MAC-ship Auxillary Ship

Became Rotula 1950


Rapana was built by Witton-Fijenoord. Laid down and launched March 1935, a completed April 1935. Taken over for conversion at Smith's Dock, conversion completed July 1943. Scrapped 1958.

Further MAC conversions, this time from tankers. This conversion was conceived and designed by the shipping company which owned the ships; the plan was initially rejected by the Navy but later accepeted. Generally similar to previous MAC conversions.

The RN Rapana class was identical to the Gadila class of Gadila and Macoma Dutch manned MAC-ships and operated under RN control, but crewed by Dutch merchant crews. The Merchant Aircraft Carriers (MACs) were an emergency measure to provide air support for convoys. They did not have pennant numbers, but did have two-letter flight deck codes assigned.

Operated as an Atlantic escort throughout the war. Returned to merchant service postwar; named Rotula in 1950.Scrapped at Hong Kong starting 1/1958.

Battle Honours
Atlantic 1944-1945

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
836 1944-1945 Swordfish II

Surviving swordfish LS325 which flew with MV Rapana in WWII

Surviving Fairey Swordfish LS326 of the Royal Navy Historic Flight saw active service flying on North Atlantic convoy duties with ‘L’ Flight of 836 Squadron on board the MAC ship ‘Rapana’ (see the Royal Navy Historic Flight website).
Associations and Reunions
No information
Ship name Rapana
Class Rapana Class (tankers)
Type Merchant aircraft carrier (MAC-ship)
Ships in Class Rapana, Ancylus, Acavus, Alexia, Amastra, Miralda, Adula
Tonnage Displacement: 16,000 tons full load
Engines Propulsion: Diesel, 1 shaft, 4,000 bhp
Speed in Knots 11.5 knots
Armament Armament: 1 4 inch, 2 40 mm, 6 20 mm
Crew Complement 118
Length (ft/inches) 481
Beam (ft/inches) 60
Draught (ft/inches) 27.5
Flight Deck length (ft/inches)  
Flight Deck width (ft/inches)  
Armour None
Number of aircraft carried 4
Fate of carrier  

Further Information by British  
Swordfish LS326 and the Royal Navy Historic Flight Information about the Royal Navy Historic Flight and about the sole surviving aircraft that flew from Rapana in the Second World War.
Escort Carriers of World War Two - by Poolman, Kenneth (1989). Published by Arms & Armour. ISBN 0853689520
        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


Return to Home Page


This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
© 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
Contact email: