'Ruler' Class

 Description Blazon (Heraldic description)
On a field of blue, a Shah’s crown, gold.
SHAH: The ruler of Persia. The crown featured on the badge appears to be a stylised version of the Pahlavi Crown of Imperial Iran with added egret's feathers and pearls.

For explanations of heraldic terms see the Ship’s Badges page.





Pennant Numbers:


D21 (Atlantic)

R213 (Indian Ocean)



Battle Honours:

‘Huascar’ 1877

ZULU  WAR  1879


 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:


Cdr. V.I.H. Mylius RN

Aug - Oct 43



Capt. W.J. Yendell RN

Oct 43 -  Dec 45




May 1945
Hellcat I/II


Apr -May 45
Hellcat II


Jun -Sep 45
Avenger I


Jun-Sep 45
Avenger I/Wildcat V


Apr - May 45
Hellcat II


1700 det
Aug 1945
Sea Otter I



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A History of HMS SHAH

HMS SHAH on her way from San Francisco to join the Eastern Fleet in Ceylon. She has a deck cargo of Hellcats and P-40 Warhawks, the Avengers of 851 squadron are stowed in the hanger.

HMS SHAH on her way from San Francisco to join the Eastern Fleet in Ceylon. She has a deck cargo of Hellcats and P-40 Warhawks, the Avengers of 851 squadron are stowed in the hanger.


HMS SHAH was an 'Ameer' class escort carrier; her keel was laid down on November 13th 1942, at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. Tacoma, Washington, a C3-S-A1 type freighter Maritime Commission hull number 254, Seattle-Tacoma hull number 38. The hull was purchased by the US navy for conversion into the auxiliary aircraft carrier USS JAMAICA AVG-43, a 'Prince William' class escort carrier, and was launched on April 21st 1943 by her sponsor Mrs. C. T. Simard. On July 15th 1943 her US Navy designation was changed to CVE.

Whilst still under construction it had been decided that AVG-43 was to be transferred to the Admiralty under the Lend Lease agreement; she was delivered to the US Navy at the Seattle-Tacoma yard on September 27th 1943 and was transferred to Admiralty custody on the same day and commissioned into RN service as HMS SHAH (D21), Captain W.J. Yendell RN in command. She was the second vessel to bear the name SHAH, the first was a 19th-century unarmoured iron hulled, wooden sheathed frigate built at Portsmouth Dockyard launched on September 10th 1873. [1] Originally to be named BLONDE, her name was revised following the visit of the Shah of Persia in 1873.

Modification and preparation to enter service: October – December 1943

After completing her builder's sea trials and Admiralty acceptance tests HMS SHAH proceeded to Vancouver, Canada to be modified to meet Admiralty requirements, receive her full crew compliment, and work up ready for beginning her active service. This work was undertaken by the Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd., North Vancouver, British Columbia. SHAH was the fifth ship to be modified by Burrards. She arrived at Vancouver at on October 2nd and was berthed in the pool; at this time sister CVEs AMEER, ATHELING, BEGUM and EMPRESS were in the hands of the Burrard's yard and at various stages of modification.

Work commenced to de-store the ship and to remover her Low-Pressure turbine for remedial work to be carried out, the rotor was removed on October 15th and despatched to Messrs. Allis Chalmers, Milwaukee, for partial re-blading. On the 17th SHAH was moved to number 3 berth at Lapointe Pier for her alteration work to begin: this work totalled 150 separate modifications and included lengthening of the flight deck, fitting redesigned flying controls and fighter direction layout, modifications to hangar, accommodation and store rooms, installing extra safety measures including major changes to the aviation fuel stowage and oiling at sea arrangements,, modifying gunnery and other internal communications, adding extra W/T and R/T sets, and improved darken ship arrangements

The repaired LP rotor was refitted on November 14th before the ship was berthed in the floating dry dock on the 20th for the fitting of Asdic equipment and additional sea valves. She was undocked and moved to number 4 berth on the 24th where the alteration and modification phase of the work was completed on December 11th, having taken a total of 55 days. The remainder of the planned works was concluded while the ship was moored in the stream off Lapointe Pier, in particular the addition of 130 tons of concrete Ballast. The next fortnight was spent on trials and working up.

The next fortnight was spent on trials and working up, including a short round trip voyage to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton Washington, to ammunition the ship, anchoring in Sinclair Inlet at 16:20 on December 26th. On completion of loading ammunition, she sailed at 16:00 on the 27th for Manchester, Washington, arriving at Orchard Point to refuel at 16:20 on the 28th. She departed at 08:35 on the following day for the Straits of Georgia (between Vancouver Island and the mainland), for steaming, gunnery, radar and other trials and exercises. On completion she put into the RCN base at Esquimalt where she embarked Confidential Books and more stores.

Maiden voyage: Ferry trip to Trincomalee via Melbourne and Cochin to join the Eastern Fleet

HMS SHAH was one of only a handful of escort carriers that were to be pressed into active service before making a voyage to the UK; she was allocated to the 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron with the East Indies Fleet as an anti-submarine carrier and sailed from Esquimalt for San Francisco on January 2nd 1944.

She arrived in San Francisco Bay on January 7th and proceeded to the US Naval Dockyard, Mare Island where she underwent voyage repairs carried out by workers from the General Engineering & Drydock Company. While under repair she moving to a berth at US Naval Air Station Alameda on January 11th. Here she embarked additional equipment and more stores and to prepare to embark her squadron, No. 851 Naval Air squadron.

851 squadron had formed on October 1st 1943 at US Naval Air Station Squantum, Massachusetts, equipped with 12 Avenger Mk.1, and, on completion of working up departed for San Francisco on January 2nd 1944. [2] A ground party travelled by train with the squadron equipment and stores. The flight to San Francisco started on January 2nd 1944 and was done in several legs; Squantum, Massachusetts to Lynchburg, Virginia; Lynchburg to Shreveport, Louisiana; Shreveport to El Paso, Texas; El Paso to Tucson, Arizona. Tucson to San Francisco.

The squadron arrived at US Naval Air Station Alameda on January 14th, their aircraft were hoisted onboard later that day and were stowed in the hangar; there would not be flying on the voyage as the carrier was to embark a ferry load of 32 Wildcats and 22 Curtiss P-40 Warhawks as deck cargo for delivery to India.


