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

HMS RANEE (D.03) - Ruler-class Escort Aircraft Carrier

HMS Ranee  (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

 RULER-Class Escort Aircraft Carrier was obtained under the UK/US Lease-Lend Agreement. The ship was a C3 mercantile hull. Laid down on 5th January 1943 by the Seattle-Tacoma SB Corporation at Seattle she had been requisitioned by the US Navy for completion as an Escort Aircraft Carrier. Launched on 2nd June 1943 as USS NIANTIC (CVE46) she was transferred to the Royal Navy after completion on 8th November 1943 and commissioned as HMS RANEE. This name had first been used for Trawler hired in 1918. She had been fitted out during build for use as an Assault Carrier for support of amphibious landing operations but mainly used as a Ferry Carrier for transport of aircraft. US Radar outfits and a fire control outfit were fitted during build.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s



(Note: This  was whilst on loan service to US Navy.)


H e r al d i c  D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a Lotus Proper within two wings conjoined in base White,

all over two dolphins hauriant, respecting Gold



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



1 9 4 3


October                  Contractor’s trials.

                                (Note: Three US Navy radars were fitted during build. Type SK for aircraft detection, Type SG for

                                surface warning and a fire-control outfit for the control of Close Range AA Armament. The

                                main armament comprised two 5in standard US Navy guns and over 50 Close Range AA guns.)



                8th          Build completion and transferred to the Royal Navy

                                Commissioned as HMS RANEE.

                                Commenced sea trials and shakedown.

                                Passage to Esquimalt for completion of modifications to suit deployment by RN for convoy defence

                                Taken in hand for modification by HM Canadian Dockyard.


December              Modification work in continuation.


1 9 4 4


January                  On completion of modifications carried out sea trials off Vancouver

                28th        Assisted HM Escort Aircraft Carrier HMS NABOB which had run aground.

                                Sustained structural damage to stern whilst attempting to refloat the stranded sister ship.

                                (Note: Stores and fuel had to be jettisoned before HMS NABOB could be refloated)

                                Taken in hand for repair.



                2nd         Nominated for detached services for use by the US Navy as a Ferry Carrier

                                On completion of repair took passage to San Francisco

                                Called at San Francisco to embark aircraft for delivery to Cochin, India.

                8th          Took passage to Wellington, New Zealand

                25th        Arrived at Wellington

                26th        Took passage to Fremantle, Australia


 March                   Passage in Indian Ocean

                18th        Arrived at Cochin and disembarked aircraft.

                31st         Took return passage to Vancouver with call at Melbourne, Australia.


April                       Passage in Pacific Ocean


May                        Under refit by HM Canadian Dockyard at Esquimalt.



                28th        On completion took passage to San Francisco



                17th        At Cristobal, Panama after transit of Panama Canal.

                                Passage to Norfolk, Va



                17th        Deployed at Norfolk


September             Embarked aircraft for transport of US Navy aircraft to Cape Town.

                5th          Took passage to Cape Town.

                23rd        Deployed at Cape Town and disembarked aircraft.


October                  Return passage to USA after disembarking aircraft.

                                Returned to RN control

                                Deployed at New York and embarked 18 CORSAIR aircraft for delivery to UK.

                                Passage to Clyde from New York.



                2nd         Disembarked aircraft at Belfast.

                                Took passage to Norfolk for collection of aircraft for RN use.

                18th        At Norfolk, Va and embarked 18 CORSAIR aircraft for delivery to UK

                                (Note: Embarkation of Squadron personnel to be confirmed)



                3rd          Disembarked aircraft in Clyde area on arrival.

                                (Note: Further passage to Norfolk and return to Clyde to be confirmed.

                                Took passage to Forth

                27th        Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Rosyth

                                (Note: The Fuel Distribution System may have been modified..)


1 9 4 5


January                  Nominated for service as a Deck Landing Training Carrier.

                                Deployed in Clyde area for training.

                                Nominated for further deployment as a Ferry Carrier for US Navy.

                21st         Took passage to San Diego to embark aircraft.

                                Nominated for deployment with Training Squadron in Home waters


February                On arrival deployed for transport of US Navy aircraft


March                    Detached service with US Navy in continuation.




May                        Released from US Navy detached service

                2nd         Sailed from San Diego for New York

                24th        Sailed from New York for Clyde.

