Description Blazon (Heraldic description)
On a field of white, a pellet charged with a flash of lightning, from sinister chief, white.
A striker: One who hits sharply, as with a hand, fist, or a weapon

For explanations of heraldic terms see the Ship’s Badges page.





Pennant Numbers:


D12 (Atlantic)

R315 /A460 (Pacific)



Battle Honours:


ATLANTIC 1943-44




Builder: Western Pipe & Steel,
San Francisco, California

Completed by: Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo 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. E.W. Anstice RN  as OIC
Aug 42 - Oct 42

Capt. F.M. Walton RN
Oct 42 - Dec 1943

Capt. W.P. Carne RN
[later Cdre. 2nd class]
Feb 44 - Feb 46





Oct 43-Oct 44

Swordfish I

Sea Hurricane IIc

Wildcat V



May 1944

Wildcat V



Click here to see more photos






A History of HMS STRIKER


May 20th 1943, STRIKER in San Francisco Bay  during trials. Photo: US Navy Yard, Mare Island.


Laid down December 15th 1941, by the Western Pipe and Steel Co., San Francisco, California as Maritime Commission C3-S-A2 type freighter, hull number 198, Western Pipe and Steel hull number 78; the hull was purchased by the US navy to be the USS PRINCE WILLIAM AVG-19. She was the fourth, and last vessel built for completion as an auxiliary aircraft carrier by Western Pipe and Steel; all were transferred to the Royal Navy, the other three were - ATTACKER (ex USS BARNES), STALKER (ex USS HAMLIN), and FENCER (ex USS CROATAN).

Whilst still under construction it had been decided that AVG-19 was to be transferred to the Admiralty on loan under the 'Lend-Lease' agreement upon her completion. The name PRINCE WILLIAM was withdrawn before her launch on May 7th 1942 (her USN designation changed to ACV-19 on August 20th 1942). On completion the hull was towed to the Mare Island Naval Dockyard, Vallejo, California for fitting out as an escort aircraft carrier; it was to take another year before she was completed and ready for handing over to the Royal Navy.

The commissioning crew for the new ship began to assemble in August 1942, Captain E.W. Anstice RN was appointed as her senior officer. The advance party of her crew sailed for New York the following month on board the troop ship HMTS QUEEN ELIZABETH. They disembarked at New York on the east coast of the United States, and were accommodated at RN Camp Peekskill, New York State, while awaiting transport across the continent to San Francisco on the west coast. Captain F.M. Walton RN was also appointed to the ship on October 7th 1942 and was to be her commanding officer upon commissioning (Captain Anstice became C.O. of HMS FENCER).


Sea trials: Striker in San Francisco bay  Photos: Richard Webb collection


Transfer to RN and commissioning May 1943

On completion of defect rectification and final fitting out, ACV-19 was officially delivered to the US Navy at Mare Island on April 28th 1943. During April members of the crew received specialist training in the use of ASDIC equipment at the U S Navy Patrol Force Anti-Submarine Training Unit. ACV-19 was transferred to the United Kingdom under the Lend Lease agreement and delivered on May 18th 1943 while alongside Pier 26 in San Francisco. She commissioned into Royal Navy service as HMS STRIKER, pennant number D12, on that date, Captain F.M. Walton RN in command.


Trials and maiden voyage May - June 1943

Sea trials began at 1540 on May 21st off San Francisco, and calibration and speed trials commenced at 1535 on the 25th. While alongside at Pier 26 she was stored in preparation for her maiden voyage. She left San Francisco for the last time on May 29th to conduct Gunnery exercises off the coast escorted by the USS PC-570, firing her main armament at a target towed by the fleet tug USS BAGADUCE. The Shoot which included night firings, completed at 2217 and STRIKER set course for Balbao, the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

She arrived at Balbao on June 9th and transited the Canal to Cristobal on the Atlantic side to await her escort to Norfolk Navy Yard. STRIKER departed from Cristobal on June 14th to rendezvous with her escort, the USS FRANKFORD at 0843. During the day the ship carried out an anti-aircraft gunnery shoot on passage, firing at drogue targets towed by US Navy aircraft.


Norfolk Naval Dockyard and Ferry load to UK June - July 194343

STRIKER arrived at Norfolk Navy Yard at 1900 on the 20th to undergo the installation of additional equipment before beginning a short work-up. The work included installing radar and radio equipment. Repairs to main feed suction pipe and hangers, two reducing valves, steering gear bushings, refrigerating units, F.G. transfer pump, auxiliary feed pump, UC and VF equipment, battle announcing equipment and general alarm circuit. Overhauled one train power drive for heavy Anti-aircraft Machine Gun. Once this work was completed STRIKER called at the US Naval Ammunition Depot, St. Juliens Creek, Virginia, on June 23rd to embark small arms and gun ammunition, returning to Norfolk on completion of loading.

Her dockyard work and work-up complete STRIKER left the Norfolk Navy Yard at 1945 on the 25th and moved to the Norfolk Naval Operating Base to embark more stores and a cargo of Lend-Lease airframes for ferrying to the UK. The Ferry load comprised of 10 Curtis Seamew, 10 Grumman Tarpon (Avenger), 16 Grumman Martlet V (Wildcat), 10 Grumman Hellcat, 8 Vought Corsair. She sailed for New York on the 27th to join the eastbound convoy HX246 for passage to the UK. Arriving at New York on June 28th she joined her sister escort carrier SEARCHER which was also waiting to join the convoy with a ferry load. Both carriers were taken in hand by Bethlehem Steel Co. at 28th Street, Brooklyn for voyage repairs which were completed the same day.

The two carriers Sailed from New York with convoy HX246 on June 30th, this was a large convoy consisting of 64 merchantmen and 19 escorts. After an uneventful crossing STRIKER & SEARCHER escorted by ACANTHUS, POTENTILLA & VERVAIN detached as fast section on July 11th, arriving in Liverpool Bay on the 13th.

RN Dockyard Chatham, Modification to RN standards July - October 1943

On completion of unloading her ferry load STRIKER sailed from Liverpool on July 15th for Chatham Dockyard, taking the northern route passing Cape Wrath, May Island, and Flamborough Head, arriving at Chatham on the 18th. Here she was to be modified to meet RN standards before entering full service. This work included installing British Type 79B aircraft warning and Type 272 surface search radars, replacing the US 5in gun mountings with British model, and modification of her petrol distribution system. The work was to take three months; on completion of the dockyard work, she was allocated to Western Approaches Command and sailed for the Clyde on October 18th 1943.

On October 21st STRIKER began Working up in the Irish Sea in preparation for operational service as a Trade Protection Carrier. She had not yet operated any aircraft so her flight deck equipment had to be put through its paces and certified as safe; a number of different aircraft types flew out to the ship to make arrested landings and accelerated take-offs, including Martlet JV577 which carried out catapult trials in STRIKER on October 24th. She was passed as operationally fit to operate aircraft and was allocated number 824 Composite Naval Air Squadron. The squadron was equipped with 9 Swordfish II aircraft for anti-submarine defence and 6 Sea Hurricane IIc fighters to provide protection against enemy aircraft. The squadron flew out to the ship from RAF St. Angelo, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on October 27th.

STRIKER spent the next month conducting flying training and generally working up her ship's departments in the Irish Sea training areas. On November 25th she entered a Clyde shipyard for defect rectification before becoming operational. There were two aircraft accidents during this period, Swordfish LS285 piloted by Sub-Lt T.O. Hounslow RNVR suffered aileron damage while being pushed aft, the tail ran over the rounddown on November 20th. On the 29th Sub-Lt T.R.P. Mohan RNVR was killed while flying in Sea Hurricane NF696, the aircraft spun into the sea from 1,000ft.

On leaving the dockyard she resumed flying training in readiness for her first operational voyage. On December 9th Swordfish, LS319, flown by Sub-Lt W.H. Thompson RNVR hit the barrier after catching a late wire landing on.

Trade Protection Duties

The ship sailed from the Clyde on December 15th 1943 to join the 1st Escort Group on convoy protection duties in the Atlantic. She covered the passage of the out-bound combined convoy OS62/KMS36 between the 16th and 28th of December on passage from Liverpool bound for Freetown and Gibraltar. Although 824 squadron was an experienced unit the weather in the South-West Approaches and the Atlantic made flying challenging:; during her first convoy escort sortie the squadron had three landing accidents involving Swordfish; on the 20th LS319 piloted by Sub-Lt W.A. Penlington RNVR, bounced on landing, missing all the arrestor wires he opened the throttle and attempted to climb away but hit the ship's radar aerials and crashed into the sea. The crew was safely rescued. Sub-Lt S.W. Taylor RNVR made a heavy landing on a pitching and rolling deck on Christmas Eve, the undercarriage collapsed and the propeller hit the deck. Sub-Lt J.C.H. Simpson RNVR also made a heavy landing on the 26th when he broke the tail wheel of LS461.

At dusk on December 28th STRIKER was detached from the convoy to rendezvous with the in-bound convoy SL143; she was escorted by the Royal Indian Navy Sloops HMIS CAUVERY & KISTMA, they re-joined OS62/KMS36 once STRIKER made contact with SL143 at 1200 on the 29th. It was the turn of the fighter pilots to suffer damage landing on New Year's Eve, Sea Hurricane NF699 floated into the barrier, causing damage to the propeller, undercarriage & engine; this machine was piloted by Sub-Lt P.A. Clarke RNVR but was usually the personal aircraft of Major V.B.G. Cheesman Royal Marines and bore the name LIBBY on the engine cowling. Major Cheesman also suffered a barrier crash on the same day, flying in Sea Hurricane NF694 ('U'), he floated into the barrier, causing damage to the propeller.

On January 1st 1944 STRIKER switched to cover the out-bound convoys OS63/KMS37, remaining with them until the 7th. On that date she joined the in-bound SL144, providing fighter and anti-submarine cover until January 15th. During this period only one Sea Hurricane had a barrier crash while another engaged the enemy; Lt C.J. Allen RNZNVR on returning from a fighter patrol in JS333 ('S') on the 7th could not lower his arrester hook and broke through no.1 barrier on landing before being stopped by no.2 barrier. At 1300 on the 9th Sub-Lt I.W. Hayes RNVR in Sea Hurricane NF670 ('Q') attacked a Ju290 which was shadowing the convoy, it dived away but he could not pursue as his aircraft began vibrating due to a detached fuselage panel so was forced to return to the ship.

