Explore History

Second World War (1939-1945)
The Navy in European Waters  - Naval Aviation: HMS Nabob and HMS Puncher

Although HMS Nabob and HMS Puncher were formally part of Britain's Royal Navy and operated from British bases, Canadians commanded and provided most of the crew for these two escort carriers. Severe damage from a German torpedo prematurely ended Nabob's career, but Puncher served until the end of the war.

HMS Puncher at Scapa Flow

HMS Puncher, Canada's second escort carrier, spent part of its career stationed at Scapa Flow, the Royal Navy's main North Sea base.

Like HMS Nabob, Puncher had a largely Canadian crew, commanded by Canadian Captain R.E.S. Bidwell. After periods of service ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, Puncher twice served as a training ship for naval aircrew, and also operated from Scapa Flow against German shipping along the Norwegian coast. With the conclusion of the war in Europe, Puncher became a troop ship, and helped repatriate Canadian personnel from overseas.

HMS Puncher at Scapa Flow
Painted by Leonard Brooks
Beaverbrook Collection of War Art
CWM 19710261-1105