Escort Carrier


The first HMS Campania was a seaplane carrier 1915-18, which was wrecked in November 1918.  The second HMS Campania (D-48) was an escort carrier which was built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast and laid down 12 August 1941. She was launched 17 June 1943 and converted from an uncompleted hull of a refrigerated cargo ship. She was commissioned 7 March 1944.

In February 1941 the Ministry of War Transport agreed to reserve ships then under construction for possible conversion to escort carriers, although they refused to release existing ships. Campania, Nairana and Vindex were all converted from refrigerated cargo ships. These were "naval" escort carriers as opposed to the "merchant" escort carriers of the "Empire" and "Rapana" Classes. British conversions were all twin-screw vessels with enclosed hangars and relatively long steel flight decks with only one lift. The five were to have had identical conversions, but Campania, who was not launched until 17 June 1943, received several improvements not fitted in the other four ships. She received the first Action Information Organization (AIO) suite to be fitted in a British carrier, and also had Type 277 radar which gave height indication and good coverage at low level. Her modern Air Direction Room (ADR) and radar outfit proved invaluable for directing both her own and other carriers aircraft.

The war record of HMS Campania includes escort for convoys to Gibraltar in September 1944, and whilst on Russian convoys her aircraft sank the German submarine U921 on 30 September 1944 and U365 on 13 December 1944.

HMS Campania was laid up in Gareloch in 1946, and loaned to the Festival of Britain Organization in 1950 for use as a mobile exhibition ship. She was put on reserve in 1951 then carried the "equipment" for the atom-bomb trials on Monte Bello Island on 3 October 1952. She was paid off at Portsmouth on 15 December 1952, where she arrived at Blyth to be broken up 11 November 1955.

Battle Honours
 Atlantic 1944, Arctic 1944 - 5, Norway 1944 - 5.

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
12 aircraft -  819 sqdn -  9 Swordfish, 3 Martlets

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
842Q Oct-Nv 1942 Wildcat V
784B March 1944-March 1945 Fulmar II/Firefly INF
813 April 1944-March 1945 Swordfish III/Wildcat V
850 dt Oct-Nov 1944 Wildcat V
825 March-April 1945 Swordfish III/Wildcat VI
821 dt April-May 1945 Barracuda II
815 dt May 1945 Wildcat VI

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Campania
Class Activity
Type British built Escort Carrier 
Ships in Class Activity, Campania, Nairana, Vindex, Pretoria Castle
Launched Campania D-48 Harland & Wolff laid down 12 August 1941 launched 17 June 1943 Commisioned 7 March 1944


Tonnage 12,450 tons 15,970 tons 540' 70' 23'
Speed in Knots 16-18 kts
Armament 1 x 2 x 4"/50-cal HA/LA 4 x 4 x 2pdr pom-pom AA 8 x 2 x 20mm AA 
Crew Complement  
Length (ft/inches)  
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Number of aircraft carried 24
Fate of carrier  broken up Nov 1955

British website: Campania  
World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway
Sturtivant, R & Ballance, T  (1994). 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1994 ISBN: 0 85130 223 8

The World’s Warships 1941 by Francis E. McMurtrie (1944). Jane's London 1941 1st ed. 

Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II by Francis E. McMurtrie (Editor)(1984). 320 pages. Crescent Books; ISBN: 0517679639

    Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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