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

HMS FURIOUS - Fleet Aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Furious (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Ordered from Armstrong Whitworth at Elswick in 1914 as a Battlecruiser fitted with two 18in guns and laid down on 8th June 1915. She was launched for completion in that design on 15th August 1916.and was the 6th RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1794. It had last been borne by a cruiser built in 1896 which was renamed FORTE in June 1915 to enable the name to be used again for this ship.


Before completion on 26th June 1916 it was decided to convert the ship for use as an aircraft carrier and in 1917 a flight deck was fitted forward in place of one of the 18in guns with a hangar and lift. A further modification was authorised later that year and a second flight deck was provided in place of the aft 18in gun with similar lift and hangar. These modifications were proved unsatisfactory on trials and in 1921 she was taken in hand for a third change in design. Work was carried out by HM Dockyards at Rosyth and Devonport and provided a full length flight deck with Bridge structure and funnels removed. In addition there was a small lower flight deck forward. This was dispensed with after aircraft weight and speed increased. Exhaust gasses were discharged by uptakes led to the stern. The bridge facility was replaced by an open type at the deck edge. The ship joined the Fleet in 1925. Further changes were made to the stern structure and the quarterdeck was raised to flight deck level between 1931 and 1932. The ship was modernised and refitted before the outbreak of WW2 and she re-entered service with six twin 4” mountings controlled by two gunnery directors for AA defence.


Displacement as an aircraft carrier was 22,450 tons with an overall length of 786 feet 3 ins., a beam of  89 feet 9 ins. over bilges and a draught of  25 feet at full load. The main propulsion was provided by steam turbines of  90,000 SHP driving four shafts to give speed of 30knots. Armour was provided for protection of machinery and steering gear with external bulges for underwater protection. Armament provided  included the six twin 4in mountings and three eight barrelled 2 Pdr Pom-Pom mountings. During WW2 this was increased by single 20mm Oerlikon mountings to improve defence against close range air attacks. The radar fit was minimal, compared with other Fleet aircraft carriers and was fitted during  wartime refits as was required to suit deployments. Total complement including aircrew exceeded 1200. By the end of WW2 about 30 aircraft could be carried, depending on type embarked.


This ship was extensively deployed during WW2 until withdrawn from operational use when modern Fleet Carriers became available supplemented by several Light Fleet and Escort Carriers. She took part in operations off Norway throughout the war, carried out deliveries of aircraft to Malta and to the Middle East via West Africa as well as providing air cover for Atlantic and Malta convoys and supporting the allied landings in North Africa.


After the end of hostilities in Europe she was placed in Reserve and sold for breaking-up in 1948.



B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

BLACK SEA 1854-55  - CHINA 1856-60 - NARVIK 1940 - NORWAY 1940-44 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Black Field an eagle’s head White, langued Red.

armed Gold.



Ministrat arma furer: 'Fury supplies arms'



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 3 9


September             Deployed with Home Fleet units for anti-submarine operations and searches for commerce

                                raiders and blockade runners in NW Approaches.


October                  Took part in unsuccessful search for German battleship GNEISENAU and cruiser KOLN north

                                of Shetlands after report of their passage into Atlantic for attacks on shipping.


November              Atlantic deployment for trade defence in continuation.

                                (For details of naval activities in Home waters during 1939 see Naval Staff History and ENGAGE

                                THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)

                23rd        Sailed from Halifax, NS with HM Battlecruiser REPULSE to join HM

                                Battleship WARSPITE in search for German battleship SCHARNHORST

                                following sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI.

                                When search abandoned returned to Halifax with HMS REPULSE and

                                resumed Atlantic convoy defence duties,.


December              Escorted military convoy TC1 carrying Canadian troops from Halifax to UK

                                with HM Battleship RESOLUTION, HMS REPULSE and HM Cruiser EMERALD.


1 9 4 0


January                  Atlantic deployment in continuation.




March                    Under refit at Devonport.


April                       Passage to Scapa Flow to rejoin Home Fleet.

