MV Gadila (1934)

Gadila after her conversion to a merchant aircraft carrier. Dutch Ministry of Defense photo.


Launched 1 December, 1934, Gadila was a Dutch oil tanker built in Germany. She operated in this role until April, 1943, when she was taken in hand to be converted to a Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC). With a top speed of 13 knots, Gadila operated four Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers while she continued to haul oil. She had no hangar, so the aircraft were stored and serviced on the deck. Most of her crew was merchant, but the air arm was formed from Fleet Air Arm 860 (Dutch) Naval Air Squadron. She mainly saw service on the Arctic convoy routes to the Soviet Union. Gadila was returned to civilian use and striped of her flight deck post-War, sailing the seas until 1958, when she was scrapped in Hong Kong.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Gadila and her sister Macoma were the first Dutch ships with a flight deck.