Originally she was to be the battleship Almirante Cochrane for the Chilean Navy, but her construction was halted with the outbreak of World War I. In 1917 she was bought by Royal Navy and finished as carrier HMS Eagle. In early 1940 she tried to hunt Admiral Graf Spee German raider-ship in the Indian Ocean without any success. In May 1940 she went to Eastern Mediterranea. In July 1940 she attacked Tobruk and sank 3 Italian destroyers and 2 merchantmen. On July 9th, 1940 she part of an ineffectual clash with the Italian fleet at Calabria. On August 22nd, 1940 her aircraft sank an Italian submarine and a depot ship in the Gulf of Bomba. In September 1940 she joined the carrier HMS Illustrious as part of Operation Hats, and supported an attack on Maritza, Rhodes. In mid-October 1940 she was part of the cover for a Malta convoy MB-6. On November 11th, 1940 her aircraft flew from HMS Illustrious during the attack on Italian Fleet at Taranto (Operation Judgement). On the November 26th, 1940 her aircraft attacked Tripoli. In March 1941 she was assigned to Freetown. Her aircraft, flying from Port Sudan, attacked Italian ships at Massawa en route. She arrived at Freetown in early May, remaining there until October 1941. She returned to Britain for a refit and rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet early in 1942. In February-June 1942 she carried aircraft for Malta several times. In June she also provided air cover for the convoy of Operation Harpoon. Her final action was in August 1942 as cover for the Malta-bound convoy of Operation Pedestal. On August 11th, 1942 she was hit by four torpedoes from U-73 German submarine and sank. 160 crewman lost.
Took part in wars:
Mediterranean Theatre of War (1940-1945)
Northern Africa (1940-1943)
Siege of Malta (1940-1943)
Battle of Ethiopia (1940-1941)
Blackburn T.1/T.2 Swift/Dart [ 1 2 ];
Fairey Flycatcher [ 1 ];
Hawker Osprey [ 1 ];
Fairey Swordfish [ 2 3 ];
Hawker Hurricane/Sea Hurricane [ 19 20 ].