                10th        Deployed with HM Battleship WARSPITE in search for German warships SCHARNHORST and


                                (Note: Despite the obvious need for protection against air attacks after the German invasion of

                                Norway, no fighter aircraft were embarked.)

                11th        Launched an air strike against warships and shipping at Trondheim where German cruiser HIPPER

                                had been reported.

                                (Note: HIPPER had sailed and torpedo attacks on other ships failed.)

                12th        Launched bombing attacks and photo reconnaissance flights over Narvik prior to entry of HMS

                                WARSPITE into Fjord, planned for 13th April.

                                (Note: This ship was the only aircraft carrier available for Fleet defence, support of military

                                operations ashore and provision of air cover for passage of incoming convoys.)

                13th        Provided anti-submarine air cover off Narvik during 2nd Battle of Narvik.

                18th        Under air attacks at Tromso and sustained damage by Near Miss.

                                (Note: Damage to shafts and machinery reduced speed to 20 knots.

                                Only half of embarked SWORDFISH aircraft were serviceable.)

                26th        Relieved by HM Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and GLORIOUS.

                                (Note: “Well Done “ signal received from Prime Minister for services off Norway as the only

                                available aircraft carrier.)

                27th        Passage to Scapa Flow.

                                (Note: For details of the disastrous operations off Norway see NARVIK by D Macintyre,

                                CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton, THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by D Adams and

                                Naval Staff History. (HMSO – 2001).)



                1st           Taken in hand for repair in Clyde shipyard.

                14th        Resumed duties with Home Fleet and deployed for aircraft delivery to Norway,

                18th        Deployed with HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS GLORIOUS for defence of Fleet units off Norway

                                and for support of military operations.

                21st         Landed GLADIATOR aircraft to operate from shore.

                                Took passage to return to Scapa Flow.


June                        Taken in hand for refit.


July                         Under refit


August                  On completion carried out post refit trials and took passage to rejoin the Home Fleet.


September             Deployed with Home Fleet units during anti-shipping operations off coast of Norway.




November              Home Fleet duties in continuation.

                                Nominated for aircraft delivery.


December              Embarked aircraft for transfer to the Middle East from Takoradi .

                19th        Joined military convoy WS5A with HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS during passage in NW

                                approaches from Clyde to Freetown.

                                (Note: Crated aircraft in transit were carried on flight decks).

                                HMS ARGUS was also carrying un-crated RAF aircraft for delivery.

                                Ocean Escort was provided by HM Cruisers NAIAD.)

                24th        HM Cruiser NAIAD relieved by HM Cruisers BERWICK. DUNEDIN, BONAVENTURE and

                                four FLOWER Class Corvettes.

                                Under threat of attack by German cruiser HIPPER.

                25th        WS5A ships attacked by HIPPER

                                Engaged by HMS BERWICK and HMS BONAVENTURE.

                                HIPPER withdrew due to fear of torpedo attack after damaging ships in WS5A.

                                Convoy scattered and counter attack by unarmed carrier aircraft was delayed and when launched

                                were unable to find enemy ship.

                                Further air operations by carriers cancelled by Admiralty.

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History.)


1 9 4 1



                6th          WS5A arrived at Freetown after re-assembly.

                                Detached for passage to Takoradi to disembark aircraft.


February                Return passage to rejoin Home Fleet.


March                    Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                                Embarked infantry for passage to Gibraltar.

                                Joined military convoy for passage to Gibraltar.

                                (Note: This included troopship mv STRATHMORE”


April                       Deployed to carry aircraft to Gibraltar for transfer to HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL

                                (Note: Delivery operations WINCH and DUNLOP after launch in western Mediterranean

                                from HMS ARK ROYAL.)



                  8th        Damaged by bomb in air-raid on Belfast, one man killed (See Addendum for fuller account)

                                Embarked HURRICANE aircraft for delivery to Gibraltar and took passage with HM Cruiser

                                LONDON as escort.

                19th        Joined HMS ARK ROYAL off Gibraltar and passed into Mediterranean.

