- The first Ark Royal was built as Ark Raleigh at Deptford on the River Thames in 1587, to the order of Sir Walter Raleigh. She was bought by Queen Elizabeth's navy for £5,000 ("money well given", according to her new commander, Lord Howard of Effingham) and, as Ark Royal, was the flagship of the English fleet during the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588. In 1608, under the new monarch James I, she was rebuilt and renamed Anne Royal. She was broken up in 1636.
- The second Ark Royal, after a gap of almost 300 years, was a merchant ship converted on the building stocks to be a seaplane carrier and was the world's first aircraft carrier. Built in Blyth, Northumberland, she was launched in 1914, she served in the Dardanelles Campaign and throughout World War I. She was renamed HMS Pegasus in 1934, to free the name Ark Royal for a new ship, and was broken up in 1950.
- The third Ark Royal (91) was launched in 1938, saw action in World War II, and was sunk by the German U-boat U-81 in 1941. She was the first purpose built aircraft carrier, and was built by Cammel Laird and Company, Ltd at Birkenhead, England.
- The fourth Ark Royal (R09) was an Audacious-class fleet aircraft carrier. After starring in the 1970s BBC series "Sailor", she eventually went to the breaker's yard in 1980.
- The fifth Ark Royal (R07) is an Invincible-class aircraft carrier. She served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Battle honours Edit
- Spanish Armada 1588
- Cádiz 1596
- Dardanelles 1915
- Norway 1940
- Spartivento 1940
- Mediterranean 1940–1941
- Bismarck 1941
- Malta Convoys 1941
- Iraq 2003
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