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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS KHEDIVE (D 62) - Ruler-class Escort Aircraft Carrier

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Queen, sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

RULER-Class Escort Aircraft Carrier selected for transfer under Lease-Lend from the USA and built by the Seattle Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation at Tacoma, Washington State. This ship of C3 mercantile hull type was being built at Kaiser and after being requisitioned by the US Navy was completed for use as an escort aircraft carrier and retained for US Navy as USS NEHENTA BAY. Instead another C3 mercantile C3 hull laid down on 22nd September 1942, also requisitioned by the US Navy and launched on 27th December 1942 as USS CORDOVA (CVE39) was selected for transfer to the Royal Navy. After completion by Williamette Valley Ironworks she was formally transferred on 23rd August 1943 and named HMS KHEDIVE a name not previously used by the Royal Navy. US Navy radar was fitted during build.


B a t t l e  H o n o u r s


AEGEAN  1944 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944 - BURMA 1945 - EAST INDIES 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

None is recorded in the  Official List of Crests



D e t a i l s   o f    W a r    S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



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                23rd        Transferred to RN and named HMS KHEDIVE.


September             Carried sea trials and shakedown.

                                Passage to Esquimalt to commenced modifications by HM Canadian Dockyard to suit

                                Royal Navy service

                24th        Took passage to Norfolk, Va via Panama Canal.


October                  Embarked 12 AVENGER and ten CORSAIR aircraft for passage to UK



                1st           Took passage to UK

                16th        Arrived at Liverpool

                                Aircraft disembarked and taken to Speke.

                21st         Nominated for service in Western Approaches Command and took passage to Rosyth.

                                Taken in hand for further modification by HM Dockyard Rosyth to suit deployment as an

                                Assault Carrier.


December              Under conversion


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January                  Under conversion




March                    On completion of dockyard work and post refit trials took passage to Clyde

                22nd       Sustained structural damage with mercantile ss Stuart Queen


April                       Under repair in Clyde shipyard


May                        Passage to Scapa Flow on completion.

                15th        Carried out work-up at Scapa Flow with 899 Squadron embarked.


June                        On completion of work-up deployed at Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for service in Task Group 88 under overall US Navy command

                                during planned landings in South France.

                                (Operation DRAGOON - formerly ANVIL).


July                         Embarked 26 SEAFIRE aircraft and 808 Squadron personnel.

                15th        Passage to Malta to join Task Group 88.1 with HM Escort Carriers ATTACKER, EMPEROR,

                                SEARCHER and PURSUER, screened by destroyers of 24th Destroyer Flotilla

                                (Note: HM Cruiser ROYALIST flying the Flag of Rear Admiral T Troubridge

                                was in command of TG88.1 which also included HMS DELHI.


August                  Took part in joint exercises with US Navy Carriers in preparation for planned

                                assault landings.

                12th        Sailed for Operation from Malta.

                15th        Arrived in assault area and provided support during assault.

                                (For details of landings see INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE (The

                                Naval Staff History), ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett

                                and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winsert.

                                Retired from area overnight.

                16th        Carried out air attacks on shore targets and reconnaissance flights as well as providing

                                Combat Air Patrols over landing area.

                16th        Aircraft dive-bombed shore targets in Rhone valley

                17th        Aircraft attacked Port Cros with those from HMS EMPEROR.

                18th        Flying position shifted inshore for attacks on targets in Rhone valley.

                19th        Returned to Maddalena to replenish and refuel..

                21st         Resumed flying operations off beach head with attacks on retreating enemy.

                22nd       Air operations against enemy troops and targets in continuation.

                to            Aircraft carried out attacks on road transport in Rhone valley


                24th        Returned to Maddalena.

                                (Note: 201 sorties were launched during DRAGOON.)

                                Nominated for support of operations to re-occupy eastern Mediterranean islands

                                with H M Escort Carriers HUNTER, STALKER, EMPEROR, ATTACKER,

                27th        Task Group 88.1 released from DRAGOON.

                                Took passage to rejoin Mediterranean Fleet in Malta for deployment with HMS PURSUER

                                and HMS SEARCHER in British Aegean Force.



                2nd         Arrived at Alexandria and prepared for Aegean operations.

                                Took passage from Alexandria with ships of Force V

                8th          Involved in collision with mercantile ss OCEAN MESSENGER.