                                Cover for delivery was provided by HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD and

                                LONDON, screened by HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FURY,

                                HESPERUS and BRILLIANT (Operation SPLICE)

                                (Note: HM Destroyers HARVESTER, WRESTLER and FEARLESS were also deployed as


                21st         Launched aircraft for flight to Malta and took passage to Gibraltar.

                                Passage to UK to embark aircraft for further delivery.

                29th        Embarked HURRICANE aircraft and took passage to Gibraltar.


June                        Arrived at Gibraltar.

                5th          Sailed from Gibraltar as part of Group 1 with HMS RENOWN, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR,

                                FORESIGHT, FORESTER and FOXHOUND (Operation ROCKET)

                6th          Launched aircraft for flight to Malta and returned to Gibraltar

                                (Note: HMS ARK ROYAL also made a delivery as part of ROCKET and formed Group 2 with

                                HMS SHEFFIELD, HMS FEARLESS and HMS FEARLESS as screen.)

                                Passage to UK to collect aircraft for further delivery of aircraft to Malta.

                22nd       Passage to Gibraltar escorted by HM Destroyers LANCE and LEGION

                25th        Arrived at Gibraltar and transferred some HURRICANE aircraft to HM Aircraft Carrier ARK

                                ROYAL for delivery after launch in western Mediterranean. (Operation RAILWAY Phase One)

                26th        Assembled crated aircraft for delivery as Phase two of RAILWAY.

                27th        Passage to launch area with HM Cruiser HERMIONE, screened by HM Destroyers FEARLESS,

                                FOXHOUND and LEGION as Group A.

                                (Note: Force B comprising HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL

                                screened by HM Destroyers FAULKNOR FURY, FORESTER and LANCE were

                                deployed concurrently for launch operation by HMS ARK ROYAL which carried

                                26 HURRICANE aircraft.)

                30th        During launch operation the second aircraft struck part of ships structure

                                and crashed overboard. Fuel tank caught fire causing 13 casualties, nine

                                of which were fatal.

                                Launch operation resumed when fire was extinguished.

                                (Note: Nine HURRICANE and six BLENHEIM aircraft arrived in Malta.)

                                Took return passage to Gibraltar.



                1st           Arrived at Gibraltar and later sailed for Scapa Flow to resume duties with Home Fleet.

                23rd        Sailed from Scapa Flow for Iceland with HM Cruiser ADVENTURE and HM Aircraft Carrier

                                VICTORIOUS escorted by ships of 1st Cruiser Squadron and Fleet destroyers.

                28th        Detached with HMS ADVENTURE for passage to Archangel.

                                (Note: HMS ADVENTURE was carrying mines for use by Soviet Fleet.)

                30th        Carried out series of air strikes at Petsamo.

                                (Note: Operation EF – This also included air attacks on Kirkenes by HMS VICTORIOUS.

                                Attacks on Petsamo were unsatisfactory owing to early detection and

                                eleven SWORDFISH aircraft were lost. See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA.

                                by R Woodman.)


August                  Return passage to Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for further Malta aircraft delivery duties and embarked aircraft.

                31st         Joined military convoy WS11 in Clyde with HMS REPULSE and HM

                                Cruiser SHEFFIELD for Atlantic passage..



                4th          Detached from WS11 for passage to Gibraltar.

                8th          Deployed at Gibraltar during Phase I of Operation STATUS.

                                (Note: Operation STATUS I was an aircraft delivery by HMS ARK ROYAL covered by HM

                                Cruiser HERMIONE and destroyers of FORCE H.

                12th        Passage as part of Force A with HMS HERMIONE, HM Destroyers LEGION, FORESTER

                                and FORESIGHT in Western Mediterranean.

                                Cover was provided by Force B comprising HM Battleship NELSON, HMS ARK ROYAL,

                                HM Destroyers ZULU, GURKHA. LANCE and LIVELY.

                13th        Launched aircraft and returned to Gibraltar with Force A.

                                Passage to UK to resume Home Fleet duties. Nominated for refit in USA.


October                  Embarked aircraft for delivery to Jamaica to provide anti-submarine air facilities in Caribbean area.