STRIKER detached from the convoy on the 15th and arrived back in the UK on the 17th after 26 days at sea and entered a Clyde shipyard for a period of defect rectification.


Operations with the 16th Escort Group

On completion of her repairs STRIKER was allocated to work in company with her sister ship FENCER. The two carriers escorted by the Sloops CRANE and WHIMBREL, exercised with the 7th Escort Group (7th E.G.) off the Clyde on February 4th and 6th before sailing for Red Bay, Northern Ireland to rendezvous with the 10th Escort Group (10th E.G.). During night Deck Landing Training (DLT) on the night of the 5th Sea Hurricane NE977 suffered extensive damage to its rear fuselage when its tail hit the rounddown, the pilot, Sub-Lt L J.R. Harrison, RNZNVR was OK.

On arrival at Red Bay 10th E.G. comprising of the Frigates SPEY (8.0.), ROTHER, WEAR, FINDORN, and LOSSIE, and 7th E.G. comprising the Sloops WOODCOCK, CRANE, WHIMBREL with STRIKER and FENCER formed 16th E.G, to operate as an independent submarine hunting force off Western Ireland. STRIKER was Senior Officer 16th E.G.

STRIKER and FENCER sailed from Red Bay on February 7th to cover the 60 ship Convoy ON223, out-bound from Liverpool for New York, joining with the convoy at 1400 on the 8th and provided anti-submarine sweeps until the 15th before detaching to rendezvous with the in-bound convoy HX278; FENCER with Frigates SPEY ROTHER, WEAR, FINDWRN, and LOSSIE joined as close escort while STRIKER with the Sloops WOODCOCK, CRANE, and WHIMBREL operated as distant cover 50 - 100 miles out. The force accompanied the convoy back to the UK, detaching on the 19th for the Clyde where STRIKER was to undergo another period of defect rectification in a Clyde yard. There was only one recorded flying accident during this period, Swordfish NE990, flown by Sub-Lt A.F.N. Turvey RNVR, landed on the starboard side of the deck and its starboard oleo was damaged when it went over the deck edge on the 17th.


A Sea Hurricane of 824 squadron awaiting take off for a patrol, STRIKER's sister CVE HMS FENCER is sailing in formation with her.

A Sea Hurricane of 824 squadron awaiting take off for a patrol, STRIKER's sister CVE HMS FENCER is sailing in formation with her. Photo: Richard Webb collection


Her squadron was disembarked to RNAS Donibristle on February 19th for the duration of period in dockyard hands, re-embarking on February 29th in preparation for STRIKER's next operation.

STRIKER next sailed to provide anti-submarine air cover for joint out-bound convoy OS70/KMS44 during passage in the NW Approaches. She covered the convoys from March 3rd to march 15th when the two convoys split.

On March 10th STRIKER was detached with the Frigate BAYNTON and Corvette CLOVER to conduct air attacks on U575 which at 0154 had torpedoed and sunk the Corvette ASPHODEL west-northwest of Cape Finisterre. She was part of escort for joint inward convoy SL150/MKS41 which was passing through the same area. Only five survivors out of ASPHODELs crew of 97 were picked up by CLOVER. After the attack the U-boat was hunted for 18 hours but managed to escape. On leaving OS70/KMS44 STRIKER switched to cover Convoy KMS44G and escorted it into Gibraltar arriving there on March 17th.

There were ninecrashes during this period; Sub-Lt H.G. Foster RNVR damaged the fuselage of Swordfish LS461 on March 2nd when his machine ended up in the barrier, and on the 8th Sub-Lt S.W. Taylor RNVR in Swordfish NE980 floated into the barrier and the aircraft ended on its nose. On March 9th three aircraft were damaged landing while on a pitching deck; Sub-Lt H.G. Foster RNVR selected insufficient throttle when he landed in Swordfish LS461, the hard landing damaging the aircraft's stem post. Sub-Lt T.H. Talbot RNVR did the same in NF116 ('V'), landed tail first damaging the stern post and tail oleo. The ship pitched suddenly while Swordfish NE990 was over the stern and the aircraft hit the rounddown and bounced into the barrier, the crew, Sub-Lt D.A. Davies RNVR, Sub-Lt A. Boden RNZVRN and TAG T.W. Leggetter were unhurt); the aircraft was beyond repair and after being stripped of essential parts was jettisoned overboard. On March 10th Sub-Lt D.A. Davies RNVR made a heavy landing in LS240 ('G'), in a heavy swell, caught the last wire, and ended up on its nose.

 LS461, which had been repaired after the incident of March 9th, suffered engine failure on the 13th and force landed on the sea, the pilot Lt. Cdr G.C. Edwards RCN and crew were picked up by FUSILIER. Also on the 13th Sea Hurricane JS292 bounced on landing, floated over all the wires and ended up in the barrier and tipped on its nose, the pilot Sub-Lt C.J. Allen RNZNVR was OK. The final incident was on March 16th when Sea Hurricane NF694 ('U'), flown by Petty Officer Pilot P.H. Blanco RNVR, bounced landing on and crashed into the barrier.

On March 18th STRIKER was allocated to the Home Fleet on loan for planned operations in Norwegian waters. On the 21st while alongside in the dockyard at Gibraltar, His Excellency the Governor General of Gibraltar visited the ship and met the officers of the ship and her squadron. STRIKER sailed the next day to rendezvous with Convoy MKS43G, this rendezvoused with SL152 on March 23rd and the combined convoy of 95 merchants and 11 escorts continued on to Liverpool, arriving there on April 4th. STRIKER detached from the convoy on April 2nd and proceeded to the Clyde for a Further defect rectification period.

On making the rendezvous 824 lost another Swordfish; LS456 stalled off the turn on approach to the flight deck and crashed into the sea on the ship's port quarter. The crew, Sub-Lt D.A. Davis & TAG T.W. Leggetter were picked up unhurt by the Convoy Rescue Ship ABOYNE. Two days later on the 25th Sea Hurricanes NF674 and JS333 (pilots unnamed) were involved in a friendly fire incident when on a Cobra patrol around the convoy, they attacked and shot down an American C-54 which was not showing IFF while en route from Stephenville to Casablanca. There was one final incident on the voyage home on the 26th; Swordfish NF116 ('V'), flown by Sub-Lt J.L. Harrison RNVR, hit the rounddown attempting to land on a pitching deck, the aircraft broke its back. The damage was not repairable, the aircraft was probably jettisoned.

Operations with the Home Fleet: April - July 1944

On leaving the dockyard STRIKER sailed for Scapa Flow on April 17th to report for temporary duty with the Home Fleet's Escort Carrier Squadron. On arrival at Scapa on the 18th 824 squadron was briefly disembarked to RNAS Grimsetter [1] Note:
It is unclear when 824 NAS disembarked from, and re-embarked in, STRIKER during her time with the Home Fleet. Some commentators give dates that put them ashore at times when STRIKER was at sea on operations, and incident reports of flying accidents indicate aircraft were on board. Therefore this account assumes they remained embarked from April 21st 1944 until May 9th 1944.
  where a further 3 Swordfish were also received, increasing their number to 12 in readiness for her first mission, operation PLANET. STRIKER sailed for the operation from Scapa On Friday April 21st.

Operation PLANET was a strike at the German Battleship TIRPITZ. The Force comprised of ANSON (VA, 2IC Home Fleet), ROYALIST (Rear Admiral Escort Carriers), VICTORIOUS, FURIOUS, EMPEROR, SEARCHER, STRIKER, KENT, JAMAICA, URSA, UNDAUNTED, WAKEFUL, WIZARD, SERAPIS, JAVELIN, VENUS, VIGILANT, SIOUX, ALGONQUIN, PIORUN, SWIFT, KEMPENFELT, and KELVIN. The attack on TIRPITZ, which would have involved 40 Barracudas and 40 escort fighters, was cancelled because of bad weather conditions on the 24th. The weather situation improved sufficiently for the next round of operations, codenamed RIDGE ABLE and RIDGE BAKER to be carried out on the 26th.

Operation RIDGE ABLE involved the Fleet carriers VICTORIOUS and FURIOUS, and the escort carriers EMPEROR, SEARCHER, PURSUER and STRIKER, to conduct attacks on enemy shipping in the Bodo and Rorvik areas respectively. The second stage had to be cancelled, again due to bad weather. However RIDGE ABLE did result in three ships sunk off Bodo and a fourth damaged. The force arrived back at Scapa on April 28th. STRIKER and her squadron now prepared for the upcoming Operation HOOPS.

Operation HOOPS called for strikes by aircraft from EMPEROR, escorted by fighters from SEARCHER, on shipping between Kristiansand North and Grosse, together with oil tanks at Kjehn and a fish oil factory at Fossevaag. STRIKER was to provide anti-submarine coverage. Ships of the Home Fleet put to sea again on Sunday, May 7th, the force, which departed Scapa at 0600, comprised ROYALIST Flagship Rear Admiral Escort Carriers (R.A.E.C.), with JAMAICA, SEARCHER (joined at sea later that day), EMPEROR, and STRIKER, escorted by KEMPENFELT, WAGER, MARNE, SIOUX, ONSLAUGHT, and UNDAUNTED.


