Fighter All Weather (FAW) of the Fleet Air Arm.

HMS VICTORIOUS (R38)

The aircraft carrier HMS VICTORIOUS was the fourth Royal Navy vessel to have the name. She was the second of six Illustrious class carriers designed and ordered during the late 1930s and the third ship completed.

The other Illustrious carriers were HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS FORMIDABLE, HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS IMPLACABLE and HMS INDEFATIGABLE. After serving in the Second World War, five of the Illustrious carriers were scrapped during the 1950s. Victorious continued in service until 1969.

HMS VICTORIOUS was laid down on 4 May 1937 at Walker-upon-Tyne. The ship was launched on 14 September 1939 and commissioned on 29 March 1941.

Following action in a number of theatres during the war, Victorious was used for training and to transport troops, civilian passengers and equipment to and from Australia, the Far East and the UK.

From 1950 Victorious was removed from service for a major refit, including a new flight deck. Whereas when entering service in 1941 Victorious was capable of carrying 36 propeller aircraft, after refit it would be able to carry up to 55 aircraft including heavier jets and helicopters.

Victorious was paid off on 30 June 1950, with modernisation work beginning in October of that year. The ship was recommissioned on 14 January 1958. She operated Sea Vixens until 1967.

From 1958/67, HMS VICTORIOUS spent time in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Far East, Australia and off the coast of West Africa. The ship was damaged by fire in the CPO's mess during refit of 1967. The refit was terminated. In 1968 she was decommissioned.

In June 1969 HMS VICTORIOUS was sent to Faslane on the Clyde and scrapped.

Archive: Lt. (P) Nev Lockett.RN
Archive. Mid H. Clark 1967. (Now Cdr.(P) H. Clark RN.)
Archive: Cdr.(F) D. Hamilton RN.

Particulars of HMS VICTORIOUS

 From 1941From 1958
Length: overall 748 feet 6 inches 781 feet
Length: waterline 710 feet 740 feet
Beam: overall 112 feet 145 feet 9 inches
Beam: waterline 95 feet 9 inches 103 feet 4 inches
Displacement 23,000 tons  
Displacement: full load 28,619 tons 35,500 tons
Flight deck: length 742 feet 775 feet
Flight deck: width 95 feet 147 feet
Full speed 30.5 knots 31 knots
Oil fuel 4,640 tons 4,850 tons
Avcat 50,000 gallons 339,000 gallons
Compliment 1,750 (wartime)
1,286 (peacetime)
2,400

 

Service record: 1941 to 1945

Home Fleet: 1941 to 1942

  • From 20 to 27 May 1941, took part in the chase in the Atlantic and sinking of the German battleship, Bismarck. Victorious sent out Swordfish torpedo bombers, one of which hit the Bismarck amidships. Victorious aircraft hit Bismarck starboard side abreast the bridge. Being only an 18" torpedo it did not penetrate the armour plate. The shock wave  killed one and injured 6 and the violent evasive movements of the ship further increased the damage and also the rate of fuel oil leakage.
  • In November 1942, provided cover during Operation Torch, the North Africa landings.

South Pacific: March to August 1943

  • Temporarily loaned to the United States Navy and named USS Robin. The USN were temporarily short of Aircraft Carriers in this period.
  • During May and June 1943, supported action in the Soloman Islands, New Caledonia, Munda, New Georgia and Bougainville.

South Pacific: March to August 1943

  • On 3 April 1944 took part in Operation Tungsten; an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in Alten Fjiord, Norway. Barracuda attack scored 14 hits on the Tirpitz causing severe damage.

British Eastern Fleet: from May 1944

  • July 1944, Operation Crimson. Led strikes on Sabang harbour (Sumatra), the first time British naval forces brought guns to bear (as opposed to air strikes) on Japanese shore installations. Admiral Lord Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia, signalled, "The results will hearten all forces in south-east Asia".
  • August 1944: Operation Banquet. Strikes on Padang (Sumatra)
  • September 1944: Operation Light. Strikes on Sigli (Sumatra)
  • October 1944: Operation Mullet. Strikes on the Nicobar Islands (190 kilometers North West of Sumatra in the Bay of Bengal)

British Pacific Fleet: from December 1944

  • January 1945: Operation Lentil. Strikes on Pangkalan Brandan (Sumatra)
  • January 1945: Operation Meridian. Strikes on Palembang (Sumatra)

