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

HMS SPEAKER (D 90) - Ruler-class Escort Aircraft Carrier

HMS Ruler, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mike Pocock, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

RULER-Class Escort Aircraft Carrier obtained under US/UK Lend Lease Agreement. A mercantile which was under  construction by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation at Seattle and was requisitioned by by the US Navy for  use as an auxiliary aircraft carrier (CVE) to be named USS DELGADA. This ship was laid down on 9th October 1942  and after launch on 20th February 1943 this ship was transferred to Willamette Iron and Steel at Portland to be fitted  for service as an Escort Aircraft Carrier. Build was completed on 20th November 1943 and the ship was then  transferred to the RN as HMS SPEAKER. She was the 3rd RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1649 for a  3rd Rate in 1649 and last used for a Gun-vessel in 1749.  US Navy radar outfits were fitted during build.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

DOVER 1652 - KENTISH KNOCK  1652 - PORTLAND 1653 - GABBARD 1653 - SANTA CRUZ  1657 - ATLANTIC  1944 - OKINAWA 1945

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Red, the  mace  of the Speaker  of The House of Commons Gold.


M o t t o

Facet non verba:  "Deeds not words."



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


November              Contractors trials

                20th        Build completion

                                Formal transfer to Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS SPEAKER

                                Carried out sea trials.


December              Sea trials in continuation.

                8th          On completion took passage to Esquimalt.

                                Taken in hand by HM Canadian Dockyard for modifications to suit RN service.


1 9 4 4


January                  Carried out work-up during which problems encountered with main gearing

                                of propulsion machinery.

                                On completion of repair and trials took passage to embark ammunition at Bremerton.


February                Sailed for Panama

                                (Note: Calls were made at west coast US ports.)


March                    Nominated for use as a ferry carrier for transport of aircraft to UK from New York.

                7th          Transit of Panama Canal

                8th          Joined HM Escort Carrie EMPRESS and US Escort Aircraft Carrier USS TULAGI

                                in Caribbean for exercises during passage to Norfolk.

                                First deck landing by an AVENGER aircraft from HMS EMPRESS.

                17th        Arrived at Norfolk, Va

                                Taken in hand for repair by US Navy Yard.

                                On completion sailed from Norfolk to New York.

                                Embarked aircraft and stores together with 54 civilians including children for passage to UK.

                                Sailed from New York

                                (Note: Passage with routine convoy to be confirmed.)



                8th          Arrived at Liverpool.

                                Disembarked aircraft, stores and personnel.

                                Sailed from Liverpool for Clyde

                                Ferry carrier deployment in continuation.

                10th        Refuelled in Clyde

                13th        Sailed for Norfolk to collect aircraft for delivery to UK.

                                Embarked aircraft at US Navy Yard, Norfolk.

                                Took return passage to UK



                14th        Disembarked aircraft at Liverpool.

                                Nominated for deployment as an Assault Carrier.

                                (Note: Refit arranged in Dundee commercial shipyard.)

                                Deployed in Gareloch to prepare for conversion.

                                Passage to Dundee

                28th        Taken in hand for completion of modifications to suit RN service as an Assault Carrier.

                                (Note: Work included

                                Extensive improvement of arrangements needed for assault operations

                                including external and internal communications, suitable radar display outfits

                                and command facilities.

                                Fit of prototype warning radar Type 277 to be confirmed. See RADAR AT

                                SEA and Radar Trust Documentation.

                                Fit of improved Twin 20mm Oerlikon mountings for close range AA defence

                                to replace single weapon mountings.

                                Modification of petrol distribution system as carried out in all US built CVE

                                after loss of HMS DASHER in 1943.)


June                        Under refit and conversion.

to                            Ship presented with silver cigarette box by the Speaker of House of Commons.



September             Passage to Rosyth on completion of post refit trials.

                12th        Routine docking and inspection of underwater fittings by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.

                16th        Deployed in Firth of Forth area as deck landing training carrier.


October                  Firth of Forth deployment in continuation.

to                            (Note: BARRACUDA and SWORDFISH aircraft of 768 Squadron carried out

November              over 1,400 landings

                                Ship returned to Rosyth at weekends.)


