Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC) Auxillary Ship (Netherlands)


Gadila built by Howaldtswerke, Kiel, launched 1 December 1934, and completed as an oil tanker on 11 April 1935. She was converted at Smith's Dock in England from April 1943 to 1 February 1944. She entered into Service on March 1944 into the Netherlands Mercantile Marine as a Merchant aircraft carrier (MAC). Scrapped at Hong Kong starting in 1958.

Gadila was a Merchant aircraft carrier converted from a Shell oil tanker, with a flight deck built over the hull. There was no hangar and she retained her cargo capabilities. She was identical to the "Rapana" class and operated under RN control, but was crewed by Dutch merchant crews. The Merchant Aircraft Carriers (MACs) were an emergency measure to provide air support for convoys. Gadilla took part in Royal Navy Atlantic convoys with 4 aircraft manned amongst others by Dutch Fleet Air Arm squadrons 860 (Dutch) squadron Fleet Air Arm and 861 (Dutch) squadron.

Gadila was withdrawn 30 May 1945 and reconverted to a tanker. During this period her crew reported seeing an UFO in 1955. Later she was sold to a British shipbreaker and arrived Hong Kong 6 June 1958 for scrapping.

Battle Honours
Atlantic convoys

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
    Fairey Swordfish of 860 sqdn 'Gadila' (as S flight, embarked February 1944 - 15 May 1945)

Swordfish HS187 landing on deck of MV Gadila

Associations and Reunions
   Ray Hartman Kok
    "Great to see another Indo Web Page. Help us trying to find our roots. Father born Grissee served Dutch Fleet. Arm via RAF 320,860,701,861 Squadrons, also Royal Navy Atlantic convoys on HMS Macoma and Gadilla, Dutch oil tanker flat tops for submarine hunting, also HNMLS Karel
    Doorman. Anyone with any info/knowledge, please contact me."

Ship name Gadila (Netherlands Mercantile Marine) 
Class Rapana (ex tankers)
Type Merchant aircraft carrier (MAC)
Ships in Class Rapana, Gadila
Launched Launched Dec 1934. Into Service March 1944. 
Tonnage 16,000 tons full load
Engines Diesel, 1 shaft, 4,000 bhp
Speed in Knots 12.75 knots
Armament One 4 inch, two 40 mm, six 20 mm
Crew Complement 118
Length (ft/inches) 463 x 59.5 x 34 feet/141.12 x 18.08 x 10.32 meters
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Armour None
Number of aircraft carried 4
Fate of carrier Withdrawn May 1945 and reconverted to tanker. Sold to British shipbreaker and arrived Hong Kong June 1958 for scrapping

Netherlands Naval Aviation Squadrons & Flying Units Histories  
1955: UFO seen by the crew of a cargo ship   
Het oorlogsverleden van een Swordfish-vlieger - 'Ik heb ontzettend geluk gehad' Magazine article about a Dutch FAA aviator's recollections of flying Swordfish for 860 squadron [in Dutch]
Vliegtuigssquadron 860 Brief history of Dutch Fleet Air Arm squadron [in Dutch]
On-line database of over 3000 Dutch merchant ships  (collection is from Alkmaar Nautiek and contains data)
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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