HMS SHAH sailed from San Francisco in the afternoon of January 15th and conducted live firing of her anti-aircraft guns, a drogue was towed by a c Douglas SBD Dauntless from VL14 based at Moffet field, California, commencing at 15:00 and securing at 19:00. She then set course for Australia. After making a brief call at Melbourne SHAH sailed for Cochin, Southern India, via Fremantle, departing Melbourne on February 8th.

She departed Fremantle on the 13th for passage to Cochin escorted by the Cruiser HMS CEYLON until reaching the equator on the 21st and handed the carrier over to the Destroyers HMAS NORMAN and HMS PATHFINDER, the Cruiser detached for Trincomalee. SHAH and her escorts arrived at Cochin at 10:00 on February 23rd. Once alongside she disembarked her ferry load to RNAS Cochin; 851 squadron were also put ashore.

The squadron was to remain ashore until March 6th before re-joining the ship to begin her flying working up; this was the first opportunity for flying operations to be carried out and her air department and flight deck parties were put through their paces. SHAH remained operating out of Cochin until March 18th, sailing for Colombo at17:00 escorted by the Destroyers HMAS QUIBERON and HMS QUEENBOROUGH. On completion of the work-up 851 Sqn was flown off to RNAS Colombo Racecourse, Ceylon one March 21st, SHAH continued on to make port at Trincomalee. Aircraft would be re-embarked as required when the ship put to sea for further training.


SHAH sailed for a period of deck landing training (DLT) and gunnery practices on the morning of April 5th screened by 3 American Destroyers, the USS DUNLOP, FANNING, and CUMMINGS,[3] A Part of American Task Group 58.5 - the American aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA and her escorting Destroyers were attached to the British Eastern Fleet for participation in Operation COCKPIT, April 16 - 19th and Operation TRANSOM, May 6 – 18th.

Wind conditions were very light and even at her maximum speed SHAH could not achieve stuffiest wind speed over the flight deck for flying operations. SHAH sailed again on April 26th 1944, leaving her squadron ashore in Ceylon she departed Trincomalee at 08:00 for Bombay escorted by the Destroyers by HMAS QUIBERON and HMS REDOUBT. The three ships arrived at Bombay at 11:30 on the 30th. [4] The purpose of this visit is not clear; aircraft ferrying would have been to Cochin so she possibly went to Bombay for dockyard work.

She sailed to return to Ceylon on May 9th, arriving back at Colombo on the 12th.

P-40 Warhawks on the quay side at Cochin as HMS SHAH unloads her ferry load in February 1944. A pair of Avengers are ranged on the front of the flight Deck.

Offensive operations: Anti submarine sweeps in the Indian Ocean

Pitting to sea again on the 13th SHAH re-embarked her squadron, to continue with her flying work-up. This time the aircraft flew out from RNAS Katukurunda, having relocated from Colombo Racecourse on April 1st and now comprising of 12 Avengers and a fighter flight of 4 Wildcats which had been added to form a composite trade protection squadron.

This was to be 4 weeks of flying training ending on June 16th. The squadron’s first recorded flying accidents occurred during this work-up; On the 14th Avenger FN913 (IL') was lost during a night A/S exercise, after dropping flares the aircraft climbed steeply, stalled over into the sea and caught fire, 11m off the West coast of Ceylon; the crew, Pilot Sub-Lt C. S. MacWhirter SANF(V), Overseer Lt J. P. C. Alcazar RNVR and Leading Airman C. D. Airey wer all killed. On May 18th Avenger JV513 ('Y'), piloted by Lt R. I. Spiers RNZNVR landed with the arrester hook up and entered the barrier.

On completion of her flying working up HMS SHAH arrived in Trincomalee on June 16th 1944 and was allocated to anti-submarine (A/S) duties. There had been only two landing accident during this period, Wildcat JV513 ('Y'), piloted by Lt R. I. Spiers RNZNVR landed with the arrester hook up and entered the barrier on the May 18th. SHAH sailed on her first A/S patrol in the Indian Ocean, east of Trincomalee on June 17trh. [5] The CVEs of the Eastern Fleet were employed as hunter/killers from the spring of 1944 since close escorting of convoys was ineffective due to U-Boat commanders targeting vessels not sailing in convoy. Many of these anti-submarine sweeps were conducted off the Seychelles; HMS SHAH operated with her sister ship HMS BEGUM on several of these A/S sweeps.

The patrol was uneventful, 851 suffered two deck landing accident s; on the 18th Sub-Lt F. Scudder RNVR struck the rounddown landing in Avenger JZI08 (' IR’) knocking the tail wheel off. On the 25th Avenger JZ122 (' IG') ditched while attempting a slow and high approach to the deck, the pilot Sub-Lt F. Scudder & crew were OK.

On completion of this sweep SHAH preceded to Colombo, arriving there on June 30th; sifter a short turnaround SHAH put back to sea on July 5th for trade protection sweeps between Colombo and Cochin. During this sweep 851 Squadron lost two aircraft; on the 21st JZ1I6 ('IA') piloted by the squadron commanding officer Lt. Cdr A. M. Tuke, DSC ditched after engine trouble, his crew were rescued by a native fishing boat and later transferred to an RAF rescue launch. On the 28th a serious crash occurred when Avenger JZ119 ('IP’) stalled turning to go around again after being waved off by the Deck Landing Control officer (DLCO) and crashed onto the quarterdeck. The petrol tanks exploded on impact killing the observer Sub Lt J. H. W. Calder RNVR, the pilot Sub Lt R. A. McCartney RNZNVR and the Telegraphist Air Gunner Leading Airman A. Kane escaped

At the end of July SHAH was allocated to join Task Force 66, a trade protection force for operations in the northern Indian Ocean. TF66 comprised of two escort carriers, SHAH and BEGUM, Frigates TAFF (Senior Officer of the 60th Escort Group), NADDER, INVER, LOSSIE and PARRET, Indian Sloops GODAVERI, and CAUVERY.

 The hunt for U-198

 SHAH sailed for her third sweep on August 6th with elements of TF66 to search for a U-Boat that had been attacking shipping of the East African coast; on August 6th the MV EMPIRE CITY, a 7,295-ton cargo vessel was torpedoed and sunk east of Mocimboa, Portuguese East Africa. The following day the MV EMPIRE DAY a 7,242 ton cargo vessel was torpedoed and sunk about 200 miles east of Dar es Salaam. Both vessels were on route from Lourenco Marques, Mozambique, to Aden & Port Said with a cargo of coal sailing with convoy DK.21Awhich dispersed after the initial attack.

