Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC) Auxillary Ship (Netherlands)


Macoma, an oil tanker, was constructed at Nederlandse Scheepsbouw Mij, Amsterdam launched at Amsterdam in 31 December 1935 and completed the following year. She was converted for MAC duties in the UK from late 1943 to April of 1944, and Commisisoned as a MAC ship 1 April 1944. Like her sister Gadila, she returned to merchant service postwar and was scrapped in 1958.
Macoma 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. Macoma and 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.
Macoma's wartime service included making seven transatlantic voyages, without meeting enemy submarines. However, during one escorted convoy journey across the Atlantic Macoma/Gadila aircraft found a submarine surfaced in the vicinity of the convoy. It did not respond to signal messages and was finally attacked by aircraft from 860 squadron ( a Dutch squadron of the Fleet Air Arm which was divided between these two ships) and Fleet Air Arm aircraft. The submarine sank, but it later turned out to be the sub La Perle of the Free French Navy. There was only one survivor.

Macoma was taken out of service 30 May, 1945, converted back to a tanker at RDM in Rotterdam. Scrapped Hong Kong early 1958.

Battle Honours
Atlantic convoys 1944-1945

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
    Fairey Swordfish of 860 sqdn 'Macoma' (embarked 1944-1945)

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 Macoma
Class Gadila 
Type Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC)
Ships in Class Gadila, Macoma
Launched 1935
Tonnage 8011 / 16000 gross weight
Engines One 4-stroke 8-cylinder 4,400hp MAN diesel
Speed in Knots 12,75 knots 
Armament 1 x 4 inch HA/LA, two 40 mm Bofors, six 20 mm Oerlikon
Crew Complement 54
Length (ft/inches) 141,12 x 18,08 x 10,32 m
Beam (ft/inches)  
Draught (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Number of aircraft carried 4 Fairey Swordfish of 860 (Dutch) Squadron Fleet Air Arm
Fate of carrier Scrapped Hong Kong 1958

Gadila-class Merchant Aircraft Carrier in Royal Netherlands Navy warships of World War II Full history and specifications about Gadila and Macoma
World Aircraft Carriers List Photo Gallery Dutch Aircraft Carriers  Photographs of Gadila and Macoma
World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway  
On-line database of over 3000 Dutch merchant ships  (collection is from Alkmaar Nautiek and contains data)
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). Janes 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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