How the aircraft carrier HMS Audacious became HMS Eagle – Nostalgia

A superb shot of HMS Eagle after arriving in the dockyard.  Anyone with more information? Photo: Mike Nolan collection.
A superb shot of HMS Eagle after arriving in the dockyard. Anyone with more information? Photo: Mike Nolan collection.

The awesome starboard view of the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, right, was sent in by Mike Nolan but he has little information about the occasion.

It is possibly a homecoming of some kind but may be a family day owing to lack of bunting and flags.

A superb view looking north along London Road, possibly Cowplain, pre-1935. Photo: Barry Cox collection.

A superb view looking north along London Road, possibly Cowplain, pre-1935. Photo: Barry Cox collection.

Although named HMS Eagle, she was originally to be named HMS Audacious, one of four ordered during the war. Africa was cancelled before construction had started.

Only two of the carriers were completed, Audacious and Ark Royal. But as the original carrier to be named Eagle was one of those cancelled after being 26 per cent built, the Audacious was renamed Eagle.

She was launched by our present Queen when she was still Princess Elizabeth on March 19, 1946.

Commissioned in October 1951 with a parallel flight deck, an angled flight deck was added  later. 

Seen on Havant Station platform is HM The Queen and Prince Philip who were visiting HMS Dryad, Southwick. Photo: Ralph Cousins collection.

Seen on Havant Station platform is HM The Queen and Prince Philip who were visiting HMS Dryad, Southwick. Photo: Ralph Cousins collection.

HMS Eagle was paid off in Portsmouth in 1972 after the decision to rundown the the Royal Navy fixed wing aircraft carrier fleet in 1966. She was sent to the breakers in October 1978.

n The superb photograph, on the opposite page, is looking along the London Road towards Cowplain, pre-1935. 

As can be seen, a tram on the Horndean Light Railway is heading for Horndean. The tram tracks are in the greenery on a reserved track alongside the road.

On the far side, a horse and carriage make their way along the road in the peaceful days before the mass building of motor cars.

The interior of the largest cafe along the south coast, The Mikado Cafe, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Can you remember visiting at anytime? Photo: Barry Cox collection.

The interior of the largest cafe along the south coast, The Mikado Cafe, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Can you remember visiting at anytime? Photo: Barry Cox collection.

As the line closed in 1935 we can date it as before that year. If anyone can spot the exact location please let me know.

Loaned by Barry Cox, he can be contacted on barrycox70@yahoo.co.uk and he would be glad to hear from anyone with memories of these times.

n On June 20, 1973, Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Havant after travelling down on a service train from London Waterloo, below left.

They were met by the chairman of Havant Council, Councillor Jack Carruthers. The occasion was their visit to HMS Dryad, Southwick House, the D-Day headquarters of General Eisenhower.

Out of frame is Derek Ridley the borough council town clerk who was, apparently, admonished by the Duke for not wearing a wig.

n Billed as the largest cafe on the south coast, the Mikado Cafe, bottom right, was on Palmerston Road, Southsea and was a very popular place for locals and visitors alike.

Even with the amount of tables on show there still seems enough room to have a conversation without being overheard.

I can only assume it was destroyed during The Blitz but if you can remember where it was in Palmerston Road do let me know.