Motto: None


Pennant Number:


D01


Battle Honours:


Burma, 1945

Malaya 1945


Specifications: 


Builder:

Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co.

Tacoma, Washington

 

Completed by:

Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton Washington


Displacement:

15,390 tons


length (Overall):

 494ft 9in


Beam:

 69 ft 6 in


Speed:

 18 knots


Crew Complement:

646


A/C Capacity:

24


Commanding Officers:


Capt. G.D. Yates
May 43 - Jul 44

 

***

Capt J.H. Lewes CBE

Jul 44 - May 45

 

***

Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO

May45 - Jan 46

 


Squadrons:


804

Dec 44 & May - Oct 45

Hellcat II

 

845

July - Dec 44

Avenger 1


888

June 45

Hellcat II

 

896

Apr -Sept 45

Hellcat II


1700 (det)

July - Aug 45

Walrus

 

Click here to see more photos

 

A History of HMS AMEER

 

HMS AMEER at anchor at Trincomalee, here she has the Hellcats of No.896 Squadron ranged on deck. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perry

 

Two US maritime Commission hulls were earmarked for transfer to the Royal Navy as escort carriers with the ships' name 'AMEER':

 

AMEER (1)

On December 9, 1942, the keel was laid for a Casablanca class auxiliary aircraft carrier at the Kaiser Shipyard, Vancouver, Washington. She was launched on April 19 1943 as the HMS AMEER and was intended to be transferred to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease arrangements. Her sponsor was Mrs. Benjamin Morrell, wife of Admiral Morrell USN. Before delivery, however, the US Navy decided that she (and other escort carriers building for Britain at that time) would be required for the US war effort and subsequently the "AMEER" was delivered to the U. S. Navy on August 7, 1943 became the USS LISCOME BAY CVE-56. Sadly the LISCOME BAY had a very short career, she was sunk by a Japanese submarine I-175 on 24 November 1943 off the Gilbert Islands - 644 men lost their lives, including Admiral Mullinix, her commanding officer Capt. I. D. Wiltsie, 53 officers and 591 enlisted men - 272 survivors were rescued.

 

AMEER (2)

The second auxiliary aircraft carrier earmarked to be named HMS AMEER began her career as the USS BAFFINS - CVE-35, a Bogue class escort carrier, her keel being laid down July 18th 1942 at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp., Tacoma, Washington. She was launched Oct 18th 1942. By her sponsor Mrs. Laurance Bennett, wife of Commander Bennett USN. Her hull was later towed to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton Washington for completion.

CVE-35 commissioned into the US Navy on June 28th 1943 as the USS BAFFINS, Captain W. L. Rees USN in command The USS BAFFINS was to remain at the Puget Sound Navy Yard until July 18th 1943, before proceeding to Vancouver, British Columbia. Upon arrival she was decommissioned in preparation for her transfer to the UK government under the Lend-Lease agreement. On July 20th, CVE-35 was officially transferred to the Royal Navy at Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd's facility at Lapointe Pier North Vancouver. She was commissioned as HMS AMEER (D01) on the same day, Captain Gerald D. Yates in command.
 

HMS AMEER alongside at Lapointe Pier, Vancouver, British Colombia.


Modification and preparation to enter service: August - November 1943

CVE-35 was the first of nineteen escort carriers to be modified by Burrards for the Royal Navy. She was berthed at No.5 berth and work commenced immediately to de-store the ship and to remove her Low Pressure turbine for remedial work to be carried out.

Modification work commenced on July 22nd and totalled 150 separate alterations and modifications which included the lengthening of the flight deck, fitting redesigned flying controls and fighter direction layout, modifications to hangar, accommodation and store rooms, installing extra safety measures including major changes to the aviation fuel stowage and oiling at sea arrangements, modifying gunnery and other internal communications, adding extra W/T and R/T sets, and improved darken ship arrangements. Progress was slow however, this was due to several factors; the majority of the work force had never worked on a ship before and had been specially hired to fulfil the contract to modify the ships on behalf of the Canadian government, initially the work proceeded slowly due to lack of Admiralty information and drawings. Also when the ship left the Puget Sound Navy Yard she was fully stored, but in order to get into certain compartments the ships had to be partially de-stored. These factors slowed up the work on the first four ships to enter the Burrards yard, taking an average of 97 working days to complete. This was too long for the Admiralty, the carriers were urgently needed and a revised schedule was drawn up for the fifth and successive carriers which allowed each ship only 45 days for carrying out the work.

