A History of HMS KHEDIVE
Starboard broadside view of HMS KHEDIVE taken on
during her builder's sea trials. Note the censor has
erased the radar masts.
Two US maritime Commission hulls were earmarked for transfer to
the Royal Navy as escort carriers with the ships' name 'Khedive':
Laid down as a type S4-S2-BB5 Maritime Commission hull, hull no 1111
at the Kaiser Shipyard, Vancouver, Washington to become a Casablanca
class auxiliary aircraft carrier, Kaiser hull no. 320. She was
launched in January, 1944 and was intended to be transferred to the
Royal Navy under Lend-Lease arrangements as the HMS KHEDIVE.
Her sponsor was Mrs. Robert H. Smith. Before delivery, however, the
US Navy decided that she (and other escort carriers building for
Britain at that time) would be required for the US war effort and
subsequently the first Khedive was delivered to the U. S.
Navy at Astoria, Oregon on 3 January 1944 and became the USS
NEHENTA BAY (CVE-74) Captain Horace A. Butterfield USN in
Laid down 22 September 1942, at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co.
Tacoma, Washington, a C3-S-A1 type freighter Maritime Commission
hull number 250, Seattle-Tacoma hull number 34; purchased by the US
navy to be the USS CORDOVA, AVG-39, later CVE-39. Whilst
still under construction it had been decided that CVE-39 was to be
transferred to the Admiralty on loan on her completion as an
aircraft carrier. CVE-39 was launched on 30 January 1943 by her
sponsor Mrs. A. E. Mitchell and was on completion of her
construction as an escort carrier she was delivered to the US Navy
on 25 August 1943. She was transferred to the United Kingdom under
Lend Lease the same day and commissioned into RN service as HMS
KHEDIVE (D62), Captain H.J. Haynes RN in command.
After completing her builder's sea trials
Khedive sailed for Vancouver Island, British Colombia, entering
Burrard Drydock to begin modification to bring equipment to RN
standards and to outfit her as a strike/CAP carrier.
On completion of her work-up and short crew
familiarisation period HMS Khedive sailed for the Panama
Canal, and then on to Norfolk, Virginia, to embark more stores and
aircraft on November 1st. Embarking the the Corsairs of 1834
squadron for transit to the UK, and disembarking them to RNAS
Maydown, Northern Ireland, on November 16th.
On January 11th 1945 CVEs Khedive, speaker and
Slinger (under command of Captain B. L. Moore, Senior Officer) and
three escorts sailed from the Clyde bound for Gibraltar on the first
leg of passage to Ceylon.
The group of ships reached Alexandria on January
22nd, and entered the Suez Canal on the 24th for transit to the Red
Sea. After a brief stop at Aden to refuel and store ship on January
28th the company steamed straight across the Indian Ocean to
Colombo, arriving there on February 4th. Here the CVEs were to part
company, Speaker and Slinger departed for Sydney on the 6th, Khedive
remained in Ceylon to join the East Indies fleet.
fuller account of this ships history will be added at some time in
17 April 2017
Sources used in compiling this account:
Click here for a list of
Fold3.com various documents including;
Admiralty War Diaries
Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries
Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries
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