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Aircraft carrier with peeled back flight deck.

Fw tanky

Can anyone remember the name of the carrier that had her flight deck peeled back in a storm?. She was moored up the trot in Devonport reserve fleet in 1964. Used to row around her when training as a baby matelot in Raleigh.


War Hero
I think the carrier you saw was the former HMCS Magnificent; I remember seeing her moored near the confluence of the Lynher with the Tamar in about 1964. I don't know about the peeled-back flight deck, though; this might have been an urban myth current at Raleigh at the time. There is certainly a reference to such an incident involving a fictional escort carrier in the WW2 novel "HMS Ulysses" by Alistair MacLean.

Another ship moored nearby by was the monitor HMS Roberts, complete with 15 inch guns.

Fw tanky

Yes I've read HMS Ulysses and remember the Carrier in that book but there was a very badly damaged Carrier up the trot. Her bow was pushed up and it looked very similar to the ski jump bows on modern carriers.


War Hero
I don't recall that Magnificent looked like that. Certainly, urban myths did circulate ( and of course still do). One of Magnificent's sister ships, HMS Leviathan, was laid up uncompleted at Portsmouth for years. It was rumoured that she was never completed because her keel was twisted - and even that her designer had committed suicide over the failure - but I'm pretty sure that it was simply untrue.
I remember a similar photo of the flight deck peeled back almost as far as the island on one of 'Bull' Halsey's carriers following a Pacific storm but I've never been able to find it again.


War Hero
US Navy image of hurricane damage to CV-12 (USS Hornet?) in 1945.

The RN was early to see the advantages of an enclosed bow (HMS Hermes in 1924), but the USN took longer to adopt the "hurricane" bow.
The RN did use a lot of US-designed escort carriers in WW2, though.



War Hero
Looks like a bit of a design fault.....

Not so much peeled back, but simply crushed.

Still no sign of the sardine can effect, though.

Thanks @Wightsparker but it was a different photo/different ship; probably an escort carrier. Perhaps it was even a different storm in a different sea. The flight deck was definitely 'peeled back'.

I saw the photo around 50 years ago in one of my father's set of books published immediately after the Second World War. We had to dispose of them when we moved abroad in the mid-1960s but I wish I had them now.


Can anyone remember the name of the carrier that had her flight deck peeled back in a storm?. She was moored up the trot in Devonport reserve fleet in 1964. Used to row around her when training as a baby matelot in Raleigh.
HMS Magnificent ex HMCS Magnificent
In 1964 I was with the reserve fleet and part of the duty was to climb up to the flight deck and turn on a bow lamp at nigh,t she had been heavily vandalised by then as you went past the radar room and all the RPI's were damaged. Majestic class loaned to the Canadians and was damaged on the bow being brought back to pay off and come of loan. the round over was severely buckled in quite a few places on return to uk 1956

There was another carrier further up river opposite the coaling jetty and HMS Adamant with all ships boats including admirals fmb left to rot also a number of steel fleet minesweepers further up and some frigates and destroyers if memory serves

Hope this helps even though a bit late


The year 1964 was a good year for aircraft carrier sightings at Devonport although as already stated, only one, HMS Magnificent, was to be seen on the Tamar trots that year. After initial arrival on 18/4/57 she spent most of her time in the Yard tethered to buoys at No 1 and No 2 Aircraft Carrier trots before leaving for the breakers on 9/7/65.

Although Magnificent was the last carrier from the WWII era to be laid up at Devonport, the previous two being HMS Ocean (left 2/5/62) and HMS Unicorn (left 11/6/59), several others were present in the yard during 1964, but not on the trots, namely, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Bulwark, HMS Eagle, HMS Hermes and USS Okinawa. A few more remained on buoys in Plymouth Sound, namely, HMS Albion, USS Boxer and HNLMS Karel Doorman. Some were short-term visitors whilst others were undergoing long refits (Eagle, Ark Royal and Hermes)

After many decades of Devonport research I’ve not come across this peeled back flight-deck story before, nor have I seen any photographs showing damage to Magnificent’s flight-deck. This applies to many photos taken from her arrival in 1957 to her departure in 1965. Records show that during her 8 years at Devonport she was never dry-docked for damage examination or repair, with no indication that these procedures were ever carried out at her trot mooring. A few months before leaving in 1965, her flight deck was a bit rusty but still completely intact, with her Canadian deck markings still very evident. (

Around that time, the only aircraft carrier in the Yard I’m aware of with a demolished flight-deck was HMS Eagle. This occurred during the early stages of her 5 year (1959-1964) refit when her original island superstructure and flight-deck were dismantled and replaced. In this much reduced shabby state on 5 wharf she would have been seen by hordes of naval base personnel and boat-tripping tourists. Eventually, of course, she emerged from the refit looking very different with an impressive new island complex and flight-deck. Regards….Paul
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