H.M.S. Eagle

I know very little about H.M.S. Eagle. I knew it was a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.


After I saw this in Buck McNair’s logbook…

H.M.S. Eagle to Malta

H.M.S. Eagle will never be the same.

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How about a trip to Malta?


On May 11th, 1942 a random group of pilots from various squadrons in the United Kingdom set out from West Kirby, England to Gourock, Scotland where we embarked on the freighter “Empire Conrad”, destination unknown. Accompanying us were 31 Spitfire Mk Vc,s in crates tucked in the bowels of the ship. From Gourock, we had a stopover at Holyhead and Milford Haven before crossing the Bay of Biscay.

As pilots, our forte was “the wild blue yonder” and the thought of a sea journey, of being torpedoed and ending up in the depths of the ocean was not comforting. However Gibralter was our next port of call and we arrived there after an uneventful trip. The aircraft were off loaded, assembled, test flown and hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.

H.M.S. Eagle will never be the same.

H.M.S. Eagle sinking

At 13.15 hours on 11 Aug, 1942, HMS Eagle (94) (Capt L.D. Mackintosh, RN) was hit by four torpedoes from U-73, while escorting the convoy WS-21S (Operation Pedestal) to Malta. She sank 70 miles south of Cape Salinas, Majorca, Balearic Islands. Two officers and 158 ratings were lost. The commander and 926 survivors were picked up by HMS Laforey (G 99) (Capt R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lookout (G 32) (LtCdr A.G. Forman, RN) and the tug HMS Jaunty (W 30).

The source is here.

The list of those who died.

5 thoughts on “H.M.S. Eagle

    • What I like in my stories is all that I learn.
      The story about the take-off of Spitfires off a carrier deck.
      How many Spitfires were delivered to Malta.
      I thought they were only a few…

      The “Eagle” made ten trips, the USS Wasp two trips, HNS Argus one and HMS Furious three trips. A total of 396 Spitfires were to be ferried, of which 376 reach the Island.

  1. It has been said before but it is right to comment here that HMS Eagle brought a group of dedicated pilots to Malta that, with the unflagging support of maintenance crews, ground support and the Maltese civilians putting their shoulders to the grindstone, won the war in the Med. They knew the odds when they embarked on the Eagle. Dad was very fond of Malta and continued to buy Maltese Sweepstakes tickets from the same guy he met during the seige, for decades after the war. He paid a final visit to his old haunts the year before he died and was quite content he done so.

  2. It was something about the wheels arrangement (and how they were stowed in the wings during flight) that made the landings on carriers so interesting for all concerned. Brrrr …

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