HMS Liverpool after crossing the Atlantic, passing through the Panama Canal and heading up to California with a temporary bow to reach the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for repairs. Her bow was badly damaged when an Italian SM.79 Sparviero torpedo bomber found its mark on 14 October 1940 as the ship made for Alexandria, Egypt - 30 killed, 35 more wounded.

Taken under tow from the stern a fuel fire had further compromised the structural integrity of the bow. The subsequent combination of drag and turbulence removed it completely on the first day of a two day reverse journey to Alexandria. Once there she was given a temporary bow fix and sent on her way to California, where she was photographed above and made anew. The ship survived another torpedo hit from the same type of aircraft in June 1942.


An interesting contrast between the damage to the flight decks of USS Bunker Hill (top) and HMS Formidable (bottom) after 550lb-bomb-carrying Kamikaze hits amidships.

On Bunker Hill, the exploding bomb and burning fuel killed 389 and put the carrier out of action for four months. On Formidable, the exploding bomb and burning fuel killed nine and put the carrier out of action for six hours. America’s Midway-class aircraft carriers which entered service in late 1945, did so with armoured flight decks.