MISC: MERCHANT AIRCRAFT CARRIER EMPIRE MACRAE
Merchant Aircraft Carrier Empire MacRae was built by Lithgow in 1943 as a bulk grain ship, but converted to accommodate its 4 aircraft with the addition of the deck, a hanger and a lift. The 8000 ton, 12 knot vessel continued to ship its regular cargo under merchant colours and with civilian crews whilst serving as an aircraft carrier.
It returned to merchant service in 1947 with a new name, Alpha Zambesi, operated by Alpha South African SS Co, Durban. A further name change to Tobon occurred in 1954, and finally to Despina P. in 1967 which saw this ship through to the end of its life in April 1971 when it was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Acknowledgements: Fleet Air Arm Archive