HMS Speaker

HMS Speaker was a Ruler class escort carrier that served with the fleet train of the British Pacific Fleet from March 1945 until VJ Day.

The Speaker was laid down as USS Delgada Bay (CVE-40) on 9 October 1942. It was completed in the United States on 20 November 1943, but as with many American-built escort carriers it needed further work to bring it up to British safety standards, and didn't enter service for another year.

1944

In mid-September 1944 HMS Speaker relieved the deck-landing training carrier Argus, operating alongside HMS Ravager. During this period 290 pupils passed their initial deck landing training and 17 were give refresher courses on the three carriers.

On 16 December 1943 No.1840 Squadron, with its Hellcat Is, embarked on the Speaker. It then disembarked to receive the Hellcat II, re-embarking at Ayr on 31 December.

1945

The Speaker was allocated to the British Pacific Fleet, and reached the Far East in time to take part in the fighting around Okinawa. The main carriers of the British fleet were formed into Task Force 57, supported by the Fleet Train, which was designated Task Force 112. On 15 March the Speaker left port with Task Unit 112/2/5, to provide fighter cover over the replenishment fleet.

The Hellcat IIs of No.1840 Squadron provided a CAP for replenishment on 25 March, 14 April and 18-19 April, before leaving the fleet to return to Leyte. 

On 27 April No.1840 Squadron disbanded into No.1839, leaving the Speaker without a squadron. From then until the end of the war it served as a ferry carrier, supplying replacement aircraft to the main fleet carriers. Aircraft were transferred on 10-11 and 22 May and the Speaker was still performing this role up to VJ Day.

On 3 September 1945 the Speaker sailed from Tokyo Bay to take 500 released prisoners of war to Sydney. Before departing she sailed around the powerful units of the British Pacific Fleet anchored in the harbour.

The Speaker was returned to the US Navy on 17 July 1946 and sold off as a merchantman.

Squadrons

No.1840 NAS
 
Joins with Hellcat II on 16 December 1944, then goes to Far East where provides cover for British Pacific Fleet auxiliaries. Disbanded into No.1939 Squadron on 27 April 1945.

Displacement (loaded)

11,400t standard
15,390t deep load

Top Speed

18kts

Length

495ft 3in-496ft 8in oa

Armaments

18-24 aircraft
Two 5in/38 US Mk 12 in two single mountings
Sixteen 40mm Bofors guns in eight double mountings
Twenty seven to thirty five 20mm cannon

Crew complement

646

Launched

20 February 1943

Completed

20 November 1943

To USA

1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 July 2010), HMS Speaker , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Speaker.html

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