Allied Warships

HMS Kenya (14)

Light cruiser of the Fiji class


HMS Kenya in heavy Arctic seas

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassFiji 
Pennant14 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered20 Dec 1937 
Laid down18 Jun 1938 
Launched18 Aug 1939 
Commissioned27 Sep 1940 
End service 
HistoryOn 29 October 1962 Kenya was sold for scrap and was broken up at the Faslane yards of Ship-breaking Industries. 

Commands listed for HMS Kenya (14)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Michael Maynard Denny, RN18 Jul 19401 Apr 1942
2Capt. Alfred Spalding Russell, RN1 Apr 19421 Jan 1943
3Capt. Dering Parker Evans, RN1 Jan 194324 Aug 1943
4Cdr. Theodore Edward Podger, RN24 Aug 19434 Sep 1943
5Capt. Charles Livingston Robertson, RN4 Sep 194325 Jun 1945
6Cdr. John William Radcliffe Thompson, RN25 Jun 19452 Apr 1946

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Notable events involving Kenya include:


The page of HMS Kenya was last updated in December 2021.

11 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed her builders yard for trials in the Clyde area. On completion she ran over the DG range. Also D/F calibration trials were carried out. (1)

12 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted full power and gunnery trials in the Clyde area. (1)

17 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) proceeded from Greenock to Glasgow where she was docked at Elderslie. (1)

18 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) is undocked and proceeded to Greenock. (1)

20 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted trials in the Clyde area. (1)

27 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted full power trials in the Clyde area following which she was accepted from the builders yard.

She also conducted exercises for the 4" AA guns. (1)

28 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. (1)

29 Sep 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (1)

1 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. They then left Scapa Flow for RIX (rangefinding and inclination) exercises in the Pentland Firth. (2)

2 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow.

HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted 4" AA gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow.

They then left Scapa Flow for more exercises during which they took each other in tow. In the evening a NEX (night encounter) exercise in the Pentland Firth. (2)

3 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow.

They then left Scapa Flow for a RIX (rangefinding and inclination) exercise with each other following which they returned to Scapa Flow and both conducted more gunnery exercises. (2)

7 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Scapa Flow to make rendezvous with convoy WS 3 (Fast) which she was to escort to Freetown.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy WS 3 (Fast) ' for 7 October 1940.] (3)

7 Oct 1940

Convoy WS 3 (Fast).

This convoy departed Liverpool and the Clyde on 7 October 1940. The convoy arrived at Suez on 16 November 1940.

The Liverpool section was made up of the troop transports; Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929).

It was escorted by the destroyers HMS Douglas (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Crossley, RN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN). HMCS St. Laurent however collided with a small merchant vessel very early on the 8th and had to return to Liverpool for repairs.

The Clyde section was made up of the transports; Capetown Castle (British, 27000 GRT, built 1938), Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).

It was escorted by the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN) and HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN).

At 0700/8, the Clyde section was joined by the destroyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. H.W. Williams, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) which came from Londonderry.

At 1012/8, a large enemy bomber was seen to approach the Capetown Castle off the Clyde section and dropped a bomb which missed.

At 1050/8, HMCS Ottawa and HMS Active were ordered to close the Oronsay which had been damaged by air attack and needed assistance. HMS Active however misunderstood the order and remained with the convoy. Meanwhile the Oronsay had dropped out of the convoy.

At 1152/8, HMS Arrow joined the damaged Oronsay as well.

Around 1400/8, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Cheshire (Capt.(Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and HMS Salopian (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) also arrived on the scene. HMS Salopian later departed to continue her patrol. HMS Cheshire remained with Oronsay and the two destroyers.

At 1440/8, Oronsay got underway at slow speed and was able to increase speed to 9 knots.

At 1520/8, the ships that were with the Oronsay sighted the Liverpool section of the convoy which apparently had been delayed by bad weather conditions and therefore unable to have joined up with the Clyde section as had been intended. HMS Douglas, one of the escorting destroyers of the Liverpool section had been unable to keep up with it due to the weather conditions now joined the Oronsay group.

At 1900/8, the destroyers HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN) and HMS Sabre (Cdr.(Retd.) B. Dean, RN) joined.

The destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) also joined but it is unknown when.

At 2115/8, the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined.

At 0205/9, HMS Arrow and HMCS Ottawa parted company with Oromsay and the other escorts to proceed to Londonderry.

Around 1030/9, the damaged Oronsay escorted by HMS Cairo, HMS Cheshire, HMS Douglas, HMS Verity, HMS Viscount and HMS Sabre arrived at Greenock.

Meanwhile the Clyde section had continued on escorted by HMS Whitehall, HMS Achates and HMS Active. As did the Liverpool section but apparently unescorted. They had failed to make rendezvous with each other in the heavy weather.

Around 1215/9, the Clyde section was joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). It seems that at this time the destroyers were no longer present.

At noon on the 12th the Clyde section, with HMS Kenya was finally joined by the Liverpool section of the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown in the afternoon of October 18th.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 20 October 1940 and was made up of the Capetown Castle, Duchess of York, Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes and Winchester Castle.

The convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 28 October 1940. HMS Dorsetshire then proceeded to Simonstown where she arrived also on the same day.

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On 30 October the convoy, now made up of the Duchess of York, Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda and Orontes departed Capetown for Suez. They were escorted by HMS Dorsetshire.

In the morning of 3 November the convoy overtook and then merged with the slow section of convoy WS 3 which was made up of the transports Dorset (British, 10624 GRT, built 1934), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Khedive Ismael (British, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Oropesa (British, 14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936) and Port Chalmers (British, 8535 GRT, built 1933) and their escort the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

Shortly before noon the Erinpura and Khedive Ismael split off from the convoy and set course for Mombasa escorted by HMS Carthage. HMS Dorsetshire continued on with the remainder of the convoy towards Suez.

In the morning of November 11th, the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) joined the convoy at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden.

The transport City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928) and several more escort vessels, the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined on 12 November 1940 for the passage through the Red Sea in which the Italian Navy was still active at this time.

The troopships Duchess of York and Georgic also re-joined the convoy after a brief visit to Aden. HMS Caledon also briefly left the convoy to oil at Aden before re-joining it.

Around 2130/12, the convoy entered the Perim Strait.

HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy at 0915/14.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 16 November 1940. (4)

23 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Freetown. (5)

24 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Freetown. (5)

27 Oct 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Freetown for Scapa Flow. She was to escort the troopships Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) to the U.K.

While en-route HMS Kenya was ordered to proceed to the Clyde with the troopships. (5)

5 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) and the troopships Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) arrived at Greenock. (6)

8 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Greenock for Plymouth. (6)

9 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Belfast.

While en-route to Plymouth, HMS Kenya had been ordered to proceed to Belfast instead as Plymouth was closed due to enemy minelaying. (6)

16 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Belfast for Scapa Flow. (6)

17 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (6)

18 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (6)

19 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (6)

21 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow.

These were followed by RIX (range and inclination) exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN).

And finally, HMS Kenya conducted more gunnery exercises. (6)

22 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery and torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (6)

26 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted 4" AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (6)

27 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted 4" AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. These were followed by a ranging exercise during which HMS Southdown (Cdr. E.R. Condor, DSO, DSC, RN) served as the target. (6)

9 Dec 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted 4" AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. These were followed by a night encounter exercise with HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN). (7)

10 Dec 1940
Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, struck his flag in HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) and then hoisted it in HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). HMS Kenya then departed Scapa Flow for Plymouth. (7)

12 Dec 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Plymouth where she is taken in hand for repairs at the Devonport Dockyard. (7)

15 Dec 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) is docked at the Devonport Dockyard. (7)

24 Dec 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) is undocked. (7)

25 Dec 1940
Following the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on convoy WS 5A, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), departed Plymouth to join convoys SL 59 and SLS 59. (7)

25 Dec 1940

Operations by 'Force H' following the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on convoy WS 5A.

[For more info on convoy WS 5A on the first leg of her passage, it's composition, and the attack by the German cruiser Admiral Hipper see the event ' Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper ' for 18 December 1940 on for instance the page of HMS Berwick.]

25 December 1940.

At 1020/25 an enemy report of a pocket battleships (later corrected to an 8" cruiser), in position 43°59'N, 25°08'W, was received from HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN). Vice-Admiral Somerville immediately ordered 'Force H' (less HMS Malaya) to come to one hour's notice for full speed. Twenty minutes later, instructions were received from the Admiralty for 'Force H' to raise steam with all despatch, and shortly afterwards for the force to proceed to sea.

Ships commenced to leave Gibraltar at 1315 hours and by 1430 hours; battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Duncan (A/Capt. A.D.B. James, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN), were clear of the harbour and on a Westerly course.

Course was set to position 37°00'N, 16°00'W as this was considered to be the best position to either cover the convoy or assist in the hunt for the enemy. Vice-Admiral Somerville reported to the Admiralty that 'Force H' was proceeding to this position at high speed with eight destroyers, who would remain in company or follow, depending on the weather.

At 1500/25 a signal was received from the Admiralty ordering the convoy and escort to proceed to Gibraltar. At this time Vice-Admiral Somerville was not aware - nor apparently were the Admiralty - that the convoy had scattered. As there now appeared little chance to bringing the raider to action. Vice-Admiral Somerville decided to join the convoy and reported accordingly to the Admiralty. Weather conditions enabled the destroyers to remain in company at 27 knots.

An hour later a further signal was received from the Admiralty directing the convoy to pass through positions 41°00'N, 19°00'W and 37°00'N, 16°00'W. These instructions were only passed to HM Ships, all of whom, it was subsequently learnt, were out of touch with the scattered convoy.

