Allied Warships

HMS Hector (F 45)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 45 
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched18 Jun 1924 
Commissioned20 Dec 1939 
Lost5 Apr 1942 
History

On 27 August 1939 the passenger ship Hector of the Alfred Holt & Co, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 20 December 1939.

Tonnage: 11198 BRT
Armament: 6x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15.5 knots

Career:
January 40 - July 40: New Zealand Station
August 40 - February 42: East Indies Station
March 42 - April 42: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)

On 5 April 1942 she was drydocked in Colombo, Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) for decommissioning. Bombed & severely hit in the Japanese carrier attack against the harbour of Colombo, caught fire and was abandoned.
Though nominally returned to her owners as of 20 April, the wreck was only refloated in 1946 and beached 5 cables from Uswetakeiyawa church, 5 miles north of Colombo. Condemned after survey and broken up on the beach.

 

Commands listed for HMS Hector (F 45)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (retired) Robin Wynell Mayow Lloyd, DSO, RN12 Sep 193922 Aug 1940
2Capt. (retired) Francis Howard, DSC, RN22 Aug 19405 Apr 1942

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Notable events involving Hector include:


23 Sep 1940

Convoy BN 6.

The Karachi section of this convoy departed that place on 23 September 1940.

It was made up of the transports; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911) and Pundit (British, 5305 GRT, built 1919).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

On 26 September 1940, the ' Kararchi section ' was joined by the ' Bombay section ' which had departed that place on 25 September 1940.

It was made up of the following transports (one one tanker); Borgestad (Norwegian, 3924 GRT, built 1924), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marisa (Dutch (tanker), 8029 GRT, built 1937), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nizam (British, 5322 GRT, built 1914), President Doumer (British, 11898, built 1935), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ranee (British, 5060 GRT, built 1928), Rhona (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Shirala (British, 7841 GRT, built 1925), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).

Around 1230C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) took over from the armed merchant cruisers which then parted company to proceed to Bombay.

Around 0800C/3, the sloops HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined.

Around 0830C/4, the ' Bombay / Karachi section ' merged with the ' Aden section '. On doing so, HMAS Hobart parted company and proceeded to Aden.

The ' Aden section ' was made up of the following transports / tankers; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Bencruachan (British, 5920 GRT, built 1928), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), City of Singapore (British, 1988 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ross (British, GRT, built ), Cyprian Prince (British, GRT, built ), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), El Amin (British, 746 GRT, built 1926), El Segundo (Panamanian (tanker), 3664 GRT, built 1912), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helka (British (tanker), 3471 GRT, built 1912), Hilda Moller (British, 4622 GRT, built 1912), Jalaputra (British, 4856 GRT, built 1906), Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Jhelum (British, 4038 GRT, built 1936), Liss (British (tanker), 5932 GRT, built 1921), Lurigethan (British, 3564 GRT, built 1916), Quiloa (British, 7765 GRT, built 1925), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Robert L. Holt (British, 2918 GRT, built 1926), Soli (Norwegian (tanker), 5834 GRT, built 1915), Star of Alexander (Egyptian, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Strix (Norwegian (tanker), 6219 GRT, built 1930), Therese Moller (British, 3930 GRT, built 1905) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

The convoy now proceeded northwards up the Red Sea.

At dawn on the 5th, the Ayamonte was detached to proceed to Kamaran escorted by HMAS Parramatta.

On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October convoy BN 6 was attacked by high level Italian bombers but no damage was done.

The following ships were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on 7 or 8 October 1940; Borgestad, Devonshire, El Amin, Garmula, Jehangir, Khandalla, Pundit, Rajput, Ranee, Rohna, Strix, Takliwa and Talamba.

From the escort HMIS Hindustan arrived and left Port Sudan on 7 October 1940, HMAS Auckland arrived and left on 8 October and HMAS Yarra arrived and left on 9 October. HMS Kingston also called at Port Sudan [date currently unknown to us].

