Escort Carrier

Ex Rio de la Plata
later USS Charger AVG-30 (CVE-30)
became Fairesea 1949

Charger was built in USA at Chester Pennsylvania, and laid down as mercantile Rio de la Plata which was launched on 1 March 1941, after which she was converted to BAVG-4. She was transferred to the RN on completion but returned to the US Navy on 4 October 1941 as USS Charger AVG-30 (later CVE-30).

Charger was in the "Avenger" Class. These ships were basically similar to "Archer", but differed sufficiently to be regarded as a separate class. All were converted in the USA from mercantile hulls.

Following being commissioned as HMS Charger (BAVG-4), with Captain George Abel-Smith, RN, in command, she was subsequently transferred to the U.S. Navy on 4 October 1941, and later reclassified as AVG-30 on 24 January 1942 and commissioned into the USN on 3 March 1942, Captain T. L. Sprague in command.

Wartime colour photograph of a wildcat landing on USS Charger, the main US carrier used by the Royal Navy for DLT training of Fleet Air Arm pilots in the States

After commisioning in 1942 she was reported to the Atlantic Fleet. Charger's area of operations throughout the war was Chesapeake Bay. Charger's role in the USN was the basic task of training pilots' and ships' crews in carrier operations. She was used for deck landing training of Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm pilots. Postwar she became liner Fairsea 1949 and scrapped 1968.

Battle Honours
None with Royal Navy

Captain George Abel-Smith, RN
Captain T. L. Sprague USN

Squadrons and Aircraft
No information.

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Charger
Laid down as Rio de la Plata, converted to BAVG-4. Transferred to the RN as Charger
on completion
Then USS Charger AVG-30 (later CVE-30). 
Became liner Fairsea 1949 
Class Avenger Class
Type Escort Carrier (US built)
Ships in Class Avenger, Biter, Dasher, Charger (retained in the US for FAA training) 
Launched Avenger Sun Shipbuilding Converted 27 November 1940 Commissioned2 March 1942 

Biter Sun Shipbuilding Converted 18 December 1940 Commissioned1 May 1942 

Dasher Sun Shipbuilding Converted 12 April 1941 Commissioned 1 July 1942

Tonnage Net displacement 8,200 tons Gross displacement 14,500 tons Load 6,300 tons 
Engines 2 x diesels @ 5200 hp , 1 shaft
Speed in Knots 16
Armament Gun 3 x 1 x 4"/50-cal HA/LA 4 x 2 x 20mm 7 x 1 x 20mm 
Crew Complement 555 Officers & Ratings including Air Group
Length (ft/inches) Length 492'3"
Beam (ft/inches) Beam 69'6" 
Draught (ft/inches) Draught 25'
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) 480'
Flight Deck width (ft/inches) 70'
Number of aircraft carried 15
Fate of carrier  scrapped 1968

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


Return to Home Page


This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
© 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
Contact email: