HMS Rajah

HMS Rajah was a Ruler class escort carrier that spend most of her active career operating as a ferry carrier under US Navy control.

The Rajah was laid down as USS Prince on 17 December 1942, but was soon renamed as USS McClure (CVE-45).


The Rajah crossed the Atlantic in the summer of 1944. No. 857 Squadron and No.1842 Squadron (Corsair II) travelled across the Atlantic on her, with No.857 Squadron embarking on 29 June and disembarking at Belfast on 13 July.

In late July the Rajah briefly relieved Argus and Ravager as a deck landing training carrier.

Barracuda crash on HMS Rajah

Barracuda crash
on HMS Rajah

In the autumn of 1944 the Rajah travelled to Ceylon, carrying Nos.849 and 857 Squadrons (embarked 9 September) and No.888 Squadron, the first naval Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. This squadron was formed with six Hellcats modified in the US to carry to vertical cameras. The Rajah reached Ceylon by early November.


Early in 1945 the Rajah was lent to the US Navy and was used to ferry US Naval aircraft to the front line, although still with her British crew. The Rajah was one of six British escort carriers to perform this duty, and one of the last to return to Royal Navy control, only coming back in July 1945. She returned to the US, where No.1853 Squadron embarked on 24 July 1945, and then crossed the Atlantic, reaching the UK early in August.

In August 1945 the Rajah was refitted as a troopship. She was returned to the US Navy on 13 December 1946 and sold off as a merchantman.


No.849 NAS

No.849 Squadron embarked on Rajah with its Avengers on 9 September 1944. In November a detachment moved to Battler, and on 10 December the entire squadron embarked on Victorious.

No.857 NAS

No.857 Squadron crossed the Atlantic on the Rajah in June/ July 1944, then travelled to Ceylon on her in the autumn of 1944.

No.888 NAS

No.888 Squadron embarked on the Rajah on 9 September 1944 with its Hellcat PR.IIs, travelling to Ceylon on her before disembarking.

No.1842 NAS

No.1842 Squadron and its Corsair IIs crossed the Atlantic on the Rajah, disembarking in the UK on 13 July 1944.

No.1853 NAS

No.1853 Squadron formed with the Corsair IV at Brunswick, embarked on the Rajah on 25 July 1945 to cross the Atlantic and disembarked on 6 August.

Displacement (loaded)

11,400t standard
15,390t deep load

Top Speed



27,500 miles at 11 knots


495ft 3in-496ft 8in oa


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



18 May 1943


17 January 1944



Fleet Air Arm Carrier Warfare, Kev Darling. A complete history of the Fleet Air Arm's use of aircraft carriers, from the earliest experiments during the First World War, through the Second World War, where the carriers became the most important capital ships in the navy, the Korean War, which saw the Fleet Air Arm involved from the beginning to the end, the Falklands War, which re-emphasised the important of the carrier and right up to the current 'super-carriers'. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 August 2010), HMS Rajah ,

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