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HMS Implacable (R86)
HMS Implacable (R86) MOD 45139827.jpg
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Implacable
Ordered: October 1938
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilders, Govan
Laid down: 21 February 1939
Launched: 10 December 1942
Commissioned: 28 August 1944
Decommissioned: 1 September 1954
Identification: Pennant number: R86
Motto: Saeva parens saeviorum - "Fierce parent of an even fiercer offspring"
Honours and
Norway 1944, Japan 1945
Fate: Scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1955
Badge: On a Field Blue, a Tiger's head erased proper
General characteristics
Class & type: Implacable class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 23,825 tons standard
32,624 tons full load
Length: 766.5 ft (233.6 m)
Beam: 95.75 ft (29.18 m)
Draught: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: Steam Turbines (8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 4 shafts, Parsons geared turbines), 148,000 shp.
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 1,400 (including air group)
Armament: 8 × twin QF 4.5 inch naval guns
48 × QF 2 pounder naval guns
27 × Oerlikon 20 mm guns
Aircraft carried: 81 in 1945 with a permanent deck park

Implacable with war camouflage

HMS Implacable was an Implacable-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, serving from August 1944 to September 1954.


She was laid down at Fairfields Shipyard on Clydeside in February 1939, three months after her sister-ship Indefatigable and was clearly destined for the British Pacific Fleet once worked up. Her first commanding officer was Captain Lachlan Mackintosh, but he was replaced on promotion by Captain Charles Hughes-Hallett before sailing for the Far East.

Upon entering service, the new carrier conducted attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz late in 1944. On 27 November 1944 Fairey Barracuda planes from the carrier bombed two Norwegian ships carrying Allied prisoners of war, killing 2,571 onboard the Rigel, one of the largest maritime disasters ever. The vessels were apparently mistaken for being German troop transports.

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Avengers, Seafires and Fireflies spotted on the deck of the aircraft carrier HMS Implacable warm up their engines before taking off. Other units of the British Fleet can be seen in the background.

Implacable arrived at Sydney on 8 May 1945 (V-E Day). She joined the British Pacific Fleet's carrier squadron as replacement for Illustrious, which was due to return to the United Kingdom for a major refit.

Among other types of planes, Implacable operated the Fairey Firefly, the Supermarine Seafire and the Grumman Avenger.

Her first operation as part of the BPF was against Japanese airfields at Truk in the Caroline Islands.

The ship remained in Pacific waters after the end of the conflict, becoming the flagship of Sir Philip Vian when he took over as Vice-Admiral BPF for a period. On returning to Sydney, Implacable landed her aircraft and their crews, after which work was done so that she could accommodate passengers in her hangar spaces. She was then employed in the repatriation of British Prisoners of War; 2,127 were taken from Manila to Esquimalt in Canada, arriving on 11 October 1945.[1] After visiting Melbourne with HMS Indefatigable, she sailed for United Kingdom, arriving in June 1946 in time for the London Victory Parade.

Squadrons carried

  • 30 Naval Fighter Wing: 800 NAS, 801 NAS (1943 - 1945)
  • 8th Carrier Air Group: 801 NAS, 828 NAS, 880 NAS, 1771 NAS (1945 onwards)

In March 1945 she carried 81 aircraft: 48 Seafires, 21 Avengers and 12 Fireflies.

Post War

In 1953 Implacable took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[2]


  1. - Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd), 2003, Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2
  2. Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden


External links

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