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HMS Indomitable file photo [26618]

Indomitable

CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassIllustrious-class Aircraft Carrier
Builder NameVickers-Armstrong, Barrow Shipyard
Laid Down10 Nov 1937
Launched26 Mar 1940
Commissioned10 Oct 1941
Decommissioned1 May 1953
Displacement30,530 tons standard; 35,500 tons full
Length781 feet
Beam103 feet
Draft31 feet
Speed30 knots
Range11,000 nm at 14 knots
Crew1600
Armor4 inch side 1 inch hangar sides 3 inch flight deck 2 inch hangar decks
Flight deck680 ft x 95 ft
Aircraft48

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe HMS Indomitable was the fourth Illustrious-class carrier, though she differed from the earlier three carriers of the class after a modification to have a complement of 45 aircraft instead of 33. This was achieved by both decreasing the thickness of hangar walls from 41 to 11 inches and by raising the flight deck by 14 feet. This class of carriers came out of the 1937 Naval Programme.

ww2dbaseUpon commission, HMS Indomitable was assigned to join the venerable HMS Repulse and the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to defend Singapore, however a Nov 1941 accident off Jamaica (she ran aground) forced her to turn north to Virginia, United States, for repairs. This unfortunate event was regarded by most as the single most fortunate event for the ship - had she been able to reach Singapore as scheduled, she would had provided some air defense against the invading Japanese when they attacked the British fleet off Kuantan, British Malaya, but most agree that she would had been destroyed along with her would-be fleet mates. In Jan 1942, she joined the British Eastern Fleet at Ceylon. Between Jan and Feb, she ferried Hurricane fighters between Ceylon, Java, and Singapore. On 24 Mar, she rejoined the Eastern Fleet. In May 1942, Indomitable and her class mate Illustrious attacked the French port of Diego Suarez at Madagascar, in support of a large British landing operation. The goal of the operation was to prevent Japanese usage of the port as a remote submarine base. She returned to Europe briefly, serving in the Mediterranean in the summer of 1942, participating in Operation Pedestal. During Operation Pedestal, where she was part of the escort force of the largest convoy, her flight deck would be heavily damaged by a 1100lb bomb. She was sent to the US for repairs. On 16 Jul 1943, while supporting the Sicily, Italy operations, she was torpedoed either by a SM.79 bomber (crewed by Captain Carlo Capelli and Lieutenant Ennio Caselli) of 204a Squadriglia of the Italian 41st Torpedo Bomber Group or a German Ju 88 bomber. She was again sent to the United States for repairs. She would not return to service until Feb 1944.

ww2dbaseHMS Indomitable returned to the British Eastern Fleet in Jun 1944, participating in attacks on Sumatra (29 Aug and 18 Sep 1944), Nicobar Islands (17 and 19 Oct 1944), and Sumatra (again, on 20 Dec 1944). She would be reassigned to the British Pacific Fleet, and attacked Medan (4 Jan 1945) and Palembang Sumatra (24 and 29 Jan 1945). After some time in port, she would return to active duties and participated in attacks on Sakishima Gunto and Taiwan in March-April 1945. On 4 May she was hit by kamikaze, but no extensive damage was observed. She returned to Sydney for refitting in Jun 1945 before assisting in the liberation of Hong Kong in August and September 1945.

ww2dbaseThe Indomitable returned to England in Nov 1945, and was placed in reserve in 1947. She was commissioned again between 1950 to 1953. She was scrapped in October 1955.

ww2dbaseSources:
Fleet Air Arm Archive
Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Mar 2005