Left: Sea Hurricane NF694 ('U'), caught as it is stopped in its tracks by the barrier, causing damage to the propeller.  Right : Swordfish LS240 ('G') after landing in a heavy swell, caught last wire, ending up on its nose. Photos: Richard Webb collection


The Force arrived in the flying off position at 0730 on the 8th May and two strikes, each of 8 Hellcats escorted by 8 Wildcats, were flown off. The first strike attacked a northbound convoy of 5 merchant ships with ten escorts 15 miles south west of Kristiansand. One merchant ship was probably damaged and two Wildcats were shot down. On returning the strike was 'jumped' by a mixed force of 6 Me 109Gs and FW 190s. One Hellcat was shot down, but the remaining Hellcats destroyed at least 1 FW 190 and 2 Me 109s. No convoy was sighted by the Second strike so the Hellcats attacked the oil tanks at Khjen and a Herring Oil factory at Fosnavaag. One merchant vessel was machine gunned off Aalesund and two BV 138s shot down by the escorting Wildcats. One Hellcat of the second strike which was damaged by flak was lost after homing successfully back to the force. The force then withdrew to the westwards and returned to Scapa at 1100 on May 9th. Striker's squadron had an uneventful mission with no casualties or enemy encountered; the squadron disembarked to RNAS Hatston later that day.


An additional squadron and a Royal visit

On May 11th STRIKER embarked the 10 Wildcats of 898 squadron to provide Combat Air Patrols (CAP) during strikes on Norwegian coastal targets. Normally embarked in SEARCHER the squadron had remained in the Orkneys when SEARCHER withdrew for a period of defect rectification in Rosyth Dockyard. They were on board when His Majesty King George VI visited Scapa on the 11th; he inspected many of the ships assembled, including STRIKER. 824 was embarked the following day when the ship sailed from Scapa for Operation POTLUCK

Operation POTLUCK was another strike against shipping on the Norwegian coast (between Rorvik and Frohavet) by the escort carrier squadron; however the main object was to create a diversion for Operation BRAWN which was being carried out simultaneously further north. The Force comprised of ROYALIST (R.A.E.C.), SHEFFIELD, EMPEROR, and STRIKER, screened by ONSLOW, OBEDIENT, URSA, BLYSKAWICA, PIORUN, and WAKEFUL, left Scapa on May 12th and proceeded towards the Norwegian coast, arriving in the flying off position at 1230 on May 14th by which time German shadowers were in company.

After withdrawing to the westward, the force was attacked by 6 to 8 Me 110's. Gunfire from ROYALIST turned the formation away and Sea Hurricanes from STRIKER's 824 squadron caused them to jettison their bombs and veer off. On 15th May, the force closed the Norwegian coast again and at 0425 a second strike of 8 bombers and 7 fighters proceeded to attack the fish oil factory at Fosnavaag and two armed coasters off the shore as no convoy was sighted. At 0600 on at position 65°16' N 6°13' E one of the shadowing Focke-Wulf 200 Condors was attacked by two of 898s Wildcats, JV510 ('7R') flown by Lt R. I. Harrison RNZNVR, and JV496 ('6V') piloted by Lt W. I. Sheppard RNVR. The aircraft was driven off and went into cloud with its port engine smoking On returning from a CAP sortie Lt R.I. Harrison RNZNVR flying JV460 ('7T'), landed on STRIKER with his hook up and was stopped by the barrier. The strike returned without loss. Unfavourable weather reports prevented any further strikes and the force withdrew, arriving back at Scapa on May 16th. Only two aircraft from 824 were damaged during operation POTLUCK. Both on the 14th; Sea Hurricane JS333 flown by Sub-Lt E.C. Gulden RNVR bounced after catching a wire, causing port oleo damage, and Swordfish NF161('N') flown by Sub-Lt D.A. Davies RNVR, landed tail down, damaging the tail oleo and stem post.

The Force arrived back at Scapa at 0600 on Tuesday, 16th May 1944, The following day a detachment of 8 aircraft from 824 were put ashore to RNAS Hatston; they remained ashore till the 31st when they were briefly re-embarked. A further detachment of 13 aircraft then flew ashore to RNAS Grimsetter on June 1st, re-embarking the next day. It is assumed that 898 squadron remained aboard STRIKER at Scapa until June 1st when they are recorded s disembarking to RNAS Hatston to await the return of SEARCHER from Rosyth.

It is unclear what duties STRIKER performed at Scapa over the period between the completion of operation POTLUCK and her next outing, operation WANDERERS in mid-June. It is possible she conducted flying training and anti-submarine sweeps since there is recorded aircraft activity in June which indicates she was conducting flying operations, all relating to Sea Hurricanes. On June 2nd Sub-Lt J.W. Hayes RNVR, in JS222 ('Q'), bounced on landing and floated into the barrier, and on the 7th Sub-Lt E.C. Gulden RNVR floated NF674 ('R') into the barrier. There were two more barrier crashes on the 13th, Sub-Lt R.O. Steel RNVR in JS292 bounced overall the arrester wires and flew into the barrier, damaging his propeller and wheel fairings, and Sub-Lt P.A. Clarke RNVR put NF694 ('U') into the barrier after his arrester hook jammed up. The Squadron disembarked to RNAS Hatston on June 14th, re-embarking on the 19th

Operation WANDERERS was designed to create a diversion in Norwegian waters in the hope of influencing the German navy to retain the large U-boat force already in that area, instead of relocating them south to harass convoys in the English Channel supplying the on-going operation OVERLORD. The force comprising of ROYALIST (R.A.E.C.), SHEFFIELD, STRIKER, and FENCER escorted by MILNE, MUSKETEER, MARNE, METEOR, WAKEFUL, and WESSEX sailed from Scapa 0600 on Tuesday June 20th1944. The operation was unsuccessful; no U-boats were sighted. One Sea Hurricane, JS292, had a barrier crash on the 22nd; the pilot Sub-Lt P.A. Clarke RNVR was unhurt.

Defect ratification and 824 Fighter flight is re-equipped

On arrival back at Scapa on the 25th the Swordfish flight was out ashore to RNAS Hatston and the ship sailed for the Clyde later that day. On June 27th STRIKER entered a Clyde Shipyard for a short defect rectification period. On leaving the yard STRIKER proceeded to Belfast Lough where her remaining Sea Hurricanes were flown ashore to RNAS Eglinton on June 30th. The Sea Hurricanes were withdrawn and 6 Wildcat Mk.5 fighters were issued.

STRIKER on convoy protection duties in the Atlantic, Wildcat and Swordfish aircraft of 824 squadron are on deck. Photo: Richard Webb collection


Detached operations: July - August 1944

STRIKER sailed from Belfast at 16:30 on July 10th, under orders to assist in the search for German submarine U-11which had attacked fishing trawlers in a position west of Cape Wrath. Her fighter flight re-embarked that afternoon once she was underway.

She was to rendezvous with Force 34 which consisted of the British built escort carrier VINDEX, Frigates BULLEN, GOODALL, MANNERS, Corvettes LAUNCESTON CASTLE, and PEVENSEY CASTLE, Canadian Corvettes ARNPRIOR and ST. THOMAS. On reaching the rendezvous point off the North Minches 824 Swordfish flight was landed on and STRIKER relieved VINDEX which returned to the Clyde for aviation petrol, escorted by ARNPRIOR and LAUNCESTON CASTLE. She returned on July 13th escorted by the 3rd Escort Group Which relieved Force 34 on station. This was to be the last protracted submarine hunt in the European theatre of war conducted by escort carriers.

Weather conditions were poor; Coastal Command aircraft engaged in the operation had been ordered to return to their bases because of sea fog but carrier aircraft continued to fly and were often landing on in visibility of less than 200 yards. On completion of the sweep on July 27th STRIKER was detached on loan to Commander in Chief, Plymouth for operation KINETIC. There is only one serious accident recorded for this mission despite the extreme operating conditions; on the 18th Swordfish NE980 caught the last wire, her arrester hook pulled out and the machine broke through both barriers and crashed into Swordfish NF237 parked forward. The pilot Sub-Lt H.G. Foster was OK.

Operation KINETIC was an anti-shipping sweep in the Bay of Biscay with the aim of the destruction of enemy merchant shipping and escorts on the coastal convoy route between Gironde and Brest. Force 26 comprising DIADEM (V.A. Tenth Cruiser Squadron) with BELLONA, STRIKER and Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE, FOXHOUND, RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA of the tenth Destroyer Flotilla and three ships of the Eleventh Escort Group sailed from Plymouth at 1838 on July 30th and was at sea for four days operating off La Rochelle but failed to locate the enemy. Force 26 arrived back at Plymouth on August 3rd. There was only one aircraft crash during Operation KINETIC, Sub-Lt M.E.R. Keates RNVR in Wildcat JV635 caught No.8 wire, continued into the barrier and damaged the propeller & tail oleo on August 2nd.


Return to Scapa and Arctic convoy escort duty: August - September 1944

STRIKER arrived back at Scapa on August 7th and was allocated to form part of the escorting force for the round-trip artic convoy code named operation VICTUAL.

Operation VICTUAL was to provide safe passage of convoys JW59 and RA59A between the United Kingdom and North Russia. The convoys were to be protected by a force comprised of VINDEX (V.A. Tenth Cruiser Squadron) STRIKER, JAMAICA, Destroyers MILNE, MARNE, METEOR, MUSKETEER, CAPRICE, Twentieth Escort Group, Destroyer WHITEHALL, Frigate LOCH DUNVEGAN, , Sloops CYGNET, PEACOCK, KITE, KEPPEL, MERMAID, Corvettes BLUEBELL, CHARLOCK, DIANELLA, OXLIP, and HONEYSUCKLE.

The convoy of 33 ships of JW59 left Loch Ewe on August 15th with 12 E.G. VINDEX with STRIKER and JAMAICA, escorted by VOLAGE, ALGONQUIN, VERULAM, VIRAGO, SCOURGE, WHIRLWIND, and WRANGLER left Scapa on the 16th to rendezvous with the convoy on the 17th. On passage, 23 U-boats were sighted though none was allowed closer than 40 miles from the convoy. The two carriers flew 444 hours in the U-boat area and made 14 attacks at distances between 50 and 75 miles from the convoy.