In view of the low endurance of HMS Wishart, she was detached at 1845/25 with instructions to follow at economical speed and join the convoy during daylight on December, 27th in position 37°00'N, 16°00'W.

The first indication that the convoy had scattered was received at 2000/25 when HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) reported that she had met the City of Canterbury who was proceeding to the convoy Commodore's Noon/26 rendez-vous.

Shortly after this reported a report was received from the corvette HMS Clematis confirming that the Commodore had ordered to convoy to scatter, it also stated that the troopship Empire Trooper was damaged, believed slightly.

At 2200/25, general instructions to all units were received from the Admiralty, still acting on the assumption that escort and convoy were in company. 'Force H' was directed to rendez-vous with HMS Berwick and escort the convoy until 'Force K' (aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.La T. Bisset, RN) and heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined. 'Force K' was then to escort the main body of the convoy to Freetown, whilst 'Force H', with aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and HMS Dunedin escorted the 'Operation Excess' section to Gibraltar. The damaged heavy cruiser HMS Berwick was to proceed to the U.K. if fit for passage. It also directed that if needed the upcoming 'Operation Excess' could be postponed for 24 hours.

26 December 1940.

At 0200/26 a signal was received from the Admiralty stating that the convoy had scattered and that the ships were most likely proceeding to one of the following positions; the Commodore's noon/26 rendezvous; position 41°00'N, 19°00'W; or direct to Gibraltar. Vice-Admiral Somerville was ordered to take charge.

As he was unaware of the position of 'Force K' he ordered the Senior Officer 'Force K' to report his position, course, speed and intention. Later the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) was also ordered to report similarly. All units were informed of the position, course and speed of 'Force H'.

No further news had been received regarding the damaged troopship Empire Trooper. At 0801/26, Vice-Admiral Somerville, ordered the armed merchant cruiser HMS Derbyshire (Capt.(Retd.) E.A.B. Stanley, DSO, MVO, RN) to proceed to her assistance.

At 1100/26, the situation was still obscure. No reply had been received from 'Force K' and HMS Furious. HMS Bonaventure had just reported that she was proceeding to the assistance of the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR). Ships of the convoy were apparently scattered over a wide area, each making for one of three different positions. Visibility to the westward was apparently very low. Vice-Admiral Somerville therefore requested the Admiralty to broadcast instructions on commercial wave to ships of the convoy to proceed to position 37°00'N, 16°00'W. He also informed the Admiralty that it was his intention to have HMS Derbyshire to take over from HMS Bonaventure to enable Bonaventure to proceed to Gibraltar for 'Operation Excess'.

'Force K' and HMS Furious reported between 1200 and 1300/26. 'Force K' was intending to collect the convoy at the Commodor's noon/26 rendez-vous and escort them to 37°00'N, 16°00'W. HMS Furious reported that she was in company with HMS Argus so as to reach position 37°00'N, 16°00'W at 1300/27. Also it was reported that she needed to refuel at Gibraltar before she could proceed to Freetown.

A reconnaissance of nine aircraft was flow off by HMS Ark Royal at 1300 hours in position 38°23'N, 15°45'W but nothing was sighted by these aircraft.

A report from HMS Bonaventure was received at 1630/26. She had intercepted the German merchant ship Baden (8204 GRT, built 1922) in position 44°00'N, 25°07'W. The German ship could not be boarded in the foul weather and the Germans had also set it on fire. HMS Bonaventure sank the German ship with a torpedo. She also stated that she had not yet sighted the Empire Trooper.

The situation at 1700/26 was as follows; the approximate position of all H.M. Ships in the area was known (except for the corvettes). HMS Cyclamen, with her W/T out of action, was believed to be standing by the Empire Trooper, and it appeared probable that the three remaining corvettes (HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR)) had proceeded to Ponta Delgada to fuel. Only one merchant ship had been located. The City of Canterbury, in company with HMS Dunedin. Whilst the situation of the Empire Trooper caused some anxiety priority was given to assist in rounding up and covering the remainder of the convoy which might be making for position 37°00'N, 16°00'W.

At 1720/26, all units were instructed to act as follows; 'Force H' was to maintain position between the northern and southern appoaches to position 37°00'N, 16°00'W. 'Force K' was to continue to search for ships passing through position 39°08'N, 21°38'W. HMS Furious was to arrive in position 37°00'N, 16°00'W at 1400/27, searching to the north and east for ships proceeding direct to Gibraltar. HMS Berwick was to search to the north and west of position 37°00'N, 16°00'W, during the forenoon of December, 27th. She was to make rendez-vous with 'Force H' at 1400/27. HMS Dunedin was also to make rendez-vous with 'Force H' at 1400/27. All ships were directed to report at 2200/26 and 1200/27 the number of merchant ships in company.

The 2200 reports received indicated that only three merchant ships had been located, two by 'Force K' and one by HMS Dunedin. Both HMS Norfolk and HMS Dunedin reported to be getting low on fuel. At the same time HMS Berwick reported to the Admiralty that she had to proceed to Gibraltar to make good underwater damage, to free 'X' turret and to fuel.

27 December 1940.

At 0145/27 the Admiralty informed Vice-Admiral Somerville that further steps were required to locate the Empire Trooper who had 2500 troops on board. In view of the existing fuel situation and the necessity for providing air reconnaissance to locate the damaged ship and as there were no further indications of the precense of the enemy cruiser Vice-Admiral Somerville decided to proceed with HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal to locate the Empire Trooper, whose last known position was some 600 nautical miles to the north-west. This nescessitated dropping the screening destroyers. Vice-Admiral Somerville therefore informed the Admiralty accordingly and directed 'Force K' to take charge of operations in connection to the convoy. At the same time Vice-Admiral Somerville instructed HMS Derbyshire to report her position, course and speed, and ordered HMS Clematis to report the position of the corvettes and to provide any further information regarding the condition of the Empire Trooper.

HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal proceeded at 22 knots, later increasing to 24 knots, to the north-westward, with the intention of locating the Empire Trooper by air after daylight the following morning.

At 0800/27, Vice-Admiral Somerville ordered HMS Cyclamen, if still in touch with the Empire Trooper, to report her position, course and speed and also requested the Admiralty to order the Empire Trooper herself to report her position.

Two hours later, HMS Clematis reported that she had sighted the Empire Trooper through the mist half an hour after the latter had been hit in No.1 hold. The transport was then steaming 13 knots and damage was not believed to be serious. Owning to low visibility the other corvettes had not been located. Shortly after this HMS Derbyshire reported her position, course and speed at 1000/27 and added that visibility was half a mile.

In view of the low visibility prevailing, which would preelude air reconnaissance, and of the encourageing report from HMS Clematis of Empire Trooper's condition, it appeared to Vice-Admiral Somerville doubtful wheter the presence of HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal would serve any useful purpose. Whilst so far to the northward they were unable to afford any protection to the remaining ships of the convoy, whose escorts in some cases were running short of fuel. Furtherm to remain in this position would inevitably result in delay in carrying out the upcoming 'Operation Excess'. Vice-Admiral Somerville there proposed to the Admiralty that HMS Derbyshire should remain in the vicinity of the Empire Trooper's last reported position and that HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal should return to Gibraltar, covering the convoy.

Pending the Admiralty reply to this signal, HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal proceeded to a suitable position to carry out a dawn reconnaissance with aircraft to locate the Empire Trooper should this be required whilst at the same time enabling Renown and Ark Royal to return to Gibraltar at high speed in time to carry out 'Operation Excess'.

Reports received from all units indicated that a total of four merchant ships had been located by 1200/27. The Senior Officer 'Force K', at this time ordered HMS Furious, HMS Argus, HMS Dunedin and the five transports which were to participate in 'Operation Excess', when collected, to proceed to Gibraltar with the nescessary destroyers. HMS Berwick, HMS Sheffield and the remaining destroyers to remain at the rendez-vous position until 'Force K' arrived there.

The Admiralty reply to Vice-Admiral Somerville's proposal was received at 1500/27 and directed the Vice-Admiral to remain in the area with HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal until the situation regarding the Empire Trooper had been cleared up or as long as endurance of the screen allowed.

As Vice-Admiral Somerville had previously reported that HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal had proceeded unscreened at 0200/27, he was uncerain how to interpret this signal. He assumed that it was intended that he should rejoin his destroyers in the vicinity of 37°00'N, 16°00'W and this was reported to the Admiralty accordingly.

At 1700/27 a report was intercepted from HMS Cyclamen that she was standing by the Empire Trooper who had been holed in No.1 and No.4 hatches and whose situation was serious. Her position at 0800/27 was given as 41°00'N, 22°09'W, course 138°, speed 4 knots. Shortly afterwards a report in Merchant Navy Code was intercepted from the Empire Trooper, in which she suggested that assistance should be sent to disembark the troops if necessary. The position given by the Empire Trooper differed considerably from that reported by HMS Cyclamen, whilst first class D/F bearing obtained at this time was also at variance with both positions. From all the evidence available it appeared that the Empire Trooper was in approximate position 40°40'N, 21°16'W at 1730/27.

in view of these less satisfactory reports, Vice-Admiral Somerville at once ordered HMS Bonaventure to proceed to the Empire Trooper estimated position. As it appeared possible that transfer of troops at sea might be necessary, the Vice-Admiral ordered HMS Sheffield to detach the two destroyers with the most fuel remaining to proceed at 16 knots towards the Empire Trooper. It was doubtful wheter these had enough endurance to return to Gibraltar, but in emergency they could proceed to the Azores if refuelling at sea was impracticable. In the meantime HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal proceeded westwards to reach the most favourable position for flying off a dawn reconnaissance should weather conditions enable this to be done.

At 2030/27, Admiralty instructions were received for Empire Trooper to steer for Ponta Delgada as soon as weather permitted. Twenty-five minutes later a signal from the Admiralty was received the the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), who had previously had been ordered to join convoy SL 59, was ordered to join the Empire Trooper instead.

