HMS Vengeance R.71 - Royal Navy

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Second World War Aircraft Carrier
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HMS Vengeance as Minas Gerais A-11
History of the ship as HMAS Vengeance with the Royal Australian Navy


Please click here for more information.

History of the ship as Minas Gerais with the Brazilian Navy


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Related History Items

HMS Vengeance Association reunion, Novatel, Nottingham, April 2002
Further details can be obtained, by contacting: The Secretary, Derek (Lew) Lewis at: 

See also the Association web page

Colossus-class Light Fleet Carrier 

Vengeance was a light fleet aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy's Colossus Class. She was built by Swan Hunter, launched on 16th November, 1942, and commissioned 14th January, 1945.

Royal Navy 1944-56


First ordered by the Admiralty on 7th August 1942, HMS Vengeance was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited, Wallsend-on-Tyne, Newcastle. Her keel was laid down on 16 November 1942, and she was launched 23 February 1944 by Mrs.D.W. Boyd, wife of Rear Admiral Boyd CB, CBE, DSC. HMS. Vengeance had a total complement of 1,300 men.

She was commissioned by the Bishop of Newcastle on 16th December 1944 as HMS Vengeance under the Command of Captain D.M.L. Neame, and moved to the Tyne Commissioning Quay.

                           HMS Vengeance in 1944

Her first Commission was in the Home Waters from 16th December 1944 to 10th March 1945, embarking her first squadrons on 24-26th January 1945, two Squadron's of Corsair's and No.812 Sqdn. embarked with 18 Barracuda's from H.M.S. Owl, Fearn, Scotland. No.1850 Sqdn. embarked with 24 Corsair's from H.M.S. Venerable (R04) on the 25th February 1945. Following which she carried out "Working up" trials and ship's and aircraft crew training in the Clyde.

Four months after Commissioning she commenced her first Operational Commission which was to last 1 1/2 years, leaving Greenock, Scotland on 12th March 1945 for the Mediterranean, and thence to join the British Pacific Fleet. 
The Commanding Officers of  HMS Vengeance
  • Captain D.M.L. Neame RN, Captain D.S.O. Farrer RM

HMS Vengeance was destined to form part of the British Pacific Fleet's 11th ACS (Aircraft Carrier Squadron), Light Fleet Carriers under the Command of Rear Admiral Harcourt and including HMS Colossus, HMS Glory and HMS Venerable. At this time the British Pacific Fleet itself comprised 336 ships which included seventeen aircraft carriers.

She set sail from the Clyde with her sister carriers HMS Colossus, HMS Glory and HMS Venerable, and escorted by the Destroyer Escorts, HMCS Assiniboine, HMS Cotton, HMS Inman, HMS Stockham, HMS Tartar and HMS Ulysses. Their route took her via Gibraltar, Malta and the Mediterranean, because of German U-boat activity in the Clyde approaches, North & Irish Sea's. 

On the 5th April 1945, Corsair aircraft from No.1850 Squadron escorted Barracuda of No.812 Squadron to Syracusa, Sicily on bombing raids. This was closely followed on the 8th May 1945, when HMS Vengeance and her aircraft squadrons celebrated 'VE Day'  in Valletta Harbour, Malta.

Continuing towards the war in the Pacific, where the 11th ACS (Aircraft Carrier Squadron) was ultimately destined to cover the Invasion of Japan, HMS Vengeance briefly remained in India for 1 month where her squadrons disembarked to HMS Valluru, Tambaram, Madras, and HMS Garuda, Coimbatore, Cochin, in Southern India, to take part in new weapon training, air gunnery and dive bombing practise. 

On 22nd July 1945 HMS Vengeance arrived in Australia, where her squadrons disembarked to HMS Nabswick, Jervis Bay, Australia (MONAB V). On 13th August 1945 the squadron embarked on Vengeance in Sydney Harbour and were briefed for an Operation against the heavily defended Japanese held Island, Truk. However, on 15th August 1945, (VJ Day) the Pacific War ended.