 

As work progressed AMEER moved through some of the yards various berths; the yard could be working on six different ships at any time with separate aspects of the work carried out at different berths, the ships passing through like a production line, moving from one berth to another until complete. The bulk of her crew arrived at Vancouver on August 26th when a draft from the UK arrived, these men had arrived in the US on a troop ship from the UK, then crossed the US in Canada by train from New York. These new crew members were billeted ashore initially until relevant areas of the ship became habitable.

 

Her LP rotor assembly was removed in early September and was despatched to Messrs. Allis Chalmers, Milwaukee, for partial re-blading on the 10th. On September 21st AMEER was moved from No.5 berth and placed in Burrards Floating Dry Dock at North Yard to be fitted with Asdic equipment and additional sea valves. She was undocked on the 28th and moored at No 8 berth. A replacement LP rotor was received. while she was in Dry Dock and work commenced to fit this as soon as she was alongside at No.8 berth. Her alterations were completed on October 18th, 11 days behind schedule, and AMEER moved to a mooring in the stream off Lapointe Pier on the 19th to begin preparing for her post modification shakedown. Her modifications had taken a total of 89 days to complete.

The next fortnight was spent on trials and working up, including a short round trip voyage to the US Naval Yard at Bremerton, Washington to ammunition the ship and then returning to the Straits of Georgia (between Vancouver Island and the mainland), for steaming, gunnery, radar and other trials and exercises. (It is possible that AMEER was moved to the Canadian Naval Base at Esquimalt, Victoria, North Vancouver, for her trials, and while there she embarked Confidential Books and more stores).

Maiden voyage, Ferry trip Vancouver to Greenock: November 1943 - January 1944

HMS AMEER sailed for her maiden voyage to the UK sometime in early November 1943, proceeding down the west coast of the US to San Diego where she embarked more stores and equipment before transiting the Panama Canal. After clearing the Canal it is believed that AMEER remained at Cristobal to await the arrival of her sister CVE HMS ATHELING which reached tBilbao to enter the Canal on December 6th, The two carriers proceeded to the US Naval Operating Base at Norfolk Virginia, arriving there on December 18th. Both ships were to embark a cargo of 55 Lend-Lease airframes for delivery to the UK. On Completion of loading the ships sailed on the 22nd for Brooklyn, New York to embark passengers, spend Christmas and await an East bound convoy with which to make the Atlantic crossing.

AMEER and ATHELING sailed from New York on Wednesday December 29th 1943 as part of the 24 ship fast convoy UT.6 which included 16 troopships and the US navy escort carrier the USS SANTEE. The convoy reached the Clyde on Saturday January 8th and AMEER anchored at Greenock to unload her ferry load. ATHELING had detached and proceeded to Belfast to off load part of her load before joining AMEER off Greenock on the 9th.

 

HMS AMEER at anchor at off Greenock January 9th 1944; here she has the is carrying the ferry load from Norfolk on deck. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perry


Fitting out as assault carrier: January -May 1944
Once unloaded AMEER was taken in hand by commercial shipyard for further modification work; she was one of a number of CVEs selected for conversion into an 'Assault Carrier' one of a new type of ship to be used to provide air support for major military landings.

The assault CVE would provide air cover until shore based air strips became operational. The modifications involved many new pieces of equipment being installed; a new type 277 radar, a new telephone system consisting of over 100 telephones, a new Briefing Room and `Army Plot' Room and cabins added around the 'Aircraft Direction Room' and numerous other additions such as extra W/T and R/T sets and still further improvements to the bridge. Another important modification was an anti-aircraft armament upgrade; all existing single Oerlikon mounts on the Gallery Deck and foc'sle deck, were to be changed for fourteen powered twin mountings.

In late April AMEER carried out trials and work-up in Clyde before embarking a ferry load of aircraft and stores for delivery to Ceylon. While in the hands of the dockyard she was allocated for service with the Eastern Fleet for operations with the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron (21 ACS) in the Indian Ocean.

Passage to the Far East: 1944

HMS AMEER sailed from the Clyde on May 5th 1944 as part of convoy KMF 31 bound for Port Said on the first leg of her journey to Ceylon. She arrived at Port Said on 19 May and proceeded through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, and on to Aden. She arrived at Trincomalee on June 27th and was to spend her first month in the area operating as a ferry carrier.
 

