HMS Reaper

HMS Reaper was a Ruler class escort carrier that served on convoy escort duties in the Atlantic and Mediterranean in the second half of 1944 before being loaded to the US Navy to search as a ferry carrier at the start of 1945.

1944

The Reaper entered service rather quicker than most Ruler class carriers. She was launched on 22 November 1943, completed on 21 February 1944, and into service from the summer of the same year.

The Reaper was involved in convoy escort duties during the second half of 1944. First came TCU.33, leaving New York on 26 July and reaching the UK on 5 August 1944.

The Reaper was also involved in convoys to and from the Mediterranean, accompanying convoy MKF.34, a military convoy, back to the UK in early October.

By late November she was back in the United States, where on 22 November No.1849 Squadron embarked, followed on 23 November by No.1850, both with the Corsair. The two squadrons travelled across the Atlantic with Convoy CU.48, leaving New York on 23 November and reaching the UK on 4 December. During this crossing No.1849 Squadron suffered such a high accident rate that it was disbanded on 6 December, with part of the squadron merging into No.1850.

1945

At the start of 1945 Ranee was lent to the United States Navy and was used to ferry United States Naval aircraft, although still with her British crew. The growth of the British Pacific Fleet meant that by the spring she had been withdrawn from US control, and was back with the Royal Navy.

The Ranee crossed the Atlantic in mid-May, leaving New York on 15 May 1945 and arriving in the UK on 26 May. She then moved on to the Far East, and was a ferry carrier with the British Pacific Fleet on VJ Day, although at that point she wasn't on station.

The Reaper was returned to the US Navy on 20 May 1946 and sold off as a merchantman.

Squadrons

No.1849 NAS

No.1849 Squadron formed in August 1944. It joined the Reaper on 22 November with its Corsair IVs in the United States, and crossed the Atlantic. A high accident rate meant that it was disbanded on 6 December.

No.1850 NAS

No.1850 Squadron also formed with the Corsair in August 1944, and joined the Reaper one day after No.1849. It survived the trip across the Atlantic, and absorbed part of No.1849 before disembarking.

Displacement (loaded)

11,400t standard
15,390t deep load

Top Speed

18kts

Range

27,500 miles at 11 knots

Length

495ft 3in-496ft 8in oa

Armaments

18-24 aircraft
Two 5in/38 US Mk 12 in two single mountings
Sixteen 40mm Bofors guns in eight double mountings
Twenty seven to thirty five 20mm cannon

Crew complement

646

Launched

22 November 1943

Completed

21 February 1944

To USA

1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 July 2010), HMS Reaper , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Reaper.html

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