Seven carriers present
“Your column asked for examples of aircraft carriers visiting Dundee,” emails David Middleton. “I can comment on the period 1939-1945. There were seven carriers present at Dundee during this period. They were all escort carriers, as was HMS Campania, and they were built on cargo ship hulls.
“Fleet carriers were larger and would have a sea draught of 30 feet, eg HMS Indefatigable, which would test the available water depth in the Tay approaches and the wharves.
The first, HMS Activity, 1942, was built at Dundee’s Caledon Shipyard and was a superior class of escort carrier being built on a Blue Funnel line fast cargo ship design. It was designed to cruise at 18 knots and is reported as being capable of 21 knots. She had a distinguished war record protecting Atlantic and Arctic convoys.
The other six carriers visiting Dundee were for repair, refit or conversion of role. They were all built in the USA and were operated by the Royal Navy as part of the lend lease deal. They were: HMS Biter, November 1942; HMS Dasher, February 1943; HMS Hunter, April 1943; HMS Trumpeter, August 1943; HMS Speaker, May 1944 and HMS Queen, August 1944.
“The Caledon was clearly an approved port for naval repairs of both Royal Navy and US Navy ships.
“Admiral Vickery USN visited Caledon shipyard in September 1943 and viewed the facilities for repair and conversion. The US Navy was to be supported by the Royal Navy in the defeat of Japan and HMS Speaker was converted at Dundee from an escort carrier to an assault carrier in 1944.”
A Fife reader has sent in this photograph of some of the Dundee University buildings. There is no date supplied – would anyone like to hazard a guess?
HMS Speaker was converted at Dundee from an escort carrier to an assault carrier in 1944. See more above.