“Where there is no vision the people perish”
(Proverbs 29 xviii).
We could have no better guide to this subject than Commander Hobbs, a veteran of over eight hundred carrier landings and retired curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, who has already published extensively on Fleet Air Arm subjects. He has here brought years of research and study together to provide an entire and encyclopaedic account of the development and history of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, from the earliest seaplane-carrying conversions to the Queen Elizabeth class now in build.
The scope of the work embraces every ship we have ever had that was dedicated to the launch and recovery of aircraft, even CAM ships, plus fascinating details of ships like the Malta class and CVA01 that never did get built (and Habbakuk the impossible floating aviation iceberg), but excluding those cruisers and other ships for which air operations were and are not the ship’s main purpose, even though their aircraft confer a utility far beyond their hull. There is a good account of the wartime Escort Carriers and their short but busy war in support of invasions and seaborne strike and other service from Norway via the Mediterranean to Japan. As the story progresses we are also given details of the contemporary aircraft carriers of our friends, enemies and neighbours, and of carrier aviation in Commonwealth navies, mostly based on our incredibly successful Vickers-designed Light Fleets which were only planned to last three years but one of which is still afloat.