HMS Smiter

HMS Smiter was a Ruler class escort carrier that saw little service during the Second World War, accompanying a small number of Atlantic convoys in 1944, before sailing to the Far East too late to see any action.

HMS Smiter was laid down as USS Vermillion (CVE-52) on 10 May 1943. Launched in September of the same year, she was completed in an impressive four months.

Some wartime records refer to these ships as Smiter class escort carriers. In 1943-44 some work was done on what would be needed to turn then into assault force flagships, although this project was never carried out.


The Smiter was used to carry Nos.856 and 1841 Squadrons across the Atlantic. She made at least two west-to-east accompanying convoys, starting with CU.27, leaving New York on 8 June and reaching the UK on 19 June, and then accompanies CU.31, leaving New York on 10 July and arriving in the UK on 21 July. A period of working-up and preparations in British dockyards then followed.


HMS Hunter in the Aegean
HMS Smiter

In the first part of 1945 the Smiter served as a deck landing training carrier, operating alongside Ravager and Battler. Between them 375 pupils qualified in deck landing in the first quarter of 1945.

In the summer of 1945 the Smiter sailed to the Far East, carrying the personnel of No.815 Squadron. She arrived on the East Indies Station on 26 July, and was to take part in the operations of the East Indies Fleet before moving on to join the British Pacific Fleet. The end of the war meant that she didn't see any action in the east.

The Smiter was returned to the US Navy on 6 April 1946 and sold off as a merchantman.


No.815 NAS

The personnel of No.814 Squadron travelled to the Far East on Smiter in the summer of 1945.

No.856 NAS

No.856 Squadron crossed the Atlantic on the Smiter with its Avenger IIs during June 1944.

No.1841 NAS

No.1841 Squadron embarked in the US on 5 June 1944 with its Corsair IIs and disembarked in the UK on 21 June 1944.

Displacement (loaded)

11,400t standard
15,390t deep load

Top Speed



27,500 miles at 11 knots


495ft 3in-496ft 8in oa


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



27 September 1943


20 January 1944



Fleet Air Arm Carrier Warfare, Kev Darling. A complete history of the Fleet Air Arm's use of aircraft carriers, from the earliest experiments during the First World War, through the Second World War, where the carriers became the most important capital ships in the navy, the Korean War, which saw the Fleet Air Arm involved from the beginning to the end, the Falklands War, which re-emphasised the important of the carrier and right up to the current 'super-carriers'. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 July 2010), HMS Smiter ,

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