Escort Fighter Carrier
Ex US AVG-22
Became Captain Theo 1947, 
Oriental Banker 1964. 


HMS Searcher was an Attacker class escort carrier built in the USA at Seattle-Tacoma as USS AVG-22, completed by Commercial Iron Works. Transferred to the Royal Navy on completion on 20 June 1942, aand commissioned in RN service as HMS Searcher (D40) 7 April 1943.

The "Attacker" Class were the second batch of escort carriers built in the USA for the Royal Navy, the lead ship - Attacker - having originally been intended to be one of the "Avenger" Class. They were also the first escort carriers to be ordered after the USA entered the war; the USN kept the other 10 vessels ordered at the same time, as these became the "Bogue" Class. Once the ships were ready for action they soon proved themselves, both as convoy escorts and fighter support ships for amphibious landings.

Searcher saw service as a "Fighter Carrier" from 1943 operating mainly around the UK, although she did provide Atlantic convoy escort at the end of the year, departing late December to escort ships including Procyon to the USA to load cargo for shipment to the British Isles arriving at Norfolk 2 January 1944. She formed part of the Home Fleet Strike force in Operaytion Tungsten consisting of HMS Victorious, Emperor, Pursuer, Furious, Searcher and Fencer, where her role was to provide fighter cover in the 3 April 1944 air attack by Fairey Barracuda against the German Battleship Tirpitz. Subsequently, she supported the invasion of southern France. She provided convoy escort for the remainder of the year including escorting free French ships in December 1943 to the USA arriving at Norfolk 2 January 1944. throughout 1944-45, during which her aircraft of 853 squadron assisted in sinking the German Uboat U711 on 4 May 1945 in the Arctic near Harstad, Norway, in position 68.43,717N, 16.34,600E, by depth charges in cooperation with Avengers and Wildcat aircraft from 846 and 882 squadrons of Trumpeter and Queen. They attacked the u-boat tender and depot-ship Black Watch, and ex-Norwegian ship, which in place was defended by the Flak-ship Thesis. One Avenger and one Wildcat VI was shot down, the Wildcat seems to have exploded close to the surface while the Avenger made a fatal emergency landing in the mountains up from the bay of Kilbotn. The Uboat U711 was sunk alongside the depot ship Black Watch and was the last Uboat sunk by the Fleet Air Arm.

Searcher then departed for the British Pacific Fleet 1 July 1945 and arrived approximately 15 August 1945 as the war ended.

Searcher returned to the USN on 29 November 1945, and became mercantile Captain Theo 1947 and Oriental Banker 1964. Scrapped 1976.

Battle Honours
Atlantic 1943 - 4, Norway 1944 - 5, South France 1944, Aegean 1944

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
882 Dec 1943-July 1944 Wildcat V
898 Oct 1943-July 1944 Wildcat V
882 Feb-Oct 1945 Wildcat VI
826 May 1945 Barracuda II

Associations and Reunions

Frank Chapman who would be about 80 years old now. He served in the Navy in 2nd world war on aircraft carrier. HMS Formidable or HMS Searcher. Last known address was in Birmingham. Old friend trying to get in touch is Edward (Eddie) Wood of Manchester from the fleet air arm. Please contact if you know of him email
Missing You website 12 Mar 2000

HMS Formidable HMS Searcher - aircraft carriers 2nd world war. My father Edward (Eddie) Wood from Manchester (he is 76 now) he was in the fleet air arm, is looking for people he knew then. He  is particularly interested in Frank Chapman whos last known address was in Birmingham, Bert Galimore from Stoke. If you are someone who knew him or knew Frank or Bert please could you e mail me at Thankyou.
Missing You website 12 Mar 2000

Carrier name HMS Searcher
became mercantile Captain Theo 1947 and Oriental Banker 1964. 
Class Attacker
Type Fighter Escort Carrier (US built)
Ships in Class Attacker, Battler, Chaser, Fencer, Hunter, Pursuer, Ravager, Searcher, Stalker, Striker, Tracker
Tonnage Net displacement 9,800 tons, Gross displacement, Load 6,900 tons 
Engines 2 Foster-Wheeler boilers, 2 Westinghouse geared turbines driving 1 shaft at 8500 shp
Speed in Knots 18.5 knots
Armament Gun 1 x 2 x 4" L/50 AA, 4x 2 x 40mm Bofors AA 10-35 x 20mm Oerlikon AA 
Crew Complement 646 Officers & Ratings excluding Air Group
Length (ft/inches) 496
Beam (ft/inches) 69'6''
Draught (ft/inches) 26
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) 480
Flight Deck width (ft/inches) 70
Number of aircraft carried up to 24
Fate of carrier  Scrapped 1976. 

World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway  
 NavSource Photo Archives Escort Carriers SEARCHER   CVE-22 HMS SEARCHER CLASS - BOGUE photographs
Sturtivant, R & Ballance, T  (1994). 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1994 ISBN: 0 85130 223 8

The World’s Warships 1941 by Francis E. McMurtrie (1944). Janes London 1941 1st ed. 

Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II by Francis E. McMurtrie (Editor)(1984). 320 pages. Crescent Books; ISBN: 0517679639

       Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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