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Suez on 11 October 1940. on 9 October 1940, HMS Leander had been replaced as escort by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN). (1)

27 Nov 1940

Convoy BN 10.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was made up of the following transports; El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

Around 1310C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) relieved HMS Hector in position 14°11'N, 53°03'E.

At 0700C/3, the sloop HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined in position 12°22'N, 45°30'E.

At 1630C/3, the convoy joined the ' Aden section ' of the convoy in position 12°25'N, 43°40'E.

The Aden section was made up of the following transports / tankers; Alcides (British, 7634 GRT, built 1930), Aldington Court (British, 4891 GRT, built 1929), Alpherat (Dutch, 5759 GRT, built 1928), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Dunkirk (British, 5861 GRT, built 1912), Doris (Greek, 4604 GRT, built 1917), Elizabeth Moller (British, 4353 GRT, built 1906), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Gazana (British, 5284 GRT, built 1920), Hatasu (British, 3198 GRT, built 1921), Islami (British, 5879 GRT, built 1934), Macoma (Dutch (tanker), 8069 GRT, built 1936), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nyholm (Norwegian (tanker), 5843 GRT, built 1927), Pontfield (British (tanker), 8319 GRT, built 1940), Riley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1936), Silvermaple (British, 5313 GRT, built 1937), Star of Suez (Egyptian, 4999 GRT, built 1926), Sygna (Norwegian, 3881 GRT, built 1907), Tanafjord (Norwegian, 5922 GRT, built 1921) and Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929).

The captured Italian submarine HMS X 2 (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) P.E. Heathfield, RN) was also part of the convoy.

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN).

Around 1750C/5, in position 18°08'N, 40°08'E the transport Talma parted company to proceed to Port Sudan. She was escorted by HMS Calcutta and HMS Kimberley.

Around 0530C/5, the Alcides, Sygna and parted company to proceed to Port Sudan escorted by HMIS Indus.

The transport Islami also parted company to proceed to Jeddah.

Around 1600C/6, HMS Kimberley rejoined having fuelled at Port Sudan.

Around 1200C/7, convoy BN 10 and convoy BS 10 met in position 21°50'N, 37°50'E. HMAS Hobart, HMS Kimberley and HMS Auckland joined convoy BS 10 and the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) took over the escort of convoy BN 10.

One hour later HMS Kimberley was ordered to escort the transport Talma to convoy BN 10. This ship had been escorted to the rendezvous position from Port Sudan by HMIS Indus. HMIS Indus then joined convoy BS 10. After the Talma had rejoined convoy BN 10, HMS Kimberely proceeded south again to rejoin convoy BS 10.

Convoy BN 10, escorted by HMS Grimsby and HMIS Clive arrived at Suez on 10 December 1940. (2)

18 Dec 1940

Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper

This convoy departed U.K. ports on 18/19 December 1940. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Suez where the convoy arrived on 16 February 1941.

On 17 December 1940 the transport Rangitiki (British, 16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Avonmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) towards the rendez-vous position.

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A slow;
Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Atreus (British, 6547 GRT, built 1911), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Delane (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Elizabethville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922), Menelaus (British, 10307 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Settler (British, 6202 GRT, built 1939) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Costa Rica (Dutch, 8055 GRT, built 1910), Ernebank (British, 5388 GRT, built 1937), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912). Ernebank was however forced to return around 1800 hours on the 21st escorted by HMS Witch and HMS St. Mary’s. On the 22nd, HMS Wellington, was detached to take over the escort of the Ernebank. They were escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN), HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from Lough Foyle (Belfast); City of Derby (British, 6616 GRT, built 1921) and Stentor (British, 6148 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN).

The slow part of the convoy was met around dawn on the 19th by the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN).

Around 2300/21 all destroyers parted company with the slow part of the convoy.

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A fast;
Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Essex (British, 13655 GRT, built 1936) and Northern Prince (British, 10917 GRT, built 1929).

