'Ruler' Class

 Description Blazon (Heraldic description)
On a blue field, a sword proper, pommel and hilt gold, debruised below the point by a pair of scales, white.
ARBITER: One who is empowered to judge in a dispute. The design reflects the balance of power (the scales of justice) and retribution (the sword).

For explanations of heraldic terms see the Badges & Honours page.




Justice from the skies


Pennant Numbers:

D31 (Atlantic)

 R303 / A387 (Pacific)



Battle Honours:

Atlantic 1944




Builder: Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. Tacoma, Washington

Completed by: Commercial Iron Works, Portland, Oregon

Displacement: 15,390 tons

Length (Overall): 494ft 9in

Beam:  69ft 6in

Flight deck: 450ft x 80ft wood covered mild steel plate

Propulsion: 2 Foster Wheeler boilers; 1 x Allis-Chalmers geared turbine driving 1 shaft

Speed:  16 knots

A/C Capacity: 20

Hangar: 260ft x 62ft x 18ft

A/C lifts: 2, Aft 34ft long x 42ft wide; forward 42ft long x 34ft wide

Arrestor wires: 9 with 3 barriers

Catapult: 1 H4C hydraulic

Armament: 2 single 5in USN Mk 12, 8 twin 40mm Bofors, 14 twin 20rnm Oerlikon, 7 single 20mm Oerlikon

Crew Complement: 646



Commanding Officers:

 Capt. R.C. Harry Dec 43 - Dec 44

Capt. D.H. Everett Dec 44 - Aug 45





April - June 44 Avenger


1820 (Ferry)

July 44 Helldiver



Feb - June 45 Corsairs



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A History of HMS ARBITER

HMS ARBITER at sea in 1944. Photo: courtesy Maurice Ayling


ARBITER was a 'Ameer' class escort carrier built in the USA at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. Tacoma, Washington; her keel being laid down April 26th 1943 as the USS ST SIMON, CVE-51, a 'Prince William' class escort carrier. She was launched on September 9th 1943 by her sponsor, Mrs. R. H. Lewis, the wife of Major General R. H. Lewis, Commanding General, North-western Sector, Fort Lewis, Washington. CVE-51 was assigned to Commercial Iron Works, Portland, Oregon, for the completion of construction. The 'Ameer' class carriers were the third group of escort carriers built in the USA for the Royal Navy, and were generally similar to the preceding 'Attacker' class.

Modification and preparation to enter service:

CVE 51 was transferred into the Royal Navy at Portland, on December 31st 1943 and commissioned as H.M.S. ARBITER, under the command of Captain R.C. Harry. After completing her builder's sea trials and Admiralty acceptance tests HMS ARBITER proceeded to Vancouver, Canada to be modified to meet Admiralty requirements, receive her full crew compliment, and work up ready for beginning her active service.

This work was undertaken by the Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd., North Vancouver, British Columbia. ARBITER was the eleventh ship to be modified by Burrards, and she arrived at Vancouver at on January 9th 1944 and was berthed in the pool while waiting to enter the yard; at this time sister CVEs SPEAKER, QUEEN, and RULER were in the hands of the Burrard's yard in front of her, at various stages of modification, NABOB and PREMIER were completing. Work commenced to de-store ARBITER in preparation for her modification work to commence and on the 17th she was moved to number 8 berth at Lapointe Pier where her alteration work began: this work totalled 150 separate modifications and included lengthening of the flight deck, fitting redesigned flying controls and fighter direction layout, modifications to hangar, accommodation and store rooms, installing extra safety measures including major changes to the aviation fuel stowage and oiling at sea arrangements,, modifying gunnery and other internal communications, adding extra W/T and R/T sets, and improved darken ship arrangements.

As work progressed ARBITER progressed through the yards various berths; the yard could be working on six different ships at any time with separate aspects of the work carried out at different berths, the ships passing through like a production line, moving from one berth to another until complete. ARBITER moved to No 3 on January 29th, then to No 4 February 3rd and No 5 February 20th where her alterations were completed on March 2nd. She was moved again to No 8 berth on March 4th to complete re-storing and embarking equipment.

