Allied Warships

HMS Boston (J 14)

Minesweeper of the Bangor class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeMinesweeper
ClassBangor 
PennantJ 14 
ModTurbine engined 
Built byAilsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (Troon, Scotland) 
Ordered28 Aug 1939 
Laid down27 Nov 1939 
Launched30 Dec 1940 
Commissioned26 Jan 1942 
End service 
History

Decommisioned at Rosyth in January 1946 and reduced to reserve. Sold on 1 January 1948.

 

Commands listed for HMS Boston (J 14)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Derek Harold George Coughlan, RNR24 Nov 1941Sep 1943
2A/Lt.Cdr. Ronald Gresham, RNVRSep 194322 Jan 1944
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. Henry Leonard Choppin, DSC, RNVR22 Jan 1944late 1945

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Notable events involving Boston include:


11 Jun 1942

Operation Vigorous.

Convoy MW 11 from ports in the Eastern Mediterranean to Malta.

Operation Vigorous in the Eastern Mediterranean took place at the same time of Operation Harpoon in the Western Mediterranean.

11 June 1942.

On 11 June 1942, a diversionary convoy, MW 11C, departed Port Said for Malta. It was made up of the following transports; Aagtekerk (Dutch, 6811 GRT, built 1934), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Calcutta (British, 8063 GRT, built 1940) and Rembrandt (Dutch, 8126 GRT, built 1941).

The convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Airedale (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN), HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN) and HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN).

The four transports all had an MTB in tow. These were HMS MTB 259, HMS MTB 261, HMS MTB 262 and HMS MTB 264.

The convoy proceeded eastwards and on 12 June the convoy was joined while near Alexandria by the escort destroyer HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN).

12 June 1942.

On 12 June 1942, convoy MW 11A departed Haifa for Malta. It was made up of the following transports; Ajax (British, 7540 GRT, built 1931), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), City of Pretoria (British, 8049 GRT, built 1937), Elizabeth Bakke (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937) and Princess Marguerite (Canadian, 5875 GRT, built 1925).

On depature from Haifa this part of the convoy was escorted by the detroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO and Bar, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC and Bar, RN).

Also on 12 June 1942, convoy MW 11B departed Port Said to join up with convoy MW 11A. It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Bulkoil (American (tanker), 8071 GRT, built 1942) and Potaro (British, 5410, built 1940).

It was escorted by the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN).

13 June 1942.

Convoy MW 11C turned back eastward after dark on the 12th and joined convoys MW 11A and MW 11B near Alexandria on the 13th. The Hunt-class escort destroyers escorting convoy MW 11C were sent to Alexandria to fuel.

The transport City of Calcutta had been damaged by a near miss at 2100/12 while the convoy was still proceeding to the west. She had been detached and was now escorted to Tobruk by HMS Croome and HMS Exmoor. The four MTB's that were in tow of the four merchant ships of convoy MW 11C, were slipped and also sent to Tobruk due to the bad weather conditions. MTB 259 however was damaged and sunk.

The transport Elizabeth Bakke was unable to keep up with the convoy and was therefore detached from convoy MW 11A to return to Alexandria. The decoy ship Centurion joined the convoy from Alexandria. This ship was disguised as a battleship.

The destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, DSO, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. N.H.G. Austen, RN) and HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, RN) departed Alexandria in the afternoon to relieve all the fleet destroyers which were with the convoy at that time. The rescue ships Antwerp (British, 2957 GRT, built 1920) and Malines (British, 2969 GRT, built 1921) took passage to the convoy with these destroyers. The destroyers they were to relieve were then to proceed to Alexandria to fuel. The corvettes HMS Delphinium (Cdr.(Retd.) R.L. Spalding, RN), HMS Erica (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Riley, RNR), HMS Primula (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.H. Fuller, RNR) and HMS Snapdragon (T/Lt. P.H. Potter, RNR) also joined the convoy escort from Alexandria.