 A D/F fix obtained on the evening of the 8th caused the air searches by Force 66 arranged for the 10th to be moved 150 miles to the south. At first light on the 10th SHAH, the duty carrier, flew off a pair of Avengers to carry out a “Creeping Adder” patrol. [6] "Creeping Adder" patrol - a continual search flown by two aircraft 50 miles ahead of the force and out to 50 miles on each beam, back to the MLA (mean line of advance, the calculated position of the force based on speed and course over the time of the sortie), and so on, gradually advancing ahead.

One of the aircraft JZ123 ('1H') stalled on take-off and crashed into the sea, Sub-Lt J. I. Delany RNZNVR and his crew were rescued by HMIS Cauvery.

 The searches continued throughout the day until 13:55 when the 851 Squadron, CO Lt. Cdr A. M. Tuke, DSC flying in Avenger JZ140 (' IA') spotted a U-boat on the surface bearing 306º at 65 miles from the carriers. A brief signal was made reporting the course and speed but the U-boat had spotted the Avenger and was already crash diving. Lt. Cdr Tuke immediately began an attack run, diving from 1,200 feet to 30 feet and arriving over the swirl left by the diving U-boat about 40 seconds after it had disappeared. This was too late for an accurate attack, but on attempting to drop two depth-charges they failed to release; going round again he aimed at a position estimated about 800 yards ahead of the swirl and this time released his depth charges however no results were observed.

 By 16:15 the frigates NADDER, TAFF and FINDHORN arrived in the area to begin a search but the U-Boat had slipped away to the North. Several reports received during the night of 10th/11th did little to help locate the U-Boat’s course, searches on the 11th to the northward had come up empty so the Senior Officer Force 66 concluded that the U-boat was proceeding more to the east and the frigates were eventually recalled. The whole Force altered course to east-north-east, and continued air searches in that direction until after dark.

 Based on the available evidence and best guesses, S.O Force 66 surmised that at first light on the 12th U-boat would be 50 miles ahead of the carriers; in the early hours of August 121th SHAH launched 6 Avengers from 851 Squadron to sweep an area out to 140 miles ahead of the carriers and 65 miles either side of the MLA.

 Twenty minutes later Lt. Cdr Tuke (again flying JZ140 (' IA')) sighted the U-boat - he had already made the crucial sighting on the 10th - she was fully surfaced and travelling at high speed on a course of 020º in a position about 53 miles 110° from the centre of the extended screen formed by the frigates, which at once closed at full speed. SHAH’s Avengers were again spotted by the U-Boast lookouts and began to crash dive as they broke from the clouds to begin an attack run. Lt. Cdr Tuke was close enough to make an attack while the U-boat’s periscope was still visible from just abaft her port beam. The result was a perfect straddle with the two depth-charges he carried, both exploding either side of the conning-tower, which was clearly seen below the surface as the aircraft passed overhead at 180 knots and a height of 30 feet. The attack had damaged the U-boat, being a lone aircraft and only carrying 2 depth charges he could only circle the area and observe; about 30 seconds later the U-boat re-surfaced, stern first and at 90º to its original course.

 She remained stationary for 4 minutes with the stern underwater and the bow just clear of the surface before gearing underway turning a complete circle before zig-zagging on a rough heading of 020-040º at about 6-8 knots. The U-boat’s crew then manned their A/A guns and opened fire on the Avenger, Lt. Cdr Tuke and his crew replied with machine gun fire the aircraft’s wing and turret guns. This exchange of gun fire lasted for about 25 minutes, neither side appears to have scored any hits. U-198 submerged again 07:26 heading 040°, presumably emergency repairs had been underway during the exchange of fire. Shortly after the first of the other Avengers on the search arrived at the scene.

 This Avenger that had been to the left of Tuke’s aircraft (second from the left of the anti-U-boat sweep, and it had turned towards the action as soon as they heard Tuke’s initial sighting report. A closer aircraft, that on the leg to the right of Tuke’s search, however, failed to receive either Tuke’s sighting report or the re-broadcast message made by SHAH. Had this aircraft responded could have arrived on scene the while damaged U-boat was still on the surface and possibly have made a second, lethal, attack. Both carriers had scrambled additional strike aircraft but all arrived too late to attack the U-boat. The two Avengers on scene guided the frigates to the position and at about 06:30 they began to hunt for U198.

 At about 10:00 the Frigate FAIAIOUTH" and Corvette GENISTA joined the carriers releasing the Sloops CAUVERY and GODAVARI which detached to join the frigates. At 13:23 GODAVARI obtained contact with the U-boat and held it for 53 minutes until the other ships could close. FINDHORN then carried out a hedgehog attack which apparently caught the U-boat captain entirely unawares, for he took no avoiding action. Two hits were obtained. Two minutes later a small explosion was heard on GODAVARI’s asdic followed three minutes later by a much heavier one. Finally, two more small explosions were heard and U-198 was deemed as destroyed in position 03°35'S 52°49'E, NW of the Seychelles. On their return to the ship Avenger JZ212 ('1G') piloted by Sub-Lt J. A. Eedle RNVR caught No.7 wire and entered the into barrier.

 Return to routine A/S sweeps in the Indian Ocean and Arabian sea

Following the conclusion of the hunt for U-198 the Force proceeded to Kilindini, Kenya arriving on August 18th to fuel and store ship in preparation for continuing anti-submarine operations covering convoys between Kilindini and Aden. SHAH sailed on the 27th; on the same date Sub-Lt J. l. Delany RNZNVR had a barrier crash landing in Avenger FN926 ('1H'), the aircraft ended on its nose.

 After a short stay at Aden SHAH made the return voyage to Kilindini departing Aden on September 15th. Upon arriving at Kilindini ten of 851 squadron's aircraft were disembarked to operate ashore at R.N. Air Sect. Port Reitz on September 21st.

 The ship remained at Kilindini until putting to sea to re-embark the detachment on October 5th before sailing for Cochin, continuing anti-submarine operations in the Indian Ocean on passage. On reaching the west coast of Ceylon she flew off her squadron to RNAS Ratmalana on October 19th; it is not clear what duties took her to Cochin but SHAH did not return to Colombo until November 26th and did not re-embark her aircraft again until January 10th 1945 when she proceeded to Trincomalee.

