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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS COLOSSUS - Colossus-class Light Fleet Carrier

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Colossus (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)   return to Contents List  

COLOSSUS Class Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier ordered in February  1942 under a War Emergency Build Programme from Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle and laid down in June 1942. The ship was launched  on 30th September  1943 as the 6th RN ship to carry the name, introduced in  1787 for a 3rd Rate.  It  was last used  for  a battleship, built in 1910 and sold in 1928. Build was completed on 16th December 1944 and the ship was commissioned for service in the Far East.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


TOULON 1793 - GROIX 1795 - ST VINCENT  1797 - TRAFALGAR 1805 - BALTIC 1855 - JUTLAND  1916


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a giant's head affronte couped.

couped at  the shoulders White, his head crowned gold.



D e t a i l s   o f    W a r    S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 4


December              Commissioned for trials.

                16th        Build completion and began acceptance trials


1 9 4 5


January                  Completed acceptance trials.

to                            Commissioned for service.

April                       Embarked aircraft

                                Worked-up for service with Home Fleet ships.


May                        Nominated for service in British Pacific Fleet with HM Light Fleet Carriers GLORY,

                                VENGEANCE and VENERABLE in 11th Aircraft Carrier Squadron.

                                (Note: Fleet Air Arm Squadrons 827 and 1846 allocated.)


June                        Prepared for foreign service and took passage to join BPF


July                         On passage via Mediterranean to join Fleet in Australia.


August                  Joined Fleet at Sydney.

                15th        Reverted to RN control after cessation of hostilities with Japan.

                                Joined Task Force 111 with HM Cruisers BERMUDA and ARGONAUT,

                                HM Destroyers TYRIAN, TUMULT and QUIBERON (RAN) as

                                Task Unit 111.3.

                                (Note: After VJ Day American CORSAIR aircraft provided by US on Lease Lend

                                were disposed of by ditching in the sea. The loss of such valuable resources

                                is beyond explanation.)


September             Passage with TU 111.3 to assist in repatriation of POW and allied nationals.

                                Nominated for service at Shangahi with Task Unit. Squadrons disembarked.

                3rd          Sailed from Leyte.

                6th          Arrived at Kirun, Formosa.

                                Nominated for transport of Prisoners of War from Korea to Manila.

                                (Note: Passengers may have included civilian internees as well as PoW.

                                These were collectively known as RAPWI - Returning Allied PoW

                                and Internees. See Note below re accommodation.)

                                Passage to Formosa.

                8th          Embarked personnel for repatriation

                                (Note: Source states port in Korea was JENSON. This cannot be identified.

                                Alternative of PUSAN is suggested.)


October                  Passage from Korea to Manila.

                4th          Disembarked passengers and took passage to Hong Kong on completion.

                8th          At Hong Kong

                                Passage to Colombo for service as troop transport.

                26th        At Colombo.


November              Passage to Bombay

                4th          Disembarked military personnel for passage to Singapore.

                14th        Military personnel disembarked at Singapore and on completion took passage

                                to Ceylon for further trooping duties.

                20th        At Trincomalee.


December              Passage to Colombo to embark military personnel.

                3rd          Took passage from Colombo to Singapore with military personnel

                8th          Disembarked troops at Singapore.

                                Nominated for collection of RAPWI from Java.

                                (Note: About 900 Passengers were carried and accommodated in Hangar and on

                                Mess decks used by Fleet Air Arm personnel when embarked.)

                10th        Embarked RAPWI at Batavia for passage to Colombo

                18th        RAPWI disembarked at Colombo.

                                (Note: Additional RAPWI were embarked at Semarang, Java during passage.


1 9 4 6


January                  Nominated for refit in HM Dockyard, Simonstown.

                                Took passage with call at Durban on 13th

                                Arrived at Simonstown and taken in hand for refit.


February                Under refit.

to                            Nominated for reduction to Reserve in UK on completion.



April                       Post refit harbour trials

                13th        Refit work completed.


May                        Took passage to Portsmouth


June                        Arrived at Portsmouth and destored.


July                         Paid off into Reserve.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS COLOSSUS was selected for five years loan service with French Navy and was transferred in August 1946. She was renamed ARROMANCHES and during her loan  was deployed in  Indo-China. The ship was refitted during 1950-51 and at the end of the loan period  was purchased. She then was again deployed in the Far East and after return to Europe an angled flight deck was  fitted during a refit in 1957. During 1966-69 ARROMANCHES was modernised and re-designated for use as a Helicopter Carrier In which role she served until finally paid off in 1974. Final  disposal took place four years later when sold for breaking up.



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