Escort Carrier
Ex Mormacland
Ex USS St George ACV-17, CVE-17


HMS Pursuer was an Attacker class Fighter carrier, built in the USA at Ingalls Pascagoula, Mississippi, being laid down as mercantile Mormacland, 31 July 1941 and launched 18 July 1942. She was purchased by the USN on 14 June 1943 as USS ST George ACV/CVE-17, and transferred the same day to the Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS Pursuer.

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.

HMS Pursuer remained as a "Fighter Carrier" from 1943-1945, operating in the Atlantic 1943 - 5 and in Norway. She provided fighter cover during Operation "Tungsten" in April 1944.  On 3 April 3 1944, the German battleship Tirpitz lying in a Fjord in Arctic Norway was attacked by a strike force of Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bombers from HMS Furious and HMS Victorious. They were accompanied by escort aircraft of Grumman Wildcats, Hellcats and Vought Corsairs from the escort carriers Searcher, Fencer, Pursuer, and Emperor.

Subsequently, she supported the D-Day Normandy landings in June 1944, as well as operations leading to the invasion of southern France 1944, and Aegean 1944. Later Pursuer joined the British Pacific Fleet and was operational following arrived at Colombo 25 July 45. Assigned RN designation R309 circa 1945 for service in the Pacific, but probably not redesignated.

After the war in the Far East was officially over on 15 August the main activity for both British fleets was to accept the Japanese surrender in the numerous islands and areas of coast were they had been in control. In many cases there was still the risk of continued resistance, particularly in Malaya. On 9 September Operation Zipper, the recapture of Malaya, was put into effect, but without a previously arranged air and sea bombardment. Over 100,000 troops landed at various points escorted by HMS Nelson, Richelieu, Nigeria, Cleopatra, Royalist and Ceylon, with the escort carriers Hunter, Stalker, Archer, Khedive, Emperor, Pursuer and Trumpeter with 15 destroyers.

HMS Pursuer was returned to the USN on 12 February 1946 and scrapped.

Battle Honours

Norway 1944,  Normandy 1944, South of France 1944, Aegean 1944, Arctic 1945 and Atlantic 1943-45

No information on Captains.

Squadrons and Aircraft

FAA squadrons embarked Dates Aircraft type
896 Nov 1943-June 1944 Wildcat V
881 Nov 1943-Nov 1944 Wildcat V/VII
881 March-April 1945 Wildcat VI

Associations and Reunions
No information

Carrier name HMS Pursuer
EX Mormacland, Ex USS St George ACV/CVG-17
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 1946

NavSource Online: Photo Archives Escort Carriers: HMS Pursuer Photographs of the escort carrier PURSUER 
Aircraft profiles by Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals The following profiles relevant to HMS Puncher include Hellcat II, JX995, 898 Squadron, HMS Pursuer, late 1945 
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

World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway
       Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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