 Flying practice was carried out on passage to Trincomalee and three of 851's Avengers were damaged in two landing accidents, both involving aircraft piloted by Sub- Lt C. R. I Whitehead RNVR; on the 12th landing in JZ208 ('1G'') he caught No.6 wire and hit No.2 barrier, the next day landing in JZ121 (' IF') the aircraft bounced into the barrier on landing and hit tail of JZ234 parked forward, the wreckage of JZ234 was later disembarked to RNAS Trincomalee  and written off. 851 Sqn flew ashore to RNAS Trincomalee on January 23rd to regroup in preparation for a further period of A/S sweeps in February. SHAH put to sea for a DLT session for squadron pilots on the 3rd, during this session Sub-Lt J. G. V. Burns RNVR in Avenger JZ138 caught a late wire and the prop entered the barrier.

Refitting in South Africa: February -April 1945

HMS SHAH re-embarked her squadron on February 8th 1945 and sailed for Durban, South Africa, conducting trade protection operations between Trincomalee and Diego Suarez before continuing on to Durban for a refit. On arrival off Durban on February 23rd 851 disembarked to RN Air Sect. Stamford Hill and SHAH was taken in hand by the dockyard. During the voyage there was one further flying accident, Sub-Lt Burns had a second barrier crash in Avenger JZ138 on the 17th.

The refit took six weeks to complete; SHAH re-embarked her squadron, minus the Wildcats which had been withdrawn on arrival, on April 5th to begin a post refit shakedown. On completion of her shakedown SHAH sailed for Kilindini on the 8th. After a three day stop at Kilindini, during which time four Aircraft operated ashore at R.N. Air Sect. Port Reitz, SHAH proceeded to Trincomalee via Colombo to prepare for her next assignment, participation in Operation BISHOP.

 On April 25th a detachment of four Hellcats from 804 squadron were embarked from HMS EMPRESS, also embarking on that day were the 6 photo reconnaissance Hellcats of 888 squadron for a strike on the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, Operation BISHOP.

Operation "BISHOP": April 27th -May 7th 1945

This was a covering operation for the invasion of Rangoon Operation DRACULA (the sea borne assault on Rangoon) involving diversionary strikes against Japanese installations on the Nicobar and Andaman Islands.

Force 63 sailed on April 27th, and comprised of the Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag of Vice Admiral Walker), cruisers RICHELIEU, CUMBERLAND (flag of CS 5), SUFFOLK, CEYLON and TROMP, CVEs EMPRESS (20 Hellcats of 804 Sqn) and SHAH (l0 Avengers of 851 Sqn, 4 Hellcats of 804 Sqn, 6 PR Hellcats of 888 Sqn), destroyers ROTHERHAM, TARTAR, VERULAM, NUBIAN and PENN. Logistic support was provided by Force 69, the RFA oiler OLWEN escorted by PALADIN to provide refuelling at sea.

On April 30th Force 63 carried out a dawn bombardment and Hellcat strikes on both airfields at Car Nicobar, the largest of the Nicobar Islands. That evening strikes were made against targets at Port Blair before returning to repeat the Car Nicobar bombardment. Malacca was attacked on May 1st and Port Blair again on the 2nd.

On the 3rd the force separated into two groups, RICHELIEU, SUFFOLK, and destroyers NUBIAN, ROTHERHAM, and VERULAM proceeded to their covering position for operation DRACULA in the North Andaman Sea while TROMP, CEYLON, and CUMBERLAND, with CVEs SHAH and EMPRESS with destroyers TARTAR and PENN were despatched to make an armed reconnaissance of the coastal shipping between Mergui and Victoria Point. The results were an 80-ton coaster driven ashore in the Tavoy River. The following day May aircraft strafed Mergui and Victoria Point airfields. QUEEN ELIZABETH carried out a bombardment of a 6-inch gun position at Stewart Sound in the afternoon, four hits being observed in the gun pit; aircraft from both carriers attacked shipping in Port Blair harbour, two 100 feet ships, one tug, one junk, and a jetty were set on fire. The operation concluded on May 7th with a final strike on Car Nicobar airfield; during the 12 days of the operation only one aircraft was lost, Sub Lt (A) JA Scott RNVR of 804 Sqn was killed when his Hellcat JX803 ditched off EMPRESS’ port bow having succumbed to damage from enemy AA fire on Sunday May 6th, there was no enemy opposition from the air.

On May 8th all the ships in the force celebrated Victory in Europe Day by "Splicing the Main brace", the issue of an extra tot of rum, and holding services of thanksgiving. The task force arrived at Trincomalee on the 9th and 888 squadron disembarked to RNAS Colombo Racecourse, while the detachment from 804 returned to EMPRESS. The celebrations which continued ashore in Trincomalee were curtailed by the news that the Japanese cruiser HAGURO, one of the last surviving major Japanese warships, with the destroyer KAMIKAZE, were attempting to evacuate troops from the Nicobar and Andaman Islands to Singapore. A sighting by the submarine SUBTLE had reported a cruiser and destroyer to the north of the Malacca Strait and based on this intelligence the fleet was ordered to prepare for sea to intercept them.

HMS SHAH moored in the channel at Cochin on one of her ferry runs with the East Indies Fleet.

Operation "DUKEDOM": Sinking of the HAGURO -May 10th -16th 1945

The men of the East Indies Fleet were celebrating victory in Europe when the news that the Japanese cruiser HAGURO., one of the last surviving major Japanese warships, escorted by the destroyer KAMIKAZE, were attempting to evacuate troops from the Nicobar and Andaman Islands to Singapore. At 22:30 on May 9th the submarines STATESMAN and SUBTLE, two of three submarines on patrol in the Malacca Straits, both reported sighting one Japanese cruiser of the NACHI class, with single destroyer escort proceeding north westward. Based on this intelligence the ships of the Third Battle Squadron and all available ships of the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron were ordered to prepare to put to sea to intercept them.

