H.M.S. Dasher was an escort aircraft carrier of the 'Avenger'
class, converted from the merchant vessel Rio de Janeiro and completed
by the American shipyard of Tietjen and Laird in 1942. She displaced
8,200 tons (8331.6 tonnes), was 468ft (142.6m) long, 66ft (20.1m)
in the beam, drew 21ft (6.4m) and carried a crew of 555 men. Her
engines were rated at 8500 horsepower and she was capable of 16kts.
She mounted three 4inch and fifteen 20mm guns and carried 15 aircraft.
She was supplied to the Royal Navy under the 'lend-lease' scheme.
She first sailed from Halifax with convoy HX205 arriving in the
UK in September 1942. She then took part in operation Torch, the
Allied invasion of North Africa, in November 1942. On her return
to the UK she underwent repairs and modifications and rejoined
the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in February 1943. She sailed for
Murmansk with convoy JW53 but, after only two days, was forced
to turn back following heavy storm damage to her hull. After further
repairs she was preparing to return to active service when, on
27 March 1943, she was lost in the Firth of Clyde following an
aviation fuel explosion, sinking in 3 minutes with the loss of
27 officers and 331 ratings of her company.