From the first Ark Royal commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 16th Century to the present day aircraft carrier, Ark Royal has played a major part in the defence of Britain. This video traces the history of this famous series of fighting ships. Rare film shows the second Ark Royal in action in the First World War with the first Short seaplanes being lowered into the sea for take-off. The Second World War saw experiments with catapult launched aircraft such as the Walrus and Hurricane. After the improvement of carrier-borne launches, the Ark Royal became a valuable fighting platform able to launch a variety of aircraft such as Blackburn Skua bombers, Fulmar fighters and the famous Fairey Swordfish. Archive footage shows these aircraft in action. The commissioning of the fourth carrier saw the introduction of the jet aircraft. Here we see thrilling shots of Sea Hawks, Scimitars, Sea Vixens, Buccaneers and eventually the Phantom. The present day Ark Royal is captured in a dramatic behind-the-scenes look at her providing back-up to the UN forces in Bosnia, in active service during the 2003 Gulf War and her moving return to port from the conflict. With dramatic film footage and interviews with crews past and present, this fim gives a fascinating look at life aboard these famous ships - the pride of the British fleet.