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Adviser (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Arabistan (British, 5874 GRT, built 1929), Barrister (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Benrinnes (5410 GRT, built 1921), Clan Cumming (British, 7264 GRT, built 1938), Empire Song (British, 9228 GRT, built 1940) and Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922).

Escort for the fast section of convoy WS 5A joined around dawn on the 20th and was provided by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RNRN), destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) which came from the Clyde. And also by the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Harvester and FSS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) which came from Londonderry. The first two of these destroyers had fuelled there after escorting the slow part of the convoy for a while. Also the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) (with fighters embarked for Takoradi) and the destroyers HMS Beverley (Cdr.(Retd.) E.F. Fitzgerald, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling joined from Liverpool.

The destroyers of the fast portion of the convoy were detached during the night of 21/22 December 1940.

At dawn on 23 December 1940 the slow and fast part of the convoy made rendez-vous and proceeded in company.

On the 24th, HMS Naiad parted company to return to the U.K. The heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) both joined the escort of the convoy.

At dawn on the 25th the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. She had made contact with the convoy with radar the previous day and had already made a torpedo attack shortly before 0400/25 but no hits had been obtained nor had the attack been noticed by the British.

Then shortly after 0800/25 she made visual contact with the convoy and it came as a surprise to the Germans to sight HMS Berwick.

Around 0830 hours the Germans opened fire on HMS Berwick but due to the bad visibility she soon shifted target to the troopship Empire Trooper which was not in her assigned station. The troopship was slightly damaged as was the merchant vessel Arabistan.

The convoy was ordered to scatter and HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure both engaged the German cruiser as did the corvette Cyclamen briefly.

Meanwhile HMS Dunedin laid a smokescreen to cover the ships of the convoy. HMS Furious flew off a few aircraft but these failed to find the German cruiser in the bad visibility.

HMS Berwick was damaged by gunfire from the German cruiser but she forced, together with HMS Bonaventure, the enemy to break off the action around 0915 hours.

In the evening HMS Boneventure was detached to search for the damaged Empire Trooper.

On the 28th the convoy was reassembled at sea (minus Empire Trooper which was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar via the Azores) and continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 6 January 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown for South Africa on 8 January.

The convoy was now made up of the (troop) transports; Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability (British, 7603 GRT, built 1931), Menelaus, Neuralia, Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor and Tamaroa.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.La T. Bisset, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), destroyers HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN), sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN), HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) and the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR).

At 0700N/9, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined the convoy. She had also departed Freetown around the same time as the convoy but apparently acted independently until the time she joined the convoy.

At 0600N/10, HMS Formidable, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Norfolk, HMS Velox and HMS Vidette parted company with the convoy. At the same time the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) joined.

It appears that HMS Bridgewater, HMS Milford, HMS Asphodel and HMS Calendula parted company on 12 January.

At 1000B/21, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN) joined the convoy and HMS Devonshire parted company.

At 1600B/22, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy taking the transports Anselm and City of Canterbury to Capetown where they arrived on 23 January.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Durban on 25 January 1941 escorted by HMS Shropshire.

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The convoy departed Durban for Suez on 29 January 1941. It was now made up of the transports, Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability, Menelaus, Neuralia, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor, Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Tamaroa.

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire and the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN).

Around 0800B/30, HMS Shropshire was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN).

In the morning of 31 January the transport Delane parted company with the convoy to return to Durban due to engine defects.

At 1000CD(-3.5)/4, HMS Ceres parted company taking the transports Nieuw Holland and Orbita with her to Kilindini / Mombasa where they arrived on 5 February.

At 1440CD/5, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) joined.

At 1500CD/5, the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) joined.

At 0430CD/6, HMS Capetown parted company with the convoy having been ordered to do so.

At 1730CD/10, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy to fuel at Aden. She rejoined the convoy around 2130C/11.

Around 0630C/11, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) and the sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN). HMS Hector then parted company with the convoy.

