HMS Argus was an aircraft carrier that served in the Royal Navy from 1918 to 1944. She was the first ship to have a full-length flat deck following the conversion of an ocean liner that was being constructed at the outbreak of the First World War. It was completed in September 1918. The deck allowed wheeled aircraft to take off and land and became the standard design for future carriers. After commissioning, the ship was involved for several years in the development of the optimum design for other aircraft carriers. It also evaluated various types of arresting gear, general procedures needed to operate a number of aircraft in concert and fleet tactics. The ship was too top-heavy as originally built and had to be modified to improve her stability in the mid-1920s. She spent one brief deployment on the China Station in the late 1920s before being placed in reserve for budgetary reasons. Argus was recommissioned and partially modernised shortly before the Second World War and served as a training ship for deck-landing practice until June 1940. The following month she made the first of her many ferry trips to the Western Mediterranean to fly off fighters to Malta; she was largely occupied in this task for the next two years. This is one of a small cluster of built between the wars that are named with a Royal Navy connection.
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