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

HMS IMPLACABLE - Illustrious-type Fleet Aircraft Carrier

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Implacable in 1952 (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Modified ILLUSTRIOUS Class Fleet Aircraft Carrier ordered under 1938 Programme from Fairfield Shipbuilders, Govan, Glasgow In October 1938. The ship was laid down during February† 1939† and† launched† on 10th December  1942 as the 4th RN Warship to carry the name. This name was† first used in 1805 for the French 74 gun DUGUAY TROIN captured on 3rd November after the Battle of Trafalgar. This name was previously used by a battleship built in 1899 and sold in 1921. Build was completed† in June 1944 and she had been 'adopted' by Lloyds of London after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.


(Note: The first HMS IMPLACABLE was renamed LION but on leaving active service in January† 1912 she was loaned to Mr. Wheatley Cobb and reverted to her former name. She was used for training of Sea Scouts until 1939 and during WW2 for the storage of† naval stores. After 1945 a survey of her timbers showed she was not safe for† use and she was scuttled off the Owers LV in December 1949.)


B a t t l e†† H o n o u r s


      SEVELOD Action 1808 - SYRIA 1840 - DARDANELLES† 1915 - NORWAY† 1944 - JAPAN† 1945


H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a Tiger's† head erased proper


M o t t o

Saeva parenssaeviorum: 'Fierce parent of an even fiercer† off spring'



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

June††††††††††††††††††††††† Contractors trials and commissioning

July†††††††††††††††††††††††† Embarked aircraft and carried cut work-up at Scapa Flow with Home fleet.

August††††††††††††††††† Work-up in continuation and joined Home Fleet on completion.

September†††††††††††† Deployed for air attacks on shipping off coast of Norway.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Aircraft carried cut attack on coastal convoy sinking 3 mercantiles and 3 small escorts.

October† ††††††††††††††† Home Fleet deployment in NW Approaches and North Sea.

††††††††††††††† 23rd††††††† Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA. HM Destroyers VENUS, SCOURGE, SAVAGE,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† VERULAM. CAPRICE, ZAMBESI, CASSANDRA and CAMBRIAN for operations against

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Norwegian coast shipping (Operation ATHLETIC).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Air attacks made on airfields at Sorreisa and Bardufoss.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Reconnaissance aircraft sighted TIRPITZ in new berth near Tromso.

††††††††††††††† 26th††††††† Deployed off coast of Norway with HM Cruiser MAURITIUS, HM Destroyers MYNGS,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† VENUS, VERULAM, VOLAGE, ALGONQUIN (RCN) and IROQUOIS (RCN).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Air attacks made on shipping off Bodo and Rorvik.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Depot Ship KARL MEYER destroyed.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† During subsequent air operations against shipping off Lodingen and Kristiansun North,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† minesweepers and coastal ships were sunk (Operation PROVIDENT)

††††††††††††††† 27th††††††† U1060 attacked on surface by FIREFLY aircraft and later beached on island of Fleina

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in position 65.24N, 12.01E.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: This submarine was later destroyed by RAF aircraft. For details see U-BOATS

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

November††††††††††††† Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

††††††††††††††† 27th††††††† Deployed with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers PREMIER AND PURSUE, HM Cruiser DIDO,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Destroyers MYNGS, SCOURGE, ZEPHYR, SCORPION, SCOURGE, SIOUX (RCN)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and ALGONQUIN (RCN) to carry out air attacks against coastal convoys off Norway

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Operation PROVIDENT).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Carried out attacks on convoy off Masjoen, north of Namsos.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Norwegian ships RIGEL and KORSNES sunk.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: These ships ware carrying Russian prisoners many of whom were killed).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Two Flak ships escorting convoy were also sunk and the freighter SPREE at anchor.

December††††††††††††† Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

††††††††††††††† 7th††††††††† Deployed with HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Escort Carriers TRUMPETER and PREMIER, HM

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Destroyers ZAMBESI, SAVAGE, VIGILANT, ZEALOUS, SERAPIS, SIOUX (RCN)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ALGONQUIN (RCN) and Norwegian destroyer STORD for shipping strike off Hagesund and

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† an air minelay in Kara Sound (Operation URBANE - Designated as Force 1).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† No ships ware found. For details of air minelaying see Naval Staff History (Mining).

††††††††††††††† 8th††††††††† Air attacks made on shore targets between Bergen and Stavanger.

1 9 4 5

January††††††††††††††††† Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet and took passage for refit.

February††††††††††††††† Prepared for operational service with US Fleet in Pacific.

March††††††††††††††††††† Honoured by Royal Visit during which an Investiture was held.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Embarked aircraft at Scapa Flow and took passage to Ceylon.


††††††††††††††† 4th††††††††† Arrived in Ceylon and flew off aircraft for use ashore.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Took passage to Australia to join British Pacific Fleet.

