HMS Challenger (1931)
HMS Challenger was a survey ship of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
's Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...
. She was laid down in 1930 at Chatham Dockyard
Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway and of which two-thirds is in Gillingham and one third in Chatham, Kent, England, came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, leading to a requirement for additional...
and built in a dry dock
A drydock is a narrow basin or vessel that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform...
. After that, the ship was moved to Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...
for completion and commissioned on 15 March 1932.
Service historyUntil World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, Challenger surveyed the waters around the United Kingdom, the West Indies and the East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...
. From 1939 to 1942, she was assigned duties around the United Kingdom. From 1942 to 1946, the vessel surveyed in the Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...
and the Western Pacific
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...
Challenger returned to Chatham in 1946 for a refit before returning to the Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...
late 1946. She left the Gulf in 1947 and went to Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...
where a shore party logged tides. She then proceeded to Gibraltar for another refit in dry dock.
She made a world circumnavigation from 1950 to 1953 that included surveying in the West Indies and the Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...
. It was during this mission, in 1951 that Challenger surveyed the Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about long but has a mean width of only...
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...
, identifying the deepest known point in the oceans, 10911 metres (35,797.2 ft) deep at its maximum, near 11°22′N 142°36′E. This point was named the Challenger Deep
The Challenger Deep is the deepest known point in the oceans, with a depth of to by direct measurement from submersibles, and slightly more by sonar bathymetry . It is located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench near the Mariana Islands group...
as a result of the survey. In January 1954, Challenger returned to the UK, paid off, and was broken up at Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...