 XL851/331 of 824 NAS ditched and sank, off Malta.
    1960-may-18AircraftAccident 824 NAS Whirlwind HAS.7 XK938/335 ditched and sank off Malta. (Replaced on unit strength by XL879 as /335 by Jul).
    1960-jun-11AircraftFRSaint-Mandrier Detachment Whirlwinds of 820 and 824 NAS detached to Toulon, while a FN Aquillon unit deployed to the ship for 2 days.
    1960-aug-11AircraftAccident 824 NAS Whirlwind HAS.7 XK910/331 ditched and sank off Malta.
    1960-nov-30DeploymentExercise Royal Flush IV joint US-UK exercise in Western Mediterranean, including HMS Hermes, HMS Victorious, USS Independence, USS Intrepid and USS Saratoga.
    1960-dec-3Deploymentexercising in Mediterranean with HMS Hermes and HMS Victorious
    1961-janTrialscold weather trials off Greenland, until 9 Feb.
    1961-aug-5DeploymentHMD Devonport Navy Days 1961 present at Plymouth Navy Days 1961
    1961-oct-9Aircraftassigned Whirlwind HAS.7 XK911 as SAR Flt / 918-R, until c Nov/Dec 1963.
    1961-nov-13Aircraftuntil Dec 1963, Wessex of 815 NAS embarked.
    1961-nov-13Deploymentdeparted HMNB Devonport for 3 month Mediterranean work up, returning Jan 1962
    1961-dec-16Port VisitMTGrand Harbour / il-Port il-Kbir / Valletta Grand Harbour to Grand Harbour, Malta, until 5 Jan 1962
    1962-jan-16Refitdamaged propellors when ran aground in Plymouth Sound, en route HMD Devonport dry dock for post-workup repairs and refit, until 2 Mar 1962
    1962-mar-9Deploymentdeparted HMNB Devonport and embarked Wessex HAS.1 of 815 NAS on 10 Jan, for 4th Commission in Far East, until early Jan 1964
    1962-mar-19AircraftAccident Lost Wessex HAS.1 XM929/304-R of 815 NAS while operating en route Malta to Suez.
    1962-mar-27DeploymentYEAden Harbour Aden relieved HMS Centaur in Aden as East of Suez carrier
    1962-apr-12DeploymentSGSembawang naval base Singapore arrived on Far East Station at Singapore
    1962-jul-21DeploymentMYPulau Tioman South China Sea Exercise FOTEX 62 departed Singapore for show of force off Pulau Tioman island, before participating in Exercise FOTEX 62
    1962-oct-25Deploymentdeparted Singapore for UK via Aden, arrived HMNB Devonport on 16 Dec.
    1963-marDeployment Konfrontasi departed HMNB Devonport for duty in the Far East with Wessex of 815 NAS embarked. Relieved HMS Hermes on station, in Jul 1963. Returned early Jan 1964.
    1964-jan-4RefitBuccaneer upgrade refit at HMD Devonport until Nov 1964, fittings for 4x Seacat launchers added and equipped for Buccaneer operations. Fire broke out while circuit testing on 13 Oct, during refit.
    1964-aug-1Port VisitHMD Devonport Navy Days 1964 present at Plymouth Navy Days 1964.
    1964-novAircraftembarked Wessex HAS.1 of 819 NAS, until c May 1965.
    1965-mar-10Port VisitNOHaakonsvern Naval Base to Bergen for short visit, with other NATO warships after Exercise Pilot Light
    1965-junAircraftuntil Sep 1966, Wessex HAS.1 of 815 NAS embarked
    1965-oct-30RefitFire in boiler room while undergoing routine repairs in Singapore, delayed for 3 weeks.
    1965-dec-6Berth Fremantle Harbour, Western Australia. Australia until 28/29 December 1965.
    1966-janDeploymentMozambique Channel took up station off Mozambique after HMS Eagle had departed in Dec 1965. Wessex HAS.1 of 815 NAS embarked. Withdrew Mar 1966.
    1966-feb-18Port VisitKEPort Mombasa alongside in Mombasa, until 3 Mar
    1966-mar-6DeploymentMozambique Channel Beira Patrol Beira Patrol, off Mozambique to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
    1966-may-10DeploymentMozambique Channel Beira Patrol Beira Patrol, off Mozambique to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Relieved HMS Eagle and operated until 25 May.
