Daily Event for December 2, 2010

In 1914 the Italian liner Conte Rosso (Red Count) was laid down at William Beardmore & Company in Dalmuir, Scotland, but with war looming the Admiralty bought the incomplete hull and ordered it converted into an airplane carrier and renamed her Argus. The flushdeck carrier was not completed until late 1918 and therefore was not involved in the Great War, but she was still around during the Second World War. Between the wars she was used for training as operating aircraft from ships was a new development and Argus was the worlds first true aircraft carrier.

Over twenty years old when World War II began, Argus was still used in her training roll as new generations of carriers had been developed. However these new carriers made important targets for the Germans and before the United States entered the war three of the British flat-tops had been sunk leaving the Admiralty in a difficult position so Argus was made a front line carrier. She was used as a plane ferry taking aircraft from the UK to Malta and Gibraltar, but as the war progressed she was used to escort convoys and was involved in the Operation Torch landings as well as providing air cover for other operations. Later in the war as new carriers came on line Argus was taken back from the front line and again was used for training and later as an accommodation ship. This pioneer of naval aviation was scrapped in 1946.

After the Great War Beardmore received another order from the Italians for a liner named Conte Rosso, she was launched in 1921 and was described at the time as "excelling all liners laid down since the war both in speed and in the luxury of her passenger accommodations." She was still around in the Second World War and was used by the Italians as a troopship, on May 24, 1941 HMS Upholder torpedoed and sank the great liner along with over 1,200 crew and soldiers.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

HMS Argus, date and location unknown.

2008 Daily Event