(CVE-36: dp. 15,700 (f.); l. 495'8"; b. 69'6"; ew. 111'6"; dr. 26'0"; s. 17.6 k. (tl.); cpl. 890; a. 2 5", 16 40mm., 27 20mm.; ac. 28; cl. Bogue; T. C3-S-A1)
A bay in Marin County, Calif. It is located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Bolinas (AVG-36) was laid down on 3 August 1942 at Tacoma, Wash., by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 247); reclassified an auxiliary aircraft carrier and redesignated ACV-36 on 20 August 1942; launched on 11 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Gordon B. Sherwood; reclassified an escort aircraft carrier and redesignated CVE-36 on 15 July 1943; and commissioned on 22 July 1943, Capt. Harold L. Meadow in command.
The escort carrier served only very briefly in the U.S. Navy because she had been earmarked for transfer to the Royal Navy under lend-lease on 23 June 1943, just a month before she was commissioned. Accordingly, Bolinas set sail on 1 August for Vancouver, British Columbia, where she was decommissioned on 2 August 1943 and transferred to the British government that same day. Renamed HMS Begum, the warship underwent two months of alterations to make her compatible with British systems and procedures before embarking on patrol and escort duties with the Royal Navy.
By the spring of 1944, she was part of the British Eastern Fleet operating out of Colombo, Ceylon. There, Begum supported the Allied armies in Burma, harassed Japanese shipping in the Bay of Bengal and the Strait of Malacca, and even served as the center of the hunter-killer group that sank German U-boat U-198 near the Seychelles on 12 August 1944.
Following the war, Begum was decommissioned and returned to the United States Navy at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 4 January 1946. Bolinas was deemed not to be essential to the defense of the United States on 6 June 1946, and authority for her disposal was granted. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946, and she was sold to the Waterman Steamship Co., of Mobile Ala., in April 1947. She operated in mercantile service for nearly 30 years. During most of that time, she belonged to a Dutch firm and served under the name Raki; but, in 1967, a Taiwanese company bought her and renamed her I-Yung. She disappeared from mercantile shipping registers after 1974.
Mary P. Walker
31 January 2006