Naval History Homepage and Site Search

 

 

SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

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

HMS STALKER (D 91) - Attacker-class Escort Aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Stalker (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

ATTACKER-Class Escort Aircraft Carrier obtained under US/UK Land Lease Agreement. The ship was under construction at San Francisco by Western Pipe and Steel Corporation and had been laid down on 6th October 1941 .She was requisitioned by the US Navy for conversion as an auxiliary aircraft carrier on 26th December 1941 and was launched on 5th March 1942 as USS HAMLIN.

 

Transferred to the RN with 9 others of this Class after their the design changes authorised by the U S Navy were based on experience gained during build of the earlier ARCHER Class which included a larger hangar. The propulsion machinery was two steam turbines driving a single shaft instead of Diesel engines used for previous ships. She was formally transferred to the Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS STALKER on 21st December 1942 before the build completion on 30th October 1942. The name had been used previously by at Trawler hired in 1915.

 

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1943-4  - SALERNO 1943 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944  - AEGEAN 1944 - EAST INDIES 1945 - BURMA 1945

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White upon a rock in base a Red Indian all Proper.

 

Motto

Hostest captamus :   We stalk the enemy

(Go on trying to catch)

 

 

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 1

 

October

                6th          Laid down by the Western Pipe & Steel Corporation in San Francisco as a C3 type merchant ship.

 

December

                26th        Requisition by US Navy for conversion to an escort aircraft carrier identified as CVE15

 

1 9 4 2

 

March

                5th          Launched as USS HAMLIN.

 

December

                21st         Formal transfer to Royal Navy

                                Commissioned for RN service as HMS STALKER.

                30th        Build completion and commenced sea trials.

                                British radar was fitted during build.

 

 1 9 4 3

 

January                  Trials and shakedown for service in continuation.

                30th        Sailed for New York.

 

February

                27th        Arrived in New York.

                                (Note: Ship carried out exercises on passage to east coast via Panama Canal.)

 

March

                5th          Sailed with convoy UGF6 carrying a load of US aircraft for Casablanca.

                16th        Aircraft unloaded for US use at Casablanca.

                19th        Passage to Gibraltar

                20th        Arrived in Gibraltar.

                28th        Sailed for the Clyde in routine Fast Convoy MKF11. during passage to Liverpool,

 

April

                5th          Detached on arrival in Clyde and joined Western Approaches Command.

                                Passage to Sheerness.

                17th        Taken in hand in for modification to RN standards by HM Dockyard, Chatham.

 

May                        Under conversion and fit of RN equipment.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings on Italian mainland.

                                (Operation AVALANCHE).

 

June

                26th        Sailed for the Clyde from Sheerness.

                                (Note: One source suggested that 833 Squadron SWORDFISH and SEAFIRE aircraft were

                                embarked before sailing. This is most likely to have been done on arrival in Clyde.)

 

July                         Worked-up for operational service in Clyde.

                19th        Carried out repair work in the Clyde.

 

August

                3rd          Allocated to Force V in the Western Mediterranean and sailed for Gibraltar with HM Escort

                                Aircraft Carrier ATTACKER.

                9th          Arrived in Gibraltar.

                                Embarked 880 Squadron and SEAFIRE aircraft and disembarked SWORDFISH Flight of 833

                                Squadron.

 

September

                1st           Took passage from Gibraltar to join Force V in Malta.

                5th          Arrived at Malta for AVALANCHE deployment.

                                Joined HM Escort Aircraft Carriers BATTLER, HUNTER, ATTACKER and HM Light

                                Fleet Aircraft UNICORN In Task Force 88.

                                (Note: Other ships in TF88 were HM Cruisers EURYALUS, SCYLLA and CHARYBDIS with HM

                                Destroyers CLEVELAND, HOLCOMBE, ATHERSTONE, LIDDESDALE, FARNDALE,

                                CALPE, Polish destroyers ORP SLAZAK and ORP KRAKOWIAK.)