On the 20th another group joined the convoy; this was eight Destroyers being delivered to the Russian Navy under the Lend-Lease agreement, they were USSR ZARKIJ ex BRIGHTON, USSR DERZKIJ ex CHELSEA, USSR DEJATELNYJ ex CHURCHILL, USSR ZOSTKIJ ex GEORGETOWN, USSR ZGUCHIJ ex LEAMINGTON, USSR DRUZNYJ ex LINCOLN USSR ZIVUCHIJ ex H RICHMOND, and USSR DOBLESTNYJ ex ROXBOROUGH accompanied by the British Destroyer CASSANDRA. More escorts also joined on the 20th, the Battleship USSR ARCHANGEL (ex ROYAL SOVEREIGN) flying the flag of Vice Admiral Levchenko accompanied by the British Destroyers SCORPION, SERAPIS, and CAMBRIAN. In addition, ten Russian M.L.'s also sailed with the convoy.

No merchant ships were lost, but the Sloop KITE of the 22nd EG was torpedoed and sunk by 2 torpedoes from U-344 on August 21st. A shadowing flying boat, a BV 138 was shot down by STRIKER's Wildcats At 0410 on August 22nd; JV476 ('Z') flown by Sub-Lt T.D. Lucey RNVR, and JV589 ('R') flown by Sub-Lt R.I.C. Dibben RNVR, shot down a black Bv138 which dived vertically into the sea, no survivors were seen, at position 74°55' N 13°50' E. Later the same day one of VINDEX's Swordfish sank U-344. The next day another Swordfish from VINDEX located U-354, attempting to approach the convoy to the north of North Cape, she was sunk by the Destroyer KEPPEL, Frigate LOCH DUNVEGAN, and Sloops MERMAID and PEACOCK of the 20th EG. Russian fighter cover was available from the morning of August 24th. There were no casualties to aircraft. JW59 arrived at Kola Inlet on the 25th with all 33 merchant ships The Russian warships arrived at Kola on the 24th having left the convoy on the 23rd.

While at anchor in the Kola Inlet awaiting the assembly of the return convoy STRIKER played host to British and Russian sailors and Naval Officers, when a concert was held in the hangar; the entertainment included performances accompanied by a string quartet.

The return convoy RA59A sailed from the Kola Inlet three days later for the return voyage to Loch Ewe. This was a much smaller convoy of only 9 merchant ships. Swordfish from VINDEX attacked the only U-boat sighted, on September 2nd with rockets and depth charges; it was destroyed by the Destroyers KEPPEL and WHITEHALL, and Sloops PEACOCK, and MERMAID. RA59A arrived at Loch Ewe on September 5th. VINDEX, STRIKER, JAMAICA, and the Fleet destroyers arrived at Scapa on the 6th.

There were only three flying incidents during the passage of JW59 and RA59A; shortly after sailing from Scapa a serious crash occurred which resulted in a fatality, Lt R. Moss RNVR in Wildcat JV442 landed on STRIKER but the arrester wire broke, the aircraft broke through both barriers and into the tail of Swordfish LS231 in the forward aircraft park, FX 561956 Air Mechanic (Airframes) Harry Barrow was killed, possibly by the parted wire. On August 21st Sub-Lt C.G. Rowe RNVR made a heavy landing in Swordfish HS406 which damaged the starboard oleo and lower wing. The third was on September 1st, Swordfish LS231 ('D') missed all the arrester wires and flew into the barrier, on coming to an abrupt stop the engine fell out. The pilot Sub-Lt J.C. Simpson and crew were OK.


Left: Swordfish LS231 ('D') with its engine on the deck after  being stopped by the barrier. Right Wildcat  JV442 'S' after  the arrester wire broke, the aircraft broke through both barriers, hit the tail of Swordfish LS231 in the forward aircraft park and swung to starboard, hitting the Island..  Photos: Richard Webb collection


STRIKER and VINDEX sailed from Scapa at 1600 on the 6th for the Clyde, escorted by VIRAGO and SIOUX as far south as the North Minches, and arrived on the Clyde the following day. Here STRIKER made preparations for her next mission. She sailed again at 0730 on Wednesday, September 13th 1944 to rendezvous with the British built escort carrier CAMPANIA in the Mull of Kintyre, escorted by KEMPENFELT and OBEDIENT on passage to Scapa. CAMPANIA and STRIKER arrived at Scapa on September 14th

Operation RIGMAROLE was the codename for the next Arctic convoy escort mission to the Kola Inlet and back with convoys JW60 and RA60. The escort force comprised of the Battleship RODNEY, Cruiser DIADEM and Escort Aircraft Carriers CAMPANIA (R.A. First Cruiser Squadron) and STRIKER screened by Destroyers MARNE, METEOR, MILNE, MUSKETEER, VENUS, SAUMAREZ, SCORPION, VERULAM, VIRAGO, VOLAGE, ALGONQUIN (RCN)and SIOUX (RCN)

The 30 merchant vessels of JW60 departed from Loch Ewe on September 15th escorted by the ships of the 7th E.G., Destroyers BULLDOG, CYGNET, WHITEHALL, Frigate KEPPEL, Corvettes BAMBOROUGH CASTLE, and ALLINGTON CASTLE. The carriers and their escorts sailed from Scapa on the 16th to rendezvous with the convoy on the 17th. JW60 arrived at Kola Inlet on September 23rd without loss, there was little enemy contact due to bad weather conditions.

The return convoy RA60 sailed from the Kola Inlet four days later on the 27th for the voyage to Loch Ewe. The convoy contained 32 merchant ships. Swordfish from both carriers flew night anti-submarine patrols on the homeward voyage.

Two merchant vessels were torpedoed and sunk by U-310 on the 29th, the American S.S. EDWARD H CROCKETT was abandoned by her crew and was later scuttled by gunfire from MILNE, and the British S.S. SAMSUVA, she broke in two after being hit by a torpedo but remained afloat and had to be scuttled by gunfire from MUSKETEER and BULLDOG. On the 30th Swordfish aircraft F of CAMPANIA's 813 Squadron attacked and sank U-921 in position 72°32' N 12°55' E, west of Bear Island. The carriers detached from the convoy on October 3rd, arriving at Scapa on the 4th. Convoy RA60 arrived at Loch Ewe on October 7th.

824 squadron had three landing incidents on the return voyage, all on the 29th; Wildcat JV634 flown by Sub-Lt B.J.C. Dibben RNVR hit the rounddown, the arrester hook snapped and the aircraft flew into the barrier. Swordfish NE988 flown by Sub-Lt P.G. Comber RNVR had Barrier crash, while the undercarriage of Swordfish DK762 collapsed on landing and the engine fell out, the pilot Sub-Lt S.W. Taylor and crew were OK.


Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet: Ferry voyage to Australia

STRIKER arrived on the Clyde on October 6th for a period of defect rectification; 824 squadron parted company with STRIKER after this operation, the squadron disembarked to RNAS Machrihanish. The short time in dockyard hands was to repair damage incurred during her last voyage and to prepare her for her new role as part of the 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron (30 ACS) which was to form as part of the new British Pacific Fleet for operations in the South West Pacific.

On October 25th STRIKER was berthed at King George V dock, Liverpool alongside FENCER for aircraft to be loaded aboard as deck cargo by floating crane. The aircraft were Mosquito B.IVs belonging to 618 Squadron RAF and these, together with their equipment and stores, were to be ferried to Australia aboard the two carriers on their voyage to join the British Pacific Fleet. The personnel of 618 Squadron embarked on October 30th, half in STRIKER the other half in FENCER.

618 Squadron was a specialist unit operating 24 Mosquito B.IVs and 3 Mosquito PR.XVI for the delivery of the 'Highball' anti-shipping bouncing bomb. By the time this unit was ready German targets were scarce so in July 1944 it was allocated for the Pacific theatre for operations against Japanese targets. The aircraft were carrier capable and had arrestor hooks and strengthened undercarriage legs but no record of any of their Mosquitoes performing ship board deck landings are known. The squadron's pilots were trained in the art of deck landing flying Barracudas on HMS RAJAH.

The two carriers departed the Clyde at 14:30 on October 31st bound for Gibraltar, escorted by KELVIN, MARNE, and MUSKETEER. The ships arrived at Gibraltar at 0100 on November 5th. After refuelling they continued on to Alexandria, UNDAUNTED joining the escort. They arrived at Alexandria on November 11th where the three destroyers that had escorted her from the UK detached to join the Mediterranean Fleet. After transit of the Suez Canal STRIKER, FENCER and UNDAUNTED took passage down the Red Sea to call at Aden to refuel before crossing the Indian Ocean, they arrived at Trincomalee, Ceylon on November 22nd.


Crossing the line: King Neptune and his party watch as those who have not crossed the equator before are initiated intro the order of the Shellbacks.  618 squadron Mosquitoes are clearly visible. Photos: Richard Webb collection


After a short time spent in Ceylon both STRIKER and FENCER sailed from Colombo on December 10th 1944 this time in company with the cruiser SWIFTSURE (flagship of Rear-Admiral E. J. P. Brind, CB, CBE, commanding Fourth Cruiser Squadron) and their escort, the destroyers KEMPENFELT (Captain D, 4th Destroyer Flotilla), WESSEX, and WAKEFUL. Once at sea they were joined by the CVEs ATHELING and BATTLER, the cruiser HMNZS ACHILLES and destroyers WAGER and WHELP, to proceed in convoy to Australia. Most of the destroyers returned to Trincomalee on the 11th and on the 16th the cruisers SWIFTSURE and ACHILLES parted company with the carriers and went on ahead to Fremantle.

From Fremantle ATHELING and BATTLER continued on to Sydney before crossing the Pacific for a period of duty on loan to the US Navy. FENCER and STRIKER sailed for Melbourne after refuelling; arriving there on December 23rd to unload 618 Squadron and their aircraft at Nelson Pier, Williamstown, Victoria. Both ships then proceeded to Sydney to join the BPF, arriving there on January 7th 1945.


Alongside at Williamstown, Victoria, FENCER (Left) &STRIKER (Right) wait to to unload the men and aircraft of 618 squadron RAF before proceeding on to Sydney.  Photo: Richard Webb collection


Operations with the BPF: January - August 1945

During February STRIKER was employed on Deck Landing Practice (DLP) duties operating in the Jervis Bay area for squadrons ashore at RNAS Nowra (MONAB 1). 1836 squadron's Corsairs visited the ship on several occasions and two serious landing accidents occurred during this month. The first involved Sub Lt H West RNVR who flew JT538 into the barrier on the 12th. On the 21st, Sub Lt H Griffin RNVR overturned JT419 on landing in a spectacular accident which was caught on camera.