At 2300/27 Admiralty instructions to all concerned regarding the Empire Trooper were received. HMS Kenya, HMS Berwick, HMS Cyclamen, HMS Clematis, HMS Jonquil and HMS Geranium were ordered to join the Empire Trooper and escort her to Punta Delgada. If it was found that HMS Berwick could remain with the Empire Trooper, HMS Bonaventure was to be released for 'Operation Excess' as soon as HMS Berwick relieved her, otherwise HMS Bonaventure was to remain with the Empire Trooper.

HMS Berwick reported she expected to join the Empire Trooper by 1700/28. As Bonaventure's shortage of fuel would prelude her joining the Empire Trooper before the latter had been joined by HMS Berwick, Vice-Admiral Somerville ordered HMS Bonaventure to proceed to Gibraltar.

At midnight, Vice-Admiral Somerville received a signal from 'Force K' containing proposals for the future movements of the convoy and escort.

28 December 1940.

A report was received from HMS Cyclamen at 0330/28 giving the position of the Empire Trooper at 2000/27 as 40°12'N, 21°13'W, speed 6 knots. The damaged ship had thus made good some 250 nautical miles since being attacked. As it now appeared that sufficient ships would be available to stand by her and in view of the critical fuel situation in the two destroyer that had been ordered to join her (these were HMS Duncan and HMS Hero) they were ordered to proceed to Gibraltar.

The fore end of HMS Renown's starboard bulge, which had started to tear away some time previously, now became more serious, rendering it inadvisable for the ship to exceed 20 knots. As weather conditions still precluded flying, and as HMS Kenya, HMS Berwick, HMS Derbyshire and the four corvettes were all in the vicinity of or approaching the Empire Trooper, it dit not appear that any useful purpose would be served by HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal remaining unscreened in submarine infested waters and risking further damage to Renown's bulge.

The Admiralty was then informed that HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal were returning to Gibraltar. Also a signal was sent to prepare No.1 dock at Gibraltar for HMS Renown with all despatch.

As the docking of HMS Renown would involve some delay in 'Operation Excess', Vice-Admiral Somerville informed the Admiralty and the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, that the earliest possible D.1 for would be January, 1st, and that even this date was dependent on it being possible for Renown to be made seaworthy within 24 hours of docking.

By 1500/28 the weather had improved sufficiently for an A/S patrol to be flown off. This was maintained till dusk.

During the afternoon further damage was caused to the bulge. By this time about 30 feet of the top strake had been town away and a large number of rivets were leaking. Shores and cofferdams were placed.

In order to provide a screen for HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal, Vice-Admiral Somerville ordered HMS Duncan and HMS Hero, now on passage to Gibraltar, to rendez-vous with the capital ships at 1000/29, and also the Admiral Commanding, North Atlantic Station was asked to sail additional destroyers if pacticable. HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) were sailed from Gibraltar to rendez-vous with the capital ships at 1100/29.

Air reconnaissance sighted nothing of interest during the day. At dusk couse was altered to pass north of convoy HG 49 which had left Gibraltar at 1800/28 and speed was reduced to 18 knots to increase the efficiency of the Asdic operating.

29 December 1940.

HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Hasty and HMS Jaguar indeed joined 'Force H' at 1100/29.

30 December 1940.

HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Duncan, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero and HMS Jaguar arrived at Gibraltar at 0830 hours when HMS Renown immediately entered No.1 Dock. (8)

26 Dec 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) is ordered to search for the damaged troopship (from convoy WS 5A) Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and then escort her to Ponta Delgada. (7)

28 Dec 1940
Around 1800Z/28, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) makes rendezvous with the damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR). (7)

29 Dec 1940
Around 1800Z/29, the damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) entered Ponta Delgada for repairs. HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) kept patrolling of the Azores. (9)

30 Dec 1940
The corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) departed Ponta Delgada, P.M. on 30 December followed by the damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) around 2300Z/30. At sea they joined the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN). In the meantime the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) had also arrived to escort the damaged troopship. Course was then set for Gibraltar. (9)

4 Jan 1941
At 0920A/4, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) parted company with the damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

HMS Kenya arrived at Gibraltar around 1645A/4. (10)

5 Jan 1941
Around 1500A/5, the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN) departed Gibraltar for the U.K. En-route the destroyers were to be detached to return to Gibraltar.

At 0700A/6, HMS Foxhound, HMS Forester and HMS Fury parted company to return to Gibraltar.

At 1730/7, HMS Berwick and HMS Wishart parted company.

Around 0815N/12, HMS Kenya proceeded independently to proceed to Plymouth. HMS Argus joined up with other warships. (11)

10 Jan 1941
HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, DSO, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) departed Greenock. They escorted the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. A.D. Read, RN) and troopship Duchess of York (20021 GRT, built 1929) in the Clyde area until late afternoon when they separated and proceeded to sea. They were to rendez-vous with several warships that were approaching the U.K. from the west and south.

Rendez-vous was effected around 0800 / 0900 hours on the 12th when the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Kelly, HMS Kelvin, HMS Kipling all arrived in approximate position 60°50'N, 09°50'W.

HMS Kenya, which had been escorting HMS Argus did not join. She set course for Plymouth where she arrived on the 14th.

HMS Punjabi arrived at Scapa Flow on 14 January 1941. It seems likely she had already been detached before the rendez-vous was effected.

On the 14th HMS Argus, HMS California escorted by HMS Kelvin split off for the Clyde where they arrived later the same day. HMS Kelvin was then ordered to proceed to the Humber to refit for which she departed the next day.

HMS Revenge set course for Portsmouth escorted by HMS Kelly, HMS Kipling.

At 1615/15 HMS Revenge, HMS Kelly and HMS Kipling were joined by HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) which had departed Plymouth at 1030/15.

HMS Revenge and her three escorting destroyers arrived at Portsmouth on the 16th.

14 Jan 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Plymouth. (12)

15 Jan 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) proceeded to the Devonport Dockyard for some repairs. (12)

23 Jan 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) completed her repairs at the Devonport Dockyard. (12)

26 Jan 1941
Around 2300A/26, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, DSO, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Plymouth for a sweep towards Ushant. It was feared the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper might depart Brest for the Atlantic as she had recently been undocked. (12)

27 Jan 1941
Around 1130A/27, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, DSO, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), returned to Plymouth. They had sighted nothing.

They were ordered to be able to raise steam in one hour as to be able to depart almost immediately if required. (12)

29 Jan 1941
Between 1605A/29 and 1630A/29, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, DSO, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Plymouth.

HMS Kenya was ordered to return to Plymouth shortly after departure. She passed the breakwater at 1805A/29.

The destroyers went on patrol in the western Channel and returned early the next day.

30 Jan 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Plymouth for the Clyde at 1015A/30. She was escorted out by the destroyers HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN). The destroyers turned back around 1345A/30 hours when off Land's End and returned to Plymouth. (12)

31 Jan 1941
Around 0800A/31, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived in the Clyde. (12)

31 Jan 1941
Around 2330A/31, ' Z Force ' departed Lamlash for Freetown. ' Z Force ' was made up of the infantery landing ships HMS Glenearn (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, OBE, RN), HMS Glengyle (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Petrie, RN) and HMS Glenroy (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.F. Paget, RN). On passing the boom at Lamlash they were joined by the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN).

Around 0830A/1, they were joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) which had departed Greenock at 0001A/1.

Around 0900A/1, the troopship Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932) joined.

At 0530Z/3, the Georgic and the destroyers parted company.

At 0955N/7, the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) joined.

At 0655N/9, the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN) joined.

At 1030N/10, ' Z Force ', HMS Kenya and HMS Dorsetshire arrived at Freetown.

(13)

9 Feb 1941

Convoy SL 65.

The bulk of this convoy departed Freetown on 10 February 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 8 March 1941.

Part of this convoy departed Freetown on day earlier, on 9 February 1941 and joined up with the main part of the convoy on 14 February 1941. This part of the convoy was known as convoy SLS [SL Slow] 65.

Convoy SLS 65 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Agios Vlasios (Greek, 2974 GRT, built 1918), Batna (British, 4399 GRT, built 1928), Baxtergate (British, 5531 GRT, built 1925), Camerata (British, 4875 GRT, built 1931), Deido (British, 3894 GRT, built 1928), Glaisdale (British, 3777 GRT, built 1929), Harmonic (British, 4558 GRT, built 1930), Hollinside (British, 4172 GRT, built 1930), Michael L. Embiricos (Greek, 5202 GRT, built 1918), Nevada II (British, 5693 GRT, built 1918), Ocean Coast (British, 1173 GRT, built 1935), Senta (Norwegian, 3785 GRT, built 1917), Trongate (British, 3979 GRT, built 1924), Wearpool (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936) and Zeeland (Dutch, 2776 GRT, built 1930).

SLS 65 had no escort.

