Pretoria Castle (1)

During her second voyage she damaged her rudder when she grounded in Delagoa Bay necessitating repairs at Prince Edward Dock, Durban.

On completion of that voyage she was requisitioned for use as an Armed Merchant Cruiser being fitted with eight 6 inch guns together with AA and machine guns.

With a black hull and buff upper works and funnel she was commissioned in the November and based at Freetown in Sierra Leone.

In 1942 she was replaced by one of the new light cruisers and sold to the Admiralty for conversion into an aircraft carrier. With fifteen aircraft and equipped with one catapult she was commissioned on 18th March 1943 but was used purely for training purposes.  The conversion took place at Swan Hunters on the Tyne.

PRETORIA CASTLE (1) / WARWICK CASTLE (4) was built in 1938 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 17383grt, a length of 594ft 7in, a beam of 76ft 4in and a service speed of 18.5 knots.

Sister of the Durban Castle she commenced her maiden voyage as the Pretoria Castle on the 20th April 1939.



Years in Service


Pretoria Castle (1)


1942 sold to Admiralty rebuilt as aircraft carrier, renamed HMS Pretoria Castle

1946 re-purchased by Union-Castle, renamed Warwick Castle (4),

1962 scrapped


Small watercolour of Pretoria Castle in 3 Guises

Taken up by the Admiralty and converted first to an Armed Merchant Cruiser, and later to an Escort Carrier.

She spent most of her time as the Trials Carrier for development of Naval Aircraft and flight deck operations.

She was returned to her original configuration and re named Warwick Castle.

Artist - Jim Rae

Pretoria Castle - Art Gallery

Outward bound near Gravesend on her Maiden Voyage

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