Aircraft Gallery: HMS Triumph during the Korean War

In 1950, the Royal Navy carrier HMS Triumph started a tour of the Far East, embarking 800 Naval Air Squadron with Seafire 47s along with 827 Naval Air Squadron equipped with Fairey Fireflys. Following the outbreak of the Korean War, HMS Triumph was diverted to operations to try to stem the North Korean offensive with Seafires and Fireflies flying ground attack and combat air patrols from July until September 1950.

The Seafires and Fireflies of Triumph, in conjunction with aircraft from the American carrier the USS Valley Forge, attacked airfields at Pyongyang and Haeju on 3rd July in the first carrier strikes of the war. The aircraft used rockets and bombs to great effect using tactics perfected just five years earlier in the Second World War. The Seafires, though agile and fast, had an appearance that was a liability when operating with allied forces with it having a remarkable similarity to the Communist Yak-9 fighter. This similarity lead to a near fatal encounter between a Seafire and a USAF B-29 Superfortress crew with a rather nervous gunner who opened fire on the British aircraft. Although the aircraft was downed the pilot escaped unhurt.

In September 1950, HMS Triumph was replaced by HMS Theseus.


(PLEASE NOTE: 1 or 2 images are from another cruise and do not represent the one mentioned above. It seems there was very little time to take a lot of pictures in 1950. I have still included these for reference)

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12 responses to “Aircraft Gallery: HMS Triumph during the Korean War

  1. Great gallery! I love the looks of the Firefly even if it wasn’t the finest of fighters.

    My understanding of the Seafire was that the biggest drawback was that it was prone to landing gear collapse after just a short time at sea, the gear just couldn’t hold up to carrier landings for long.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it was an almost totally unsuitable aircraft for carriers. By the end of HMS Triumph’s deployment the entire complement of Seafires suffered extreme fatigue requiring them to be withdrawn from service. It was nevertheless still one of the finest piston engined fighters of the early days of the Korean War.

      The Fsirey Firefly and Fulmar will be in a future article. The Firefly was stunning and boy did she have a hard punch with that quartet of cannon. Nowhere near as nimble as a single seater but a good torpedo-bomber destroyer. Little known fact about the earlier Fulmar – every FAA ace of WWII started his career in that aircraft

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think the Firefly’s purposeful looks are what I really like about it.

        Not only was there the punch of four 20mm cannon, but they also had rockets fairly frequently as well. On top of that is an aircraft of fairly substantial size bearing down.

        It probably was very intimidating from the stand point of being its target.

        Liked by 1 person

      • True that. The Korean War proved that piston powered fighters had pretty much had their day as far as major conflicts were concerned.

        At that point in time, it probably would have made more sense to try converting the Firefly to turboprop power to save weight than to try contraprops.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Some interesting points. I don’t think prop aircraft had entirely had their day I mean look at the Skyraider, Corsair and Sea Fury. They excelled in the war. Also jets were still on marginally superior to piston engined fighters so they were still viable.

        A turboprop Firefly. You sir are a man after my own heart 😀 I think that would have offered numerous possibilities but again jets were the way to go by then and there would be no room for its on the RNs small carriers in the late 50s

        Real shame

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My father has some photos in his album taken during his time in the Middle East. Some of these include ships one of which is HMS Triumph sailing along the Suez canal. There are also visiting Sea Furies and Fireflys. I don’t know if there is a link as his memory is a little jaded. http://flic.kr/p/k9a4Az if you are interested. More wonderful but forgotten aircraft you mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Defence of the Realm – Royal Navy | Defence of the Realm

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