HMS AMEER ferrying Seafires and Corsairs July 1944. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perry


Operations with Eastern Fleet Escort Carrier Squadron: July - October 1944

A new commanding officer arrived aboard on July 8th, Captain John H, Lewes CBE relieved Captain Yates. Captain Lewes had commanded destroyers earlier in the war and joined AMEER from the staff of Rear Admiral, Naval Air Stations Indian Ocean at HMS Bherunda, RNAS Colombo Racecourse.

From the end of July 1944 AMEER joined sister CVE HMS BATTLER on trade protection duties in the Indian Ocean, embarking 845 squadron's 12 Avengers and 4 Wildcats on the 26th from RNAS Katukurunda. She was to spend the next three months escorting convoys in the Indian Ocean making short return visits to port to store ship. This was an uneventful period both for the squadron and for the ship, no enemy targets were engaged and no flying accidents are recorded. HMS AMEER was relieved of her trade protection duties in mid October, when 845 squadron flew ashore to RNAS Colombo on October 20th.

The Eastern Fleet was disbanded and two new fleets, the East Indies Fleet, and the British Pacific Fleet were brought into being on November 23rd at Trincomalee. HMS AMEER was issued a new, buy temporary, pennant number 'R302' the change was necessary to allow for integration with US task groups in the Indian Ocean and Pacific theatres; it is unclear if this number was ever applied.

After a short period of defect rectification AMEER sailed for Cape Town, South Africa where she was to collect her new squadron, 804 Naval Air Squadron, Equipped with 24 Hellcat IIs the squadron had formed at RNAS Wingfield, Cape Town on September 1st 1944 and having completed her work-up was ready for combat operations.

The squadron flew aboard on December 6th to conduct deck landing practice and two aircraft were damaged in the exercise; Hellcat JW769 flown by Sub Lt. JA Scott miss timed the pitching of the ship and the tail hit the deck heavily on landing, while Hellcat JW749 flown by Lt. OF Wheatley caught No.7 wire and went into no.1 barrier. This performance was repeated by Lt. B Wiseberg flying Hellcat JW736 the next day A further two aircraft were damaged on December 12th Hellcat JV314 flown by Sub Lt. JA Young and Hellcat JW723 flown by Lt WM Barr, both were barrier crashes. AMEER arrived back at Trincomalee on December 19th and the five damaged aircraft were offloaded to the RN Air Maintenance Yard at Clappenburg Bay. She then proceeded to Colombo, 804 flying ashore to RNAS Colombo on the 20th.

HMS AMEER next embarked 845 squadron from RAF Vavuniya, Ceylon, on December 24th, one aircraft, Avenger IZ195 flown by Lt. WE Griffiths was involved in a barrier crash while joining the ship, The embarkation was only for a short period of operation before the squadron transferred to HMS BEGUM on the 29th.
 

A Grumman Avenger is aunched into the air from the flight deck of HMS AMEER while at anchor in Trincomalee harbour. Pilots call this method of getting air-borne being squirted off. © IWM (A 27964)


Operations 'LIGHTNING', 'MATADOR' & 'SANKEY': January 3rd - 31st 1945

In the New Year AMEER began operating in her role of assault carrier; she re-embarked 804 squadron RNAS Trincomalee and sailed to Chittagong to join Force 61 with the Cruisers NEWCASTLE, PHOEBE and NIGERIA. Destroyers RAIDER, RAPID and PATHFINDER. This was a bombardment force in support of landings by 3rd Commando Brigade on Akyab Peninsula, Burma, operation 'LIGHTNING'. Hellcats from AMEER were to provide Combat Air Patrols (CAP) over the force and spot 'fall of shot' for the bombardment, the bombardment force; however due to reports that the Japanese had withdrawn for the target area on December 31st NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA, KENYA, RAPID, RAIDER, and PATHFINDER returned to Trincomalee arriving on 5th January, while PHOEBE remained on the coast as a Fighter Direction Ship. AMEER remained on station to support the main force, TF64, providing CAP and air support for the landings which commenced on January 3rd, this was a swift operation, the island was fully occupied by the end of the following day.