ARBITER sailed for Esquimalt, Victoria, North Vancouver on March 13tth to enter dry dock for the fitting of additional sea valves and other remedial work. She was un-docked on the 16th and began preparing for her work up and post modification shakedown.

ARBITER also made a round trip to the US Naval Yard at Bremerton, Washington to ammunition the ship and then return to the Straits of Georgia (between Vancouver Island and the mainland), for steaming, gunnery, radar and other trials and exercises. On her return to Esquimalt she embarked Confidential Books and more stores. Sadly on Sunday, March 19th during this working up period two crew members, Leading Seaman George and Ordinary Seaman Hayes, were lost overboard and were drowned.

Maiden voyage: 853 Squadron and a ferry trip to Liverpool, April - June 1944

At the beginning of April HMS ARBITER embarked the 12 Avengers of 853 naval air squadron from the RCAF base at Sea Island, Vancouver; the squadron had flown from USNAS Squantum on the US east coast to work up and join ARBITER at Vancouver. The Avengers flew out to the ship on the 5th and 6th of April for deck landing practice and to work up the ships air department and flight deck parties. On completion of training on the 5th the aircraft were struck down into the hanger and ARBITER sailed from Vancouver on her maiden operational voyage.

The ship reached San Diego, California on the 9th where more stores and equipment were loaded. ARBITER put to sea on the 11th for flying exercises and completed 12 sorties without incident before flying was curtailed by high winds and the ship returned to San Diego on the 13th.

ARBITER departed San Diego for the Panama Canal on the 17th of April 1944 and it was intended that further flying exercises would be conducted, on passage to Balboa however weather conditions, the wind being first too strong and then too weak, meant only a curtailed programme was possible. 853 squadron aircraft managed fourteen training sorties but suffered two accidents; one aircraft, JZ410 flown by Sub Lt. RD Pepler crashed into the ship's island superstructure when landing-on on April 17th. Another, JZ394 flown by Sub Lt. ME Gall ended up with a wheel in the port catwalk on Friday the 21st resulting in the death of Able Seaman H. Jones.

Shortly before arriving at Balboa the ship's engines broke down and she had to be towed into port, arriving there on April 25th. It was to take eight days before repairs were completed and the ship could proceed through the Panama Canal to Cristobal; from here she sailed for Norfolk, Virginia. The squadron resumed flying on May 8th, completing five training sorties before the wind strength fell, during launches for a second exercise JZ517, stalled, turned violently to port and crashed into the sea on the port side. The pilot Sub Lt. AG Sandison was rescued by the escort, USS REHOBARTH. Flying resumed on the following day, but after only six training sorties all flying was cancelled when the ships engines stopped sue to salt water in the boilers. A similar take off accident happened on the 9th when JZ396 stalled on take off and crashed into Caribbean; again the three man crew, Sub Lt. AG Sandison, Sub Lt. K Hyde & Leading Airman J Crosgh, were rescued by the escort, USS REHOBARTH the navigator Sub Lt. Hyde received serious injuries.

Flying training resumed on the next day, but was halted again after six sorties when the ship had to heave to when salt water was found to have entered in the boilers. The engines were shut down and would require dockyard assistance to start up again. So for the second time in three weeks HMS ARBITER was towed into port, this time to the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba; repairs were to take five days, ARBITER resumed her voyage to Norfolk on the 15th but this time without an escort which meant that no further flying was possible. At Norfolk the ship was taken into dockyard hands for a two week programme of defect rectification before sailing on to New York, arriving on the 31st.

