Bogue Class Escort Carrier





HMS Puncher


Laid down: 21 May 1943

Launched: 08 Nov 1943

Commissioned: 05 Feb 1944

Paid off: 16 Jan 1946. Returned to the USN at Norfolk

Fate: Sold to commercial service. Broken up in 1973


Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1939-45


Begun as MV Willapa, she was commissioned HMS Puncher at Tacoma, Wash., on 05 Feb 1944, and arrived at Vancouver on 15 Mar for modification to RN standards. She left Esquimalt in Jun for Norfolk, Va., en route ferrying motor launches from New Orleans to New York. In Jul she left Norfolk for Casablanca with a cargo of 40 USAAF aircraft, returning to Norfolk to load the Corsairs of 845 (RN) Squadron and a deck load of U.S. aircraft for the U.K. On 01 Feb 1945, she joined the Home Fleet, and following VE-Day was used for several months for deck landing training. In Sep she was partially converted to serve as a troop carrier and employed the rest of the year repatriating Canadian troops from Britain. In 1946 she left Halifax for Norfolk and was paid off there 16 Jan for return to the USN. Converted for merchant service, she became the British Muncaster Castle in 1949, later to be renamed Bardic in 1954 and Bennevis in 1959. She was broken up in Taiwan in 1973.



Photos and Documents          Ship's company photos          HMS Puncher - Royal Navy Research Archives



Commanding Officers


Capt. Roger Edward Shelford Bidwell, RCN - 15 March 1944 - 16 Jan 1946



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Abbott, Howard C.

Adam, Charles J,

Andrews, Alfred J.

Armstrong, Reginald L.

Belsky, John

Bold, Frederick

Book, Kenneth E.

Brown, Wilfred L.

Cairns, Peter

Crawford, William L.

Crisp, Nelson W.

Dennison, Foster K.

Donaldson, Norman J.

Draper, B. Alexander

Dycha, Steve

Eddy, Roy E.

Ewatski, John

Fane, Peter E.

Fee, James P.

Ford, Donald E.

Frazer, Charles E.

Gammon, Leonard P. M.

Guile, Eric

Hewitt, Arthur R.

Home, Robert

Logan, Bill

Lowe, James E.

MacDonald, Angus A.

MacFayden, Edward A.

MacLachlan, Peter

Male, Ronald

Mann, Cyril F.

Marcoux, Raymond

Mason, Eric B.

McCallum, Alexander

McGhee, Robert

McNair, Gerald E.

Muir, John S.

Muise, Alexander

Patterson, Nelson M.

Pomber, Lionel J.

Robinson, Hugh J.

Sawatzky, Donald E.

Sawyer, Joseph F.

Serafin, Paul

Slater, Oliver K.

Sommerville, Wilfred J.

Spark, Gerald G.

Sproxton, Douglas

Steel, John N.

Sturch, Douglas H.

Tait, Gordon

Thomson, Theodore D.

Thordarson, John F.

Thorgeirson, Fridfinnur K.

Turner, David R.

White, Clifford H.

Williams, J. A.

Williams, Norman H.

Williston, Archibald W.



Former Crew Members


Allison, Ken, AB, Dhobey Worker (front Saint John, NB)

Allison, Ted, CPO

Amundsen, James, AB, RCNR

Armit, G.G, Cdr, RCNR

Barker, Kenneth, AB, Bugler, RCNR

Brown, (Winger)

Calder, James, LCdr, RCNVR

Chorlton, Ron, AB, Met


Cooper, Cecil Ross, V60196  - 


Cooper, Rupert, ABSM, Dryer Machine Worker (from Windsor, ON)

Copland, Robert, ABSM


De Wolfe, Leo, CPO

Dirrado, Albert, AB, Dhobey Firm Steam Presser (from Montreal, QC)

Doyle, (Mother)

Duck, Vernon, AB, Dhobey Firm President (from York, PEI)

Fraser, E.B., Lt (S), C.O.'s Secretary / LCdr (S), RCNVR

Fraser, Joseph A., AB, RCNR


Gomeroy, George, PO (S), Dhobey Firm Book keeper (from Victoria,BC)

Hart, W.J., Surg-Lt, RCN

Hope, Keith, AB, RCNVR

Horne, Robert, AB, Laundry Sleeve Ironer (from Ottawa, ON)


Humphreys, Cyril, PO, Yeoman of Signals

Hutcheson, C., Capt, Dental

Koughan, W.H.. LCdr, RCNR

Latreille, Roger, AB, Laundry Steam Presser (from Montreal, QC)


Logan, Jim

MacAskill, D., Lt (E), RCNVR

Macdonald, William, CPO

Macdonald, A.A., Lt, RCNVR

Malone, Maurice Charlie, Surg-Lt

McDonnel, J.A., RCNVR

McKenzie, Red, PO


McRae, J.D.J., Lt, RCNVR

Midleton, Charles, AB, RCNR

Morris, Sgt, Dental


Muise, A.O.


