HMS Furious (1917) CV (5th)
HMS Furious was laid down as the third Courageous
Class (1917) BC battlecruiser in May 1915, and launched Aug-1916.
When virtually complete in Mar-1917, including mounting two 18in guns in single turrets fore and aft. The decision was made to alter her to carry aircraft. So the forward turret was removed and a flying off deck fitted, with a hangar below this which accommodated at mix of seaplanes and wheeled aircraft. This conversion was completed in July 1917.
The limitations of flying off aircraft which could not be recovered was quickly shown. So in Nov-1917 her aft turret was removed and a flying-on deck fitted, again with a hangar below. Both flying decks being separated by a conventional funnel and bridge superstructure in the centre of the ship.
However the turbulence created while steaming at speed to give the necessary wind over the deck was such that landing on incurred an unacceptably high accident rate. So operations were restricted to flying off only.
Even with this restriction in place Furious has the distinction of mounting the first ever carrier based air-strike. When on 19-Jul-1918 seven of her Sopwith Camels destroyed two Zeppelins and their sheds at Tondern.
The design was not a success and completion of HMS Argus in 1918 showed the way forward. In fact a Committee of Inquiry into Naval Aviation in 1917 made the recommendation that aircraft carriers should have a flight deck with a minimum length of 300ft (92m) the full width of the ship. In effect what became known as a flush deck carrier.
So a major four year refit and reconstruction took place from 1922-1925. Furious emerged as a flush deck carrier with an unobstructed flight deck of 380ft (239m), displacement of 22,800 tons and able to carry 33 aircraft. She also had a short flying off deck below the forward part of the main flight deck, but this was of limited use only.
There was a small navigating bridge on the starboard side out from and below the flight deck and a similar construction on the port side which served as a flying control position.
She joined the Atlantic Fleet in 1925. Refit at Devonport followed from 1930 to Nov-1931. Then to the Home Fleet with a 6 months spell in the Mediterranean in 1934, followed by a return to the Home Fleet until the start of WW2.
Took part in the King George V Silver Jubilee Fleet Review 16-Jul-1935.
10-Apr-1940 saw her despatched to counter the German invasion of Norway. In June 1940 she made a high speed dash to Halifax, Nova Scotia with £18m in gold bullion.
Sold 23-Jan-1948 and broken up at Troon.
This page last edited -
12 February, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.