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Warship Wednesday18th January 2023

Warship Wednesday: HMS TRIUMPH

HMS TRIUMPH was a Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. She operated as an aircraft carrier before being converted to a heavy repair ship.

To reduce construction time, the hull of the Colossus class was built to Lloyds’ specifications which defines standards for merchant vessels. Construction standards of these ships are of a less intense quality and standard than that of warships, needing few compartments for water tight integrity and this is why TRIUMPH had a much faster construction time.

TRIUMPH was built by Hawthorn Leslie and Company on the Tyne, laid down on 27 January 1943, launched on 2 November 1944 and first commissioned on 6 May 1946 . She was decommissioned and placed in reserve in 1975, and scrapped in 1981 .

TRIUMPH was originally built as an aircraft carrier (R16), being 13,350 tons standard displacement ( 18,300 tons full load), 695ft length overall, 80ft beam (width 112.5ft overall), 23.5ft draft maximum. TRIUMPH had Parson geared turbines driving two shafts, maximum speed 25 knots. Complement of 1,076 onboard. Armament as built: 12 x 40mm guns, 27 x 2-pounder guns, 35 aircraft.

Following conversion to a heavy repair ship between 1956 and 1965 (A108), TRIUMPH’s characteristics would change. She was still 13,350 tons standard displacement (now with 17,000 full load), 699ft length overall, 80ft beam (width 112.5ft overall), 23.5ft draught. Parsons geared turbines driving two shafts, maximum speed 24.25 knots. Complement 500 (27 officers and 473 ratings) plus 285 (15 officers and 270 ratings) maintenance staff onboard. Armament after conversion: 4 x 40mm guns, 3 x helicopters (in flight deck hanger).

Post conversion, TRIUMPH was primarily tasked to support escort vessels (destroyers and frigates), and she was able to take up to four alongside, with two on each beam. TRIUMPH could also transport and maintain helicopters as well a variety of support activities.

TRIUMPH was recommissioned in January 1965 following the conversion, and was then based at Singapore. She returned to UK in 1972 and paid-off for refit at Chatham. On completion of the refit, TRIUMPH was placed in reserve at Chatham. In 1981 she was sold for scrap, and towed from Chatham in December 1981 to Spain and broken up.

With thanks to volunteer, Jim Williamson, for this month’s edition of Warship Wednesday.

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