At 2300C/11, HMIS Indus parted company with the convoy upon being relieved by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

At 1830C/13, HMS Flamingo parted company with the convoy to return to Aden and HMS Grimsby parted company with the convoy taking the transport Neuralia with her to Port Sudan.

At 0400C/14, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy.

The convoy escorted by HMS Caledon arrived at Suez on 16 February 1941. (3)

26 Jan 1941

Convoy BNF 1.

This convoy departed Bombay on 26 January 1941 for Suez where it arrived on 6 February 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Santhia (British, 7754 GRT, built 1925) and Varela (British, 4651 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

She remained with the convoy until around 0800/31 when the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) took over the convoy.

On 31 January the sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) departed Aden to join the convoy after which HMS Kingston was to proceed to Aden.

On 1 February the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and sloop HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) sailed from Aden to join the convoy. Also from Aden sailed four merchant ships which were to join the convoy, these were; Baluchistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Hav (Norwegian, 5062 GRT, built 1939), Peter Maersk (British, 5476 GRT, built 1932) and Rinda (Norwegian, 6029 GRT, built 1917).

HMS Kandahar, HMS Flamingo and HMAS Parramatta arrived at Port Sudan on 3 February. The merchant vessel Varela also proceeded to Port Sudan.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 6 February escorted by HMIS Hindustan. (4)

17 Mar 1941

Convoy BM 5.

This troop convoy departed Bombay on 17 March 1941 and arrived at Singapore on 27 March 1941.

The following transports / troopships were part of this convoy; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Jalakrishna (British, 4991 GRT, built 1937), Jalapadma (British, 3935 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

On the 20th, HMS Hector was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) in position 06°30'N, 77°35'E.

On 22 March 1941 the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) joined the convoy in position 07°10'N, 84°55'E. HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy the following day.

The convoy arrived at Singapore on 25 March 1941. (4)

1 May 1941

Convoy SW 6.

This convoy departed Suez on 1 May 1941 for Durban where it arrived on 16 May 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built ), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Nova Scotia (British, 6796 GRT, built 1926), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

Three ships of the convoy carried about 3900 POW's to South Africa.

On departure from Suez the convoy was not escorted.

At 0925C/6, the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) joined coming from Aden.

Off Aden the Nova Scotia parted company and proceeded to that port.

Around 0830C/11, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) joined and HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy to proceed to Mombasa where she arrived later the same day. She took the transport Cameronia with her.

Around 0735B/13, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) H.C. Legge, DSC, RN) took over the convoy from HMS Hector which then set course for Mombasa.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 16 May 1941. (4)

4 Jun 1941

Convoy WS 9A.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 4 June 1941.

On assembly the convoy was made up of the transports; Aagtekerk (Dutch, 6811 GRT, built 1934), Capetown Castle (British, 27000 GRT, built 1938), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Eastern Prince (British, 10926 GRT, built 1929), Empire Condor (British, 7773 GRT, built 1940), Empire Curlew (British, 7101 GRT, built 1941), Empire Egret (British, 7169 GRT, built 1939), Empire Widgeon (British, 6737 GRT, built 1940), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Mendoza (British, 8233 GRT, built 1919), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915) and Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921).

On assembly of the convoy it was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN), AA cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN), armed merchant cruisers HMS Ausonia (Capt.(Retd.) G.H. Freyberg, OBE, RN), HMS Dunnottar Castle (Capt.(Retd.) C.T.A. Bunbury, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, RCN), HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Ramsey (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Stannard, VC, RNR) and HMS Richmond (Lt.Cdr. A.F.L. Evans, RN).

At 0130Z/7, HMS Vanquisher and HMS Winchelsea parted company with the convoy.

At 0700Z/7, HMS Ausonia, HMS Cairo and all remaining destroyer parted company with the convoy.

In the afternoon of the 14th the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill Crichton, DSC, RN) and HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) joined the convoy escort.

HMS Highland was however soon detached for other duties.

In the morning of the 15th the destroyer HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) joined the convoy escort.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 16 June 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown for South Africa on 20 June 1941.

