A History of HMS RULER
HMS RULER bearing the pennant number A731 in Sydney
Harbour 1945: Photo: Paul Silverstone N.Y.
Laid down 25
March 1943, at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. Tacoma, Washington, a
C3-S-A1 type freighter Maritime Commission hull number 261,
Seattle-Tacoma hull number 45; purchased by the US navy to be the USS 'ST.
JOSEPH ACV-50 (later CVE-50 from July 13th 1943). Whilst still under
construction it had been decided that AVG-50 was to be transferred to
the Admiralty on loan on her completion as an aircraft carrier. CVE-50
was launched on 21 August 1943 by her sponsor Mrs. W.W. Smyth. She was
transferred to the United Kingdom under Lend Lease and commissioned into
RN service as HMS RULER (D72) 22 December 1943, Captain H.P.
Currey RN in command.
completing her guilder's sea trials Ruler
sailed for Vancouver Island, British Colombia, entering Burrard
Drydock to begin modification to bring equipment to RN standards and to
outfit her as a transport carrier.
completion of her work-up and short crew familiarisation period HMS
Ruler sailed for the Panama Canal, and then on to Norfolk, Virginia,
to embark a ferry load of Hellcats and Corsairs on April 20th 1944,
disembarking them at to RNAS Speke, Liverpool on 6 May 144. After quick
turn-around Ruler returned to the US, this time to Brooklyn, New
York to embark more stores and a second ferry load of Avenger and
Hellcat aircraft, loading between the 20th & 23rd of May 1944. Arriving
in the UK on June 11th, the aircraft were again disembarked to RNAS
returned to the US for a another ferry load in October 1944, loading
Hellcats and Corsairs at Norfolk, Virginia, between October 20th & 29th,
arriving at Greenock to unload on November 18th.
joined the British pacific Fleet as a CAP/Strike carrier from March
1945; her RN designation changed to R311 for service in the Pacific, but
she carried A731 instead.
Bow view of the HMS RULER docked with her flight deck
packed with snow-covered Grumman Hellcat fighters. © IWM
to her departure for the Pacific Ruler worked up with the aircraft
of 885 squadron operating out of RAF Ballyhalbert, conducting DLTs
in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1944. 885 were assigned to
Ruler for CAP/strike role, operating 18 Hellcats and 4 Avengers,
and they continued working up after embarking on December 30th.
Ruler embarked a second squadron, 1772, from RNARY Belfast, with 12
Firefly Is on January 20th for passage to Sydney.
Ruler arrived in Australia in mid-March, disembarking both
squadrons to RNAS Schofields, New South Wales, 1772 on the 18th and
885 following them on the 20th. Ruler re-embarked 885 on April 14th
and proceeded to Manus, Admiralty Islands, disembarking the aircraft
to RNAS Ponam on April 31st., Rulers first operation was as CAP
carrier for operations between May 6th and 27th, sailing from the
forward area at Leyte, the Philippines on May 3rd. After four
replenishment sessions with Task Force 57 she returned to Leyte with
her escort HMS Quilliam, arriving at Leyte on May 27th before
continuing on to Sydney where she arrived on June 5th..
operational period was June 14th - 15th as part of operation 'INMATE'
this time acting as a 'spare deck'. For this operation she carried a
single Air Sea Rescue Walrus of 1701 squadron, but this aircraft was
lost when it was blown overboard in a sudden squall. Ruler briefly
re-embarked 885 on June 17th before a detachment of 12 returning to
Ponam on the 19th. Ruler continued to operate the reduced squadron
whilst operating as a replenishment carrier beginning on July 17th
through to August 15th when hostilities ceased. Her main task was the
periodic replenishment of airframes to the carriers operating strikes
against the Japanese mainland, operating between Leyte, in the
Philippines and the replenishment area south of Japan. 885 squadron
parted company with Ruler on September 5th, joining the Fleet Carrier
Indefatigable which was withdrawing to Australia.
Ruler entered Tokyo Bay on August 31st with elements of the US and
British fleets in preparation for the signing of the Japanese
surrender which was signed on September 2nd. Reaper departed Tokyo
Bay on September 13th bound for Sydney, carrying ex-POWs, After
unloading at Sydney and loading personnel and stores she sailed for
the UK on October 22nd.
Reaper arrived in the Clyde for the last time on December 3rd 1945
and began de-storing in preparation for her return to the US Navy,
She sailed From the Clyde on January 4th 1945 bound for Norfolk ,
Virginia. CVE 50 was returned to US Navy custody on 29 January
1946, and was stricken for disposal 20 March 1946. Sold 31 May 1946
and subsequently scrapped.
fuller account of this ships history will be added at some time in
17 April 2017
Sources used in compiling this account:
Click here for a list of
Fold3.com various documents including;
Admiralty War Diaries
Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries
Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries
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