A hastily constituted Force 61, sailed at 06:00 on the morning of May 10th; group two departed first and comprised of the ships of the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron ROYALIST (Flag AC21), EMPEROR, HUNTER, KHEDIVE, and SHAH escorted by destroyers ROTHERHAM (D 11, NUBIAN and PENN. Group one, comprising of the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag BS3), HMNLS TROMP and the destroyer TARTAR (D10), sailed next. The third and final group comprised of CUMBERLAND (Flag CS5), Free French RICHELIEU, and elements of the 26th Destroyer Flotilla SAUMAREZ (D26), VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO, and VERULAM]. Force 70, an oiling force consisting of PALADIN and RFA EASEDALE, sailed from Trincomalee on the same day

Force 61 was tasked with intercepting the Japanese evacuation ships, later given the codename Operation MITRE, and to hunt for the HAGURO under the codename Operation DUKEDOM. The force set course for the 10 Degree Channel at 16 knots where it was hoped to intercept the cruiser as she headed north on the 12th. The destroyer PENN suffered mechanical problems shortly after sailing and returned to Trincomalee, TARTAR switched groups to replace her. The HAGURO. had left Singapore, escorted by the destroyer KAMIKAZE, to re-supply the Port Blair garrison on the Andaman Islands and to evacuate the troops in Port Blair back to Singapore. However Japanese intelligence had learned that that the Royal Navy was at sea, and the two ships returned to Singapore; on May 14th the HHAGURO. and KAMIKAZE tried again and left Singapore.

At 05:00 on the 11th SHAH had to slow down due to what was believed to be fuel contamination, NUBIAN was detailed to stand by her. Later in the morning further difficulties arose due to the lack of wind which required the carriers to constantly change course to operate their aircraft. SHAH had sailed with a defective accelerator and this was still unserviceable when she re-joined the main force. This meant that she could still not launch a fully loaded Avenger and a reshuffle of resources was ordered by Vice Admiral Walker; at 14:30. SHAH should attempt to fly off 851 squadron’s Avengers, carrying minimum fuel and no armaments, to operate from EMPEROR while eight Hellcats from 800 squadron were transferred from EMPEROR to SHAH to join the detachment of four 804 squadron Hellcats already embarked. During this transfer process one of the 800 Squadron Hellcats had a deck landing accident that was to cause damage to 6 aircraft; the arrestor hook of JX797 had caught on the metal frame of the after lift and the hook pulled out, the aircraft careered through both barriers into Hellcats JV260, JV322, JW777, JW886 & JW890 parked forward. The pilot Sub-Lt T. G Davie RNVRs was OK. By 16:00 hours the transfers were complete and Force 61 resumed their south easterly course. By this time the force had been detected by a Japanese plane and their position reported.

By 16:00 hours the transfers were complete and Force 61 resumed their south easterly course. By this time the force had been detected by a Japanese plane and their position reported. The delays encountered during the day meant the force would not reach the 10 Degree Channel in time and the Admiral ordered the force to split at 18:00, group 3, consisting of RICHELIEU, CUMBERLAND and the destroyers SAUMAREZ (D26), VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO and VERULAM were detached to proceed ahead to the 6 Degree Channel in the hope of intercepting the Japanese Cruiser.

On the morning of May 12th, it was reported that the enemy cruiser and destroyer were retiring south eastward – probably due to the sighting by Japanese aircraft of units of Force 61 to the westward of the Nicobars on the previous day. As a result of this information Force 61 proceeded to a position about 200 miles southwest of Achin Head, North Sumatra, and Force 70 was ordered to rendezvous for refuelling. It was hoped that if Japanese aircraft made no further sightings of the Force, the HAGURO. might make a second attempt to reach Port Blair. At 15:00 Group 3 was ordered to return to the main Force and rendezvoused that evening.

 Beginning at 06:00 on the 13th Force 61 commenced refuelling, the destroyers being oiled from the escort carriers. This operation was hampered by monsoon weather conditions and took most of the day. Intelligence was received in the morning that the Japanese were planning to launch Kamikaze attacks on the force so Admiral Walker decided to make a pre-emptive strike against Car Nicobar airfield. At 11:30 EMPEROR launched a strike force of four Hellcats to carry out a low-level strafing attack on Car Nicobar. One of the Hellcats had to abort the mission and was escorted back to EMPEROR by another one of the strike forces. The remaining two Hellcats carried out a successful strike destroying at least one aircraft on the ground. At 12:15 QUEEN ELIZABETH and other units of the Force picked up a radar contact, four Hellcats were flown off EMPEROR at 12:25 to investigate. Another four were ranged on deck at readiness. The interception was aborted almost straightaway and the flight was diverted to land on SHAH. During this incident the force had moved nearly 100 miles South from the position where the two returning Hellcats from the Car Nicobar strike expected them to be; on reaching the position they climbed to 12.000 feet and miraculously picked up EMPEROR’s Homing beacon at 85 miles. They landed on at 16:00.

  After steaming northeast through the night, the Force passed through the 6 Degree Channel at 04:00 on the morning of the 14th. Having received no news of the

 After steaming northeast through the night, the Force passed through the 6 Degree Channel at 04:00 on the morning of the 14th. Having received no news of the HAGURO by 05:15 Admiral Walker gave orders for Group 3 to remain in the area of the 6 Degree Channel while Groups 1 and 2, led by the QUEEN ELIZABETH reversed course and steered southwest to return to the refuelling area southwest of Pulau Bunta to rendezvous with Force 70 at approximately 15:30 hours.


 The search for the Japanese relief force, Force Two: Still without reports of the whereabouts of the HAGURO, but intelligence suggesting other shipping movements in a report of one small escorted transport heading South for Sabang expected to arrive on the 15th, Admiral Walker gave orders to implement Operation MITRE at 02:17 on the 15th; this was a specific operation to carry out an air and sea sweep of the Malacca Strait and south Andaman Sea for Japanese auxiliary vessels. The operation was to be jointly carried out by vessels of Walker's Force with RAF Liberators of 222 Group, however DUKEDOM had priority and MITRE could be cancelled at any time. The 26th Destroyer Flotilla, SAUMAREZ (D26), VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO and VERULAM, was detached at 27 knots to lead the sweep, the remainder of the force following in support.

  The intelligence was referring to the Japanese relief force, Force Two, the KUROSHIYO MARU No 2 escorted by submarine chaser CH- 57 which had evacuated troops from Nancowry Island in the Nicobars and had been sighted by an RAF Liberator aircraft of 222 Group late in the evening of the 14th heading for Penang. Actually Naval intelligence was unaware that the HAGURO (Vice Admiral Hashimoto) and KAMIKAZE had been waiting off the Permatang Sedepa lighthouse, in position 2°53’ N, 100°59’ E, for news as to whether the British had sighted Force Two, which had sailed from Penang for Nancowry Island, where they arrived on May 13th. Believing the British had failed to detect Force Two Vice Admiral Hashimoto decided to make a dash for Port Blair, so the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE were on passage to Port Blair. However, for various reasons, this time Walker didn't get any sighting reports from the submarines stationed in the Malacca Strait.