                8th          Provided air cover during passage of assault convoy.

                9th          Provided air cover during assault landings at Salerno.

                                (Note: HMS ULSTER QUEEN a Landing Ship converted for use as a Fighter Direction Ship

                                was used for control of aircraft during the landings.

                                265 sorties were flown and air attacks on anchorage ware repulsed.

                                Sustained some casualties in a landing-on accident.

                10th        Retained off beach head Instead of planned withdrawal due to delay in provision

                                of airfield ashore.

                                (Note: Enemy air attacks on the anchorage Include use of radio controlled bombs

                                for the first time in the Mediterranean theatre. See above references.)

                                One source records visit to Bizerta.)

                12th        Landed Squadron aircraft to operate from captured airfield.

                                Released from AVALANCHE and took passage to Bizerta with Force V.

                                (For details of AVALANCHE see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett

                                and the Naval Staff History.)

                13th        Arrived at Bizerta

                20th        Took passage to Gibraltar from Bizerta after Force V was disbanded.

                                (Note: Some sources record passage to Palermo. Destination to be confirmed.)

                24th        At Gibraltar and 833 Squadron aircraft re-embarked

                30th        Part of escort from Gibraltar for military convoy MKF24 and provided air cover

                                during passage to UK.

                                (Note: MKF24 is not recorded in THE ALLIED CONVOY SYSTEM by A Hague

                                and this date is to be confirmed.)

 

October                  Nominated for further conversion for use as an Assault Carrier.

                6th          Detached from MKF24 on arrival In Clyde.

                                833 and 880 Squadron aircraft and personnel landed.

                                Passage to Liverpool for refit

                11th        Taken in hand for refit.

                                (Note: Ship was required for future landing operations.)

                                Improved facilities were provided in Operations Room for command and

                                control during assault operations. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)

 

November              Under refit.

 

December

                16th        On completion of post refit trials took passage from Liverpool to Clyde.

                                Deployed in NW Approaches for work-up and flying exercises based at Belfast

                                809 and 897 SEAFIRE Squadrons embarked.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Work-up in continuation.

                                Further refit and conversion work arranged at Thames commercial shipyard

                                (Note: Modification to Petrol distribution system to be confirmed.

                                This change was arranged as a matter of high priority after loss of HMS DASHER.)

 

February

                28th        Passage to Thames.

 

March                    Under refit.

                                (Note: Lift was replaced by one from HMS SLINGER.)

                                See Chronology for HMS SLINGER.)

 

April

                28th        Refit work completed and took passage to join Home Fleet at Scapa Flow for deployment in

                                planned attack on Norwegian coast shipping with HMS STALKER and HMS HUNTER.

                                (Operation HOOPS

                                (Note: This operation was cancelled.)

 

May                        Released from Home Fleet service.

                14th        Joined routine Convoy KMS51 with 809 (Seafire) NAS embarked.

                23rd        Detached from KMS51

                25th        At Gibraltar.

 

June                        Passage to Algiers

                3rd          At Algiers.

 

 July                        Deployed in Mediterranean for defence of convoys in western Mediterranean.

                                Nominated for support of allied landings in south France

                                (Operation DRAGOON Formerly ANVIL).

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF

                                FRANCE (HMSO).)

                                Took passage to Malta to join Carrier Task Force (TF88).

                                Joined Carrier Task Force ships in Malta for preparatory exercises.

                                Allocated for service in Task Group 88.2 with HMS STALKER to provide air cover

                                and gunfire spotting during landings.

                                (Note: For details of all ships involved see INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE (HMSO)

                                and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser.)

                                Took passage to Malta to join Carrier Task Force (TF88).

 

August                  Joined Carrier Task Force ships in Malta for preparatory exercises.

                2nd         Worked-up off Malta with ships of TF88

                15th        Arrived in Assault area and commenced flying operations.