Aircraft Carrier Indomitable Interactive Map

Indomitable Operational Timeline

10 Oct 1941 Indomitable was commissioned into service.
31 Dec 1941 HMS Indomitable arrived at Cape Town, South Africa en route to the Far East.
2 Jan 1942 HMS Indomitable departed Cape Town, South Africa with Sea Hurricane aircraft aboard.
9 Jan 1942 HMS Indomitable was joined by Australian destroyers Nestor, Nizan, and Napier off Cape Guardafui in eastern Africa.
17 Jan 1942 HMS Indomitable departed Port Sudan in British East Africa with 48 RAF Hurricane fighters for Singapore in Operation Opposition.
21 Jan 1942 HMS Indomitable refueled at Addu Atoll, Maldive Islands and departed for Java.
24 Jan 1942 HMS Indomitable refueled near the Cocos Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean.
27 Jan 1942 100 miles off Java, HMS Indomitable launched the 48 RAF Hurricane fighters that she was transporting. These fighters would fly to Java and Dutch Borneo; they were intended to ultimately reach Singapore to bolster defenses there.
2 Feb 1942 HMS Indomitable, with her escorting Australian destroyers Nizam, Nestor, and Napier, arrived at Trincomalee, Ceylon.
16 Feb 1942 HMS Indomitable departed Trincomalee, Ceylon for Aden, escorted by Australian destroyers Napier and Nestor.
22 Feb 1942 HMS Indomitable and escorting Australian destroyers Napier and Nestor arrived at Aden.
25 Feb 1942 HMS Indomitable arrived at Port Sudan in British East Africa and received Hurricane fighters and personnel of No. 30 and No. 261 Squadrons.
27 Feb 1942 HMS Indomitable departed Port Sudan, British East Africa, escorted by Australian destroyers Napier and Nestor.
6 Mar 1942 HMS Indomitable launched the Hurricane fighters of No. 30 Squadron for Colombo, Ceylon.
7 Mar 1942 HMS Indomitable launched the Hurricane fighters of No. 261 Squadron for Colombo, Ceylon, then sailed for Aden.
24 Mar 1942 HMS Indomitable joined the British Eastern Fleet.
8 May 1942 French submarine Monge attacked British carrier HMS Indomitable off Diego-Suárez, Madagascar at 0756 hours; all torpedoes missed. British destroyers HMS Active and HMS Panther counterattacked and sank Monge.
12 Aug 1942 British carrier HMS Indomitable was disabled south of Sardinia, Italy.
16 Jul 1943 While supporting the Sicily, Italy operations, HMS Indomitable was torpedoed either by a SM.79 bomber (crewed by Captain Carlo Capelli and Lieutenant Ennio Caselli) of 204a Squadriglia of the Italian 41st Torpedo Bomber Group or a German Ju 88 bomber. The British carrier would be sent to the United States for repairs.
29 Jan 1945 Aircraft from HMS Indomitable struck Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies.
30 Aug 1945 A British battle squadron led by the aircraft carrier Indomitable entered Hong Kong to reoccupy the Crown Colony.
1 May 1953 Indomitable was decommissioned from service.

Photographs

Starboard bow view of HMS Indomitable at anchor off Norfolk, Virginia, United States, 21 Nov 1941Starboard quarter view of HMS Indomitable at anchor off Norfolk, Virginia, United States, 21 Nov 1941
See all 9 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Indomitable



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
11 Jul 2006 09:28:39 AM

Surprised no mention of large explosion in1953 that probably caused the end of her useful life.
2. Rob Stuart says:
18 Oct 2009 06:08:25 AM