                9th          Carried out air attacks on shipping and shore targets in Crete, Scarpanto and Rhodes.

                                with SEARCHER, PURSUER and HUNTER.

                                (Operation OUTING I)

                10th        Provided Combat Air Patrols over fleet units and made shipping strikes against

                to            shipping being used for evacuation of enemy troops.


                14th        Provided air defence during minesweeping operations in Kithera Channel

                15th        Deployed for Combat Air Patrols for defence of warships during OUTING operations.

                16th        Provided Combat Air Patrols in protection of 5th Minesweeping Flotilla during operations

                                in Aegean

                17th        Carried our air operations on Rhodes.

                18th        Carried out attacks on seaplanes in Suda Bay, Crete.

                19th        Carried out attacks on shipping in Rhodes harbour.

                20th.       Return passage to Alexandria.

                                Nominated for refit in UK to prepare for service in Eastern Fleet.

                                (Note: East Indies Fleet formed on 22nd November when some ships of Eastern Fleet

                                transferred to newly created British Pacific Fleet.)

                                Took passage from Alexandria


October                  Took passage to Gibraltar.

                8th          At Gibraltar

                12th        Arrived at Belfast

                                Disembarked aircraft.

                20th        Passage to Thames

                23rd        Taken in hand for repair and refit in London commercial shipyard.

                                Passage to Thames.


November              Under refit                            

to                            Nominated for service in 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, East Indies Fleet.



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January                  Post refit trials and prepared for passage to Indian Ocean.

                                Embarked 24 HELLCAT aircraft and 808 Squadron personnel.

                11th        Took passage to Trincomalee

                24th        Transit of Suez Canal



                3rd          At Cochin

                11th        At Trincomalee and joined East Indies Fleet.

                                Deployed for transport of aircraft between India and Ceylon.

                                Prepared for operations against shipping and shore targets.


March                    Transport duties in continuation.


April                       Prepared for operational duties with Squadron.

                                Whilst embarking aircraft from shore, HELLCAT aircraft crashed into stern of ship and

                                burst into flames killing the pilot.

                8th          Sailed from Trincomalee with ships of Eastern Fleet as Group 2 of Force 63.

                                to carry out bombardments and air operations

                                (Operation SUNFISH - For details see OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray and

                                THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).

                                East Indies Fleet sailed on 8th.

                                (Note: Other ships in Group 2 Group 2 included HM Escort Aircraft Carrier EMPEROR

                                HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND, HM Destroyers VENUS and VIRAGO.

                                Ships in Group 1 comprised HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, Free French

                                Battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruiser LONDON, HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ,

                                VERULAM and VIGILANT.)

                10th        HELLCAT aircraft missed arrester wires on landing and crashed on deck causing another

                                HELLCAT aircraft to fall overboard. Four personnel were killed.

                                Planned photo-reconnaissance flights cancelled due to defective catapult in HMS EMPEROR.

                11th        Provided air cover for Ships of Group 1 during bombardments.

                                During return from bombardment area ships came under attack by 10 OSCAR aircraft

                                two enemy aircraft was destroyed.

                12th        Ships of Force 63 re-fuelled from RFA EASEDALE of Force 70

                                (Note Force 70 also included HM Frigate LOSSIE)

                14th        Carried out photo-reconnaissance flights over Penang, Port Swettenham and Port Dickson)

                                (Note: These were unsatisfactory due to weather over target area.

                                For full details of SUNFISH see Naval Staff History. and WAR WITH JAPAN


                15th        Repeated photo-reconnaissance flights. Force came under air attack.

                16th        Carried out further air attacks on Emmahaven and Padang, Sumatra.

                20th        Returned to Trincomalee with Group 2 ships.

                23rd        Took passage with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, FS RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers

                                CUMBERLAND, SUFFOLK and CEYLON, Netherlands cruiser TROMP and

                                ships of 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron screened by HM Destroyers TARTAR

                                ROTHERHAM, VERULAM, NUBIAN and PENN.

                                (Note: 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron comprised HMS ROYALIST (Flag),

                                HM Cruiser PHOEBE (Fighter Direction Ship), HMS KHEDIVE,

                                HMS HUNTER, HMS STALKER and EMPEROR screened by HM

                                Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VENUS, VIRAGO and VIGILANT).

