Allied Warships

HMS Attacker (D 02)

Escort Carrier of the Attacker class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort Carrier
ClassAttacker 
PennantD 02 
Built byWestern Pipe & Steel Co. (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down17 Apr 1941 
Launched27 Sep 1941 
Commissioned30 Sep 1942 
End service5 Jan 1946 
History

Transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease.
Returned to the United States Navy on 5 January 1946.
Stricken by the United States Navy on 26 February 1946.
Sold into merchantile service on 28 October 1946 being renamed Castel Forte.
Renamed Fairsky in the 1970's.
Fairsky hit a submerged wreck on 23 June 1977 and was beached to prevent sinking.
Refloated on 29 June 1977.
Conversion to floating hotel Philippine Tourist started in 1978.
Destroyed by a fire on 3 November 1979 and scrapped at Hong Kong starting on 24 May 1980.

 
Former nameUSS Barnes (i)

Commands listed for HMS Attacker (D 02)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Waldemar William Powell Shirley-Rollison, RN8 Apr 194212 May 1944
2Capt. Harold Bruce Farncomb, DSO, RAN12 May 194413 Nov 1944
3Capt. George Fisher Renwick, RN13 Nov 1944

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Notable events involving Attacker include:


29 Aug 1943
Ships from the newly formed ' Force V ' for the upcoming landings at Salerno conducted exercises off Gibraltar. The ships participating in the exercises were the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker ( Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), AA cruiser, HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and ten (?) destroyers / escort destroyers [unable to establish their precise identity for the moment.] (1)

4 Sep 1943
Around 1600B/4, the escort carrier HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Holcombe (Lt. F.M. Graves, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta.

They were joined around 0730B/5 by the escort carrier HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN) and ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) coming from Oran.

More ships joined around 1940B/5. These were the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz). These ships had departed Algiers around 1845B/5.

These ships were to join forces at Malta with a few more ships which had already left earlier escorting an eastbound convoy. These ships were to form ' Force V ' for the upcoming landings at Salerno.

All ships listed above arrived at Malta in the morning of September, 7th except for HMS Euryalus which proceeded ahead already arriving late on the 6th. (2)

8 Sep 1943

Operations of ' Force V ' during operation Avalanche.

Around 1100B/8, ' Force V ' departed Malta for the tyrrhenian sea. ' Force V ' was made up of the HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker ( Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt. F.M. Graves, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz).

They passed through the Messina Strait during the night of 8/9 September. At dawn on the 9th ' Force V ' arrived in the assault area. The first sortie was flown off at 0615B/9 and subsequently at hourly intervals. The aircraft maintained patrols of 80 minutes until 1930B/9 when the last aircraft landed on.

' Force V ' operated in an area 30 miles square, to the southward of the assault area, approaching the island of Capri from time to time in order to obtain accurate fixes. Three types of patrol were flown;
a) A standing patrol south and east of Capri by seafires from the escort carriers.
b) A high patrol over the beaches from about sunrise until 0745 hours and from 1810 hours until just before sunset by seafires from HMS Unicorn. This was during the period that fighter cover was not provided from Sicilian airfields.
c) A standing high patrol over the low patrol in the Capri area during the remainder of the day by Seafires from HMS Unicorn.

A total of 265 sorties were flown on the first day. Cover over ' Force V ' was maintained by aircraft from the fleet carriers of ' Force H '. During the dark hours the force was withdrawn to the southward and operated to the east of a line joining Salerno and Palermo so as to keep clear of the convoy routes, returning to the flying-off area at dawn.

During 10 September the flying programme was repeated and 232 sorties were flown.

It had been hoped that ' Force V ' could be withdrawn on the 10th and that Montecorvino airfield could be used. The airfield had indeed been captured as planned but it remained under heavy enemy artillery fire and could only be used for forced landings. ' Force V ' therefore had to remain in the assault area, though its flying efficieny had decreased and the fuel situation of the escort destroyers was becoming difficult.

On 11 September the number of sorties flown decreased to 160. At 1900B/11, ' Force H ' on leaving for Malta flew 17 aircraft over to join ' Force V ', which now had to provide its own fighter cover. Montecorvino was still under fire and patrols were again flows off at dawn on 12 September. The total number of sorties flown on 12 September was 56.

A landing strip had been laid out at Paestrum and orders were received that all available fighters should land ashore and that ' Force V ' could then withdraw. This signal, though sent at 0909 hours was not received until 1230 hours. 26 Seafires were then flown off and ' Force V ' then withdrew arriving at Palermo around 1930B/12.

' Force V ' departed from Palermo around 0600B/13 for Bizerta arriving there around 1830B/13. (3)

17 Sep 1943

Convoy MKF 24.

This convoy departed Port Said on 17 September 1943.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Clan Campbell (British, 9545 GRT, built 1943), Eastern Prince (British, 10926 GRT, built 1929), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt. U.H.R. James, RN) was also part of the convoy. She was en-route from the East Indies station to the U.K. to be decommissioned and be outfitted for her new role as troop transport.

The convoy was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), RHS Kanaris and RHS Miaoulis.

At 0620C/18, the Eastern Prince was detached to Alexandria.

The convoy arrived at Algiers on 22 September 1943.

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On 28 September 1943 the convoy departed Algiers for the U.K.

