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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 1995

HMS COURAGEOUS - Courageous-class Fleet aircraft Carrier

HMS Courageous (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

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Light battle cruiser ordered in  1915 from Armstrong's, High Walker, Newcastle on Tyne and laid down in May that year. Launched on 4th February 1916 the ship was completed in January 1917. The first RN major warship lost in WW2.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


USHANT  1778 - USHANT  1781 - TOULON  1793 - GENOA 1795 - EGYPT  1800  - ST  LUCIA 1803 - STRACHAN'S ACTION 1805


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge : On a Field Black a right arm proper, the hand

bearing a serpent Green.


M o t t o

Fortiter in augustis   -  'Bravely in difficulties'





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             Serving with Home Fleet and deployed on anti-submarine patrol duty in the SW

                Approaches. The deployment of aircraft carriers to carry out this role had been

                introduced as an offensive measure and assumed that the ASDIC equipment available

                in the escorts was far more effective than was in fact the case.

17th        During patrol with a screen of two Home Fleet destroyers a wireless signal was received

                from ss KAFIRISTAN indicating that she was under fire from a German submarine.

                Whilst carrying out a search for this merchant ship or any survivors, she came under attack

                by U29, hit by three torpedoes and sank quickly.

                518 lives were lost including many Reservists and Pensioners. Some survivors were

                rescued by HM Destroyer ECHO. (Casualty List - note on casualties)

                As a consequence of this loss and an unsuccessful U-boat torpedo attack on HM

                Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL on 14th September the policy of using aircraft

                carriers for A/S search and destroy patrols was abandoned.

                (For details of this loss and the failure of German torpedoes see ENGAGE THE

                ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett).



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revised 6/10/10