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Forces War Records Blog

NOVEMBER 13TH 1941 - HMS ARK ROYAL HIT BY TORPEDO AND SUNK

HMS Ark Royal (pennant number 91 (1937-1941)) was the first purpose built large aircraft carrier to be completed for the Royal Navy, and one of the most famous warships of WWII, part of her fame came from repeated German claims to have sunk her.  Ark Royal survived several near misses and gained a reputation as a 'lucky ship.'
 
HMS
Ark Royal is the first big British aircraft carrier to be built


Ark Royal served in some of the most active naval theatres of WWII. She was involved in the first aerial and U-boat kills of the war, operations off Norway, Malta Convoys, and the search for the German battleship Bismarck. On 26 May the Ark Royal was finally able to launch her Swordfish against the Bismarck, scoring two hits, one of which jammed the Bismarck's rudder. The Germans were forced to steam in circles while they attempted to repair the damage, but before they could do the British fleet caught up with her, and on 27th May she was sunk. HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed on 13th November 1941 by the German submarine U-81 and sank the following day. Her sinking was the subject of several inquiries; investigators were keen to know how the carrier was lost, in spite of efforts to save the ship and tow her to the naval base at Gibraltar. They found that several design flaws contributed to the loss, which were rectified in new British carriers. Her wreck was discovered by a BBC crew in December 2002, approximately 30 nmi (35 mi; 56 km) from Gibraltar. Source: Wiki.
 
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Ark Royal survivors arriving back at Portsmouth

 

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