Incomplete as it is, here is my attempt .... wanted to get at least this much in ...
The Courageous class is an armoured cruiser conversion. The original hulls were built from upscaled modified Birmingham designs to fulfill criteria for a new armoured cruiser class, with the first of the eight-ship class planned to be joining the Royal Navy in 1918.
With the need for such ships winding down and the demand for more capable ASW ships rising sharply, work on these ships were suspended in the fall of 1916. They would remain in limbo until well after Germany’s surrender at the end of December 1916.
While out of the original 8 ships planned, two ships (HMS Chivalrous and HMS Imperieuse) would be cancelled outright before being laid down. Another, HMS Assiduous, would be broken up on the ways.
While it was assumed that the rest would soon find their ways to the breaker’s, they would find a reprieve as a result of a need for more modern aircraft carriers to first reinforce, and then replace the two old armoured cruiser conversion HMS Black Prince and HMS Warrior, which had served the RN so well in the last 18 months of the Great War.
HMS Furious and HMS Icarus would be the first of the class to begin conversion, and in their original form, even with the innovations and features they carried, they would be more spartan than their following sisters.
HMS Furious would be completed to a single hangar deck plan, as would her sister Icarus. The remaining three ships would be completed to different designs, With Glorious and Courageous having a novel design featuring a flying off deck, accessed directly from the upper shorter hanger, as well as a proper flight deck above the upper hangar. HMS Victorious would complete with two full hangar decks.
The group would be collectively of great interest, as not only would they be among the first aircraft carriers post war, but as well they were seen to be by many as including lessons learned by the RN in the Great War.
By the mid 1920’s the first pair would be joined by their near sisters HMS Courageous, Glorious and Victorious. Shortly after those three joined the fleet, HMS Icarus was sold to Australia at a large discount, and it was announced that it was to be used for both a seaplane tender, as well as a regional support ship to assist in the administration of the new Australian, British and New Zealand territories that had been acquired in the Pacific as a result of the Great War.
Even with it’s changes in designation, HMAS Icarus would still operate normal aircraft, even as it had limited conversions to abstemiously better fulfill its new duties
HMS Furious would join the RN in 1920, and upon commissioning was sent directly to the Mediterranean to support the fleet covering the Turkish War. By 1922, Furious would be assigned to the RNAS training establishment on Bermuda, a deployment she would repeat several times during the late 1920’s and early 30’s.
By mid 1932 HMS Furious was becoming somewhat long in the tooth and would be set out for a comprehensive reconstruction once the first pair of the new Sans Pareil class fleet carriers had joined the fleet. Furious would be with the builders until late 1937, at which time she would rejoin the fleet and return to her old duties with the training establishment on Bermuda.
HMS Furious would be one of the first Royal Navy ships to mount the new combination of 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. However, with the ongoing production problems with the new 4.5” dual purpose guns, and further challenges with the heavier 5.25” weapons, her heavy AA weapons would be a quartet of the tried and true twin 4” mounts.
Furious would emerge from the reconstruction as a vastly improved ship, although in the end the cost of her remedials would belay similar work on any more of her sisters other than HMS Victorious.
In 1938, Furious would be dispatched to serve with the Royal Australian Navy while HMAS Icarus spent 18 months in refit and limited reconstruction. Upon that ship’s completion, Furious would join the RN’s Far Eastern fleet at Singapore while HMS Hermes returned to Great Britain for her own rehabilitations. While it had been planned to return HMS Furious to Great Britain for a refit at that point, the then current political reality in the Far East at that point would shelve that option. Instead, HMS Furious would receive a somewhat more moderate refit at Singapore, then remain with the Far Eastern Fleet until the start of the Second Great War in July of 1939.
Furious would play an active part in the Second Great War, seeing action in the Indian Ocean, the South Atlantic, home waters, the Mediterranean as well as with the Far Eastern fleet. She would serve well into the mid year of 1944 when she would strike a magnetic mine off Belfast when returning for a refit. Furious would make port, however, the ship was damage to such a degree that there was no point in attempting to repair the damages.
HMS Furious would finish the war docked in moored in Belfast, before being sold to the breakers in the spring of 1946.