 At 07:00 a second British force, Force 62 comprising the cruiser NIGERIA with the 11th Destroyer Flotilla, (ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE, ROCKET and REDOUBT) rendezvoused with Force 61, having sailed from Trincomalee on the 13th to reinforce Walker’s force. The combined Force then set course to support the Destroyers of Group 3. At 07:30 in approximate position 4°30’ N, 93°30’ E, EMPEROR launched a reconnaissance/strike flight of four Avengers of 851 Sqn, each armed with four 500lb bombs, to search ahead of the force; the aircraft were given the call signs “Duty” Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog. Their instructions were to fly to a point, designated BB, which was in approximate position 6°20’’ N, 94°35’ E, then to diverge and fly a search pattern. The pilots had been briefed that on sighting the enemy convoy, (Force Two) they were to shadow and report.

 At 09:37 in approximate position 6°44’ N, 97°3’’ E, Avenger “Duty” Charlie (JZ137), piloted by Sub-Lt J. G. V. Burns, RNVR, sighted Force Two en route to Penang and made an immediate sighting report. He shadowed the ships until 09:50 expecting others in the flight to join him, when none had arrived, he decided to attack; being at the extreme edge of their search radius dropping the bombs would extend their time over the target. His first run was with two bombs, one failed to drop, the other missed. Burns then attacked again dropping a single bomb, but without success, and while climbing away from his second pass he was joined by “Duty” Baker (JZ203), flown by Sub-Lt W. R. P. Bowden, RNVR which immediately attacked the Japanese force, missing with all four bombs. While diving on the KUROSHIYO MARU for their third run “Duty” Charlie was hit in the engine just as the bombs were released. The damage was severe but Sub-Lt Burns managed to pull up and turn onto a course for the fleet. Sub-Lt Bowden in “Duty” Baker formed up on Charlie as it began to lose height and prepared to ditch, which it did soon after. With some difficulty Sub-Lt Burn and his crew, Sub-Lt G. H. Robinson and P.O. (A). A. R. Murley, managed, to evacuate the aircraft and eventually to get into the life raft before their aircraft sank. “Duty” Baker reported the ditching and remained in the area, circling in the hope of pointing out the position to any rescuers, but none came before he had to head back to the ship.

 At 10:04, almost exactly the time of “Duty” Charlie’s ditching, EMPEROR launched a further strike of four Avengers, with the call signs “Duty” Fox, George, Jig, and Hotel. The squadron C.O. Lt. Cdr M. T. Fuller RNVR was first to launch in “Duty” George, the next, “Duty” Hotel, reported his engine overheating while on the catapult but was launched to clear the deck and 10 minutes later landed on HUNTER. A fifth aircraft “Duty” King had been brought up from the hangar to replace Hotel. The report of “Duty” Charlie ditching had just reached ROYALIST and the Avengers were ordered to remain over Force 61 to await orders, due to communication problems only “Duty” Fox (Sub-Lt J. A. Eedle) received the order and remained circling for an hour and a half before jettisoning his bombs and returning to EMPEROR only to crash into the barrier on landing. George, Jig and King continued on their search pattern, but were now looking for the life raft of Sub-Lt Burn and his crew.

 The first of the early morning flight, “Duty” Dog (Sub-Lt Rowe-Evans, RNVR), landed on at 11;55, “Duty” Able (Lt K. Crompton, RNVR) had reached the position given by “Duty” Charlie but saw nothing and returned to the ship to land on at 12:15. On reaching the expected position of the carriers “Duty” Baker found there were no ships in sight; reversing course he attempted to contact the destroyers he had seen earlier but with no success. Eventually Avengers “Duty” Jig and King appeared and “Duty” Jig escorted him towards the fleet; after 4 hours and 50 minutes in the air “Duty” Baker ran out of fuel at 121:0 and ditched 30 miles from the carriers, the crew were rescued by the 1700 squadron Walrus from HUNTER. Despite efforts to locate them, the crew of “Duty” Charlie were not rescued, their raft eventually made landfall in Burma but they were later taken prisoner. There had been some confusion over the use of the word ‘Convoy’ used in the briefing; to these aircrew a convoy would be made up of many vessels, not two, Sub-Lt Bowden had actually seen Force Two five minutes before Sub-Lt Burns but discounted it and moved on.

 Just before ditching “Duty” Baker transmitted a fuller version of their earlier message of 10:03 giving the description of the ‘convoy’ as motor vessels not exceeding 2000 tons and their unsuccessful attack. This was received by Captain Powers in SAUMAREZ almost at the same time as another signal cancelling MITRE. Decisions were being made by the C-in-C in Colombo based on Naval intelligence reports and the cancel order was at odds with the intelligence just received. He decided to seek clarification and slowed his advance.

 By this time only “Duty” George was still conducting a search, Jig and King had loitered over a group of unidentified (British) destroyers for 35 minutes before giving up trying to identify them, and so wasted valuable fuel. They split when “Duty “Jig joined up with “Duty” Baker to escort him home. “Duty” King did not reach the position of “Duty” Charlie’s ditching and returned to the fleet short of fuel only to discover it had moved again. After conducting a square search for 15 minutes he picked up SHAH’s homing beacon and landed on her deck at 11:45 with 40 gallons of fuel still in the tank, approximately 17 minutes flying time.

 At 10:44 the squadron CO, Lt. Cdr Fuller, in in “Duty” George sighted and reported the Japanese Force Two. Shortly after sending off his sighting report a second force was sighted, two further ships about 15 miles ahead of Force Two; these turned out to be the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE. At 10:50 a second signal reporting enemy cruiser and destroyer in position 06°55’ N, 96°50’ E, and retiring south eastward. The HAGURO had been found almost by accident and the result of errors and failures in communication; while “Duty” George was aloft a revised search area had been calculated taking into account currents and wind over the time since the ditching and this was transmitted but not received by the four Avengers. So, Lt. Cdr Fuller and his crew were in the wrong place at the right time to stumble upon both targets. Sadly, they did not locate the life raft they were looking for, unknown to the crew they passed within 400 yards of them after dropping their bomb load to extend their time on station. “Duty” George remained shadowing the Cruiser until 12:50 when they made a final course and speed report before heading back.

