HMS Illustrious (87)

Timeline created by GSG-9
In History
  • Ship Ordered

    Ship Ordered
    The HMS Illustrious (87) is the fourth ship in the British Royal Navy that is named Illustrious. It is the lead ship of the Illustrious-class of carriers. The carrier was built by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness, which was order on January the 13th in 1937 under the 1936 Naval Programme.
  • Period: to

    Entire Lifespan

  • Ship launched

  • Ship laid down

    The hull for the ship was laid down.
  • Commisioned as HMS Illustrious (87)

  • First finally joined the fleet in August 1940.

    Her first mission was in the Mediterranean, where she provided protection for the convies there, carried anti-shipping raids, and strikes on the enemy position along North Africa.
  • The carrier was used to launch a raid on airfields at Maritza.

  • Successful raid against the Italian fleet at Taranto.

    Successful raid against the Italian fleet at Taranto.
    Squadrons 813, 815, 819, and 824 based on the Illustrious launched daring surprise attack on the Italian fleet at night. The twenty-one aircraft caught the Italians off-guard, and sunk one battleship and two hevily damaged.
  • HMS Illustrious was attacked by Axis bombers.

    HMS Illustrious was attacked by Axis bombers.
    While escorting a convoy east of Sicily, Illustrious was attacked by Axis Savoia-Marchetti SM. 79 and Ju-87 Stuka bombers. The bombers scored 6 hits and resulted in extensive damage for the carrier. In Malta receiving repairs, she was bombed again and led to more damage (some flooding of her outer hull compartments and minor listing, machinery spaces are luckily intact thought.)
  • The HMS Illustrious sailed to Alexandria, Egypt.

  • Arrived at Alexandria for temporary repairs.

    After that, HMS Illustrious sailed to Virgina for permanent repairs at Norfolk Navy Yard. One propeller shaft was uninstalled and the speed fell to 23 knots.
  • After finishing repairs, Illustrious was immediately order to the Indian Ocean.

  • Participated in Operation Ironclad.

    Participated in Operation Ironclad.
    Later that month, Illustrious and Indomitable (one of her sister ships) participated in Operation Ironclad; mainly covering the landing force at Diego Suarez in Madagascar.
  • Returned to the Mediterranean.

    The carrier was transferred back to the Mediterranean for operations with Force H (the base of this fleet is at the British territory of Gibraltar.)
  • Supported Allied landings in Sicily

  • Joined the Eastern Fleet

    Joined the Eastern Fleet
  • Raids on the Indonesain Islands of Sabang.

  • Raids against Soerabaya

  • Strike on Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

    The HMS Illustrious carried 57 aircraft during this operation, and which at one time, 51 of them were in the air. After this operation; she sailed for Fremantle, Australia for some R & R.
  • More raids on Sabang

  • Raids on Palembang

    Raids on Palembang
  • More raids on Palembang.

  • Joined the rest of the British Pacific Fleet to Manus

  • Sailed on to Ulithi

  • Supported the Okinawa Landings

    Supported the Okinawa Landings
    With the British Pacific Fleet, HMS Illustrious was one of the 17 carriers that supported the Okinawa landings. She won her last battle honour at in this operation.
  • A near from a kamikaze aircraft.

    A kamikaze aircraft has neared missed hitting the main aircraft, but it has caused serious damage below the waterline. She was later replaced by her sister ship, Formidable, after operations against Formosa.
  • Sailed to the Philippines for inspection.

    Due to the damage from the kamikaze near miss on 6 April, HMS Illustrious sailed to the Philippines for inspection. It was later revealed that the damage was much more serious than previously suspected, so she was returned to Sydney and then to Rosyth (Scotladn) for repairs and refit. This was not completed until June 1946.
  • Used as a training and trials ship after the war.

    Used as a training and trials ship after the war.
    Due to acumalated war damage, her maximum speed was limited to 22 knots from the 30.5 knots she had at the beginning. The picture shows a Supermarime Attacker on the carrier in 1948.
  • Refitted and Modernisation starts.

  • Refitted and modernisation ends.

  • Decommisioned

  • Sold on 3 November 1956

    After a successful career, the HMS Illustrious was scraped at Faslane.