HMS Vengeance in Australia 1945

1850 Squadron         24 Corsairs
812 Squadron          18 Barracudas

The ship immediately sailed for Hong Kong, arriving on the 3rd September 1945 to take the surrender of the Japanese Forces and provide policing duties, her squadrons being based at HMS Nabcatcher, Kai-Tak Airfield (MONAB VIII), in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Amongst others the Officer's and Men of HMS Vengeance, liberated the Royal Hong
Kong Yacht Club, from the Japanese.

1850 sqdn corsairs ranged on deck of HMS Vengeance in 1945

The British Pacific Fleet's 1st and 11th Aircraft Carrier Squadrons, of Fleet and Light Fleet Carriers, were amalgamated into the 1st ACS later in 1945.

No 4 squadron Royal Indian Air Force

On 1st March 1946, HMS Vengeance was transferred to the British East Indies Fleet. A month later, on 8th April 1946, she sailed with Spitfire Mk VIIIs aircraft of No. 4 Sqn, Royal Indian Air Force, and Mk XIVEs of No 17 Squadron RAF and set course for Iwakuni, a port of Kyushu island, Japan.  Shortly thereafter, the Squadrons moved to its permanent location at Miho on Sloustin Island, to form part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces, where they undertook various flying tasks which were mainly maritime patrol over the sea to ensure there was no subversive activity or smuggling.

She finally completed First Commission on 12th August 1946 returning to Gosport, Hampshire. 

In her subsequent Royal Navy Commissions, she undertook an experimental Arctic cruise participating in cold-wealther trials in 1948-49. Between 29th March to 18th November 1949, HMS Contest, was a C Class Destroyer, whose duty was to be guard destroyer 'chasing' aircraft carriers to pick up any ditched pilots, HMS Illustrious and HMS Vengeance were two of the carriers involved. 

Vengeance's role in the early 1950s was as a troop and aircraft transport between 1951-52, and subsequently from 1952 till 1955 she was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy. 

On 13th August 1955, Vengeance was returned to the Royal Navy and reduced to Class 3 Reserve, finally being sold to Brazil as Minas Gerais in December 1956 although Fleet Air Arm aircraft flew from her again after her refit in Holland. On 18 October 1960 flight tests of landing and take-offs with RN aircraft of 700 Squadron were carried out, with 27 launchings of the turboprop Gannet and 34 with the Seahawk. After the tests, the British observers considered the ship as one of most equipped aircraft carriers in the world at that time. She then sailed for Brazil, where she was recommissioned 6 December 1960.

See also the history of the Vengeance in the Royal Australian Navy and in the Brazilian Navy.

Select online references:
HMS Vengeance with 1850 and 812 Squadrons website
HMS VENGEANCE aircraft carrier profile. Fleet Air Arm Archive
HMS Vengeance - The Royal Navy Ships of Victor Johns
HMS Vengeance by
HMS Vengeance - Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm
British, RN Aircraft Carriers, CAM and MAC-ships in WW2
British maritime news - HMS Vengeance enters Royal Navy
4 Sqn, Royal Indian Air Force and HMS Vengeance
The Spitfire - An Operational History - 9. The Post-War
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club History

Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier
Displacement: 13,190 tons. (Standard). 18,040 tons. (Full Load).
Length: 693ft. 9ins. Beam: 80 feet. Draught: 23ft. 1in. (Forward). 23ft. 5ins. (Aft).
Engines Two shaft Parsons geared steam turbines, Four Admiralty 3 drum boilers, delivering 36,000 shp
Speed 25 Knots
Range/Endurance 5,900 miles (top speed)
Oil Fuel 3,196 tons
Armament Twenty Four 2 pdr. Pom Pom quad mountings. Twenty Two 20mm. Oerlikon twin mountings. Ten 20mm. Oerlikon single mountings. (replaced by 12-21 single 40mm. Bofor's in July 1945).
Aircraft complement Thirty Seven to Forty Eight. 
Barracuda Mk.II's. Chance Vought Corsair Mk.IV's. 
(Barracuda II's replaced by Fairey Firefly FR.1's  January 1946). 
Crew complement 1,300
Many thanks to the Vengeance information from Ron Davis author of the HMS Vengeance with 1850 and 812 Squadrons website

© 2001-2002 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the 
Save the Vengeance Appeal and Museum Project Team