While alongside at Staten Island, she began loading a deck cargo of Corsair aircraft for delivery to the UK, 853 squadron's machines were stowed in the hanger and no further flying was possible. On June 2nd ARBITER was allocated to Western Approaches Command as a ferry carrier. HMS ARBITER sailed from New York on 'D' Day, June 6th 1944, joining the east bound convoy CU 27 for the UK; also in this convoy was her sister CVE SMITER also making her first Atlantic crossing as a ferry carrier. HMS ARBITER arrived at the King George V dock in Glasgow on the 20th of June; the Corsair aircraft were unloaded by crane onto the dockside and towed to the nearby Renfrew airfield. The Avengers of 853 squadron were also unloaded; the squadron was to fly to RNAS Machrihanish ending its association with ARBITER.

Second Ferry trip: Round trip, Liverpool to Norfolk, Va., June - July 1944

After a quick turn around ARBITER and SMITER sailed from the UK on June 23rd in Convoy UC 27; on July 3rd ARBITER, in company with her escort the USS SIMMS and a Fleet Oiler the USS CHIWAWA, left the convoy bound for Norfolk, Virginia. ARBITER docked at Pier 7, Naval Operating Base Norfolk the next day and embarked 65 boxes of Secret Armament Stores On the 5th the flying personnel of 1820 naval air squadron arrived on board, their 9 Helldiver aircraft and the squadron maintenance personnel embarking the next day; also loaded on the 6th were 2 cases of TBR mainplanes and a Cadillac. The morning of July 7th saw ARBITER loading aircraft (44 Hellcats, 7 Corsairs and 2 Martlets) for ferrying to the UK as deck cargo. Once loading was complete she proceeded to New York where she was berthed at 35th Street Pier Brooklyn on July 8th to embark passengers (11 women, 7 children, 21 boys, 76 Ratings and 2 Officers); once all passengers were aboard the ship joined Convoy CU 31, sailing on July 10th 1944.

HMS ARBITER anchored in Liverpool Bay late on July 21st to wait docking at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool; however a fouled anchor prevented ARBITER from getting under way until the morning of the 23rd when she finally tied up to disembark her passengers and the consignment of secret armament stores were unload ed. The following day 1820 squadron personnel, aircraft and cargo were disembarked; 1820 going to RNAS Speke.

Third Ferry trip: Round trip, Liverpool to Norfolk, Va. and refit, August 1944 - January 1945

ARBITER was to make one final run to Norfolk, Virginia, during August, sailing with convoy UC 31 on the 9th for further load of mixed American aircraft types. ARBITER, in company with the CVE PATROLLER sailed for the UK in convoy CU 37, departing New York on August 27th and arriving in the UK on September 7th; ARBITER docking at Gl,asgow and PATROLLER at Liverpool. After unloading this cargo ARBITER was ordered to the Harland & Wolf ship Yard in Belfast for a 'tropicalisation' refit which commenced on September 12th. Whilst in Belfast the ship's company were given 7 days home leave, each watch taking their turn.

Work up and preparation for joining the BPF: January - March 1945

In early January 1945 ARBITER commenced sea trials in Belfast Lough; she was allocated to the British Pacific Fleet for operations as a ferry carrier on January 30th. ARBITER's new squadron embarked on February 14th when the 24 Corsair IVs of 1843 squadron began a flying program in preparation for passage to Australia. 1843 was to suffer its first of three flying accidents after only four days of training while the ship was steaming off Cumbrae light in the firth of Clyde. On Sunday, 18 February 1945 Sub Lt Scarrott was killed when his Corsair, KD582, turned sharply and dove into the sea on take off; an elevator was been damaged by the prop of another aircraft while running up on the flight deck. This was spotted prior to take off but too late to abort the launch. The same prop damage was inflicted on KD599 piloted by Sub Lt Ingram, but he was able to abort his launch. The third incident involved Sub Lt. Rouse who caught the last arrestor wire and put his Corsair, KD594 into the number 3 barrier.

