HMS Biter

HMS Biter was built in the USA at Sun Shipbuilding, and laid down as mercantile Rio Parana. Launched 18 December 1940, and subsequently  converted to a merchant aircraft carrier in the US, transferred to RN and commissioned 1 May 1942.

Photo shows: Avenger (ex merchant Rio Hudson), Biter  (ex merchant Rio Parana)

and Charger (ex merchant Rio de la Plata) being converted.

Biter was a member of the "Avenger" Class. When Avenger and Biter first arrived in the UK they went immediately into dockyard hands to have their flight-decks lengthened by 42 feet to allow Swordfish aircraft to take off with a full load of weapons and fuel. Avenger was commissioned on 2 March 1942 and Biter on 1 May 1942.Charger arrived on 2 October 1942 but was returned to the US two days later as a joint USN/RN training ship.

Avenger and Biter 

Modifications to HMS Biter's aviation fuel system were undertaken in December 1942-Febraury 1943, Atlantic convoy escort from March 1943-August 1944, during which time her aircraft assisted in sinking the German Submarine U203 on 25 April 1943 and U89 on 12 May 1943.

HMS Biter returned to the USN on 9 April 1945 and was immediately transferred to France and renamed "Dixmude". She was finally returned to the USN on 10 June 1966 and sunk as a test target in 1966.

GMA joins 811 squadron on HMS Biter

Home Base: The Clyde River, but no specific location. HMS Biter often moored nearest to Gurrock.

HMS Biter & 811 squadron convoys in 1943 (GMA present)

Convoy sailed Biter joined Convoy No Biter left convoy Convoy arrived Convoy from Convoy to Logbook Ref. 
31 May  8 June HX 242 12 June 15 June Halifax Nova Scotia UK A1
8 June 12 June ONS010 18June 27 June Liverpool Halifax B1,B2
27 June 1 July SC 135 3 July 11 July Halifax UK C1,C2,C3,C4
"Officially" Biter left the convoy on 3 July but GMA's records indicate that 811 were still present on 7 July
18 October 20 October ON 207 27 October 4 November Liverpool New York D1,D2
6 November 9 November SC146 13 November 22 November Halifax UK E1,E2
6 November 14 November HX 265 17 November 21 November New York UK F1,F2

THE OFFICIAL VERSION: A trial US torpedo was accidentally activated when a Swordfish ditched at the side of HMS Biter. The torpedo proceeded to "follow" the aircraft carrier and damaged the rudder. HMS Biter limped into its home port of the Clyde. On inspection by divers it was decided that the repairs could not be carried out there. The Aircraft carrier had to limp around the top of Scotland in freezing weather to Rosyth for repairs.

GMA comments: Presumably the reference to a "trial torpedo" was from an official source. The weapon that removed a large chunk of rudder was an anti-submarine acoustic device, like a small torpedo, but very lively, hardly "trial"!

Swordfish over Nova Scotia


HMS Biter (ex GMA): the same photo as Avenger & Biter above(?)

The photo appears to show a ferrying operation as there are too many fighter aircraft on board for normal operations. Could be Seafires or Battles.

HMS Biter  and escort vessels: this is a classic photograph

 According to the  FAA Museum there is no Line Book for 811 squadron.

(However a number of Line Books have been lost on the death of their  authors

because  families were not aware of the significance of the documents)