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British Aircraft Carriers (Hardback)

Design, Development & Service Histories

Seaforth Seaforth: Modern Naval Colour Books

By David Hobbs
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 384
Illustrations: 400
ISBN: 9781848321380
Published: 30th September 2014
Last Released: 14th December 2017



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This book is a meticulously detailed history of British aircraft-carrying ships from the earliest experimental vessels to the Queen Elizabeth class, currently under construction and the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy. Individual chapters cover the design and construction of each class, with full technical details, and there are extensive summaries of every ship's career. Apart from the obvious large-deck carriers, the book also includes seaplane carriers, escort carriers and MAC ships, the maintenance ships built on carrier hulls, unbuilt projects, and the modern LPH. It concludes with a look at the future of naval aviation, while numerous appendices summarise related subjects like naval aircraft, recognition markings and the circumstances surrounding the loss of every British carrier. As befits such an important reference work, it is heavily illustrated with a magnificent gallery of photos and plans, including the first publication of original plans in full colour, one on a magnificent gatefold.

Written by the leading historian of British carrier aviation, himself a retired Fleet Air Arm pilot, it displays the authority of a lifetime's research combined with a practical understanding of the issues surrounding the design and operation of aircraft carriers. As such British Aircraft Carriers is certain to become the standard work on the subject.

A very rich and exhaustive work.

STORIA militare, September 2015

Amazingly comprehensive and high-quality illustrated this work is a must-see for anyone interested in the development of the aircraft carrier.

ModellWerft, March 2017

An impressive work with exceptional documentation. Very interesting for those lovers of naval history of all time and who like stories based on real events. Essential for Naval Modeling and Historians.

Read the full Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

This major reference work contains many fine illustrations, including original plans in full colour. It was written by the leading historian of British carrier aviation, a retired Fleet Air Arm pilot, and contains a lifetime's research combined with a practical understanding of the issues surrounding the design and operation of aircraft carriers. A must for anyone interested in aircraft carriers.

Ships Monthly, January 2017

We had the extreme privilege of reading this amazing book. This beautiful object presents the complete history of naval aviation, visiting the British naval history, source of innovation and many magnificent experiences...

... Full circle. You need this book. In the middle, there is the profile of the HMS Ark Royal, enough to add, in addition to a beautiful book on the shelf, a beautiful setting.

Le Fauteuil de Colbert

The large format of the book allows extensive use if photographs and, in most cases, specially drawn plans.

Reference Reviews

British Aircraft Carriers is illustrated with a wealth of photographs and line drawings... The book is not only strong on the issue of flight deck, islands and hangar designs, but is particularly good on aviation logistics.

Warship Annual

A wealth of knowledge presented in a most readable form for everyone from the novice to the initiated. ... A Rolls Royce of a book.

Clash of Steel

A magnificent book which provides a concisely written and well-researched compendium of the warships that have maintained their status as the world's capital ship for over 70 years.
'British Aircraft Carriers' is an outstanding highly informative reference work. It is a masterpiece which should be on every naval person's bookshelf. It is a pleasure to read and a pleasure to own.

Australian Naval Institute

British Aircraft Carriers is a magnificent book which provides a concisely written and well-illustrated compendium of the warships that have maintained their status as the world's capital ships for over 75 years. It is a large book (489 x 465 mm) with 384 pages of detail including appendices, bibliography, glossary and index. There are many illustrations, suitably positioned with accurate captions, but the colour Admiralty drawings reproduced in the centre of the book are amazing.

This is an outstanding highly informative reference book. It is a masterpiece which should be on every naval person's bookshelf. It is a pleasure to read and a pleasure to own.


This 384-page masterwork should be on every naval modeller's shelf. Meticulously researched by author and former high-hour Royal Navy pilot David Hobbs, the weighty hardback throws scholarly focus on all classes of British carriers.

Technical details, statistics, line drawings and reproductions of Admiralty illustrations make this the last word on the subject.

Pleasing general imagery, plenty of history and inspiration.

Airfix Model World

This superb book, written by a former Fleet Air Arm pilot who later became curator of the FAA Museum, will undoubtedly become the definitive volume on British Aircraft carriers and naval aviation.
This volume, which is completed by a complete Bibliography as well as a Glossary and an Index, is lavishly illustrated by more than 350 B&W images which have been carefully positioned so that they are adjacent to the relevant text. This magnificent book is excellent value for money and I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending it.

Marine News

A magnificent book, well-illustrated with many photographs and a most striking centrefold of Admiralty drawings in colour. The author tells us that the book was "a joy to write". It is certainly a joy to read!

Warship World

This is an absolutely superb history of the British aircraft carrier. Hobbs understands every aspect of his topic and this is reflected in the text. The sections on the design of each type of carrier are particularly strong, reflecting his expert knowledge of carrier operations. The service records complete the picture for the British carriers, and there are also interesting sections on other nation's carriers. For me this is the definitive history of the British aircraft carrier and an invaluable book.

History of War website

This new offering from Seaforth Publishing, is an important and definitive volume on a warship type that changed the face of naval warfare during the 20th century. It is certain to become the major reference work on the aircraft carrier in British service and should find a place on the bookshelves of any serious student of 20th century capital ships and their development over more than 100 years, up to today and into the future.

Ships in Scale

A masterly book on British Aircraft Carriers. This outstanding book is a tour de force and will certainly be the acknowledged, essential, reference source on British naval aviation for many years to come. Most strongly recommended.

Scuttlebutt - Journal of the Friends of the Royal Naval Museum
 David Hobbs

About David Hobbs

DAVID HOBBS served in the Royal Navy as a pilot, and later became the Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum. He has since established himself as an authoritative writer on naval aviation topics, with more than a dozen highly regarded books to his name. Of particular note is his series of Fleet Air Arm operational narratives covering the complete history of the service, in order of chronology from The Royal Navy’s Air Service in the Great War to The British Carrier Strike Fleet after 1945, all published by Seaforth since 2011.

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