  Air strike against the HAGURO: Following Lt. Cdr Fuller’s signals and updates a further strike force of three Avengers was ranged on deck, fuelled and armed by 13:50. These aircraft were given the call signs “Duty” Peter (flight leader, Lt Crompton), Queen (Sub-Lt Rowe-Evans) and Roger (Sub-Lt Eedle), all making their second sortie of the day. Their mission was to attack the HAGURO with 500lb bombs; ideally this should have been a torpedo attack but none of the Escort Carriers operating with the East Indies Fleet carried torpedoes. They were launched from a position 110 miles due west of Sabang and were to fly a dog-leg course to avoid the nearby enemy airfields.

  Lt. Cdr Fuller in “Duty” George arrived back at the estimated rendezvous point at 14:32, this was where the fleet was expected to be calculated using the MLA, (Mean Line of Advance) but no ships were sighted. Eleven minutes later he switched his I.F.F. to “Distress” mode and a course to steer was radioed to them, he was then joined by two Seafires from HUNTER’s CAP flight which escorted him back to EMPEROR; he landed on at 15:15 after 5 hours and 11 minutes in the air.

  Lt Crompton’s flight of three had reached the estimated position of HAGURO at 15:16, 16 minutes later than planned but she was not in sight, they then began a square-search with 15-mile legs. At 15:41 Lt Crompton sighted the Cruiser and her escort near the end of the third leg and began shadowing her until the other two re-joined. They attacked from astern starting their dive at 10,000 feet, Peter and Roger together, Queen a few seconds behind. Anti-aircraft fire was intense, on hit was scored on Peter’s wing and Queen was peppered with shrapnel splinters. All release their payloads; Peter and Roger pulled out at 3,000 feet and turned away at full speed, Queen continued on down to 300 feet and fled out to sea on the HAGURO’s starboard bow, reforming at 14:15 they set course for the fleet. They thought at least one of the 12 bombs hit and one a near-miss, but in reality, they all missed. All three arrived back at EMPEROR at 18:30 and landed on; Sub-Lt Eedle in “Duty” Queen (JZ233) misjudged his landing and made his second barrier crash of the day. “Duty” Peter, Queen, and Roger had completed a 530-mile round trip flight to strike the HAGURO, the longest attacking round trip flight of any Fleet Air Arm aircraft. They had accomplished the first and only Dive-bombing attack by 851 squadron; this was also the first such attack on a major warship since the sinking of the KONIGSBERG in April 1940.

 Air strikes on the Andaman Islands: At 07;00 on the 16th EMPEROR launched 4 Hellcats, each armed with eight 60lb rockets, to search for and strike the KUROSHIYO MARU, and two Avengers to continue searching for the crew of “Duty” Charlie. A further 6 Hellcats from KHEDIVE's 808 squadron were launched to strike the airfield at Lhokseumawe in Northern Sumatra; two turned back with radio failure while the remaining four strafed the airfield damaging one fighter on the ground and a nearby locomotive. From 08:00 the fleet came under almost constant air attack and HUNTER’s Seafire CAP aircraft were kept busy chasing down radar contacts; while none were shot down, at least four Ki-43 ‘Oscars’ were believed to have been damaged in aerial combat. The searches for both the KUROSHIYO MARU and the life raft came up empty and the aircraft returned safely. At 17:25 two A6M3 ‘Haps’ were caught off guard by a flight of four Hellcats from 800 squadron led by Lt de Witt but managed to escape into cloud cover. The last attack of the day came at dusk when HUNTER was about to refuel VIRAGO, the operation had been aborted when the Destroyer came under attack by a single ‘Oscar’. Heavy anti-aircraft fire from VIRAGO and HUNTER seemed to deter the Japanese pilot who released his fragmentation bomb and veered away. The bomb fell into the sea 30 yards off VIRAGOs port quarter and the shrapnel from the blast killed 4 crewmen outright and wounded 8 more.

 At 08:00 on the 17th the force was split again, ROYALIST,  KHEDIVE SHAH and Force 62 detached and set course for Trincomalee, arriving on the 19th. The remainder of the fleet arrived aback off Ceylon on the 21st. Operation "Dukedom" saw the longest airborne attack flight ever undertaken from a British carrier, the target being 530 miles from the launch point, and the final sinking of the HAGURO was the last gun action ever fought between surface ships.

A ferry trip and squadron work up duties: May 19th -August 26th 1945

The Hellcat detachments from 800 and 804 squadrons were returned to their carriers on May 19th as the fleet returned to Trincomalee to regroup, rearm and store ship. The aircraft of 851 squadron did not re-embark in SHAH but flew ashore from EMPEROR  to RNAS Katukurunda. After effecting repairs SHAH left Trincomalee and proceeded to Bombay, arriving there on May 24th. The purpose of this trip is not clear, possibly to enter a dockyard, the ship spent the next 15 days in Bombay, sailing for the return voyage to Trincomalee on June 9th

 On her return to Ceylon SHAH began a period of flying training; she carrying out DLP for the Avengers of 845 squadron on June 15th before embarking 8 Hellcats from EMPEROR's 800 squadron on the 24th. These were followed by the Avengers of 851 and a detachment of four from 845 squadron embarking from RNAS Colombo Racecourse on the 27th for anti-submarine duties. The Hellcats of 800 squadron returned to EMPEROR at the beginning of July when SHAH returned to Trincomalee. Disembarking her own squadron to RNAS Trincomalee on July 6th; SHAH was now tasked with flying training working up squadrons.

One visitor during this period, Corsair III JS640 of the station flight at RNAS Trincomalee, crashed on deck after Floating over all the arrestor wires and taking Nos.2 & 3 barriers on July 11th, the pilot was OK. Six days later the 845 detachment was joined by the squadron's remaining 8 aircraft to work up for the ship’s participation in the upcoming Operation CARSON. On August 7th SHAH embarked 5 Avengers from 8851 and a single Walrus from 1700 squadron for search and rescue duties.


Operation CARSON: August 1945

SHAH was again to operate as part of Force 61, consisting of the AA Cruiser ROYALIST (Flag of Rear Admiral G.N. Oliver, CB, DSO, R. A. Commanding 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron), CVEs AMEER (804 Sqn, 20 Hellcat), EMPEROR (800 Sqn, 24 Hellcat), EMPRESS (896 Sqn, 20 Hellcat), KHEDIVE (808 Sqn, 24 Hellcat), and SHAH (845 Sqn 12 Avenger (for strikes), 851 Sqn 5 Avenger for A/S cover)), Destroyers TARTAR (Captain (D), Tenth Destroyer Flotilla), PENN, VIGILANT, and VERULAM. The Force sailed from Trincomalee at 16:00 on August 10th, to attack enemy shipping and airfields in Penang and Medan areas (Sumatra) planned for August 14th and 15th. On August 11th the force was ordered to hold west of 90 degrees East and await further orders; the operation was eventually cancelled in light of the news of Japan's announced willingness to accept the Allies surrender terms. The Force subsequently returned to Trincomalee, arriving at 11:30 on August 15th when the Station General Message 'SUSPEND OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS AGAINST JAPANESE FORCES' was made to all ships and allied forces.

