Allied Warships

HMS Atheling (D 51)

Escort Carrier of the Ameer class

Photo courtesy of Allan C. Green Collection

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort Carrier
PennantD 51 
Built bySeattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp. (Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.) 
Laid down9 Jun 1942 
Launched7 Sep 1942 
Commissioned1 Aug 1943 
End service13 Dec 1946 

Decommissioned for transfer to the R.N. on 31 July 1943.
Transferred to the R.N. and commissioned in R.N. service as HMS Atheling on 1 August 1943.
Returned to the U.S.N on 13 December 1946.
Stricken on 7 February 1947.
Sold into merchantile service being renamed Roma.
Scrapped in Italy in November 1967.

Former nameUSS Glacier

Commands listed for HMS Atheling (D 51)

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.

1Capt. Ronald Ian Agnew, OBE, RCNJun 1943Jul 1944
2A/Cdr. Henry Lewis Oliver, RNJul 1944Oct 1945 ?

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Notable events involving Atheling include:

3 Mar 1944

Convoy KMF 29A.

This convoy departed the Clyde on 3 March 1944 for Alexandria.

It was made up of the troop transport Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931). Also part of the convoy were the escort carriers HMS Atheling (Capt. R.I. Agnew, OBE, RCN), HMS Begum (A/Capt. J.E. Broome, DSC, RN) and the aircraft transports HMS Athene (T/A/Cdr. C.H. Moulton, RNR) and HMS Engadine (Capt. W.T. Fitzgerald, RD, RNR). These ships were ferrying aircraft.

Escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN), sloop HMIS Cauvery (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN) and the frigates Cranstoun (Lt. E.W. Rainey, RN), HMS Deane (Lt. V.A. Hickson, DSO, RN), HMS Redmill (Lt. J.R.A. Denne, RN), HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR), HMS Lossie (Lt.Cdr. A.F. MacFie, OBE, RNR), HMS Shiel (Lt. H.P. Crail, DSC, RNR), HMS Spey (Cdr. G.A.G. Ormsby, RN) and HMS Taff (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR).

Around 0800Z/6, the sloop HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1800Z/6, the frigates HMS Cranstoun, HMS Deane and HMS Redmill parted company with the convoy.

During the night of 9/10 March, HMS Nigeria fuelled at Gibraltar and then rejoined the convoy.

Around 1000A/11, HMS Erne parted company with the convoy to proceed to Algiers.

At 0137B/13, HMS Nigeria parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead of it to Port Said.

Around 1710A/13, the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0600B/16, HMS Phoebe parted company with the convoy to proceed to Alexandria.

The convoy arrived at Port Said late in the afternoon of the 16th.

10 Jun 1944

Operation Councillor.

Simulated raid towards the Sabang area to give the enemy the impression that an air attack on Sabang was to take place in the morning of June 12th.

This operation took place at the same time as US operations in the Marianas.

On 10 June 'Force 68' departed Trincomalee. For this occasion 'Force 68' was made up of the following warships: aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), escort carrier HMS Atheling (Capt. R.I. Agnew, OBE, RCN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

In order not to have to approach the coast to much the submarine Surf transmitted a signal by W/T in the evening of June 11th to simulate that the force was closing Sabang.

Flying practices were carried out throughout. On 11 June two aircraft from HMS Illustrious were lost due to accidents.

The whole force returned to Trincomalee in the afternoon of 13 June. (1)

25 Aug 1944
On 25 August 1944, the troopship Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936) departed Colombo for Melbourne. She was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and the frigate HMS Helford (Cdr. C.G. Cuthbertson, DSC, RNR).

On the same day the submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone (Capt. L.M. Shadwell, RN) and the escort carrier HMS Atheling (A/Cdr. H.L. Oliver, RN) departed Trincomalee for Fremantle and Mauritius respectively. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HrMs Van Galen (Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN).

These two groups made rendezvous around 1845FG(-6.5)/26. HMAS Quickmatch was then detached to return to Colombo.

At 0030FG/29, HMAS Nizam, HrMS Van Galen and HMS Pathfinder parted company.

At 0045FG/29, HMS Atheling and HMS Helmford parted company.

This left the Dunnottar Castle and HMS Maidstone proceeding towards Australia escorted by HMS Nigeria.

At 1330H/4, the Dunnottar Castle parted company to proceed to Melbourne.

HMS Maidstone and HMS Nigeria arrived at Fremantle around noon on the 5th.

8 Dec 1944
The escort carrier HMS Atheling (A/Cdr. H.L. Oliver, RN) and the destroyer HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) departed Cochin to proceed to the Colombo area to make rendezvous with the light cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN), escort carrier HMS Battler (A/Capt. H. Norman, RN) and the destroyer HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) which had departed Colombo on the 9th.

Also on the 9th the light cruiser HMS Swiftsure (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.J.P. Brind, CBE, CB, RN), escort carriers HMS Fencer (A/Capt. W.W.R. Bentinck, OBE, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Wessex (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) departed Trincomalee.

In the morning of 10 December 1944, these ships made rendezvous and course was set for Australia.

The destroyers parted company in the early evening of the 11th to return to Ceylon.

In the early evening of the 16th, the cruisers parted company with the carriers to proceed to Fremantle. (2)


  1. ADM 199/1388
  2. ADM 53/118758 + ADM 53/118910 + ADM 53/118957 + ADM 53/119430 + ADM 53/120566 + ADM 53/120605

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

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