The squadron suffered 17 incidents during its association with ARBITER, mostly barrier crashes. Two of the most spectacular (and photographed) incidents involved Sub Lt Appleton, who managed to put an aircraft into each of the flight deck catwalks; On February 22nd while landing in KD611 he caught number 4 wire and drifted sharply to port, the port undercarriage leg running into the walkway where the aircraft became firmly stuck. On March 22nd he lost sight of the Deck Landing Control Officer and flew KD607 into the starboard walkway, the aircraft fell overboard, removing an anti aircraft gun mounting as it went.


Left: Members of the flight deck party attempting to haul Corsair KD611 out of the Port catwalk, February 22nd 1945.  Right: Corsair KD578 where she came to rest after striking the rounddown and clearing the barrier on March 13th 1945. Photos: courtesy Maurice Ayling

On Passage: Greenock to Sydney March 1st - May 1st

HMS ARBITER sailed from the Clyde on March 1st bound for Australia. The ship's first port of call was Gibraltar on the 9th where ARBITER stored ship before transiting the Mediterranean, for Port Said. Flying continued, and on the 13th  Sub Lt W Noble had a spectacular crash in corsair KD578 when it hit the rounddown on landing, ripping off the tail oleo the aircraft crashed through Nos.2 & 3 barriers before coming to rest on its nose, facing aft, feet away from the forward deck park which was full of aircraft.  ARBITER arrived at Port Said on March 18th; Crewman Able Seaman J.A. Phillips passed away as a result of illness on Friday the 16th.

After mooring at E3 berth overnight and having refuelled ARBITER proceeded through the Suez Canal. After a stop at Port Suez on the southern end of the canal ARBITER made for Bombay, calling at Aden to take on more fuel, arriving at Bombay on March 28th. The next leg took ARBITER to Colombo on the west coast of Ceylon; she entered Colombo harbour on Sunday April 1st. The following day another crew member, P.O. Radio Mechanic A.J. Page, died aboard ship.


HMS ARBITER at Port Said after transit of the Suez Canal, March 18th 1945. Photo courtesy Maurice Ayling. Right, HMS ARBITER passing through the Suez Canal March 19th 1945. Photo courtesy Norman Phips


ARBITER weighed anchor at 14:15 on April 3rd and sailed for a round trip to Cochin, S. India to collect replacement airframes, and stores not available in Australia, and arrived back in Ceylon at Trincomalee on the east side of the island on the 8th. Some of 1843 squadron's aircraft had disembarked to the RN Air Station at Colombo Racecourse before the ship sailed for Cochin; they operated there until April 13th before rejoining the ship which was anchored at Trincomalee.

From Trincomalee the ship made a non-stop voyage to Sydney, Australia; the traditional 'Crossing the line' ceremony was observed in the Indian Ocean as they crossed the equator. 1843 squadron was flown off to RNAS Schofields, on the outskirts of Sydney on May 2nd 1945 before ARBITER entered Sydney Harbour on and secured alongside number 4 berth at Woolloomooloo.

A voyage to Manus: May - June 1945

While alongside at Woolloomooloo the personnel and stores of 1843  squadron were off loaded and transported to Schofields as the ship prepared for its first operational voyage as part of the of the British Pacific Fleet. It had been decided that in addition to her role as a ferry and replenishment carrier ARBITER was to embark half of Maintenance, Storage & Reserve Unit No.5 (M.S.R.5) to service and maintain a stock of spare aircraft as part of the Forward Aircraft Poll (F.A.P.). The other half was embarked in HMS CHASER with the same purpose. M.S.R.5 embarked on May 15th and spare aircraft were loaded for transport to the forward base at Ponam in the Admiralty Islands.

Also embarked for ferrying to RNAS Ponam were the personnel and equipment of M.S.R. 6 which was embarked on the 18th: this unit was to be attached to HMS NABARON, Mobile Naval Air Base (MONAB) No. 4, which had been installed on the US Naval Airstrip on Ponam. Finally, a detachment of 1843 squadron maintenance personnel rejoined ARBITER just before she sailed for Admiralty Islands on May 20th. The Corsairs of 1843  had been hoisted aboard stored in the hanger with a single aircraft ranged on deck ready to be catapulted; had the need arisen to launch this aircraft it could not have returned to ARBITER because the flight deck was covered in crates, vehicles and other deck cargo for unloading at Manus.