December              Nominated operational service

                                Passage to Belfast.

                16th        Embarked 1840 Squadron aircraft and personnel.

                25th        Under essential repair by Glasgow shipyard..


1 9 4 5



                1st           Deployed for work-up in Clyde area

                                (Note: Involvement of HMS KHEDIVE and HMS SLINGER to be confirmed.)

                11th        Sailed from Clyde to join British Pacific Fleet with sister ships HMS KHEDIVE and HMS


                                Called at Gibraltar

                17th        During passage in Mediterranean with HMS SLINGER launched aircraft to carry out search

                                for U- Boat of North African coast.

                22nd       Took passage from Alexandria for Colombo.


February                Carried out exercises during passage in Indian Ocean with same ships.

                                (Note: Six aircraft were lost during deck landings and one pilot was killed.)

                4th          Disembarked some 1840 Squadron personnel

                                Passage from Trincomalee to Australia to join fleet with same ships..

                                Carried out two day air search for survivors from US mercantile 1,00 miles west of Australia

                                during transit.

                23rd        Arrived at Sydney

                                Disembarked remaining 1849 Squadron personnel.

                                Carried out boiler clean.

                                Allocated for duty Fleet Train (Task Force 112) in 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron

                                for support of air operations by Task Force 57 against airfields in the Sakashima-

                                Gunto Islands with ships of US 5th Fleet (Operation ICEBERG ONE).

                                (Note: British Pacific Fleet designated Task Force 57 was under overall command

                                of US Navy.)

                                See TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith and following references.)


March                    Passage with ships of Fleet Train to British forward base at Manus, Admiralty Is.

                17th        Sailed from Manus to Ulithi in operational area with Tanker Group of Fleet Train,

                                designated Task Group 112.2.

                                Part of Task Unit 112.2.5 with HM Destroyer KEMPENFELT and HM Sloop PHEASANT

                                to provide air cover for ships of BPF and Fleet Train during replenishment.

                                (Note: Task Unit 112.2.1 in Tanker Group, comprised HM Escort Carrier STRIKER

                                carrying replacement aircraft. HM Destroyer WHIRLWIND, HM Sloop CRANE and

                                HM Frigate FINDHORN.)

                25th        Provided air cover during BPF replenishment before joining US ships for ICEBERG.

                                (Note: Four HELLCAT aircraft were available for interception of unidentified aircraft.

                                See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) for details of replenishment periods.

                28th        Deployed in Area MIDGE to provide air cover during replenishment.



                4th          Deployed in Area MOSQUITO to provide air cover during replenishment

                7th          Deployed in Area COOTIE to provide air cover during replenishment.

                14th        Deployed in Area COOTIE to provide air cover during replenishment.

                18th        Deployed in Area MOSQUITO ONE to provide air cover during replenishment.

                21st         Passage to Manus on completion of ICEBERG ONE.

                                (Note: Ship's HELLCAT fighters had flan 446 hours Combat Air Patrol (CAP) duty

                                during cover of Fleet replenishment in ICEBERG ONE.)

                                Two aircraft were lost in landings.)

                30th        Deployed in Fleet Train for support of continued air operations by Task Force 57

                                against Sakishima-Gunto airfields (Operation ICEBERG TWO).


May                        Nominated for transport and supply of replacement aircraft and flying training of

                                pilots held in reserve.

                                Based at US Forward Base at Leyte.

                4th          Sailed from Leyte with replenishment aircraft.

                6th          Transferred aircraft and embarked flyable aircraft form TF57 carriers.

                10th        Deployed with Tanker Group in Area COOTIE ONE during replenishment.

                                (Note: Air cover was provided by HMS RULER. HMS STRIKER and HMS CHASER

                                deployed as Replacement Carriers.)

                14th        Detached and took passage to Leyte for collection of replacement aircraft when Fleet


                19th        Sailed from Leyte

                22nd       Deployed with Tanker Group in Area COOTIE ONE during replenishment.

                                (Note: 117 replacement aircraft were carried in the three Replacement Carriers.

                                during ICEBERG TWO of which 78 were transferred to BPF carriers.)

                25th        Passage to Manus.