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Convoy SL 65 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Belinda (Norwegian (tanker), 8325 GRT, built 1939), Belita (Norwegian (tanker), 6323 GRT, built 1933), Bencruachan (British, 5920 GRT, built 1928), Benvrackie (British, 6434 GRT, built 1922), Blairclova (British, 5083 GRT, built 1938), British Confidence (British (tanker), 8494 GRT, built 1936), British Endurance (British (tanker), 8406 GRT, built 1936), British Engineer (British (tanker), 6993 GRT, built 1922), British Governor (British (tanker), 6840 GRT, built 1926), British Renown (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1928), British Workman (British (tanker), 6994 GRT, built 1922), Bur (Norwegian, 4343 GRT, built 1917), Chile (British, 6956 GRT, built 1915), City of Adelaide (British, 6528 GRT, built 1920), City of Canton (British, 6692 GRT, built 1916), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Exeter (British, 9654 GRT, built 1914), City of Khios (British, 5574 GRT, built 1925), City of Ripon (British, 6368 GRT, built 1915), City of Winchester (British, 7120 GRT, built 1917), City of Worcester (British, 5469 GRT, built 1927), Cliftonhall (British, 5063 GRT, built 1938), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), David Livingstone (British, 5013 GRT, built 1930), Dunstan (British, 5149 GRT, built 1925), Eskbank (British, 5137 GRT, built 1937), Fernlane (Norwegian, 4310 GRT, built 1927), Glenfinlas (British, 7479 GRT, built 1917), John Holt (British, 4975 GRT, built 1938), Kalewa (British, 4389 GRT, built 1940), Kana (British, 2783 GRT, built 1929), Marquesa (British, 8979 GRT, built 1918), Matadian (British, 4275 GRT, built 1936), Medon (British, 5444 GRT, built 1923), Morgenen (Norwegian (tanker), 7093 GRT, built 1930), Nariva (British, 8714 GRT, built 1920), Nela (British, 7220 GRT, built 1916), Polartank (Norwegian (tanker), 6356 GRT, built 1930), Port Adelaide (British, 8422 GRT, built 1919), Southern Princess (British (tanker), 12156 GRT, built 1915), Strategist (British, 6255 GRT, built 1937), Tacoma Star (British, 7924 GRT, built 1919), Tactician (British, 5996 GRT, built 1928), Thistlegorm (British, 4898 GRT, built 1940), Thornliebank (British, 5569 GRT, built 1939), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Ville d'Amiens (British, 6975 GRT, built 1924), Wayfarer (British, 5068 GRT, built 1925) and Zamalek (British (rescue ship), 1567 GRT, built 1921).]

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) and the sloop HMS Milford (Capt.(Retd.) S.K. Smyth, RN).

At 0900N/11, the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR).

On 13 February 1941, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined SLS 65 having departed Freetown on 11 February 1941.

Around 0900N/14, convoy SLS 65 merged with convoy SL 65.

At 1820N/14, HMS Milford, HMS Asphodel and HMS Calendula parted company with the convoy to return to Freetown.

At 1100D/20, the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) joined the convoy escort. HMS Kenya then parted company to proceed to Gibraltar.

HMS Sheffield parted company with the convoy in the afternoon of 1 March 1941 and returned to Gibraltar.

At 1300D/2, the light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) joined the convoy escort. HMS Bulolo then parted company with the convoy to proceed to the Clyde.

Ships from the local A/S escort commenced to join on 4 March, these were the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Broadway (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, RN), HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR), HMS Rockingham (Lt. A.H.T. Johns, RN), sloop HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN), corvettes HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.G. Rankin, RNR), HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RNR) HMS Tulip (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR), A/S yacht HMS Philante (Capt.(Retd.) H.S. Bowlby, RN) and the catapult ship HMS Pegasus (Capt.(Retd.) P.G. Wodehouse, DSO, RN). The destroyers HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN) and HMS Woolston (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN) joined on 5 March.

11 Feb 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Freetown for convoy escort duty. She was to join convoy SLS 65 / SL 65.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy SL 65 ' for 10 February 1941.] (14)

18 Feb 1941

Convoy SL 66.

This convoy departed Freetown on 18 February 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 14 March 1941.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Amberton (British, 5377 GRT, built 1928), Ardenvohr (British, 5025 GRT, built 1940), Benlomond (British, 6630 GRT, built 1922), Benvenue (British, 5920 GRT, built 1927), Berbery (British, 5248 GRT, built 1919), Berhala (Dutch, 6622 GRT, built 1927), Bothnia (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928), Bradglen (British, 4741 GRT, built 1930), British Colony (British (tanker), 6917 GRT, built 1927), British Desteny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Power (British (tanker), 8451 GRT, built 1936), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), British Resolution (British (tanker), 8408 GRT, built 1937), Cape Wrath (British, 4512 GRT, built 1914), Darlington Court (British, 4974 GRT, built 1936), Egba (British, 4989 GRT, built 1914), Esneh (British, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Etrib (British, 1943GRT, built 1919), Glendene (British, 4412 GRT, built 1929), Glenpark (British, 5136 GRT, built 1939), Gold Shell (British (tanker), 8208 GRT, built 1931), Harpasa (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Hjalmar Wessel (British, 1742 GRT, built 1935), Hoogkerk (British, 5132 GRT, built 1911), Kerma (British, 4333 GRT, built 1928), Kingbury (British, 4898 GRT, built 1937), Lord Cochrane (British, 4157 GRT, built 1934), Lynton Grange (British, 5029 GRT, built 1937), Marita (Norwegian, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Meropi (Greek, 4181 GRT, built 1911), Norman Monarch (British, 4718 GRT, built 1937), O.A. Kundsen (Norwegian (tanker), 11007 GRT, built 1938), Ornefjell (British, 1334 GRT, built 1937), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925), Petter (Norwegian (tanker), 9109 GRT, built 1935), River Afton (British, 5479 GRT, built 1935), Salamis (Norwegian (tanker), 8286 GRT, built 1939), Salvus (British, 4815 GRT, built 1928), Serbino (British, 4099 GRT, built 1919), Sir Ernest Cassel (British, 7739 GRT, built 1910), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), Somme (British, 5265 GRT, built 1919), South Wales (British, 5619 GRT, built 1929), Temple Yard (British, 5205 GRT, built 1937), Toward (British (rescue ship), 1571 GRT, built 1923), Trevorian (British, 4599 GRT, built 1920), Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930) and Warfield (British, 6070 GRT, built 1917).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Comorin (Capt.(Retd.) J.I. Hallett, DSO, RN).

Around 1345N/3, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar.

Around 0700N/8, the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski) joined.

Around 1800N/9, the destroyers HMS Wanderer (Cdr. A.F.St.G. Orpen, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), escort destroyer HMS Vivien (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Beattie, RN) and the corvettes HMS Nasturtium (Lt.Cdr. J.F.C. Bartley, DSC, RNR), HMS Periwinkle (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR) and HMS Primrose (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A. Ayre, RNR).

At 1915Z/9, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy but she rejoined it at 2000A/10 after having been ordered to do so. While absent from the convoy HMS Kenya sighted and engaged a German Focke Wulf aircraft but it was not damaged and disappeared to the east.

At 2000A/11, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy to proceed to Plymouth.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 14 March 1941.

22 Feb 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Gibraltar after convoy escort duty. (14)

28 Feb 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy SL 66 and escort it part of the way on its passage to the U.K. (14)

1 Mar 1941

Convoy SL 67.

This convoy departed Freetown on 1 March 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 26 March 1941.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alphard (Dutch, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Anadyr (British, 5321 GRT, built 1930), Ashworth (British, 5227 GRT, built 1920), Banffshire (British, 6479 GRT, built 1912), Baron Belhaven (British, 6591 GRT, built 1925), Baron Cawdor (British, 3638 GRT, built 1935), Beaconstreet (Detached to Gibraltar on 11 March) (British, 7467 GRT, built 1927), Bolton Castle (British, 5203 GRT, built 1939), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), British Diligence (British (tanker), 8408 GRT, built 1937), British Hope (Detached to Gibraltar on 11 March) (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Integrity (British (tankr), 8412 GRT, built 1927), British Security (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), Celtic Monarch (British, 5824 GRT, built 1929), City of Cairo (British, 8034 GRT, built 1915), City of Dunkirk (British, 5861 GRT, built 1912), City of Kimberley (British, 6169 GRT, built 1925), City of Nagpur (British, 10146 GRT, built 1922), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Clan Macbean (British, 5000 GRT, built 1918), Copeland (British (rescue vessel), 1526 GRT, built 1923), Deebank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Defender (British, 8258 GRT, built 1915), Dunkwa (British, 4752 GRT, built 1927), Friesland (Dutch, 2662 GRT, built 1930), Godfrey B. Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929), Guido (British, 3921 GRT, built 1920), Harmodius (British, 5229 GRT, built 1919), Harpefjell (Norwegian, 1333 GRT, built 1939), Helder (Dutch, 3629 GRT, built 1920), Henrik Ibsen (British, 4671 GRT, built 1906), Hindpool (British, 4897 GRT, built 1928), Inneroy (Norwegian (tanker), 8260 GRT, built 1936), King Edwin (British, 4536 GRT, built 1927), Lahore (British, 5304 GRT, built 1920), Llangollen (British, 5056 GRT, built 1928), Martaban (British, 4161 GRT, built 1934), Mendoza (British, 8233 GRT, built 1919), Nagina (British, 6551 GRT, built 1921), Nardana (British, 7974 GRT, built 1919), Nebraska (British, 8261 GRT, built 1920), Ogmore Castle (British, 2481 GRT, built 1919), Peisander (British, 6225 GRT, built 1925), Queen Anne (British, 4937 GRT, built 1937), Recorder (British, 2276 GRT, built 1902), Roxane (British (tanker), 7813 GRT, built 1929), Sansu (British, 5446 GRT, built 1939), Sire (British, 5664 GRT, built 1938), Solfonn (Norwegian (tanker), 9925 GRT, built 1939), Taxiarchis (Greek, 4221 GRT, built 1913), Tielbank (British, 5084 GRT, built 1937), Tunisia (British, 4337 GRT, built 1927), Turkistan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1939), Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927), Urbino (British, 5198 GRT, built 1918), Winsum (Dutch, 3224 GRT, built 1921) and Zamalek (British (rescue vessel), 1567 GRT, built 1921).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) V.B. Cardwell, OBE, RN), corvette HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS Kelt (T/Lt. W.T. Hodson, RNVR), HMS Spaniard (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Webster, RNR) and HMS Turcoman (Skr. A.G. Day, RNR).