British Pacific Fleet in cooperation with US Fifth Fleet: March to May 1945

  • Operations in support of landings at Okinawa (islands south of the Japanese archipelago)
  • April 1945: Operation Iceberg. Strikes against airfields and other targets in the Sakishima Island group at the southern end of the Ryuktu Islands.
  • 9 May 1945: hit by two Kamikazes (little operational damage)
  • July 1945: Aircraft from Victorious dropped the first bomb to hit the Japanese escort carrier Kaiyo (Beppo Bay, Kyushu, Japan)

 

Battle Honours
Bismarck 1941
Norway 1941 - 44
Arctic 1941 - 42
Malta Convoys 1942
North Africa 1942
Biscay 1942
Sabang 1944
Palembang 1945
Okinawa 1945
Japan 1945

 

Aircraft

Fairey Swordfish

  • Three-seat torpedo-bomber reconnaissance biplane
  • Squadrons: 825 (May to June 1941) : 820 (June 1941)

Fairey Fulmar

  • Two-seat fighter
  • Squadrons: 800 (May to June 1941) : 809 (January to November 1942)

Hawker Sea Hurricane

  • Single-seat fighter converted from Hawker Hurricane
  • Squadron: 885 (June to August 1942)

Fairey Albacore

  • Three-seat torpedo-bomber biplane
  • Squadrons: 827 (July to August 1941) : 828 (July to August 1941) : 820 (July 1941 to January 1942) : 817 (August 1941 to November 1942) : 832 (August 1941 to December 1942)

Supermarine Seafire

  • Single-seat fighter converted from the Spitfire
  • Squadron: 884 (July to November 1942)

Fairey Barracuda

  • Three-seat torpedo- and dive-bomber
  • Squadrons: 827 (March to April 1944) : 829 (March to July 1944) : 831 (March to August 1944) : 822 (September 1944)

Grumman Martlet (Wildcat)

  • Single-seat fighter
  • Squadrons: 896 (September 1942 to September 1943) : 882 (October 1942 to September 1943) : 898 (October 1942 to October 1943)

Chance-Vought Corsair

  • Single-seat fighter-bomber
  • Squadrons: 1834 (February 1944 to October 1945) : 1836 (March 1944 to October 1945) : 1838 (July 1944) : 1837 (July to September 1944) : 1841 (September 1945) : 1842 (September 1945)

Grumman  (Avenger)

  • Three-seat torpedo-bomber
  • Squadrons: 832 (January to September 1943) : 849 (December 1944 to October 1945)

de Havilland Sea Venom

  • Two-seat all-weather strike aircraft
  • Squadrons: 894 (February 1959 and June to August 1959) : 805 (April to May 1961)

Supermarine Scimitar

  • Single-seat fighter bomber
  • Squadrons: 803 (September 1958 to February 1960) : 807 (January 1960)

De Havilland Sea Vixen

  • Two-seat all-weather interception and strike aircraft
    893 Sqn (August 1963 to June 1967)
  • 892 Sqn (October 1959 and October 1960 to February 1962)

Blackburn Buccaneer

  • Two-seat low-level strike aircraft
  • Squadrons: 809 (July to August 1963 and May to June 1966) : 801 (August 1963 to June 1967)

Fairey Gannet

  • Three-seat airborne early-warning aircraft
  • Squadrons: 849B (October 1960 to February 1962) : 849A (August 1963 to June 1967)

Westland Whirlwind

  • Three-crew anti-submarine warfare helicopter
  • Squadrons: 701 (February 1958) : 824 (August 1958 to January 1959) : 825 (October 1960 to November 1961)

Westland Wessex

  • Three-crew anti-submarine warfare helicopter
  • Squadrons: 815 (December 1961) : 814 (August 1963 to July 1965, April to September 1966 and January to March 1967)

 

Commanding Officers

 Appointed
Captain HC Bovell CBE RN 15 October 1940
Captain LD Mackintosh DSO DSC RN 23 November 1942
Commander RCV Ross DSO RN 1 November 1943
Captain MM Denney CB CBE RN 8 December 1943
Captain JC Annesley DSO RN 15 August 1945
Captain EBK Stevens DSO DSC RN 30 September 1947
Captain NV Dickenson DSO DSC RN 25 May 1948
Captain JA Grindle CBE RN 16 July 1949
Captain CP Coke DSO RN 16 December 1957
Captain HRB Janvrin DSC RN 11 August 1959
Captain JMD Gray OBE RN 21 December 1960
Captain PM Compston RN 19 November 1962
Captain DL Davenport OBE RN 6 October 1964
Captain IL McIntosh DSO DSC MBE 12 September 1966




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