On returning to Trincomalee AMEER was assigned to the same role in support of operation 'MATADOR', the amphibious landings on Ramree Island. The bombardment force for this operation comprised of the battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, escort carrier AMEER and destroyers NORMAN, PATHFINDER and RAIDER. The order to put to sea came on January 18th and AMEER, in company with RAIDER sailed that afternoon, QUEEN ELIZABETH, NORMAN and PATHFINDER sailing later that day.

The Force was joined by the Sloop REDPOLE and Frigate SPEY on the 20th and the Cruiser PHOEBE on the 21st as the force took up station off Ramree Island. Bombardment of the northern tip of the Island commenced at 08:30, one hour before the landing of troops from the 71st Brigade of the 26th Indian Division was to commence. AMEER provided CAP and carried out fall-of-shot spotting.

Bombardment was carried out on January 20th and the landing took place on 21st;later that day, her task completed, QUEEN ELIZABETH returned to Ceylon in company. with NAPIER and REDPOLE . Flying operations went well, there were only two flight deck crashes during this operation, Hellcat JW745 caught a late wire and went into the barrier, on the 21st and Hellcat JW760 was lost on the 24th when it crashed on the flight deck and went over the side into the sea. The pilot Lt. KR Hickson was safely rescued.

Having completed her mission in the Ramree Island landings AMEER transferred to Force 65 on January 25th for further amphibious landings, Operation 'SANKEY'. Elements of TF65, the Cruisers NEWCASTLE (Rear Admiral A.D. Read, CB, KENYA, NIGERIA, and Destroyer PALADIN had sailed from Trincomalee on January 23rd with Force 'Wellington' a force of 500 Fleet Royal Marines embarked aboard the cruisers. HMS AMEER, the Cruiser PHOEBE, Destroyers RAIDER and NORMAN, and Frigates TEVIOT and SPEY having disengaged from the 'MATADOR' operations and steamed south to rendezvoused with the main force on January 25th to provide air cover during landings on Cheduba Island.. D-Day for Operation 'SANKEY' wasJanuary26th and Hellcats from 904 squadron provided CAP and air cover for the landing force of Landing Craft with BYMS and an M.Ls escorted by the Destroyer RAPID.

Force 65 left the Arakan area late on the afternoon of January 31st after carrying out a final bombardment on targets on Ramree Island. NEWCASTLE and KENYA arrived at Trincomalee on February 2nd, NIGERIA, PHOEBE, AMEER, TEVIOT, and SPEY arrived Trincomalee February3rd, 804 squadron disembarking to RNAS Trincomalee

Operation 'STACEY': February 22nd - March 10th 1945
From February 1945 a number of escort carriers were reallocated to serve with the East Indies Fleet and from the 23rd of that month the title of 'escort carrier squadron' was dropped and they became the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron (21 ACS), with Commodore GN Oliver CB, DSO*** as their flag officer in command.

AMEER's next operation commenced on February 22nd when she sailed as part of Force 62 to undertake operation 'STACEY'. Force 62 comprised of the CVEs EMPRESS (flying the flag of Vice Admiral Walker) and AMEER, the cruiser KENYA, destroyers VOLAGE, VIRAGO, VIGILANT, and frigates SPEY, SWALE and PLYM. Logistic support was provided by the Tanker Group, Force 61, RFA ECHODALE escorted by the frigate TRENT. Operation STACEY was a series of photographic reconnaissance missions covering Sumatra and the Kra Isthmus.

For this operation a reduced 804 squadron had embarked on February 20th, a flight of four were detached to operate from EMPRESS to provide fighter escorts for the Photo reconnaissance Hellcats of 888 squadron. On the 24th and 25th the force was cruising around the Andaman Islands; small groups of Japanese aircraft were picked up on the radar screens but it was not until March 1st that the first enemy aircraft were engaged by 804 Squadron Hellcats. At 0824 hours a flight of four of AMEER's planes engaged a Ki46 Dinah 100 miles W of Katchell Isle, Nicobar which broke up when attacked and crashed into the sea. At 1045 a flight of two from EMPRESS attacked a Ki43 Oscar which dove into the sea, and at 1350 a pair of Hellcats from AMEER's CAP forced another Ki43 Oscar into the sea. These three Japanese aircraft were the first to be shot down by fighters operating from British escort carriers. On completion of the photo reconnaissance of the Kra Isthmus, the adjacent islands and Penang, the ships of Force 62 had moved to a position off Simalur Island by March 4th where similar missions were carried out over Sumatra and Sabang. One Hellcat was lost during this operation, on the 26th Lt. RJH Cross flying in JW738 struck his aircraft's tail on the rounddown and went over the port side into the sea, he was safely rescued by the destroyer screen.