At 1700/3 the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the escort of the convoy.

At 1800/4 the three A/S trawlers parted company with the convoy.

In the early morning hours of 8 March 1941 the convoy was attacked by the German submarines U-105 and U-124. Five ships of the convoy were sunk, these were the Harmodius, Hindpool, Lahore, Tielbank and Nardana.

At 1330/8 HMS Forester, which was well to the west of the convoy, briefly sighted the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau steaming towards the convoy. The German ships were also sighted around the same time by HMS Malaya's Swordfish aircraft. Following the report of the sighting HMS Malaya and HMS Faulknor left the convoy to join HMS Forester to put themselves between the convoy and the enemy.

At 1645/8 hours HMS Malaya and the Scharnhorst sighted each other and the German battlecruisers turned away being chased briefly by HMS Malaya and the destroyers. As Malaya's speed was much lower contact was soon lost and the battleship and the destroyers then returned to the convoy. At 1900 hours they rejoined the convoy

In the afteroon of March, 10th, the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt R.R. McGrigor, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN) and aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN) joined the escort of the convoy. HMS Malaya then parted company with the convoy and set course for Gibraltar.

At 1730/11, HMS Asphodel parted company with the convoy with the tankers Beaconstreet and British Hope which she then escorted to Gibraltar.

At 1000/13, HMS Faulknor and HMS Foresight parted company with the convoy and set course for Gibraltar.

At 1000/19, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. At 1600/19, HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Cilicia parted company with the convoy.

On 21 March the escort of the convoy was reinforced with the destroyers HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN), HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN), HMS Veteran (Cdr. W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Wolsey (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC, RN), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. H.M.R. Crichton, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), the corvettes HMS Arbutus (T/Lt. A.L.W. Warren, RNR), HMS Camellia (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Willmott, RNR) and the catapult ship HMS Pegasus (Capt.(Retd.) P.G. Wodehouse, RN). HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy in the afternoon and proceeded to join convoy HG 56.

HMS Havelock and HMS Verity parted company with the convoy on 24 March as did HMS Veteran on the 25th.

13 Mar 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Plymouth after convoy escort duty. (15)

15 Mar 1941

Convoy HG 56.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 15 March 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 1 April 1941.

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ary Lensen (British, 3214 GRT, built 1930), Aymeric (British, 5196 GRT, built 1919), Baron Haig (British, 3391 GRT, built 1926), Baron Nairn (British, 3164 GRT, built 1925), Baron Pentland (British, 3410 GRT, built 1927), Bruce M. (British, 1887 GRT, built 1927), Crane (British, 785 GRT, built 1937), Cressado (British, 1228 GRT, built 1913), Dayrose (British, 4113 GRT, built 1928), Fanefjeld (Norwegian, 1354 GRT, built 1920), Fendris (British, 1018 GRT, built 1925), Lech (Polish, 1568 GRT, built 19341927), Lissa (British, 1511 GRT, built ), Magne (Swedish, 3103 GRT, built 1912), Margareta (British, 1173 GRT, built 1904), Ocean Coast (British, 1173 GRT, built 1935), Philipp M. (British, 2085 GRT, built 1924), Procris (British, 1033 GRT, built 1924), Rhineland (British, 1381 GRT, built 1922), Rimfakse (Norwegian, 1334 GRT, built 1921), Thurso (British, 2436 GRT, built 1919), Treminnard (British, 4964 GRT, built 1922), Ulea (British, 1574 GRT, built 1936), Uskside (British, 2708 GRT, built 1937) and Wallonia (Swedish, 1435 GRT, built ).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), sloop HMS Folkestone (Lt.Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), corvettes HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and the submarine HMS Olympus (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN).

HMS Velox, HMS Geranium and HMS Verbena parted company on 16 March to return to Gibraltar.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined the convoy around 0900Z/23.

At 1600Z/24, HMS Olympus parted company with the convoy and proceeded to join convoy OG 56.

Around 1130Z/25, the armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (A/Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0800Z/27, the destroyer HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), Léopard (Lt.Cdr. J. Evenou) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) joined the convoy.

Around 1000Z/27, the corvettes HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR), HMS Mallow (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Piggott, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1700Z/27, the destroyers HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), HMS Burwell (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR), sloop HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RNR), HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR) and rescue ship Zaafaran (1559 GRT, built 1921) joined.

Around 0930A/29, the destroyer HMS Broadwater (Lt.Cdr. W.M.L. Astwood, RN) joined the convoy.

17 Mar 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Plymouth for escort duty with convoy SL 67.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy SL 67 ' for 1 March 1941.] (15)

31 Mar 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Greenock from convoy escort duty with convoy HG 56.

[For more info on this convoy see the event convoy ' HG 56 ' for 15 March 1941.]

[No log of HMS Kenya is available for April 1941, therefore some details might be missing.] (15)

2 Apr 1941
Around 1100A/2, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol off the Bay of Biscay.

At 1215Z/4, the destroyers were detached to refuel at Londonderry where they arrived at 0600A/6.

At 1845Z/6, HMS London was detached for other duties.

At 0430A/8, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined coming from Greenock.

Around 0945A/8, the destroyers HMS Somali, HMS Bedouin, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele rejoined from fuelling at Londonderry.

At 2000Z/8, HMS King George V, HMS Somali, HMS Bedouin, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele departed patrol to return to Scapa Flow. HMS Kenya was ordered to make rendezvous with the 'Hood-Group'.

At 0600A/10, HMS Matabele was detached to proceed to Barrow-in-Furness for repairs.

At 1542A/10, HMS Bedouin is ordered to proceed to position 58°42'N, 09°41'W, to the north-west of St.Kilda, where a merchant vessel was reported to be on fire with survivors abandoning ship. HMS Bedouin did not find anything however and arrived at Scapa Flow on the 12th.

Around 1830A/10, HMS King George V, HMS Somali and HMS Mashona arrived at Scapa Flow. (16)

6 Apr 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Greenock to join HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN) on patrol. (17)

6 Apr 1941
As the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are thought to have left Brest the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow to proceed to position 54°00'N, 15°30'W (west of Ireland) in which she was to arrive around dawn on the 8th. She was being escorted by the destoyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN).

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) had been ordered to operate near HMS Hood but she did not join her. She was first sighted at 1240A/9.

HMS Arrow was detached to refuel at Londonderry at 2340A/8. After fuelling she departed Londonderry around 1415A/10 to rejoin which she did at 0730A/12.

HMS Maori and HMS Zulu were detached to refuel at Londonderry at 2000A/10. After fuelling they departed Londonderry around 0845A/12 to rejoin which they did around 0845A/13.

Around 0730A/11, HMS Hood was joined at sea at by the destroyer HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN) which came from Londonderry.

HMS Hood escorted by HMS Cossack, HMS Maori and HMS Zulu returned to Scapa Flow around 2100A/14. HMS Arrow arrived at 0630/15. She had been detached at 2045A/13 as she had been unable to keep up.

HMS Kenya also arrived at Scapa Flow on the 14th. (18)

18 Apr 1941
Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, struck his flag on board HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). (19)

19 Apr 1941

Intelligence reported the German battleship Bismarck proceeding to sea, British movements to intercept.

In the early morning hours of 19 April 1941 the Admiralty received reports that the German battleship Bismarck was reported to have passed the Skaw together with two cruisers and three destroyers.

The battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) with the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) were already at sea (departed Scapa Flow around 1700/18) proceeding southwards to relieve HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) on the Bay of Biscay patrol. They were now ordered to proceed northwards to provide cover for the cruiser patrol in the Island-Faroes passage. HMS King George V and HMS Nigeria initially turned north but soon returned to their patrol area off the Bay of Biscay. Their escorting destroyers, HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) had been detached to fuel at Londonderry on the morning of the 15th. They returned from fuelling on the morning of the 20th.

For these cruiser patrols the following ships were sailed.
From Iceland (Hvalfjord); heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN), light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN).
From Scapa Flow; heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN), HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN), destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN).

HMS Inglefield joined the force of HMS Hood around 1045/20.

Shortly before midnight the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) sailed from the Clyde escorted by ORP Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski) and HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Dover, RN). In the early hours of the 20th HMS Rodney collided with the auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Topaze (Ch.Skr. G.R. Gale, RNR) which sank with its entire crew as a result.

The reported German movements turned out to be false and most of the British forces were back in port by the early morning of 23 April 1941 at latest.

HMS Hood and her four escorting destroyers had arrived at Hvalfiord, Iceland in the morning on 21 April. HMS Kenya had been ordered to join the Iceland - Faroer Islands patrol as was HMS Edinburgh. (20)

23 Apr 1941

Minelaying operation SN 71.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0935/23, the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (A/Capt. E.M.C. Barraclough, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN, RN), HMS Port Quebec (Capt. (Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN) and HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) departed Loch Alsh (Port Z.A.) for minelaying mission SN 71.

The operation was covered by the light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) from the Iceland - Faroer Islands patrol.

The destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) departed from Hvalfjord at 0100/25 to carry out an anti-submarine sweep in the line of advance of the minelayers. On completion of the A/S sweep, they relieved destroyers HMS Achates and HMS Anthony in the screen of the minelayers which then proceeded to Reykjavik.

Minefield SN 71 was laid on the 26th. It was made up as follows;
SN 71A;
between 66°44'9"N, 24°13'7"W and 66°47'5"N, 24°52'0'W

SN 71B;
between 66°56'5"N, 24°01'9"W and 67°14'0"N, 24°01'9"W

SN 71C;
between 67°09'6"N, 23°46'0"W and 67°08'5"N, 23°44'2"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Southern Prince 562 mines, HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 548 mines.