The statement that "In Jan 1942, she joined the British Eastern Fleet at Ceylon and ferried Hurricane fighters from Ceylon to Java as her first task." is not correct. She did not ferry any Hurricanes from Ceylon to Java. In fact, she ferried Hurricanes from Port Sudan to Java and then another batch from Port Sudan to Ceylon, as follows: 31 Dec 41: Indomitable arrives at Cape Town in route to the Far East. 2 Jan 42: Having obtained replacement Sea Hurricanes from the aircraft transport Engadine, Indomitable leaves Cape Town and heads for Aden and Port Sudan at 26 knots. Australian destroyers Nestor, Nizan and Napier, which departed Alexandria on 3 January, meet Indomitable off Guardafui on 9 January. 17 Jan: Operation Opposition: Indomitable leaves Port Sudan with 48 RAF Hurricanes for Singapore. 21 Jan: Indomitable refuels at Addu Atoll and then heads for Java. 24 Jan: Indomitable refuels at or off the Cocos from an unidentified oiler. 27-28 Jan: 100 miles off Java, Indomitable flies off the RAF Hurricanes. 2 Feb: Indomitable, Nizam, Nestor and Napier arrive at Trincomalee to refuel. 16 Feb: Indomitable, Napier and Nestor depart for Aden and Port Sudan. 22 Feb: Indomitable, Napier and Nestor arrive at Aden. 25 Feb: Indomitable arrives at Port Sudan and hoists on board 42 (60?) (24 belonging to 30 Sqn, 18 to 261 Sqn?) Hurricanes of 30 and 261 Squadrons. 30 Squadron’s main body (200 personnel) embarks as well. 27 Feb: Indomitable, Napier and Nestor depart Port Sudan. 6 March: 30 Squadron flies off Indomitable to Ratmalana, which was just south of Colombo 7 March: 261 Squadron flies off Indomitable to Ratmalana and then flies to China Bay. Indomitable then returned to Aden, where two of its own squadrons had been landed to make room for the Hurricanes. It rejoined the Eastern Fleet on 24 March.
3. scott king says:
19 Oct 2010 06:18:48 AM

this is to the anonymous person that spoke about the explosion in 1953, i am sat here with my farther that was on that ship in 53 when it happened, and like yourself we have found it funny that nothing was said about it, which we feel is wrong when 18 people was killed. if you find any information on this, please can you contact me on [email protected] thanks
4. nick says:
27 Oct 2010 02:32:50 PM

my great grandfather was on the ship when it was bombed it is funny how it wasnt mentioned. i cant remember his position but he worked down in the boiler room.
5. Walker says:
6 Jan 2011 02:14:15 PM

My Uncle Leading Seaman G.R Dudley was awarded the BEM following the explosion and fire in 1953. For attempting to save lives. He was badly burned in the fire.
6. Steve Whyatt says:
7 Jan 2011 02:06:41 AM

My Dad, Tom Whyatt was a stoker on Indomitable during the war. Can anyone tell me where to find a record of his service aboard her? He was injured during an explosion on the carrier but I dont know when or where. Ended up in hospital, he had just come up on deck for some fresh air when it occured! Does any one remember him? My email is [email protected] Regards, Steve
7. Kev Sparrow says:
18 Jan 2011 05:10:52 AM

My Dad also served on this carrier post war as a radio technician I believe, mentioned something about a heavy storm buckling the deck.
8. Paul h says:
4 Feb 2011 08:03:01 AM

hi my grandad was on that ship Fred Milner if anyone knows of him please contact me [email protected] Thanks
9. Dave B says:
15 Aug 2012 09:52:11 AM

My father, Bill Barnes was on the Indomitable and was on Operation Pedestal (Malta Convoy). He told me how it was bombed and many lives lost. He was on the Pom Pom guns and the other side of the ship was hit and those gunners were killed. He had many photographs of the damage and also the different places the ship visited.
10. George says:
7 Jan 2013 08:28:53 AM

My Dad Harry Hebborn served on this Ship. I remember him talking once about a friend dying, and Ceylon being a beautiful country.
11. Annette Sinclair-Ball says:
16 Jun 2014 06:28:36 AM

My Dad served aboard this ship, after the war, his name was William Gordon Sinclair, I remember stories he told me and saw pictures of places they visited.Does anyone remember him?
12. Francesco Ciarlini Koerner says:
29 Oct 2014 01:12:15 AM

There are sources that state that the carrier on July 16th 1943 wasn't damaged by a Ju.88 but by an Italian SM.79 piloted by Captain Carlo Capelli.
13. Royce says:
3 Dec 2014 12:12:28 PM

My dad was ab aa2 arp ado sight operator eclo his name was Joe Cheffings he died in 2004 aged 85 and he told me it was Italian torpedo that hit killing 60 men,the gash was so big you could put 2 double decker buses end to end.
14. Andy Maslin says:
20 Feb 2015 11:11:24 AM

