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

HMS VENERABLE - Colossus-class Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier

HMS Venerable (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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COLOSSUS-Class Light Fleet aircraft carrier ordered from Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on  7th Aug.1942 and laid down as Yard No 1126 on 3rd Dec. 1942. The ship was launched on 30th Dec. 1943 and was the 4th RN ship to carry the name. It had been introduced in 1784 and had previously been used in 1899 for a battleship which was sold in 1920 after service during WW1. Build was completed on 17th January 1945 and the ship was commissioned for service in the Pacific. As described below this ship served in three navies over a period of 45 years.


B a t t l e  H o n o u r s 


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field  barry  wavy of fourteen White and Blue, a torteau charged with a

hunting horn, stringed White suspended  from rode also White, within a chaplet

of laurel leaves Gold.


M o t t o

Quid  non  venerabilis audet:   'What will not the  venerable  dare'



D e t a i l s   of   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



                27th        Commissioned for trials.                    


December              Contractors trials.


1 9 4 5



                17th        Build completion date and acceptance trials commencement.                     

                                On completion took passage to Clyde for work-up.                      


February                Work-up in continuation.

                                Embarked aircraft for work-up.



                1st           Became Flagship of 11th Aircraft Carrier Squadron and prepared for service in the British

                                Pacific Fleet.

                12th        Took passage to Malta.

                                Carried out exercises with ships of Mediterranean Fleet to prepare for service in Pacific.


April                       Deployment with Mediterranean Fleet based at Malta in continuation.


May                        Passage to Ceylon.


June                        During stay at Trincomalee landed CORSAIR and BARRACUDA aircraft to be modified

                                prior to service in Pacific with US 3rd Fleet.

                                (Note:  814 and 1851 Squadrons were embarked.)


July                         Passage to Sydney from Ceylon to join BPF in US 3rd Fleet.

                                (Note:  Due to change in US Navy administration BPF were now designated as Task Force

                                37 in 3rd US Fleet instead of Task Force 57 in 5th Fleet.)

                                (See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)).

                22nd       Arrived at Sydney.

                                (Note:  Future deployment of British warships was being questioned due to a lack of fuel

                                from British Logistics Group. See above references.)


August                  Deployed at Sydney pending decision about future service in 3rd US Fleet.

                                Oerlikon 20mm weapons replaced by 40mm design.

                15th        Joined Task Group 112 under RN control for operations to re-occupy Hong Kong.

                                Took passage from Sydney to Subic Bay with HM Fleet Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE,

                                HM Cruisers EURYALUS and SWIFTSURE, HM Canadian Auxiliary PRINCE ROBERT,

                                screened by HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, URSA, WHIRLWIND and Australian destroyer

                                HMAS QUADRANT as Task Group 112.1

                                Refuelled at British Pacific Fleet Forward Base at Manus , Admiralty Is.

                27th        Took passage to Hong Kong from Subic Bay with Task Group.

                29th        Deployed with HM Battleship ANSON and ships of Task Group at Hong Kong

                                Entry delayed pending mine clearance operations.

                30th        Launched air attacks on Japanese craft in Lammas Bay.


September             Provided support during re-occupation of Kowloon.

                                Nominated for transport of Indian Nationals held as Japanese prisoners in French

                                Indo China.


 October                 Passage to Haiphong to embark passengers.

                17th        At Haiphong.

                21st         Sailed for Madras with Indian nationals.

                27th        Disembarked passengers and sailed for Trincomalee.

                28th        Landed aircraft and Squadron personnel.

                                (Note:  This was to facilitate deployment for further personnel transport duty.)


November              Embarked military personnel for passage to Singapore.

                16th        Arrived at Singapore and troops left ship.

                                Nominated for transfer of military personnel and stores from Bombay to the Dutch

                                East Indies for support of military operations against insurgents.

                18th        Took passage from Singapore to Bombay.


December              Embarked passengers and stores for passage to Tanjong Priok, Java.

                4th          On arrival disembarked personnel and stores.

                                Embarked Dutch Nationals held as internees by Japanese.

                                Took passage to Colombo.

                                (Note:  729 evacuees were carried including 570 women and children.)

                12th        After passengers left ship embarked aircraft.

                                Took passage to Sydney.

                23rd        At Fremantle for Xmas.

                26th        Sailed for Sydney                

                31st         Arrived at Sydney.                             


1 9 4 6


January                  Under refit.

to                            Post Refit trials.

March                    Nominated for further trooping duties.


April                       Deployed for transport of personnel.

                                Passage to Trincomalee.

                                (Note:  Ship was required for movement of returning personnel from Australia to

                                Colombo and for transport of replacements to ships and establishments in

                                Singapore and Hong Kong.



                3rd          Disembarked 400 passengers at Singapore.


June                        Trooping duties in continuation between Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Colombo.

to September


October                  Trooping duty in continuation.

                24th        Taken in hand for docking and refit at Singapore.



                6th          On completion of docking prepared for further service in Far East.

                26th        Passage to Hong Kong from Singapore.


December              Deployed at Hong Kong for exercises with ships of British Pacific Fleet.

                                (Note:  These included flying operations.)


1 9 4 7


January                  Hong Kong deployment with ships of British Pacific Fleet in continuation.

                                Nominated for return to UK to reduce to Reserve status.


February                Fleet exercises in continuation.

                14th        Sailed from Hong Kong for Plymouth with call at Singapore.


March                    Passage to UK via Mediterranean.

                26th        Arrived at Plymouth.


April                       Paid off and reduced to Reserve status.


May                        Laid-up at Plymouth.

to                            Placed on Sales List.

December              Lay-up in continuation awaiting completion of sales negotiation.



1 9 4 8


January                  Sale to Holland under negotiation.





                1st           Purchased by Dutch Government.


May                        Prepared for service with Royal Netherlands Navy.

                28th        Commissioned as KAREL DOORMAN.



S y n o p s i s    o f    R o y a l    N e t h e r l a n d s    N a v y    S e r v i c e


1 9 4 9    to    1 9 5 4


                                After refit including tropicalisation and partial air conditioning deployed

                                with Royal Netherlands Navy for service in Europe and abroad.


1 9 5 5    to    1 9 5 8


                                Under modernisation during which an Angled Flight Deck,

                                Steam Catapult, Mirror Sight and Improved Close Range

                                40mm Armament was fitted.


1 9 5 9    t o    1 9 6 7


                                Fleet service after completion of trials in late 1958.


1 9 6 8


                                Withdrawn from service due to extensive damage caused

                                by a major fire on 29th April.

                                Sold to Argentina on 15th October.

                                Under refit at Rotterdam prior to Argentine naval service.



S y n o p s i s    o f    A r g e n t i n e    N a v y    S e r v i c e


1 9 6 9    t o    1 9 8 4


                                Commissioned into Argentine Navy on 12th March as

                                VIENTICINO DE MAYO.

                                (Note: Deployed in support of landings by Argentina in Falklands.

                                No direct action with Royal Navy has been traced.


1 9 8 5


                                Taken out of operational use.

                                Note:  A proposed refit to replace turbine machinery with gas turbines

                                was being considered in 1990 during refit by an Italian contractor

                                but this was never implemented due to lack of funding.

                                More recent report suggested that this ship was used for exercises

                                with Brazilian Navy but her future operational use is doubtful.



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revised 14/10/10
further editing and formatting is required