HMS Edinburgh, HMS Kenya, after the minelay, proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 29th.

HMS Cossack and HMS Zulu arrived at Scapa Flow at 2130/29.

HMS Southern Prince, HMS Menetheus, HMS Port Quebec, HMS Brighton and HMS St.Marys arrived at Loch Alsh (Port Z.A.) at 1957/29. (21)

5 May 1941

Minelaying operation SN 9A.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0925B/5, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), and HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN) of the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Loch Alsh to lay minefield SN 9A. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN).

Around 1310B/5, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) joined the force off the Butt of Lewis to provide close cover. She had departed Scapa Flow at 0750B/5.

The light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN), HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) of the 18th Cruiser Squadron which had departed Scapa Flow around 1445B/5 to cover the minelaying operation. On completion of this they proceeded on operation EB.

Minefield SN 9A was laid between 1812B/6 and 2058B/6. It was laid along a line between positions 63°20'0"N, 11°36'0"W and 63°57'5"N, 12°02'0"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Agamemnon 532 mines, HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 548 mines.

At 0952B/8, HMS Kenya parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

HMS Agamemnon, HMS Menestheus, HMS Port Quebec, HMS St. Marys and HMS Brighton returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1331B/8.

HMS Kenya arrived at Scapa Flow around 1500B/8.

HMS Intrepid and HMS Impulsive arrived at Scapa Flow around 1030B/9 hiving been diverted for an A/S hunt on the 8th while en-route from Port Z.A. to Scapa Flow. (22)

9 May 1941
During the night of 9/10 May 1941, HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. It appears that the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN) and HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN) were also present for escort duty. (23)

10 May 1941
Around 1800B/10, HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), departed Scapa Flow to patrol between Iceland and the Faeroer Island. (24)

14 May 1941

Minelaying operation SN 9B.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 1035B/14, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), and HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN) of the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Loch Alsh to lay minefield SN 9A. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN) and HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN). HMS Electra, HMS Antelope, HMS Anthony had arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 0600B/14 having departed Scapa Flow at 2215B/13.

Around 1730B/14, they were joined at sea by the light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 2345B/13 to provide close cover for the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

Two light cruisers, which were on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap, HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), provided distant cover for the operation. On completion of the operation they resumed their patrol.

Minefield SN 9B was laid on the 15th. It was laid along a line between positions 64°34'0"N, 12°42'0"W, 64°08'5"N, 12°16'0"W and 64°02'2"N, 12°06'0"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Agamemnon 532 mines, HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 548 mines.

HMS Hermione returned to Scapa Flow at 2000B/17.

At 2344B/17, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Menestheus, HMS Port Quebec and HMS St. Marys returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh).

HMS Electra, HMS Antelope and HMS Anthony returned to Scapa Flow at 0730B/18. (25)

18 May 1941

Chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck,
18 to 27 May 1941.

Part I.

Departure of the Bismarck from the Baltic.

At 2130B/18 the German battleship Bismarck and the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen departed Gotenhafen for an anti-shipping raid in the North Atlantic. The following morning they were joined off Cape Arkona by the German destroyers Z 16 / Friedrich Eckhold and Z 23. They then proceeded through the Great Belt. The four ships were joined by a third destroyer, Z 10 / Hans Lody shortly before midnight on 19 May.

First reports of Bismarck and British dispositions 20-21 May 1941.

On 20 May 1941 two large warships with a strong escort were seen at 1500 hours northward out of the Kattegat. This information originated from the Swedish cruiser Gotland which had passed the Germans off the Swedish coast in the morning. The Naval Attaché at Stockholm received the news at 2100/20 and forwarded it to the Admiralty. At 0900/21 the Bismarck and her consorts entered Kors Fjord, near Bergen, Norway and anchored in nearby fiords. A reconnaissance aircraft flying over Bergen at 1330/21 reported having seen two Hipper class heavy cruisers there. One of these ships was later identified on a photograph as being the Bismarck. This intelligence went out at once to the Home Fleet.

The ships of the Home Fleet were at this time widely dispersed on convoy duties, patrols, etc. Some of the units were ranging as far as Gibraltar and Freetown. The Commander-in-Chief, A/Admiral Sir John Tovey, was at Scapa Flow in his flagship, HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN). With him were her newly commissioned sister ship HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN), the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, with Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN, onboard), the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN). HMS Victorious was under orders to escort troop convoy WS 8B from the Clyde to the Middle East. HMS Neptune was working up for service with the Mediterranean Fleet and was to escort convoy WS 8X from the Clyde to the Middle East on completion. She did not sail to operate against the Bismarck having only just began her post-refit work-up programme.

Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker (commanding the first Cruiser Squadron), with the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) (flag) and HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN) was on patrol in the Denmark Straight. The light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) were patrolling between Iceland and the Faeroes. The battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) was at the Clyde to escort troop convoy WS 8B.

Action taken by the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet

Admiral Tovey took the following action when he received the news the Bismarck had been spotted at Bergen. Vice-Admiral Holland with the Hood, Prince of Wales, Achates, Antelope, Anthony, Echo, Electra and Icarus was ordered to cover Rear Admiral Wake-Walker's cruisers in the Denmark Straight. His force departed Scapa Flow around 0100/22.

HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), which was taking the Vice-Admiral, Orkneys and Shetlands, to Reykjavik on a visit of inspection, was ordered to remain at Hvalfiord and placed at Rear-Admiral Wake-Walkers disposal. HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham were ordered to top off with fuel at Skaalefiord and them to resume their patrol. The other ships that remained at Scapa Flow were brought to short notice for steam.

The Free French submarine FFS Minerve (Lt. P.M. Sonneville), which was on patrol off south-west Norway was ordered to proceed to position 61°53'N, 03°15'E and HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, RN) was ordered to proceed to position 62°08'N, 05°08'E which is to the west of Stadtlandet.

The sailing of HMS Repulse and HMS Victorious with troop convoy WS 8B was cancelled and the ships were placed at the disposal of Admiral Tovey.

A reconnaissance aircraft flying over Bergen reported that the German ships were gone. This information reached Admiral Tovey at 2000/22. HMS Suffolk which had been fuelling at Hvalfiord was ordered to rejoin HMS Norfolk in the Denmark Strait. HMS Arethusa was ordered to join HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham to form a patrol line between Iceland and the Faeroes. Vice-Admiral Holland, on his way to Iceland was told to cover the patrols in Denmark Strait north of 62°N. Admiral Tovey would cover the patrols south of 62°N.

Commander-in-Chief leaves Scapa Flow on 22 May 1941

The King George V, with Admiral Tovey on board, departed Scapa Flow at 2245/22. With the King George V sailed, HMS Victorious, HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora, HMS Kenya, HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN), HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN), HMS Active, HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi, HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMAS Nestor. HMS Lance however had to return to Scapa Flow due to defects.

At A.M. 23 May they were joined off the Butt of Lewis by HMS Repulse escorted by HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt. P.E. Haddon, RCN) coming from the Clyde area which they departed on 22 May.

The Commander-in-Chief was 230 miles north-west of the Butt of Lewis in approximate position 60°20'N, 12°30'W when at 2032/23 a signal came in from HMS Norfolk that she had sighted the Bismarck in the Denmark Strait.

HMS Suffolk and HMS Norfolk made contact with the Bismarck in the Denmark Strait on 23 May 1941.

At 1922/23 HMS Suffolk sighted the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen in position 67°06'N, 24°50'W. They were proceeding to the south-west skirting the edge of the ice in Denmark Strait. HMS Suffolk immediately sent out an enemy report and made for the mist to the south-east. HMS Norfolk then commenced closing and sighted the enemy at 2030 hours. They were only some six nautical miles off and the Bismarck opened fire. HMS Norfolk immediately turned away, was not hit and also sent out an enemy report.

Although HMS Suffolk had sighted the enemy first and also sent the first contact report this was not received by the Commander-in-Chief. The enemy was 600 miles away to the north-westward.

Vice-Admiral Holland had picked up the signal from the Suffolk. He was at that moment about 300 nautical miles away. Course was changed to intercept and speed was increased by his force to 27 knots.

Dispositions, 23 May 1941.

At the Admiralty, when the Norfolk's signal came in, one of the first considerations was to safeguard the convoys at sea. At this time there were eleven crossing the North-Atlantic, six homeward and five outward bound. The most important convoy was troop convoy WS 8B of five ships which had left the Clyde the previous day for the Middle East. She was at this moment escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), light cruiser (AA cruiser) HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, RCN) and the escort destroyer HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN). HMS Repulse was also intended to have sailed with this convoy but she had joined the Commander-in-Chief instead.

Force H was sailed around 0200/24 from Gibraltar to protect this important convoy on the passage southwards. Force H was made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt Sir R.R. McGrigor, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN).

HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk shadowing Bismarck 23 / 24 May 1941.

During the night of 23 / 24 May 1941 HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk hung on to the enemy, The Norfolk on their port quarter, Suffolk on their starboard quarter. All through the night they sent signals with updates on the position, course and speed of the enemy. At 0516 hours HMS Norfolk sighted smoke on her port bow and soon HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales came in sight.

HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales 23 / 24 May 1941.