    1966-oct-5RefitPhantom upgrade refit air direction radar Type 982 until Dec 1969, strengthening the flight deck and angling at 8.5 deg, water-cooled Jet Blast Deflectors, perforated cylinder Direct Acting Gear for the arrests, installation of Type 982/3 radars, replacement of the Type 963 radar by the SPN-35 CCA radar, Corvus chaff and fitting the Seacat missile launchers. Re-commissioned on 25 Feb 1970.
    1967-aug-26DeploymentHMD Devonport Navy Days 1967 present at Plymouth Navy Days 1967
    1969-jun-12Refitduring refit, fire broke out while in HMD Devonport. Subsequently recommissioned on 25 Feb 1970.
    1970-jan-6AircraftRNAS Culdrose SAR Flight Ark Royal SAR Flt reformed with two Wessex HAS.1 at RNAS Culdrose.
    1970-febAircraftuntil Dec 1978, Sea King HAS.1 of 824 NAS embarked, included XV656 / 052-R, XV657 / 053-R, XV658 / 054-R and XV659 / 055-R.
    1970-aug-29Port VisitHMD Devonport Navy Days 1970 Ship open to visitors at Plymouth Navy Days 1970.
    1970-oct-26Port VisitMTGrand Harbour / il-Port il-Kbir / Valletta Malta visited Valetta in preparation for Exercise Lime Jug. Departed for Phase 1 exercise area on 29 Oct, in company with other ships.
    1970-nov-2Deployment Exercise Lime Jug struck by Russian Kotlin class vessel Bravvy on 9 Nov while shadowing HMS Ark Royal during Mediterranean Exercise Lime Jug, off Crete.
    1970-dec-3Port VisitITNaples Harbour visit to Naples, until 8 Dec.
    1970-dec-18Refituntil 15 Apr 1971 in refit at HMD Devonport, including repairs to holes above waterline from damage by Kotlin in Mediterranean collision.
    1971-jun-2Deploymentdeparted HMNB Devonport for 2 month Caribbean and North Atlantic deployment, returning 30 Jul
    1971-aug-28Port VisitHMD Devonport Navy Days 1971 Ship open to visitors at Plymouth Navy Days 1971.
    1971-sep-27DeploymentExercise Royal Knight participated in Royal Knight in Norwegian Sea and off North Cape, with USS Independence and USS Intrepid carrier groups and USS Newport News (CA-148), until 4 Oct.
    1971-oct-30Deploymentdeparted from HMNB Portsmouth for a 5 week Mediterranean deployment, returning to HMNB Devonport 7 Dec
    1972-jan-20Deploymentdeparted HMNB Devonport for 6 week Caribbean and North Atlantic deployment, returning 9 Mar
    1972-jan-26DeploymentBermuda area near Bermuda detached from exercise with US Navy and ordered towards British Honduras, together with HMS Bacchante as escort. On 26 Jan she launched 4x Buccaneers of 809 NAS at extreme range to overfly the capital to deter Guatemalan ambitions.
    1972-novDeploymentparticipated in Exercise Corsica 72 off W coast of Corsica with HMS Bulwark, HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid.
    1972-decAircraftSAR Flt assigned Wessex HAS.1 XM845 / 056-R for SAR Flt until c mid 1973.
    1973-feb-23Port VisitMTGrand Harbour / il-Port il-Kbir / Valletta Maintenance maintenance period alongside in Malta.
    1973-jul-18Port VisitHMD Rosyth visit to Rosyth until 23 Jul, after recent return from WESTLANT 73 deployment.
    1973-jul-26Port VisitAnchorage Charlie Families Day to/from Plymouth Sound C buoy for a Families Day at sea
    1974-marAircraftWessex HAS.1 XP112 assigned as SAR Flt/046-R until c Jun 1975.
    1974-sep-4AircraftLyme Bay (central) Accident SAR Flt Wessex XS875/047-R crashed on deck, while off Lyme Bay
    1974-sep-4AircraftWessex HAS 1 XS875 suffered complete engine failure due to shedding a blade in the 7th stage of the compressor. It was in the English Channel, about 60 miles West of the Isle of White in a storm force 9. It had launched to rescue the crew of a small coastal ship carrying gravel which had shifted in the heavy seas and capsised, the crew of 5 had taken to the life raft. I know this because I was the pilot involved!