                                Deployed in position south of beaches and carried cut patrols, gunfire spotting, shore

                                attacks and other duties as required by Air Task Force Commander.

                                Damaged Corvette UJ 6081 which was later sunk by US destroyer USS SOMERS

                16th        Support of landings in continuation.

                to            (Note: Carriers retired to south of beach heads overnight and went to Maddalena to

                26th        replenish. See above references for details.

                27th        Completed operations off southern France. Her aircraft had flown a total of 337 sorties

                                Fall of Shot reporting during bombardments by HM Battleship RAMILLIES.

                                For details of DRAGOON see Naval Staff History.)

                28th        Released from DRAGOON and returned to RN control by CinC Mediterranean.

                                Took passage to Alexandria.

 

September

                2nd         Arrived at Alexandria and joined British Aegean Force for support of operations to occupy

                                Islands in East Mediterranean.

                                (Note: Other ships In British Aegean Force Included HM Escort Aircraft Carriers

                                ATTACKER, EMPEROR, SEARCHER, PURSUER, KHEDIVE, HM Cruisers

                                BLACK PRINCE, ARGONAUT, ROYALIST, AURORA, AJAX, ORION and

                                COLOMBO with destroyers of 24th Flotilla and HUNT Class destroyers.

                                See WINE DARK SEA by Lew Lind.)

                                Deployed for attacks on Crete and Rhodes (Operation OUTING I)

                                Returned to Alexandria to replenish and re-arm..

                14th        Relieved HMS ATTACKER on station.

                25th        Deployed with HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE. HM Destroyer TENACIOUS and

                                HM Escort Destroyer CATTISTOCK (Operation CABLEGRAM).

                26th        Covered minesweeping operations off Kithera.

                27th        Provide air support during bombardment of Lythia by HM Destroyer CALPE.

                28th        Deployed in Aegean for attacks on shipping taking stores and personnel

                to            to Rhodes and Leros.)

                30th        Returned to Alexandria to replenish and resumed CABLEGRAM deployment.

 

October

                5th          Sailed from Alexandria with HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE, HM Destroyer TENACIOUS

                to            and HM Escort Destroyer CATTISTOCK.

                10th        (Note: During CABLEGRAM successful attacks were made on evacuation craft off Leros,

                                Kos and Piskopi

                13th        Carried out strikes on shore targets before landings in Greece,

                15th        Provided air cover during main landings in Greece (Operation MANNA)

                17th        Carried cut air attacks on railways and shipping off Cape Stavros.

                19th        Carried out bombing attack on Rhodes during return passage to Alexandria.

                                For details see Military History of Mediterranean operations.)

                20th        Sailed for Alexandria

                                (Note: 277 sorties flown and five SEAFIRE aircraft lost.)

                21st         Arrived at Alexandria and prepared for return to UK

                29th        Sailed for the UK via Gibraltar with HMS HUNTER and HMS STALKER.

                                809 Squadron remained on board.

 

November

                10th        Arrived at Plymouth.

                                Nominated for service in East Indies Fleet based in Ceylon after refit at Gibraltar

                29th        Sailed for Gibraltar with 809 NAS embarked.

 

December

                3rd          Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Gibraltar.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Under refit.

 

February

                21st         On completion of post refit trials took passage to join 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron,

                                in East Indies Fleet.

 

March                    Passage to Trincomalee via Red Sea.

                                Arrived at Trincomalee and prepared for operational service in Squadron.

                                Nominated for support of landings at Rangoon (Operation DRACULA).

                                (For details of East Indies Fleet operations In 1945 see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET

                                by J Winton, OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwin Gray and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).

 

April

                23rd        Sailed with Squadron from Trincomalee to Akyab on coast of Burma.

                                (Note: Other ships to Squadron were HM Cruiser ROYALIST, HM Escort Carriers

                                HUNTER, KHEDIVE and EMPEROR. HM Cruiser PHOEBE was attached to

                                act as Fighter Direction Ship. HM Destroyers VENUS, VIRAGO, VIGILANT

                                and SAUMAREZ ware deployed as screen.)

