Photographs by John Prouse

The following photographs, taken by John Prouse, RN, late in the war, are from the collection of his grandson Chris Prouse (, and are copyright (c) the Chris Prouse Collection. Click on each for a larger version.

Photo of a a Sopwith Pup taking off from the flight deck of HMS Pegasus during WWI. Pegasus was converted from the SS Stockholm as a seaplane tender but as you can see she had a short flight deck on th bow. This Pegasus should not be confused with Ark Royal which was renamed Pegasus in 1934 to make way for the WWII Ark Royal.


Pegasus in stormy weather. Note that part of the flight deck has been removed.

My grandfather was an observer when his Short seaplane crashed beside Pegasus. After being rescued he ran back to his cabin and took this photo of his plane being hoisted aboard the aft deck of the Pegasus.


He took this overhead photo of the Pegasus from 1,000'.

This is probably one of the most interesting photos that I have. If I have the story right this is how it goes. The photo is of the Campania sinking. Campania was the first RN ship to be used as an aircraft carrier, in the sense that it was the first RN ship to have a plane fly off and land on it. My grandfather told my father that the crew had to grab the plane as it landed to stop it. Campania was sunk by collision in the Firth of Forth.


Another photo of a Pup taking off from the bow deck of the Pegasus. Note the steam vent on the deck that allowed the flight officers to gauge the wind.

Here is a short history of HMS Pegasus.

In 1917 the navy bought the Great Eastern Steamer Stockholm which was still under construction. Renamed Pegasus she was converted to a seaplane tender with a takeoff deck on the bow and a hanger aft. Pegasus carried nine aircraft, probably Short 184 seaplanes and Sopwith Pups (one source lists Sopwith 2f.1 Camels). The purpose of the aircraft was not attack but reconnaissance. Each seaplane had a crew of two, the pilot and an observer.

J. B. Prouse served in Pegasus as a Flying Officer after receiving a commission from King George V on July 27, 1918. His duties included acting as observer on Pegasus' seaplanes, a position that required a keen eye for ship recognition.

During 1918, Pegasus was stationed in Rosyth training pilots in using the flying off deck. In 1919 she was part of an international force which was sent to Murmansk in Northern Russia to fight against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Prouse took a machine gun bullet in the leg while flying over enemy lines and was returned to Britain.

In 1931 the Pegasus was stricken.

Last Updated: 23 January, 2003.

 Return to WWI The Maritime War

 Return to WWI Archive main page.