The composition of the convoy was the same in which it had arrived with the addition of the transports Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913) and Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Birmingham and the destroyers HMS Boreas, HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN), HMS Velox and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN).

At 0700ZA(-0.5)/23, the destroyers parted company with the convoy.

In the morning of July 1st, the transports Capetown Castle, Durban Castle, Eastern Prince, Empire Widgeon, Empress of Japan and Llangibby Castle parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Capetown.

At 1400AB(-1.5)/2, HMS Birmingham parted company with the convoy after the escort had been taken over by the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN). HMS Birmingham then proceeded to Simonstown.

The Eastern Prince departed Capetown on 2 July to proceeded independently to Durban.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Durban on 4 July 1941.

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On 5 July 1941, the ships of the Capetown section (minus Eastern Prince, see above) departed there escorted by HMS Birmingham which had come from Simonstown.

On 8 July 1941, the transports Aagtekerk, Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Egret and Thysville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922) and their escort HMS Hawkins departed Durban to make rendezvous with the Capetown section the following day.

On making rendezvous, HMS Birmingham was detached to return to Simonstown.

At 1415D, the transports Capetown Castle, Durban Castle and Empress of Japan parted company with the convoy to proceed to Durban. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) which had just made rendezvous with the convoy. They arrived at Bombay at 24 July.

The remainder of the ships continued on to the vicinity of Aden escorted by HMS Hawkins. The convoy was dispersed on 21 July 1941. (5)

30 Jun 1941

Convoy WS 9B.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 30 June 1941. It arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

On assembly it was made up of the following (troop)transports; Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Ceramic (British, 18713 GRT, built 1913), Clan Forbes (British, 7529 GRT, built 1938), Elizabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Pampas (British, 6345 GRT, built 1941), Pulaski (Polish, 6345 GRT, built 1912), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The transport Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935) had been unable to keep the required speed up during the passage from Liverpool to the rendezvous point and was ordered to proceed to the Clyde. She was not allowed to join the convoy.

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN), flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), AA cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN), armed merchant cruisers HMS Cathay (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.M. Merewether, RN), HMS Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN), HMS Moreton Bay (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, RN), armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (A/Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) and the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN), HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski, ORP).

HMS Wolverine was detached with defects at 1324Z/31.

HMS Wells parted company with the convoy around 2200Z/1.

HMS Vanquisher, HMS Winchelsea, HMS Castleton and HMCS St. Francis parted company around 0400Z/2.

HMS Maori was detached at 1600Z/2.

HMS Cairo, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland parted company with the convoy around 1900Z/2 in position 49°20'N, 26°20'W.

HMS Reading was detached at 0400Z/3.

HMS Edinburgh parted company around 2315Z/3.

HMS Cathay parted company around 0630Z/4.

HMS Chitral and HMS Corinthian parted company around 0100Z/6.

Around 1115Z/10, in position 17.28'N, 20.50'W the destroyers HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and corvette HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

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The convoy left Freetown in the same composition as in which it had arrived.

It was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Galatea and the destroyers HMS Brilliant, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN).

All destroyers parted company on the 18th, HMS Brilliant and HMS Velox at 1200/18 and HMS Boreas and HMS Vansittart at 1600/18.

At 0515/27, HMS Galatea parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Simonstown to fuel.

The transports Ceramic, Clan Forbes, Pampas, Elizabeth Bakke, Pulaski and Rangitata were detached to Capetown.

HMS Galatea departed Simonstown at 1530/27 and rejoined the remaining ships of the convoy at 0900/28.

The remaining ships and HMS Galatea arrived at Durban on 30 July 1941.

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The Clan Forbes, Elisabeth Bakke, Pampas and Pulaski departed Capetown on 30 July 1941 escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN).

On 3 August 1941 the Arundel Castle, Athlone Castle, Monarch of Bermuda and Oronsay departed Durban escorted by HMS Galatea. The Capetown and Durban section then merged and set course for Aden. Both escorts remained with the convoy until it was dispersed off Aden on 14 August 1941.