                30th        Provided air cover and air strikes on coastal targets during passage of assault convoys from Akyab

 

May

                2nd         Provided air cover and support during landings at Rangoon. (Operation DRACULA)

                                (Note: Air Operations at Rangoon and on Tenasserim coasts with Escort Aircraft Carriers

                                in Squadron included 70 CAP sorties over the force, 4 fighter-bomber and 10 strike

                                attacks and air cover for a total of 124 hours by the ship.).

                5th          Deployed with Squadron ships for series of air attacks on Japanese bases on the coast

                                of southern Burma between Mergui and Victoria Point until 6th May.

                                (Part of Operation BISHOP by East Indies Fleet.)

                9th          Returned to Trincomalee with Squadron.

 

June                        Deployed with Squadron In Eastern Fleet.

                                Nominated for reconnaissance operations and shipping attacks in northern Sumatra

                                and Malacca Strait off southern Malaya with ships of Squadron (Operation BALSAM).

                18th        Deployed In Force 63 with HMS ROYALIST, HMS KHEDIVE and HMS AMEER for

                                a series of photo reconnaissance flights over southern Malaya (Operation BALSAM).

                                (Note: Covered by HM Cruiser SUFFOLK screened by destroyers of 11th Flotilla.

                                HMS ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, RELENTLESS, REDOUBT and ROEBUCK.)

                20th        On completion of reconnaissance flights carried out attacks on air fields.

 

July

                5th          Deployed with Squadron for exercises off Trincomalee.

                7th          Operational training off Trincomalee with HMS EMPRESS.

                                (Note: Other Escort Carriers of Squadron provided cover during minesweeping

                                in Nicobar area and off Malayan west coast (Operation COLLIE).

 

August                  Deployed with Squadron at Trincomalee

                                (Note: Planned landings in southern Malaya (Operation ZIPPER) were delayed due

                                to problems related to return of personnel under the PYTHON Scheme.

                                Passage in Indian Ocean prior to approval for landings.

                                (Note: Intended landings in Malaya again delayed by US insistence.)

                                See above references and Final Report of SEAC (HMSO).)

 

September             Deployed with East Indies Fleet covering force in Malacca Straits.

                                (Note: Ships of covering force included HM Battleship NELSON, French battleship

                                RICHELIEU.

                9th          Launched aircraft for reconnaissance in Port Swettenham area.

                                Provided air cover during landings near Port Swettenham (Operation JURIST.)

                10th        Entered Singapore with ships of Squadron for support of re-occupation.

                13th        Released from ZIPPER and sailed from Singapore for Trincomalee

                20th        Arrived in Trincomalee.

                28th        Visited Colombo.

 

October                  Nominated for return to UK to Pay-off and de-store before return to US Navy.

                2nd         Sailed for the UK via the Suez Canal.

                22nd       Arrived in the Clyde.

                                Paid-off except for Steaming Party and de-stored.

                                British equipment landed.

                28th        De-storing operations complete.

 

December              Prepared for Ocean passage manned by Steaming Party.

                2nd         Sailed for the USA.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS STALKER was  returned to US Navy custody on 29th December 1945. She was subsequently sold for use as a mercantile and renamed ss RIOUW in 1948. Resold in 1968 she became ss LOBITO until scrapped in September 1975. This name was again used for an RN ship in 1947 when given to HM LST 3515 which was sold after 1960 and  has not since been used.

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS STALKER

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

 

 

 

 

 

25/03/43

28/03/43

MKF 011

05/04/43

05/04/43

17/09/43

30/09/43

MKF 024

06/10/43

07/10/43

13/05/44

19/05/44

OS 077KM

23/05/44

23/05/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

 

back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 18/10/10
further editing and formatting is required