On 24 November 1943 at about , a lookout on the starboard side of USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) reported seeing a torpedo headed for the ship. The torpedo struck behind the after engine room, as Liscome Bay was conducting its turn, and detonated the bomb magazine, causing a devastating explosion that engulfed the ship and sent shrapnel flying as far as 5,000 yards away. Considerable debris fell on the battleship New Mexico about 1,500 yards off, whilst a sailor on-board the escort carrier Coral Sea was reportedly hit by a fire extinguisher from Liscome Bay. The explosion rocked the older battleship Pennsylvania which was sailing relatively near by but damage to the ship, which at full load displaced almost four times that of LiscomeBay, was light to negligible and none of the crew were harmed. A mushroom cloud erupted, rising thousands of feet above the wreck of LiscomeBay.
The detonation sheared off nearly the entire rear end of the carrier, killing everyone behind the forward bulkhead of the after engine room. Seawater quickly rushed into the gap, mixing with oil released from the hull. Both the hangar and flight decks were heavily damaged. Parts of the superstructure, including the radar antenna, collapsed onto the deck. The forward part of the hangar was immediately engulfed in flames, igniting the few remaining planes on the flight deck. Planes were launched off of the carrier's deck. Steam, compressed air, and fire-main pressure were lost throughout the ship. Ammunition within the burning aircraft and anti-aircraft guns went off due to the fires on the flight deck, further complicating matters. The gasoline coated water surrounding LiscomeBay caught fire, hampering efforts by survivors to escape.
At , only 23 minutes after the explosion, LiscomeBay listed to starboard and sank, carrying to their deaths 53 officers and 591 enlisted men.
St2c Farmer was among the men listed as missing in action and later declared dead.