A KIA Group from H.M.S. Dasher
1939-1945 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star with NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 Clasp in packet; War Medal 1939-1945; and Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (J.110579 R.F. HAMBROOK. C.Y.S. H.M.S. ST. GEORGE). Naming is officially impressed on the RNLSGC Medal. Very crisp detail, high relief, beautiful patinas, original ribbons, near mint. The first four accompanied by their original glassine packets of issue, in their original unaddressed shipping container. Footnote: H.M.S. Dasher was a British Royal Navy aircraft carrier of the Avenger class, and was a converted American merchant ship. Originally named the Rio de Janiero, she was laid down March 11,1940, launched on April 12, 1941 and delivered November 22, 1941. She was converted to an escort aircraft carrier in the Tietjen & Lang shipyards in New Jersey and commissioned into the Royal Navy on July 2, 1942. She had a complement of 555 men and an overall length of 492.25 feet (150.04 m), a beam of 66.25 feet (20.19 m) and a draught of 23.25 ft (7.09 m). She displaced 8,200 long tons (8,300 t) at normal load and 9,000 long tons (9,100 t) at deep load. Propulsion was provided by four diesel engines connected to one shaft giving 8,500 brake horsepower, which could propel the ship at 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph). Aircraft facilities were a small combined bridge-flight control on the starboard side and above the 410-foot (120 m) long wooden flight deck, one aircraft lift 43 feet (13 m) by 34 feet (10 m), one aircraft catapult and nine arrestor wires. Aircraft could be housed in the 190 feet (58 m) by 47 feet (14 m) half hangar below the flight deck. Armament comprised three single mounted four inch dual purpose anti-aircraft guns, two forward and one aft, and fifteen 20 mm cannon on single or twin mounts. She had the capacity for fifteen aircraft which could be a mixture of Grumman Martlet or Hawker Sea Hurricane fighter aircraft and Fairley Swordfish anti-submarine aircraft. H.M.S. Dasher participated in Operation Torch, with her sister H.M.S. Biter, carrying Sea Hurricanes of 804 Naval Air Squadron. 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 March 27, 1943, she suffered a major internal explosion and sank. Various possible causes have been suggested, including one of her aircraft crashing onto the flight deck and igniting petrol (gasoline) fumes from leaking tanks. Much of what happened will never be known. Her death toll was 379 out of 528 crewmen, including Hambrook, despite rapid response and assistance from ships and rescue craft from Brodick and Lamlash on the Isle of Arran and from Ardrossan and Greenock on the Scottish mainland. Many escaped the ship but died of hypothermia or burns suffered when escaped fuel ignited on the water. Most of the dead were buried at Ardrossan or Greenock. The government of the time, eager to avoid damage to morale and anxious to avoid any suggestion of faulty American construction, tried to cover up the sinking. The local media were ordered to make no reference to the tragedy, and the authorities ordered the dead to be buried in a mass unmarked grave. Furious relatives protested and some of the dead were returned to their loved ones for burial. The survivors were ordered not to talk about what happened. This policy subsequently attracted much criticism, and now memorials to those lost exist at both Ardrossan and Brodick. The wreck site lies approximately halfway along the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry route between Androssan and Brodick and is a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act. Chief Yeoman of Signals Robert Fittall Hambrook is remembered with honour at the Chatham Naval Memorial.