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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS BATTLER (D 18), Attacker-class Escort aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements

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

ATTACKER-Class  Escort Aircraft Carrier obtained inter US/UK Land Lease Agreement.  The ship was under construction at Pascagoula, Mississippi by Ingalls and had bean laid down on 15th May 1941 for mercantile use as ss MORMACTERN.  She was requisitioned by the US Navy on 26th Dec. 1941 for conversion as an auxiliary (AVG) to be named USS ALTAMAHA and was launched on 4th April 1942 


This ship was transferred to the RN on 31st October 1942 when build was completed and and commissioned for service as HMS BATTLER, a name not previously used for an RN ship. Design changes made, based on the experience gained during build of the earlier ARCHER Class, included a larger hangar. Her propulsion machinery consisted of two steam turbines driving a single shaft as compared with Diesel engines used for previous conversions.






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

None is list in official List of Crests but it is known that

unofficial Badge was used as shown in a 1944




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



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                31st         Commissioned for Royal Navy service as HMS BATTLER


November              Commenced Acceptance Trials

                9th          Sustained structural damage by striking a jetty during trials.

                                Passage to New Orleans for repair

                10th        Under repair.

                15th        Shipyard work completed.

                                (Note: It is presumed ship returned to builders yard on completion of repair in New Orleans.

                20th        Passage to Norfolk, Va

                                (Note: One source records that four SWORDFISH aircraft were embarked from Jamaica for

                                passage to UK and destined for 840 Squadron.

                                If ship joined Convoy HX220 which sailed from New York on 21t December the

                                these aircraft could have been embarked at Norfolk having been shipped to Norfolk.)


                23rd        Under further repair at US Navy Yard, Norfolk.



                21st         On completion of repair embarked 18 MARTLET aircraft for passage to UK

                                (Note: Four SWORDFISH aircraft may have been embarked. See above.

                                The MARTLET aircraft were destined for 840 Squadron.)

                                Took passage to join inward Convoy HX220 to UK during transit to Liverpool.

                                See above Note re departure date.)


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                9th          Detached from HX220 on arrival in Liverpool

                12th        Taken in hand for modifications to suit RN deployment as an Escort Carrier.

                                Allocated for service in Western Approaches Command for Atlantic convoy defence.)


February                Under modification including fit of British radar outfits,


March                    Passage to Clyde for work-up on completion of modification.


 April                      Deployed in Clyde based at Greenock

                                (Note: It is assumed that personnel and aircraft for 808 (SWORDFISH) and 890 (MARTLET

                                Squadrons were embarked at Greenock

                                Aircraft may have been transferred whilst alongside or joined at sea in the Clyde.)

                4th          Commenced work-up including training of aircrew for Anti-submarine operations.


May                        Deployed for working-up in Clyde area and NW Approaches.

                                Nominated to provide air cover with escort for outward joint Convoy OS49/KMS16 during

                                passage to Gibraltar (KMS16) and West Africa (OS76)) in NW Approaches



                4th          Joined escort for OS46/KMS16 to provide air cover during passage to Gibraltar

                13th        Detached with ships destined for Gibraltar and provided air cover for re-designated

                                KMS16G during passage to Gibraltar

                15th        Detached on arrival at Gibraltar.

                22nd       Deployed with escort of inward Convoy XK 9 to give air cover during passage to Clyde.


July                         Detached on arrival of XK9 in North Channel

                                Squadrons disembarked

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings on Italian mainland at Salerno

                                (Operation AVALANCHE)

                                Deployed in Clyde and prepared For AVALANCHE.


August                  Deployed in Clyde.

                                Embarked 807 and 808 Squadron personnel. with SEAFIRE aircraft



                1st           Took passage to Mediterranean

                                Joined Force V (Designated Force 88 for AVALANCHE) and took part in exercises in

                                preparation for landings at Salerno)

                                (Force V comprised HM Cruisers EURYALUS, CHARYBDIS, SCYLLA, HM Light

                                Fleet Carrier UNICORN, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers ATTACKER, HUNTER and

                                STALKER with HM Destroyers CLEVELAND, HOLCOMBE, ATHERSTONE,

                                LIDDESDALE, FARNDALE, CALPE, HAYDON, Polish destroyers ORP SLAZAK and

                                ORP KRAKOWIAK deployed as screen).

                6th          Deployed at Malta with Force V.

                8th          Provided air cover during passage of assault convoys to Salerno.

                                (Operation AVALANCHE. For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by

                                C Barnett and the Naval Staff History.).

                9th          Deployed off Salerno during assault landings for gunnery observation and defence of the

                                anchorage against air attacks.

                                (Note: During this operation air attacks using radio controlled bombs were used for the

                                first tine in the Mediterranean. See above references.)