At 2054/23 the four remaining escorting destroyers were ordered to follow at best speed in the heavy seas if they were unable to keep up with the capital ships which were proceeding at 27 knots. Two destroyers, HMS Antelope and HMS Anthony had been ordered to proceed to Iceland to refuel at 1400/23. The destroyers all managed to keep up for now and at 2318 hours they were ordered to form a screen ahead of both capital ships. At 0008/24 speed was reduced to 25 knots and course was altered to due north at 0017 hours. It was expected that contact with the enemy would be made at any time after 0140/24. It was just now that the cruisers lost contact with the enemy in a snowstorm and for some time no reports were coming in. At 0031 hours the Vice-Admiral signalled to the Prince of Wales that if the enemy was not in sight by 0210 hours he would probably alter course to 180° until the cruisers regained touch. He also signalled that he intended to engage the Bismarck with both capital ships and leave the Prinz Eugen to Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Prince of Wales' Walrus aircraft was ready for catapulting and it was intended to fly it off, but visibility deteriorated and in the end it was defuelled and stowed away at 0140 hours. A signal was then passed to the destroyers that when the capital ships would turn to the south they were to continue northwards searching for the enemy. Course was altered to 200° at 0203/24. As there was now little chance of engaging the enemy before daylight the crews were allowed to rest.

At 0247/24 HMS Suffolk regained touch with the enemy and by 0300 hours reports were coming in again. At 0353 hours HMS Hood increased speed to 28 knots and at 0400/24 the enemy was estimated to be 20 nautical miles to the north-west. By 0430 hours visibility had increased to 12 nautical miles. At 0440 hours orders were given to refuel the Walrus of HMS Prince of Wales but due to delays due to water in the fuel it was not ready when the action began and it was damaged by splinters and eventuelly jettisoned into the sea.

At 0535/24 hours a vessel was seen looming on the horizon to the north-west, it was the Bismarck. She was some 17 nautical miles away bearing 330°. Prinz Eugen was ahead of her but this was not immediately realised and as the silhoutte of the German ships was almost similar the leading ship was most likely thought to be the Bismarck on board HMS Hood.

Battle of the Denmark Strait, action with the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Loss of HMS Hood.

At 0537/24 HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were turned together 40° to starboard towards the enemy. At 0549 hours course was altered to 300° and the left hand ship was designated as the target. This was a mistake as this was the Prinz Eugen and not the Bismarck. This was changed to the Bismarck just before fire was opened at 0552 hours. At 0554 hours the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen also opened fire. In the meantime Prince of Wales had also opened fire at 0053 hours. Her first salvo was over. The sixth salvo was a straddle. The Norfolk and Suffolk were too far astern of the enemy to take part in the action.

At 0555 hours Hood and Prince of Wales turned two points to port. This opened up Prince of Wales' A arcs as her ninth salvo was fired.

Shortly before 0605 hours Hood signalled that another turn of two points to port had to be executed. Bismarck had just fired her fifth salvo when the Hood was rent in two by a huge explosion rising apparently between the after funnel and the mainmast. The fore part began to sink seperately, bows up, whilst the after part remained shrouded in a pall of smoke. Three or four minutes later, the Hood had vanished between the waves leaving a vast cloud of smoke drifting away to the leeward. She sank in position 63°20'N, 31°50'W (the wreck was found in 2001 in approximate position 63°22'N, 32°17'W, the exact position has not been released to the public.)

The Prince of Wales altered course to starboard to avoid the wreckage of the Hood. The Bismarck now shifted fire from her main and secondary armament to her. Range was now 18000 yards. Within a very short time she was hit by four 15" and three 6" shells. At 0602 hours a large projectile wrecked the bridge, killing or wounding most of the personnel and about the same time the ship was holed underwater aft. It was decided temporarily to discontinue the action and at 0613 hours HMS Prince of Wales turned away behind a smoke screen. The after turret continued to fire but it soon malfunctioned and was out of action until 0825 hours. When the Prince of Wales ceased firing the range was 14500 yards. She had fired 18 salvos from the main armament and five from the secondary. The Bismarck made no attempt to follow or continue the action. She had also not escaped unscatched and had sustained two severe hits.

Such was the end of the brief engagement. The loss by an unlucky hit of HMS Hood with Vice-Admiral Holland, Captain Kerr and almost her entire ships company was a grievous blow, but a great concentration of forces was gathering behind the Commander-in-Chief, and Admiral Somerville with Force H was speeding towards him from the south.

The chase

When the Hood blew up, HMS Norfolk was 15 nautical miles to the northward coming up at 28 knots. By 0630/24 she was approaching HMS Prince of Wales and Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker, signalling his intention to keep in touch, told her to follow at best speed. The destroyers that had been with HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were still to the northward. They were ordered to search for survivors but only HMS Electra found three. The Prince of Wales reported that she could do 27 knots and she was told to open out to 10 nautical miles on a bearing of 110° so that HMS Norfolk could fall back on her if she was attacked. Far off the Prinz Eugen could be seen working out to starboard of the Bismarck while the chase continued to the southward.

At 0757 hours, HMS Suffolk reported that the Bismarck had reduced speed and that she appeared to be damaged. Shortly afterwards a Sunderland that had taken off from Iceland reported that the Bismarck was leaving behind a broad track of oil. The Commander-in-Chief with HMS King George V was still a long way off, about 360 nautical miles to the eastward, and Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker on the bridge of HMS Norfolk had to make an important decision, was he to renew the action with the help of the Prince of Wales or was he to make it his business to ensure that the enemy could be intercepted and brought to action by the Commander-in-Chief. A dominant consideration in the matter was the state of the Prince of Wales. Her bridge had been wrecked, she had 400 tons of water in her stern compartments and two of her guns were unserverable and she could go no more then 27 knots. She had only been commissioned recently and barely a week had passed since Captain Leach had reported her ready for service. Her turrets were of a new and an untried model, liable for 'teething' problems and evidently suffering from them, for at the end of the morning her salvoes were falling short and wide. It was doubted if she was a match for the Bismarck in her current state and it was on these grounds that Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker decided that he would confine himself to shadowing and that he would not attempt to force on an action. Soon after 1100/24 visibility decreased and the Bismarck was lost out of sight in mist and rain.

Measures taken by the Admiralty, 24 May 1941.

After the loss of HMS Hood the following measures were taken by the Admiralty. To watch for an attempt by the enemy to return to Germany, HMS Manchester, HMS Birmingham and HMS Arethusa had been ordered at 0120/24 to patrol off the north-east point of Iceland. They were told to proceed to this location with all despatch.

HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN), which with four destroyers was escorting the troopship Britannic (26943 GRT, built 1930) westward, was ordered at 1022/24 to steer west on a closing course and if the Britannic could not keep up she was to leave her with one of the destroyers. Rodney was about 550 nautical miles south-east of the Bismarck. At 1200/24 she left the Britannic in position 55°15'N, 22°25'W and left HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) with her. HMS Rodney then proceeded with HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) westwards on a closing course.

Two other capital ships were in the Atlantic; HMS Ramillies (Capt. A.D. Read, RN) and HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN). The Ramillies was escorting convoy HX 127 from Halifax and was some 900 nautical miles south of the Bismarck. She was ordered at 1144/24 to place herself to the westward of the enemy and leaving her convoy at 1212/24 in position 46°25'N, 35°24'W, she set course to the north. HMS Revenge was ordered to leave Halifax and close the enemy.

Light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN) was patrolling in the Atlantic between 44°N and 46°N for German merchant shipping and was ordered at 1250/24 to close the enemy and take on relief shadower. At 1430/24 she reported her position as 44°17'N, 23°56'W and she was proceeding on course 320° at 25 knots.

Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker was ordered to continue shadowing even if he ran short of fuel so to bring the Commander-in-Chief into action.

The Bismack turns due south at 1320 hours on 24 May 1941.

In the low state of visibility, HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk had to be constantly on the alert against the enemy falling back and attacking them. At 1320/24 the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen altered course to the south and reduced speed. HMS Norfolk sighted them through the rain at a range of only 8 nautical miles. Norfolk had to quickly turn away under the cover of a smoke screen.

It was at 1530/24 when HMS Norfolk received a signal made by the Commander-in-Chief at 0800/24 from which it was estimated that the Commander-in-Chief would be near the enemy at 0100/25. This was later changed to 0900/25.

At 1545/24, Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker was asked by the Admiralty to answer four questions;
1) State the remaining percentage of the Bismarck's fighting efficiency.
2) What amout of ammunition had the Bismarck expended.
3) What are the reasons for the frequent alterations of course by the Bismarck.
4) What are your intentions as regards to the Prince of Wales' re-engaging the Bismarck.

The answers by Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker were as follows.
1) Uncertain but high.
2) About 100 rounds.
3) Unaccountable except as an effort to shake off HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk.
4) Consider it wisely for HMS Prince of Wales to not re-engage the Bismarck until other capital ships are in contact, unless interception failed. Doubtful if she has the speed to force an action.

The afternoon drew on towards evening. Still the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen held on to the south while the Norfolk, Suffolk and Prince of Wales were still keeping her in sight.

At 1711/24 in order to delay the enemy if possible, by attacking him from astern, the Prince of Wales was stationed ahead of the Norfolk. The enemy was not in sight from the Norfolk at that time, but the Suffolk was still in contact.

At 1841/24 the Bismarck opened fire on the Suffolk. Her salvoes fell short, but one or two shorts came near enough to cause some minor damage to her hull plating aft. HMS Suffolk replied with nine broadsides before turning away behind a smoke screen.

On seeing the Suffolk being attacked, HMS Norfolk turned towards and she and HMS Prince of Wales opened fire, the latter firing 12 salvoes. By 1856 hours the action was over. Two of the guns on the Prince of Wales malfuntioned again. After the action the cruisers started to zig-zag due to fear for German submarines.

British dispositions at 1800 hours on 24 May 1941.

