Allied Warships

HMS Pretoria Castle (F 61)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 61 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Island) 
Laid down 
Launched12 Oct 1938 
Commissioned4 Dec 1939 
End serviceAug 1942 

On 2 October 1939 the passenger ship Pretoria Castle of the Union-Castle Mail SS Co Ltd, London was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 4 December 1939.

Displacement: 17392 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 17 knots

November 39 - April 40: South Atlantic Station
May 40: Freetown Escort Force
June 40 - July 40: South Atlantic Station
August 40 - June 41: Freetown Escort Force
July 41 - June 42: South Atlantic Station

In August 1942 sold to the Admiralty and converted to an escort carrier. On 26 January 1946 resold to owner, reconverted to a passenger ship and renamed Warwick Castle.

Career notesconverted to the escort carrier HMS Pretoria Castle

Commands listed for HMS Pretoria Castle (F 61)

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1Capt. (retired) Eric John Shelley, RN30 Sep 1939Feb 1941
2A/Capt. (retired) Arthur Vernon Hemming, RNFeb 1941Jul 1942

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Notable events involving Pretoria Castle include:

17 Jun 1941
The Vichy French merchant Desirade (9645 GRT) was seized by HMS Pretoria Castle (A/Capt A.V. Hemming, RN) east of the Antilles.

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