While on passage to Manus a serious incident occurred on Wednesday May 23rd when an undetected petrol leak caused a build up of fumes in the aircraft refuelling machinery compartment. When three ratings entered the compartment to shut the system down they were overcome by the fumes. When Engineering Sub Lt. Jackson went to investigate he discovered the unconscious men and managed to rescue one using a length of rope before he too was overcome. The next man to enter the compartment, A.A.3 McGale, managed to haul Sub Lt. Jackson out before he also became affected by the fumes and could not re-enter the compartment. At this point Stoker C.P.O. Pascoe arrived wearing Salvas breathing apparatus; he entered the compartment to affect a rescue but it was soon discovered that the breathing set was not effective against petrol vapour. A pattern 230 self-breather set was fetched and wearing this Chief Pascoe successfully recovered the two remaining ratings from the compartment. Sadly one of these men, Leading Stoker Paul Whittaker later died; he was later buried at sea. Chief Pascoe was to receive the British Empire Medal for his actions.

Nearing New Guinea, ARBITER hit bad weather, huge waves broke over the flight deck and, despite being securely lashed down, and several crates were washed overboard. During the height of the storm the ARBITER began to roll quite alarmingly but her full tanks of aviation fuel and oil acting as ballast, she would have been in danger turning turtle. Once the storm was over the Corsair lashed down on the catapult was checked over; it had not suffered any damage during the storm.

On reaching Manus and mooring in Seeadler Harbour ARBITER began unloading stores and equipment for the BPF forward base; on completion she weighed anchor and proceeding to Ponam Island, 22 miles up the coast to off load M.S.R. 6 and the aircraft of 1843  squadron. The squadron aircraft were the last items to be disembarked to RNAS Ponam on May 31st; unloading was a long slow progress since Ponam was surrounded by a coral ringed lagoon, all stores, vehicles and aircraft that could not be flown ashore had to be hoisted outboard using the ship's derricks and ferried ashore on motorized lighters. 1843 spent three weeks ashore conducting flying training. It is not clear what ARBITER's tasking was during this period, presumably conducting flying training, as 1843 was a 'spare' squadron and ARBITER had not yet been assigned to replenishment duties. However she appears to have been experiencing engine trouble while at Manus, sufficiently serious to require full speed trials early on June 22nd prior to proceeding to Ponam to embark aircraft on June 25th.

ARBITER sailed for Brisbane later that day. Arriving off the Brisbane coast on July 4th the squadron was flown off to RNAS Maryborough, Queensland; this was the end of the squadrons association with ARBITER, 1843 was to eventually join a spare Air Group, 3 Carrier Air Group, which formed at RNAS Nowra a month later.

HMS ARBITER at anchor in Sydney Harbour, May 1945. Photo courtesy Norman Phips


Operations with 30 ACS: First replenishment sortie, July 1945

Upon her return to Manus on 9th July 1945, HMS ARBITER joined 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron as a replenishment carrier with the BPF Fleet Train. For her first replenishment trip she joined BPF Task Unit 112.2.6 which comprised HM Ships ARBITER, CHASER, SPEAKER, & STRIKER (Flag 30 ACS), with escorts HMAS NIZAM and HMAS NAPIER, and the Victualling Store Issue Ship (VSIS) GLENARTNEY.