                29th        Arrived at Manus


June                        Passage to Sydney from Manus

                5th          Deployed in Australia for R&R period prior to support of operations by ships of

                                BPF in Japan waters.

                                (Note: As a result of a change in US Naval Command structure ships of BPF were

                                transferred to US 3rd Fleet and redesignated Task Force 37

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes was changed to R314 to conform

                                with US Navy identity for this type of warship.)

                                Nominated for Replacement Carrier duty for transport of aircraft from Manus to the

                                replenishment area off Japanese mainland.

                                Passage to Manus.


July                         Passage from Sydney to Manus

                9th          Deployed at Manus.

                18th        Sailed from Manus.

                                Deployed for replacement duties.

                26th        Deployed with Fleet Train in replenishment area for delivery of replacement and

                                collection of unserviceable aircraft with HMS RULER and HMS STRIKER.

                                (Screen for Fleet Train was provided by HM Destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM and NEPAL,

                                HM Sloops PHEASANT and CRANE, HM Frigate BARLE, HM Australian

                                Minesweepers BALLARAT and BURNIE)

                27th        Embarked three aircraft from HMS STRIKER.



                1st           Transferred aircraft to carriers of Force 36 and on completion took passage to Manus

                                for replacement aircraft..

                13th        Sailed from Manus for replenishment area off Japan.

                                British Pacific Fleet ships, apart from Token Force transferred to US Task Force

                                were withdrawn from joint US/RN operations off Japan because of shortage of fuel

                                from British sources.

                                (Note: During British Fleet operations off Japan the 30th Aircraft Carrier Sqdn.

                                ship carried 116 aircraft from Manus to the operational area. In this period

                                99 replacement aircraft were required and 102 were delivered.

                                HMS RULER provided air cover during replenishment periods remained

                                in the area whilst the other two ships of this type took passage with the replacement

                                aircraft from Manus.

                                For details of all BPF operations and the circumstances of the withdrawal of BPF

                                Ships see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton, OPERATION PACIFIC by

                                E Gray and Naval Staff History.

                15th        Reverted to RN control and nominated for support of repatriation of British and allied

                                prisoners of war and internees. Took passage to Japan.

                20th        Transferred Ten SEAFIRE and one FIREFLY aircraft to HM Fleet Aircraft Carrier

                                INDEFATIGABLE and recovered one of each type

                                Transferred all flyable aircraft to HMS RULER to increase space for provision of

                                accommodation for transport of prisoners of war.

                28th        Ordered to proceed to Japanese waters to join ships of RN Token Force.

                29th        First allied aircraft carrier to enter Tokyo Bay.

                31st         Disembarked aircraft maintenance personnel to join HMS RULER to make more

                                accommodation available for passengers.


September             Embarked passengers.

                3rd          Sailed from Tokyo Bay for Manila with 473 passengers for repatriation.

                                (Note: Ship took passage by visiting all Commonwealth ships in area to enable

                                all others involved to give the passengers a memorable end-off from

                                all ships.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS SPEAKER  disembarked passengers in Manila and returned to Nagasaki to collect American personnel for transport to Okinawa. After a second trip to Nagasaki ship took passage to Hong Kong and then deployed to collect Australian personnel for transport from Manila to Sydney. On 15th October ship was taken in hand for  repair of defects due to broken diesel supply pipework. Owing to industrial dispute repair was not completed until December when ship was used to carry aircraft of 721 Squadron to Hong Kong for Fleet Requirements use by BPF Ships.  A Ten Ton crane and stores including beer was also embarked and delivered on 10th January 1946. Ship returned to Sydney with 459 passengers and took passage to UK with call at Hong Kong before return via Suez. On arrival in Clyde during June 1946 the ship was de-stored and British equipment removed before return to US Navy custody. She sailed for Norfolk Va on completion and was handed back on 17th July 1946. In 1948 the ship was sold for use as a mercantile and renamed ss  LANCERO and resold in 1965. Renamed ss PRESIDENT OSMENA in 1965 for further commercial use. In 1971 she became ss LUCKY THREE for use during passage to Taiwan where she arrived on 9th June 1972. for demolition at Kaohsiung by Nan Feng Steel Enterprise.


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