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

HMS INDEFATIGABLE - Implacable-class Fleet Aircraft Carrier

HMS Indefatigable (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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IMPLACABLE Class Fleet  Aircraft Carrier ordered on 19 June 1939 from John Brown of  Clydebank. The ship was laid down later  that year and launched on 8th December 1942. She was the sixth RN ship to carry the  name which was introduced in 1783 and last used for a battleship sunk during  the  Battle of Jutland in 1916. Build was completed on 3rd May 1944 and she had been adopted by the Borough of Holborn, Greater London after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March


B a t t l e  H o n o u r s


BASQUE  ROADS  1809 - JUTLAND 1916 - PALEMBANG  1945 - OKINAWA 1945 - JAPAN 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a.

Badge:  On a Field Blue, through a wreath of laurel Proper, a lion passant gardant gold


M o t t o

       Deo  adjuvante:    'With God's help'



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


March                    Contractor's sea trials and commissioning.

                15th        Successful landing trials of MOSQUITO aircraft.


April                       Acceptance trials in continuation.



                3rd          Accepted into service.

                                (Note:  This had been delayed and as a result ship could not take part in planned

                                Home Fleet operations against German battle ship TIRPITZ. See CONVOY! by P Kemp).

                                Embarked aircraft and worked-up with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.


June                        On completion of work-up deployed with Home Fleet.


July                         Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                17th        Carried out series of air attacks on the German battleship TIRPITZ in Altenfjord

                                with HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE and FURIOUS covered by HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK

                                HM Cruisers KENT, DEVONSHIRE, JAMAICA and BELLONA with Home Fleet destroyer screen.

                                (Note:  These were Unsuccessful because early detection allowed smoke screen to be activated. See

                                ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and CONVOY !).


August                  Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                8th          Carried out Rehearsal for planned Norwegian coast operations against TIRPITZ.

                                (Operation GOODWOOD).

                10th        Attacked airfield and installations at Gossen and carried out air minelay between Lepsoy and Haramsa

                                Island with HM Aircraft Carriers TRUMPETER and NABOB covered by HMS KENT and HMS

                                DEVONSHIRE screened by HM Destroyers MYNGS, VIGILANT, VERULAM, VOLAGE, VIRAGO,

                                SCOURGE and Canadian destroyer ALGONQUIN (Operation OFFSPRING).

                22nd       Carried out series of unsuccessful air attacks on TIRPITZ with HMS FORMIDABLE, HMS FURIOUS

                                and HMS NABOB covered by HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS DEVONSHIRE and HMS BERWICK

                                screened by 14 Home Fleet destroyers. HMS NABOB torpedoed and badly damaged.

                                (Note:  This operation was co-incident with passage of Russian Convoy JW59 and the return convoy

                                RA59 which were covered by other Home Fleet major units).

                24th        Carried two further attacks on TIRPITZ with HMS FORMIDABLE and HMS FURIOUS.

                                During the last one, 2 hits obtained but caused no significant damage.

                29th        Carried out final attacks of this operation on TIRPITZ.

                                No hits were obtained.

                                (Note:  During Operation GOODWOOD 247 sorties were flown by the carriers and 11 of their aircraft

                                were lost. The lack of success resulted in the use of RAF aircraft. See above references).


September             Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                                Nominated for service in British Pacific Fleet.


October                  Prepared for service in Pacific.


November              Took passage to Indian Ocean.



                10th        Arrived at Colombo and joined HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, INDOMITABLE and

                                VICTORIOUS in 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, British Pacific Fleet.


1 9 4 5


January                  Joined Task Force 63 with HMS INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS for Eastern Fleet attacks

                                on Sumatra (Operation LENTIL - See OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray).

                4th          Carried cut air attacks on oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandon, Sumatra covered by HM Cruisers

                                SUFFOLK, CEYLON, ARGONAUT and BLACK PRINCE screened by HM Destroyers


                16th        Joined Task Force 63 for air strikes with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS

                                VICTORIOUS on Sumatra during passage to Australia for BPF service, covered by HMS

                                ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS screened by HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE,


                                (Operation MERIDIAN I).

                24th        After 24 hour delay due to weather conditions attacked Pladjoe oil refinery. 14 Japanese aircraft were

                                destroyed for loss of 7 RN aircraft but 25 lost during landings in the carriers.

                29th        Made further air attacks on oil refineries at Soengi-Gerong, near Palembang.

                                Japanese attacks on Fleet units were all intercepted.

