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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

ST. SIMON (CVE-51)  /  HMS ARBITER (D31 / R303 / A387)

Contributed by Tommy Trampp

Battle Honours

Atlantic 1944 — Pacific 1945
Displacement 7,800 Tons, Dimensions, 495' 8" (oa) x 69' 6" x 26' (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/51 4 x 40mm, 10 x 20mm, 28 Aircraft.
Machinery, 8,500 SHP; Allis-Chambers, Geared Turbines, 1 screw
Speed, 17.5 Knots, Crew 890.
Fate: Stricken, 12 April 1946 (Navy Dept. Bulletin, 46-845, p. 20). 1948: Converted to a cargo ship, renamed Coracero (Argentinian flag). 1965: President Macapagal (Philippine flag). 1972: Lucky Two. May 1972: Scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

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St. Simon

ACV-51 (later CVE-51) was initially named St. Simon for a sound on the coast of Georgia (St. Simon's or St. Simons), between Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island (map courtesy of Google Maps Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.).

St. Simon (US)
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

"Section of Keel for another CVE is ready prior to launching of HMS Arbiter, British carrier-escort at Sea-Tac Yard, Tacoma, Washington, September 9, 1943."

U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-207700.

HMS Arbiter (D31 / R303 / A387)
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

Ship undergoing builder's trials (Commercial Iron Works) off Portland, end of December 1943. Note the ship is not flying a flag or ensign from the signal yards, and the defensive armament is not installed — this work was done at Burrards Dry Dock Co. Ltd., North Vancouver, British Columbia between January 17th and March 3rd.

Courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

Moored, with a Short Sunderland flying boat alongside. (Thanks to Robert Hurst.)

CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter underway, date and place unknown.

Courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter
45k HMS Arbiter (D31), ex-St. Simon (CVE-51), tied up to a mooring buoy at Greenock, Scotland, on 29 July 1944. Photo by Lieutenant R.G.G. Coote, official Royal Navy photographer.

Robert Hurst
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter (D31) moored at Greenock, Scotland on 29 July 1944.

Source: Imperial War Museums Admiralty Official Collection by Coote, R.G.G. (Lt), Photo No. © IWM(A 25021).

Mike Green
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter underway, in Far Eastern camouflage, 1945.

Robert Hurst
Mike Green
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

Aerial port quarter view of HMS Arbiter (D31) underway, February–March 1945.

Source: Imperial War Museums Admiralty Official Collection Photo No. © IWM(A 28219).

Mike Green
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter at Sydney, May 1945.

Courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter (R303) with the Sydney Harbor Bridge in the background. This photo might have been taken on the same occasion as the ones above.

Gerhard Mueller-Debus
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

A RAS, seen from the bridge of the replenishment carrier HMS Arbiter (R303), shows replacement fighters on deck with a Hellcat having engine panels re-fitted after some last-minute preparation work. Other warships, including carriers, taking in fuel and stores can be seen in the distance. The sailors in line along the deck are hauling on a light jackstay inhaul rope from the destroyer which is just visible above the deck edge, probably bringing over a pilot to collect an aircraft, July 1945. Author's collection.

(Note all pennant numbers are those allocated to British and Commonwealth ships operating alongside the US Navy.)

Image and text from The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy's Most Powerful Strike Force, by David Hobbs (Seaforth Publishing).

Robert Hurst
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter (D31/R303) with two Fenwick steam tugs, in Sydney Harbour, possibly in late 1945.

Photo courtesy of the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales. Digital ID: 9856_a017_A017000184.

Robert Hurst
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter

HMS Arbiter along side in Sydney, November 1945, between humanitarian voyages to Hong Kong delivering food and medical supplies and returning Australian and allied POWs to Australia.

Courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
Commercial Service
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter
88k Archive photo of ex-St. Simon, ex-HMS Arbiter, as Coracero, apparently berthed in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, ca. the mid-60s.

Gerhard Mueller‑Debus
CVE-51 St. Simon/HMS Arbiter
127k Ex-St. Simon, ex-HMS Arbiter, as Coracero (Argentinian flag) in the Weser River, leaving Bremen, Germany, in August 1964. Photo by Gerhard Mueller‑Debus

Read the ST. SIMON (CVE-51) / HMS ARBITER (D31) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Not Applicable To This Ship
Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
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Last update: 9 May 2022