At Manus ARBITER embarked her replenishment load, typically this was a mix of 24 aircraft 9 Seafires, 7 Avengers, 6 Corsairs, 1 Hellcat and 1 Firefly, however Corsair loses were higher than projected so extra Corsairs were carried. TU 112.2.6 proceeded to San Pedro Bay, Leyte and then on to the pacific fleet service area, codename 'British Tizzy' where on the 17th they were joined by HMS INDEFATIGABLE, escorted by destroyers WRANGLER and WAKEFUL. The following day the main Task force TF57 arrived to replenish before beginning operations against the Japanese home islands. On 19th July ARBITER issued four replacement corsairs. ARBITER issued replacement airframes on the 20th, issuing 9 Corsairs, and 1 Seafire; one Corsair KD655 piloted by Sub Lt Smith crashed into the sea on take off. She received 5 corsair 'flyable duds'. On the 21st ARBITER receiving 1 Seafire in the morning, which crashed into the Island superstructure; on cleared she began flying off her remaining Seafires two of which went unserviceable after a collision on the flight deck. She then issued stores to six escort vessels before she withdrew from the service area early in the afternoon. She headed back to Manus with her escort HMAS NIZAM, to restock her replacement airframes, arriving there on the 27th.

From July 28th two CVEs were on station in the refuelling area at a time; the four replenishment carriers made five sorties to the fleet service area, ARBITER making two sorties, STRIKER, SPEAKER, and CHASER one each. A fifth CVE, RULER remained on station to provide Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) throughout operations, in addition RULER carried a further ready use stock of aircraft for issue when the replenishment carriers were absent.

Operations with 30 ACS: Second replenishment sortie, August 1945

At Manus ARBITER exchanged unserviceable aircraft and embarked a second replenishment load; she also received some modifications to her oiling equipment while in harbour, this converting her to an 'auxiliary oiler' in response to the need for a means to supplement the hard pressed tankers. This modification was also to be applied to HMS RULER when she returned to Manus.

Returning to the service area ARBITER operated as part of Task Unit 112.2.5 with the tankers OLNA, WAVE KING, DINGLEDALE and SAN AMADO; VSIS GLENARTNEY and FORT WRANGELL; CVEs CHASER and RULER (CAP); sloops NORMAN, NIZAM, PHEASANT and CRANE, frigate BARLE; minesweepers BALLARAT and BURNIE; hospital ship TJITJALENGKA. This Task Unit proceeded to rendezvous with Task Force 37 in the vicinity of Saipan, in preparation for air strikes on Japan plan for 9-10 August. Replenishment was completed on the 6th ARBITER issuing 10 Seafire, 6 Corsairs, 1 Avenger and 1 Firefly; she received 3 'flyable duds', 1 Avenger and 2 Seafires. On the 7th ARBITER operated as an auxiliary Oiler fuelling vessel of TF 37. When her replenishment duties were completed ARBITER withdrew on the afternoon of the 7th; she was ordered to return to Sydney, via Manus.

Left, A Hellcat and two Corsairs are seen here on the flight deck of ARBITER during one of her replenishment sorties; other vessels of the BPF and fleet train surround her. Right, ARBITER delivering the mail- bags of mail are passed by jackstay transfer to one of the escort ships of the BPF during a replenishment sortie. Photos courtesy Norman Phips


Deck Landing Training and Ferry duties: August 15 - September 15

On her arrival in Australian waters ARBITER was ordered to undertake a period of flying training off Brisbane. She was steaming off the Queensland coast providing Deck landing practice for pupils of No.2 Seafire conversion course operated by 899 squadron which had flown out from RNAS Maryborough (MONAB 6) when Victory over Japan was announced on August 15th. On completion of this training ARBITER continued on to Sydney. The ship undertook a second, intensive deck landing training session with 899 squadron in Hervey bay, Queensland between September 10th - 13th to complete the deck landing qualification phase of No. 3 course. Later on the 13th she tied up at Bretts wharf, Hamilton, Brisbane to load aircraft and stores for ferrying to Sydney. She arrived in Sydney on the 15th and began preparations for a round trip to Hong Kong via Manus and Leyte.

