HMS Audacity (D 10)
Escort carrier of the Audacity class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Bremer Vulcan (Bremen, Germany)|
|Launched||29 Mar 1939|
|Commissioned||20 Jun 1941|
|Lost||21 Dec 1941|
|Loss position||43° 45'N, 19° 54'W|
HMS Audacity was the first of the Royal Navy escort carriers. She was launched 29 March 1939 as the North German Lloyd cargo/passenger liner MV Hannover being completed on 10 May 1939. She was caught outside home waters by the outbreak of war, and captured by the British light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, RN) and the Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine (Cdr. E. Mainguy, RCN) in the West Indies on 8 March 1940 while trying to run the blockade.
Taken into the Royal Navy as Sinbad, then renamed Empire Audacity and commissioned as an Ocean Boarding Vessel 11 Nov 1940. Converted to escort carrier by Blyth Shipbuilding from 22 Jan 1941, commissioned 20 June 1941. Renamed Audacity 30 July 1941.
As the first Escort carrier the design she had no space for a hangar or a lift, so her aircraft were parked on deck. Three arrestor wires and an open conning position on the starboard side were fitted, together with a minimal anti-aircraft armament. As the principal air threat was perceived to be Condor long-range reconnaissance aircraft, her aircraft were all fighters. Hurricanes were proposed but not available, while the Grumman Martlet was not only available but had been specifically designed for carrier operations. Eight aircraft were embarked.
HMS Audacity commenced her war service when she sailed with her first convoy in September 1941 to Gibraltar. On 21 September, one of her aircraft shot down a Focke-Wulf Condor which had just been making a bomb run attack on the convoy rescue ship Walmer Castle. The ship carrying over 80 survivors was set on fire and had to be sunk by gunfire from a corvette.
HMS Audacity (Cdr. Douglas William Mackendrick, RN) participated in two more convoys before being sunk on 21 December 1941, after being hit by three torpedoes from the German submarine U-751 about 470 nautical miles west of Cape Finisterre in position 43º45'N, 19º54'W. The survivors were picked up by the British corvettes HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR), HMS Marigold (Lt. W.S. Macdonald, RNVR), and HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr. J. Byron, RNR).
Hit by U-boat
|U-boat Attack||See our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Audacity|
Commands listed for HMS Audacity (D 10)
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|1||Cdr. Douglas William MacKendrick, RN||10 May 1941||21 Dec 1941 (+)|
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Notable events involving Audacity include:
8 Mar 1940
At abour 0530Z/8, HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CVO, RN), intercepted the German merchant vessel Hannover (5537 GRT, built 1939) about 10 miles from Cape Engano, Santa Domingo. Attempts were made by the German crew to scuttle the ship but the fire could be got under control by the British. The German vessel was taken in tow as all auxliary machinery had been wrecked.
Eleven officers and forty-two men were taken prisoner, but one boat containing seven officers and thirty men managed to escape in the darkness to Santa Domingo.
Course was then set for Kingston. HMCS Assiniboine (Cdr. E. Mainguy, RCN) was in company but she was detached on the 9th to return to the Mona Passage.
The Hannover later became the first British escort carrier, British escort carrier HMS Audacity.
17 Dec 1941
German U-boat U-131 was sunk north-east of Madeira, Portugal, in position 34°12'N, 13°35'W, by depth charges and gunfire from the British escort destroyers HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSC, RN), the British destroyer HMS Stanley (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Shaw, OBE, RN), the British corvette HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr. J. Byron, RNR (retired)) and the British sloop HMS Stork (Cdr. F.J. Walker, RN), and by depth charges from a Martlet aircraft (Sqdn. 802) of the British escort carrier HMS Audacity (Cdr. D.W. Mackendrick, RN).
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