Merchant Navy Aircraft?

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by von Poop, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sitting bored in the Library today while waiting for the kids to finish some project, I was flicking through a book on the Naval War, particularly the section on 'MAC' (?) carriers (ships which I'd never heard of, but I have to say, impressed me).

    Mention in there of some carrier-based aircraft even carrying the marking 'Merchant Navy', but sadly no pictures.
    Can anybody direct me to images of this, if images there are?

    Cheers,
    ~Adam.
     
  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    I think some merchant vessels carried catapult-launched Hurricanes
     
  3. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

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  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Cheers chaps.
    It's the actual marking of the aircraft mentioned that really interests me - for some reason I'd very much like to see a Hurricane or similar with 'Merchant Navy' written down the side.
     
  6. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    I don't remember ever seeing a "Hurricat" with out-of-the-ordinary markings.

    Here's a picture of one sitting on its catapult:

    MAC's mainly deployed Swordfish.
     

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  7. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Kenneth Poolman's book The Catafighters and Merchant Aircraft Carriers might be a good place to look for more information. I've scanned my copy but don't see a picture of what you're looking for. Hurricanes (and even a few Fulmars) flew (or were launched off) the CAM ships. The MACs carried Swordfish (usually four). In the book Fairey Swordfish and Albacore (Crowood Aviation series) there is a page with what you're looking for. Page 120 features "evidence of the rumour that some MAC-ship Swordfish carried the legend "Merchant Navy". Pictures of Swordfish LS219 and LS276, both from MV Amastra are featured displaying their Merchant Navy markings close to their tails .
    I've failed to find the pictures online to post here but perhaps someone else will have better luck.
     
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  8. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    None with MN markings as such
     

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  9. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

  10. Just read this thread for the first time and by chance I was re-reading an old book "Bring back my Stringbag". This was written by Lord Kilbracken, who was a flight commander with 836 Squadron, operating from MAC Ships. In this he states that in many flights, so great was there Merchant Navy loyalty, we would paint out ROYAL NAVY and substitute MERCHANT NAVY, which caused quite a bit of eye-rubbing when we landed anywhere else but Maydown in Northern Ireland or Dartmouth in Canada. No photographioc evidence though.

    Jim C.
     
  11. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    This is the only picture I have found of a Swordfish with MN markings - and you have to look hard. I remember from Bring back my Stringbag that John (later Lord) Kilbracken was less than pleased to be taken off his MAC ship and put on an RN Escort Carrier. My first voyage as (Acting) Third Mate was on the former Empire MacDermott, by then called the La Cumbre; obviously I have had an interest in them ever since. The grain carriers had four a/c and the tankers (therefore without a hanger) Two of the tankers were under the Dutch flag and were their first, and maybe only, aircraft carriers.
     

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  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    In 1945 the British Merchant Navy operated the world's third largest carrier fleet: 19 of Merchant Aircraft Carriers, which is more than the 17 Japanese.

    The MAC ships were merchant ships, with merchant captains and crews less for the gun detachments and air group.
     
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  13. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    And they still carried bulk grain or oil cargoes
     
  14. Some further Information about MAC Ships -
    Tanker Conversions had a flight deck only, and carried 80% of their normal load, the rest being AVGAS for aircraft use. All maintenance work was carried out in the open on deck. Normally, 3 Swordfish II carried but Swordfish III were introduced from late 44 onwards.


    Grain Ship Conversion had a small hanger and a hoist for the aircraft, so that maintenance work could be carried out under cover. Normally carried 4 Swordfish II/III.

    Some further information for Tom. Royal Netherlands Navy acquired HMS Venerable from the RN in 1948 and was known as HNLMS Karel Doorman (R81) and served until 1960
     
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