Submitted by: John Steele

Category: Books

During WW2 Britain was losing the battle of the Atlantic to the dreaded German U- Boat. To give more protection to the Atlantic convoys the Royal Navy urgently required more aircraft carriers. Due to the British shipyards being completely inundated repairing war-time damaged ships and building new ships the Royal Navy ordered 6 aircraft carriers from the United States of America. It was agreed the aircraft carriers would be converted from existing American merchant ships under the Lend-Lease scheme, which had been introduced as Public Law 77-11 by President Franklin D Roosevelt on the 21st May 1941. This was a program in which the United States of America supplied Britain with war material. On the 1st of July in 1942, Tietjen & Lang Dry Dock Company. Hoboken, New York completed conversion work on the American merchant ship Rio de Janeiro. The following day, the aircraft carrier was officially handed over to the Royal Navy and launched as HMS Dasher. The aircraft carrier safely escorted a convoy of merchant ships across the Atlantic, and, on arriving, in the Clyde joined the Royal Navy’s fighting force. During late October, Royal Navy convoys, including HMS Dasher, departed from the UK for the allied invasion of North Africa. Also involved in the invasion fleet were 106 United States Navy ships which had sailed from America. So successful was the invasion at Oran that the enemy surrendered within 3 days.
On the 27th March 1943 Dasher was exercising in the Firth of Clyde, in the west coast of Scotland, when there was a horrendous onboard explosion. Within 5 minutes the ship had sank with the loss of 379 lives. No enemy action was involved! Contrary to Royal Navy regulations no information was given to the bereaved families. The survivors and rescuers were ordered “Don’t Ever Talk about This.”Of the 60 fatalities brought ashore to the nearby naval base “Fortitude” at Ardrossan, Ayrshire only 16 official burials took place. The rest of the casualties brought ashore mysteriously disappeared. Evidence strongly points to an unmarked mass grave in Ardrossan. One body was stolen to enable “Operation Mincemeat” to be set into action. This meticulous plan saved 30,000 British and American lives from being lost during the allied invasion of Sicily.
This book battles through a shocking cover up which has kept this story quiet under the Official Secrets Act ever since the war. The American Connection to the Sinking of HMS Dasher by John and Noreen Steele, ISBN: 978-0-9532637-1-4 is the final book on this subject by these persistent and resourceful authors, whose years of investigation have step by step uncovered more and more of a story which moves from American - British politics to a determined naval cover up, and ends up in a true life James Bond story. Over the years the authors met with relatives of many of the 379 victims of this disaster, which involved no enemy action, and their contact with these distressed relatives has driven their determination to uncover what really happened that day in 1943. The authors have not only written a gripping book, but hope to have eased some of the pain for these distressed relatives by finally tracing the last resting place of many of the victims. But their final coup de theatre has been to solve the mystery of “The Man Who Never Was”, which was a film of the real life British deception which allowed the successful invasion of Southern Europe from North Africa by the Allies.

About the author:

My parents have had 7 books published and are regular contributors to various magazines. They have a great interest in researching mysteries, which they follow through unstintingly and persevere against all the blockades officialdom put in place. Their latest book The American Connection to the Sinking of HMS Dasher concerns an American built aircraft carrier on Lend-Lease to the Royal Navy. Unravelling the mysterious circumstances surrounding the ship’s sudden demise has taken many years.