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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(BAVG-4)  /  HMS CHARGER   (D27)  /

(later ACV-30 and CVE-30)

USS Charger CVE-30

Contributed by Tommy Trampp

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Whiskey - Uniform - Sierra

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal / World War II Victory Medal

Charger Class Escort Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
(see below) 19 Jan 1940 1 Mar 1941 3 Mar 1942 (USN) 15 Mar 1946 28 Mar 1946
Builder: Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pa.

(As commissioned, 1942)
Displacement: 8,000 tons standard; 15,000+ tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 465' x 69.5' x 26.25'  /  141.7 x 21.2 x 8 meters
Dimensions (max.): 492' x 111.25'  /  150 x 33.9 meters
Armor: None
Power plant: 2 Doxford diesels (6-cylinder); 1 shaft; 8,500 bhp — [
see The Doxford: Opposed Piston Oil Engine]
Speed: 16 knots
Armament: 1 single 5"/51 gun mount; 2 single 3"/50-cal gun mounts; 10 single 20-mm/70-cal machine guns
Aircraft: 30+
Aviation facilities: 1 elevator; 1 hydraulic catapult
Crew: 856

Click on Thumbnail
for Full Size Image
Size Image Description Source
53k Rio Hudson, Rio Parana and Rio de la Plata just prior to conversion. Hazegray & Underway
CVE-30 Charger
66k Good overhead, port side view. USN
CVE-30 Charger

Port side, late war image.

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger
137k Good overhead, starboard side view. USN
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (CVE-30) underway circa 1942, location unknown.

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (CVE-30) at anchor circa 1942, location unknown.

Photo from Navy Yearbook, ed. by Phillip Andrews and Leonard Engel; Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1944.

(A censored version of photo NS0303019?)

Original photo and caption submitted by Robert Hurst.
Larger photo by Derick Hartshorn
CVE-30 Charger

"First Series of Pictures aboard USS Charger, a former merchantman now converted to an aircraft carrier. Signal officer on the flight deck signals the incoming plane, 'Prepare to land.'"

Courtesy of the Kibbe Museum.

Bill Gonyo
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (AVG-30), 1942 identification photos.

Tommy Trampp
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (AVG-30, later CVE-30) at anchor, 12 May 1942. She is painted in Camouflage Measure 12 (Modified).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command (# NH 55073).

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger

An OS2U Kingfisher seaplane is lifted aboard the auxiliary carrier USS Charger (ACV-30) on 3 August 1942, at an unknown location.

National Naval Aviation Museum photo (# 2004.166.003.013).

Mike Green
CVE-30 Charger

"USS Charger (CVE-30) 3 August 1942—Modern sterilized equipment is carried onboard the ship to provide antiseptic medical supplies for the sick-bay and operating room. Shown here is a Navy corpsman loading the autoclave to sterilize surgical instruments packs for the operating room. An autoclave is a pressure chamber used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high pressure saturated steam at 121 °C (249°F) for around 15–20 minutes depending on the size of the load and the contents. Official photograph of the United States Navy."

Bill Gonyo
CVE-30 Charger

Battleship USS New York (BB-34) and auxiliary aircraft carrier USS Charger (ACV-30) waiting to go east at Norfolk Naval Yard, Portsmouth, VA, 11 August 1942.

US National Archives photo (# 80-G-11058) from NARA, College Park, Maryland.

Sean Hert
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (ACV-30) in Measure 22 camouflage scheme is being maneuvered by tugs, 24 September 1942, at an unknown Chesapeake Bay location. Except for two aircraft ferrying operations in October 1942 and September 1945, the ship's basic WW2 task was that of training pilots and ships' crews in carrier operations, in Chesapeake Bay.

Mike Green
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger underway in 1943. For most of her career she was camouflaged in Measure 22, the graded system. Measure 22, introduced in June 1942, was intended for use in areas where bright weather and fair visibility predominated.

Hull, from boot-topping to the lowest point of the main deck edge, was painted navy blue; the upper edge of this band was parallel to the horizon. Vertical surfaces above this blue band were painted haze gray. Flight deck was stained deck blue.

Photo by Edward L. Walger PH2 USN, 1942-1945.

Barbara Walger
CVE-30 Charger

Official USN photo, taken in January 1944 but otherwise very similar to NS0303004, above.

David Buell
CVE-30 Charger

A Grumman F6F Hellcat that came in too low... 1943.

Photo by Edward L. Walger PH2 USN, 1942-1945.

Barbara Walger
Charger and Long Island

Charger & Long Island-class . From U.S. Naval Ships & Aircraft (ONI 54-R), condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57 (Recognition Pictorial Manual of Naval Vessels). Supplement 4 - 4 August 1943.

