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Argus file photo [1112]


CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassArgus-class Aircraft Carrier
BuilderGlasgow, Scotland
Laid Down1 Jan 1914
Launched2 Dec 1917
Commissioned6 Sep 1918
Decommissioned5 Dec 1946
Displacement14,000 tons standard; 15,750 tons full
Length576 feet
Beam85 feet
Draft22 feet
MachineryTwelve cylindrical boilers; four Parsons geared turbines, 4 shafts
Power Output20,000 shaft horsepower
Speed20 knots
Range4370nm at 16 knots
Armamentfour 1 x 4


ww2dbaseThe Argus was originally an Italian ship. In 1916 the Beardmore commercial yard purchased the incomplete hull (originally destined to be the passenger liner Conte Rosso) to complete as a WW1-era carrier. She was the first carrier in the world to have a full-length flight deck. She was commissioned shortly before the end of the war, thus did not see much action. Her original civilian design gave her a slow speed, therefore during the inter-war years she served as a training carrier instead of a combat ship.

ww2dbaseAt the start of WW2, she continued her role as a training carrier, but the war quickly sent her on to combat duties. She carried Sea Hurricanes and Fulmars to defend transport shipping in the Mediterranean, though never really gave up her long-held duty as a training ship for practicing deck landing. She also participated in the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 as a part of Force H. In late 1943, her role was converted to an accommodation ship.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, she was sold on 5 December 1946 and scrapped in 1947.

ww2dbaseSources: Fleet Air Arm Archive, Naval Historical Center.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2005

Aircraft Carrier Argus Interactive Map

Argus Operational Timeline

6 Sep 1918 Argus was commissioned into service.
12 Jun 1940 HMS Cumberland was joined by HM Cruiser Devonshire until 14 Jun 1940 when Devonshire was replaced by ships from Home Fleet including HM Battleship Hood and HM Aircraft Carrier Argus.
2 Oct 1940 Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci sighted British armed merchant cruiser HMS Cicilia in the Atlantic Ocean at 1825 hours. At 1910 hours, she fired two torpedoes at the distance of 350 meters. Commanding officer Ferdinando Calda assumed that the torpedo could not miss at such short range and ordered the submarine to surface to sink the target with deck guns, but upon surfacing he was surprised with an unharmed destroyer, and an aircraft carrier, HMS Argus, that the Italians had not detected before. The Leonardo da Vinci dove to escape, firing three rounds at the British ships in the meanwhile; HMS Cicilia also fired 13 rounds. All 16 rounds missed their targets.
7 Sep 1941 HMS Argus delivered Hurricane fighters of No. 81 Squadron RAF and No. 134 Squadron RAF to Vaenga near Murmansk, Russia.
5 Dec 1946 Argus was decommissioned from service.


Argus in camouflage, circa late 1918, photo 1 of 3Argus in camouflage, circa late 1918, photo 2 of 3 (R-class battleship sailed near by)
See all 6 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Argus

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More on Argus
Event(s) Participated:
» Malta Campaign

» UK Aircraft Carrier Functions
» UK Aircraft Carrier Time Operational

Aircraft Carrier Argus Photo Gallery
Argus in camouflage, circa late 1918, photo 1 of 3Argus in camouflage, circa late 1918, photo 2 of 3 (R-class battleship sailed near by)
See all 6 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Argus

Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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