Force 62 proceeded to rendezvous with the oiling force on March 2nd and continued the operation. On completion of Operation STACEY Force 62 returned to Trincomalee on March 7th. HMS AMEER disembarked 804 squadron to RNAS Colombo on March 10th 1945.

Operational training off Trincomalee: March - June 1945

At some point during march the ship sailed for Durban to undergo boiler clean and a period of defect ratification.  on completion she embarked the 18 Hellcats of 896 squadron by crane from the quayside on April 24th. The squadron had flown into RN Air Section Stamford Hill, Durban on April 22nd from RNAS Wingfield, Cape Town. A further 6 aircraft arrived on the 26th, having been delayed at SAAF Port Elizabeth , initially through sabotage, then by bad weather.  The personnel and aircrew were embarked and AMEER  sailed for Madras. On reaching the Indian coast 896 flew ashore to RNAS Tambaram, AMEER proceeded to Trincomalee.

 The ship received her third commanding officer during May, Commander Peter D.H.R. Pelly, DSO relieved Captain Lewes. Commander Pelly's previous appointment was at the Admiralty Plans division in London, prior to that he served in Cruisers.

AMEER re-embark 804 squadron on May 14th;  Hellcat JX883 flown by Sub Lt. DP May missed all the arrestor wires , went through No. I barrier and was halted by No.2. The squadron was to remain embarked until AMEER was to complete her next offensive operation which commenced on June 14th.

This last period of flying operations had a heavy toll on the squadron strength, on May 28th four aircraft were put out of action when Lt. T H Pemberton's aircraft, Hellcat JW723, bounced on landing, the hook missed all the wines and broke through the barriers into the aircraft park, causing damage to t JX827, JW733 & JX889. A fifth aircraft was damaged the following day when Hellcat JW725 went into the Barrier, and a sixth, Hellcat JX801 on June 1st.

Operation 'BALSAM': June 1945
On June 13th the six Hellcat (II PR)s of 888 squadron flew out from RNAS Colombo to join the ship in preparation for AMEER's participation in operation 'BALSAM', the photographic reconnaissance of Southern Malaya and strikes against Sumatran airfields. This operation was carried out by Force 63, consisting of Cruisers ROYALIST (Flag AC 21) and SUFFOLK, CVEs STALKER (809 Squadron), KHEDIVE (808 Squadron), and AMEER (804 Squadron), Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, REDOUBT, RELENTLESS, and ROEBUCK. The Force sailed from Trincomalee on June14th.

On reaching the northern approaches to the Malacca Straits, aircraft of 888 Squadron made successful photographic reconnaissance flights over southern Malaya on the 18th, 19th, and 20th June. The squadron was down one aircraft after the first sortie as Sub Lt. EC Godden in Hellcat JV228; caught late wire and hit the barrier. Fighter strikes against the airfields at Lhoksemawe, Medan, and Binjai were made by aircraft of 809 Squadron Seafires, 804, and 808 Squadrons Hellcats on 20th June. Runways at Medan and Binjai were put out of action with 500 lb bombs. Attacks on grounded enemy aircraft resulted in 3 being destroyed, 7 left burning and probably destroyed and 9 damaged. Aerodrome buildings, locomotives, and rolling stock were also effectively strafed. 2 junks, - one carrying oil - were attacked and set on fire off Medan. Operational looses were 1 Hellcat shot down by A.A. fire. Force 63 was not challenged throughout the operation.

HMS AMEER returned to Ceylon on June 23rd, and serviceable aircraft of 804 squadron flew ashore to RNAS Tambaram; their place was taken by the Hellcats of 896 squadron which transferred to AMEER form EMPRESS on the 24th for upcoming operation in July. 888 flew ashore to RNAS Colomboon June 25th.
 