On 13 August the Athlone Castle and Elizabeth Bakke parted company forming convoy WS 9BX. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) and arrived at Bombay on 16 August 1941. (5)

31 Aug 1941

Convoy WS 11

This convoy assembled in the Clyde area on 31 August 1941 for the far east.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant ships; Abosso (11330 GRT, built 1935), Barrister (6348 GRT, built 1939), Bhutan (6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Edinburgh (8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Manchester (8917 GRT, built 1935), Duchess of York (20021 GRT, built 1929), Empress of Australia (21833 GRT, built 1914), Glaucus (7596 GRT, built 1921), Glenorchy (8982 GRT, built 1939), Kina II (9823 GRT, built 1939), Largs Bay (14182 GRT, built 1921), Manchester Progress (5620 GRT, built 1938), Mooltan (20952 GRT, built 1923), Northumberland (11558 GRT, built 1915), Orontes (20097 GRT, built 1929), Otranto (20026 GRT, built 1925), Scythia (19761 GRT, built 1920), Viceroy of India (19627 GRT, built 1929). The netlayer HMS Guardian (A/Capt. H.A.C. Lane, RN) also sailed in this convoy.

Escort was initially provided by the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, MVO, RN), the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) (31 August – 2 September), the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN) (31 August – 2 September), the armed merchant cruiser HMS Derbyshire (Capt.(Retd.) E.A.B. Stanley, MVO, DSO, RN), the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC and Bar, RN) (31 August – 4 September), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) (31 August – 4 September), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) (31 August – 4 September), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) (31 August – 4 September), HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN), HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, OBE, DSC, RN) (31 August – 2 September), HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) (31 August – 2 September), ORP Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) (31 August – 3 September), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski) (31 August – 3 September), the sloops HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN), HMS HMS Sennen (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN).

HMS Cairo and HrMs Isaac Sweers parted company with the convoy on 2 September and proceeded to Northern Ireland. HMS Sheffield also left the convoy later this day.

ORP Piorun and ORP Garland parted company with the convoy shortly after noon on 3 September to assist a merchant vessel that was being bombed by German aircraft. By then HMS Winchelsea had also left the convoy.

HMS Furious was destined for Gibraltar and operated mainly a little away from the convoy. She left the convoy around 1100 hours on 4 September arrived at Gibraltar on 7 September escorted by HMS Cossack, HMS Zulu, HMS Legion and HMS Lively.

Shortly afterwards around 1300 hours on 4 September the convoy split into two sections, these were;
WS 11F (Fast); This convoy was made up of the merchants Bhutan, City of Edinburgh, Duchess of York, Empress of Australia, Glenorchy, Kina II, Largs Bay, Mooltan, Orontes, Otranto, Scythia, Viceroy of India. HMS Guardian was also part of this convoy.

Escort for this part of the convoy was provided by; HMS Repulse, HMIS Sutlej (Later went to the escort of convoy WS 11S), HMS Highlander (detached to fuel at the Azores), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN) (joined around noon on 4 September coming from Gibraltar) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) (joined around 0800 hours on 7 September coming from Gibraltar).

Most of these ships oiled at sea from the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917) (Master Lt.Cdr. A.E. Curtain, OBE, RNR). Rapidol later joined convoy WS 11S. At least HMS Highlander oiled at Ponta Delgada, Azores, she rejoined the convoy around noon on 6 September.

In the morning of 11 September 1941 two destroyers coming from Freetown joined the escort, these were HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN). Later that day, around 1400 hours, the corvette HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) also joined the escort. Shortly afterwards HMS Highlander parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Bathurst.

This part of the convoy arrived at Freetown on 13 September 1941.

The other section of the convoy was WS 11S (Slow); This convoy was made up of the merchants Abosso, Barrister, City of Manchester, Glaucus Manchester Progress and Northumberland.

