The USS Hamlin (CVE-15) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier laid down on October 6, 1941, and launched on March 5, the following year. It was commissioned on December 21, 1942, as HMS Stalker with the hull number D-91 under the United Kingdom’s flag and served in the Royal Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on December 29, 1945. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 646 men on board and had its main missions in Salerno and southern France. After the decommissioning, the ship was transferred back to the USA and sold for scrapping in 1975 in Taiwan.
Pipe coverings throughout the ship were covered with asbestos cloth lagging, and literally ran inches over the bunks in the sleeping quarters. In addition, Navy personnel generally lived and worked aboard ships during routine maintenance operations and sometimes while their ships were overhauled in dry docks over long periods. Because symptoms of asbestos exposure can take as long as 10-50 years to appear, many veterans who worked at these exposure sites are just now being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.