HMS Arbiter

Ferry Carrier

Ex USS St Simon ACV/CVE-51
Became Coracero 1948, President Macapagal 1964, Lucky Two 1971



Arbiter (D-31) was a Ruler class escort carrier built in the USA at Seattle-Tacoma, laid down 26 April 1943 as USS St Simon ACV/CVE-51, and launched 9 September 1943. She was transferred and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 31 December 1943.

The Ruler class carriers were the third group of escort carriers built in the USA for the Royal Navy, and were generally similar to the preceding "Attacker" Class. The modifications carried out to the earlier class after their arrival in the UK were incorporated in the "Ruler" Class during construction. Many of the class were used as amphibious support carriers, taking part in the invasion of Southern France. Others supported Eastern Fleet operations against Burma and Malaya, and some served with the British Pacific Fleet as escorts for the Fleet Train.

Arbiter's war service was as a Fighter Carrier and auxiliary oiler, 1942-1945. She saw service primarily in the Atlantic, 1944. Served as a transport and CAP carrier in the Pacific late in the war, her squadron 1843 corsairs, embarking in February 1945. Early in July 1945, 899 seafire squadron which had disembarked from HMS Chaser to Schofields, Australia  became a Seafire OTU training Australian pilots in naval aviation techniques.  Deck landing  training was carried out in the carrier HMS Indomitable, for the first course, and HMS Arbiter for the second course.  Successful pupils were to form the nucleus of the Australian Fleet Air Arm.

Corsair IV, 1843 Sqn, HMS Arbiter, Indian Ocean, 1945.

On 9 July 1945, HMS Arbiter was joined by HMAS Nizam, HMAS Napier, HM Ships Striker, and Glenarthney, forming BPF Task Unit 112.2.6, and proceeded to the Pacific Fleet Service area, and were joined 10 days later by HMS Indefatigable, escorted by destroyers Wrangler and Wakeful, and the following day met up with the main Task Unit 57. On 1 August 1945 HMAS Nizam, escorted HMS Arbiter in proceeding to rendezvous with Task Force 37 in the vicinity of Saipan, in preparations for air strikes on Japan on 9-10 August 1945, in company with the US Third Fleet.

Arbiter returned to the USN on 3 March 1946. Became Coracero 1948, President Macapagal 1964, Lucky Two 1971. Scrapped Kaohsiung 1972.

Battle Honours
 Atlantic 1944, Pacific 1945.

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
853 May 1944-June 1944 Avenger II
1820 June 1944  Helldiver I
1843 Feb 1945-July 1945 Corsair IV

Associations and Reunions

Number 00105RN
Trying to Trace : John Murray Simon
Service/Unit : HMS Arbiter
Rank : Lt Cmdr
Other Information : Navigator's Yeoman, Fred Roberts is trying to contact
John Murray Simon who was the Navigating Office on Arbiter. I am sure
Fred would also like to contact anyone else who remembers him from
those days. Do you have any information which may assist John, Please contact :-
Him direct at :-
Lost Comrades at Veterans Rendezvous.
Carrier name HMS Arbiter
Ex USS St Simon ACV/CVE-51.
Became Coracero 1948, President Macapagal 1964, Lucky Two 1971
Class Ruler
Type Fighter Escort Carrier (US built)
Ships in Class Ameer, Arbiter, Atheling, Begum, Emperor, Empress, Khedive, Nabob, Patroller, Premier, Puncher, Queen, Rajah, Ranee, Reaper, Ruler, Shah, Slinger, Smiter, Speaker, Thane, Trouncer, Trumpeter
Launched Laid down 26 April 1943. Launched 9 Sept 1943. Transferred 31 Dec 1943, Commissioned 31 Dec 1943 
Tonnage 8,333 tons

Gross displacement 14,000 tons

Load 5667 tons

Engines 2 x Foster-Wheeler boilers; 2 x Westinghouse geared turbines at 8500 shp, 1 shaft
Speed in Knots 18 knots 
Armament Gun 2 x 1 x 5"/38-cal DP 8 x 2 x 40mm AA 27-35 x 1 x 20mm AA 
Crew Complement 646 Officers & Ratings including Air Group
Length (ft/inches) 496
Beam (ft/inches) 69' 6"
Draught (ft/inches) 23'3"
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) 470'
Flight Deck width (ft/inches) 70'
Number of aircraft carried 18-24
Fate of carrier  Scrapped at Kaohiung 1972

World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway American based World Aircraft Carrier Lists & Photo Gallery - one of the definitive online sources for British and world aircraft carrier & seaplane tender data, histories and images - over 1000 photos. 
British Forces. com web Information
NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive CVE-51 HMS ARBITER (Ex- CVE-51 ST. SIMON)        CLASS - BOGUE  
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)(1944). 320 pages. Crescent Books; ISBN: 0517679639

        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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