My father served aboard HMS Indomitable as a Writer and was on board when they sailed towards Japan to assist in a planned attack. The two atomic bombs were dropped and so the Indomitable sailed to Australia and berthed in Sydney. My great Aunt who had been married to a sea captain (merchant navy) was socially very well connected and took my father under her wing. He accompanied her to cocktail parties in flash apartments overlooking Sydney harbour. She got him a motorcycle to ride around on and fixed him up with a girl. When the Indomitable left port, a message was received saying that Paul Maslin, my father, was to be returned to Sydney. My father worked closely with the officer who dealt with these matters and persuaded him not to send him back. There was an odd bloke called Hubbard who didn't 'fit in', so they sent him back instead. An interesting story. I often wonder, as did my father, who died in January 2012, what became of Hubbard. Did he stay in Oz? Regards, Andy Maslin REM1 D124075K
15. Paul Fretwell says:
23 Mar 2015 09:44:08 AM

My dad served as an engine fitter with the Fleet Air Arm. He joined Indomitable when she first sailed with dockyard mateys still finishing her off. Over the next four years he stayed with the ship serving in many parts of the world including Pedestal Arctic convoys Torch and the Sicily landings. Whilst on the Pedestal convoy he was working on a spitfire on an out rigger when an Italian submarine surfaced along side. The submarine crew opened fire on the Indomitable which could not depress its guns enough to fire back. HMS Wolverine an escort destroyer rammed the submarine and sank it badly damaging its bow. Dad loved the ship and the time he spent on it and like most seamen believed it was the finest ship in the fleet.
16. Danny corson says:
25 May 2015 09:18:58 AM

my uncle was on her 1942-1946 I have his photo album covering a lot of this period he was a radio operator
17. Phillip Atkinson says:
17 Jun 2015 06:34:20 PM

My father Sub-Lieutenant John Atkinson, joined the HMS Indomitable in Sydney and was a decoder for the Admiral. Haven't any photos or detail of is time aboard so would love it if any could come to light.
18. Neil Watkins says:
11 Sep 2015 01:13:25 AM

My father in law Albert Edward Pollard served on the Indomitable from Mar 1944 to Jan 1946 as a Naval Airman it would be interesting for Sue my wife if anybody remembered him!
19. Michael Lyle Jeanmaire says:
15 Oct 2015 05:25:03 AM

My grandfather served on the HMS Indomitable Georg Lyle Harvey, if anyone knows of him please contact me. Mike Lyle Jeanmaire [email protected]
20. Ben Robson says:
27 Oct 2015 03:49:16 AM

My grandfather (Earnest Robson) served on the Indom during WWII and served during Operation Pedestal. I believe he left her as a Petty Officer (but I am unsure on this) and I believe he worked in the boiler room.
21. Craig Scott says:
13 Nov 2015 11:07:46 PM

My Father - in - Law Anthony Leyden served on HMS Indomitable amongst other A/Craft Carriers during WWII..He has just passed away at 96 years of age
22. Sonia Ellis says:
24 Jan 2016 01:32:13 AM

David Corson. Our Dad served on this ship as Petty Officer 1945. We have 22 letters our mum wrote to him and 7 of his responses between Feb-June 1945. We are putting a book together. It would be great to get a few pictures and stories of life onboard. Our dad played music so he and a few other chaps played music at night for the men. Also he mentions an onboard pet monkey named 'Stupid'. They would allow the monkey some drink so no wonder he bacame his identity. Please email me. [email protected]
23. Anonymous says:
1 May 2016 12:30:41 AM

Hi, my great grandad Clifford Lord served as mechanic, I believe for the fleet air arm. If anybody knows of him please contact me [email protected]
24. Tim jones says:
7 May 2016 06:07:13 AM

