Illustrious photographed in 1942 she was commissioned in 1940. After working up off Bermuda Illustrious joined the Mediterranean Fleet on September 2, 1940 with 15 Fairey Fulmars and 16 Swordfish embarked.
Fairey Fulmar of No. 800 Squadron, with long-range "slipper" tank beneath its fuselage, takes off from H.M.S. "Indomitable". These aircraft were used for tactical reconnaissance over the northern end of Madagascar and for seaward search, watching for possible Japanese intervention The Fleet Air Arm took delivery of 602 Fulmars, the last one, DR749, being delivered in February 1943.