September Under final stage of preparation for mercantile service.
(Note: Work may have been suspended immediately after outbreak of war
with Germany, if not earlier in anticipation of requisition for naval use
as an Armed Merchant Cruiser.).
October Under conversion for deployment
2nd Formal requisition by Admiralty for service as an Armed Merchant Cruiser.
11th Commissioned for service as HMS PRETORIA CASTLE.
Nominated for deployment in South Atlantic based at Freetown.
November Under conversion for deployment
December Carried out sea trials on completion of conversion.
21st Sailed from Belfast,
(Note: It may be assumed that ship would have embarked ammunition before
taking passage to Freetown.)
1 9 4 0
January Arrived at Freetown for Atlantic convoy defence
February Freetown deployment in continuation.
to (Note: Escorts for Convoys on passage to and from West Africa and Indian Ocean were
September provided by addition escort during entry and departure from Freetown.
During this period enemy commerce raiders were active in South Atlantic)
October Nominated to join military convoy WS4 in position 23.47N, 22.15W to supplement
escort during passage into Freetown.
11th Joined WS4 before it divi9ded into FAST and SLOW Sections.
Deployed as escort during passage into Freetown for six mercantiles. designated
15th Detached from WS4 Slow on arrival.
17th Deployed with HM Cruiser CORNWALL as Ocean Escort for WS4 as Ocean Escort
during passage to Cape Town
26th Detached from WS4 with ss SCYTHIA and ss WARWICK CASTLE as escort for
passage into Cape Town.
29th Rejoined WS4 with same ships to rejoin WS4
2nd Detached from WS4 with four mercantiles designated WS4 SLOW and took passage
as escort into Durban.
3rd Detached from WS4 SLOW on arrival at Durban.
December Passage to Freetown.
(Note: It may be assumed that ship was deployed either as escort or for cover of
passage of routine convoys to Cape Town and Freetown.
1 9 4 1
January Deployed at Freetown for Atlantic Trade defence.
May Deployed with HM Battlecruiser REPULSE and HM Cruiser MAURITIUS as part of
Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS8A during passage into Freetown.
9th Detached from WS8A on arrival at Freetown.
June Freetown deployment in continuation.
1 9 4 2
January Freetown deployment in continuation
to Nominated for conversion for use as an Escort Aircraft Carrier (CVE) in a commercial
May Passage to UK to prepare for Paying-off and conversion.
Outright purchase of ship from Union Castle under consideration.
30th Arrived in Tyne.
July Under conversion for use as an Escort Carrier (CVE).
16th Ship purchased by Admiralty,
August Under Conversion
to (Note: Work included:
December Removal of all upper structure to enable fitting of strengthened
flight deck with new design prototype cordite fired catapult.
Addition of more ballast to compensate for additional top weight.
Installation of suitable British radar and communications for control and
direction of aircraft and ship navigation.
1 9 4 3
January Under conversion
W a r S e r v i c e a s a n E s c o r t A i r c r a f t C a r r i e r
July Carried out harbour trials
29th Commissioned for service as a Trials Carrier in Western Approaches Command
August Carried out Sea Trials in North Sea
9th Shipyard work completed.
10th Sailed for shakedown and passage to Rosyth
12th Arrived at Rosyth to complete trials
16th Passage to Clyde for completion of trials including first aircraft deck landings.
to Based in Clyde and anchored off Rothesay between trials.
September Trials in continuation
October Trials in continuation
Nominated for first operational duty and embarked 825 Squadron aircraft and
27th Deployed with military Convoy DS46 to provide air cover during passage to
29th At Reykjavik
30th Deployed with military Convoy SD46 to provide air cover during passage to Clyde.
November Detached from DS46 on arrival and resumed trials duties in Clyde area.
29th Involved in collision in Clyde with HM Escort Aircraft RAVAGER, which
(Note: HMS RAVAGER was deployed in Clyde area for Deck Landing Trials.)
