Fleet Aircraft Carrier


SOPWITH 2F.1 CAMEL, N6602, HMS Furious, April1918 [A0356]

HMS Furious was built by Armstrong Whitworth, laid down on 8 June 1915 and launched 15 August 1916. She was commissioned on 26 June 1917 as a sea plane carrier. Between 1917-1918 she was reconstructed with landing-on deck, and recommissioned 15 March 1918. In the early 1920s she was rebuilt with full length flush flight deck, modified between 1931-1932 to increase the AA battery, and an island added in 1939. Sold for scrapping January 1948 scrapping complete 1954.

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In 1917 Squadron Commander Dunning made the first deck landing by flying a Sopwith Pup
on to a flight deck built over the forward section of HMS FURIOUS

HMS Furious, along with her half-sister ships Courageous and Glorious, was laid down as a large light cruiser, mounting two 18-inch guns on a shallow draught for gunfire support of amphibious operations in the Baltic. Before completion the design was changed to only one 18-inch gun and a flying-off deck for sea planes at the bow. After completion the remaining 18-inch gun was removed and a landing-on deck added for half the length of the ship, with it causing  problems for landing aircraft it was later extended to the full length of the ship. A small starboard island was added in 1939.

HMS Furious in wartime camouflage

HMS Furious had a long an honourable service history and remained a Fleet Carrier 1925 - 1944. Her wartime naval aviation career started in World War I. HMS Furious had the
distinction of mounting the first real carrier-based air strike when, on 19 July 1918,
seven of her Sopwith Camels destroyed two Zeppelins and their sheds at Tondern.

Gun crew loading 5.5 inch guns, which in the Royal Navy are only found on Furious and Hermes
where they are the main armament,  and on the battle cruiser Hood

During World War II she was stationed in the North Sea and North Atlantic from September 1939 till April 1940. She took part in the Norwegian campaign between April-June 1940, and subsequently was stationed on northern patrols between June 1940 and October 1941. HMS Furious underwent a refit in the USA between October 1941 and April 1942, subsequently operating in the Mediterranean between April 1942 and January 1943, which included ferrying spitfires to Malta between August and October 1942, and taking part in the North African landings in November 1942.

A number of ratings are pushing a Swordfish into position so that it may descend into the ship's hangar of HMS Furious by one of the big hydraulic lifts. Behind them is an officer of the Royal Air Force, borne in the Furious for instructional duties. 1939

Furious returned to operate as part of the Home Fleet, taking part in operations against Norway between January and September 1944. Notable operations at this time included her participation on all air strikes against the German Battleship Tirpitz in Northern Norway between April-June 1944 (including Operations Tungsten, Mascot and Goodwood).

Successful attack in Operation Tungsten of 3 April 1944 on the Tirpitz in Kaa Fjord, North Norway by Barracuda dive-bombers from HMS Furious and HMS Victorious

She was decommissioned on 15 September 1944 and paid off the same month, she spent the last year of the war as an accommodation ship, and post-war she was used as an explosives target and trials ship, May 1945-1948.  Stricken 1948. Sold for scrapping January 1948 and stripped at Dalmuir March 1948, she was broken up at Troon from June 1948. Scrapping complete 1954.

Anson coded "220*L" flying over HMS Furious

Battle Honours
Narvik 1940, Norway 1940 - 4, Malta Convoys 1942, Atlantic 1942, North Africa 1942 - 3

Captain GT Phillip (1944)

Squadrons and Aircraft

Air Wings Sept 1939 - 9 Blackburn Skua, 18 Fairey Swordfish; May 1940 - 6 Sea Gladiator, 18 Fairey Sworsfish; June 1940 - 9 Fairey Fulmar, 6 Blackburn Skua, 9 Fairey Swordfish; July 1940 - 9 Blackburn Skua,  18 Fairey Swordfish; April 1941 - 12 Blackburn Skua; May 1941 - 3 Fairey Fulmar; June 1941 - 9 Fairey Fulmar, 4 Hawker Sea Hurricanes, 9 Fairey Albacore and 18 Fairey Swordfish;

November 1942 - 24 Supermarine Seafire, 9 Fairey Albacore; February 1943 - 9 Supermarine Seafire, 6  Hawker Sea Hurricanes,  9 Fairey Albacore, 9 Fairey Swordfish, 12 Fairey Barracuda April 1944 - 14 Supermarine Seafires,  9 Fairey Barracuda; July 1944 - 3 Supermarine Seafire, 3 Fairey Swordfish, 20  Grumman Hellcat; August 1944 - 24 Supermarine Seafire, 9 Fairey Barracuda Torpedo.

