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

HMS REAPER (D 82) - Ruler-class Escort Aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Reaper (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

RULER Class Escort Aircraft Carrier (Also designated CVE) was obtained under the 1942 US/UK Lend Lease Agreement. The ship was a C3 mercantile hull under construction for the US Navy at Seattle by the Seattle-Tacoma SB Corporation and being built for the US Navy an Escort Aircraft Carrier. She was laid down on 5th  June 1943. Launched on 22nd November 1943 as USS WINJAH (CVE34) she was transferred to the Royal Navy this ship was commissioned for Royal Navy service as HMS REAPER on 18th February before build  completion three days later. She was the 2nd RN ship to carry this name, previously used for a Drifter hired in 1914. US Navy Radar equipment was fitted during build.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c    D a t a

Badge: On  a Field  Blue,  two Scythes  in saltire Gold, blades white



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 4


January                  Contractor's trials.

                                (Note: Three US Navy Radar outfits were fitted during build.

                                Type SK for aircraft detection], Type SG for surface warning and a fire

                                control radar for Close Range AA armament. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)

                                Completed or use as an Assault Carrier to provide air support in amphibious

                                operations but never used in that role.)



                18th        Transferred to Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS REAPER.                             

                21st         Build completion and commenced sea trials


March                    Sea trials and shakedown in continuation.

                31st         Took passage to Esquimalt.


April                       Taken in hand for commencement of modification by HM Canadian Dockyard to suit RN



May                        Deployed at Esquimalt

                24th        Sailed for San Francisco

                                (Note: Further trials and exercises on passage to be confirmed.)



                22nd       Took passage to Panama


July                         Passage from Panama to Norfolk, Va.

                7th          Arrived at Norfolk.

                                (Note: Embarkation of aircraft for passage to UK To be confirmed.)

                22nd       Took passage to New York

                25th        Sailed from New York for Clyde with inward Convoy HX301.


August                  Detached from HX301 and took passage to Greenock.

                                (Note: HX301 arrived in Liverpool on 8th)

                5th          Taken in hand for repair in Clyde commercial shipyard.

                                (Note: Modification of petrol distribution system to be confirmed.)

                                On completion embarked aircraft for transport to Gibraltar.

                25th        Joined outward Convoy KMF34 in NW Approaches for passage to Gibraltar

                                (Note KM F34 sailed from Clyde on 24th..)

                31st         Deployed at Gibraltar to disembark aircraft.



                10th        Joined inward Convoy MKF34 for Atlantic passage to UK

                                (Note: MKF34 sailed from Port Said on 3rd September)

                14th        Detached from MKF34 on arrival in Clyde.

                                Nominated for service as Ferry Carrier

                27th        Took passage to Norfolk to collect aircraft

                                (Note: Independent passage to be confirmed.)


October                  Embarked aircraft at Norfolk Navy Yard.

                9th          Sailed from Norfolk to New York

                16th        Took passage from Hampton Roads, New York with US inward Convoy UGF16

                                to Gibraltar                           

                25th        Disembarked aircraft at Gibraltar

                                (Note: UGF16 arrived at Naples on 28th.)



                1st           Passage from Gibraltar with US outward Convoy GUF15B from Naples.

                                Detached from GUF15B and made independent passage to Norfolk Va

                                (Note: GUF15B arrived at Hampton Roads on 7th.)

                                Deployed at Norfolk Navy Yard.

                18th        Sailed from Norfolk to New York to embark aircraft

                22nd       Embarked 36 CORSAIR aircraft at New York for transport to UK.

                23rd        Took passage to Belfast from New York.



                5th          Disembarked aircraft at Belfast.

                                Passage to Greenock.

                9th          Sustained damage in collision with mercantile ss TEGELBURG in Clyde.

                                Repair arranged in Clyde shipyard

                                Under repair.


1 9 4 5


January                  Nominated for detached service as Ferry Carrier for transport of US aircraft

                                in Pacific.

                5th          On completion of repair took passage to Panama.

                20th        Passage in Pacific Ocean to San Diego

                29th        Deployed at San Diego for US Navy detached service as Ferry Carrier in Pacific


February                Deployed in Pacific for transport of US aircraft from west coast ports.




May                        Nominated for return to UK

                                On release from detached service took passage to New York.

                13th        Deployed at New York

                                Passage to Clyde from New York.

                25th        Arrived in Clyde

                                Nominated for refit at Rosyth and took passage to Forth

                31st         Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Rosyth.


June                        Under refit

to                            Nominated for service in 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron, Pacific Fleet.



August                  On completion of refit embarked aircraft and took passage to join Squadron in BPF.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS REAPER was deployed with BPF until November 1945 and was used for transport of civilians imprisoned by Japanese between Hong Kong and Australia.. Before return to UK from Hong Kong she visited New Zealand and sailed from Auckland on 19th of that month. On arrival in Clyde on 29th March 1946 she was Paid-off and de-stored. In May 1945 she took passage to Norfolk in May and was handed back to the US Navy on 20th May 1946  She was later sold for use as a mercantile renamed ss SOUTH AFRICA STAR in 1948 and remained in service until March 1967. Sold for to a Japanese ship breaker she arrived at Nikara later that year for demolition.







by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








MKF 034





GUS 056








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 16/10/10
further editing and formatting is required