Description: RAN Tally Band – HMAS Vengeance.

Maker’s Name: N/A

Condition: Very Good

Comments: Royal Australian Navy – Tally Band – HMAS Vengeance.

HMS Vengeance (R71) was a Colossus class light aircraft carrier built for the Royal Navy during World War II. The carrier served in three navies during her career: the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy (as HMAS Vengeance, from 1952 to 1955), and the Brazilian Navy (as Minas Gerais (A 11), from 1956 to 2001).

Constructed during World War II, Vengeance was one of the few ships in her class to be completed before the war’s end, although she did not see any active service. The ship spent the next few years as an aircraft transport and training carrier before she was sent on an experimental cruise to learn how well ships and personnel could function in extreme Arctic conditions. In late 1952, Vengeance was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a replacement for the delayed aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. She remained in Australian waters, operating as an aircraft carrier and training ship, for the majority of her three-year loan, and was returned to the Royal Navy (RN) in August 1955.

In June 1951, following the receipt of advice that the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne would not be completed until at least March 1954, the Australian Defence Committee recommended that Australia request that the RN loan a carrier to the RAN. The new predicted date of completion for Melbourne was 21 months later than previous predictions, on which the establishment of two-carrier naval aviation in the RAN had been dependant. The Navy sought a four-year loan of an aircraft carrier from late 1952 to late 1956, to cover both the delays with Melbourne and the planned upgrading of HMAS Sydney once Melbourne was in service.

The Australian government proposed that the loaned carrier be modified to operate both Sea Venom and Gannet aircraft, so that Melbourne and the loaned carrier could both see active service while Sydney was upgraded, but withdrew the suggestion when informed by the Admiralty that providing such capability would require the installation of a new arrestor cable system, prevent the loaned carrier from entering service until at least March 1954, and would be paid for entirely by Australia. Several smaller modifications were approved and paid for by Australia, including the installation of additional aircrew accommodation.

Vengeance was the carrier selected for the loan, and modifications for Australian service were completed in January 1952. In order to provide personnel for the loaned carrier, the RAN had to place the light cruiser HMAS Hobart into reserve. The loan was approved, with the British government choosing not to charge Australia for the loan, but stating that all operational costs would be met by the RAN, including the initial outfit of stores. In mid-1952, the liner Asturias was chartered by the RAN to transport a commissioning crew to England.