HMS ARK ROYAL

Weapons of War

ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS WARSHIP NAMES IN NAVAL HISTORY, THE TITLE ARK ROYAL DATES BACK TO ELIZABETHAN TIMES. FELIX ROWE TAKES A BRIEF LOOK AT THE SHIP’S LINEAGE AND FOCUSES ON THE COMBAT HISTORY OF THE VARIANT THAT SERVED AS AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER DURING WORLD WAR TWO.

ARK ROYAL (91)

Ark Royal with HMS Echo and a Nelsonclass battleship.
(ALL KEY COLLECTION UNLESS NOTED)
The Ark Royal, pennant number 91, launching in 1937.

With tensions rising on the Continent, Britain felt a preemptive response was required. A mighty ship was ordered that would protect the island nation from the storm brewing across the water on mainland Europe. And so an English shipyard set to work building what was then one of the largest and most impressive warships of its kind. This flagship would become known as Ark Royal. Making its name for fighting in one of the greatest conflicts of its age, it soon forged a fearsome reputation. Eventually, however, its fallibility would reveal itself and the vessel would succumb to the seas. The year of her launch was 1587, the European threat was the Spanish Armada, defeated the following year, and the man who ordered her construction was one Sir Walter Raleigh.

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