HMS Warrior (R31)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Warrior and ARA Independencia.
HMCS Warrior (R31) ca1947.jpg
HMCS Warrior
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Warrior
Builder: Harland and Wolff
Laid down: 12 December 1942
Launched: 20 May 1944
Commissioned: 2 April 1945
Identification: Pennant number: R31
Fate: Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy
Career (Canada)
Name: HMCS Warrior
Commissioned: 14 March 1946
Decommissioned: 23 March 1948
Fate: Returned to Royal Navy
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Warrior
Commissioned: November 1948
Decommissioned: February 1958
Fate: Sold to Argentina in 1958
Career (Argentina)
Name: ARA Independencia
Commissioned: 8 July 1959
Decommissioned: 1970
Identification: Pennant number: V-1
Fate: Sold for scrap somewhere in Argentina in 1971
General characteristics
Class & type: Colossus class
Displacement: 18,300 tons (later 18,400 tons)
Length: 695 ft (212 m)
Beam: 80 ft (24 m)
Draught: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Propulsion: Four boiler, twin screw steam turbine. 40,000 horsepower (30 MW)
Speed: 25 kn (46 km/h)
Range: 12,000 nmi (22,000 km) at 14 kn (26 km/h)
Complement: 1,075 to 1,300
Armament: 6 × quad QF 2 pounder naval guns AA
32 × 20 mm anti-aircraft cannon
Aircraft carried: 48 - F9F Panther and F9F Cougar, F4U Corsair, SNJ-5Cs Texan, Grumman S2F-1 (S-2A) Trackers, de Havilland Vampire

HMS Warrior was a Colossus-class light aircraft carrier which served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1946 to 1948 (as HMCS Warrior), the Royal Navy from 1948 to 1958, and the Argentine Navy from 1959 to 1969 as ARA Independencia.

History[edit]

HMS Warrior (R31) MOD 45139702.jpg

Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, she was originally to be called HMS Brave; the Royal Navy had originally intended to rush her into service for operations in the Indian Ocean during World War II, thus she was built without heaters for some onboard equipment since heat was unnecessary in tropical operations.

Royal Canadian Navy service[edit]

She was launched on 20 May 1944 and completed on 24 January 1946. She was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy, commissioned as HMCS Warrior and placed under the command of Captain Frank Houghton.[1] She entered Halifax harbour on 31 March 1946, a week after leaving Portsmouth. She was escorted by the destroyer HMCS Micmac and the minesweeper HMCS Middlesex. The RCN experienced problems with the unheated equipment during operations in cold North Atlantic waters off eastern Canada during 1947. The RCN deemed her unfit for service and, rather than retrofit her with equipment heaters, made arrangements with the Royal Navy to trade her for a more suitable aircraft carrier of the Majestic class which became HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21) on commissioning.

Royal Navy service[edit]

HMCS Warrior returned to the United Kingdom and was recommissioned as HMS Warrior on 23 March 1948. Warrior was then refitted in Devonport and equipped with a flexible flight deck (layers of rubber) to test the feasibility of receiving undercarriage-less aircraft; the Sea Vampire was used to test the concept, which was successful but not introduced into service.

She went into reserve in September 1949, and was recommissioned in June 1950 as a transport for troops and aircraft to support British forces during the Korean War.[2] The ship underwent refit during most of 1952 and 1953 at Devonport Dockyard. During 1954 Warrior was deployed to the Far East, patrolling off the coast of recently pacified Korea. In September the ship helped French and US Navy vessels evacuate non-Communist refugees from Haiphong, North Vietnam to Vung Tau, South Vietnam, transporting more than 3000 people in two voyages, and being awarded a South Vietnamese Presidential Citation.[3] After returning to England another refit was carried out in 1955. This time Warrior received a very slightly angled flight deck for trials. She took part in Operation Grapple, the first British hydrogen bomb tests, embarking a handful of helicopters and Grumman Avenger AS.4s to collect samples from the tests and ferry them back for testing. After the operation was completed the Avengers were catapulted into the sea as they were contaminated with radioactivity. Considered surplus to requirements by the late 1950s, the Royal Navy decommissioned Warrior in February 1958 and offered her for sale. The return voyage from the Grapple tests was via Argentina, with port visits and demonstrations to the Argentine Navy, to whom the Admiralty was trying to sell her.

Argentina Navy service[edit]

ARA Independencia badge.
ARA Independencia.

She was sold to Argentina in 1958 and renamed ARA Independencia . Argentine Naval Aviation began air operations from Independencia in June 1959 even before the vessel was officially commissioned into the fleet. The anti-aircraft armament was initially reduced to twelve 40 mm guns, soon further reduced to eight. In May 1962 the ship was however provided with a one quadruple and nine double complexes of that calibre.

F4U Corsair, SNJ-5Cs Texan and Grumman S2F-1 (S-2A) Trackers formed the air group in those years.

The Navy inventory also included F9F Panther (the first jet fighters in Argentine Naval Aviation, starting from August 1963) and F9F Cougar jets, although the Independencia proved to be unsuitable for operating them. They were embarked during their delivery voyage from the United States to Argentina. The ship also used the TF-9J Cougar training jet, as well as the North American T-28 Trojan trainer, in the armed version Fennec built in France.

After the carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2) entered service in 1969, Independencia moved to the reserves (1970). She was scrapped in 1971.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Milner, Marc (2010). Canada's Navy: The First Century (2nd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-8020-9604-3. 
  2. ^ Korea Coalition Warfare
  3. ^ McCart, Neil The Colossus-Class Aircraft Carriers 1944-1972 Cheltenham 2002 pp174-7 ISBN 1901225062

Bibliography[edit]

  • J.D.F Keely and E.C. Russell: A History Canadian Naval Aviation, 1918-1962. Published by the Naval Historical Section of the Canadian Forces Headquarters, Department of National Defence, Ottawa 1965, pp. 39–46. [1]
  • Ireland, Bernard. The Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Carriers of the World. Hermes House, London, 2005. ISBN 1-84477-747-2
  • Journal La Patrie, Montreal, Quebec. Page 1, April 1, 1946.
  • Armi da guerra, De Agostini, Novara, Vol. 11, p. 285 (Italian edition of War Machine, Aerospace Press)

External links[edit]