There is no record of a badge ever being approved or created for this ship.


Pennant Number:


None


Battle Honours:


Atlantic 1941


Specifications: 


Builder:

Bremer Vulcan, Hamburg

 

Converted by:

Blyth Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Ltd. Northumberland


Displacement:

11,000 tons


length (Overall):

467ft 3in


Beam:

 66ft


Speed:

 14.5 knots


Crew Complement:

210


A/C Capacity:

6


Commanding

Officer:


Cdr. D.M. MacKendrick

June 1941 -

22 Dec 1941

 Killed in action


Squadrons:


802

Jul - Dec 41

Martlet II

 

 

 

 

 

A History of HMS AUDACITY

 

HMS AUDACITY undergoing her sea trials in August 1841. Image © IWM (FL 1204)

 

HMS AUDACITY was the first escort carrier built for the Royal Navy: originally launched March 29th 1939 as the German passenger-cargo liner MV Hanover, she was captured by HMS Dunedin on March 8th 1940 trying to run the blockade in the West Indies, being boarded before she could be scuttled by her crew.

Impressed into service by the Admiralty she was initially renamed SINBAD. She was commissioned as an Ocean Boarding vessel on 11 November 1940 as HMS Empire Audacity. This was a short lived role, as she was selected for conversion into Britain’s first escort carrier; work commenced in Bootle on January 22nd 1941, the conversion was completed by Blyth Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Northumberland. Work was completed in early June 1941. The ship re-commissioned on June 17th as HMS EMPIRE AUDACITY, Commander D.M. MacKendrick in command.

 EMPIRE AUDACITY sailed for sea trials and work up in the Clyde on June 20th with her first deck landing being made by Martlet of 802 on July 10th, this was followed by a detachment of 802 squadron’s aircraft operating with her air department between 19th – 21st July. On July 31st she was renamed as HMS AUDACITY.

AUDACITY was a flush deck carrier with no hanger or aircraft lift, all her aircraft were parked on deck, at the mercy of the elements. She was equipped with three arrestor wires and an open conning position on the starboard side; her exhaust vent was flush with the deck and angled at ninety degrees to vent sideways away from the ship. She carried minimal anti-aircraft armament.

AUDACITY was capable of operating eight Martlet Mk II fighter aircraft, and embarked 802 Naval Air Squadron, which was to undertake the first shipboard operations of this aircraft type in RN service. Her task was convoy protection duties, her fighters being called upon to tackle the German long range ‘Condor’ maritime reconnaissance planes which would report back convoy numbers and positions to U-Boat headquarters.

HMS AUDACITY sailed with her first convoy, OG 74 on September 13th 1941 outbound, UK to Gibraltar, her squadron had embarked on September 10th. One of her aircraft shot down a Focke-wulf Condor on the 14th, it had just been making a bomb run on the convoy rescue ship ‘Walmer Castle’ which was carrying over 80 survivors from other vessels, she was set on fire and had to be sunk by gunfire from a corvette.

AUDACITY escorted the return convoy HG74 sailing from Gibraltar on October 2nd; this voyage was to prove uneventful. Upon arriving on the Clyde 802 disembarked to RNAS Donibristle on October 17th

802 re-embarked on the 28th of October as AUDACITY took passage to Gibraltar escorting convoy OG76, conducting anti-submarine sweeps on route. Over 10 days of flying 802 squadron's pilots were to shoot down four ‘Condors’ but were to lose their commanding offer, Lt. Cdr J.M. Wintor on November 8th when his Martlet was shot down, Lt. D.C.E.F. Gibson assuming the role.
 

HMS AUDACITY at sea with her Wildcat fighter aircraft secured on the after end of the flight deck; she had no hanger so the aircraft were exposed to the elements at all times, Photo: Author's collection


On December 14th 1941, AUDACITY joined Commander Walker's Second Support Group to escort convoy HG-76, homeward bound from Gibraltar to UK. The Convoy consisted of 32 merchantmen, nine escorts, three destroyers, and HMS AUDACITY as escort carrier. At this time only four of Audacity’s 8 Martlets were serviceable. This convoy was to fight a running battle with twelve U-boats sinking five for the loss of only three merchantmen, and one destroyer. Audacity's aircraft shot down 2 Condors. On December 17th, a Martlet from AUDACITY attacked U-131 which had been shadowing the convoy, she was later was sunk by the destroyers HMS Blankney and Stanley, the sloop Stork and the corvette Pentstemon, of the convoy escort.


 

HMS AUDACITY under way © IWM (FL 1203)


HMS AUDACITY  herself was struck by 3 torpedoes from the German U-boat U-751 on 21 December 1941 off Portugal; she began to sink by the stern as water flooded her engine room. The U-boat was on the surface of her port beam and  AUDACITY’s number 1 & 2 port gun mountings managed to open fire for a while. HMS  AUDACITY sank at 2210 hours, taking her aircraft with her. In addition to the loss of  AUDACITY Convoy HG76 lost 5 merchant Ships and the escort vessel HMS Stanley.


Content revised: November 2008

Sources used in compiling this account:

Brown, D. (1974) ‘Carrier Operations in World War 2 – vol 1 the Royal Navy’ Shepperton, Ian Allen Ltd.

Hobbs, D. (2003) 'Royal Navy Escort Carriers' Liskeard, Maritime Books

Poolman, K. (1988) 'Allied Escort Carriers of World War Two in Action' London, Blandford Press

Poolman, K. (1972) 'Escort Carriers 1941 - 1945' Shepperton, Ian Allen Ltd.

Sturtivant, R. & Burrows, M. (1995) ‘Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945’ Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)

Sturtivant, R & Balance, T., (1994) ‘Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)

British officers (including Commonwealth officers serving in British units) Part of WWII Unit Histories and Officers web site.

Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies, 1922-present A comprehensive resource listing service details of men and women killed in RN and RM service.

 

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