HMS Trumpeter

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HMS Trumpeter was a Ruler class escort carrier that saw an unusual level of front-line service, taking part in twelve months of operations off the Norwegian coast between the summers of 1944 and 1945, before moving to the Far East.

The Trumpeter was laid down on 25 August 1942 as USS Bastian (CVE-37). She was launched on 15 December 1942, and completed on 4 August 1943, less than a year after work began.

1943

The Trumpeter made her Atlantic crossing in October 1943 with three squadrons temporarily onboard. No.848 Squadron's Avengers were first to board, on 4 September 1943, and were used to provide cover for an eastbound convoy during the crossing. No.1831 (Corsair I) and No.1833 (Corsair II) arrived on 6 and 17 October. All three squadrons disembarked in November 1943 after the crossing.

The Trumpeter returned across the Atlantic with Convoy TU4, departing Glasgow on 2 November, and returned with Convoy CU8 from New York to Britain, departing on 2 December 1943 and arriving on 12 December.

1944

Between 29 January and 11 February the Trumpeter moved from Belfast to Dundee.

In the period between May and July 1944 the carriers Argus and Ravager were used for deck landing training, but for short periods they were relieved by Trumpeter, Khedive and Rajah. During this period 275 qualified in deck landing on one of the five carriers, while 20 took refresher courses. The Trumpeter was used by the Hellcat Is of No.1840 Squadron in June and by the Fireflies of No.1771 Squadron.

After this period of training the Trumpeter joined the active part of the Home Fleet, carrying the Wildcats and Avengers of No.846 Squadron, which embarked on 5 July 1944. The Trumpeter spent most of the next year operating off the Norwegian coast, giving it one of the most active careers of any British escort carrier.

On 10/11 August Trumpeter was part of a fleet that attacked Gossen airfield near Kristiansund and mined the Harhms and Lepsorev channels. Fighter cover was provided by HMS Indefatigable, while Nabob and Trumpeter provided Avengers. The fleet also included the cruisers Kent and Devonshireand two Canadian destroyers.

In August 1944 the escort carriers Nabob and Trumpeter took part in Operation Goodwood I to IV, a series of attacks on the Tirpitz. The main strike force was provided by the fleet carriers Formidable, Indefatigable and Furious, while the Nabob and Trumpeter carried out diversionary operations (under the name Operation Offspring). On 22 August the Nabob was torpedoed and badly damaged. Trumpeter abandoned her planned mine-laying operations, and covered the Nabob as she limped back across the North Sea.

On 12 September Avengers from the Trumpeter laid mines off the Norwegian coast, with cover provided by Seafires from HMS Furious.

On 28 September Trumpeter and Fencer left Scapa Flow at the start of three days of anti-U-boat patrols in the North Sea. On 2-4 October Trumpeter was once again involved in anti-U-boat operations, this time with Force 9, part of the Western Approaches Command.

On 14/15th October Trumpeter and Fencer laid 22 mines in Norwegian waters and attacked a medium sized merchant ship and two flak ships.

On 24th October Trumpeter and Campaniacarried out another mine-laying mission in Norwegian waters, accompanied by six destroyers. Bad weather meant that a planned anti-shipping strike was cancelled, but three radar stations were attacked.

On 6-7 November the escort carriers Premier and Trumpeter laid mines off the Norwegian coast, while at the same time the Implacable carried out an anti-shipping sweep.

On 7 December Wildcats from Trumpeter escorted Avengersfrom Premier as they laid ten mines in Salhuss Trommen. One Wildcat was lost after force-landing in the water.

The Trumpeter was back off the Norwegian coast on 14 December, this time with HMS Premier, the cruiser Devonshire and six destroyers. This time the carriers were attacked by three German torpedo bombers, one of which was claimed shot down.

During 1944 six officers and men from No.846 Squadron won awards for their part in Operation Offspring, mine-laying off the Norwegian coast.

1945

On the night of 11/12 January 1945 a small fleet attacked an enemy convoy off Norway (Operation Spellbinder). Trumpeter and Premier provided fighter cover during the withdrawal, claiming one victory and driving off German torpedo bombers attempting to catch the cruisers and destroyers involved in the attack. On 13 January the Trumpeter was back off Norway yet again, this time supporting Operation Gratis, another mine-laying foray.

The Trumpeter and Campaniaescorted Convoy J.W.65 to Russia. The convoy sailed on 13 March, and reached the Kola Inlet for the loss of one merchant ship. The return convoy, R.A.65, reached the UK on 1 April without suffering any losses.

On 4 May 1945 the Trumpeter (along with Searcher and Queen) took part in Operation Judgement - an attack on the German U-boat base at Kilbotn, north of Narvik. A German U-boat depot ship was claimed sunk, and a U-boat as a probable. Twenty-two officers from the three carriers won awards for their role in the attack.

In July 1945 the Trumpeter got No.821 Squadron, and departed for the Far East, arriving at Cochin in southern India on 26 July. The original plan was for her to operate with the East Indies Fleet for a time before going on to join the British Pacific Fleet.

The Trumpeter arrived in time to take part in Operation Zipper, the reoccupation of Malaya and Singapore. This had been planned in the expectation that it would be an opposed landing, and involved the battleships Nelson and Richelieu, as well as four cruisers, seven destroyers and seven escort carriers - Stalker, Emperor, Hunter, Khedive, Archer, Pursuer and Trumpeter. This was not to be the case. By 10 September 100,000 troops had made a virtually unopposed landing, and on 11 September the fleet returned to Singapore to accept the official surrender of the Japanese High Command in the area.

The Trumpeter was returned to the US Navy on 6 April 1946 and sold off as a merchantman.

Squadrons

No.821 NAS

No.821 Squadron travelled out to the Far East on the Trumpeter in July 1945.

No.828 NAS

The Trumpeter carried a detachment of Avengers from No.828 Squadron at the end of January 1945.

No.846 NAS

No.846 Squadron was the Trumpeter's main squadron, embarking with Avengers and Wildcats on 5 July 1944 and remaining with her to the end of the war.

No.848 NAS

The Avenger Is of No.848 Squadron embarked on 4 September 1943. They provided cover for an eastbound convoy during the Trumpeter's Atlantic crossing in October and disembarked on 1 November 1943.

No.856 NAS

A detachment from No.856 Squadron operates with Avengers during the summer 1944, and was gone by 13 September 44

No.862 NAS

No.862 Squadron transferred to the Trumpeter on 10 September 1944, and HMS Nabob was heavily damaged. The squadron disbanded on 17 October 1944.

No.881 NAS

No.881 Squadron's Wildcat VIs operated from the Trumpeter for a short spell in the winter of 1944-45.

No.1831 NAS

No.1831 Squadron (Corsair I) joined the Trumpeter for the Atlantic crossing in October 1943.

No.1833 NAS

No.1833 Squadron (Corsair) embarked on the Trumpeter on 17 October 1943 in the US and disembarked on 1 November 1943 at Belfast.

No.1840 NAS

No.1840 Squadron used the Trumpeter for deck landing training in June 1944

Displacement (loaded)

11,400t standard
15,390t deep load

Top Speed

18kts

Range

27,500 miles at 11 knots

Length

495ft 3in-496ft 8in oa

Armaments

18-24 aircraft
Two 5in/38 US Mk 12 in two single mountings
Sixteen 40mm Bofors guns in eight double mountings
Twenty seven to thirty five 20mm cannon

Crew complement

646

Launched

15 December 1942

Completed

4 August 1943

To USA

1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 July 2010), HMS Trumpeter , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Trumpeter.html

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