The History of the BONAVENTURE

HMCS Bonaventure (CVL-22) was a Majestic class aircraft carrier. She served in the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Forces Maritime Command from 1957 to 1970 and was the third and the last aircraft carrier to serve Canada. The ship was laid down for the British Royal Navy as HMS Powerful in November 1943. At the end of World War II, work on the ship was suspended in 1946. At the time of purchase, it was decided to incorporate new aircraft carrier technologies into the design.

As HMS Powerful she was laid down at Harland and Wolff in Belfast on 21 November 1943, and launched on 27 February 1945. Work was suspended after the end of World War II, and was not resumed until the ship was bought by Canada. She was acquired in the early 1950s by the Royal Canadian Navy, which was looking to replace its aging World War II?vintage light carriers Magnificent (another Majestic class carrier) and Warrior, which were deemed unsuitable for the jet age. Several surplus U.S. and UK ships were considered, and the then-incomplete HMS Powerful, a Majestic-class light fleet carrier, was purchased in 1952 from the Royal Navy on the condition that it be refitted with an angled flight deck and steam catapult. Bonaventure?named after Bonaventure Island, a bird sanctuary in the Gulf of St. Lawrence?was commissioned into the Canadian Navy upon completion of its refit and modernization on 17 January 1957. In 1966 the carrier docked in Quebec for a mid-life refit. This second refit took 18 months and cost $11 million. After the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, the Bonaventure was decommissioned, in Halifax, on 3 July 1970 and was scrapped in Taiwan in 1971.

BONAVENTURE Statistical Data

  • Pendant: 22
  • Type: Light Fleet Carrier
  • Class: Majestic
  • Displacement: 16,000 tonnes
  • Length: 704 ft
  • Width: 80 ft
  • Draught: 25 ft
  • Speed: 24 kts
  • Compliment: 1300 Officers and Crew
  • Arms: 8 - 3" (4xII), 8 - 40mm
  • Builder: Harland and Wolff Ltd., Belfast, Ireland
  • Keel Laid: 27-Nov-43
  • Date Launched: 27-Feb-45
  • Date Commissioned: 17-Jan-57
  • Paid off: 07-Jan-70


Ex-HMS POWERFUL. Capacity of 30 aircraft.

Additional Information

Bonaventure carried five squadrons of aircraft. Initially, she had up to 34 planes and helicopters embarked at any time. The number of aircraft gradually reduced until the refit in 1967, when the air group peaked at 21 aircraft. Initially, two types of fixed-wing aircraft were operated from Bonaventure. The McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee were flown by VF 870 and VF 871 Squadron, while Grumman CS2F Tracker anti-submarine warfare (ASW) were operated by VS 880 and VS 881 Squadron. The Bonaventure also carried HO4S helicopter and were operated by HS 50 Squadron.

Keywords: HMCS BONAVENTURE, Royal Canadian Navy Ship, Light Fleet Carrier, Majestic Class