Photos show HMS Archer, HMS Biter and USS Charger.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
Charger and Long Island

As above. Bottom photos show USS Long Island (AVG/ACV/CVE-1).

CVE-30 Charger

SB2C Helldiver, 1944.

Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (CVE-30) underway in January 1944, showing a very basic radar fit: SC-2 air search and the smaller SG surface search antenna below it; at the masthead is the YE aircraft homing beacon.

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger (CVE-30) underway January 1944. She carries one 5"/51 aft and two 3"/50s forward. A light battery of six 0.50-cal mgs was originaly planned, but 20-mm guns were mounted instead. By the time this photograph was taken Charger had been fitted with more modern electronics, including an SC-2 air search radar and a YE aircraft beacon.

Photo and text from U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger

USS Charger anchored in Hampton Roads, 1944.

The island was built out over the side of the ship, to entirely clear the flight deck, and was not supported by the hull or the hangar side, thus requiring dedicated supports (one of them clearly visible under the island structure). Charger was armed with a single 5"/51 gun, aft, and two single 3"/50s forward (visible here); a light battery of .50-cal machine guns was initially planned, but, as shown, 20-mm machine cannon were mounted instead.

The "X" superimposed on the ship's hull number, aft, indicated that the flight deck was not usable for landings.

Photo by Edward L. Walger PH2 USN, 1942-1945.

Barbara Walger
CVE-30 Charger

"Planes landing, launching, crash, aboard USS Charger" (CVE-30), 21 March 1944.

National Archives at College Park, Motion Pictures, Local Identifier: 428-NPC-1501.

Format: WMV (silent)  Duration: 4' 1"  Size: 640 x 480.

National Archives
CVE-30 Charger

An ASW paint scheme-clad TBF-1 Avenger "in the groove" for landing aboard USS Charger (CVE-30), Chesapeake Bay area, on 22 April 1944. USN, courtesy Russ Egnor.

Photo and text from Carrier Air War In Original WWII Color, by Robert Lawson and Barrett Tillman.

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger

An FM-2 Wildcat fighter prepares to take off from USS Charger (CVE-30) during training operations in the Chesapeake Bay area, 8 May 1944. Another FM-2 is passing overhead with its tail hook down, apparently having received a "wave-off" due to the carrier's fouled flight deck. Note the light Atlantic area paint schemes worn by these planes.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-K-1601).

Robert Hurst
CVE-30 Charger

A Grumman F4F Wildcat landing aboard Charger. Taken from a Coast Guard cutter in October 1944.

Photo by Edward L. Walger PH2 USN, 1942-1945.

Barbara Walger
CVE-30 Charger

A Ryan FR-1 Fireball on the catapult of the escort carrier USS Charger (CVE-30) in 1944–46. Note lengthy holdback cable which leads to holdback unit located under cockpit.

Naval Aviation News magazine, August 1946 issue.

(See also photo NS-cve30-w20.)

Bill Stevens, USN (Ret). A-4/A-6 pilot. Naval history (aviation) buff.
CVE-30 Charger

Two performances by the ship's band.

Steven C. Irwin
CVE-30 Charger
Commercial Service

MV Fairsea, ex-USS Charger (CVE-30), ex-HMS Charger (D27), ex-US BAVG-4.

Courtesy of Alfons Verheijden, The Doxford: Opposed Piston Oil Engine

According to my information, the Fairsea was the former escort carrier Charger (BAVG-4), later re-numbered the AVG-30, finally the CVE-30. She was sold to Italian interests in 1949, received the name Fairsea and was converted to a passenger liner. She was then engaged for many years in carrying emigrants from the U.K. to Australia. In January 1969 she suffered a major engine breakdown and fire off Balboa, Panama and was towed to Balboa. Sold to Italian breakers, she was towed to La Spezia (Italy) where she was broken up in 1969.

Photo from an out-of-print book on passenger ships published in 1965.

Photo and text courtesy of Gerhard Mueller-Debus

"LINER ADRIFT—The 13,432-ton passenger vessel, Fairsea was reported adrift about 990 miles west of the Panama Canal today with 986 persons aboard after a fire disabled her engine. According to U.S. Coast Guard reports, the ship was en route for Balboa when the accident happened. Sea conditions were reported calm in the area and the ship was reported riding easily. (AP wirephoto) [24 January] 1969. 1955 photo."

Tommy Trampp

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the HMS Charger (D27) / USS Charger (AVG-30 / ACV-30 / CVE-30) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information Web Sites
U.S.Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association
The Doxford: Opposed Piston Oil Engine, by Alfons Verheijden

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Last update: 27 December 2016