Allied Warships

HMS Archer (D 78)

Escort carrier of the Long Island / Archer class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort carrier
ClassLong Island / Archer 
PennantD 78 
Built bySun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. (Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) 
Laid down25 Jun 1939 
Launched14 Dec 1939 
Commissioned17 Nov 1941 
End service 

HMS Archer's service history includes Atlantic convoy escort from February to November 1942. During November 1942, she ferried 30 P-40 Warhawks from USA to Casablanca, then provided Atlantic convoy escort from December 1942 to October 1943. During this time one of her aircraft, a swordfish from 819 squadron, sank the German Uboat U-752 on 23 May 1943 with rockets in the North Atlantic.

HMS Archer started major engine repairs 8/1943 but defects were found to be extremely serious; decommissioned 6 November 1943 and used as a stores hulk. Used as an accomodations hulk after March 1944. Main reduction gears replaced at Belfast starting August 1944; repairs completed March 1945 and transferred to Ministry of War Transport as a ferry carrier (renamed Empire Lagan) 15 March 1945.

Returned to USN 9 Jan 1946, stricken for disposal 26 Feb 1946. Sold into merchant service 1946 as Archer. Renamed Anna Salen 1949, Tasmania 1955, Union Reliance 1961. Burned, blown up and grounded to prevent sinking at Houston, TX 7 Nov 1961 after collision with tanker Berean. Salvaged and scrapped at New Orleans starting March 1962.


Commands listed for HMS Archer (D 78)

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1Cdr. James Ian Robertson, RNOct 194127 Jun 1943
2Capt. Horace Temple Taylor Bayliss, RN27 Jun 19437 Sep 1943
3A/Cdr. Wilfrid John Nixon, RN7 Sep 19439 Nov 1943
4Cdr. (retired) Henry Ellis Bickley, RN9 Nov 19438 Mar 1944
5Cdr. (retired) Horace Walker, RN8 Mar 1944

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Notable events involving Archer include:

13 Mar 1943
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, RN) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area with aircraft. Following these exercises attack exercises were carried out during which HMS Archer (Cdr. J.I. Robertson, RN), HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN) and three escorts served as the targets. These included night attack exercises. (1)

23 May 1943
German U-boat U-752 was sunk in the North Atlantic, in position 51°40'N, 29°49'W, by rockets from a Swordfish aircraft (FAA-Sqdn. 819) of the British escort carrier HMS Archer (Capt. H.T.T. Bayliss, RN).


  1. ADM 173/18132

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

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