Fleet Aircraft Carrier


HMS Implacable was built by Fairfield, laid down on 21 February 1939, launched 10 December 1942 and commissioned 28 August 1944. She subsequently joined the British Pacific Fleet 1945. Refitted 1948-49. Paid off 1954 and stricken 1955. Broken up from November 1955.

Implacable was ordered in 1938 and her sister ship in the Implacable Class, HMS Indefatigable was ordered a year later.  In response to a Naval Staff requirement for greater speed and increased aircraft complement, an extra turbine and shaft were installed and the lower hangar was extended forward so that it was 46 feet longer than that in Indomitable. The armour plating on the hangar sides was increased to 2", and the height of the lower hangar was lowered by 2 feet so that both hangars had an overhead clearance of only 14 feet. The result was very cramped accommodation spaces, and a restriction on the type of aircraft that could be operated - the hangars were too low for Corsairs, and due to the unavailability of Hellcats the ships were compelled to carry short-range Seafires. The main external differences were the much enlarged funnel and longer island.

Construction was halted in 1940 by order of Winston Churchill, and even after it was resumed little priority was given to their completion. Implacable took 5 years to build, and by the time she was completed her sister was fully operational and already at sea in combat.

HMS Implacable's service history commenced in September 1944 as part of the Home Fleet. She took part in anti-shipping operations off Norway in 26-29 October, and on 27 November 1944. Following being drydocked to repair weather damage in December 1944, she departed for the British Pacific Fleet on 10 March 1945, where her  large air groups, along with those of her sister ship, were responsible for the majority of sorties flown by the carriers of the British Pacific Fleet. She arrived at Sydney in mid-May; and took part in "training strikes" on Truk between 14-15 June 1945, and strikes against Japanese home islands between July-August 1945. She finally returned to the UK from the Pacific on 3 June 1946.

HMS Implacable acted as a deck-landing training ship in the Home Fleet between 1946-49, and was again an  operational carrier in Home Fleet 1949-52. She became a training ship between January 1952-August 1954 and was paid off on August 1954. Implacable was broken up at Inverkeithing from November 1955.

Battle Honours
Norway 1944, Japan 1945

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
August 1944:  48 aircraft - 24 Seafires and 24 Barracudas
March 1945:  81aircraft - 48 Seafires,  21 Avengers and 12 Fireflies

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
1771 Feb 1944-Oct 1945 Firefly I
828 Aug-Dec 1944 Barracuda II
841 Aug-Oct 1944 Barracuda II
887 Oct 1944 Seafire F.III/L.III
894 dt Oct-Nov 1944 Seafire III
880 Oct 1944-Sept 1945 Seafire F.III/L.III
801 Nov 1944-June 1946 Seafire
881 dt Dec 1944 Wildcat VI
828 Jan 1945-June 1946 Avenger I-III

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Implacable
Class Implacable Class
Type Fleet Aircraft Carrier
Ships in Class Implacable, Indefatigable
Launched Laid down 21 February 1939. Launched 10 December 1942. Commissioned 28 August 1944.
Tonnage Displacement: 23,825 tons standard ; 32,624 tons full load
Engines Propulsion: Steam Turbines (8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 4 shafts, Parsons geared turbines), 148,000 shp.
Speed in Knots Speed: 32 knots
Armament Guns: 8 x twin 4.5 inch ; 48 x 2 pdr AA ; 27 x 20 mm 
Crew Complement 1550 Officers & Ratings, 700 Air Group
Range  Range: 11,000 nmiles at 14 knots
Length (ft/inches) Dimensions: 673 pp, 766.5 oa x 95.75 x 29 feet
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) 760
Flight Deck width (ft/inches) 90
Armour 4" belt 4" hangar sides 3" flight deck 2" hangar decks 
Number of aircraft carried Aircraft: 54
Fate of carrier Paid off 1954 and stricken 1955. Broken up from November 1955.
Notes The Implacable Class carriers were a follow-on from the Illustrious class which took Indomitable's modifications a stage further with a full length two-level hangar. Hangar height was even less than in the Illustrious' due to an attempt to stay within the London Naval Treaty's limitations on displacement. By the end of the war, deck parking allowed 81 aircraft to be carried. The lack of hangar height rendered the ships almost useless after the war, unable to operate many modern aircraft.

HMS Implacable Class in THE ROYAL NAVY WWII website Details and specifications of the Implacable class including summary history
History of Implacable in British  
Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS FAIREY FIREFLY F.R. Mk. I, 1771 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Implacable, British Pacific Fleet, March 1945
Aircraft profiles are offered by Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals, eg Firefly F Mk.II, Aircraft profile of Firefly F Mk.II, 1771 Squadron, HMS Implacable
Royal Navy Ships of  World War 2: Implacable class Large FleetCarriers  
Specifications in British_carriers.htm HMS Implacable
Earlier ship of 18th C Duguay Trouin (HMS Implacable) Home Page 
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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