The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
26th June 1917On this day:
- HMS Furious
HMS Furious was a modified Courageous-class battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, Lord John Fisher, the ship was very lightly armoured with only a few heavy guns.
Furious was modified and became an aircraft carrier while under construction. Her forward turret was removed and a flight deck was added in its place, so that aircraft had to manoeuvre around the superstructure to land. Later in the war, the ship had her rear turret removed and a second flight deck installed aft of the superstructure, but this was less than satisfactory due to air turbulence. Furious was briefly laid up after the war before she was reconstructed with a full-length flight deck in the early 1920s.
- Name: HMS Furious
- Builder: Armstrong Whitworth, Low Walker Yard, Wallsend
- Laid down: 8 June 1915
- Launched: 15 August 1916
- Commissioned: 26 June 1917
- Reclassified: As aircraft carrier, September 1925
- As completed, her complement numbered 737 officers and enlisted men.
- Fate: Sold for scrap, 1948
Aircraft landing and the First World War
On 2 August 1917, while performing trials, Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning landed a Sopwith Pup, believed to have been N6453, successfully on board Furious. He became the first person to land an aircraft on a moving ship.
On 7 August, he made one more successful landing in the same manner, but on his third attempt, in Pup N6452, the engine choked and the aircraft crashed off the starboard bow, killing him. The deck arrangement was unsatisfactory because aircraft had to manoeuvre around the superstructure in order to land. In the meantime, all three Courageous-class ships were assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron (CS) in October 1917. When the Admiralty received word of German ship movements on 16 October, possibly indicating a raid, Admiral Beatty, commander of the Grand Fleet, ordered most of his light cruisers and destroyers to sea in an effort to locate the enemy ships.
Furious was detached from the 1st CS and ordered to sweep along the 56th parallel as far as 4° East and to return before dark. Her half-sisters Courageous and Glorious were not initially ordered to sea, but were sent to reinforce the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron patrolling the central part of the North Sea later that day. Two German Brummer-class light cruisers managed to slip through the gaps in the British patrols and destroyed the Scandinavia convoy during the morning of 17 October, but no word was received of the engagement until that afternoon. The 1st CS was ordered to attempt to intercept the German ships, but they proved to be faster than hoped and the British ships were unsuccessful. Furious returned to the dockyard in November to have the aft turret removed and replaced by another deck for landing, giving her both a launching and a recovery deck. Two lifts (elevators) serving the hangars were also installed. Furious was recommissioned on 15 March 1918 and her embarked aircraft were used on anti-Zeppelin patrols in the North Sea. In July 1918, she flew off seven Sopwith Camels which participated in the Tondern raid, attacking the Zeppelin sheds there with moderate success.
- 26th June 1917 Routine and Casting Inspection. Pioneer work continues
- 26th June 1917 Reorganisation
- 26th Jun 1917 Inspection
- 25th Jun 1917 In Action
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