Ships hit by U-boats

HMS Ark Royal (91)

British Aircraft carrier

HMS Ark Royal (91) in sinking condition

NameHMS Ark Royal (91)
Type:Aircraft carrier (Ark Royal)
Tonnage22,600 tons (one of the largest ships sunk).
Completed1938 - Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead 
OwnerThe Admiralty 
Date of attack13 Nov 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-81 (Friedrich Guggenberger)
Position36° 03'N, 4° 45'W - Grid CG 9652
Complement1488 officers and men (1 dead and 1487 survivors).
RouteGibraltar - flying range for Malta - Gibraltar 
History On 22 Jun 1940, U-46 observed one carrier, identified as HMS Illustrious (87), with two destroyers during a force 11 storm in grid BE 6378. Endrass fired a salvo of three torpedoes at the carrier and heard a detonation. The carrier was in fact HMS Ark Royal (91) (Capt C.S. Holland, RN), accompanied by HMS Hood (51) (Capt I.G. Glennie, RN) and two destroyers, en route to Gibraltar. The carrier was neither hit nor damaged. 
Notes on event

At 16.37 hours on 13 Nov 1941, U-81 fired a spread of four torpedoes at HMS Malaya (01) in the Force H and heard two detonations after 6 minutes 6 seconds and 7 minutes 43 seconds. In fact one torpedo hit HMS Ark Royal (91) (Capt L.E.H. Maund, CBE, RN) amidships, which sank under tow by the tugs HMS Thames and HMS St. Day (W 55) with almost all of her aircraft about 30 miles east of Gibraltar at 08.13 hours on 14 November. One rating was lost. The crew had been evacuated 13 hours after the torpedo hit by HMS Legion (G 74) (Cdr R.F. Jessel, RN) and taken to Gibraltar.

The carrier was returning from Operation Perpetual. On 10 November, she had left Gibraltar together with HMS Argus (D 49) (Capt G.T. Philip, DSC, RN) to ferry 37 Hurricane fighters to Malta under escort by the Force H, formed by HMS Malaya (01) (Capt C. Coppinger, DSC, RN), HMS Hermione (74) (Capt G.N. Oliver, RN) and seven destroyers. Two days later they had launched the fighters and turned back to Gibraltar.

On boardWe have details of 10 people who were on board

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Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

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