                                Passage to Jamaica.

                                Disembarked aircraft and took passage to USA for refit.


November              Under refit as US Navy Yard, Philadelphia.

to                            (Note: Refit work included preparations for fitting Fire-control radar

December              Type 285 for fire control of main armament by both Gunnery Directors.


1 9 4 2


January                  Under refit

to March


April                       Post refit trials

                3rd          On completion took passage to Bermuda.

                6th          Sailed from Bermuda and joined eastbound convoy.

                                Provided air cover during passage with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers ARCHER and AVENGER

                                which were in transit to UK after build in US shipyards.

                                Escort for this convoy was provided by US Navy for part of passage.

                15th        Detached on arrival of convoy in Home waters.

                                Taken in hand for completion of refit work including units of radar outfits not undertaken in USA.


May                        Under refit

to                            Embarked aircraft and prepared for operational service in Home Fleet.



July                         Resumed Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.


August                  Nominated for detached service in support of Malta relief convoy.

                                (Operation PEDESTAL - For details of this operation see ENGAGE

                                THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, THE BATTLE FOR THE

                                MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, PEDESTAL by P Smith and

                                Naval Staff History.)

                2nd         Joined convoy WS21S in Clyde with detached ships from Home Fleet as escort during passage in


                5th          Detached with other aircraft carriers to take part in exercises.

                6th          Joined HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS, INDOMITABLE, EAGLE and ARGUS in Atlantic for

                                multi-carrier Aircraft Direction and Control exercises (Exercise BERSERK)

                                (Note: This was preparation for defence of planned Malta Relief (Operation PEDESTAL)

                                For details see MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman)

                8th          On completion of BERSERK rejoined WS21S for further exercises and detached to refuel at Gibraltar.

                11th        Rejoined convoy during passage in western Mediterranean.

                                Under attack by Italian submarine UARSCIEK which failed.

                                Sustained slight damage in collision with HMS VICTORIOUS.

                                Detached from WS21S escorted by HM Destroyers LAFOREY and LOOKOUT to take passage to

                                flying-off position.

                                Launched aircraft for delivery to Malta (Operation BELLOWS).

                                Returned to Gibraltar escorted by HM Destroyers KEPPEL, MALCOLM, VENOMOUS,

                                WOLVERINE and WRESTLER.

                12th        Under attack by Italian submarine DAGABUR which was sunk by HMS WOLVERINE.

                                (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair Volume 2.)

                16th        Sailed from Gibraltar for aircraft delivery escorted by HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS with screen of 12

                                destroyers (Operation BARITONE).

                18th        Returned to Gibraltar with same ships after launching aircraft.

                                Passage to UK from Gibraltar to resume Home Fleet duties.


September             Deployed with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings in North Africa.

                                (Operation TORCH - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR

                                and Naval Staff History.)


October                  Embarked aircraft for delivery to Malta.

                20th        Took passage to Gibraltar.

                21st         Joined HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK to provide cover for passage of military convoys to Gibraltar.

                28th        Sailed from Gibraltar escorted by HM Cruisers CHARYBDIS and

                                AURORA, HM Destroyers WESTCOTT, WISHART, COWDRAY, BRAMHAM, ACHATES,

                                VANOC, VERITY and Polish ORP BLYSKAWICA for aircraft delivery.

                30th        Returned to Gibraltar with escort.


November              Prepared for service in Central Task Force at Gibraltar for TORCH support.

                                (Note: During this period Type 286 radar was fitted to provided limited

                                air and surface warning. See above reference. This equipment had a rotating aerial but was a

                                RAF outfit modified for shipboard use.).

                8th          Deployed with HMS ARGUS in Central Task Force covering landings at Oran.

                                Under attacks by U565 and U431 which were repelled by escort.

                                (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR.)

                                Launched air attacks on airfields which destroyed 47 Vichy French aircraft.


December              Deployed in Mediterranean for support of shore operations.


1 9 4 3


January                  Retained in western Mediterranean.

to                            On release from detached service returned to UK with HMS RENOWN and HM Aircraft Carrier

February                ILLUSTRIOUS.


