This 1:168 scale model of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was purchased from the modelmaker MR S.N. Rea by the Museum in 1945. Model Fairey Swordfish and Fairey Fulmar aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm are positioned on the deck.

Model of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier (22,000 tons) HMS Ark Royal. Built by Cammell Laird & Co., Birkenhead and launched in 1937, Ark Royal incorporated all the improvements in design of Royal Navy aircraft carriers since the First World War with an island superstructure, double hangar decks for a maximum of 72 aircraft, improved anti-aircraft armament, steam catapults and more speed. After commissioning in 1938, Ark Royal served with the Home fleet and soon after the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 took part in an action against two U-boats resulting in the sinking of one (U-39). Later in 1939, Ark Royal joined the hunt for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic but did not take part in the action leading to the scuttling of the Graf Spee off Montevideo. From April to June 1940 Ark Royal operated off Norway with her aircraft carrying out escort and strike operations against Geman land and sea targets. Ark Royal joined the Mediterannean fleet in late 1940 and served as part of Force H operating in the Atlantic and Mediterranean against the Italian fleet and covering convoys to Malta. In May 1941, Swordfish torpedo bombers from Ark Royal crippled the German battleship Bismarck leading to the destruction of the ship by surface units.

After further operations in support of Malta convoys, Ark Royal was returning to Gibraltar in November 1941 when she was hit by a torpedo from U-81. Following unsuccessful damage repair and salvage attempts the ship was listing and eventually sank on 14 November after evacuation of all on board.

More Information