Escort for this part of the convoy was provided by; HMS Derbyhire, HMS Sennen and HMS Totland.

This part of the convoy arrived at Freetown on 15 September 1941.

At Freetown the convoy (now called WS 11B) was re-grouped and departed from there on 18 September 1941 for the Cape.

The convoy was now made up of the merchants Barrister, Bhutan, City of Edinburgh, City of Manchester, Duchess of York, Empress of Australia, Glaucus, Glenorchy, Kina II, Largs Bay, Manchester Progress, Mooltan, Orontes, Otranto, Scythia, Viceroy of India and the Dutch liner (troopship) Nieuw Zeeland (11069 GRT, built 1928) joined the convoy at Freetown.

Escort was provided by the battlecruiser HMS Renown and the armed merchant cruiser Derbyshire. A/S escort was provided until 1800 hours 20 September 1941 by the destroyers HMS Velox and HMS Wrestler after which these returned to Freetown.

On 30 September the following ships put into Capetown escorted by HMS Derbyshire; Bhutan, City of Edinburgh, City of Manchester, Duchess of York, Glaucus, Glenorchy, Kina II, Largs Bay, Orontes, Viceroy of India and Nieuw Zeeland.

The other ships; Barrister, Empress of Australia, Manchester Progress, Mooltan, Otranto and Scythia arrived at Durban on 3 October escorted by HMS Repulse.

On 3 October 1941, Bhutan, City of Edinburgh, City of Manchester, Duchess of York, Glaucus, Glenorchy, Kina II, Largs Bay, Orontes, Viceroy of India and Nieuw Zeeland departed Capetown still escorted by HMS Derbyshire.

On 7 October 1941, Barrister, Manchester Progress, Mooltan, Otranto as well as the transports City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), Dilwara (11080 GRT, built 1936), Eastern Prince (10926 GRT, built 1929), Johan de Witt (Dutch, 10474 GRT, built 1920), Llandaff Castle (10799 GRT, built 1926), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) and Pulaski (Polish, 6516 GRT, built 1912). They were escorted by the battlecruiser Repulse until 13 October when she was relieved by HMS Ceres (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN). On 8 October these ships joined up with the ships coming from Capetown. HMS Derbyshire then left the convoy and returned to Capetown.

In the afternoon of 17 October 1941, HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, DSO, RN) made rendez-vous with the convoy and then parted company taking the following ships with her; Barrister, City of Edinburgh, Duchess of York, Glaucius, Glenorchy, Johan de Witt, Kina II, Largs Bay, Orontes, Otranto, Nieuw Zeeland, Viceroy of India.

The other ships continued with HMS Ceres towards Aden where they arrived on 19 October 1941.

The ships taken over by HMS Glasgow proceeded to Bombay where they arrived on 22 October 1941. Three ships taken over by HMS Glasgow however were destined for Basra. One of these, the Barrister was unable to keep up with the convoy and was detached on 18 October. This ship arrived at Basra on 25 October. The other two ships destined for Basra, City of Edinburgh and Glenorchy were detached on 19 October and both arrived at Basra on 23 October 1941.

On 27 October 1941 the convoy departed Bombay for Colombo escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN). The convoy was now made up of the transports; Glaucus, Johan de Witt, Kina II, Largs Bay, Nieuw Zeeland, Orion (23371 GRT, built 1935) and Ellenga (5196 GRT, built 1911).

They arrived at Colombo on 30 October 1941, minus the Kina II which was detached on 29 October and proceeded independently to Trincomalee.

On 31 October 1941 the convoy, now made up of Ellenga, Glaucus, Johan de Witt, Largs Bay, Nieuw Zeeland Orion and Rangitiki (16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Colombo for Singapore. The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN). They arrived at Singapore on 6 November 1941. (5)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Parramatta for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for October 1940
  2. ADM 199/383
  3. ADM 199/1136
  4. ADM 199/408
  5. ADM 199/1138

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


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