We stalk the enemy


Pennant Number:



Battle Honours:

Atlantic 1943

Salerno 1943

South France 1944 Aegean 1944

Burma 1945




Western Pipe & Steel, San Francisco California



14,170 tons

length (Overall):



 69 ft 6 in


 18 knots

Crew Complement:


A/C Capacity:


Commanding Officers:

Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith RN 
1Jun 42 - Sep 44



Capt. L.C. Sinker RN 
Sep 44 - Dec 45



Dec 43-Feb 44
& May-Oct 45
Seafire LIII /L.IIc


Jul 43
Swordfish II/ L.IIc


Aug-Oct 43
Seafire IIc


Dec 43-Feb 44
Seafire L.IIc


April -June 45
Walrus I







A History of HMS STALKER



January 5th 1943 HMS STALKER in San Francisco bay on her builder's trials.


Laid down 7 April 1941, by Western Pipe & Steel, San Francisco California as a C3-S-A2 type freighter, Maritime Commission, hull number 174, Western Pipe and Steel hull number 62; purchased by the US navy to be the USS HAMLIN AVG -15 (later changed to ACV- 15 August 20 1942). She was launched on 5 March 1942 by her sponsor Mrs. William H. Shea. Whilst still under construction it had been decided that ACV- 15 was to be transferred to the Admiralty on loan on her completion.

Upon her completion she was delivered to the US Navy as USS HAMLIN on December 21st 1942; ACV- 15 was transferred to the Royal Navy on the same day and commissioned as HMS STALKER (D91) on 7 October 1942, Captain H.S. Murray-Smith RN in command.  Supported invasions and served as a convoy escort carrier in the Mediterranean, then transferred to the Pacific.

On September 1st 1943 HMS Stalker became a part of Force V, the covering force for the allied invasion of Salerno Italy in operation 'AVALANCHE' which saw operations between September 9 - 12th. Stalker operated in company with the assault CVEs Attacker, Hunter and Battler and the maintenance carrier Unicorn making a rare operational contribution. It was intended that a constant presence of naval air cover would be maintained over the landing sites, up to 20 aircraft aloft at a time. The attrition rate was high, and the CVEs required addition aircraft to be transferred from the Fleet Carriers of Force H to continue operations at this level ( nearly out of sircraft itself by now, Forcr H withdrew to Malta on the 11th.). Once the sir field at Paestum was under Allied control as many serviceable fighters as could be mustered were put ashore to operate from there. Stalker could only manage 2 serviceable Seafires to disembark on the morning of September 12th  After disembarking fighters the force withdrew to Palermo to replenish. Force V disbanded on the 20th if September, the CVEs returning to the UK to refit and allow squadrons the opportunity to receive replacement aircraft and aircrews.

Between August 15th - 27th 1944 HMS Stalker joined eight other CVEs in Task Group 88 as part the covering force for the allied invasion of Southern France, operation 'DRAGOON'. Attacker, Emperor, Khedive, Pursuer and Searcher forming Task Group 88.1 While Hunter, Stalker, and two US CVEs, Tulagi and Kasaan Bay formed Task group 88.2. Stalker had embarked 800 squadron with 23 Hellcat Is, and 1 Walrus of 700 Squadron for Air Sea Rescue duties.

Stalker's next operations were in the Aegean Sea September 25th - October 20th 1944; 809 squadrons complement being 15 Seafire L.IIIs and 5 LR.IIc. Stalker operated with Attacker, Emperor, Hunter, Khedive, Pursuer, and Searcher, conducting anti-shipping, anti-troop movement air strikes on rail links and other lines of communication on the islands of the Aegean. November 1st 809 squadron was transferred to HMS Attacker, Stalker sailed for the UK to undergo a refit and to prepare for her next assignment - operations with the East Indies Fleet.

Her refit complete HMS Stalker sailed for Ceylon. She re-embarked 809 from RNAS Dejheila, Egypt, on March 7th 1945 before transiting the Suez Canal. Stalker arrived at Trincomalee around March 20th to join the 21st Aircraft carrier Squadron (21 ACS - Emperor, Hunter, Khedive and Stalker. and later joined by Ameer, Attacker, Pursuer, Searcher, Shah, and Trouncer) at Trincomalee, Ceylon; 21 ACS was a part of the recently formed East Indies Fleet.



HMS Stalker was to form part of the force of six CVEs sent to reoccupy Singapore. She was one of four CVEs, Hunter, Khedive, Emperor and Stalker to enter Singapore harbour on September 10th 1945. Ameer and Empress remaining at sea.

Shortly after Stalker sailed for the UK, she arrived in the Irish Sea on October 21st 1945, disembarking 809 squadron to RNAS Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland. HMS Stalker was no longer required for operational service with the Royal Navy, de-storing ship and removal of equipment began almost as soon as her squadron had departed.

CVE-15 was decommissioned by the Royal Navy on 29 December 1945 at Norfolk, Virginia, and returned to the custody of the United States. She was struck from the US Navy List 20 March 1946 and sold to Waterman Steamship Corp. of Mobile, Alabama, 18 December 1946. Sold on in August 1947 to a Dutch company and converted to the merchant ship Riouw. Later renamed Lobito 1967. as scrapped in 1975.


A fuller account of this ships history will be added at some time in the future.


Content revised: July 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)

Winton, J. (1969) 'The forgotten Fleet', London, Michael Joseph Ltd.

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.

Convoy Web A comprehensive resource listing WW2 convoys and ships .

War Sailors Ships in Atlantic and miscellaneous convoys during WW2.


On-line archive Fold3.com various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

US Naval Station, Seattle, Washington

US Naval Station,  Manchester, Washington

Puget Sound  Navy Yard War Diaries

US Thirteenth Naval District War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

Miscellaneous documents




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Comments (1)

Paul Stevenson (coleraine, UK) says...
My Grandfather served on this ship (he is still alive) I have his Burmah Star and Atlantic medals.
28th August 2015 6:15pm
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