Allied Warships

HMS Argus (D 49)

Aircraft Carrier of the Argus class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeAircraft Carrier
PennantD 49 
Built byWilliam Beardmore & Co. (Dalmuir, Scotland) 
Laid downJun 1914 
Launched2 Dec 1917 
Commissioned16 Sep 1918 
End service 

Former Italian passenger liner Conte Rosso, the ship's construction was suspended after the outbreak of World War I. She was purchased unlaunched in August 1916 and converted into an aircraft carrier, the World's first to have a full-length flight deck upon which wheeled aircraft could land and take-off with relative safety. As such, she established the general pattern for future aircraft carriers. Argus was commissioned in September 1918, shortly before the end of the Great War. She spent much of her first decade on the vital work of developing carrier techniques and training aviators in the demanding work of operating aircraft at sea. Her merchant ship hull, relatively small size and modest speed limited her utility as a combat ship, and she was superseded in fleet service as newer carriers were completed during the later 1920s. Laid up early in the next decade, she was later modified for use as mother ship for target aircraft and as a training carrier.

HMS Argus was in reserve at the start of the 2nd World War, she was recommissioned on 7 October 1939

Argus served in a training role during much of World War II, but the desperate circumstances of the first years of that conflict sometimes required that she see front-line service, notably in 1942, when she served with Force H and later supported the landings in North Africa. After further training duty, she was reduced to reserve in late 1943 and was hulked as an accommodations ship in August 1944.

HMS Argus is not listed as active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Argus was sold for scrapping on 5 December 1946. Finally scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1947.


Commands listed for HMS Argus (D 49)

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1Capt. Henry Cecil Bovell, RN7 Oct 193916 Aug 1940
2Capt. Edmund Gerard Noel Rushbrooke, DSC, RN16 Aug 194012 Apr 1941
3Capt. Tom Oliver Bulteel, RN12 Apr 194129 Oct 1941
4Capt. George Tothill Philip, DSC, RN29 Oct 194115 Jan 1943
5Capt. Henry Lockhart St. John Fancourt, RN15 Jan 19436 Oct 1943
6Capt. Villiers Nicholas Surtees, DSO, RN6 Oct 19433 Jan 1944
7A/Cdr. Henry Bell Carleton Holmes, RN3 Jan 194417 Jan 1944
8Capt. Villiers Nicholas Surtees, DSO, RN17 Jan 194427 Jul 1944
9Capt. Robert Henry Campbell Crawford, OBE, RNR27 Jul 194420 Nov 1944
10Cdr. Alan Douglas Bruford, RNVR20 Nov 1944mid 1945

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