At the end of February STRIKER was assigned as a forward area replenishment carrier; in this role she would not carry any operational squadrons but carried replenishment loads of spare airframes for issue to other carriers whilst at sea. In this role she operated as a part of 'the Air Train', the aviation logistic support element of the British pacific Fleet's logistics life-line -the Fleet Train-. This organisation consisted of a collection of merchant and military vessels which supplied the fleet with fuel, food ammunition and stores; the main base was at Sydney with forward bases at Manus in the Admiralty Islands and Leyte in the Philippines, its vessels operating over a distance of some 2,500 miles each way.

STRIKER spent the first week of March loading equipment, spares, airframes and passengers in preparation for her first voyage to the forward base at Manus. On March 4th she embarked elements of MSR 3 (Maintenance, Storage & Reserve unit No. 3) from RNAS Bankstown (HMS NABBERLY). This unit was added to STRIKER's air engineering department to provide additional capabilities and maintain a reserve pool of ready to issue airframes afloat. This was a stop gap measure imposed because the proposed 'Forward Aircraft Pool' that was to be established ashore in the forward area had not yet been set up, and no suitable location for it had yet been found. Other elements of MSR 3 were embarked in the maintenance carrier UNICORN to bolster her engineering department and provide a second pool.

STRIKER became the flagship of the 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron (30 ACS), on March 4th; her commanding Officer, Captain W .P. Carne, receiving promotion to the rank of Commodore 2nd Class and Officer in command 30 ACS. On March 7th 1945 STRIKER sailed from Sydney on passage to Manus, arriving there on the 13th.

STRIKER and the other escort carriers of 30 ACS were issued two new pennant numbers for operations in the Pacific theatre, STRIKER was allocated R315 and A460; she wore R315 for operations as a forward area replenishment carrier. The second number was to be worn when operating in the ferry carrier role (there is photographic evidence that she did wear A46, she is pictured alongside at Circular Quay in Sydney).

March 1945 Ferry load to Manus: Striker on passage from Sydney to Manus transporting a ferry load for distribution to the carriers of the 'air train' .


ICEBERG One Replenishment operations: March - April 1945

STRIKER was to be employed as a forward area replenishment carrier and would only carry replenishment loads of spare airframes for issue to other carriers whilst at sea as a part of the Air Train, the aviation logistic support element of the British pacific Fleet's logistics life-line 'the Fleet Train'. This was a collection of merchant and military vessels which supplied the fleet with fuel, food, armaments and other stores. Based in Sydney, with forward bases at Manus in the Admiralty Islands and Leyte in the Philippines, the Fleet Train operated over a distance of some 2,500 miles each way.

At this time the Air Train comprised of the CVEs STRIKER, SPEAKER, and SLINGER, the maintenance carrier UNICORN, the Aircraft Component Repair Ship DEER SOUND and the Air Stores Issue Ship FORT COLVILLE. STRIKER and SLINGER were employed as forward area replenishment carriers (later joined by CHASER, and ARBITER), SPEAKER (1840 Sqn flying Hellcats) and later RULER (885 Sqn flying Hellcat and Avenger) as CAP (Combat Air Patrol) & ASP (Anti-Submarine Patrol) carriers, UNICORN, DEER SOUND and FORT COLVILLE operated at Manus and Leyte as required, and later PIONEER was based at Manus on arrival on station. The replenishment carriers embarked mixed loads for transport to the replenishment area, numbers varied from 14 - 25 aircraft. A typical load for ICEBERG One was 9 Seafires, 7 Avengers, 6 Corsairs, 1 Hellcat, and 1 Firefly but composition was adjusted when attrition of certain types exceeded estimates or available spare airframes were in short supply.

 STRIKER and SPEAKER sailed from Sydney in company with other ships of the Fleet Train, including FORT COLVILLE, on March 9th 1945 escorted by the frigate AVON and sloop CRANE, they arrived in Seeadler harbour on March 13th to join other elements of the Fleet Train assembling there.

After restoring and fuelling advance elements of the Fleet Train sailed from Manus beginning on March 17th in order to have a Tanker Group in position for the BPF to top up with fuel at the last prudent moment before embarking on the forthcoming strikes against the island of Okinawa 'Operation Iceberg I'. The ships sailed in two groups; the tankers SAN AMBROSIO, CEDARDALE and SAN ADOLPHO escorted by the Slops CRANE and PHEASANT and the frigate FINDHORN, sailed first on March 17th followed by the faster carriers STRIKER and SPEAKER escorted by the destroyers KEMPENFELT and WHIRLWIND departing on the 19th.

Upon rendezvousing the two groups were formed into Task Units TU 112.2.1 and TU 112.2.5, and proceeded directly to the prearranged replenishment area. The ships of the BPF ( Task Force 113 The Brutish Pacific Fleet Task Force 113 comprised:
1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron INDOMITABLE (Flag 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron (1ACS), 857 Avenger, 839 and 1844 Hellcat), ILLUSTRIOUS (854 Avenger, 1830 & 1833 Corsair), INDEFATIGABLE (820 Avenger, 1770 Firefly, 887 & 894 Seafire), VICTORIOUS (849 Avenger, 1834 and 1836 Corsair,);

1st Battle Squadron;
HMS KING GEORGE V (Flagship V.A.B.P.F. Vice Admiral Sir H. Bernard Rawlings, KCB, OBE), and HMS HOWE;

4th Cruiser Squadron;
SWIFTSURE, (Flagship CS 4 Rear Admiral E. J. P. Brind, CB, CBE), ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, (Flag of Rear Admiral (D) Rear Admiral J. H. Edelsten, CB, CBE), GAMBIA;

4th Destroyer Flotilla:

25th Destroyer Flotilla;

27th Destroyer Flotilla

(Note: KEMPENFELT (Capt. D.27) was attached to TU 112.2.5, the group remaining in the replenishing area. WHIRLWIND and. WESSEX were attached to TU 112.2.1 and TU 112.2.2 respectively, the Tanker Groups proceeding between Leyte and the replenishing area.
) had arrived at Ulithi Atoll 1,300 miles north west of the Admiralty Islands on March 18th and after refuelling and taking on ammunition and stores the British pacific Fleet was redesignated Task Force 57 on March 23rd under the operational control of Admiral Raymond Spruance USN, C-in-C US Fifth Fleet TF 57sailed from Ulithi at 06:30 on March 23rd 1945, for operations.

Replenishment period 1, March 25: The British Pacific Fleet (now re-designated Task Force 57), sailed from Ulithi at 06:30 on March 23rd 1945 for operations as part of the U.S. Fifth Fleet under Admiral Raymond Spruance U.S.N. They met with the LSG The Logistic Support Group comprised of two or more Task Units of Task Group 112; one Task Unit provided air cover for the LSG and remained in the replenishment area.

LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE SPEAKER, (1840 sqn Hellcats for Combat Air Patrol duties over the LSG), escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT and Destroyer KEMPENFELT.

Replenishment group TU 112.2.1, the CVE STRIKER (with 18 replacement aircraft), Tankers SAN AMBROSIO, CEDARDALE and SAN ADOLPHO escorted by the Sloop CRANE, Frigate FINDHORN, and Destroyer WHIRLWIND.
at 06:00 on March 25th, at replenishment area ANT, (18° 3o’N 129° 08’E), for a short replenishment at sea which included the issuing of 4 replacement aircraft from STRIKER and topping off fuel tanks. SPEAKER provided Combat Air Patrols (CAP) Hellcats over the LSG. Fueling was completed by 15:30.

T F57 joined US Task Force 58 on the 26th for joint attacks on islands of the Sakishima-Gunto group in support of preparations for US landings on Okinawa. This was the first of 12 strike sorties against Japanese airfields on the Islands of the Sakishima-Gunto group in operation ICEBERG One. Because of the long distances involved between the operational area and the nearest forward base, all replenishment had to be done at sea; TF57 was operating a strike cycle of 2 days on station followed by 2-3 days of replenishment.

With the departure of the fleet the ships of the logistic support group moved to refuelling area MIDGE on the 28th. There were three areas used for fuelling, each was a rectangular area which covered 5000 square miles of ocean east of Luzon, their code names were all called after insects; each area was 50 miles to the south and 100 miles west of' the following positions – 'COOTIE' 21° 52’ N 129° 24’ E; 'MIDGE' 19° 55’ N 129° 40’ E; and ‘MOSQUITO' 20° 17’ N 125° 22’ E. The nominated area changed from one replenishment period to the next.

Replenishment period 2, March 28 - 30: On withdrawing from the operational area at dusk on March 27th TF57 met the LSG For the second replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE SPEAKER, (1840 sqn Hellcats for Combat Air Patrol duties over the LSG), escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT and Destroyer KEMPENFELT.

Replenishment group TU 112.2.1, the CVE STRIKER (with 14 replacement aircraft), Tankers SAN AMBROSIO, CEDARDALE and SAN ADOLPHO escorted by the Sloop CRANE, Frigate FINDHORN, and Destroyer WHIRLWIND.
in Area Midge One at 07:30 on March 28th, a rectangular area east of Luzon which covered 5000 square miles of ocean, and began refuelling. STRIKER issued 13 replacement aircraft and recovered 3 'flyable duds' (flyable but unserviceable aircraft), in addition she transferred a replacement Avenger aircrew to 854 Squadron aboard ILLUSTRIOUS. Her stock of spare aircraft exhausted STRIKER departed for Leyte in the afternoon of the 29th, escorted by CRANE and WHIRLWIND. Replenishment was complete by mid-afternoon on March 30th and TF57 withdrew.

Replenishment period 3, April 3 - 5: SLINGER was on station with the LSG For the third replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE SPEAKER, (1840 sqn Hellcats for Combat Air Patrol duties over the LSG), escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT and Destroyer KEMPENFELT.