May 28th 1945: Four aircraft were put out of action when Lt. T H Pemberton's aircraft, Hellcat JW723, bounced on landing,  missed all the wines and broke through the barriers into the aircraft park, causing damage to JX827, JW733 & JX889.  Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perry


Operation 'COLLIE': July 1945

This operation was in preparation for Malayan coast landings and included screening operations for 6th Minesweeping Flotilla (Force 62, 9 minesweepers) during clearance of mines in approaches to the Malacca Straits and the bombardment of Car Nicobar. AMEER was to operate as part of Force 61 which comprised of the cruiser NIGERIA, CVEs AMEER (896 squadron) and EMPEROR (800 Squadron) Destroyers ROEBUCK, ESKIMO and VIGILANT as screen. The force sailed from Trincomalee on July 2nd, Force 62 carried out minesweeping operations between the 5th - 10th while NIGERIA carried out 8 bombardments between the 5th - 9th. Hellcats from AMEER and EMPEROR carried out air strikes against targets on Car Nicobar and Nancowry.

Further air strikes were launched on the 11th when AMEER and EMPEROR launched a total of 24 aircraft to attack airfields at Kota Raja and Lho Nga in NW Sumatra. A single Japanese aircraft approached and was shot down. Four Hellcats were lost on operation 'COLLIE' and two pilots were killed; Sub Lt. W Stewart was killed when his aircraft Hellcat JX677 Swung to port on a dawn take off on July 5th and dove into the sea, it sank immediately. The other fatality was the 896 squadron C.O. Lt. Cdr RM Norris, his Hellcat JX680 was hit by flak during a shipping strike on July 7th, and dove into the sea on fire. Force 61 withdrew and returned to Trincomalee on July 14th. HMS AMEER arrived back at Ceylon and 896 squadron was disembarked to RNAS Trincomalee on the 18th.
 

HMS AMEER at anchor at Trincomalee, here she has the Hellcats of No.804 Squadron ranged on deck. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perry


Operation 'LIVERY': July 1945
AMEER was deployed with Force 63 for operation LIVERY on July 19th, re-embarking 804 squadron on that date. Force 63 comprised of two groups, group 1: Battleship NELSON, cruiser SUSSEX, and CVEs EMPRESS and AMEER with Destroyers PALADIN, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE and RAIDER to cover minesweeping operations carried out by group 2 and conduct strikes on targets in northern Malaya.. Group 2 comprised HM Minesweepers PLUCKY, PINCHER, VESTAL RIFLEMAN and HM Indian danlayers PUNJAB and DECCAN..

The force left Trincomalee on the 19th and after passing through the Sombrero Channel during the night of 22nd/23rd July, arrived off Phuket a.m. on the 24th. The operation began later that day and was to last for three days. This was an intense flying period for the two CVEs, over a 3 day period Hellcats from both carriers flew over 150 sorties against targets on the Kraa Isthmus. Targets included shipping, rail traffic and airfields; three small ships were destroyed and eleven others strafed in the Singora area, fifteen locomotives were put out of action, and wagons strafed, on the railway line between Bandon and Dhungsong Strikes destroyed or damaged more than 30 Japanese aircraft on the ground, and a camp at Huatsei was bombed

On July 26th HMS AMEER was attacked by a Kamikaze, a single 'Sonia' attempted to dive onto AMEER, it was hit and successfully deflected by fire from the ships' defensive armament, splashing into the sea some 500 yards out. Operation LIVERY was the last offensive operation carried out by the East Indies Fleet in WW2; two minesweepers were sunk during the operation; the remaining ships of Force 63 returned to Trincomalee on July 28th.

Operation 'CARSON': August 1945
After restoring and replacing damaged airframes AMEER was allocated to Force 61 for operation CARSON, to conduct attacks on shipping and airfields in Penang and Medan areas. Force 61, consisting of the AA Cruiser ROYALIST (Flag of Rear Admiral G.N. Oliver, CB, DSO, Rear Admiral Commanding 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron), CVEs AMEER, EMPEROR, EMPRESS, KHEDIVE, and SHAH, Destroyers TARTAR (Captain (D), Tenth Destroyer Flotilla), PENN, VIGILANT, and VERULAM. The Force sailed from Trincomalee on August 10th, to carry out the planned strikes on August 14th and 15th.

On August 11th the force was ordered  to hold west of 90 degrees East and await further orders; the operation was eventually cancelled in light of the news of Japan's announced willingness to accept the Allies surrender terms. The Force subsequently returned to Trincomalee, arriving on August 15th when the Station General Message 'SUSPEND OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS AGAINST JAPANESE FORCES' was made to all ships and allied forces.