At 1730/13 the Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron, which was in overal command, sailed from Alexandria in HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) with HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, fling the flag of Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers: HMAS Napier, HMAS Nestor, HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin, HMS Inconstant, HMS Fortune, HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Hotspur and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton, HMS Airedale, HMS Aldenham, HMS Beaufort, HMS Eridge, HMS Hurworth and HMS Tetcott (Lt. R.H. Rycroft, RN).

14 June 1942.

HMS Erica had to be detached to Mersa Matruh during night of 13th/14th due to defects.

The escort destroyers HMS Croome and HMS Exmoor rejoined the convoy at daylight coming from Tobruk.

The transport Aagtekerk was unable to keep up with the convoy and was ordered to proceed to Tobruk escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Primula. She was later attacked by aircraft, set on fire and had to be grounded near Tobruk. She was later declared a total loss.

The minesweepers HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR) and HMS Seaham (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Brett, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Tobruk.

During the afternoon and evening the convoy and escort were heavily bombed. The transport Bhutan was hit and sank while the transport Potaro was damaged but she was able to remain with the convoy. The rescue ships picked up crew and passengers from the Bhutan following which they parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Tobruk.

In the early evening it was reported that Italian warships had left Taranto.

15 June 1942.

Rear-Admiral Vian ordered the convoy to turn back at 0145/15 so that an air attack could launched on the enemy fleet before contact could be made. During the night of the 14th/15th the convoy was constantly illuminated by aircraft flares and was also attacked by E-Boats and submarines. HMS Newcastle was hit forward by an E boat (S 56) torpedo around 0300/15, her speed being reduced to 24 knots and her forward turret was put out of action. HMS Hasty was torpedoed and damaged also byan E boat (S 55) at 0525/15 and later had to be scuttled by HMS Hotspur which also rescued her crew, only 12 of the crew of HMS Hasty were lost.

At 0630/15 the convoy turned west again, but had to turn back to the east at 0930/15 when the enemy was only 100 miles to the west and air attacks had not developed. At 1115/6 a Beaufort torpedo bomber striking force reported hits on the two Littorio battleships, and the Commander in Chief Mediterranean ordered the convoy to turn westward once again. However the enemy continued to proceed to the south-east, apparently not reduced in speed. Rear-Admiral Vian, therefore, maintained his course to the eastward.

There were heavy air attacks with mainly Ju-88's and Ju-87's throughout the day and torpedo bombers attacked at dusk. Both Centurion and HMS Birmingham were damaged, but were able to continue. HMS Airedale was hit and she was later scuttled by HMS Aldenham and HMS Hurworth, casualties were fortunately once again slight. HMAS Nestor was also hit and immobilized but she did not sink and taken in tow by HMS Javelin with HMS Beaufort and HMS Eridge escorting the tow.

By 1630/5 it had been reported that the enemy fleet had turned northward and the Commander in Chief Mediterranean again ordered the convoy to turn to the westward if in any way possible. Shortage of fuel and ammunition, however, did not permit this, and Rear-Admiral Vian was instructed to return to Alexandria with his whole force.

Submarines then intercepted the enemy fleet, but a simultaneous air attack caused the enemy to alter course and unfortunately the attacks could not be pressed home. The heavy cruiser Trento was damaged by the air attack and later sunk by HMS P 35 (Lt. S.L.C. Maydon, RN) while making her way back to Italy. HMS P 35 also reported one torpedo hit on a Littorio-class battleship but this was not the cast, she had missed the Vittorio Veneto.

16 June 1942.

At 0126/16 HMS Hermione was torpedoed by the German submarine U-205 and sank shortly afterwards taking 88 of her crew with her. HMS Aldenham, HMS Beaufort and HMS Exmoorrescued 498 of her crew.

The efforts to tow the damaged HMAS Nestor had to be abandoned at 0530/16 and she was scuttled by HMS Javelin who then proceeded to rejoin the 15th Cruiser Squadron and its escort.

During the day several attacks on A/S contacts were carried out by the convoy escort, but there was no evidence of damage or a submarine sunk.

