Allied Warships

HMS Moreton Bay (F 11)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 11 
Built byVickers Ltd. (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched23 Apr 1921 
Commissioned13 Oct 1939 
End service20 Aug 1941 
History

On 27 August 1939 the passenger ship Moreton Bay of the Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line Ltd, London was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 13 October 1939.

Displacement: 14193 BRT
Armament: 7x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15 knots

Career:
October 39 - August 40: China Station
September 40: South Atlantic Station
October 40 - June 41: Freetown Escort Force

On 20 August 1941 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 1945 returned to owner and scrapped 1957.

 

Commands listed for HMS Moreton Bay (F 11)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Edmund Mount Haes, RN5 Oct 19395 Jan 1941
2Capt. (retired) Charles Courtenay Bell, DSO, RN5 Jan 1941mid 1941

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Notable events involving Moreton Bay include:


31 Jan 1940
HMS Regulus (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong together with HMS Moreton Bay (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN). (1)

5 Nov 1940
HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) departed Freetown to provide cover along with HMS Dragon (Capt. R.W. Shaw, MBE, RN) for the armed merchant cruiser HMS Moreton Bay (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) which was en-route to Freetown with the Vichy French transport Cuba (11420 GRT, built 1923) which she had intercepted on 31 October 1940 while it was en-route from Martinique to Casablanca. (2)

30 Jun 1941
The British merchant Saint Anselm was torpedoed and sunk west of Madeira in position 31°00'N, 26°00'W by German U-boat U-66. HMS Moreton Bay (Capt. C.C. Bell (retired), RN) later picks up 18 survivors.

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. (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16472
  2. ADM 53/113151 + ADM 199/381
  3. ADM 199/1138

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


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