HMS AMEER celebrated V-J Day in Trincomalee harbour but the festivities were brief, the ship was back at sea for flying operations a few days later with 804 squadron. The first peace time flying accident occurred on the 23rd when Lt RA Guinness, in Hellcat JX802, caught no.1 wire and dropped his port wing on landing, his aircraft slewed to port and crashed into the port walkway.
 

The sconce aboard HMS AMEER at anchor at Trincomalee, on the night of August 15th 1945 as the fleet celebrates the Japanese surrender. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perry


The surrenders at Penang, Sabang and Singapore: August -September 1945 Operations 'JURIST', 'BEECHAM, & 'TIDERACE'
With hostilities over attention turned to the reoccupation of former British territories held by Japanese forces, but it was to be late August before orders were received to send out naval forces to reoccupy key ports in Burma, Malaya and Singapore. Elements of the EIF had put to sea on V-J Day to conduct operation 'JURIST', the reoccupation of Penang by British Marines. Vice Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, Vice Admiral Commanding Third Battle Squadron sailed with Task Force 11 in the Battleship HMS NELSON, in company with Cruisers NIGERIA, and CEYLON, CVEs HUNTER, STALKER, SHAH, and ATTACKER, Destroyers TARTAR (Captain (D), Tenth Destroyer Flotilla), PETARD, VOLAGE, and LCIs PRINCESS BEATRIX, and QUEEN EMMA, being the largest of these.

Shortly after these forces took passage eastward delays in negotiations, and in the arrival of the Japanese Emperor's orders to cease hostilities in South East Asia became apparent; orders were issued postponing the start of 'JURIST' and on August 20th all forces took shelter on the north east coast of Great Nicobar Island. Political constraints also meant that no landing could take place until after signing of surrender in Tokyo. These delays meant that all plans were now to change, the occupation of Penang was to be undertaken as Operation JURIST and the occupation of Sabang as Operation BEECHAM. Operation TIDERACE, the occupation of Singapore by the 5th Division. Carriers of the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron were to provide air cover for the various forces and convoys that were to take part in these operations (AMEERs role is not well documented but she was at sea and conducting flying operations during late August).

Force 11 arrived off Penang and Force 68 off Sabang on August 28th, and negotiations for the formal surrenders at Penang and Sabang commenced. On august 31st the Surrender of Japanese forces in Sumatra was carried out on board HMS LONDON, followed by the Surrender of Japanese forces in Malaya was accepted on board HMS NELSON on September 1st. The main surrender document which was signed in Tokyo Bay on the morning of September 2nd and HMS LONDON landed her Royal Marines for the occupation of Sabang a few hours later. Marines from NELSON occupied Penang the following day.

Operation TIDERACE commenced with sailings from Trincomalee and Rangoon on August 31st bound for Singapore. Force 'N' under Flag Officer Rear Admiral C.S. Holland, CB in the Cruiser SUSSEX, with destroyer VIGILANT, was to join with a convoy consisting of 26 L.C.I. (L), RFA DEWDALE, Hospital Ship . AMARAPOORA, and HMS KEDAH (H.Q. Ship of Rear Admiral J.A.V. Morse, CB, CBE, DSO, Flag Officer Malaya designate) which had sailed earlier. HMS SUSSEX and Force 'N' arrived off Singapore on September 4th. The surrender of Japanese forces in Singapore was accepted on board SUSSEX later that day.

The reoccupation of Malaya and Singapore, Operation 'ZIPPER' September 1945
At the same time the Japanese surrender was accepted in Singapore AMEER put to sea from Trincomalee to escort assault convoys as part of operation 'ZIPPER', the reoccupation of Malaya and Singapore. On September 6th she joined Convoy ME1F and proceeded to the Malacca Straits to participate in troop landings at Port Swettenham and Port Dickson. On the 9th AMEER provided air cover during landings near Port Swettenham with Force 61, CVEs KHEDIVE, EMPEROR and STALKER, Battleships NELSON and RICHELIEU and the Cruiser ROYALIST. No resistance had been experienced on any of the landings and Force 61 continued on to Singapore on the 10th. On reaching Singapore they waited for instructions.

