- HMS Dasher during the Second World War -
If you enjoy this site
please consider making a donation.
Allied Air Forces
Prisoners of War
Women at War
Those Who Served
The Great War
TWMP on Facebook
Your Family History
HMS Dasher was an Avenger Class Escot Carrier. She was built at Sun Shipbuilding, Chester. Pennsylvania. USA, as mercantile Rio de Janeiro. She was converted to an aircraft carrier and re-named BAVG-5, being transferred to the Royal Navy on completion and commissioned on the 1st of July 1942.
HMS Dasher saw action in the North African landings, Operation Torch in November 1942, carrying the Sea Hurricanes of 835 squadron. She also saw action in the Russian covoys to Murmansk
On March 27th 1943 HMS Dasher, mysteriously exploded in the Clyde. She sank within eight minutes with the loss of 379 lives, only 149 of those on board survived. Two small coastal vessels Gragsman and Lithium, and the radar training ship, Isle of Sark, along with the French La Capricieuse managed to rescue survivors from the blazing oil covered sea.
In 1993 memorial to the men who lost their lives was dedicated at Ardrossan.
Fleet Air Arm Squadrons based on HMS Dasher:
- 804 Sqd. Oct-Nov 1942 Sea Hurricane IIc
- 837 Sqd. Jan-Feb 1943 Swordfish I
- 891 Sqd. Jan-Feb 1943 Sea Hurricane IIc
- 816 Sqd. Feb-March 1943 Swordfish II
If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.
Those known to have sailed in
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Allen Arthur. (d.27th March 1943)
- Culmer Philip. Lt.
- Ferrier John. Sub Lt.
- Linfield William Stephen Lloyd. Able.Sea. (d.27th Mar 1943)
- Munro Robert. PO.
- Nunn Fredrick.
- Powell Robert. Telegraphist.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website.
- The 1st of September 2017 is The Wartime Memories Project's 18th Birthday. If you would like to send us a present, a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web.
- To commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, we are launching a new feature, Second World War Day by Day and also a new Library to allow access to records which have previously been held in our offline archive.
- Looking for help with Family History Research? Please read our Family History FAQ's
- The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.If you enjoy this site
please consider making a donation.
- We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.
Research your own Family History.
Sep 2017 - Please note we currently have a large backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 235634, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.
We are aware of the issue with missing images, this is due to the redesign of the website, images will reappear as soon as the new version of the page is completed, thank you for your patience.
We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates.
If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.
Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to WW2. We would like to obtain digital copies of any documents or photographs relating to WW2 you may have at home.
If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes.Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted. World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on The Great War. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.
Sub Lt. John Ferrier HMS DasherAfter HMS Dasher sank, the survivors were billetted with local families. One was my maternal grandparents, and I am told that two sailors stayed with them. My mother had Mr Ferrier sign her autograph book. My mother only told the story of HMS Dasher after she was given a copy of John Steele's book. Her father had told her NEVER to talk about it again, and she didn't. She had told us of the existence of the autograph book, but it was only after her death that it turned up.Hazel Evans
Arthur Allen HMS Dasher (d.27th March 1943)My husbands' uncle was one of the crew on board the HMS Dasher, his name was Arthur Allen, and he was a telegrapher. He was lost when the HMS Dasher exploded mysteriously on 27th March 1943. A very sad note to his death is that his wife, my husband's Aunt Catherine, was so devastated by his death, going into such a deep depression during her then pregnancy, that she did not want to live. She just gave up and she and her baby died during childbirth. Two more victims of that terrible war. I am very curious, did they ever find out what really happened, about this mysterious explosion?. When my mother-in-law was alive, she said they were told it was sunk by a German U-Boat. Can anyone give me any information?Catherine Christie
Fredrick Nunn HMS DasherMy grandad, Frederick Nunn who was in the Navy, was a survivor of the HMS Dasher 1943.Rachel Nunn
PO. Robert Munro HMS DasherMy late father Robert Munro was on HMS Dasher and lost all his kit when it sank but he survived the war.J Birch
Able.Sea. William Stephen Lloyd Linfield HMS Dasher (d.27th Mar 1943)Able Seaman William Stephen Lloyd Linfield was my grandfather's 1st cousin. He lost his life in the explosion and sinking of the HMS Dasher, March 27, 1943. He was the son of Albert Stanley Harbin and Flora(Masters)Harbin. His mother died shortly after his birth and his father's sister Hannah and her husband, Edward John Linfield, agreed to care for him since they had no son of their own. Eventually, Lloyd's father remarried to Susan Payne and they had three sons, Ernest, Roy and Doug. Lloyd remained with Hannah ("Nan")and Edward ("Ned"). Edward became a prominent businessman and hoped Lloyd would one day inherit his business but that was not to be. With the outbreak of WWII Lloyd decided to join up and was formally adopted at that time. He was a likeable and very popular young man and his death was a terrible blow to his family and friends. Edward never got over it and seemed to lose interest in his business as a result.D. Vaughn Harbin
Telegraphist. Robert "Sandy" Powell HMS LondonRobert Powell is a survivor of the terrible tragedy that occured on 27th of March 1943. As of today's date (30 January, 2015) is very much alive and well - living in Christchurch, New Zealand.
