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

HMS ARBITER (D 31) - Ruler-class Escort Aircraft Carrier

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

RULER-Class Escort Aircraft Carrier requisitioned by US Navy in 1942 and later transferred to the RN under the US/UK Lend/Lease Agreement. She was laid down on 26th April 1943 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation as a standard C3 modified for use as an auxiliary aircraft carrier (CVE), This ship was launched as USS ST SIMON on 9th September that year and build was completed by Willamette Iron and Steel at Portland on 31st December that year. Transferred to the Royal Navy and renamed HMS ARBITER she was fitted with US Navy radar outfits during build and was the first RN ship to carry this name.


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: On a Field Blue, a Sword erect proper,  pommel and hilt

Gold, pendant from the point a pair of scales

 (Note: This is not recorded in the Official List of Heraldic 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 3


December              Contractors trials.

                30th        Decommissioned by US Navy

                31st         Build completion and commissioned for RN service as HMS ARBITER.


1 9 4 4



                9th          On completion of Acceptance Trials took passage to Esquimalt, Canada

                                Taken in hand for modification to suit RN use


February                Carried out further trials and modifications at Esquimalt.

to                            (Note: Work was carried out by local company BURRARDS, under contract to the

March                    Canadian government.)


April                       Passage to East coast of US and prepared for Atlantic crossing.

                25th        Transit of Panama Canal


May                        Embarked AVENGER aircraft destined for 853 Squadron, HELLCAT aircraft destined for 1820

                                Squadron and CORSAIR aircraft destined for 1843 Squadron for transport to UK


June                        Passage to UK


July                         Disembarked aircraft on arrival in Clyde


August                  Nominated for modifications to suit RN service



                12th        Taken in hand for modifications suit to RN use..

                                (Note: These included changes to petrol distribution system carried out in all US built

                                Escort Carriers following loss of HMS DASHER in March 1943.


October                  Under modification




1 9 4 5


January                  Under modification

                                Nominated for use as an Aircraft Transport for with British Pacific Fleet.


February                Carried out trials in Clyde

                                Embarked 1843 Squadron 1843 Squadron aircraft and personnel for passage to Australia


March                    Passage to Sydney.




May                        Joined British Pacific Fleet and allocated for duty in Fleet Train (TF112)

to                            (Note: Pennant Number R303 was allocated for visual signalling purposes to

June                        conform with US Navy identity for warships of this type.)

                                For details of function of Fleet Train see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J. Winton.)

                                Embarked aircraft for passage to British Forward Base at Manus, Admiralty Islands.

                                (Note: Typical load of aircraft was nine SEAFIRE. seven AVENGER, six CORSAIR, one

                                HELLCAT and one FIREFLY aircraft.)


July                         Deployed at Manus for replacement aircraft delivery to Fleet Aircraft Carriers of

                                Task Force 37 carrying out air operations off Japan.

                9th          Sailed fro Manus

                20th        Joined British Logistics Group during Replenishment of Fleet off Japan. for delivery of aircraft.

                                (Note: Other Escort Carriers in the Fleet Train at this tine were HMS RULER and HMS

                                STRIKER with screen of destroyers and sloops. See above reference.).

                21st         Took return passage to Manus

                27th        Arrived at Manus.

                                Nominated for conversion at Manus to allow use as an Auxiliary Oiler. See above reference).

                29th        Sailed from Manus with replacement aircraft for delivery to Operational Area.


August                  Aircraft transport duties in continuation.

                6th          Joined Logistics Support Group for delivery during Replenishment of Task Force 37 off Japan.

                                (Note: HMS CHASER and HMS RULER were also present.)

                7th          Took passage to Manus.

                                British Pacific Fleet ships of Task Force 37 withdrawn from operational area due

                                to lack of fuel from British sources.

                                (Note: A Token force was transferred to US Task Force 38 and continued service

                                off Japan. For details see above references.)

                15th        Return passage to Australia via Manus.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ARBITER remained in British Pacific Fleet after VJ Day and was deployed briefly for Deck Landing training In September she was deployed for  transport of prisoners of war and civilians from Hong Kong to Australia. In December 1945 she embarked prisoners of war for repatriation to UK. After arrival in the Clyde on 10th January 1946 the ship Paid-off and completed de-storing at Portsmouth.. The ship took passage from Portsmouth on 12th February with a Steaming Party  for return to US Navy custody.  Formally handed over on 3rd March she was later sold for mercantile use in 1948 and  renamed  ss CARACERO. In 1963 she was again renamed and became PRESIDENT MACAPAGEL until 1971 when given  a new name LUCKY TWO. Two years later she was sold for breaking up at Kaohuing, Taiwan.



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