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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS AVENGER (D 14), Avenger-class Escort Aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Avenger and beyond Biter (Navy Photos/Mike Pocock, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

AVENGER-Class Escort Aircraft Carrier obtained under US/UK Lend Lease Agreement. The ship was under construction at Chester, Pennsylvania by Sun Shipbuilding as mercantile to be named RIO HUDSON. She was laid down on 28th November 1939 and launched on 27th November 1940. After her requisition by the US Navy she was taken in hand by Bethlehem Steel Corporation, New York for conversion to suit use as an Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier. Transfer to the Royal Navy was agreed on 31st July 1941 and the ship was identified as BAVG2. Build was completed on 1st March 1942 when she became the seventh RN ship to carry the name AVENGER. This name was  first used in 1779 for a Sloop and lastly in 1915 by an Armed Merchant Cruiser sunk in 1917 by U69. She was the second of the US built CVE to be transferred to the Royal Navy and like others in the first batch of US built Escort Carriers the ship had Diesel propulsion  machinery driving a single shaft. British radar was fitted after arrival in UK. Whilst in service her propulsion machinery was unreliable.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: (not for carrier AVENGER (D.14), but for 1976 frigate of same name)

On a Field Argent,a pair of hands, gauntleted Proper, grasping a  double handled sword in bend sinister Gold, enflamed proper.



D e t a i l s  o f  W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 2


March                    Contractors trials.

                2nd         Commissioned for service as HMS AVENGER.

                                (Note : One source records name was not used until ship sailed for UK on 30th April.)

                15th        Build completion and sea acceptance trials.


April                       Sea Trials and shakedown in continuation

                18th        Broke down on trials and taken to Staten Island for repair.

                                Prepared for ocean passage on completion.

                30th        Joined US military Convoy AT15 for passage to Clyde.

                                (Note : AT Series convoys comprised large passenger liners used

                                as troopships.

                                British convoy identity AT was used for convoys to Tobruk from Alexandria.)


May                        On arrival in Clyde taken in hand for modifications to suit RN service.

                                (Note : Work done included lengthening of Flight Deck.)


June                        Under conversion


July                         Nominated for service with Home Fleet

                                On completion of conversion worked-up for service in Clyde area.


August                  Work-up in continuation.

                17th        On completion embarked 825 Squadron SWORDFISH aircraft and personnel, SEA

                                HURRICANE aircraft and personnel of 802 and 8783 Squadrons.


September             Nominated for defence of Russian convoy.PQ18 which sailed from Loch Ewe on 2nd.

                9th          Deployed as part of escort for Convoy PQ18 during passage to Kola Inlet, screened

                                by HM Destroyers WHEATLAND and WILTON. Operation EV)

                                (Note: For details of all Russian convoy defence deployments see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA

                                by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield and CONVOY ! by

                                P Kemp.)

                                See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR Vol 2 for details of role of the ship and the

                                inadequacies of her capabilities for this deployment.

                13th        HURRICANE aircraft launch delayed by slow reaction to sudden air attack by

                                dive bombers and torpedo aircraft.

                                Six mercantiles were sunk and five aircraft lost in the sustained enemy onslaught

                                See references.

                14th        SWORDFISH aircraft sighted U589 in process of submerging and reported the position.

                                (Note : U589 was subsequently sunk by HM Destroyers ONSLOW, IMPULSIVE,

                                and FAULKNOR. See references.

                17th        Detached from PQ18 with Fighting Escort to join return convoy QP14 to provide air cover

                                during passage to Loch Ewe.

                20th        Detached from QP14 with HM Cruiser SCYLLA, HM Destroyers FURY, WHEATLAND

                                and WILTON and returned to Scapa Flow. See references for details.

                24th        Disembarked Squadrons at Scapa Flow.


October                  Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                                Nominated for support of allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH).

                22nd       Embarked 802 and 883 Squadrons SEA HURRICANE aircraft and personnel together with

                                833B Squadron SWORDFISH aircraft and personnel.

                                Joined military Convoy KMS1G for passage to Gibraltar to join Eastern Naval Task Force.

                                (Note : HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS, FORMIDABLE and FURIOUS, HM Escort

                                Aircraft Carriers BITER and DASHER was also deployed for support of TORCH.

                                See The Naval Staff History and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C




                6th          Entered Mediterranean and provided air cover for assault convoy.

                8th          Deployed in support of landings at Algiers with HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD, SCYLLA and

                                CHARYBDIS in Force O.

                10th        Under repair in Algiers harbour.

                                Transferred four HURRICANE aircraft to HMS ARGUS.

                12th        Withdrawn from TORCH after end of assault phase.

                13th        Joined military convoy MKF1 to provide air cover during return passage to UK

                15th        During passage with MKFI in Atlantic torpedoed by U155.

                                Impact caused fire and immediate explosion in bomb room which sank the ship very quickly

                                in position 36.15N 07.45W, west of Gibraltar

                                Only 12 of ship's company survived. This ship was the largest warship sunk during

                                operations associated with TORCH. (Casualty List - note on casualties)

                                (Note : The sudden sinking of this ship and the later loss of HMS DASHER a sister

                                Escort Carrier resulted in an investigation into the safety standards for the stowage

                                of petrol and bombs, known to be below those used for RN ships, required to

                                be improved. As a result all US built Escort Carriers in service and under

                                conversion to suit RN use were modified.)


P o s t   W a r  N o t e s


Since August 1945 this name has been used for two more RN warships. It was given to a Landing Ship (Tank) No 3011 in 1947. After this ship has been renamed INS MAGAR by the Indian Navy it was used for a Type 21 General Purpose Frigate launched by Yarrow Shipbuilders in November 1973 as the 9th British warship to carry this name. She served in the Falklands War and Paid off from RN service in June 1994. Placed on the Disposal List the ship was  sold to the Pakistan Navy and became PNS TIPPU SULTAN when handed over at Devonport with sister ship HMS ACTIVE. 







by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








PQ 018





QP 014





KMS 001G





MKF 001Y








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 15/10/10
further editing and formatting is required


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