She was laid down at Fairfields Shipyard on Clydeside in February 1939, three months after her sister-ship Indefatigable and was clearly destined for the British Pacific Fleet once worked up. Her first commanding officer was Captain Lachlan Mackintosh, but he was replaced on promotion by Captain Charles Hughes-Hallett before sailing for the Far East.
Upon entering service, the new carrier conducted attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz late in 1944. On 27 November 1944 Fairey Barracuda planes from the carrier bombed two Norwegian ships carrying Allied prisoners of war, killing 2,571 onboard the Rigel, one of the largest maritime disasters ever. The vessels were apparently mistaken for being German troop transports.
Implacable arrived at Sydney on 8 May 1945 (V-E Day). She joined the British Pacific Fleet's carrier squadron as replacement for Illustrious, which was due to return to the United Kingdom for a major refit.
Her first operation as part of the BPF was against Japanese airfields at Truk in the Caroline Islands.
The ship remained in Pacific waters after the end of the conflict, becoming the flagship of Sir Philip Vian when he took over as Vice-Admiral BPF for a period. On returning to Sydney, Implacable landed her aircraft and their crews, after which work was done so that she could accommodate passengers in her hangar spaces. She was then employed in the repatriation of British Prisoners of War; 2,127 were taken from Manila to Esquimalt in Canada, arriving on 11 October 1945. After visiting Melbourne with HMS Indefatigable, she sailed for United Kingdom, arriving in June 1946 in time for the London Victory Parade.
- 30 Naval Fighter Wing: 800 NAS, 801 NAS (1943 - 1945)
- 8th Carrier Air Group: 801 NAS, 828 NAS, 880 NAS, 1771 NAS (1945 onwards)
In March 1945 she carried 81 aircraft: 48 Seafires, 21 Avengers and 12 Fireflies.
- ↑ Naval-History.net - Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd), 2003, Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2
- ↑ Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Friedman, Norman (1988). British Carrier Aviation: The Evolution of the Ships and Their Aircraft. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-054-8.
- Ireland, Bernard. The Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Carriers of the World. Hermes House, London, 2005. ISBN 1-84477-747-2
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