HMS Victorious (R38)
, the second Illustrious
-class aircraft carrier ordered under the 1936 Naval Programme, was laid down at Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 1937 and launched two years later in 1939. Her commissioning was delayed, however, until 1941 due to the greater need for escort vessels for service in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Her service in 1941 and 1942 included famous actions against the battleship Bismarck, several Arctic convoys and the Pedestal convoy to Malta. She was loaned to the United States Navy for a brief period in 1943, serving in the south west Pacific as USS Robin. Victorious contributed to several attacks on the Tirpitz. The elimination of the German naval threat allowed her redeployment first to the Eastern Fleet at Colombo and then to the Pacific for the final actions of the war against Japan.
After the war, her service was broken by periods in reserve and an extensive rebuild in the 1950s that enabled the use of modern fast jet aircraft. The reduction in Britain's naval commitment in the late 1960s prompted her final withdrawal from service and she was scrapped in 1969 after a momentous service of nearly 30 years.