On the 11th Force 61 anchored in Singapore Roads between 0930 and 1030; later the order was given for part of the force to proceed into the harbour. The CVEs EMPEROR, HUNTER, KHEDIVE and STALKER anchored in Keppel Harbour, Singapore. AMEER and EMPRESS1 were among 90 ships (including 70 RN and RIN warships, 3 Royal Fleet Auxiliaries, 3 hospital ships and 14 merchant vessels) present in Singapore Roads for the ceremony in which the Japanese forces in South East Asia surrendered on September 12th.

The following day AMEER was released from 'ZIPPER' and sailed for Trincomalee, arriving there on the 20th. 804 squadron flew off the ship at the start of October and departed for RNAS Coimbatore, Southern India, arriving there on October 3rd.


Return to the UK and preparations to Pay Off: October - December 1945

As part of the rapid rundown of naval forces following the end of the war AMEER was nominated for return to UK for Paying-off and once her squadron had left work began on preparing for her voyage home. After storing ship and loading passengers and cargo AMEER sailed for the UK on October 30th 1945. Among her passengers were the personnel of 804 squadron, the aircraft had been withdrawn on arrival at RNAS Coimbatore and the aircrew and other squadron personnel assembled at Trincomalee before embarking on the 30th. AMEER arrived on the Clyde on November 18th and unloaded her passengers and cargo; 804 squadron was officially disbanded on arrival on the Clyde.

 

HMS AMEER was no longer required for service in the Royal Navy and the majority of her crew were drafted to RN Barracks, a steaming crew was left aboard to handle the ship on her final Atlantic crossing. Work began to prepare her for her return to the custody of the US Navy as soon as her passengers had left, de-storing her and removing Admiralty equipment before she moved to Plymouth for the removal of other equipment and other stores. From Plymouth she proceeded to Southampton were she embarked 476 U.S. troops for passage to Newport News.

Disposal: return to US custody January 1946
HMS AMEER sailed from the UK for the last time on December 22nd and set a course for Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia via Newport News. She arrived at Newport News on Wednesday January 2nd 1946 and disembarked the 476 troops, of Co. E. 355th Infantry, and the 325th Port Co. both returning home from Europe. She secured alongside at Norfolk Navy Yard the following day and was paid off.

 

CVE - 35 was returned to US Naval custody at Norfolk, Virginia on January 17th 1946., No further use was too be made of her as an aircraft carrier and she was marked for disposal, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on March 20th 1946. On September 17rh1946 she was purchased by the Robin Line (part of the Seas Shipping Co., Inc., of New York); on completion of her conversion into a passenger freighter she was renamed S.S. 'ROBIN KIRK'. She was scrapped in Taiwan in 1969.

 

 

Notes:

 

1 Wragg (2006) page 172 records ' ..the catapult on EMPRESS broke down as the ship entered the straights of Malacca and was forced to return, reaching Trincomalee on 12 September.'

 

 


Content revised: 31 January 2017

Sources used in compiling this account:

Brown, D. (1974) 'Carrier Operations in World War 2 - vol 1 the Royal Navy' Shepperton, Ian Allen Ltd.

Hobbs, D. (2003) 'Royal Navy Escort Carriers' Liskeard, Maritime Books

Poolman, K. (1988) 'Allied Escort Carriers of World War Two in Action' London, Blandford Press

Poolman, K. (1972) 'Escort Carriers 1941 - 1945' Shepperton, Ian Allen Ltd.

Sturtivant, R. & Burrows, M. (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945' Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)

Sturtivant, R & Balance, T., (1994) 'Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)

Weaver, D. (2004) 'The History of HMS Queen - A World War II Lend Lease Escort Aircraft Carrier' Hong Kong, D.G. Weaver.

Winton, J. (1969) 'The forgotten Fleet', London, Michael Joseph Ltd.

Wragg. D., (2005) 'The escort carrier in World War II', Pen & Sword Maritime, Barnesley

 

British officers (including Commonwealth officers serving in British units) Part of WWII Unit Histories and Officers web site.

Convoy Web A comprehensive resource listing WW2 convoys and ships .

Flying Marines. William George Southcote ASTON, Commander (F) of HMS AMEER

Naval-History.Net:
 World War 2 service histories
Admiralty war diaries of World War 2 - Eastern Fleet - January to October 1945
Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies, 1922-present

War Sailors Ships in Atlantic and miscellaneous convoys during WW2.

On-line archive Fold3.com various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

Miscellaneous documents

 

 

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