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HMS Ark Royal

Five ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Ark Royal.

The first HMS Ark Royal was built at Deptford on the River Thames in 1587, to the order of Sir Walter Raleigh. Originally named Ark Ralegh, she was bought by Queen Elizabeth's navy for £5000 ("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 HMS Ark Royal, after a gap of almost 300 years, was a merchant ship converted on the building stocks to be a seaplane carrier was was the worlds first Aircraft carrier 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) saw action in World War II and was sunk by a U-boat.

The fourth HMS Ark Royal (R09) was an Audacious-class fleet aircraft carrier[?]. Her keel was laid down by Cammell Laird[?] of Birkenhead on 3 May 1943. She was launched on 3 May 1950 and commissioned on 28 February 1955. After starring in the 1970s BBC series "Sailor," she eventually went to the breaker's yard in 1980.

The fifth HMS Ark Royal (R07) is an Invincible-class aircraft carrier. she served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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