Replenishment group TU 112.2. 2, the CVE SLINGER (with 24 replacement aircraft), Tankers AASE MAFRSK, ARNDALE, WAVE KING escorted by the Sloop WOODCOCK, Frigate PARRET, and Destroyer WESSEX. And TU 112.2. 3, Tankers DINGLEDALE and WAVE MONARCH escorted by the Frigate AVON and Sloop WHIIMBREL.
she issued 22 of her 25 replacement aircraft to the fleet carriers and recovered 2 'flyable duds'. STRIKER sailed from Leyte at 12:00 on the 4th to return to the replenishment area with a smaller replacement load of 14 aircraft.

Replenishment period 4, April 8 - 9: At 06:00 on the 8th TF57 met the LSG For the fourth replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE SPEAKER, (1840 sqn Hellcats for Combat Air Patrol duties over the LSG), escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT and Destroyer KEMPENFELT.

Replenishment group TU 112.2.1, the CVE STRIKER (with 14 replacement aircraft), Tankers ARNDALE, DINGLEDALE, SAN AMBROSIO, and SAN ADOLPHO escorted by the Sloop CRANE, Frigate FINDHORN, and Destroyer WHIRLWIND.
in replenishment area COOTIE One, U.S. Task Group 52.1 having taken over the strike duty. SPEAKER provided CAP for the Fleet Train while STRIKER provided replacement aircraft and aircrews;  she issued 13 replacement aircraft and recovered 4 flyable 'duds' and supplied one Avenger crew to 854 squadron. Replenishment was completed by the afternoon of the 9th and TF 57 left Cootie One to return to Sakishima.

Replenishment period 5, April 14 - 15: At 06:30 on April 14th the Fleet made contact with LSG For the fifth replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE SPEAKER, (1840 sqn Hellcats for Combat Air Patrol duties over the LSG), escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT and Destroyer KEMPENFELT.

Tanker Group TU 112.2. 2, Tankers ARNDALE, AASE MAERSK, CEDARDALE, SAN ADOLPHO, SAN AMBROSIO, and WAVE KING escorted by the Sloop WOODCOCK, Frigate PARRET, and Destroyer WESSEX.
Note: The CVE SLINGER should have been on station as the replenishment carrier but had been withdrawn to return to Australia for mechanical repairs; no other CVE was on station to take her place.
in position Cootie One. There were no replacement airframes available when the fleet next withdrew to replenish; SLINGER had suffered mechanical problems on passage back to Manus to reload. The issue meant she could no longer operate aircraft; she could only safely achieve 12 knots and was ordered back to Australia for repairs.  However, the carrier FORMIDABLE, with destroyers KEMPENFELT and WESSEX were on station and joined Task Force 57 relieving ILLUSTRIOUS which sailed for Leyte at 17:55 screened by URANIA and QUALITY. Replenishment continued on the 15th
.SPEAKER provided CAP. The lack of replacement airframe was eased by FORMIDABLE which was at full strength carrying 848 Squadron’s 18 Avengers along with 1841 and 1842 Squadrons - each with 18 Corsairs.

Replenishment period 6, April 18 - 19: During the 18th and 19th the fleet refuelled from the LSG For the fifth replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE SPEAKER, (1840 sqn Hellcats for Combat Air Patrol duties over the LSG), escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT and Destroyer KEMPENFELT.

Tanker Group TU 112.2. 2, Tankers ARNDALE, AASE MAERSK, CEDARDALE, SAN ADOLPHO, SAN AMBROSIO, and WAVE KING escorted by the Sloop WOODCOCK, Frigate PARRET, and Destroyer WESSEX.
No replenishment carrier on station due to a shortage of replacement aircraft.
tanker group, SPEAKER again providing CAP fighters. No replacement aircraft were issued during this period.  At dusk on the 19th TF 57 withdrew to be back on station at dawn on April 20th to carry out one their twelfth and final strike day of ICEBERG One.

TF57 undergo repairs and replenishment at Leyte April 23rd - May 1st: 32 days after sailing from Ulithi the Fleet anchored in San Pedro Bay, the Philippines at 12:45 on April 23rd close to the ships of the waiting Fleet Train. Task Force 57 had spent 26 of these days on operations, and had completed 12 strike days. During this period 71 enemy aircraft were destroyed, 33 in the air and 38 on the ground; 52 were damaged, 2 in the air and 50 on the ground. TF57 lost 19 aircraft to enemy action 2 to ‘friendly fire’ and at least 37 were put out of action through operational incidents. Allied casualties were 16 pilots and 13 aircrew. The replenishment carriers issued 52 replacement airframes; STRIKER 30 & SLINGER 22. Only 9 flysble duds were received; ; STRIKER 7 & SLINGER 2.

STRIKER at Leyte, the Philippines, April 1945 She is carrying a variety of different aircraft types in the role of Replenishment Carrier Photo © Andrew Toppam


ICEBERG Two Replenishment operations: May - August 1945

After eight days of repair and replenishment Task Force 57 sailed from Leyte on at 06:30 on May 1st to return to their operational area off the Sakishima-Gunto group for a second series of 12 strike days.

Replenishment period 7, May 3: The Fleet refuelled from the LSG For the seventh replenishment the LSG comprised:

LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE RULER (replacing SPEAKER, operating885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by the Sloop CRANE.

Tanker Group TU 112.2. 1, Tankers CEDARDALE SAN ADOLPHO, and SAN AMBROSIO escorted by the Frigate AVON and Sloop WHIIMBREL.

No replenishment carrier on station.
in Area MOSQUITO One during the day on may 3rd to top off their tanks before departing for the flying off position. No aircraft were issued.

Replenishment period 8, May 6 - 7: At 06:30 on May 6th TF 57 met up with the LSG For the eight replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by the Sloop CRANE.

Replenishment group TU 112.2. 1, the CVE STRIKER (Replenishment), Tankers WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH escorted by the Sloop PHEASANT, Australian Destroyers NAPIER, - NORMAN, and NEPAL.
. US Task Group 52.1 covered Sakishima. During the day STRIKER transferred 15 replacement aircraft to the Fleet and embarked 34 casualties from FORMIDABLE injured by Kamikaze attack on May 4th; STRIKER and the other replenishment carriers were tasked with casualty evacuation in the replenishment areas and STRIKER , as Flagship 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron had the largest medical staff aboard. She sallied for Leyte at 19:15 in company with KEMPENFELT, detached from TF57 with defects. At 18:45 the Fleet detached from the Tanker Group for the night. At 06:15 on May 7th fuelling recommenced. Fuelling and exchange of stores, mail and correspondence was completed by 14:00, when the Fleet disengaged from the tankers and took departure for the operations area.

STRIKER and KEMPENFELT arrived at San Pedro Bay, Leyte at 18:00 on May 8th, the day Victory in Europe (VE Day) was announced; those not involved in transferring the casualties to the Hospital Ship OXFORDSHIRE were allowed ashore to celebrate


Replenishment period 9, May 10 - 11: At 06:10 May 10th TF 57 met the LSG For the nineth replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by the Sloop CRANE. escorted by the Sloop CRANE. The Destroyer GRENVILLE joined on the 15th.

Replenishment group TU 112.2.2, the CVE SPEAKER (replenishment), Tankers ARNDALE, AASE MAERSK, DINGLEDALE, and SAN AMADO escorted by the Sloops PHEASANT and WOODCOCK, Australian Destroyer NEPAL, and Australian minesweepers BALLARAT and WHYALLA.
. Six Corsair flyable duds from 1841 squadron were flown off to SPEAKER from FORMIDABLE and 7 replacements were issued. One replacement Seafire was issued to INDEFATIGABLE. 20 casualties were embarked from FORMIDABLE and VICTORIOUS for passage to the Hospital Ship OXFORDSHIRE at Leyte. At 19:15 the Fleet disengaged from the Tanker Group for the night. Fuelling and storing continued on the 11th; in the afternoon INDEFATIGABLE transferred 6 Avengers from 820 Sqn and their crews to FORMIDABLE to bolster her aircraft complement for the remaining strike days. On completion the Fleet disengaged at 16:40 and departed for the operational area.


Replenishment period 10, May 14 - 15: At 06:30 on May 14th TF 57 met the LSG For the tenth replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by the Sloop CRANE. escorted by the Sloop CRANE. The Destroyer GRENVILLE joined on the 15th.

Replenishment groups TU 112.2. 1, the CVE STRIKER (Replenishment), WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH escorted by the Australian Destroyer NIZAM, and part of TU 112.2. 3, Tankers ARNDALE, DINGLEDALE, escorted by the Sloops PHEASANT and WOODCOCK.
n area Cootie One. A second group comprising STRIKER (Replenishment), NIZAM and Tankers WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH were delayed, but were on station by 10:00. The hospital, ship TJITJALENGKA arrived at the replenishment area later that afternoon prepared to accept any future casualties when the Fleet withdrew from operations. The replenishment carrier STRIKER transferred 14 replacement aircraft and recovered 1 flyable dud. At 19:10 the Fleet disengaged from the Tanker Group for the night. During the second day of replenishment STRIKER issued a further 6 aircraft and received one flyable dud. At 17:05 the Fleet disengaged from the Tanker Group and departed for the operations area.


Replenishment period 11, May 18 - 19: At 05:45 on May 18th the Fleet met with the LSG For the eleventh replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by the Sloop CRANE. escorted by the Sloop CRANE and Destroyer GRENVILLE.

