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HMS Atheling (D51)
HMS Atheling
Career (USA)
Name: USS Glacier
Builder: Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 9 June 1942
Launched: 7 September 1942
Commissioned: 3 July 1943
Decommissioned: 31 July 1943
Fate: Transferred to Royal Navy
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Atheling
Commissioned: 28 October 1943
Decommissioned: 6 December 1946
Struck: 7 February 1947
Fate: Returned to US 13 December 1946. Sold as merchant ship, scrapped 1967
General characteristics
Class & type: Bogue class escort carrier
Displacement: 7,800 tons (full load)
Length: 495 ft 7 in (151.05 m)
Beam: 69 ft 6 in (21.18 m)
Draught: 26 ft 3 in (8.00 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 1 shaft, 8,500 shp (6.3 MW)
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: 890 officers and men
Armament: 2 × 5 in (127 mm) guns
Aircraft carried: 18-24

HMS Atheling (D51) was a Royal Navy escort aircraft carrier of the Second World War. She was a US built ship provided under lend lease and returned to the US at the end of hostilities.


She was built by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation (later Todd Pacific) of Tacoma, Washington) under Maritime Commission Contract. She was launched 7 September 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Richard P. Luker, and commissioned on 12 July 1943 as USS Glacier AVG-33 under the command of Comdr. Ward C. Gilbert. Her designation was changed to CVE-33 on 15 July 1943. She was transferred on 31 July 1943 at Vancouver, British Columbia to the Royal Navy. Following formal transfer the ship was sent to the Royal Canadian Navy dockyard at Esquimalt for conversion for British use. Following the work she was commissioned as Aetheling on 28 October. She sailed via Panama and New York arriving in the UK in January 1944 and underwent further modification to operate fighter aircraft.

Aethling transferred to the Far East for operations there. From November 1944 into 1945, she was engaged on aircraft ferry duties for British and US fleets. After the war she was used as troopship before return to the US. From October 1945 to April 1946, her commanding officer was Capt. John Inglis, who was to become director of Naval Intelligence in July 1954.[1]

Atheling put in to Norfolk, Virginia, 6 December 1946 for return to the United States. Her name was stricken from the Naval Register 7 February 1947 and she was sold to National Bulk Carriers, Inc. as the merchant ship Roma 26 November 1947. She was scrapped in Italy in November 1967.

Design and description

These ships were all larger and had a greater aircraft capacity than all the preceding American built escort carriers. They were also all laid down as escort carriers and not converted merchant ships.[2] All the ships had a complement of 646 men and an overall length of 492 feet 3 inches (150.0 m), a beam of 69 feet 6 inches (21.2 m) and a draught of 25 ft 6 in (7.8 m).[2] Propulsion was provided a steam turbine, two boilers connected to one shaft giving 9,350 brake horsepower (SHP), which could propel the ship at 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph).[3]

Aircraft facilities were a small combined bridge–flight control on the starboard side, two aircraft lifts 43 feet (13.1 m) by 34 feet (10.4 m), one aircraft catapult and nine arrestor wires.[2] Aircraft could be housed in the 260 feet (79.2 m) by 62 feet (18.9 m) hangar below the flight deck.[2] Armament comprised: two 4 inch Dual Purpose guns in single mounts, sixteen 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns in twin mounts and twenty 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannons in single mounts.[2] They had a maximum aircraft capacity of twenty-four aircraft which could be a mixture of Grumman Martlet, Vought F4U Corsair or Hawker Sea Hurricane fighter aircraft and Fairey Swordfish or Grumman Avenger anti-submarine aircraft.[2]


  1. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Inglis, (Sir) John Gilchrist Thesiger". Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Cocker (2008), p.82.
  3. Cocker (2008), p.79.


  • Cocker, Maurice (2008). Aircraft-Carrying Ships of the Royal Navy. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-4633-2. 

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