Operation JURIST: August 1945

 SHAH was now allocated to participate in Operation JURIST an amphibious assault by the 3rd Commando Brigade to capture Penang Island on the west coast of Malaya planned for August 21st 1945.

Elements of the EIF including put to sea at 09:30 on August 17th for operation JURIST, these comprised of Force 11, comparing the Battleship NELSON ( Flag, Vice Admiral Walker), escort carriers ATTACKER (879 Sqn 24 Seafire L.III), HUNTER (807 Sqn 24 Seafire L.III), SHAH (845 Sqn 12 Avenger (for strikes), 851 Sqn 5 Avenger for A/S cover)), and STALKER (809 Sqn 24 Seafire L.III), the light cruisers CEYLON and NIGERIA, the destroyers PETARD, TARTAR and VOLAGE, and the landing ships PRINCES BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA. Force 12 comprised the destroyers VERULAM and VIGILANT and eight yard minesweepers; Force 13 comprised the destroyer PENN and LST 383 loaded with vehicles; Force 14 with the escort destroyer CALPE and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s BELA and EMPIRE SALVAGE; Force 68 with the heavy cruiser LONDON (Flag, Commodore Poland) and destroyers RAIDER and ROCKET; and Force 157 with the Indian sloop GODAVARI, Coastal Forces repair ships BARRACUDA and MULL OF GALLOWAY, tanker CROMWELL, 26 motor launches of the 34th, 38th and 56th Motor Launch Flotillas, and nine harbour defence motor launches of the 110th Harbour Defence Motor Launch Flotilla.

Shortly after the JURIST forces took passage eastward delays in negotiations, and in the arrival of the Japanese Emperor's orders to cease hostilities in South East Asia became apparent; orders were issued postponing the start of JURIST and on August 20th all forces took shelter on the north east coast of Great Nicobar Island. These delays meant that all plans were now to change, the occupation of Penang was to be undertaken in a revised Operation JURIST, employing a smaller Force; SHAH and STALKER and the Cruiser NIGERIA were released and sailed for Trincomalee on the 24th, arriving in harbour on the 26th.

Stand down: August 1945

After the Japanese surrender, all upcoming plans to accept the surrender of Japanese forces in the area and liberate former British colonies were poised set to be put into action. However, political constraints meant that no landings could take place until after the signing of the main surrender in Tokyo on September 2nd, 1945. The delays meant that all plans were now to change; thus, the reoccupation of Malaya would take place in three phases. Phase one would be the recapture of Penang Island (Operation JURIST). Phase two would be the recapture of Singapore (Operation TIDERACE). Phase three would be the sea borne assault of North West Malaya in the Port Dickson, Port Swettenham area with landings near Morib with the 25th Indian Division and the 37th brigade of the 23rd Indian Division (modified Operation ZIPPER), carried out as planned and rehearsed, but the covering air and sea bombardment had been cancelled.

 SHAH was not required for the scaled back version of JURIST; she was stood down from operations and received orders to sail for the UK. On September 1st she sailed for Colombo, disembarking 845 squadron and the 851 detachment to RNAS Trincomalee once at sea; on their arrival both squadrons were stood down and their aircraft were withdrawn.

At Colombo HMS SHAH began embarking passengers and stores, on September 3rd the personnel of 851 squadron re-embarked, they were joined on the 8th by the personnel of 845 squadron. She departed Colombo on September 12th bound for the Clyde via Aden, the Suez Cana, Malta and Gibraltar.

Disposal: Return to US custody December 1945

 SHAH arrived at Gourock on the River Clyde October 7th 1945, the first time she had been to the UK; this marked the end of her operational service, and work began to de-store her in preparation for her return to US Custody. Upon their arrival back in the UK both 851 and 845 naval air squadrons were officially disbanded.

 On completion of de-storing and equipment removal HMS SHAH sailed for Norfolk, Virginia on November 11th 1945, arriving there on the 26th and decommissioned. CVE 43 was returned to the US Navy custody at Norfolk Navy Yard on December 6th 1945 and put up for disposal. She was sold to Rio De La Plata, S.A. on June 20th 1947 for conversion into passenger ship. the conversion work was carried out by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry-dock Company where she was Hull No. 472.

Her conversion was completed on April 4th 1949 and she was sold to Compania Argentina De Navegacion Dodero S.A. for operation as an Immigrant ship and transferred to Argentine Flag and Registry bearing the name "SALTA". She began operating on the Dodero lines Genoa-Buenos Aires service in 1951. In 1955, the Dodero Line ceased operations and the management of the ships passed to Flota Argentina de Navegacin de Ultramar ("FANU"). Later, in 1962, FANU merged with the state-owned Flota Mercante Del Estado to form Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas ("ELMA"). She was withdrawn from operations in December 1964 after suffering boiler damage and was laid up in Buenos Aires until she was sold in June 1966 to local ship breakers for scrap.




Content revised: 18 December 2023


Sources used in compiling this account:

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

Royal Australian Navy Monthly Naval Warfare Review, November, 1944 Section 6. Model Anti-U-Boat Operation in The Indian Ocean.

International Journal of Naval History, December 2007 Volume 6 Number 3 “Just like a Training Exercise” The Destruction of U-198 in the Indian Ocean 12 August 1944 by Dr Malcolm Llewellyn-Jones MBE, Naval Historical Branch


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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Topic: A History of H.M.S. SHAH
0/5 (0)
O Dixey
Nov 2020
O Dixey (UK) says...

My old grandfather was on board this ship, I still have his discharge book with dates...his name was Ernest Dixey

Randolph Baxter
Aug 2015
First Poster
Randolph Baxter (Fullerton California) says...
As a researcher on Lend-Lease, I'm interested in finding out if the H.M.S. Shah was named after the Shah of Iran; I realize this may be obvious, but I would appreciate archival confirmation of this. Newspapers mention her, but do not specify why she was named Shah.
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