Allied Warships

HMS Archer (D 78)

Escort carrier of the Long Island / Archer class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort carrier
ClassLong Island / Archer 
PennantD 78 
Built bySun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. (Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) 
Laid down25 Jun 1939 
Launched14 Dec 1939 
Commissioned17 Nov 1941 
End service 

HMS Archer's service history includes Atlantic convoy escort from February to November 1942. During November 1942, she ferried 30 P-40 Warhawks from USA to Casablanca, then provided Atlantic convoy escort from December 1942 to October 1943. During this time one of her aircraft, a swordfish from 819 squadron, sank the German Uboat U-752 on 23 May 1943 with rockets in the North Atlantic.

HMS Archer started major engine repairs 8/1943 but defects were found to be extremely serious; decommissioned 6 November 1943 and used as a stores hulk. Used as an accomodations hulk after March 1944. Main reduction gears replaced at Belfast starting August 1944; repairs completed March 1945 and transferred to Ministry of War Transport as a ferry carrier (renamed Empire Lagan) 15 March 1945.

Returned to USN 9 Jan 1946, stricken for disposal 26 Feb 1946. Sold into merchant service 1946 as Archer. Renamed Anna Salen 1949, Tasmania 1955, Union Reliance 1961. Burned, blown up and grounded to prevent sinking at Houston, TX 7 Nov 1961 after collision with tanker Berean. Salvaged and scrapped at New Orleans starting March 1962.


Commands listed for HMS Archer (D 78)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Cdr. James Ian Robertson, RNOct 194127 Jun 1943
2Capt. Horace Temple Taylor Bayliss, RN27 Jun 19437 Sep 1943
3A/Cdr. Wilfrid John Nixon, RN7 Sep 19439 Nov 1943
4Cdr. (retired) Henry Ellis Bickley, RN9 Nov 19438 Mar 1944
5Cdr. (retired) Horace Walker, RN8 Mar 1944

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Notable events involving Archer include:

19 Mar 1942

Convoy AS 2.

This convoy departed Charleston, South Carolina, USA on 19 March 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Agwileon (American, 6678 GRT, built 1907), Brazil (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929) and Mormactide (American, 7773 GRT, built 1941).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN), escort carrier HMS Archer (Cdr. J.I. Robertson, RN) and the destroyers USS Upshur (Lt.Cdr. W.K. Romoser, USN), USS Du Pont (T/Lt.Cdr. F.M. Adamson, USN) and USS Cole (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Dyer, USN).

Around 0800Q/20, the destroyer USS Du Pont was detached to return to Charlestown.

Around 1200Q/22, HMS Devonshire was detached to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands where she arrived later the same day.

The convoy arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico later the same day.

At 0900Q/23, the Agwileon departed San Juan for St. Thomas where she arrived later the same day to fuel. She was escorted by USS Cole.

Around 0630Q/24, the Brazil, Mormactide and HMS Archer departed San Juan. They were joined off the harbour entrance by USS Upshur who first had conducted an A/S sweep of the harbour prior to the departure of the convoy.

Around 1400Q/24, the Agwileon, HMS Devonshire and USS Cole joined the convoy coming from St. Thomas.

Around 0900P/25, the troopship Monterey (American, 148017 GRT, built 1932) and USS Du Pont joined the convoy. They had departed Charleston around 1900Q/21.

Around 0645P/26, USS Du Pont was detached from the convoy. She was to proceed to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Around 0400P/27, USS Upshur was detached from the convoy. She was to proceed to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Around 0600P/28, USS Cole was detached to proceed to Bermuda.

Around 1500N/1, the corvettes FFS Commandant Detroyant and HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined.

Around 1400N/2, HMS Devonshire parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead of it to Freetown where she arrived around 0600Z/3.

The convoy arrived around 1430Z/3. (1)

13 Mar 1943
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, RN) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area with aircraft. Following these exercises attack exercises were carried out during which HMS Archer (Cdr. J.I. Robertson, RN), HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN) and three escorts served as the targets. These included night attack exercises. (2)

23 May 1943
German U-boat U-752 was sunk in the North Atlantic, in position 51°40'N, 29°49'W, by rockets from a Swordfish aircraft (FAA-Sqdn. 819) of the British escort carrier HMS Archer (Capt. H.T.T. Bayliss, RN).


  1. ADM 53/115779
  2. ADM 173/18132

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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