Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
HMS Furious (47)
|Laid down:||June 1915|
|Launched:||15 August 1916|
|Length:||750 ft (229 m)|
|Beam:||88 ft (26.8 m)|
|Draft:||20 ft (6.1 m)|
|Speed:||31 knots (57 km/h)|
|Complement:||1218 officers and men|
|Armament:||12 × 4 inch (102 mm) guns in six twin mounts, 8 × two pounder (907 g) 8-barrel Pompoms|
She was designed as one of Jackie Fisher's "large light cruisers" to undertake an amphibious landing on the Baltic coast of Germany during the First World War. As initially designed, she would have been a fast salvo ship mounting a pair of 18-inch (457 mm) guns in two single turrets. However, while under construction, it was realised that she would be of more use in a totally different role. Her forward turret was removed before she was launched, and was replaced with a 160 foot (49 m) open deck for the launch and recovery of aircraft, with a hangar underneath. The superstructure and aft turret were left in place. On 3 August 1917, while performing trials, Squadron Leader Edwin Dunning landed a Sopwith Pup successfully on board Furious, becoming the first person to land an aircraft on a moving ship. However, on his second attempt, a tyre burst as he attempted to land, causing the aircraft to go over the side, killing Dunning. The aircraft handling arrangements proving unsatisfactory (in order to land, aircraft had to maneouvre around the superstructure), the ship returned to the dockyard to have the aft turret removed and replaced by another, 300 foot (91 m) deck for landing and a second hangar, thus making the ship a pure carrier.
After the end of the war, Furious was sent to reserve, where she remained while the Navy commissioned other aircraft carriers. As a result of the experience of these, Furious returned to the dockyard once again in 1922 to have her superstructure removed and a full length flight deck fitted, with a smaller launching deck beneath it. This got rid of the continuing problem of turbulence across the aft landing deck and established a pattern for aircraft carriers in the 1920s. The ship was used extensively throughout the 1920s and 1930s as a platform to develop various techniques and tactics for the employment of carriers in the Royal Navy. In the 1930s, she was reconstructed again, with her launch deck converted to a gun platform and a small island superstructure added. It was in this configuration that the ship served in World War II, attached to the Home Fleet, mostly hunting U-boats in the Atlantic, and carrying bullion to Canada. She took part in Operation Pedestal, carrying aircraft to Malta. However, as the war progressed, the ship's age became increasingly apparent, and she was replaced by more modern vessels. Furious was placed in reserve in 1944, and sold for scrapping in 1948.
See HMS Furious for other RN ships of this name.
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