    1974-sep-7AircraftAccident SAR Flt Wessex HAS.1 XS875 / 047-R crashed on deck on take-off, while off Scotland. Wreck air-lifted to RAF Lossiemouth by Sea King.
    1975-augAircraftWessex HAS.1 XP112 assigned as SAR Flt/047-R until 17 Sep 1975.
    1975-sep-17Aircraft32nm S of Plymouth Accident Wessex XP112 ditched c 32nm S of Plymouth and sank during recovery attempt.
    1976-feb-5Deploymentdeparted HMNB Devonport on Western Atlantic deployment with 824 NAS Sea Kings embarked, returning on 16 Jul.
    1976-mar-1Port VisitUSRoosevelt Roads 3 day visit to Puerto Rico, departing 3 Mar
    1976-jun-30Port VisitUSFort Lauderdale 200th Anniversary Present for week of 200th Anniversary Independence Day celebrations, until 6 Jul.
    1976-aug-28Port VisitHMD Devonport Navy Days 1976 Ship open to visitors at Plymouth Navy Days 1976.
    1976-octRefitrefit at HMD Devonport, with works on catapults and focus on sub-surface improvements, until Feb 1977
    1977-junRoyal Fleet Review - HM Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Tasked with manning the side, as the Royal Yacht Britannia and escort reviewed the line, Ark Royal was the last in that line. I reported to the bosun who said, we ve no more space on the flight deck, just go and stand on the cable deck mate... The cable deck was two decks below the flight deck (2A0) and I was the only person assigned to that deck, not sure where I should stand, I decided it was probably neat and appropriate to stand on the anchoring platform that jutted out of the stem of the ship, accessed by a deck portal in the stem. I was standing on a 4 x3 grating held in place by its hinges and two chains, the view down the ships stem to the Solent below. I decided I could not remove my cap, (as every other rating was doing above me, due to the limited space and concerns over losing my cap in the drink, so as the Britannia hove into view and passed, I stood to attention and decided to just salute instead. I would have been the only rating to salute the monarch as they passed, on any of the ships present. Somewhere, someone probably has a picture of this and maybe wondering who that chap was on the nose of the ship - appearing as her figurehead . Well it was Radio Operator First Class D.B West. 6J2 Mess, HMS Ark Royal - 1976 to 1979, My final job being destore team , prior to joining the Silent Service where I finally left the RN in 1981.
    1977-jun-25Deployment Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen Flag Ship at Silver Jubilee Fleet Review off Ryde Sand
    1977-aug-27DeploymentHMD Devonport Navy Days 1977 present at Plymouth Navy Days 1977
    1978-apr-5Deploymentleft HMD Devonport for North Atlantic and Mediterranean, her final deployment, returning 4 Dec 1978
    1979-feb-13StruckPaid off
    1980-sep-22Fate: scrappedCairnryan Breakers Yard departed HMD Devonport under tow for Cairnryan, scrapped from Oct 1980



        from Audacious class
    43000light (tn)
    50000full load (tn)
    250length (m)
    34.40beam (m)
    10.50draught (m)
    7000range (nm)
    29.25max speed (knots)
    152000power (shp)
    4Naval Engine steam turbines
    4Missile Launcher Sea Cat
    2Naval Radar air direction radar Type 982
    1Naval Radar fire direction radar Type 275
    2Naval Radar navigation radar Type 974



        Typical Max
    UK Royal Navy Sikorsky S-55 H-19 00
    UK Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind 00
    UK Royal Navy Westland Wessex 60
    UK Royal Navy Westland Sea King 60
    UK Royal Navy Westland dragonfly 11

    The Max option implies only aircraft of this model onboard    



    UK Cammell Laird,

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