Daily Event for November 14

November 14, 1941: The HMS Ark Royal sank off Gibraltar. Ark Royal was Britain's first true large aircraft carrier when launched in 1937, other carriers having been converted from existing ships. The Ark Royal's aircraft were involved in many operations including the sinking of the German light cruiser Königsberg in Bergen, Norway and the sinking of the Bismarck. The latter being damaged in the rudder causing her to turn in a circle unable to avoid the British.

Ark Royal had been sunk several times before, according to the Germans, who announced her sinking again and again. This time though it was for real. The Ark Royal had just completed escorting convoys in the Mediterranean and was returning to Gibraltar when she was struck by a single torpedo on Nov. 13, 1941. The U-81 had fired four torpedoes but only one had hit the carrier. The Ark Royal was damaged but the crew kept her afloat until she could be towed. However, on Nov.14 the 28,000 ton carrier finally succumbed to her wounds. The  Ark Royal sank about 30 miles from Gibraltar. Of the over 1,500 men on board there was only one fatality.

© 2005 Michael W. Pocock