March                    Deployed with Home Fleet to provide cover for Fleet units and based in

to                            Clyde for deployments to intercept any break out by German battleship SCHARNHORST



June                        Deployed with HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK and HM Destroyer ORWELL for reinforcement

                                of Garrison at Spitzbergen.

                                (Operation FH - Part of GEARBOX Series.)

                                (Note: Radar Type 286P had been replaced by Type 291, the RN designed replacement.

                                This equipment was not suitable for control of aircraft

                                See above reference.)


July                         Home Fleet duties in continuation.

                8th          Took part in offensive sweep off Norwegian coast with HM Battleships DUKE OF YORK, ANSON

                                and MALAYA, screened by cruisers and destroyers of Home Fleet as a diversion during allied

                                landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).

                                (Note: Home Fleet Operation GOVERNOR).


August                  Under refit.

to                            Rejoined Home Fleet at Scapa Flow on completion.



1 9 4 4


January                  Home Fleet deployment in continuation.


February                Took part in Home Fleet operation off Norway for attacks on shipping and coastal targets

                                (Operation BAYLEAF).

                24th        Launched air attacks with cover from HMS ANSON and French

                                battleship RICHELIEU.


March                    Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                                (Note: Radar Type 79B had been fitted by this date and provided better coverage for warning of

                                aircraft than previously available.)

                                Nominated for provision of air cover during passage of Russian Convoy JW58

                                to Kola Inlet and return Convoy RA58 together with attacks on German

                                battleship TIRPITZ.

                30th        Deployed with HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS ANSON, HM Aircraft

                                Carrier VICTORIOUS, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR, FENCER,

                                SEARCHER and PURSUER to provide air cover for convoys.

                                (For details of all Russian Convoys see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA

                                Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P

                                Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)



                3rd          Detached from covering duties to carry out attacks on German battleship TIRPITZ in Altenfjord

                                with HMS VICTORIOUS and Escort Aircraft Carriers.

                                Cover was provided by HMS ANSON and HM Cruisers JAMAICA, ROYALIST, BELFAST and

                                SHEFFIELD with 14 destroyer screen.

                                14 hits were recorded (Operation TUNGSTEN - (See CONVOY!)

                23rd        Deployed with HMS VICTORIOUS and Escort Carriers for further series of attacks on TIRPITZ

                                at Altenfjord (Operation PLANET

                24th        Operation abandoned because of weather conditions.

                25th        Launched air attacks with the other carriers on shipping. (See above reference.)



                6th          Launched air attacks on shipping in Kristiansund North with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier SEARCHER

                                covered by HM Cruiser BERWICK and two Home Fleet destroyers

.                               Two ships were sunk.

                11th        Present at Royal visit to Home Fleet at Scapa Flow by HM King George VI

                                (Note: Selected personnel from Fleet were inspected on board by the King. and demonstrations were

                                carried out by Fleet units off Scapa Flow during the visit.)

                14th        Deployed for further air attacks on TIRPITZ with HMS VICTORIOUS

                                screened by Fleet units (Operation BRAWN).

                15th        Operation abandoned due to weather conditions.

                28th        Further series of air attacks on TIRPITZ cancelled because of weather.

                                (Operation TIGER CLAW - See CONVOY !)



                1st           Launched series of air strikes on convoy off Statlandet



                16th        Deployed with HMS INDEFATIGABLE and HMS FORMIDABLE for further air attacks on

                                TIRPITZ covered by HMS DUKE OF YORK, HM Cruisers KENT, DEVONSHIRE, JAMAICA and

                                BELLONA with screen of Home Fleet destroyers (Operation MASCOT)

                17th        Launched air attacks which were detected and s smoke screen to be placed to cover target.

                                (See CONVOY ! and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.)



                8th          Took part in Home Fleet rehearsal for planned further attacks on TIRPITZ with HM Aircraft Carriers

                                FORMIDABLE, INDEFATIGABLE and HM Escort Carrier NABOB (Operation GOODWOOD).