                                Nominated for refit and passage to Forth


June                        Under refit by HM Dockyard Rosyth,

to                            Nominated for deployment as a troopship.



September             Conversion to be completed by Tyneside commercial shipyard

                                Passage to Tyne

                12th        Under conversion.

                                (Note: Hangar area modified to provide accommodation for passengers

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes was changed to R323 to conform

                                with US Navy identity for this type of warship.)


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS RANEE was deployed for trooping duties after post refit trials and sailed to Australia November 1945 for transport of returning  servicemen and allied civilians interned by Japan.  On return in February 1946 the ship was refitted before carrying out another trooping trip. The ship was then de-stored and RN Equipment removed during October before she took passage to Norfolk Va for return to the US Navy on 8th November that year. This ship was subsequently sold for use as a mercantile and traded as as SS FRIESLAND. Resold in 1967 she continued mercantile use as SS PACIFIC BREEZE until taken out of service and broken-up in Taiwan during 1974.







by Linda Leseberg, New South Wales

My father, Charles Robert (Bob) WALTON born 1929, travelled as a passenger on HMS RANEE as a 14 year old in October 1944, with about 4 other boys. His father, my grandfather, was a chemist in an oil refinery in Ecuador and Bob was returning to continue his education in England. Assuming this is the October voyage from New York to deliver aircraft to UK, his story is as follows.

The trip to England in 1944 was organized when D-Day was announced in June and Bob was 14. Bob left Ecuador on Monday 18 September 1944. His father had given him a detailed itinerary (Bob refers to these instructions as a ‘Bible’ including First- find out where the toilet is located -3 typed sheets of instructions to get him to New York) for the journey. Bob doesn’t remember how much money he was given but it was mostly in travellers cheques and he had a money belt. The trip began with a plane flight from Guayaquil to Balboa in the Canal Zone with Panagra (Pan America Grace Airlines).

He stayed in the Canal Zone for 8 days waiting for a flight to Miami. He had to go to the airport everyday to try to get a flight finally flying on Tuesday 26th September. The flight to Miami was probably in a DC2 and he stayed 2 days before leaving Thursday morning on the train to New York, of which he remembers little- just a vague memory of Central Station. While staying in New York Bob lived on Hot Dogs with mustard. He did some sightseeing going down the dock area, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ice skating, couple of ferry rides, Coney Island (which was mostly closed up as it was the end of the season) and he went to see the Radio City Musical. As only ships in convoy were sailing it took three weeks of going to the British Consulate every day before a berth was organised on a ship to England. He travelled with the British Commodore on the HMS Ranee, an aircraft carrier (12,000 ton Escort Carrier C3.) that was built in the USA, in convoy with 40-60 ships the smallest being 10,000 tons. About 30 children aged 15-17 were on board.

Bob was in a 4 berth cabin (2 double bunks) with 3 other boys one of whom, Texas, was returning to England from Canada. As he had come from Ecuador Bob was nicknamed the Inca Prince and another boy in his cabin, who was always wearing cowboy gear, was nicknamed Texas. The two of them were photographed, in their pajamas, for the Ship’s Magazine with the caption “Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Cowboys and Indians saying their prayers. Courtesy of A. A. Milne.” The Ship’s Magazine was produced daily. Bob held a copy of this for a long time but it has now been lost along with a hat ribbon from the H.M.S. RANEE. The children on board were kept to a roster which included: up at 0600, a run around the deck, shower then breakfast. After breakfast special lessons were taught to the children. Bob didn’t make it onto the bridge of the Ranee but did make it into the steering station where he remembers enjoying big black cups of steaming hot cocoa and being allowed to steer.

The journey took 2 weeks to Belfast. The carrier was fully loaded with planes including the flight deck so the planes could not take-off but were unloaded in Belfast by a crane and taken to the runway nearby where they immediately took-off to head for Germany. They experienced the roughest sea going across the Irish Sea between Belfast and Glasgow. They anchored out of Glasgow for awhile before disembarking. Bob then caught a train from Glasgow to Newcastle and then the local train out to Whitley Bay.

Dad has always loved the sea, "messing about in boats", and joined the merchant navy on his return to England. On coming ashore in 1964 he bought a boatshed in Sydney, Australia, hiring out both motor and sailing vessels. He still owns half a dozen boats and continues to skipper occasionally for "Captain Cook Cruises" on Sydney Harbour.


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