††††††††††††††† 8th††††††††† Arrived at Sydney and joined BPF.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Allocated for service in Task Force 111.2.

June††††††††††††††††††††††† Passage to Manus to Join TF 112.2

††††††††††††††† 10th††††††† Joined Task Force as Flagship. Designated Task unit 111.2.1

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: Task Group comprised:

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Task Unit 111.2.2: HM Cruiser SWIFTSURE, HM Escort Carrier RULER and

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Destroyer TERMAGANT.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Task Unit 111.2.5: HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, UGANDA (RCN) and ACHILLES

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (RNZN).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Task Unit 111.2.15: HM Destroyers TR0UBRIDGE, TENACIOUS, TERPSICHORE and

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† TEAZER.

††††††††††††††† 12th††††††† Sailed to carry out an attack on Truk.

††††††††††††††† 13th††††††† HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, NEWFOUNDLAND and HMS UGANDA, screened by

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Destroyers TEAZER, TENACIOUS and TROUBRIDGE detached as Task Unit

††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† 111.2.3 to cover air operations.

††††††††††††††† 14th††††††† Carried out air attacks on Truk with HMS RULER, escorted by HMS TERPSICHORE.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Operation INMATE - See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: Night attacks were carried out for the first time by a British aircraft

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† carrier in Pacific operations.

††††††††††††††† 15th††††††† Continued air attacks on Truk in adverse weather.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Six aircraft were diverted to land on HMS RULER.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Provided aircraft spotting facilities during bombardment by the cruisers and the destroyers.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: The bombardments were not successful due to inexperience of personnel).

††††††††††††††† 17th††††††† Returned to Manus with Task Force.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Transferred to US 3rd Fleet after reorganisation of US Naval Command in Pacific.

††††††††††††††† 28th††††††† Sailed with TF 37 for Manus.


††††††††††††††† 6th††††††††† Deployed with US 3rd Fleet.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Took passage from Manus for RN/USN air operations on targets in Japan

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Operation OLYMPIC preparations).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: Task Force 37 comprised: -

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Battleship KING GEORGE V as Flagship.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE, VICTORIOUS and IMPLACABLE.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, ACHILLES,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† UGANDA and GAMBIA.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE,


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HM Australian Destroyers QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH, QUALITY and QUADRANT.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† After departure machinery defect made reduction in speed necessary.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Detached for repairs which were completed without need to return to Sydney.

††††††††††††††† 16th††††††† Rejoined Task Force before start of joint air operations with US 3rd Fleet.

††††††††††††††† 17th††††††† Carried out series of air attacks on Tokyo - Yokohama area with HMS FORMIDABLE

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and HMS VICTORIOUS.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: Targets included airfields at Sendai, Masuda and Matsushima as well as Croisi harbour)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Japanese retaliatory attacks on combined fleet units were driven off by the carrier fighter

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† aircraft CAP's).

††††††††††††††† 18th††††††† Air operations continued with replenishments from Fleet Train (IF112).

††††††††††††††† to††††††††††† Attacks made on Osaka, Susaka, Miyakawa airfield and Maizuru IJN base where three

††††††††††††††† 31st†††††††† destroyers were damaged (one sinking later).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Successful air strikes in Inland Sea sank merchant ships and warships.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET).

August††††††††††††††††† Air operations off Japan in continuation.

††††††††††††††† 3rd††††††††† After replenishment period further air operations were Interrupted by threat of typhoon.

††††††††††††††† 9th††††††††† Resumed flying operations with carriers of TF38 against airfields and ships in

††††††††††††††† to††††††††††† North Honshu and Hokkaido.

††††††††††††††† 11th††††††† (Note: During these attacks two naval auxiliaries and a destroyer were sunk and

††††††††††††††† 12th††††††† Withdrawn from operational area due to lack of fuel from British sources.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Took passage to Manus with British ships not designated as Task Group 38.5 with 3rd Fleet.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (For full details of BPF operations see OPERATION PACIFIC by E Grey, TASK FORCE

††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† 57 by P Smith, THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and Naval Staff Histories).


P o s t ††W a r†† N o t e s


HMS IMPLACABLE landed her air crews and aircraft† in Australia and was converted to accommodate passengers. She was then† deployed for† repatriation of British POW and embarked 2,127 at Manila to take passage to Canada arriving at Esquimalt on 11 October 1945. In January 1946 she visited Melbourne with HMS INDEFATIGABLE and sailed for UK in May, arriving in June that year. The ship was placed in Reserve and refitted before joining the Home Fleet as Flagship in 1949. Due to manning problems during 1950 many Home Fleet ships had to be withdrawn  from service and HMS IMPLACABLE was deployed in the Training Squadron and continued service in the training role until 1954 when placed in Reserve. Placed on the Disposal List she was sold for breaking-up at Inverkeithing, Rosyth arriving at the breakerís yard on 3rd November 1955.


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