Round trip Sydney to Hong Kong; September 19 - October 26

ARBITER sailed from Sydney on the early evening of September 19th on the first leg of her humanitarian voyage to Hong Kong; she arrived at Manus on the 25th to exchange stores and passengers before proceeding to Leyte the next day. The ship called at Leyte for only a few hours before continuing on to Hong Kong where she arrived in the early afternoon of October 3rd. She anchored in the harbour for the first night, moving to a mooring at Halt's Wharf on the 6th to begin unloading stores and medical supplies; no shore leave was granted. On October 10th Captain Everett left the ship to be appointed as Commodore Hong Kong, the command of ARBITER passing to the Executive Officer. ARBITER remained alongside until the 15th when she sailed for the return voyage to Sydney carrying civilian and military former prisoners of war for repatriation to Australia. Shortly after leaving the ship was found to be infected by lice (presumably passed onboard from the 'bum' boats that crowded the harbour) and the ship required delousing. Upon her arrival back in Sydney on October 26th and secured alongside at berth No.14 Pierpoint to disembark civilian passengers. On the 29th she was moved to No.2 berth at Woolloomooloo

Passage home to the UK: November - January

Having restored with medical supplies and food ARBITER sailed again for Hong Kong, arriving on December 3rd; this time leave was granted while the ship made preparations for the voyage home to the UK; again she was carrying a mixture of civilians, including women and children together with military personnel and former PoWs. ARBITER Sailed from Hong Kong on December 13th bound for Manila, then on to Singapore arriving there on the 17th. From Singapore she went to Trincomalee, on to Aden and then through the Suez Canal reaching Port Said on New Year's Day 1946 A children's party was held on Christmas day, somewhere in the Indian Ocean, the First Lieutenant performing the duties of Santa. ARBITER called briefly at Gibraltar on January 5th and reached landfall of the UK at Land's End on the 8th. She unloaded her passengers at the tail o' the bank on the Clyde on January 10th 1946 and was reallocated to Rosyth Command.

Disposal: Return to US Custody

ARBITER the Clyde for Portsmouth on February 6th to be further de-stored in preparation for her decommissioning. The work competed she departed Portsmouth February 12th and arrived at the US Navy dockyard, Norfolk, Virginia on February 23rd 1946 and decommissioned. She was officially handed back to the US Navy on March 3rd 1946.

CVE -51 was struck from the US Navy list on 12 April 1946, and placed on the disposal list. The ship was sold to the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia, on 30 January 1947. She was converted to the cargo ship CORACERO for the Dodero Navigation Company, Argentina, being delivered on 12 January 1848. She was sold on to the Philippine President Shipping Lines and renamed PRESIDENT MACAPAGAL from 1965 to 1972. Finally she was renamed LUCKY TWO in 1972 for passage to the breakers yard be scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1973.




Content revised: 31 October 2021


Sources used in compiling this account:

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

Ayling. M., (2003) 'Ayling and 1843 Squadron~ "The Ambassadors" unpublished memoir (author's collection)

Spencer., H. J. C. (2006) 'A Brief History Of 853 Royal Naval Air Squadron, December 1943 - May 1945'  published as a web article by the Royal Navy Research Archive 2014.

Ward, P., (2005) 'Pacific Voyage: A Year on the Escort Carrier HMS ARBITER in WWII' Studley, Brewin Books

George Harry Smith's photo collection taken on board HMS ARBITER. Use of images by kind permission of his grandson Mr. Norman Phipps.

Fold3.com various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

Miscellaneous documents



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Topic: A History of H.M.S. ARBITER
5/5 (2)
Robert Waite
Jul 2020
Robert Waite (Hull, East Yorkshire, UK) says...

My grandfather, Harry Waite was chief engineer on HMS Arbiter from the beginning, I have many photos, and a copy of the original blue prints for the ship he left me. I still remember many great stories he told me of his adventures. I was researching his ship and found this great website, many thanks for the information. Miss you always H.

Alfred Croucher
Mar 2020
First Poster
Alfred Croucher (Charleston) says...
My mother was one of the 11 women who were aboard when HMS Arbiter made her second crossing to England in 1944. She married my dad on June 18 at the age of 18. She had barely been off the farm, literally, when she left America to stay with my dad's folks in Deal.
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