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ROYAL NAVY SOUTH ATLANTIC COMMAND - ROYAL NAVY N P Q R SHIPS

9)PRETORIA CASTLE (ESC. CARRIER)



Photo. www.photoship.co.uk 



Pretoria Castle seen before the conversion to Escort Carrier. Photo. www.photoship.co.uk


Completed: 1938


Displacement:  23 450 tons


Length: 594 ft


Beam: 76 ft


Draught: 29 ft


Propulsion: Diesel, 16,000 bhp


Armament: 2 x 2 x 4"/50-cal HA/LA 4 x 4 x 2pdr pom-pom AA 10 x 2 x 20mm AA 


Complement: ?


Speed: 17 kts


Aircraft: 21, being 15 Fairey Swordfish.


HMS Pretoria Castle (F61) was an armed merchant cruiser and escort aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that saw service during World War II. She had previously been the ocean liner Pretoria Castle of the Union-Castle Line; built at Harland & Wolff shipyards in Belfast, Northern Ireland and launched in 1938.


She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in October 1939, and converted to an armed merchant cruiser with 6-inch and 3-inch guns, entering service in November 1939. In this role she served mainly in the South Atlantic.


In July 1942 she was bought outright by the Navy for conversion to an escort carrier at the Swan Hunter shipyards in Tyne and Wear. She was commissioned in this role in July 1943 and was operated as a trials and training carrier, seeing no active combat service.


HMS Pretoria Castle served at  the south Atlantic station since November 39 based Freetown as Escort force until  June 42 South Atlantic Station.


In the south Atlantic the German ship Norderney, former Altair was scuttled South Atlantic NE of Amazon estuary 15 Aug 41 to avoid capture by Royal Navy Cruiser HMS Despatch and AMC Pretoria Castle. 35 crewmembers and 2 passengers were rescued.


 

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