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Flyby PC

OT French Aircraft Carrier.

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It's a little off topic, (more WW2) but a curiosity struck me. The conversation started out about whether the French with all their colonies built any aircraft carriers in WW1, and it was mentioned in passing that prior to WW2, the Royal Navy had two aircraft carriers in the Med, and the French had one. I suddenly wondered what on earth happened to the French Carrier? When Churchill controversially ordered the RN to sink the Vichy French Fleet, I didn't recall any mention of a carrier being included. Surely that would warrant a mention? Why have I never heard of her fate? Was she sunk, interned, or renamed?


So a little Google later -




The French had one, from 1927. The Béarn began the War hunting down the Graf Spey (but took no part in the Battle of the River Plate), transferred French bullion to Canada, then when France signed its armistace with the Nazis, spent the war in Martinique, 'kind of' impounded in a French port in the Caribbean, interned and demilitarised at US insistance. A long career from 1927 to 1967, and never launched her aircraft in combat.


Sorry, World War 1 relevance by ommission, but it was something new to me, and it struck me as a pub quiz type of fact that everybody else should know too.

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