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
818 Oct 1939-May 1940 Swordfish I
816 Oct 1939-Sept 1940 Swordfish I
801 May 1940-Feb 1941 Skua II
804  May 1940 Sea Gladiator
825 July 1940-April 1941 Swordfish I
804 dt Sept-Oct 1940 Martlet I
807 March-April 1941 Fulmar I
800, 800X and 800Y May-Aug  1941 Fulmar I
812 July-Aug  1941 Swordfish I
880A dt July-Sept 1941 Sea Hurricane Ib
810 Sept 1941 Swordfish I
835 April 1942 Swordfish I
822 July 1942-July 1943 Albacore I
823 July-Sept 1942 Albacore I
804 Aug 1942 Hurricane IIb
807 Aug 1942-Feb 1943 Seafire L.IIc
801 Oct 1942-Sept 1944 Seafire
817 Dec 1942-March 1943 Albacore I
881 dt July 1943 Martlet II
827 Oct 1943-June 1944 Barracuda II
830 Oct 1943-Sept 1944 Barracuda II
880 Feb-Oct 1944 Seafire I/FIII
831 April-May  1944 Barracuda II
842Q dt April 1944 Wildcat V
882 dt May-June 1944 Wildcat V
1840 July 1944 Hellcat I
842 dt July 1944 Swordfish II
827 Aug-Oct 1944 Barracuda II
Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Furious
Class Furious Class Fleet Carrier (CV) (ex Large Light Cruiser) 
Type Fleet Aircraft Carrier
Ships in Class Furious (half-sisters Courageous and Glorious)
Launched Laid down 8 June 1915. Launched 15 August 1916. Commissioned 26 June 1917
Tonnage Displacement: 22,450 tons standard ; 28,500 tons full load
Engines Propulsion: Steam Turbines (18 Yarrow small-tube boilers, 4 shafts, Brown-Curtis geared turbines), 90,000 hp.
Speed in Knots Speed: 29.5 knots
Armament Guns: six twin 4 inch ; four octuple 2 pdr ; Twenty two 20 mm AA

At war end Gun six 2 x 4" AA four 8 x 2 pdr pom-pom AA 22 x 1 x 20 mm Oerlikon AA 

Crew Complement 748 Officers & Ratings, 350 Air Group (rising to 850 Officers & Ratings, 350 Air Group at war end)
Range  Range: 6,000 nmiles at 20 knots
Length (ft/inches) Dimensions: 735 pp, 786.25 oa x 88 x 27.75 feet
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) Reconstructed 1917-1918 with landing-on deck.  After completion the remaining 18-inch gun was removed and a landing-on deck added for half the length of the ship. 

From June 1922 to August 1925 she was fully converted to a "flush-deck" carrier. The "full-length" 576ft flight deck actually had a useful length of only 530ft between round-downs, but in 1943 this was increased to 596ft by extending the forward end over the forecastle. Finally a small starboard island was added in 1939. 

Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Number of aircraft carried Aircraft: 36
Fate of carrier Paid off September 1944. Stricken 1948 and sold as scrap Dalmuir. Broken up till 1954 at Troon
Notes Guns: 6 x twin 4 inch ; 4 octuple 2 pdr ; 22 x 20 mm AA

HMS Furious Class in THE ROYAL NAVY WWII website Details and specifications of the Furious class including summary history
Tirpitz - Operation "Tungsten" (3 April 1944)  
Summary history of the carrier Furious in Royal Navy Ships of World War 2
The Malta Convoys 1941 - 1942 - War at Sea 1939-1945 Details of each of the Malta convoys and of the operations of the aircraft carriers Argus, Ark Royal, Eagle, Furious, Indomitable and Victorious
 Warship photographs of the Royal Navy A to Z. Information about HMS Furious in Operation Pedestal and the Malta Convoys.   
Reginald Hyde The New Zealand Air Aces and HMS Furious photos Furious before full flight deck was installed and superstructure still present Furious with superstructure removed and almost full length deck set back from bow 
British General information on the ship.
Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS HAWKER NIMROD Mk.II, 801 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Furious, October 1936, HAWKER OSPREY Mk.III, 801 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Furious, November 1938
  Extracts from the wartime film Operation Pedestal, with clips of Operation Pedestal the beginning, featuring HMS Eagle, The Heavy Escort Forms up featuring HMS Formidable, Down to the Mediterranean featuring HMS Furious.
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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