Outrageous, Spurious & Uproarious (was preserved ships) (fwd, FYI)

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Reply-To: Marine History Information Exchange Group

I haven’t seen anyone reply to Frank Young’s query of 27th Feb:

> There were three older British carriers, the COURAGEOUS, FURIOUS,
> and GLORIOUS. The former was known as the , one of the
> other two as , but I’m sorry to say I’ve forgotten which
> one, or what the nickname of the third was. Perhaps some MARHSTer
> would enlighten us?

In “Fisher’s Face” (Jan Morris’s very readable biography of Admiral of
the Fleet Lord Fisher) the nicknames are given (p. 201) as:

COURAGEOUS = Outrageous
FURIOUS = Spurious
GLORIOUS = Uproarius

I have not been able to corroborate these nicknames elsewhere, and I
would guess that there may well have been other versions.

Of course, none of these ships were built as aircraft carriers. All 3
were one of Jacky Fisher’s unconventional projects, being designed as
big-gun light battlecruisers, to carry his new 18 inch guns. Their
rather shallow draft (23′ 4″) was apparently a design to allow them to
enter the Baltic.

Eventually, the sister-ships COURAGEOUS and GLORIOUS were finished
before the new gun was ready, so they were lauched as light
battlecruisers with 4 15″/42 Mk I main armament in 1916. COURAGEOUS
was not converted to carry aircraft until 1924-28, and was the first
RN ship to be sunk at the beginning of WW2. There is a good personal
account of her torpedoing on Sunday 17 Sept 1939, by Cmdr Charles Lamb
in his autobiography: “War in a Stringbag”. The GLORIOUS was converted
to an aircraft carrier in 1924-30, and was sunk by gunfire when caught
by the SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU when returning, under conditions of
some secrecy, from Norway to Britain, on 8 June 1940. Her loss is
still a matter of some controversy: there has been no satisfactory
explanation of why she was in a war zone but not flying any of her
aircraft either in a reconnaisance or defensive role.

The FURIOUS was virtually a sister-ship. She was fitted with one of
the new 18″ guns, but then converted to carry aircraft, with a
flying-off deck built in place of the forward 18″ gun, before being
completed in July 1917. The following month, Sqdn Cmdr Dunning made
the first-ever deck landing, successfully landing a Sopwith Pup on her
flying-off half-deck, but was tragically drowned when trying to do it
again a few days later. FURIOUS was later converted to a full carrier
(December 1917, rebuilt 1924), survived WW2 and was broken up in 1948.
Yet another very historic ship lost to posterity.

Martin H Evans e-mail: mhe1000@cam.ac.uk –Mon 98-03-02
111 High Street, Linton, Cambridgeshire CB1 6JT, UK

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