Seven car­ri­ers present

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - COMMENT -

“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.

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