Fleet Aircraft Carrier


Courageous was built by Armstrong Whitworth, and laid down 18 March 1915. She was launched on 5 February 1916 and commissioned January 1917. She was converted into a carrier between June 1924 and May 1928.

There were two ships in the Courageous Class. Both ships of the Class were completed originally as Large Light Cruisers mounting two twin 15 inch guns. When these ships were found to be inadequate and there was a need for fast carriers, both were converted along the same lines as HMS Furious. The eight 15 inch guns were removed from these ships were eventually mounted in the battleship Vanguard.

HMS Courageous 4.7-inch Anti-Aircraft gun semi-automatic quickfirer,           HMS Courageous ship's bakery 1939
which is mounted only in HMS Rodney, Nelson, Courageous, and Glorious.

On 17th September 1939 Kapitänleutnant Otto Schuhart in the Type VII U-boat U29 torpedoed and sank HMS Courageous in the South-West approaches (Southwest of Ireland), 150nm WSW of Mizen Head, Ireland. The carrier went down in only twenty minutes and 518 of her 1,200 compliment went with her, including her commander Captain W T Makeig-Jones.

Courageous sinking 17 September 1939


Admirals Raeder (left) and Doenitz (centre) meeting with Hitler after the U-29 sunk the HMS Courageous in 1939.

Battle Honours
Atlantic - sunk Sep 1939

Captain W T Makeig-Jones.

Squadrons and Aircraft
Sept 1939 24 Fairey Swordfish

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
822 Feb-Sept 1939 Swordfish I
811 Aug-Sept 1939 Swordfish I

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Courageous
Class Courageous
Type Fleet Aircraft Carrier Fleet Carriers (CV) (ex Large Light Cruisers)
Ships in Class Courageous, Glorious (half-sister Furious)
Launched Built by Armstrong Whitworth. Laid down 18 March 1915. Launched 5 February 1916. Commissioned January 1917. Converted to carrier 1924 - 1928.
Tonnage Final design:- Displacement: 22,352 tons standard ; 26,518 tons full load 
Engines Propulsion: Steam Turbines (18 Yarrow small-tube boilers, 4 shafts, Parsons geared turbines), 90,000 shp.


Speed in Knots Speed: 30.5 knots
Armament Guns: 16 x 4.7 inch AA; 3 octuple 2 pdr pom-pom AA 4 x 1 x 2 pdr pom-pom AA
Crew Complement Compliment: 1200 Officers & Ratings, including Air Group
Range  Range: 5,860 nmiles at 16 knots


Length (ft/inches) Dimensions: 735 pp, 786.5 oa x 90.5 x 27.75 feet 
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Number of aircraft carried Aircraft: 48 


Fate of carrier Sunk 17 September 1939 by German submarine U29 in the South-West approaches. 
Notes Converted to carrier June 1924 - May 1928. Both ships of the Class were completed originally as Large Light Cruisers. 

In 1934/6, three multiple pom-poms were added, one on each side of the forecastle and one abaft the island. In addition, Glorious had the small quarterdeck raised to upper deck level, and the flight deck extended over. With a tripod mast fitted in Courageous, it was now fairly simple to tell the sisters apart. 

HMS Courageous Class in THE ROYAL NAVY WWII website History and specifications of the Courageous class carriers
British and HMS Courageous  
Royal Navy Ships of World War 2  Summary history of the carrier Courageous
World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway
Sturtivant, R & Ballance, T  (1994). 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1994 ISBN: 0 85130 223 8

The World’s Warships 1941 by Francis E. McMurtrie (1944). Jane's London 1941 1st ed. 

Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II by Francis E. McMurtrie (Editor)(1984). 320 pages. Crescent Books; ISBN: 0517679639

        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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