Allied Warships

HMS Stalker (D 91)

Escort Carrier of the Attacker class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort Carrier
ClassAttacker 
PennantD 91 
Built byWestern Pipe & Steel Co. (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down6 Oct 1941 
Launched5 Mar 1942 
Commissioned21 Dec 1942 
End service29 Dec 1945 
History

Transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease.
Returned to the United States Navy on 29 December 1945.
Stricken by the United States Navy on 20 March 1946.
Sold into merchantile service being renamed Riouw.
Renamed Lobito in 1968.
Scrapped in Taiwan in September 1975.

 
Former nameUSS Hamlin

Commands listed for HMS Stalker (D 91)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Harry Stewart Murray-Smith, RN15 Jun 1942Sep 1944
2Capt. Leonard Chisholm Sinker, DSC, RNSep 194429 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Stalker 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)

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. (2)

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. (3)

14 Jun 1945

Operation Balsam

Photographic reconnaissance of Southern Malaya and fighter strikes on airfields in Northern Sumatra.

On 14 June 1945, ' Task Force 63 ' departed Trincomalee. It was made up of the light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. W.G. Brittain, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Commodore N.G. Oliver, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), escort carriers HMS Ameer (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. L.C. Sinker, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. F.W.M. Carter, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN).

On the 16th, HMS Royalist and the destroyers were topped off with fuel. HMS Suffolk fuelling HMS Rotherham and HMS Racehorce. HMS Ameer fuelling HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Stalker fuelled HMS Royalist and HMS Redoubt. HMS Khedive did not fuel any of the other ships.

From flying off position in the northern approaches to the Malacca Straits, aircraft of 888 Squadron, from HMS Ameer made successful photographic reconnaissance flights over southern Malaya from 18 to 20 June.

On 20 June, fighter strikes against the airfields at Lhoksemawe, Medan, and Binjai (all in Northern Sumatra) were made by aircraft of 804, 808 and 809 Squadrons. The runways at Medan and Binjai were put out of action. Attacks on grounded enemy aircraft resulted in three being destroyed, seven left burning and probably destroyed and nine was claimed to have been damaged. Aerodrome buildings, locomotives, and rolling stock were also effectively strafed. Off Medan two junks, one of which was obviously carrying oil, were attacked and set on fire.

Own losses were only one Hellcat shot down by enemy AA fire.

It looked like that ' Force 63 ' had not been detected by the enemy throughout the operation.

In the morning/early afternoon of 21 June, HMS Rotherham fuelled from HMS Ameer, HMS Racehorce, HMS Roebuck and HMS Redoubt fuelled from HMS Khedive, HMS Royalist fuelled from HMS Stalker and HMS Relentless fuelled from HMS Suffolk

At 1340GH/21, HMS Ameer, HMS Stalker, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless parted company with the remainder of the force.

At 1510GH/21, HMS Royalist, HMS Roebuck and HMS Racehorce parted company with HMS Khedive, HMS Suffolk and HMS Redoubt.

At 2200GH/21, HMS Ameer parted company with HMS Stalker, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless.

At 1200GH/22, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless parted company with HMS Stalker.

HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless arrived at Trincomalee at 0700FG/23.

HMS Royalist, HMS Roebuck and HMS Racehorce arrived at Vishakhapatnam around 1115FG/23.

HMS Ameer arrived at Madras around 1600FG/23.

HMS Khedive, HMS Suffolk and HMS Redoubt arrived at Trincomalee around 1700FG/23.

And finally HMS Stalker arrived at Cochin around 1915FG/25. (4)

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 + ADM 234/358
  3. ADM 53/118574 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 199/767
  4. ADM 53/120826 + ADM 53/121593 + ADM 53/122171 + ADM 53/122303 + ADM 53/122326 + ADM 53/122529 + ADM 199/1457

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


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