The name Ark Royal goes back a long way in the annals of the British Navy. Sir Walter Raleigh, that famed Elizabethan seaman, had a great ship built which he called after himself, Ark Raleigh. She was launched in 1587. When the menace of the Spanish Armada loomed, the Crown bought her and she became Ark Royal. Probably the most famous bearer of the name was the Second World War aircraft carrier. She was launched in 1937 and was the center of many actions. William Joyce (‘Lord Haw Haw’), broadcasting from Germany, repeated time and again a question meant to worry the British: ‘Where is the Ark Royal?’ It was the ship the Germans most wanted to sink. The Ark Royal hunted the German Graf Spee and helped trap the Bismark. The end of the Ark Royal came in 1941. On 14 November the Admiralty announced that she had sunk after being torpedoed by a German submarine. Of her 1,541 men only one was lost. Ark Royal’s name lives on, borne, by another aircraft carrier. Joyce was executed for treason in 1946.
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