Steel escort carrier. Built by Sun Shipbuilding Co. USA. Launched 1941.
Diesel powered passenger/ cargo ship S. S. Rio De Janeiro. She was sold
to the Royal Navy under the lease/lend agreement set up between Britain
and the USA. Taken to Brooklyn Naval Yard where by July 1942 she had
been converted into the Archer Class Escort Carrier H.M.S Dasher.
was never a popular ship as the rush to get her into service had left
her poorly finished and, many thought, unsafe. In one incident, during
her convoy duty near Iceland, the crew below decks were horrified to see
a seam on the side of the vessel burst open, almost to the water line.
She took part in Operation Torch the successful invasion of North
the 27th March 1943 she was back in the Clyde and lying off north east
Arran. Her eight hundred officers and crew were busy making her
and her aircraft, two squadrons of Hurricanes and one squadron of
Swordfish, ready for sea. It is not entirely clear what happened but, as
the Swordfish were being refuelled, there was a huge explosion,
resulting in the almost immediate sinking of the Dasher. Only
149 sailors were picked up from the sea by the many vessels that rushed
enquiries could not discover the exact cause of the disaster, but the
American designed aviation gasoline system used to refuel the aircraft
on this type of vessel was modified on all other carriers after this
incident. One other possible cause that has been given was that one of
her pilots misjudged a landing and crashed into a store of aviation fuel
to the security surrounding the numbers, effects on morale, and numbers
and movements of shipping during the war, relatives of the unfortunate
crewmen killed in the incident only learned the true nature of the
accident many months later.
memorial to those killed has been erected at South Beach Promenade
wreck lies to the east of Arran at a latitude of 55 37' 45" N
and a longitude of 05 00' 53" W at a maximum
depth of 170-140 meters
at Ardrossan Cemetery