Fleet Carrier

Centaur was built by Harland & Wolff, being laid down on 30 May 1944. She was launched on 22 April 1947 and completed 1 September 1953.

Centaur was paid off in December 1965, after which she was used as an accommodation ship at Devonport and Portsmouth until 1971. Stricken early 1971. Sold for scrapping to Queenborough Shipbreaking, Kent, 11 August 1972. Broken up from 8 September 1972 at Cairn Ryan.

Battle Honours
None in WWII

None in WWII.

Squadrons and Aircraft
None in WWII.

Associations and Reunions

HMS Bulwark, Albion and Centaur Association
Contact: Email:

Chairman: Frank Jones
Secretary: John Truscott
49 Padnell Avenue, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hants. PO8 8DT. Tel. 02392 431150 (Email:

Newsletter "R08"
Email Editor:

Carrier name HMS Centaur
Class Centaur
Type Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier
Ships in Class Albion, Centaur, Hermes, Bulwark, Elephant, Monmouth, Arrogant & Polyphemus
Launched Laid down May 1944. Launched April 1947. Completed September 1953. 
Tonnage Displacement: 20,260 tons standard ; 26,200 tons full load
Engines Propulsion: 4 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 2 shafts, Parsons geared turbines, 76,000 shp
Speed in Knots Speed: 28 knots
Armament Armament: 2 sextuple Bofors 40 mm AA ; 8 twin Bofors 40 mm ; 4 single Bofors 40 mm ; 4 single 3 pdr saluting guns
Crew Complement Complement: 1390 (including air group)
Range  Range: 5,040 nmiles at 20 knots ; 3,500 tons fuel oil
Length (ft/inches) Dimensions: 737.75 oa x 120.5 x 27.8 feet
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Armour Armour: 1 to 2 inch flight deck
Number of aircraft carried Aircraft: up to 42
Fate of carrier Paid off December 1965. Stricken early 1971. Broken up from September 1972. 
Notes Due to differences in completion and refits, the technical details for Centaur and Hermes are listed individually.

Eight ships of the Centaur class were ordered during the second world war as enlarged follow-ons to the Majestics, with more powerful machinery allowing fleet speeds. Four ships (Hermes, Monmouth, Arrogant & Polyphemus) were cancelled in October 1945, the first two of which had been laid down and were broken up on the slipway. To maintain the famous carrier name, one of the ships to be completed, Elephant, was renamed Hermes. Of the four ships completed only the first, Centaur, was completed to the original design with an axial flight deck although a small extension was soon added to allow an angled landing area. 

HMS Centaur 1943 - 1972", by Neil McCart 
World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway
Sturtivant, R & Ballance, T  (1994). 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1994 ISBN: 0 85130 223 8

The World’s Warships 1941 by Francis E. McMurtrie (1944). Jane's London 1941 1st ed. 

Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II by Francis E. McMurtrie (Editor)(1984). 320 pages. Crescent Books; ISBN: 0517679639

        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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