HMS Archer (1885)
There have been several previous HMS Archers in naval service, one of these was a third classcruiser, also the lead ship of her class. She was commissioned in 1885 and eventually sold for scrap in 1905.
The namesake immediately preceding our ship was an escort carrier which served in World War 2. That HMS Archer’s service history included Atlantic convoy escort from February to November 1942. During November 1942, she ferried 30 P-40 Warhawks from USA to Casablanca, then provided Atlantic convoy escort from December 1942 to October 1943. During this time one of her aircraft, a Swordfish from 819 squadron, sank the German U-boat U-752 on 23 May 1943 with rockets in the North Atlantic. On the 15 June 1942, a Swordfish from HMS Archer made history, as the first aeroplane to land on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.
HMS Archer (1943)
Archer returned to the Clyde in August 1943 for machinery repairs which proved so extensive that she was paid off into care and maintenance. She was used as a stores hulk in the Gareloch (not the first time we’ve been stuck in Faslane!). In March 1944 she was transferred to Loch Alsh and used as an accommodation ship. That September she arrived in Belfast for work to replace the main gearing and fit the ship out as an aircraft ferry, and was transferred to the Ministry of War Transport in this role and renamed Empire Lagan. She was returned to the United States Navy at Norfolk, Virginia in January 1946. Sold the same year, she became the Anna Salen, then Tasmania, later Union Alliance before being broken up in the USA in 1962.