HMS Eagle (1919) CV (16th)
In 1917 the Admiralty took over the hull of the suspended Chilean
battleship, Almirante Cochrane which was completed as an aircraft
carrier. The ship was formally renamed HMS Eagle in February 1918.
She was launched in June 1918 and completed too late to see service during
She had a larger hangar than HMS Hermes (1923) her contemporary, and so was more useful in later years as naval aircraft increased in size.
Following the Washington Treaty of 1922 the Admiralty reviewed their plans for aircraft carriers and Eagle was expected to be scrapped in 1939, but war clouds gathering during the late 1930's meant this did not happen.
Outbreak of war found Eagle in the East Indies where she soon became part of I Force at Ceylon. Where she spent time searching for the German pocket battleships Admiral Graf Spee and Deutschland (later renamed Lutzow).
She was in the Mediterranean when Italy declared war in June 1940. February saw her move through the Suez Canal on the way to South Africa. On the way she supported Anglo-Indian forces in the occupation of Mogadishu.
Nov-1941 it was back to the Mediterranean in support of Force H and Malta convoy escort duties. When she flew spitfire off to Malta, the first time spitfires had been operated outside the UK.
These duties continued into 1942, when Operation Pedestal was mounted. This was a large and critical Malta supply convoy. On 11-Aug-1942 Eagle was near to Malta when she was torpedoed by U-73. She sank in 8 minutes, but escorting destroyers and an accompanying tug managed to rescue 927 of her crew. In addition 4 of her Sea Hurricanes which were in the air at the time were recovered aboard HMS Indomitable (1941).
Other HMS Eagle
This page last edited -
19 April, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.