Escort Carrier

EX Rio de Janeiro. 


HMS Dasher was built at Sun Shipbuilding, Chester. Pennsylvania., and laid down as US mercantile Rio de Janeiro. She was converted to aedscort carrier on 12 April 1941 and named BAVG-5, after which she was transferred to the Royal Navy on completion 1 July 1942 and commissioned 1 July 1942.

This ship was basically similar to the "Archer" Class, but differed sufficiently to be regarded as a separate class. All in the Class were converted in the USA from mercantile hulls. When Avenger and Biter first arrived in the UK they went immediately into dockyard hands to have their flight-decks lengthened by 42 feet to allow Swordfish aircraft to take off with a full load of weapons and fuel.

HMS Dasher supported the North African landings in November 1942. This was the last time the Sea Hurricane was used - Operation Torch, the amphibious assault on North Africa. Sea Hurricanes of 800 and 801 squadron flew off of HMS Biter, while HMS Dasher carried Sea Hurricanes of 835 squadron. The Sea Hurricanes were very successful in protecting the beachheads against the French, with five Dewoitine D.520s being shot down and a further 47 aircraft destroyed on the ground. Once the invasion had taken hold, the carriers withdrew, leaving the job of air cover to the RAF and the USAAF.

Subsequently HMS Dasher was destroyed by an accidental aviation fuel explosion in the Clyde off Arran on 27 March. 1943.

The wreck is located in the Firth of Clyde, S of Little Cumbrae Island, Scotland.

Battle Honours
Atlantic 1942, North Africa 1942, Arctic 1943.


No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft
15 aircraft: 12  Swordfish and 3 Sea Hurricane fighters

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
804 Oct-Nov 1942 Sea Hurricane IIc
837 dt Jan-Feb 1943 Swordfish I
891 Jan-Feb 1943 Sea Hurricane IIc
816 Feb-March 1943 Swordfish II

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Dasher
Ex mercantile Rio de Janeiro, converted to BAVG-5
Class Avenger Class
Type Escort Carrier (US built)
Ships in Class Avenger, Biter, Dasher, Charger (retained in the US for FAA training) 
Launched Converted 12 April 1941 Commissioned 1 July 1942
Tonnage Net displacement 8,200 tons Gross displacement 14,500 tons Load 6,300 tons 
Engines 2 x diesels @ 5200 hp , 1 shaft
Speed in Knots 16
Armament Gun 3 x 1 x 4"/50-cal HA/LA 4 x 2 x 20mm 7 x 1 x 20mm 
Crew Complement 555 Officers & Ratings including Air Group
Length (ft/inches) Length 492'3"
Beam (ft/inches) Beam 69'6" 
Draught (ft/inches) Draught 25'
Flight Deck length (ft/inches) 480'
Flight Deck width (ft/inches) 70'
Number of aircraft carried 15
Fate of carrier  Blew up and sank off Arran in the Clyde 27 March 1943

NavSource Photo Archives Escort Carriers archives info about HMS DASHER (BAVG 5)
 Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS  HAWKER SEA HURRICANE Mk. XIIA, 804 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, HMS Dasher, November 1942 Operation Torch - forced-landed on beach St. Leu, Algeria, 8.11.42
World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway
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). Jane's 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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