My grandfather ( Douglas Hore po air mechanic ) served on the indomitable 23 April 1942 to 28 August 1942 and was injured in the bombing during operation pedestal Does any one have any information or pictures. He never spoke about his life in the war but I have just had a chance to look at his service record
25. Chris Maume says:
3 Jun 2016 04:18:30 AM

I am writing an obituary for The Times of Stephen Wheatcroft, who was a Fleet Air Arm pilot with the Indomitable. He later became an expert in the field of civil aviation. Does anyone know anything about his war service?
26. Kevin Bedford says:
7 Jun 2016 02:02:07 PM

My dad Gerald (Tony) Bedford served on Indomitable to the latter years of the war as a Steward. He sadly passed away this January aged 87. He always remembered the years aboard vividly.
27. claudia Pottier says:
31 Jul 2016 07:10:29 AM

My grandad was a Gunner n HMS Indomitable - Eric Nicholas. I have his photo album with a picture of the torpedo attack of May 8th 1942 and pick up of some of the crew of HMS Fulmer, amongst other things. Also of 'Spider', Shorty and Capt Morse R.N
28. Anonymous says:
4 Aug 2016 04:24:35 AM

My Grandfather William Thomas Parker served on this ship. He was in charge of recreation and would often travel to other ships in the fleet taking his cinema projector with him to entertain the crews.
29. Anonymous says:
5 Sep 2016 04:00:17 AM

It was not a Ju 88 that torpedoed Indomitable on 16 July 1943. It was a Savoia Marchetti SM 79 "Sparviero" of 204a Squadriglia, 41° Gruppo Bombardieri, Regia Aeronautica, piloted by Captain Carlo Capelli and Lieutenant Ennio Caselli.
30. Anonymous says:
23 Oct 2016 11:43:19 AM

My Father Isaac Thomson Jones was a rear gunner/radio operator on a Grumman Avenger single engine dive bomber, flying from the Indomitable. I have a few photo's of the time on a CD which I photo shopped, but his original album was sadly damaged by damp.
31. Anonymous says:
24 Oct 2016 01:59:04 PM

My Grandfather served on the Indomitable between Feb 44 and Dec 45.He was a radar operator.His name was William Lindsey.AB.He has recently passed away aged 92.
32. Wilma o'brien (low) says:
13 Nov 2016 05:07:46 AM

My father william kemp low served on the Indomitable during ww2 he was a gunner does anybody know him
33. Sheppard says:
13 Nov 2016 11:27:46 AM

My Dad served on this ship, he said they were attacked and limped into Gib for repairs. I want some history on my Dad but I'm not able to find anything, Help. His name was William Ernest Sheppard, he boxed for the Navy and was known as Bill Sheppard
34. Bruce Currey says:
20 Nov 2016 03:42:08 AM

Hi My father, the late John T Currey, was in the Fleet Air Arm and flew off HMS Indomitable. He was involved in the liberation of Hong Kong. It would be good to be in contact with anyone who may have known him. Many thanks
35. Trevor Ellis says:
2 Jan 2017 12:23:39 AM

My Grandfather, Ernest Gordon Robson, was a sickbay medical attendant aboard HMS Indomitable, does anyone by chance remember him? I am trying to find any information about him.
36. Colin Parker says:
7 Jan 2017 07:42:12 AM

Re Bill Shepherd. My Dad was George Michael Parker(Mick) he was a gunner on the Indom. And also boxed for the navy. He lost his amateur status when someone reported that he had won some prize money at a boxing booth in a fair in Norfolk Virginia. He was on Operation Pedestal. He had a book of official photos taken aboard which he promised to me but they were stolen.
37. Alan Schofield says:
25 Jan 2017 08:36:53 AM

Hi Colin. My grandfather served on HMS Indomitable gave me his scrapbook with about 70 photos before he dies about 30 years ago. I'd be happy to share if you like.
38. Stephen Cormier says:
25 Mar 2017 09:01:28 AM

