Escort Carrier
Ex USS Estero ACV-42 - AGV-42 - CVE-42
Became Rhodesia Star 1948, 
Hong Kong Knight 1967


HMS Premier (D-23) was built in the USA at Seattle-Tacoma, laid down on 31 Oct 1942 as USS Estero ACV/AGV-42, and launched 22 March 1943. She was transferred to the Royal Navy on 3 November 1944, and commissioned as HMS Premier on 3 November 1943.

Premier was a member of the "Ruler" Class, which was the third group of escort carriers built in the USA for the Royal Navy, and were generally similar to the preceding "Attacker" Class. The modifications carried out to the earlier class after their arrival in the UK were incorporated in the "Ruler" Class during construction. HMS Patroller on completion was fitted as an assault carrier but employed as a transport ferry. Many of the class were used as amphibious support carriers, taking part in the invasion of Southern France. Others supported Eastern Fleet operations against Burma and Malaya, and some served with the British Pacific Fleet as escorts for the Fleet Train.

Premier's war service included Escort carrier convoy duties in the Atlantic in 1944 and in the Arctic following outfitted as an ASW carrier. Served as an escort in European waters and as a ferry carrier.

Corsair KD230 "D" of 1835 sqdn, HMS Premier, 1945
Profile created by Nigel Eastmond.

Premier was returned to the USN on 2 April 1946, then became the mercantile Rhodesia Star 1948 and Hong Kong Knight 1967. Scrapped at Kaohsiung from February 1974.

Battle Honours
Atlantic 1944, Arctic.

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
856 Sept 1944-June 1945 Wildcat V/VII
881 Dec 1944-Jan 1945 Wildcat VI

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Premier
Ex USS Estero
became Rhodesia Star 1948 and Hong Kong Knight 1967.
Class Ruler
Type Escort Carrier (US built)
Ships in Class Ameer, Arbiter, Atheling, Begum, Emperor, Empress, Khedive, Nabob, Patroller, Premier, Puncher, Queen, Rajah, Ranee, Reaper, Ruler, Shah, Slinger, Smiter, Speaker, Thane, Trouncer, Trumpeter
Launched Laid down 31 Oct 1942. Launched 22 March 1943. Transferred 3 Nov 1944, Commissioned 3 Nov 1943
Tonnage 8,333 tons

Gross displacement 14,000 tons

Load 5667 tons

Engines 2 x Foster-Wheeler boilers; 2 x Westinghouse geared turbines at 8500 shp, 1 shaft
Speed in Knots 18 knots 
Armament Gun 2 x 1 x 5"/38-cal DP 8 x 2 x 40mm AA 27-35 x 1 x 20mm AA 
Crew Complement 646 Officers & Ratings including Air Group
Length (ft/inches) 496
Beam (ft/inches) 69' 6"
Draught (ft/inches) 23'3"
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) 470'
Flight Deck width (ft/inches) 70'
Number of aircraft carried 18-24
Fate of carrier   Scrapped at Kaohsiung 1974

NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive: CVE-42 HMS PREMIER (Ex- CVE-42 ESTERO) CLASS - BOGUE  
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). 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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