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HMS Eagle’s New Commission

HMS Eagle receives its fifth commission with RAF 899 Squadron assigned to it.

News 1964 1 mins Silent

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


The is a celebration with families and crew for HMS Eagle's fifth commission after it underwent an extensive five-year refit in Devonport dockyard which included extending the flight deck. RAF squadron 899 was assigned to the Big E under the command of Captain Empson. Captain Roxburgh took command of the ship on 14 June 1964 and HMS Eagle went on a two-year tour of duty from HMNB Devonport in Plymouth to Singapore and back.

The aircraft carrier's refit included a bunk for every seaman and air conditioning! HMS Eagle was in service from 1951 to 1972 after which the ship was kept in reserve until decommission in 1978. Its twin aircraft carrier was the flagship of the Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal. Since 1592 eighteen Royal Navy ships have been named Eagle after the bird of prey dubbed the king of the skies and known as a symbol of power and freedom. HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are the new supercarriers of the Royal Navy and the largest ever built in Britain involving six UK shipyards. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is two hundred and eighty metres long or fifteen metres longer than the Houses of Parliament in Westminster (source: MOD).