                30th        After calling at Akyab provided air cover for assault convoys on their passage

                                to Rangoon (Operation DRACULA - see above references).

                                Carried out air strikes on shore targets

                                (Note: WALRUS aircraft embarked for Rescue duties.)



                4th          On completion of air cover returned to Trincomalee.

                10th        Joined HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, FS RICHELIEU, HMS ROYALIST,

                                HMS HUNTER, SHAH, and EMPEROR, HMS CUMBERLAND, Dutch

                                TROMP and HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VENUS, VERULAM, VIRAGO

                                VIGILANT, ROTHERHAM, TARTAR and NUBIAN in Force 61.

                                Sailed from Trincomalee to intercept Japanese craft carrying out evacuation

                                of troops from Andamans (Operation DUKEDOM).

                11th        Carried out air attacks on Car Nicobar with ships of Squadron.

                14th        Detached from Force 61 with destroyers of 26th Flotilla.

                                Carried out air reconnaissance west of 6 Degree Channel.

                15th        Took part in search for Japanese cruiser HAGURO and destroyer KAMIKAZE

                                (Note: Not directly involved in the sinking of HAGURO. See above references

                                and SINK THE HAGURO by J Winton).

                16th        Carried out air attacks on Andaman Islands with HMS HUNTER.

                                Under sporadic Japanese air attacks.

                19th        Returned to Trincomalee


June                        Eastern Fleet deployment with Squadron in continuation.

                18th        Carried out photo reconnaissance flights with HMS STALKER and HMS

                                AMEER over southern Malaya and provided air cover for ships of Force 63.

                                (Operation BALSAM)

                                (Note: Force 63 included HMS ROYALIST, HM Cruiser SUFFOLK and HM

                                Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RELENTLESS, REDOUBT, ROEBUCK

                                and RACEHORSE as screen).

                20th        On completion of photo-reconnaissance flights carried out offensive operations

                                against airfields in Sumatra and shipping in Malacca Straits.

                                (See above references).


July                         Deployed in Indian Ocean.

                                (Note: During this period extensive minesweeping operations were carried out

                                by East Indies Fleet Ships and Squadron prepared for forthcoming landings

                                in Malaya (Operations JURIST and ZIPPER - Although planned for early

                                August these was not immediately implemented because of American insistence

                                and administrative delays in service departments in London due to implementation

                                of release of personnel under PYTHON scheme - See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET

                                by J Winton and Final Report of Supreme Commander SEAC (HMSO)


August                  Preparation for Operations JURIST and ZIPPER in continuation at Trincomalee.

                10th        Sailed from Trincomalee for Penang with Squadron.

                20th        Off Great Nicobar Islands with ships of Eastern Fleet.

                28th        Arrived at Penang.


 September            Deployed with HM Battleship NELSON, FS RICHELIEU, HMS ROYALIST,

                                HMS NIGERIA, HMS CLEOPATRA, HMS CEYLON, H M Escort Carriers

                                HUNTER, STALKER, ARCHER, EMPEROR and PURSUER to cover the

                                landings in Malaya.

                4th          Passage in Malacca Straits..

                9th          Air operations carried out to cover landings.

                10th        Entered Singapore with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR, HUNTER and

                                STALKER of Squadron.

                12th        Present at Singapore during formal surrender of Japanese forces.


P o s t   W a r  N o t e s


HMS KHEDIVE was released from service with East Indies Fleet in Malaya on 13th September and made visits to Trincomalee, Durban and Colombo before sailing to UK on 13th November with 808 Squadron embarked.. She arrived at Belfast on 5th December and disembarked 808 Squadron aircraft. Three days later she was deployed in Clyde for de-storing, including removal of British equipment installed since first arrival. Nominated for early return to US Navy she sailed for Norfolk Va on 4th January 1946 and arrived at Norfolk after a call at Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The ship was formally returned from loan service in the Royal Navy on 26th January 1946. After being modified for deployment to carry returning forces personnel she was used for trooping duties until 1947. Sold for use as a mercantile in 1948 the ship was renamed REMPANG and served as mercantile till 1968. Resold for further mercantile use she traded as ss DAPHNE for another 7 years and was sold for demolition at Gandia, Spain on 20th January 1976


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