Replenishment group TU 112.2.1, the CVE CHASER (Replenishment), Tankers SAN AMBROSIO, SAN ADOLPHO, and CEDARDALE escorted by the Sloop WHIMBREL, Frigate PARRETT, Destroyer NORMAN and Australian minesweeper BENDIGO.
Joining on the 19th - ROBERT MAERSK (Armament SIS) escorted by Australian minesweeper CAIRNS.
in area COOTIE. At 10:30 a serious fire broke out in FORMIDABLE; the guns of a Corsair in the hangar were accidentally fired into the Avenger parked in front, this exploded starting the fire. It became clear right away that the fire curtains which should have automatically partitioned the hangar were out of action due to earlier Kamikaze attacks. The fire was eventually extinguished by drenching the hangar with sea water; 7 Avengers and 21 Corsairs were damaged, ranging from complete write-offs to flyable duds. By the evening she reported being able to resume limited flying operations.  The replenishment carrier CHASER transferred 9 aircraft; 3 Seafires, 2 Hellcats, 1 Firefly, 2 Avengers and 1 Corsair; One Firefly ‘flyable dud’ was received. The Tanker Group detached at 18:00 and changed course to arrive at area COOTIE (1) to rendezvous with the Ammunition Carrier ROBERT MAERSK to resume replenishment the following day. The Fleet was now seriously short of bombs and throughout the day Cruisers not involved in exercises were employed to deliver what were available for issue by jackstay transfers; this continued until dusk when TF 57 withdrew for the night.

The Tanker group was located at 06:45 on May 19th for the second day of replenishment; the Ammunition Carrier ROBERT MAERSK had arrived on station and immediately began issuing bombs to the Fleet while CHASER received 3 flyable, but unserviceable, Avengers from FORMIDABLE in the morning and issued 1 Firefly to 1770 Sqn. Bad weather and poor visibility closed in by the afternoon and this prevented FORMIDABLE from despatching any further ‘flyable duds’ she had 28 on-board when TF 57 withdrew to return to the operational area. At this time her air group was rescued to 13 Corsairs and 2 Avengers fit to fly. TF 57 detached from the Tanker Group at 19:30 and set course for the operational area.

Replenishment period 12, May 22 - 23: TF 57 net with the LSG For the twelfth replenishment the LSG comprised:
LSG air cover TU 112.2.5, the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by the Sloop CRANE. escorted by the Sloop CRANE and Destroyer GRENVILLE.

Replenishment group TU 112.2. 3, the CVE SPEAKER (replenishment), Tankers WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH with TU 112.2.1, the CVE CHASER (replenishment) and Tankers AASE MAERSK, and SAN AMADO, Armament Store ship ROBERT MAERSK with combined escorts Frigate AVON and FINDHORN, Destroyer NAPIER.

The Cruiser BLACK PRINCE, and Destroyer NORMAN were still in the service area escorting the damaged Destroyer QUILLAM while under tow from the Tug WEASEL.
on the morning of May 22nd for the last full replenishment period of the ICEBERG operations, the replenishment carriers CHASER and SPEAKER were to return to Manus on completion. RULER with 885 squadron would remain with the Tanker Group providing CAP and ASP aircraft. During the say CHASER transferred 10 aircraft to the Fleet, SPEAKER issued 1 Avenger to 849 squadron on VICTORIOUS. At 18:00 FORMIDABLE was detached to proceed to Manus and then on to Sydney to expedite the repair of battle damage. She was escorted by KEMPENFELT and WHIRLWIND, both of whom were due for refit. At 19:15 the Fleet disengaged from the Tanker Group for the night.

At 07:45 on the 23rd the Fleet reformed on the Tanker Group, and fuelling and' exchange of stores continued. SPEAKER issued 2 Seafires and 3 Fireflies to INDEFATIGABLE. No sooner were they airborne than the leathers in the arrester gear accumulator gave out. One Seafire required an emergency landing and its pilot was unable to work his R/T. SPEAKER accepted both Seafires back, while the Fireflies landed on VICTORIOUS. INDEFATIGABLE was able to receive aircraft by 14:40 and the replacement aircraft took off once more. Two of the Fireflies dev eloped very bad coolant leaks on taking off and required immediate emergency landings. The pilot of one landed on against the instructions of the DCLO, the ship was not steaming into wind and the rudder was over as she made her turn; the pilot came in regardless fearing he could not go round again, forgot to lower his hook and entered the side of no.2 barrier striking the port station wrecking the aircraft without any injuries. Tragically three Hellcat pilots were killed on this day, two after taking off from CHASER with replacement aircraft dove into the sea, neither pilot was recovered [9]. The other was a pilot from 885 Sqn on RULER which took off with the prop in fine pitch and dove into the sea.

At 18:00 CHASER, SPEAKER and NAPIER were detached for Manus, leaving RULER with the Tanker Group. At 18:15 the Fleet, now operating only 3 carriers, detached from the Tanker Group taking departure for the operations area for one final strike period.

Withdrawal to Sydney for maintenance: June 1945

On completion of ICEBERG operations, the main part of the BPF was to carry out aa major replenishment in Australia. After withdrawing from the operating area on May 25th most of the fleet sailed for Australia while some ships, for whom there was no room at Australian ports or who were to take part in the strike at Truk (Operation INMATE), sailed for Manus. The Fleet Train now withdrew from Leyte, to Manus, the last group left on May 25th.

On May 27th the BPF was redesignated Task Force 37 when it became part of Admiral William Halsey's U.S. Third Fleet. TF 37 arrived at Manus on May 30th and departed for Sydney the following day. After nearly a month in port making repairs and storing, the ships of TF 37, and elements of TF 112, including STRIKER, sailed from Sydney on June 28th to return to Manus, arriving there on July 4th.

Operations against the Japanese mainland: July - August 1945

The Fleet Train and the Logistic Support Group were no longer operating out of Leyte, they would now be based out of Manus; the tanker force was now based out of Eniwetok Atoll. The Air Train was now centred on US Naval Air Station Pityilu, 22 miles south of RNAS Ponam in the Admiralty Islands; The Maintenance Carriers PIONEER, flying the broad pennant of the Commodore Air Train (COMAT) and UNICORN, Aircraft Component Repair Ship DEER SOUND and the two Air Store Issue Ships FORT COLVILLE and FORT LANGLEY anchored off Pityilu. A permanent Forward Aircraft Pool had been established ashore here, delivered by PIONEER in late June.

The 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron now comprised of the replenishment CVEs ARBITER, CHASER, SPEAKER, and STRIKER (Flag 30 ACS), RULER carrying out CAP & ASP duties; SLINGER continued operating as a ferry carrier. Two replenishment CVEs were now on station at a time so a constant reserve could be maintained afloat. The LSG and the Replenishment carriers sailed from Manus to the new replenishment areas, now much further north off the Japanese mainland, a round trip of approximately 4,500 miles.

STRIKER arrived at Manus on July 4th to join ARBITER which was already on station, followed by SPEAKER on the 9th and CHASER on the 16th. All carried a ferry load off airframes for deliver to the newly opened RN Forward Aircraft Pool on Pityilu. After unloading STRIKER embarked her replenishment load.

Task Force 37 The Brutish Pacific Fleet Task Force 37 comprised:
CTF 37; Battleships KING GEORGE V (Flagship V.A.B.P.F. Vice Admiral Sir H. Bernard Rawlings, KCB, OBE).

CTU 37.1.1; Aircraft carriers FORMIDABLE (Flag 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, Vice-Admiral P.L. Vian, KCB, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) 2ND Carrier Air Group -848 Avenger, 1841 and 18342 Corsair), VICTORIOUS (1st Carrier Air Group - 849 Avenger, 1834 and 1836 Corsair,) IMPLACABLE (8th Carrier Air Group - 848 Avenger, 1771 Firefly, 801 & 880 Seafire), joined on July 20th by INDEFATIGABLE (7th Carrier Air Group - 820 Avenger, 1772 Firefly, 887 & 894 Seafire);



sailed from Manus for the forward area on July 6th. They met the Tanker Group DINGLEDALE, SAN AMADO, and WAVE EMPEROR, escorted by USK and BARLE
in replenishment area 'British SWIM' (34°10'N, 155°30'E) to top off their fuel reserves. Meanwhile the Replenishment CVEs STRIKER and ARBITER, escorted by NIZAM, NAPIER and LAUNCESTON had sailed the 9th for the new replenishment area, codenamed BRITISH TIZZY, off the coast of Japan. TF 37 rendezvoused with US Navy's Fast Carrier Force TF 38 on July 16th to begin joint operations against the Japanese mainland. TF 37 was in action on the 17th with air strikes against airfields and railways on the Island of Honshu.


Replenishment period 15, July 20 - 23: On the morning of of July 20th TF 37 rendezvoused with the LSG For the fifteenth replenishment the LSG comprised:
TU 112.2.5, Sloops PHEASANT (Commander LSG), REDPOLE, WHIMBREL escorting TU 112.2.12 the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by NEPAL (RAN).

Replenishment group TU 112.2. 6, Tankers SAN AMBROSIA, SAN ADOLPHO, WAVE MONARCH, VSIS GLENARTNEY, escorted by Frigate FINDHORN and Minesweeper GAWLER (RAN) with the CVEs ARBITER (Replenishment) escorted by NIZAM (RAN), and STRIKER (Replenishment) escorted by NAPIER (RAN).
in replenishment area British TIZZY (31° 20’N 150° 31 ’E). Also present was the Fleet Carrier INDEFATIGABLE (7th CAG, 820 Avenger, 1772 Firefly, 887 & 894 Seafire). Refuelling commenced at 05:45 and replacement aircraft were issued by ARBITER; replenishment load for this period of operations was typically a mix of 24 aircraft 9 Seafires, 7 Avengers, 6 Corsairs, 1 Hellcat and 1 Firefly, - Corsair loses were higher than projected so extra Corsairs were carried. Four Corsairs were issued to FORMIDABLE, 3 for 1841 and 1 for 1842 squadron.

It was discovered that the tankers were 2,400 tons of fuel oil short in order to fuel all the vessels of TF 37 so a request was made to the US TF 38 for assistance in fuelling some of the larger vessels. It was agreed that 3 cruisers, ACHILLES. GAMBIA and UGANDA would detach and rendezvous with US task Group 30.8, the US Logistic Support Group. Fuelling ceased at last light and the Force withdrew.

On July 21st fuelling commenced again at 04:30 and continued throughout the day. Having completed issuing replacement airframes and transferring as many as possible to STRIKER, ARBITER was detached for Manus to embark more aircraft and for conversion into an auxiliary oiler. At 19:00 the three tankers were detached to return to Eniwetok Atoll to reload. Because the operational area was now so far north, Leyte was no longer being used as the forward staging area the replenishment carriers now had to return to Manus (2,300 miles south) for reloads and the tankers to the Marshal Islands, 1,700 miles to the south east of the replenishment area.