In the early evening ships started to arrive back at Alexandria and all the remaining ships arrived there during the evening except the merchant vessels Bulkoil and Ajax which went on to Port Said escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Inconstant, HMS Griffin and HMS Fortune. (1)

9 Nov 1942
HMS Cromer (Cdr. R.H. Stephenson, DSC, RN) sailed from Alexandria with 2 other units of the 14 Minesweeping Flotilla HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR) and HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR) to clear the route for a coastal convoy heading for Bardia.
At position 31°27'N, 27°16'E, 46 nautical miles west of Marsa Matruh, Cromer detonated a magnetic mine from Italian barrage "MM", laid in the area on 7 August 1942 by the destroyers Antonio Pigafetta (Capt. Enrico Mirti della Valle) and Giovanni da Verazzano (Cdr. Carlo Rossi).

6 Dec 1942

Convoy MW 15.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 6 December 1942 and arrived at Malta on 10 December 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following transports; American Packer (American, 6802 GRT, built 1941) and Ozarda (British, 6985 GRT, built 1940).

The convoy was escorted on departure from Alexandria by the minesweepers HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR), HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR) and HMS Whitehaven (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.W.A.T. Irvine, RNR).

Around 0900/9, the light cruiser HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1100/10, the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) departed Malta to provide cover for the convoy. Air reconnaissance had failed to locate three Italian cruisers at Messina. Later it became clear that there was no threat to the convoy and they were recalled around 1315/10. They returned to Malta around 1815/10.

The convoy arrived safely at Malta late on December, 10th. (2)

6 Feb 1943

Convoy's MW 20 / XT 2.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 6 February 1943 and was to split up into two on 9 February. Convoy MW 20 was to proceed to Malta where it arrived on 10 February. Convoy XT 2 was to proceed to Tripoli where it also arrived on 10 February.

The combined convoy was made of the following ships; American Packer (American, 6802 GRT, built 1941), Clan Macindoe (British, 4635 GRT, built 1920), Daniel H. Lownsdale (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Manaar (British, 8007 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Voyager (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Phemius (British, 7406 GRT, built 1921), Robert Maersk (British, 2290 GRT, built 1937), Tureby (British, 4372 GRT, built 1936) and Yorba Linda (Panamanian (tanker), 6900 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Kondouriotis and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt. D.T. McBarnet, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN), RHS Kanaris and Pindos.

On 7 February the Greek destroyer Kondouriotis detached to Tobruk to fuel and rejoin the convoy on completion.

Around 1800/8, the light cuiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destoyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) departed Malta to join the convoy at dawn the following day.

Around 0745/9, HMS Euryalus, HMS Nubian and HMS Paladin joined the convoy.

At 2000/9, the convoy split up into two sections, the Malta section (MW 20) was made up of the; Egra, Erinna, Glaucus, Manaar, Phemius and Yorba Linda and escorted by HMS Euryalus, HMS Jervis, HMS Javelin, HMS Kelvin, HMS Nubian, HMS Paladin, RHS Kondouriotis, HMS Aldenhan, HMS Beaufort, HMS Belvoir, HMS Exmoor, HMS Hurworth and RHS Kanaris.

The other ships proceeded to Tripoli escorted by HMS Tetcott and RHS Pindos. At Tripoli the convoy was swept in the the minesweepers HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR), HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR) and HMS Whitehaven (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.W.A.T. Irvine, RNR).

HMS Tetcott and RHS Pindos then proceeded to Malta. (3)

12 Jul 1943
The Italian submarine Bronzo was captured off Syracuse, Sicily by the British minesweepers HMS Seaham (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Brett, RNR), HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR), HMS Poole (Lt. W.L.G. Dutton, RNR) and HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR).

Bronzo was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS P 714. On 29 January 1944 she was transferred to the Free French as Narval.

9 Apr 1944
Shalimar (Lt. W.G. Meeke, DSC, MBE, RN) departed Sheerness for Portsmouth. She was escorted by HMS Boston (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.L. Choppin, DSC, RNVR). (4)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/650 + ADM 234/353
  2. ADM 199/424 + ADM 199/651
  3. ADM 199/773
  4. ADM 173/18725

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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