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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS SMITER (D 55) - Ruler-class Escort Aircraft Carrier

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Ranee, sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

RULER-Class Escort Aircraft  Carrier  (Also designated CVE) was obtained under the US/UK  Lend -Lease Lease Agreement.  The ship was a C3 mercantile hull ordered by the US Navy from the Seattle-Tacoma SB Corporation and to be converted during build for use as an Escort Aircraft Carrier. She was laid down on 10th May 1943 and launched on 27th September that year as USS VERMILLION This ship was then  transferred to Willamette Iron and Steel at Portland and fitted for service as an Escort Aircraft Carrier Build was completed on 20th January 1944 when she was formally handed over to the RN and commissioned as  HMS SMITER. This name had not previously been use for an RN ship. US Navy radar outfits were fitted during build.


Battle    Honours




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, four swords saltirewise Proper, pommels and hilts

Gold, interlaced  by a club head downwards,  white.

(Approved after 1945.)



D e t a i l s   o f    W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 4


January                  Contractor's trials

                20th        Build completion and formally transferred to Royal Navy

                                Commissioned as HMS SMITER at Tacoma.

                                Carried out sea trials



                15th        Passage to Esquimalt to carry out modification work to suit RN service.


March                    Under modifications by HM Canadian Dockyard Esquimalt.

                31st         Took passage to San Francisco


April                       Deployed at San Francisco



                8th          Sailed from San Francisco for Panama

                                Transit of Panama Canal

                                Passage to Norfolk Va.

                23rd        Arrived at Norfolk



                1st           Embarked AVENGER aircraft for transport to UK

                5th          Sailed from Norfolk to New York.

                                Embarked CORSAIR aircraft at New York for transport to UK

                                (Note: Passage with routine convoy to be confirmed.).

                                On arrival in Clyde disembarked aircraft.

                20th        Arrived at Liverpool

                                Nominated for service as a Ferry Carrier

                25th        Sailed for New York to embark aircraft


July                         Embarked aircraft in New York for delivery to UK

                7th          Took passage to Clyde from New York.

                                (Note Passage details to be confirmed.)

                21st         Disembarked aircraft on arrival.

                                Taken in hand for defect repair in Clyde shipyard.


August                  Under repair


September             Further repair arranged in commercial shipyard at Newport, Glam.

                14th        Took passage to Newport.


October                  Under repair to electrical system at Newport in commercial shipyard

to                            Nominated for service as a Deck Landing Training Carrier on completion.




                2nd         Sailed from Newport for Clyde on completion of post repair trials.

                                Deployed for training in Clyde area.


1 9 4 5


January                  Refit arranged at Rosyth

                                Passage to Forth

                15th        Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.

                                (Note: Modification of petrol distribution to be confirmed)


February                Under refit

to                            Nominated for conversion to suit deployment in support of convoy defence..

April                       Conversion arranged in Clyde shipyard.

                                Allocated for service in East Indies Fleet.

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes was changed to R321 to conform

                                with US Navy identity for this type of warship.)


May                        Passage to Clyde on completion of trials

                26th        Taken in hand for conversion


June                        Under conversion


July                         On completion of trials prepared for foreign service

                7th          Sailed from Clyde for Colombo.

                                (Note: No Squadron personnel were embarked)


August                  On passage to Colombo

                                (Note: Work-up for Fleet service in Mediterranean to be confirmed.)

                                Passage from Colombo to join Fleet in Trincomalee.



                1st           Deployed at Trincomalee.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS SMITER was used to carry SPITFIRE aircraft to Singapore and then went to Hong Kong. The ship was then used for repatriation of personnel to Ceylon. In November 1945 she transported 888 Squadron aircraft to Singapore before release from East Indies Fleet service. Sailing from Singapore on 28th December the ship took passage to Clyde via the Mediterranean after call at Trincomalee and arrived in UK during February 1946. After being de-stored and British equipment removed she sailed for US in March for return to US Navy custody on 6th April.. The ship was sold for use as a mercantile in 1948 and renamed ARTILLERO. In 1965 she was again sold for similar use and renamed PRESIDENT GARCIA. On 13th July 1967 she was wrecked off Guernsey and became a total loss.


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revised 18/10/10
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