It was now made up of the following (troop) transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Clan Campbell, Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Staffordshire, Strathmore, Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937) and Volendam (British, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage was still part of the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Pelican (Cdr. J.S. Dalison, DSO, RN) and the frigates HMS Evenlode (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.L. Turner, RNR), HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR), HMS Spey (Lt.Cdr. B.A. Rogers, RD, RNR) and HMS Wear (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR).

At 0700A/30, the Ruys and Volendam were detached.

At 0900A/30, the Empress of Australia and Monarch of Bermuda were detached.

At 0930A/30, the (troop) transports Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930) and Rochester Castle (British, 7795 GRT, built 1937) joined coming from Gibraltar.

Also the following warships joined at the same time; escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), seaplane carrier HMS Albatross (A/Capt.(Retd.) S. Barry, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN).

At 1400A/30, the Volendam rejoined.

At 1500A/30, the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined coming from Gibraltar.

At 1600A/30, the Ruys rejoined.

At 0420A/1, the Bergensfjord, Highland Princess and Volendam parted company to proceed to Freetown. They took HMS Wishart and HMS Witherington with them as escorts. Also the destroyer HMS Malcolm (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) joined them which had came from Casablanca.

At 1300A/1, the Athone Castle was detached to proceed independently to New York.

At 0640Z/4, the light cruiser HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined the convoy escort.

At 0635Z/5, HMS Spartan parted company with the convoy.

At 0930Z/5, HMS Charybdis and HMS Albatross parted company to proceed to Plymouth where they arrived on 6 October.

On 7 October the convoy arrived in U.K waters. The bulk of the convoy proceeded either to Greenock or to Liverpool.

20 Sep 1943
The light carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyer HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN) and the escort destroyers ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) departed Bizerta for Gibraltar via Algiers.

They made a short stop at Algiers in the evening of 21 September before continuing their passage to Gibraltar. At Algiers they were joined by the escort destroyer HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR).

They arrived at Gibraltar in the early hours of 23 September. (4)

21 Jun 1944

Convoy MKF 32.

This convoy departed Port Said on 21 June 1944 and arrived in U.K. waters on 4 July 1944.

It was made up of the following transport vessels; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Nieuw Holland (British, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Ranchi (British, 16738 GRT, built 1925), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. T.M. Dorrien-Smith, RN), HMS Croome (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.S. Lawrence, DSC, RNVR), HMS Exmoor (Lt. D.D. Howson, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt. H.J. Watkins, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt. H.A. Corbett, DSC, RN).

Later on 21 June 1944 the damaged light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) joined the convoy for passage to Gibraltar. She came from Alexandria together with the netlayer HMS Guardian (Capt.(Retd.) H.A.C. Lane, OBE, RN) which also joined the convoy for passage westwards to Djidjelli, Algeria [now called Jijel].

In the eastern Mediterranean the escort destroyer Quantock was also with the convoy for a while. [Further details currently unkown.]

Around noon on 25 June 1944 convoy SNF 25 coming from Naples merged with the convoy. Convoy SNF 25 had departed Naples on 24 June 1944 and was made up of the transports Hai Lee (Norwegian, 3616 GRT, built 1934), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929) and Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Naples this convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Attacker (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), frigates HMS Bazely (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Brock, RCNVR), HMS Bentinck (Cdr. E.H. Chavasse, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Byard (A/Lt.Cdr. J.I. Jones, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Calder (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR), HMS Drury (Lt.Cdr. N.J. Parker, RN), HMS Pasley (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Wright, RD, RNR) and the destroyer escort USS Frederick C. Davcis (Lt.Cdr. O.W. Goepner, USNR). This last ship served as jammer escort against German radio guided bombs.

The transport Hai Lee proceeded to Bizerta while the other two transports joined convoy MKF 32.

On 26 June, off Djidjelli, HMS Guardian was detached and later off Algiers the transport Champollion (French, 12263 GRT, built 1925) joined the convoy while HMS Attacker was detached.

On 27 June, off Oran the transport Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and the escort carrier HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN) joined the convoy. They were escort from Oran to the rendezvous with convoy MKF 32 by the destroyers USS Knight (T/Cdr. J.C. Ford, Jr., USN) and USS Doran (T/Cdr. N.E. Smith, USN). USS Frederick C. Davis was detached to Mers-el-Kebir.

On 28 June, off Gibraltar the escort carrier HMS Hunter was detached as were the escort destroyers HMS Chiddingfold, HMS Croome, HMS Exmoor, HMS Tetcott and HMS Wheatland.

Also off Gibraltar the transports Felix Roussell (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930) and Tai Shan (Norwegian, 6962 GRT, built 1929) joined the convoy as did the escort carriers HMS Nairana (Capt. R.M.T. Taylor, RN), HMS Ravager (A/Capt. G.V.B. Faulkner, RN) and the AA ship HMCS Prince Robert (Cdr. A.M. Hope, RCN).

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 4 July 1944.

17 May 1945
During 17/18 May 1945, HMS Ceylon (Capt. K.L. Harkness, DSC, RN) and HMS Attacker (Capt. G.F. Renwick, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (5)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/117004 + ADM 53/117494+ ADM 53/117648 + ADM 53/118510 + ADM 53/118573 + ADM 53/118663
  2. ADM 53/117495 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641
  3. ADM 53/117495 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 234/358
  4. ADM 53/118574 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 199/767
  5. ADM 53/120915 + ADM 53/121089

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


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