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

HMS DASHER (D 32) - Avenger-class Escort Aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Dasher, barely visible against the mountainous coast, probably of Iceland  (Navy Photos/Alan for Mr S Vallely, no enlargement) return to Contents List 

Escort Aircraft Carrier obtained under US/UK Lend Lease Agreement. The ship was under construction at Chester,  Pennsylvania by Sun Shipbuilding as mercantile RIO DE JANEIRO. She was laid down on 14th March 1940 and launched on  12th April 1941. After being requisition by the US Navy on 22nd November that year she was taken in hand at Tietjans & Lang shipyard for completion and conversion to suit use as an Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier. This work included changes to length of flight deck compared with HMS RULER, the first of Class. The ship was selected for  transferred to the Royal Navy on 31st July 1941 and was identified as BAVG5. Her conversion was completed on 1st July 1942 and was then commissioned for service as HMS DASHER. She was the fifth RN ship to carry the name first used in 1797 for a Sloop and again in 1941 when HM Trawler VENTURE was renamed DASHER but this was short-lived since the vessel  was returned  for civil use  Like others in the first batch of this  Class she had Diesel  propulsion machinery driving a single shaft. British radar equipment was fitted during build..


B a t t l e    H o n o u r s


JAVA 1811 - ATLANTIC  1942 - NORTH  AFRICA 1942 - ARCTIC  1943


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

None is recorded in  the Official List  of  Crests.



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


June                        Contractors trials



                1st           Build completion and handed over to US Navy at Hoboken Navy Yard, Pen.

                2nd         Transferred to Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS DASHER.

                                During harbour engine trials damaged by fire

                                Taken in hand for repair.


August                  On completion of repair embarked four SWORDFISH aircraft for transport to UK

                                (Note: One source indicates these came from Jamaica are were destined for 845


                                Passage to Halifax to join inward Convoy HX207

                30th        Sailed for UK as part of Convoy HX205.



                11th        Detached from HX205 on arrival of HX205

                                Taken in hand for modifications in Clyde commercial shipyard to suit RN use for

                                convoy defence.


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

                15th        Embarked 12 SEA HURRICANE aircraft and personnel for 804 and 891 Squadrons.

                27th        Passage to Gibraltar with military convoy to join Central Naval Task Force.

                                (Note: HM Escort Aircraft BITER, HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS were also deployed

                                with HM Landing Ship (HQ) LARGS, HM Cruisers AURORA and JAMAICA.

                                See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett , INVASION

                                FLEETS by J de Winser and the Naval Staff History for details.)


November              Deployed at Gibraltar for briefing and preparation for TORCH

                6th          Entered Mediterranean and provided air cover for assault convoy on passage to Gibraltar..

                8th          During support of landings at Oran with HMS BITER came under attack by French

                                aircraft, five of which were destroyed by the two carriers.

                9th          Launched further Reconnaissance and Combat Air Patrols in support of TORCH landings.

                12th        Released from TORCH and under repair at Gibraltar

                14th        Joined MKF1XG military convoy with HMS BITER for passage to UK.

                                (Note: mv WARWICK CASTLE sunk by U413 during initial stage of passage from


                19th        Detached from convoy on arrival in Clyde

                20th        Taken in hand in Liverpool commercial shipyard for further modification.


December              Under modification

                                (Note: These included enlargement of Aircraft Direction Room but changes to bomb

                                room protection after loss of HMS AVENGER are to be confirmed.)


1 9 4 3


January                  On completion of post refit trials too passage to join Home Fleet for support of Convoy

                                JW53 to Kola Inlet.

                                Embarked 12 SEA HURRICANE aircraft with personnel of 816 and 891 Squadrons.



                1st           Deployed for work-up at Scapa Flow with ships of Home Fleet.

                5th          Took passage to join JW53 with HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD.

                18th        Sustained major structural damage during passage in atrocious weather.

                                Withdrawn and passage to Dundee escorted by BRAMHAM

                                Note: HMS SHEFFIELD was also seriously damaged.).

                                Under repair


March                    Under repair.

                25th        Passage from Dundee to Clyde

                26th        Arrived in Clyde to for Atlantic convoy defence.

                27th        Whilst at anchor off Little Cumbraes Island in Clyde estuary sank in about three

                                minutes after an explosion caused by fire on board.

                                Only 149 survivors were rescued out of a complement of over 500.

                                (Casualty List - note on casualties)

                                (Note: The subsequent enquiry established that the explosion was caused by the

                                ignition of petrol probably due to a cigarette. The loss of this ship and

                                and the earlier loss of sister ship HMS AVENGER after being torpedoed

                                in the Atlantic, resulted in a separate investigation into the standards for

                                safety of both petrol and explosives. These were known to be below those

                                used for other RN ships. As a result all US built Escort Carriers which were

                                in service and those under construction were modified. Particular attention

                                was paid to the Aviation fuel distribution system.

                                This change reduced the stowage capacity for aviation fuel by about 50%


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


This name was re-introduced when given to a Patrol craft in 1986. She is still in service for use by University units and is still in commission.







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








HX 205





MKF 001X








(Note on Convoys)



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