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Great Britain's Flag

Great Britain's Rapana class escort aircraft carriers

Photos

HMS Alexia:
HMS Alexia
©IWM, A-27325
HMS Ancylus with a Swordfish:
HMS Ancylus with a Swordfish
©IWM, A-22094
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943:
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943
©IWM, A-18331

HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943:
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943
©IWM, A-18335
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943:
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943
©IWM, A-18332

HMS Rapana:
HMS Rapana
©IWM, FL-18159
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943:
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943
©IWM, A-18333
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943:
HMS Rapana at Greenock on July 30, 1943
©IWM, A-18334

Design

The Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company, led by John Lamb, offered the British Admiralty to convert tankers into escort carriers. Initially the Admiralty felt that there would be a larger fire risk and turned down the offer, however in Spetember 1942 they changed their minds.

The tankers had their superstructures reduced and the funnel replaced by a vent that went out the sides.

Since no hangar was installed all the Swordfish had to be carried on deck.

The Rapana class ships carried only "black oil" and would sometimes refuel convoy escorts.

Ships

HMS Acavus

  • Manufacturer: Workman Clark
  • November 24, 1934: Launched.
  • Conversion: Falmouth
  • October 1943: Completed.
  • Convoy escort in North Atlantic.

HMS Adula

  • Manufacturer: Blythswood
  • January 28, 1937: Launched.
  • February 1944: Completed.
  • Spring 1944 - 1945: Convoy escort.

HMS Alexia

  • Manufacturer: Bremer Vulkan
  • December 20, 1934: Launched.
  • December 1943: Completed.
  • Convoy escort in North Atlantic.

HMS Amastra

  • Manufacturer: Lithgow
  • December 18, 1934: Launched.
  • Conversion: Smith's Dock
  • 1943: Completed.
  • Trials with Martlet.
  • 1944: Convoy escort in Atlantic.

HMS Ancylus

  • Manufacturer: Swan Hunter
  • October 9, 1934: Launched.
  • October 1943: Completed.
  • Convoy escort in Atlantic.

HMS Miralda

  • Manufacturer: Nederlandse Dok
  • July 1936: Launched.
  • January 1944: Completed.
  • Spring 1944 - 1945: Convoy escort in Atlantic.

HMS Rapana

  • Manufacturer: Witton-Fijenoord
  • April 1935: Launched.
  • Conversion: Smith's Dock
  • July 1943: Completed.
  • September 1943 - 1945: Convoy escort in Atlantic.

Specifications

  Rapana class
Crew 118
Displacement 16,000 tons
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length 481'
146.61 m
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 463'
141.12 m
Beam 59' 3"
18.06 m
Draft / Height 27' 6"
8.38 m
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Flight Deck 460' x 60'
140.21 m x 18.29 m
Performance  
Speed 11.5 knots
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4" L/40: 1
40 mm: 2
20 mm: 6
Aircraft 4
Armor  
Engines Sulzer 8 cylinder diesel
Shafts 1
HP 4,000
Oil  
Aircraft Fuel 5,000 gallons
  HMS Acavus, HMS Adula, HMS Amastra, HMS Ancylus
Physical Characteristics  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 465'
Engines  
HP 3,500

Sources:

  1. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site