Trials and Training Carrier
Ex SS Pretoria Castle
Became Warwick Castle 1947


HMS Pretoria Castle (F-61) was built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast on 12 October 1938, launched as passenger liner SS Pretoria Castle 1939. Commissioned for deck trials 9 April 1943. Scrapped 1962.

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. The one exception was Activity, who was completed in August 1942 as the refrigerated cargo carrier Telemachus (ex-Empire Activity), and operated by the Alfred Holt Line. Campania, Nairana and Vindex were all converted from refrigerated cargo ships, while Pretoria Castle was converted from a passenger liner. These were "naval" escort carriers as opposed to the "merchant" escort carriers of the "Empire" and "Rapana" Classes. Unlike the American conversions these British conversions were all twin-screw vessels with enclosed hangars and steel flight decks. 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.

HMS Pretoria Castle was used solely as training carrier in World War II and saw service in the Atlantic 1940-1942. She was paid off December 1945, sold 26 January 1946 as mercantile Warwick Castle 1947, scrapped Spain 1962-1963.

Battle Honours
Atlantic 1940 - 2

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
No information

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Pretoria Castle
Became mercantile Warwick Castle 1947
Class Activity
Type British built Escort Carrier 
Ships in Class Activity, Campania, Nairana, Vindex, Pretoria Castle
Launched Pretoria Castle F-61 Harland & Wolff 12 October 1938 ? 9 April 1943
Tonnage 17,400 tons 23,450 tons
Speed in Knots 16-18 kts
Armament 2 x 2 x 4"/50-cal HA/LA 4 x 4 x 2pdr pom-pom AA 10 x 2 x 20mm AA 
Crew Complement  
Length (ft/inches) 594'
Beam (ft/inches) 76'6" 
Draught (ft/inches) 28'9" 
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Number of aircraft carried 15
Fate of carrier  scrapped Spain 1962-1963

HMS Pretoria Castle - further information by British  
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 

World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway
        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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