Aircraft Maintenance Carrier
Pennant No. B346


Battle Honours




Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle, United Kingdom

Displacement: 18,330 tons

Length: 695 ft

Beam: 80 ft 4 in

Draught: 23 ft

Speed: 25 Knots

Crew complement: 1,076

Commanding Officers:

Captain G.R. Deverell

Commodore (2nd Cl.) H.S. Murray-Smith 14.01.1946 - 04.1946


Photo Gallery

Crossing the line





November 1945, HMS PERSEUS in the Suez Canal on her way out to Join the BPF. Photo courtesy Maurice Ayling.

Early history

Laid down as a Colossus class Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier on June 1st 1942 at Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle and launched 26 March 1944. Her designation was changed, along with that of her sister ship PIONEERĀ, to Aircraft Maintenance Carrier whist she was being completed. The aft end of her flight deck was obstructed and she was built without catapults so no flying operations could be undertaken; all aircraft had to come aboard from lighters using the ship's cranes. Originally to be named HMS EDGAR, she was commissioned on October 19th 1945 as H.M.S. PERSEUS.


Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet

PERSEUS sailed on her maiden voyage to Sydney, Australia, leaving the UK on November 16th 1945. She a arrived a Sydney on December 22nd 1945 carrying a cargo of Seafires and Fireflies for service with the BPF.

In late January an explosion occurred when an aircraft lighter blew up alongside the carrier in Sydney shortly before she sailed for Brisbane. PERSEUS arrived in Brisbane on January 31st and was tasked with ferrying 'Lend-Lease' American aircraft out beyond the Great Barrier Reef for dumping at sea.

HMS PERSEUS was deemed to be surplus to requirements in the spring of 1946, a number of her complement being drafted to RN Barracks Sydney for reassignment in March. She  sailed for Portsmouth, via Fremantle, to pay off, arriving in May 1946 carrying food and RN personnel returning home for de-mob.

Post BPF history

PERSEUS transferred to the reserve fleet effective from June 1st 1946 where she remained until  starting a major refit during 1949 - 51 to install a prototype steam catapult. She  commenced extensive sea trials during 1951. before operating with the US Navy for steam catapult trials in 1952, before being reclassified as a Ferry Carrier at the end of year. Activities in this role included a trip to the Far East.

PERSEUS received her second refit in 1955 but was returned to the reserve list on completion. PERSEUS was finally put up for disposal in 1957, being sold to Smith & Houston May 6th 1958 for Breaking at Port Glasgow.

Primary information sources

Last modified: 02 August 2016