HMS Hunter (ii) (D 80)
Escort Carrier of the Attacker class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp. (Pascagoula, Mississippi, U.S.A.)|
|Laid down||15 May 1941|
|Launched||22 May 1942|
|Commissioned||11 Jan 1943|
|End service||29 Dec 1945|
Transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease.
|Former name||USS Block Island (i)|
Commands listed for HMS Hunter (ii) (D 80)
Please note that we're still working on this section.
|1||Capt. Henry Hastings McWilliam, RN||27 May 1942||10 Sep 1944|
|2||Capt. Arthur David Torlesse, RN||10 Sep 1944||29 Dec 1945|
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Notable events involving Hunter (ii) include:
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, 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.
10 May 1945
Operation Dukedom, Intercepting Japanese surface ships trying to evacuate troops from the Andaman Islands.
On 8 May 1945 a report was received from two British submarines on patrol in the Malacca Strait (HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) that they had sighted a Japanese heavy cruiser and a destroyer proceeding to the north-west. The Eastern Fleet was already on alert due to intelligence and ships from the Eastern Fleet immediately (around 0700 hours) put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon for operation Dukedom. These ships formed Task Force 61. This task force was, at that moment, made up of the following ships; British battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN), the French battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the British escort carriers HMS Hunter (Capt. A.D. Torlesse, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN), HMS Emperor (Capt. Sir C. Madden, RN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), the British light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. W.G. Brittain, CBE, RN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the British destroyers HMS Saumarez (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, DSC, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC and Bar, RN). This latter destroyer however had to return due to defects.
The British destroyer HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN) sailed at 1700 hours to overtake and then join the Task Force. She was joined by HMS Tartar (Capt. B. Jones, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) as substitute for HMS Penn whose defects could not be repaired in time. Verulam and Tartar eventually joined the Task Force at 1505/11.
Most ships of the Task Force had only returned from the previous operation the day before and for instance HMS Queen Elizabeth had only 50% ammunition for her 15” guns on board. Also HMS Emperor and HMS Khedive were not fully fueled.
The same day the tanker Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942) departed Trincomalee escorted by the British destroyer HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN) (Force 70) to provide fuel for the smaller ships of Force 61.
At 1940/11 a fast attack force, made up of Richelieu, HMS Cumberland and the destroyer of the 26th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Saumarez, HMS Venus, HMS Verlulam, HMS Viliglant and HMS Virago were ordered to proceed ahead to about 50 miles from the Task Force to be in a better position to intercept the reported Japanese heavy cruiser.
In the early afternoon of the 12th an air strike with four Hellcats was carried out against airfields on Car Nicobar Island. One Japanese aircraft was seen to go up in flames.
Also on the 12th submarine HMS Statesman reported that the Japanese cruiser and it's escort were returning to Singapore most likely to Force 61 being sighted the previous day by a Japanese aircraft.
During the 13th all destroyers of the Task Force fueled from HMS Emperor, HMS Hunter and HMS Shah. Besides that Task Force 62 was sent out from Trincomalee. This Task Force was made up of the British light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. F.W.M. Carter, DSC, RN). HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), which was escorting a convoy, was ordered to leave her convoy and then join this Task Force. Also sailed was Task Force 67, made up of Royal Fleet Auxiliary oiler Olwen escorted by HMS Penn, which by now had completed repairs on her defects.
On the 14th HrMs Tromp was sent ahead to fuel from Task Force 70. Late in the evening the remainder of Task Force 61 arrived at the rendez-vous with Task Force 70.
On the 15th the enemy cruiser and destroyer were sighted by an aircraft from HMS Shah. They were again proceeding to the south-east. Shortly afterwards the enemy was also sighted by a patrolling Liberator aircraft which began shadowing the enemy. At 1500 hours three Avenger aircraft attacked the cruiser.
The 26th destroyer flottila, made up of HMS Saumarez, HMS Venus, HMS Verulam, HMS Vigilant and HMS Vigaro were ordered to intercept the enemy after dark. At 1500 hours they were 85 miles from the position of the enemy.
Around midnight the destroyers made radar contact on the cruiser. They then attacked from all directions with torpedoes. About eight hits were scored and the cruiser was sunk. During the attack HMS Saumarez was hit three times with 8" shells. Two ratings were killed on one boiler room was put out of action. The destroyers rejoined the task force at 1000/16. HMS Virago had only 17% fuel left, the other destroyers between that and 30%. HMS Virago and HMS Venus had to fuel from the escort carriers as they could not make it to the oiling force without doing so.
In the evening of the 16th the Task Force was attacked by Japanese aircraft. HMS Virago was near missed and suffered four ratings killed, five ratings severely wounded and thirteen other casualties. She was also listing slightly due to splinter damage.
At 1000/17 the following ships were detached to return to Trincomalee; Richelieu, HMS Nigeria, HMS Royalist, HrMs Tromp, HMS Khedive, HMS Shah and HMS Racehorce.
1740 hours, the 26th Destroyer Flotilla was also detached to return to Trincomalee. By this time all the destroyers of this flotilla had fueled from Force 70.
The remaining ships were ordered to return to Trincomalee at 2130/19. (2)
- ADM 173/18382
- Files 2.12.03.6854 and 18.104.22.168 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4630 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.