Allied Warships

Aircraft Carriers

Ark Royal class

1 ship

The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (91) of the Royal Navy. She was lost on 13 Nov 1941.

Technical information

TypeAircraft Carrier
Displacement22000 BRT 
Length800 feet (oa) 
Complement1570 men 

16 4.5" AA guns (8x2)
32 2pdr AA (4x8)
60 aircraft 

Max speed31 knots
EnginesGeared turbines, 3 shafts 
Power102000 HP 
Notes on class

HMS Ark Royal was the first large aircraft carrier to be laid down as such for the Royal Navy. There was a high continuous flight deck 56ft above the deep load waterline with an unusually long stern overhang, and an island and funnel to starboard. The flight deck was an integral part of the hull structure, serving as the upper strength deck, and had an usable area of 720ft x 95 ft. It was provided with two catapults that could launch 12.000lb at 66kts. There were two hangars measuring 568ft upper, 452ft lower x 60ft x 16ft, and three rectangular lifts, two measuring 45ft x 22ft and one 45ft x 25ft. These each had two platforms, of which the upper one travelled between the flight deck and the upper hangar and the lower one between the two hangars. This meant that it took three movements to transport aircraft from the flight deck to the lower hangar. Petrol stowage was 100.000gal. The belt was taken to the lower hangar deck abreast the funnel, to the upper deck fore and aft of this and to the lower deck by the forward and aft 4.5in magazines; there was a 3½in armour deck at the various levels of the upper edge and over the steering gear. There was a sandwich type underwater protection with a 1½in protective bulkhead 13ft 4½in from the side amidships. The system was designed to withstand a 750lb charge but trials while Ark Royal was building showed that the bulkhead stiffeners had to be modified. There were three boilers and three engine rooms, and it should be noted that the tactical diameter was undesirably large at 1010yds. The 4.5in guns were in open-backed mountings and apart from blast effects could fire across the flight deck. Two more 8-barreled pompom mountings were added in May 1941. 

All ships of the Ark Royal class

Royal Navy Royal Navy (more on Royal Navy)

HMS Ark Royal (91) Lost on 13 Nov 1941

1 Aircraft Carrier of the Ark Royal class. 1 of them was lost.

Full wartime service history on this vessel.

See all Aircraft Carrier classes.

Ark Royal class ships hit by U-boats (1)

13 Nov 1941HMS Ark RoyalSunkU-81

British Aircraft Carriers 1939-45 (New Vanguard)

Angus Konstam

Books dealing with this subject include:

British Aircraft Carriers 1939-45 (New Vanguard), Angus Konstam, 2010

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