My Uncle GERALD CORMIER from Stephenville, Newfoundland served on The HMS INDOMITABLE. He was a large man in stature and heart! Does anyone remember him?
39. Andy Maslin says:
2 Apr 2017 08:03:01 AM

My Dad was on board whilst the ship was in Sydney in 1945. My great aunt Carrie, a widow whose late husband had been a Captain, lived in an apartment overlooking the harbour. She fixed my father up with a motorcycle and a girlfriend. She wanted my Dad to stay in Sydney. When the Indom left port, she used her not inconsiderable powers to get what she wanted. A signal was received on board stating that Writer Paul Maslin was to be returned to Sydney. My father knew the signals officer and told him that he didn't want to go back there. So they sent another guy named Hubbard back instead.
40. Jason Halfpenny says:
8 May 2017 06:05:01 PM

According to my Aunt, my late Grandad served on HMS Indomitable, his name is Albert Halfpenny.
41. Anonymous says:
18 Jul 2017 07:46:13 AM

The plane that torpedoed Indomitable in 1943 was an Italian Savoia Marchetti 79 "Sparviero", not a German Ju 88. Moreover, this happened on 16 July, not 15 June (the landings in Sicily started on 10 July).
42. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
18 Jul 2017 08:53:58 AM

To anonymous of 18 Jul 2017 -- Thank you, corrections had been made per your suggestion.
43. Chris. says:
10 Nov 2017 10:35:38 AM

I have a friend who's brother Ordnance Artificer 4th Class Thomas Roberts was killed Aged 20 aboard HMS Indomitable on 3rd April 1944 and buried in Evergreen Memorial Park.
Portsmouth, Virginia USA The family were never told how he died other than it was an 'accident' and would be grateful to learn any more extensive details of the incident.
44. Anonymous says:
2 Oct 2018 02:51:35 PM

My grandad was a petty officer on that ship during the war. His name was Charlie Littlewood. Pretty much the history above he told me first hand.
45. J mcCann says:
3 Nov 2018 03:17:21 PM

Hello, my grandfather served on HMS Indomitable and died in 1944.
His name was James Finian McCann and he's buried in Evergreen Memorial Park, Virginia USA. He was a Engine Room Artificer 4th Class.
My dad knows very little about his father as was only 4 when he died.
I would appreciate some information and / or photos so i can give my dad some background on his father.
If anyone knew of him please email me at [email protected]
Thank you.
46. Graham Moore says:
19 Nov 2018 04:17:56 AM

Francis Arthur Squires was lost during Operation Pedestal on 12 August 1942
He is commemorated on the war memorial in my home village of Fremington Devon though his record says his family were from Liverpool. I have found online family trees with his siblings in but no mention of him at all.
We are trying to find out the local connection to here, can anyone offer any ideas?
Only suggestion is that he was living temporarily with another crew member from around here, might ships home poet have been Plymouth?
47. DELYSIA FIELD says:
9 Dec 2018 11:24:05 AM

I have lots of photos etc, would like to donate to museum
48. Chris Parker says:
14 Jan 2019 10:23:09 AM

My uncle Bill Brown was radio operator
49. Christian tanner says:
9 Feb 2019 10:18:39 AM

My grandad John Dunn served on her for all of world war 2 as a torpedo bomber
50. steve Davis says:
10 Feb 2019 11:56:05 AM

My uncle (deceased) aws said to have served on Indom during the ww2 - Horace Davies - how can I confirm this ?
51. alan says:
5 Jun 2019 04:26:15 AM

my dad, Petty Officer Harold C Whiteside was Radio operator, ww2 med,china,algiers,malta.

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More on Indomitable
Event(s) Participated:
» Malta Campaign
» Madagascar Campaign
» Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender
» Okinawa Campaign

Aircraft Carrier Indomitable Photo Gallery
Starboard bow view of HMS Indomitable at anchor off Norfolk, Virginia, United States, 21 Nov 1941Starboard quarter view of HMS Indomitable at anchor off Norfolk, Virginia, United States, 21 Nov 1941
See all 9 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Indomitable


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