Munn, Gordon, Lt. (SB), RCNVR

Nelson, Crisp, CPO, MAA, RCN

Nichols, Edward, PO

Nicholson, LSM

Oneil, Lt, RCNVR

Outerbridge, L.M., Chaplain, RCN

Piere, C.F., LCdr, RCNVR


Price, F.A., Cdr, RCNR

Reid, Stanley Park, CPO, MAA, RCN

Shoup, H.R.W., Lt, RCNVR


Siawk, Roman


Snelling, S.D.L., Lt, RCNVR

Spidell, Jack, CPO

Starkey, PO


Teepoorten, Sgt, Dentral

Thorpe, W.J., Lt (S), CO’s Secretary, RCNVR

Tregaskes, Stuart, Lt (S), RCNVR

Tucker, J.L., Lt, RCNVR

Tullidge, G., A/Cdr (S), RCNVR

Wadsworth, G.B., Lt (S), RCN

Wallace, Dixon, Cdr, XO, RCNR

Waskett, PO

Whitson, Norman, PO SBA

Woods, A.B.W., Reverand, RCN

Woods, Albert, CPO

Yawney, William, AB, Laundry Checker (from Sudbury, ON)

Zelionka, Albert, RCNR



Photos and Documents




DND / RCN Photo

HMS PUNCHER Crossing the Line Certificate - Arctic Circle - 07 Apr 1945


From the collection of Alexander (Sandy) Muise


Courtesy of Paul Henderson, Royal Canadian Legion, Br. 32, Cheticamp NS


The photos below were from a book documenting the 2 years that HMS Puncher operated mainly manned by sailors of the RCN - 05 Feb 1944 to 16 Jan 1946.



Courtesy of Steve Hlasny



HMS PUNCHER - 18 Apr 1944 - 10 Sep 1945







(08887) Ship's badge for HMS PUNCHER  (HA033) HMS PUNCHER at Vancouver to be finished to RN standards, February to May 1944  (HA034) HMS PUNCHER's first squadron of Fireflies fly over the carrier in preparations for operations in the Pacific after VE day  (HA035) An Avenger and a Barracuda from 778 Service Trails Unit from RN Air Station Arbroath is ready to takeoff from HMS PUNCHER. The Canadian manned Aircraft Carrier is carrying out Deck Landing Training on November 5th and 6th 1944  (HA036) A Wildcat from HMS PUNCHER damages it's landing gear as it lands on the pitching deck of the carrier in rough weather







(HA037) The Batman coaches a Firefly onto HMS PUNCHER's deck  (HA038) A Firefly is returned onto its wheels after flipping on its nose during a landing on HMS PUNCHER late in 1945.  (HA039) The damaged Barracuda of Lt Cornish, returns to HMS PUNCHER following a minelaying operation off Haugesund Fjord, Norway on 22 February 1945  (HA040) A Firefly flies over HMS PUNCHER in June 1945  (HA041) Seven of the nine Barracuda's returned to HMS PUNCHER following a minelaying operation in Haugesund Fjord, Norway on 22 February, 1945. Two aircraft were shot down by shore defences over the target and both aircrew were killed.  







(HA042) A Barracuda nosed into HMS PUNCHER's flight deck; the rear gunner was slightly injured according to Howard Abbot; the angle of the plane made rescue difficult  (HA043) Crashed Barracuda is secured to HMS PUNCHER's deck following a crash. Howard Abbott recalls this plane was later pushed over the side  (HA044) Firefly missed the arrester wires and crashed into the barricade  (HA045) Having snapped its tail hook, this Barracuda was flipped onto its nose by the barrier, saving both aircrew and aircraft on HMS PUNCHER  (HA046) HMS BIRMINGHAM and another CVE, possibly HMS TRUMPETER sail in formation with HMS PUNCHER in April 1945. HMS PUNCHER was attached to Operation NEWMARKET in the Arctic Ocean. The objective was to attack the U-Boat depot ships at Kilbotn, Norway.







(HA047) HMS DIDO alongside HMS PUNCHER during operations off Haugesund Fjord in January 1945  (HA049-HA050) Several of HMS PUNCHER's sailors take advantage of the hot weather to tan on the carriers crowded flight deck, while ferrying aircraft to Casablanca in July 1944. Too hot to touch, they cover the deck with blankets and towels  (HA051) An Avenger is secured to the flight deck of HMS PUNCHER during a ferry operation of aircraft from Norfolk Virginia in September 1944. Eventually ending in Glasgow, HMS PUNCHER transported 40 aircraft including, 18 Corsairs, Hellcats, Avengers, and one Helldiver.  (HA052) Following a crash on HMS PUNCHER's deck during night operations, this Barracuda was jettisoned over the carrier's side. Note the artwork - Donald Duck holding a torpedo