HMS Dasher was built in the USA as a merchant ship, but converted to an escort aircraft carrier and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 2 July 1942. Dasher had a complement of 555 men and carried 15 Sea-Hurricane aircraft. After doing some aircraft ferry operations in the Mediterranean, Dasher sailed to the Clyde in March 1943 and, having had her flight-deck lengthened by 42 feet, she embarked Fairey Swordfish aircraft. She escorted one convoy successfully, but shortly after leaving with the second, Dasher suffered engine trouble and turned back. Shortly after getting to the Firth of Clyde on 27 March 1943, she suffered a major internal explosion and sank.
Dad survived the sinking by leaping into the sea when the Dasher was almost upright. He found a cannister amongst debris which kept him afloat in the cold, rough waters until he was eventually picked up. The most terrible memories for him are the moments he spent under the water, trying to surface; the horror when the fuel on the water ignited - killing so many of his colleagues; and the task of trying to identify bodies in the days that followed. He was just 19 at the time.
Dad did as he was told and never really spoke of the Dasher however, for his 80th birthday, I gave him a journal. As a result we learned so much about my father that he had not spoken of. What became very clear was that he wanted to go home; and he wanted very much to visit the site of the sinking of the Dasher. Dad had until then, never returned to the UK since leaving in 1960.
In 2009 at almost 86, we sent him by himself, to the UK. He joined one other survivor in Ardrossan for the annual commemorative service, hosted by the HMS Dasher Association and he would dearly love to go back one last time. We are hopeful for next year. In April 2013, Dad very proudly attended my son's Passing Out Ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand. He was asked to sit with the VIPs that day - I think that only fitting.Rose Powell
Lt. Philip Culmer HMS DasherMy father's cousin, Lt. Philip Culmer, served aboard HMS Dasher between 17th March 1942 and 27th March 1943. Lt. Culmer was Navigating Officer.
HMS Dasher (escort carrier) was destroyed through internal explosion. She sank within eight minutes in the Firth of Clyde, off the Isle of Arran. Out of the 528 crew, 379 died. In the year 2000, divers placed a plaque on board the Dasher in memory of those who died there, in the deep, cold waters of the Clyde. Each year roses are strewn on the water above where HMS Dasher lies.
I know Lt. Culmer did not die in the explosion, as he went on to finish his naval career as Captain.Veronica Bliss
Available at discounted prices.
The Secrets of HMS Dasher
John & Noreen SteeleMarch 27th 1943 saw one of the biggest catastrophes in British naval history as the converted aircraft carrier HMS Dasher blew up and sank in the River Clyde. The loss of 379 lives was second only in home waters to the Royal Oak. Yet mystery surrounded the circumstances of this tragedy and until this book appeared, many of the survivors and the bereaved relatives of casualties had no idea what had happened. Shrouded in wartime secrecy, the most basic facts about trauma, injury and death were not known. Local authors John and Noreen Steele have gleaned further testimonies and facts since first publication and in this fourth new edition Dasher has given up more of her secrets. Seabed surveys and contacts from friends and survivors have yielded both the horror of war and information about the circumstances of the explosion and sinking of a strategically important vessel. An amazing connection has been established also with The Man Who Never Was - the Allied ruse to trick the Germans aboutMore information on:
The Secrets of HMS Dasher
The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.
This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.
If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.
Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
- All Rights Reserved