HMS Fencer (D 64)
Escort Carrier of the Attacker class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Western Pipe & Steel Co. (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.)|
|Laid down||5 Sep 1941|
|Launched||4 Apr 1942|
|Commissioned||20 Feb 1943|
Originally completed as a USS Bouge class carrier, modified by having petrol stowage reduced to 50,000 gallons (ballasted in compensation with about 1,000 tons) and US 4 inch guns instead of the original US 5 inch. In 1943 this vessel was obtained through the United States lend lease programme.
In May 1943 HMS Fencer was tasked to supply air escort for the North Atlantic convoys. In September she was a member of the 8th Search Support Group deployed in escorting a special convoy that was transporting the personnel and installations for number 247 Royal Air Force group on the Azores Islands of Fayal and Terceira. By October she was again in the North Atlantic on convoy duties.
During January – February 1944 Fencer was a member of the 10th Anti Submarine Search Group and was serving on North Atlantic convoy duties. During March – April while on Arctic convoy duties, her aircraft and those of the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious, HMS Furious and the escort carriers HMS Emperor, HMS Pursuer and HMS Searcher were involved on a raid carried out on the German battleship Tirpitz known as operation “Tungsten”, putting the battleship out of action for three months. In May while on Arctic convoy duties, she proceeded to the northern Norwegian coast to carry out another raid on the Tirpitz. Due to adverse weather, flying conditions became impossible, and the task force retreated. During this time her aircraft were involved in sinking three German submarines U-277, U-959 and U-674. In October 1944 HMS Fencer accompanied by the escort carrier HMS Trumpeter, four British and two Canadian destroyers carried out an air mining operation and an air strike on German shipping routes off Norway near Frohavet.
In 1945 Fencer was transferred to the British Pacific Fleet. July 9-11th saw the aircraft carrier docked at the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown, South Africa where she was temporary converted for trooping duties.
On 11 December 1946 Fencer was returned to the US Navy, and was subsequently converted for merchant service and renamed Sydney. In 1968 Sydney was renamed Roma, and later that year resold to become the Galaxy Queen. Sometime after this date she changed owners twice, becoming Lady Dina in 1972 and then Cariba II in 1973. In September 1975 she was sold to be broken up for scrap at La Spezia, Italy.
Her wartime badge can be seen displayed on the side of the Selborne dry dock wall.
|Former name||USS Croatan (i)|
Commands listed for HMS Fencer (D 64)
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|1||Capt. Sir Edmund Walter Anstice, RN||1 Aug 1942||19 Jan 1944|
|2||A/Capt. Wolf Walter Rudolf Bentinck, OBE, RN||19 Jan 1944||18 Jun 1944|
|3||A/Lt.Cdr. John Assheton Eardley-Wilmot, DSC, RN||18 Jun 1944||15 Aug 1945|
|4||Cdr. (retired) Rodney Charles Vesey Thomson, DSC, RN||15 Aug 1945||19 Nov 1945|
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Notable events involving Fencer include:
23 Sep 1943
HMS Storm (T/Lt. E.P. Young, DSC, RNVR) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. Also night attack exercises were carried out during which HMS Fencer (Capt. Sir E.W. Anstice, RN) and five escorts served as targets. (1)
10 Feb 1944
German U-boat U-666 was sunk in the North Atlantic west of Ireland, in position 53°56'N, 17°16'W, by depth charges from a Swordfish aircraft (842 Sqn FAA/A) of the British escort carrier HMS Fencer.
3 Apr 1944
HMS Fencer provided cover for Barracuda strike aircraft during Operation "Tungsten", attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway. (2)
1 May 1944
German U-boat U-277 was sunk in the Arctic Ocean south-west of Bear Island, Norway, in position 73°24'N, 15°32'E, by depth charges from a British Swordfish aircraft (Sqdn. 842/C) from the British escort carrier HMS Fencer.
2 May 1944
German U-boat U-674 was sunk in the Norwegian Sea east of Jan Mayen Island, in position 70°32'N, 04°37'E, by rockets from a Swordfish aircraft (842 Sqn FAA/B) of the British escort carrier HMS Fencer.
2 May 1944
German U-boat U-959 was sunk south-east of Jan Mayen, in position 69°20'N, 00°20'W, by depth charges from a British Swordfish aircraft of the escort carrier HMS Fencer (Sqdn 842/K).
- ADM 173/18122
- Personal communication
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.