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Hawker Hurricane launched from CAM ship

On this day 28 May 1941

Published: 28 May 2013

The first CAM ship, Michael E sailed with convoy OB 327 on 28 May 1941. She was sunk by U-108 on 2 June.

CAM ships were British merchant ships used in convoys as an emergency stop-gap to provide fighter protection beyond the range of bases on the British Isles until sufficient escort carriers became available. CAM is an acronym for Catapult Aircraft Merchantman. A CAM ship was equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter". The ship was not fitted for aircraft recovery, so, unless close to land, the pilot would bail out or ditch in the sea at the end of the flight and the plane would be lost.

As adequate numbers of escort carriers became available, CAM sailings on North American and Arctic Russian convoys were discontinued in August 1942 and in the Mediterranean in September 1943.


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