                                During this operation 30 Japanese aircraft were destroyed in combat and 38 on the ground. 16 RN aircraft

                                were lost but some aircrew were rescued (Operation MERIDIAN II).


February                Passage to Fremantle and Sydney.

                10th        Nominated as part of Task Force 112 and prepared for operations in Pacific under US Command as part

                                of US 5th Fleet.

                28th        Sailed from Sydney to begin operations with US Navy.

                                Redesignated Task Force 57 with ships of British Pacific Fleet.

                                (For details of operations by BPF see TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith. THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J

                                Winton, CARRIER VICTORY by JM Ludley, OPERATION PACIFIC and The Naval Staff History).


March                    Passage to join 5th Fleet.

                18th        Arrived Ulithi.

                26th        After replenishment joined US Task Force 58 ships for joint attacks on islands of the Sakishima-Gunto

                                Group in support of preparation for US landings on Okinawa.

                31st         (Operation ICEBERG).

                                (Note:  This series of attacks continued in rotation with TF58 carriers).


April                       Deployment in continuation.

                1st           Damaged by KAMIKAZE aircraft and sustained 30 casualties including 14 killed.

                                Available for operational action after only an hour.

                11th        Diverted for air attacks on airfields in Formosa (Operation ICEBERG OOLONG).

                                Combat Air Patrol launched to intercept enemy aircraft several of which were shot down.

                20th        Returned to Leyte with ships of Task Force 57.



                1st           On completion of repair at Leyte sailed with TF57 to resume joint air operations with TF58 on

                                Sakishima Gunto (Operation ICEBERG).

                3rd          Accidental firing of wing cannon by AVENGER aircraft caused 1 death and 2 wounded.

                4th          Deployed with HMS FORMIDABLE, HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS VICTORIOUS in joint attacks

                to            with US Navy carriers.



June                        Passage to Australia for refit and recuperation period.

                                Re-designated as part of Task Force 37 in US 3rd Fleet with ships of BPF when the US Navy command

                                structure was changed.

                28th        Sailing from Sydney with BPF ships delayed by compressor defect when ships of the BPF sailed as

                                Task Group 37 to rejoin US Task Forces off Japan.


July                         Passage to Japanese waters with HM Destroyers BARFLEUR, WRANGLER and WAKEFUL.

                20th        Joined HM Battleship KING GEORGE V, HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS IMPLACABLE to take part

                                in joint RN/USN operations against Japanese mainland targets and coastal shipping.

                24th        Attacked harbours and shipping in Inland Sea and air base at Yokoshima

                                Japanese Escort Aircraft Carrier KAIYO was damaged 10 miles NW of Oita, Beppu Wan.


August                  Deployment off Japan with US Task Forces in continuation.

                9th          Deployed with HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS, FORMIDABLE and IMPLACABLE and TG38.5

                                ships including HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK for air attacks on airfields and ships in North Honshu

                                and Hokkaido.

                12th        Transferred to Task Force 38 when ships of BPF had to return to Manus because of lack of fuel from

                                British sources.

                                Redesignated Task Group 38.5 with HMS KING GEORGE V, HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND and

                                GAMBIA, HM Destroyers BARFLEUR, NAPIER (RAN), NIZAM (RAN), WAKEFUL, WRANGLER

                                TEAZER, TERMAGANT and TENACIOUS and resumed operations with TF38.

                13th        Attacked chemical plant at Onagawa.

                15th        Attacked airfields at Hisaruki and Nobara.

                                Under spasmodic Japanese air attacks after cessation of hostilities.

                                (Note:  During these final attacks of the war in the Pacific a British pilot who had baled out was captured

                                and later executed.

                27th        Arrived in Tokyo Bay with US 3rd Fleet as TG38.5 for surrender of Japan.



                2nd         Present during surrender ceremony.

                28th        Returned to Sydney.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS INDEFATIGABLE was deployed for trooping duties after the Japanese surrender and carried British POW and other servicemen to UK from the Far East. The ship visited New Zealand in December 1945 and made a joint visit to Melbourne with HMS IMPLACABLE in January 1946. Trooping duties continued until return to UK where she arrived in September that year. On return the ship Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status in 1947. Before being used as Flagship, Training Squadron she was refitted and began training duties in 1951. In 1954 the ship returned to Reserve and was put on the Disposal List in 1956. Sold  to BISCO she arrived at Dalmuir to  be broken up on 4th November 1956.



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