Description Shape:
dard, circular.
Blazon (Heraldic description)
On a white field: On a rock in base, a Red Indian habited about the loins, poised and holding in his dexteer hand aloft, a tomahawk, all proper.
STALKER: STALKER: Someone who pursues prey stealthily, making a silent approach. As with other ship names in the Attacker class the Native American warrior is renowned for possessing skills that reflect the ship name.

For explanations of heraldic terms and examples of unofficial badges see the Badges & Honours page.




We stalk the enemy



Pennant Numbers:





Battle Honours:


ATLANTIC 1943-44





BURMA 1945




Builder: Western Pipe & Steel, San Francisco California

Displacement: 14,170 tons

length (Overall): 486ft

Beam:  69ft 6in

Flight deck: 442ft x 80ft wood covered mild steel plate

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

Speed:  18.5 knots

A/C Capacity: 20

Hangar: 262ft 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 x H2 hydraulic

Armament: 2 single 4in USN Mk 9, 4 twin 40mm Bofors, 8 twin 20mm Oerlikon, 10 single 20mm Oerlikon

Crew Complement: 646


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



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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  December 30th 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: 31 October 2021


Sources used in compiling this account:

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources: various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

 COM MOROCCAN SEA FRON › War Diary, 3/1-31/43

Miscellaneous documents

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Topic: A History of H.M.S. STALKER
0/5 (0)
Andrew Reid
Feb 2020
Andrew Reid (Dothan Alabama) says...
Such a fascinating history! I actually own a piece of equipment that was on this ship during the war! A massive bandsaw. I am just learning the history of it. It has been in my families business since the ship was sold to a Company in Mobile, Alabama in 1946!! A piece of world history I use in my shop EVERYDAY!! They were truly the greatest generation!
gerald nesbitt
Oct 2019
gerald nesbitt (HOLYWOOD) says...
This was my fathers ship He told me it was the 3rd ship into Singapore on the day the Japanesses surrendered God rest his presious soul
Pauline van der Sanden
Sep 2019
Pauline van der Sanden (Swindon) says...
My father Gerald ( Gerry ) Bertram served on this ship as a gunner . Known as "Scouse". He was aboard this ship from Jan 1943 San Fran to the end of the war where he was deployed to Ceylon before returning to the UK. He has many memories and has spoken often. Also many photographs. There was a photo and information at the Fleet air arm museum re the Stalker , not sure if it is still on display. My father is still alive at 94 but very poorly. He kept in touch with several shipmates and in particular one of the pilots "Jeep" who sadly passed away about 6 years ago now.
T. Martyn Whiteside
Jun 2019
T. Martyn Whiteside (Aberystwyth) says...
My father, Tom Whiteside from Tockwith, Yorkshire (1922 - 86), served on HMS Stalker as an Able Seaman. I have his original uniform and Atlantic and Burma Star medals. I also treasure a copy of the ship's crest he painted on a piece of scrap wood. He never talked about his war experiences aboard other than to say that the actor Jon Pertwee (Of Doctor Who and Worzil Gummidge fame) was his Petty Officer.
Paul Stevenson
Aug 2015
First Poster
Paul Stevenson (coleraine) says...
My Grandfather served on this ship (he is still alive) I have his Burmah Star and Atlantic medals.
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