                                Some aircraft were landed when shore airfield was available.

                14th        After release from AVALANCHE Force V disbanded.

                                Re-embarked aircraft and took passage to Gibraltar.

                20th        At Gibraltar

                                Passage to UK

                                (Note: Other Force V aircraft carriers also returned during this period and provided air

                                cover during the passage of military convoy from Gibraltar. Further research is

                                required to establish whether ship was also deployed for this duty.)

                22nd       Nominated for service with Eastern Fleet for convoy defence in Indian Ocean based at


                                On arrival in North Channel disembarked aircraft and landed Squadron personnel

                                Embarked 834 Squadron and both SWORDFISH and SEAFIRE aircraft..


October                  Took passage to join Eastern Fleet


November              Arrived at Aden and nominated to provide cover for passage of Convoy AB18A during

                                passage in Indian Ocean to Bombay.

                4th          Sailed from Aden with AB18

                                Detached from AB18 and took return passage to Aden

                11th        Provided air cover for passage of Convoy AB20 during passage to Bombay from Aden.

                                Deployed at Bombay. To be confirmed.



                12th        Provided air cover for passage of Convoy AB 24A during passage in Indian Ocean

                                from Aden to Bombay

                                Deployed at Bombay


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January                  Deployed at Bombay

                8th          Provided air cover for passage of Convoy AB27 during passage in Indian Ocean from

                                Aden to Bombay

                                Diverted to carry out anti-submarine search operations off East African coast.

                                (Note: This was because of the known increase in submarine activity in Indian Ocean

                                For details see WAR WITH JAPAN Vol.IV (HMSO)

                                Deployed for aircraft search operations


February                Indian Ocean anti-submarine search deployment in continuation,

                                Nominated for service with HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE and HM Destroyer QUADRANT

                                in Force 67 to take part in an operation to intercept U-Boats which were known to be

                                refuelled from the supply ship CHARLOTTE.

                                Passage to join Force 67 at Mauritius.


March                    Joined Force 67 and began air search as required by Flag Officer in HMS NEWCASTLE

                                (Operation COVERED – See above reference.)

                5th          Sailed from Mauritius with ships of Force 67.

                12th        SWORDFISH from ship sighted tanker with two submarines alongside.

                                Carried air strikes with SWORDFISH aircraft during which on one of the submarine which

                                was hit but managed to escape.

                                (Note: The supply ship, identified as BRAKE scuttled by crew on approach of HM

                                Destroyer ROEBUCK which had joined Force 67 on 6th March)

                16th        Returned to Mauritius,

                                Deployed for trade protection in Indian Ocean and on release took passage to Durban.

                21st         Arrived at Durban for refit.


April                       Under refit.


May                        Deployed for Indian Ocean convoy defence.


June                        Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

                                (Note: Only one SWORDFISH aircraft of 834 Squadron was embarked.)

                28th        Provided air cover for passage of Convoy CM33 in Indian Ocean during passage

                                to Aden from Kilindini.


July                         Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

                11th        Deployed with escort of Convoy KR11 during passage from Kilindini to Colombo.

                                Deployed at Colombo


August                  Passage from Colombo to Addu Atoll.

                                Deployed to carry out anti-submarine air patrols for Indian Ocean convoy defence

                                based at Addu Atoll.


September             Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.




November              Deployment for Indian Ocean trade defence in continuation.

                                Nominated for return to UK

                8th          Selected for re-designation as a Ferry Carrier


December              Passage to Australia

                                (Note: It may be assumed ship had provided air cover for convoys to Australia.)

                9th          Took passage from Australia to UK via Panama Canal


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January                  Passage in Pacific


February                Passage to Norfolk, Va after transit of Canal.


March                    On arrival nominated for service in Western Approaches Command..

                5th          Deployed for Deck Landing Training in Clyde are and NW Approaches.


April                       Deck Landing training in continuation.



                24th        Deployed in Belfast area.


June                        Deployment for deck landing training in continuation

                4th          Transferred to Rosyth Command.


July                         Deployed for Deck Landing training in North Sea

to                            Nominated for return to US Navy



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January                  Passage to Clyde to de-store and remove British equipment

                6th          Arrived in Clyde

                                (Note: It may be assumed that a large proportion of ships company were drafted

                                back top Depots and only a Steaming crew retained.)

                18th        Prepared for Atlantic passage.

                19th        Took passage to Norfolk, Va.


February                Arrived at Norfolk Navy Yard.

                12th        Formally returned to US Navy.


Final Phase


This ship was placed on the Sales List soon after return and sold for demolition in Baltimore. She arrived in tow at the breaker’s yard  later that year.






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








KMF 024





AB 018A





AB 020F





AB 024A





AB 027A








(Note on Convoys)



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