'Ruler' Class

  This is an unofficial badge - no authorised design was produced before the ship was decommissioned. Shape:
Standard, circular.
Blazon (Heraldic description)
The unofficial design comprised of a field of white with a base wavy blue; a key bow downwards pale, surmounted by a crown atop the bow, all gold.
KHEDIVE: Title of the Turkish viceroys who ruled Egypt from 1867 to 1914. The proposed design is believed to be the suggestion of the ship’s officers and featured a large key (the significance of which is unclear) and a spiked crown, presumably an approximation of the crown of the Khedive of Egypt.

For explanations of heraldic terms see the Badges & Honours page.





Pennant Number:




Battle Honours:


BURMA 1945




Builder: Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. Tacoma, Washington

Displacement: 15,390 tons

Length (Overall): 494ft 9in

Beam:  69ft 6in

Flight deck: 450ft x 80ft wood covered mild steel plate

Propulsion: 2 Foster Wheeler boilers; 1 x Allis-Chalmers geared turbine driving 1 shaft

Speed:  16 knots

A/C Capacity: 20

Hangar: 260ft x 62ft x 18ft

A/C lifts: 2, Aft 34ft long x 42ft wide; forward 42ft long x 34ft wide

Arrestor wires: 9 with 3 barriers

Catapult: 1 H4C hydraulic

Armament: 2 single 5in USN Mk 12, 8 twin 40mm Bofors, 14 twin 20rnm Oerlikon, 7 single 20mm Oerlikon

Crew Complement: 646


Commanding Officers:


Capt. H.J. Haynes RN 
Aug 43 - Sep 44

Capt. D. H. Magnay RN
Sep 44 - Jan 46





April-Oct 1944
Seafire Vb


Jan-Dec 1945
Hellcat II


800 det
May 1945
Hellcat I/II


April 1945
Avenger I


April 1945
Hellcat II


Feb 1945
Hellcat II


1700  det
June-Sept 1945



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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 command.

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.


A fuller account of this ships history will be added at some time in the future.




Content revised: 17 April 2017


Sources used in compiling this account:

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

Fold3.com various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

Miscellaneous documents


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Comments (2)

steven gray (swansea, UK) says...
My Grampa Thomas Charles Gray and His Twin brother George Gray served on this ship during WW2 they were Swansea
17th December 2016 11:10pm
Sheila MacKenzie (Lethbridge, Canada) says...
My dad said he was a mechanic on this ship during the war, his name is John MacKenzie I'm not what his rank was. Is there a way to check? Thank you. (He was from Inverness, Scotland)
13th November 2016 3:42pm
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