During the 22nd and 23rd smaller vessels were topped up by the Battleship KING GEORGE V and the carriers FORMIDABLE and IMPLACABLE. Fuelling continued on the forenoon of the 23rd with the cruisers GAMBIA and NEWFOUNDLAND oiling the destroyers TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE, TRAFALGAR, GRENVILLE, WAKEFUL and URANIA. TF 37 departed in the afternoon to resumed strikes on July 24th.


Replenishment period 16, July 26 – 27: TF 37 resumed strikes on July 24th and 25th, returning to the replenishment area (28°00’ N 138°30’ E) to rendezvous with the LSG For the sixteenth replenishment the LSG comprised:
TU 112.2.5, Sloops PHEASANT (Commander LSG), REDPOLE, WHIMBREL escorting TU 112.2.12 the CVE RULER (885 Sqn - 12 Hellcats, 4 Avengers and 8 Corsairs - for Combat Air Patrol an Anti-Submarine duties covering the LSG), escorted by NEPAL (RAN).

Replenishment group TU 112.2.1 STRIKER (Replenishment) escorted by NAPIER (RAN), Tankers CEDARDALE and WAVE EMPEROR and TU 112.2. 3, the CVE SPEAKER (replenishment), escorted NORMAN (RAN), Tankers CARELIA, EASEDALE, and OLNA, VSIS GLENARTNEY, Armament Store Issuing Ships ROBERT MAERSK and CORINDA, escorted by light cruiser ARGONAUT, sloops CRANE, frigates ODZANI and DERG and minesweepers LAUNCESTON, PIRIE, WHYALLA (RAN).
on the 26th. Fuelling began oiling at 09:00and continued through the day. Replacement aircraft and pilots were transferred to the carriers; SPEAKER had now joined STRIKER on station. The cruisers ACHILLES and NEWFOUNDLAND were detached to fuel from US TU 30.10.1. The fleet disengaged at 18:50 for the night.


Fuelling resumed at 05:15 on the 27th. STRIKER transferred her remaining 3 replacement aircraft to SPEAKER and dethatched for Guam on route to Manus. On completion of fuelling the tankers CEDARDALE and EASEDALE consolidated their reserves into CARELIA before detaching for Manus escorted by LAUNCESTON, WHYALLA. WAVE EMPEROR detached for Eniwetok to reload with PLYM and PARRET as escort. TF 37 and TF 38 set course overnight for the next morning’s flying off positrons.


STRIKER, escorted by NEPAL, called at the US Naval Operating Base Guam on July 30th to fly off press materials. They arrived at Manus on August 2nd to load more replenishment aircraft from RNAS Ponam. Loading was completed on the 4th and STRIKER and NEPAL sailed from Manus to return to BRITISH TIZZY. On the 6th she was ordered to return to Manus; this was the same day that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. She arrived back at Seeadler Harbour on the 8th and was in harbour when the second atomic bomb was dropped on the 9th. [2] Why STRIKER sailed for BRITISH TIZZY on August 4th is a mystery, TF 37 planned for the last strike day being August 10th after which they were to return to Australia for a further major replenishment. The CVEs required for the remaining two replenishment periods were already on station or in transit: SPEAKER and CHASER provided replacement airframes on July 31 – August 2, while ARBITER and CHASER covered replenishment on August 6 – 7th, withdrawing for Australia on completion so STRIKER was not needed.
] STRIKER was at anchor in Seeadler Harbour when the surrender was announced but the time for celebration was short, she sailed in company with ARBITER escorted by ULYSSES on August 16th to return to Sydney.


Humanitarian relief voyages to Hong Kong and Singapore: September - October 1945

On her arrival in Sydney STRIKER, and her sister carriers, was next employed on humanitarian relief work, repatriating refugees and POWs became the priority effort after the Japanese surrender. All aircraft and related equipment was off loaded and large quantities of food and medical supplies were embarked for delivery to Hong Kong along with folding beds and spare clothing, for the men, women and children they were to embark as passengers for the return leg.

Three marriages took place amidst all these preparations, two were in North Sydney, there are no details for the third; on August 27th members of the ship's company attended the wedding of the ship's Padre, the Rev. Alfred 'Dickie' Bird RNVR, to Miss Ellie Lucas, daughter of the Rector of St John's Church, Darlinghurst, East Sydney. The ceremony was performed at St John's Darlinghurst; the guest of honour was Commodore Carne. The following day Lieutenant (S) F. B. Drake, R.N.V.R., secretary to Commodore Carne, was married to Corporal, Marjorie Morris, W.A.A.A.F., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Morris, of North Sydney, at St. Mary's Church, North Sydney.

On completion of loading and embarking passengers, which included military personnel and Australian Nurses, STRIKER sailed from Sydney on September 5th and arrived at Hong Kong on the 18th. STRIKER was berthed at Holt's Wharf and work began immediately to off load the relief supplies and to make ready for the embarkation of recently liberated internees and Prisoners of War for repatriation to Australia. Whilst in Hong Kong many members of her original ship's company were relieved of their duties and returned to the UK on board the Troop Ship RMS STERLING CASTLE.


September 1945. Left: the voyage out to Hong Kong, Australian nurses and medical personnel in trhe shade on the flight deck. Right Refugee children on passage to Sydney from Hong Kong and Singapore Note the Bofors gun in the background is encased in its peacetime covers.. Photos: Richard Webb collection


From Hong Kong STRIKER sailed for Singapore, where she embarked more recovered Australian POWs and a number of medically unfit but walking POWs transferred from the Hospital Ship GERUSALEME on September 27th. STRIKER escorted by QUADRANT, re-crossed the equator on the 2nd October 1945 and called at Manus the following day. She arrived back in Sydney on October 9th 1945 and berthed at Pyrmont Wharf to disembark her passengers to the Red Cross clearing centre. Return to the United Kingdom. On completion of unloading STRIKER began a period of defect rectification (yard unknown).


Return to the United Kingdom

On leaving dockyard hands STRIKER began loading stores, equipment and passengers for passage home via Brisbane, Singapore, Colombo, Aden, Port Said, Malta, and Gibraltar. She sailed from Sydney on October 26th for Brisbane where she was berthed at Brett's Wharf, at Hamilton, Brisbane to load stores, and aircraft, including a number of Sea Otters, for ferrying to the UK. She sailed for Singapore on the morning of November 5th.

At Singapore she disembarked some of her passengers and embarked others for onward passage. She sailed from Singapore on November 24th bound for Colombo. She arrived on the Clyde on December 16th 1945. Upon her arrival on the Clyde STRIKER was removed from active service. Under the terms of the agreement through which she was loaned to the Royal Navy she was to be paid for or returned; STRIKER was not to be retained.

 Once her passengers and cargo were disembarked many of her crew went home for Christmas leave; many leaving the ship for the last time as only a steaming party would be required to make her final Atlantic crossing. Next work started to de-store the ship and to remove Admiralty equipment in preparation for returning her to the US Navy.


Disposal: return to US custody January 1946

HMS STRIKER departed from the Clyde on her final voyage on January 29th 1946. On arrival at U.S. Naval Base Norfolk, she was decommissioned and CVE-19 was returned to US Navy custody on February 12th 1946. She was struck from the US Navy List on March 28th 1946, and laid up in reserve. She was sold June 5th 1946 to the Patapsco Steel Scrap Co., of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and was broken up for scrap in 1949.

[1] It is unclear when 824 NAS disembarked from, and re-embarked in, STRIKER during her time with the Home Fleet. Some commentators give dates that put them ashore at times when STRIKER was at sea on operations, and incident reports of flying accidents indicate aircraft were on board. Therefore this account assumes they remained embarked from April 21st 1944 until May 9th 1944.



Content revised: 02 February 2024


Sources used in compiling this account:

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

The contribution of the British Pacific Fleet to the assault on Okinawa, 1945. - The London Gazette Of Tuesday, the 1st of June, 1948 various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

Mare Island Navy Yard War Diaries

US Thirteenth Naval District War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

Naval Base, Manus War Diaries

CTF 37 (British) Report of air & surface strikes against the Japanese empire, preparation for and initial occupation of the Tokyo bay area, Honshu, Japan. 6/28/45 to 9/2/45

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Topic: A History of H.M.S. STRIKER
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Paul Reeves
Jul 2019
Paul Reeves (Basildon) says...
My grandfather, George Boosey, was on HMS Striker throughout WW2.
I would love to receive any email-able photos of the care or ship from anyone who has them.
Interesting that some of the enquiries on here are from Australia - did some of the crew stay in Oz when the carrier returned to Blighty? :-)
Paul Reeves
Mark Bowering
Nov 2019
Mark Bowering (Nottingham) says...
my dad , Howard John Bowering (Jack) served on Striker . Any information to pass to his grand children would be wonderful
Kevin Mochon
Jul 2018
Kevin Mochon (Melbourne) says...
My father served on the Striker from day one until demobbed. His name was Thomas Mochon .history does repeat it self in a way ,when they docked in Williamstown in 1944 at Nelson Pier he would never know that 37 years later his last job as a bricklayer was bricklaying the new workshops at that dockyard at the end of Nelson Pier. And live in the next suburb over.
John Sidebotham
Oct 2017
John Sidebotham (BEROWRA) says...
My Uncle Ernest Sidebotham was on Striker in 1945 (I have a letter from Sydney early 1945) If anyone has photos or anecdotes to swap for a copy of the letter I would like to hear from you. He served on HMSs Sheffield and Arethusa before Striker
Gwenda Allsworth
Dec 2015
First Poster
Gwenda Allsworth (Maryborough) says...
My Father, Alfred Ronald Allsworth was on the HMS STRIKER in WW2 I am trying to find as much info about this carrier and his friends in particular a George Foreman who left the carrier with him when it came to Sydney, Australia. Do you have or know where to direct me in my search for more information about this. Thank You Gwenda Allsworth Maryborough QLD Australia
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