                17th        Deployed with HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS FORMIDABLE, covered by HMS DUKE OF YORK,

                                HM Cruisers BERWICK and DEVONSHIRE screened by 14 Home Fleet destroyers to provide air

                                cover during passage of Russian Convoy JW59A and return convoy RA59.

                19th        Detached with aircraft carriers and covering ships HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS BERWICK and

                                HMS DEVONSHIRE for planned GOODWOOD operations, joined by HMS NABOB.

                20th        Operation delayed by weather.

                22nd       Launched strikes by BARRACUDA and CORSAIR aircraft which were frustrated by early warning of


                                Under U-Boat attack during which HMS NABOB was hit and sustained major damage.

                                See references.

                24th        Launched two further attacks with HMS FORMIDABLE and HMS INDEFATIGABLE with limited


                29th        Launched further attacks without obtaining any hits

                                (Note: During GOODWOOD 247 sorties were flown by carriers and 11 aircraft were lost.

                                The lack of success in attacks from aircraft carry resulted in use of RAF Bomber Command.

                                See references.)



                12th        Joined HM Escort Carriers TRUMPETER and AVENGER and deployed for air minelay south of

                                Vorso Island and shipping attack near Statlandet covered by HMS DEVONSHIRE and Home Fleet

                                destroyer screen,

                                (Operation BEGONIA - See Naval Staff History (Mining).)


October                  Withdrawn from operation service with Home Fleet.

November              Deployed for aircrew training duties and trials in Home waters.



1 9 4 5


January                  Training and trials deployment in continuation.




P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS FURIOUS was Paid-off after VJ Day and reduced to Reserve status. The ship was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO on 23rd January 1948 for demolition by Arnott Young.. She arrived in tow at the breaker’s yard in Dalmuir on the Clyde during March that year and was later taken to Troon for final destruction.






Convoy Escort Movements of HMS FURIOUS

by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








TC 001





WS 005A





WS 011





WS 011XG





WS 021S








(Note on Convoys)




With thanks to Jon Summers (3 Feb 2009) 

The HMS FURIOUS page on Michael Pocock's Maritime Quest site ( includes a link to the "Arthur Walker RN Collection", which brings up another two pages of photos. On the first of these pages, the 4th photo from the top (Michael's "furious_04"), is a port bow view of FURIOUS in camouflage with a crew member standing on the lip of her main flight deck - immediately above an enormous hole. Apart from being a super photo, this is of interest because:

1) It shows FURIOUS in camouflage and "long-nosed" form, i.e. as serving from late 1940 (her camo seems to have been applied after the 1940 Norwegian campaign) with the Home Fleet, and before her US refit, when her flight deck was extended.

2) The large hole in the leading edge of her main flight deck is the entry hole of the bomb that caused your Casualty List entry of 8th May 1941, ie "Edwin C STONE, , Chief Yeoman of Signals, D/J 76288, killed". 

FURIOUS had gone to Harland & Wolff at Belfast for refit and was probably de-stored, with much of her crew either already on leave or about to be given leave, when one of the many Luftwaffe raids on Belfast took place. These caused extensive damage to the Harland & Wolff yard as well as this hit on FURIOUS, which penetrated her hanger and exploded, but which failed to penetrate her armoured deck. The bomb was one of the "normal" high-explosive types dropped in large numbers by the Luftwaffe on land targets in the UK, and not one of the armour-piercing bombs favoured when dive-bombing naval targets, so with no time-delay would have exploded on impact, presumably as it entered the upper hanger. Damage to the yard meant that FURIOUS probably didn't get much of a refit at Belfast before then making her way to Birkenhead / Liverpool.

Not much background is visible in the photo, and it is unclear whether this damage was repaired at Belfast or Birkenhead, but as she was picking up aircraft at Birkenhead rather than visiting a shipyard it is most likely that FURIOUS would have been repaired at Belfast, which makes Belfast Lough the probable location of this photo. Your first HMS FURIOUS entry for May 1941 then picks up the story, ie where she "Embarked HURRICANE aircraft for delivery to Gibraltar" etc etc.


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