(HA053) Flight Operations aboard HMS PUNCHER in 1944/45, with one Barracuda safely on the flight deck, two more are making their approach  (HA054) A Barracuda catches the wire and lands safely on HMS PUNCHER during flight operations in late 1944 or early 1945  (HA055) Arrester wire on the tail hook of a Barracuda on HMS PUNCHER's flight deck.  (HA056) Deck handling party ready a Barracuda for storage on HMS PUNCHER late 1944 or early 1945  (HA057) Eleven of the twelve Barracuda's from HMS PUNCHER's 821 Squadron sit ready for take-off in Jan 1945. The ship's company and squadron personnel were undergoing flight training operations in January 1945







  (HA058) HMS PUNCHER ferrying a deck load of aircraft to Glasgow in September or October 1944. This Avenger is destined for delivery to an RCAF Squadron  (HA076) Communicator on HMS PUNCHER  (HA077) Unknown sailor on HMS PUNCHER  (HA080) "Guess Who?"  "Off Norway this winter"" Howard Abbott on HMS PUNCHER of Norway - 1945  HA082) Howard Abbott on HMS PUNCHER of Norway - 1945







(HA083) "Meet the boys" - Howard's shipmates on HMS PUNCHER  (HA084) Howard Abbott (front left) with shipmates in HMS PUNCHER  (HA086) Howard Abbott onboard HMS PUNCHER  (HA087 & HA090) HMS NABOB taken from HMS PUNCHER at Vancouver while both escort carriers were completing in February 1943







(HA092) RCN sailors on the foc's'le of HMS PUNCHER. Howard Abbott, rear, 2nd from right in light coloured shirt  (HA093) RCN sailors on the foc's'le of HMS PUNCHER  (HA095) Howard Abbott resting against the jack staff on HMS PUNCHER - 1944  (HA096) One of PUNCHER's boats coming alongside the ship  (HA097) HMS PUNCHER's ships boat looks like a toy set alongside the steel wall of the carrier's hull - 1943







(HA099 & HA101) Howard Abbott catching a short break onboard HMS PUNCHER  (HA103) Howard Abbott gets a big hug from PUNCHER's bugler  (HA111) " A few of us at Coney Island one day" "Ferguson" - Howard Abbot in front passenger seat - 1944  (HA113) "Here is a picture of the ship Dear. What do you think of her? - HMS PUNCHER Feb 1945







(HA117) A Petty Officer from HMS PUNCHER poses with a Palace Guard in Casablanca - 1944  (HA118) Crew from HMS PUNCHER touring the lush gardens in Casablanca during a visit in early Aug 1944  (HA119)  HMS PUNCHER's ships company had a good view of Rabat, the capitol of Morocco, during a visit there in early August 1944  (HA120) Sailor from HMS PUNCHER poses with a Moroccan Palace Sentry during a visit by PUNCHER in early August 1944  (HA121) Crew from HMS PUNCHER explored the ancient ruins in Morocco during a port visit in Aug 1944





 (HA122) Three of PUNCHER's crew in Casablanca, Morocco - Aug 1944  (HA123) The Royal Palace - Casablanca, Morocco - Aug 1944  (HA124) A Petty Officer from HMS PUNCHER poses with one of the Palace guards in Casablanca, Morocco - Aug 1944


From the collection of AB Howard Charles Abbott, RCNVR

Courtesy of Roger Litwiller


* The photos from the Howard Abbott collection were scanned and cataloged by Roger Litwiller. The numbers below the photos are the reference numbers from Roger's collection.


R.C.N.A.C. Puncher (HMS Puncher) arriving in Halifax, NS, Nov. 18, 1945

Photographer: Hayward, Buckingham St., Halifax

From the collection of James Edward Lowe, RCN

Courtesy of Kathleen Lowe

HMS PUNCHER arriving in Halifax - her deck lined with returning soldiers, sailors and airmen


DND / RCN Photo

HMS PUNCHER in Halifax


From the collection of François Messier, AB, RCNVR


Courtesy of Denis Messier








(TT05) Ted Thomason (left) ashore in New York City with a shipmate during HMS PUNCHER'S port visit in Jun/Jul 1944

(TT06) Ted Thomason (right) ashore in New York City with a shipmate during HMS PUNCHER'S port visit in Jun/Jul 1944

(TT07) View from M4 mounting on HMS PUNCHER - at sea South Pacific

(TT08-TT09) "G Mess" HMCS PUNCHER - population 34






(TT10) Crossing the Line Certificate - 07 Apr 1945 - HMS PUNCHER

(TT11) Sailors on HMS PUNCHER posing with a Second World War German Naval Ensign

(TT12) Colourized copy of  photo "TT11"

(TT13) Sailors on HMS PUNCHER posing with a Nazi flag








(TT14) Aircraft taking off from HMS PUNCHER  (TT15-TT18) aircraft prangs (crashes) on HMS PUNCHER   


From the collection of Ted Thomson, P2RT, RCN


Courtesy of Ed Paquette




(CF01) Articles on PUNCHER'S arrival in Halifax in Jul 1945

From the collection of Charles Edward (Charlie) Frazer, RCNVR

Courtesy of Shirley Frazer







(ND03-ND06) Norman Donaldson on HMS PUNCHER

From the collection of Norman Donaldson