Allied Warships

HMS Indomitable (92)

Aircraft Carrier of the Indomitable class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeAircraft Carrier
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered6 Jul 1937 
Laid down10 Nov 1937 
Launched26 Mar 1940 
Commissioned10 Oct 1941 
End service5 Oct 1953 

After commissioning HMS Indomitable sailed to the West Indies for work-up. Had it not been for her grounding in Jamaica while working up in November 1941, Indomitable might well have been sunk the following month, as she was originally intended to join the battleship HMS Prince of wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse at Singapore, both those ships were sunk in December 1941.

In January 1942, she joined the Eastern Fleet at Ceylon and ferried RAF Hurricanes to Java at the end of that month. She took part in Diego Suarez operation with HMS Illustrious in May 1942, and exercised with the RAF off Ceylon in June 1942. In May 1942, HMS Indomitable sailed to Madagascar to attempt to seize a French Navy base at Diego Suarez in order to prevent the Japanese from using it as a submarine base.

Indomitable took part in Operation "Pedestal" - the Malta convoy on 3 August 1942. Indomitable had her flight-deck armour pierced by an 1100lb bomb, in the Mediterranean in August 1942 when enemy bombers scored 2 hits and 3 near-misses; that and another hit aft where there was no armour put her out of action being repaired in the USA until February 1943. Indomitable sailed to the Mediterranean in February 1943, and was torpedoed on 16 July by an Italian S79 aircraft(pilot Caselli) while covering the Sicily landings. She underwent repairs in USA from July 1943-February 1944.

She then joined the Eastern in June 1944 for air strikes against targets on Sumatra with HMS Victorious on 29 August and 18 September, 1944. This was followed by air strikes against the Nicobar Islands with HMS Victorious on 17 and 19 October. She was involved in an unsuccessful attack on Medan, Sumatra, with HMS Illustrious on 20 December 1944. On 4 January 1945, she took part in a successful air strike against Medan, with HMS Indefatigable and HMS Victorious, and then immediately afterwards was involved in further strikes against refineries in Palembang, Sumatra on 24 and 29 January 1945.

Indomitable was in Sydney to join the British Pacific Fleet in February 1945, returning to active duties with air strikes against Sakishima Gunto and Formosa in March-April 1945. On 4 May she was hit by a Kamikaze - but received no damage -the Kamikaze aircraft simply slid up the armoured flight deck and over the side. She later arrived back at Sydney for a refit in June 1945. She again departed from Sydney in mid-August for the re-occupation of Hong Kong, her aircraft flying their last combat missions on 31 August and 1 September against Japanese suicide boats at Hong Kong.

She finally returned to the UK in November 1945 with British personnel from Australia having ditched all her aircraft overboard off Sydney Post war Indomitable was involved in two more repatriation voyages in 1946, she then was put in reserve and undertook a refit between 1947-50. She again was active in the Home Fleet between 1950-53, but reduced to reserve on the Clyde on 5 October 1953. She was sold for scrapping in October 1955.


Commands listed for HMS Indomitable (92)

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1Capt. Harold Edward Morse, DSO, RN4 Jul 194125 Feb 1942
2Capt. Thomas Hope Troubridge, RN25 Feb 19429 Sep 1942
3Cdr. Patrick William Wootten Wootten, RN9 Sep 194215 Dec 1942
4Capt. Guy Grantham, DSO, RN15 Dec 1942Aug 1943
5A/Capt. Patrick William Wootten Wootten, RNAug 1943late 1943
6A/Capt. Ughtred Henry Ramsden James, RNlate 19432 Nov 1943
7Capt. John Arthur Symons Eccles, RN2 Nov 194324 Jan 1944
8Cdr. Eric Roland John Oddie, DSO, RN24 Jan 194430 Jan 1944
9Capt. John Arthur Symons Eccles, RN30 Jan 194428 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Indomitable include:

3 Jun 1943
HMS Usurper (Lt. D.R.O. Mott, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Campbeltown with aircraft from HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN). (1)

19 Aug 1944

Operation Banquet,
Carrier raid against Padang, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies by ships of the Eastern Fleet.

On 19 July 1944 ships from the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. The Task Force was called Force 64 and was made up of the following ships; British aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN), the British battleship HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

On the 17th the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942 escorted by the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) had already gone to sea to be in a position to refuel ships from Force 64 on the 22th.

On the 24th the carriers launched aircraft to attack Padang. They claimed to have sunk a transport and to have damaged two more transports. (2)


  1. ADM 173/18392
  2. Files and (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4980 (British National Archives, Kew, London)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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