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Eleven months aboard H.M.S. INDOMITABLE

The diary of Gerald A. Hancock with the photographs of Walter E Gelling


HMS Indomitable underway
HMS Indomitable Badge

This page is formed using materials from two sources; the wartime diary of Gerald A. Hancock who served on H.M.S. Indomitable during the period September 10th 1941 to August 14th 1942., and the photograph collection of Petty Officer Walter E Gelling who served on the ship during the same time. By some strange coincidence both the diary and the photo collection were donated to the Archive in the same week. Thanks to Mr. Tim Hancock for submitting a digital copy of his father's diary and pictures covering his time with the ship and to Mr. John Gelling for the donation of photographs belonging to his father, Walter Gelling, who served as a Petty Officer in fleet air arm.





Transcribed diary

The diary starts on September 10th 1941 when H.M.S. INDOMITABLE, a newly completed carrier docked in Liverpool, was making preparations to sail for flying trials followed by a work-up cruise in the West Indies. It covers s the work-up period and the subsequent deployment to the Eastern Fleet where she ferried RAF Hurricanes to bolster the defences of Singapore and Ceylon. During this period in the Indian Ocean the Japanese stacked the fleet and sank nanny famous ships before capturing Singapore. NDOMITABLE took part in the invasion and capture of Madagascar Operation IRONCLAD, before entering the Mediterranean to give air cover for Malta cowboys in operation PEDESTAL. It concludes when the ship reaches Gibraltar for repairs to bomb damage incurred during PEDESTAL.


INDOMITABLE was laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness, on November 10th 1937 as a modified ILLUSTRIOUS-class aircraft carrier for the Royal Navy. She was launched on March 26th 1940 and was christened by Clementine Churchill, wife of Winston Churchill. She commissioned as H.M.S. INDOMITABLE October 10th 1941. With a Flight deck measuring 680 x 95 ft and two hangars she could operate 48 aircraft; her displacement was 30,530 tons standard; 35,500 tons full laden and could achieve a top Speed of 30 knots. She carried a Crew complement of 1600.






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