Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC) Auxillary Ship

Renamed  Alpha Zambesi 1947, Tobon  1954, Despina P. 1967

Empire MacRae was built by Lithgow, and launched 21 June 1943. She was completed in September 1943, and subsequently operated as an escort in the Atlantic. She returned to merchant service postwar. Scrapped at Kaohsiung 1971.

Empire MacRae was a MAC conversion from a grain ship, similar to the Empire MacAlpine class. Officially she was one of two classes, which were nearly identical. These Merchant ships (bulk grain carriers) were built with flight decks to serve as bare minumum aircraft carriers as an emergency measure pending the availabililty of the US-built escort carriers. These ships operated with civilian crews, under merchant colours, and carried their regular cargo while serving as aircraft carriers. Their aircraft were primarily meant to attack long-range reconnaissance aircraft to prevent tracking of convoys. They were designated as Merchant Aircraft Carriers (MAC).

Empire MacRae was returned to merchant service immediately following WWII; named Alpha Zambesi in 1947, then Tobon in 1954, Despina P. in 1967. She was scrapped at Kaohsiung starting in April 1971.

Battle Honours
No information

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
No information

Associations and Reunions
No information

Ship name Empire MacRae
Class Empire MacAndrew & Empire MacRae Class (bulk grain carriers)
Type Merchant aircraft carrier (MAC-ship)
Ships in Class Empire MacAndrew, Empire MacDermott, Empire MacRae, Empire MacCallum
Tonnage Displacement: 12,000 tons full load
Engines Propulsion: Diesel, 1 shaft, 3,300 bhp
Speed in Knots 12.5
Armament Armament: 1 4 inch, 2 40 mm, 4 20 mm
Crew Complement 107
Length (ft/inches) 448
Beam (ft/inches) 60
Draught (ft/inches) 24.5
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Armour None
Number of aircraft carried 4
Fate of carrier  

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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