December Clyde trials deployment in continuation.
1 9 4 4
January Deployed in Clyde and nominated for
hooked HARVARD Trials
20th Carried out
hooked HARVARD Trials
(Note: These may have been trials to establish effective
deck landing by
HARVARD aircraft using existing arrestor wires - to be confirmed)
February Carried out Deck Landing trials with SEAFIRE, HELLCAT, AVENGER,
and WILDCAT aircraft in Clyde.
March Deployed for SEAFIRE aircraft Deck Landing Trials in Clyde
April Deployed for CORSAIR aircraft Deck Landing Trials in Clyde.
Nominated for routing docking and assisted Maintenance
25th Under docking and essential repair and maintenance in AFD IV.
May Docking and repair in continuation.
On completion resumed Trials duties in Clyde.
2nd Deployed for Radar Interception trials with SEAFIRE aircraft.
(Note: Ship would probably have been deployed in NW Approaches
clear of land.)
July Trials duties in continuation
14th Involved in collision with Mercantile EDITH in Clyde and sustained serious
Withdrawn from service and took passage to Clyde for repair in commercial
August Passage to Forth for completion of repair by HM Dockyard Rosyth.
Taken hand for completion of repair.
September Under repair.
On completion took passage to Clyde to resume trials duties.
1st Resumed service in Clyde
5th Carried out check of equipment on Degaussing Range in Clyde.
16th Carried out trials with SEAFIRE aircraft.
18th Carried out Deck landing trials with AVENGER, HELLCAT and
23rd Carried out aerodynamic trials with WILDCAT aircraft.
30th Carried out Deck landing trials with SEA OTTER amphibian aircraft.
1st Deployed as Target for torpedo attacks by RAF BEAUFIGHTER aircraft.
(Note: These aircraft were used for attacks on coastal shipping in Channel
and North Sea.)
6th Carried out Deck landing trials with FIREFLY aircraft.
13th Carried out aerodynamic trials with BARRACUDA aircraft.
21st Carried out landing trials with SPITFIRE aircraft fitted with Hooks for use
when using aircraft carrier arrester wires.
December Deployed in Clyde
19th Withdrawn from service for machinery repair and took passage to Belfast
1 9 4 5
January Repair work to be completed in Clyde commercial shipyard and took passage to
February Under repair
March On completion of repair and post refit trials resumed trials duties in Clyde.
3rd Carried out catapult trials to establish techniques to be used for Tail Down
launch of aircraft.
May Not deployed for trials.
to Flight deck lighting improved to allow landings by night.
July (Note: It is assumed that future deployment was under consideration during
July Ship may have returned to suitable alongside berth.
Nominated for special trials to evaluate use of METEOR aircraft for sea
service and trial using improved flight deck lighting to allow night landings
August Deployed in Clyde
11th Carried out landing trials with METEOR aircraft fitted with hook.
23rd Carried out trials at night using improved flight deck lighting to establish
suitability for landings
September Transferred to Portsmouth Command
Passage to Portsmouth.
11th Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.
October Deployed at Portsmouth
to Future deployment under consideration
December If retained in service to be refitted.
(Note: Ships company to be reduced in view of RN manning
problems due to discharge of men from Conscripted service.)
1 9 4 6
January Deployed at Portsmouth.
Placed on Disposal List and negotiations carried out with Union Castle
to determine whether ship was required for return to trade.
26th Sold back to Union Castle and to be converted back to intended use when
(Note: When HM Escort Carrier VINDEX was returned to Port Line the
cost of her conversion to suit earlier intended use was met by the
It is assumed the same applied to this ship.)
To be de-stored at Portsmouth before passage with Steaming Crew only
to Belfast for handover.
4th Commenced de-storing and removal of Admiralty equipment.
March Steaming crew joined and prepared for passage on completion of de-storing.
Passage to Belfast
21st Paid-off and returned to Union Castle.
Taken in hand for conversion to suit original intended use as a passenger