Allied Warships

HMS Tracker (D 24)

Escort Carrier of the Attacker class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort Carrier
ClassAttacker 
PennantD 24 
Built bySeattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp. (Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down3 Nov 1941 
Launched7 Mar 1942 
Commissioned31 Jan 1943 
End service29 Nov 1945 
History

Transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease.
Returned to the United States Navy on 29 November 1945.
Stricken by the United States Navy on 2 November 1946 and sold into merchantile service being renamed Corrientes.
Scrapped in Portugal in August 1964.

 

Commands listed for HMS Tracker (D 24)

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CommanderFromTo
1A/Capt. Godfrey Christopher Dickins, RNSep 194216 Aug 1943
2Capt. (retired) Donald Scott McGrath, RN16 Aug 194317 Jan 1944
3A/Capt. John Herbert Huntley, RN17 Jan 1944Oct 1945 ?

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Notable events involving Tracker include:


28 May 1943

Convoy MKF 15.

This convoy departed Algiers on 28 May 1943 for the U.K.

On departure from Algiers the convoy was made up of the following ships; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921) and Santa Rosa (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932).

The convoy was escorted by the British sloop HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Ness (Lt.Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

On 29 May, off Oran, the convoy was joined by the following ships; Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), Dartmouth (American, 9879 GRT, built 1943), Examiner (American, 6736 GRT, built 1942), General George W. Goethals (American, 12093 GRT, built 1942), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), John Ericson (American, 16552 GRT, built 1928), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Seafrain Lakehurst (American, 8108 GRT, built 1940), Staffordhire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

On 30 May the convoy was off Gibraltar. There two more ships joined the convoy, these were; Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923) and Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920). Also six ships were detached to Gibraltar, these were the; Arawa, Dartmouth, Examiner, Seafrain Lakehurst, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle.

The following warships joined the escort of the convoy off Gibraltar; aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

The sloop HMS Totland was detached to proceed to Gibraltar for repairs as she had defects.

On 1 June 1943, the Scythia was detached.

At 1200 hours on 4 June, HMS Unicorn, HMS Tracker, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin parted company with the convoy and proceeded ahead of it to the Clyde (HMS Tracker to Belfast).

30 May 1943
HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join the escort of convoy MKF 15. (1)

4 Jun 1943
HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) were detached at 1200 hours from the escort of convoy MKF 15. Around 1400 hours HMS Tracker was detached to Belfast. The other three ships arrived at Greenock early in the evening. (1)

26 Aug 1943
HMS Varangian (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Tracker (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN) and HMS White Bear. (2)

26 Aug 1943
HMS Stonehenge (Lt. D.S.M. Verschoyle-Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area with aircraft from HMS Tracker (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN). Also a practice attack was made on Tracker. These exercises were followed by night gunnery exercises on a target that was being towed by HMS St. Martin. (3)

2 Sep 1943
HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area with aircraft from HMS Tracker (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN). Also a practice attack was made on HMS Tracker. (4)

1944

These photographs were taken in 1944.
Photographs with thanks to David Tolley who's father (marked in the last photograph) Raymond Tolley was an Air Artificer aboard HMS Tracker during that time.

7 Jan 1944
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area with aircraft from HMS Tracker (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN). Also a practice attack on HMS Tracker was made. (5)

3 Apr 1944
German U-boat U-288 was sunk in the Barents Sea east of Bear Island, in position 73°44'N, 27°12'E, by depth charges and rockets from a Swordfish (819 Sqn FAA) and an Avenger/Wildcat team (846 Sqn FAA) of the British escort carriers HMS Activity and HMS Tracker.

For the following sequence of photographs that show U-288 being attacked shortly before sinking we would like to thank David Tolley who's father Raymond Tolley was an Air Artificer aboard HMS Tracker during that time.

26 Sep 1944
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted exercises off Larne with aircraft from HMS Tracker (A/Capt. J.H. Huntley, RN). (6)

13 Oct 1944
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted exercises off Larne with aircraft from HMS Premier (A/Capt. R.J. Gardner, RN). (7)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/639
  2. ADM 173/18446
  3. ADM 173/18116
  4. ADM 173/18034
  5. ADM 173/19334
  6. ADM 173/19227
  7. ADM 173/19288

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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