HMS Ark Royal (91)
Designed in the early 1930s, Ark Royal is probably the most well-known British carrier. Commissioned in 1938, Ark Royal saw extensive service in the early years of World War II, and participated in the sinking of U-39, the first U-boat lost in combat during World War II. One of her Skua fighters was also responsible for the first British air-to-air victory of the War. After covering the Norwegian Campaign, Ark Royal was transferred to the Mediterranean, where she continued to see heavy action. In late May, 1941, Ark Royal was deployed into the Atlantic to help hunt down the German battleship Bismarck after she sank the HMS Hood. On 26 May, Ark Royal's Swordfish torpedo bombers accidentally attacked the light cruiser HMS Sheffield without success. They then sortied again, and attacked the correct target, and one of them managed to score a lucky hit on Bismarck's rudder, delivering the German into the guns of the Royal Navy's battleships. Ark returned to the Mediterranean, and covered several Malta Convoys. Due to surviving many near misses, Ark Royal developed a reputation as a lucky ship, but her luck ran out on 13 November, when she was torpedoed by U-81, sinking the next morning.