From the Admiralty at 2025/24, there went out a signal summarising the situation at 1800/24. The position, course and speed of the Bismarck was given as 59°10'N, 36°00'W, 180°, 24 knots with HMS Norfolk, HMS Suffolk and HMS Prince of Wales still in touch. The Commander-in-Chiefs estimated position at 1800/24 was 58°N, 30°W, with HMS King George V and HMS Repulse. HMS Victorious was with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora, HMS Kenya). They had parted company with the Commander-in-Chief at 1509/24. Heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) was in position 42°45'N, 20°10'W and had been ordered to leave her convoy and close the enemy. HMS Ramillies was in estimated position 45°45'N, 35°40'W. She had been ordered to place herself to the west of the enemy. HMS Manchester, HMS Birmingham and HMS Arethusa were returning from their position off the north-east of Iceland to refuel. HMS Revenge had left Halifax and was closing convoy HX 128. HMS Edinburgh was in approximate position 45°15'N, 25°10'W. She had been ordered to close and take over stand by shadower.

Evening of 24 May 1941.

At 2031/24 HMS Norfolk received a signal sent by the Commander-in-Chief at 1455/24 stating that aircraft from HMS Victorious might make an attack at 2200/24 and Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker now waited for an air attack which he expected at 2300 hours. By that time Bismarck had been lost from sight but at 2330/24 HMS Norfolk briefly sighted her at a distance of 13 nautical miles. At 2343/24 aircraft from HMS Victorious were seen approaching. They circled round HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Norfolk and the latter was able to direct them to the enemy. At 0009/25 heavy anti-aircraft gunfire was seen and the Bismarck was just visible as the aircraft attacked.

HMS Victorious and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron detached by the Commander-in-Chief.

At 1440/24 the Commander-in-Chief ordered the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora, HMS Kenya, HMS Hermione) and HMS Victorious to a position within 100 nautical miles from Bismarck and to launch a torpedo bombing attack and maintain contact as long as possible. The object of the torpedo bombing attack was to slow the enemy down. On board the Victorious were only 12 Swordfish torpedo bombers and 6 Fulmar fighters. Victorious was only recently commissioned and her crew was still rather green. She had on board a large consignment of crated Hurricane fighters for Malta which were to be delivered to Gibraltar.

At 2208/24 HMS Victorious commenced launching 9 Swordfish in position 58°58'N, 33°17'E. Two minutes later al were on their way to find the Bismarck. The Squadron was led by Lt.Cdr.(A) E. Esmonde, RN.

HMS Victorious aircraft attack the Bismarck.

When the Swordfish took off from HMS Victorious the Bismarck was estimated to be in position 57°09'N, 36°44'W and was steering 180°, speed 24 knots. At 2330/24 they sighted the Bismarck but contact was lost in the bad weater. Shortly afterwards the Swordfish sighted HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk. HMS Norfolk guided them to the enemy which was 14 nautical miles on her starboard bow. At 2350 hours a vessel was detected ahead and the squadron broke cloud to deliver an attack. To their surprise they found themselves over a United States Coastguard cutter. The Bismarck was 6 nautical miles to the southward and on sighting the aircraft opened up a heavy barrage fire. Lt.Cdr. Esmonde pressed home his attack, 8 of the Swordfish were able to attack, the other had lost contact in the clouds.

The 8 planes attacked with 18" torpedoes, fitted with Duplex pistols set for 31 feet. At midnight three Swordfish attacked simultaneously on the port beam. Three others made a longer approach low down attacking on the port bow a minute later. One took a longer course, attacking on the port quarter. One went round and attacked on the starboard bow a couple of minutes after midnight. At least one hit was claimed on the starboard side abreast the bridge. The Germans however state that no hit was scored but that the violent maneuvering of the ship to avoid the attack, together with the heavy firing by the Bismarck caused the leak in no.2 boiler room to open up. No.2 boiler room was already partially flooded and now had to be abandoned.

All Swordfish from the striking had returned to HMS Victorious by 0201/25. Two Fulmars launched at 2300/24 for shadowing failed to find their ship in the darkness due to the failure of Victorious' homing beacon. Their crews were in the end picked up from the chilly water.

HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk loose contact at 0306/25.

While the aircraft from HMS Victorious were making their attack, HMS Norfolk sighted a ship to the south-west and gave the order to open fire. HMS Prince of Wales was able to identify it in time as an American coast guard cutter, but in the movements prepartory to opening fire HMS Norfolk lost touch with the enemy for a time and it was not until 0116/25 that she suddenly sighted the Bismarck only 8 nautical miles away. There followed a brief exchange of fire. HMS Norfolk and HMS Prince of Wales turned to port to bring their guns to bear and the latter was ordered to engage. It was then 0130/25. The Prince of Wales fired two salvoes at 20000 yards by radar. The Bismarck answered with two salvoes which fell a long way short. The light was failing and the enemy was again lost to sight. HMS Suffolk, which had to most reliable RDF set was told to act independently so as to keep in touch.

Around 0306/25 the Suffolk lost touch with the Bismarck. At 0552/25 Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker asked if HMS Victorious could launch aircraft for a search at dawn.

Search measures, 25 May 1941.

With the disappearance of the Bismarck at 0306/25 the first phase of the pursuit ended. The Commander-in-Chief, in HMS King George V with HMS Repulse in company was then about 115 nautical miles to the south-east. At 0616/25, Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker signalled that it was most probable that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen made a 90° turn to the west or turned back and 'cut away' to the eastward astern of the cruisers. Suffolk was already searching to the south-west and Norfolk was waiting for daylight to do the same. Prince of Wales was ordered to join the King George V and Repulse.

Force H was still on a course to intercept the Bismarck while steaming on at 24 knots. The Rear-Admiral commanding the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in HMS Galatea had altered course at 0558/25 to 180° for the position where the enemy was last seen and the Victorious was getting 8 aircraft ready to fly off at 0730/25 for a search to the eastward. This plan however was altered on orders being recieved from the Commander-in-Chief to take the cruisers and Victorious and carry out a search to the north-west of the Bismarck's last reported position. Five Fulmars had already been up during the night, two of them had not returned to the ship. The search therefore had to be undertaken by Swordfish, the only aircraft available. At 0810/25, seven Swordfish were flown off from position 56°18'N, 36°28'W to search between 280° and 040° up to 100 nautical miles. The search was supplemented by Victorious herself as well as the cruisers from the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (Galatea, Aurora, Kenya and Hermione) which were spread some miles apart.

DF position of the Bismarck of 0852/25.

HMS King George V was still proceeding to the south-west when at 1030/25 the Commander-in-Chief recieved a signal from the Admiralty that the Bismarck's position had been obtained by DF (direction finding) and that it indicated that the Bismarck was on a course for the North Sea by the Faeroes-Iceland passage. To counter this move by the enemy the Commander-in-Chief turned round at 1047/25 and made for the Faeroes-Iceland passage at 27 knots. HMS Repulse was no longer in company with HMS King George V, she had been detached at 0906/25 for Newfoundland to refuel. Suffolk also turned to the eastward to search, her search to the south-west had been fruitless. The search by HMS Victorious, her aircraft and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron to the north-west also had no result. Six Swordfish were landed on by 1107/25, one failed to return. HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora and HMS Kenya now turned towards the DF position of the Bismarck to search in that direction. HMS Hermione had to be detached to Hvalfiord, Iceland to refuel as she was by now down to 40%. The other cruisers slowed down to 20 knots to economise their remaining fuel supply wich was also getting low. At this moment HMS King George V had about 60% remaining.

Events during 25 May 1941.

At 1100/25, HMS King George V, HMS Suffolk and HMS Prince of Wales were proceeding to the north-east in the direction of the enemy's DF signal. HMS Rodney was in position 52°34'N, 29°23'W some 280 nautical miles to the south-eastward on the route towards the Bay of Biscay. On receiving the Commander-in-Chiefs signal of 1047/25 she too proceeded to the north-east.

Meanwhile to Admiralty had come to the conclusion that the Bismarck most likely was making for Brest, France. This was signalled to the Commander-in-Chief at 1023/25 to proceed together with Force H and the 1st Cruiser Squadron on that assumption.

In the absence however of definite reports it was difficult to be certain of the position of the enemy. The DF bearings in the morning had not been very definite. At 1100/25, HMS Renown (Force H), was in position 41°30'N, 17°10'W was ordered to act on the assumption the enemy was making for Brest, France. She shaped course accordingly and prepared a comprehensive sheme of air search. At 1108/25, HMS Rodney, was told to act on the assumption that the enemy was making for the Bay of Biscay. At 1244/25 the Flag Officer Submarines ordered six submarines to take up intercepting positions about 120 nautical miles west of Brest. The submarines involved were HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS Seawolf (Lt. P.L. Field, RN), HMS Sturgeon (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) from the 5th Submarine Flottilla at Portsmouth, HMS Pandora (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, DSC, RN), which was on passage to the U.K. from the Mediterranean to refit, HMS Tigris (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bone, DSO, DSC, RN), from the 3rd Submarine Flottilla at Holy Loch and HMS H 44 (Lt. W.N.R. Knox, DSC, RN), a training boat from the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Rothesay which happened to be at Holyhead. Seawolf, Sturgeon and Tigris were already on patrol in the Bay of Biscay, Sealion departed Portsmouth on the 25th as did H 44 but she sailed from Holyhead. Pandora was on passage to the U.K. to refit and was diverted.

At 1320/25 a good DF fix located an enemy unit within a 50 mile radius from position 55°15'N, 32°00'W. This was sent by the Admiralty to the Commander-in-Chief at 1419/25 and it was received at 1530/25. It was only in the evening that it was finally clear to all involved that Bismarck was indeed making for a French port. Air searches had failed to find her during the day. (26)

18 May 1941

Chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck,
18 to 27 May 1941.

Part II.

26 May 1941.

By now the question of fuel was becoming acute. For four days ships had been steaming at high speeds and the Commander-in-Chief was faced with the reality of fuel limits. HMS Repulse had already left for Newfoundland, HMS Prince of Wales had by now been sent to Iceland to refuel. HMS Victorious and HMS Suffolk had been forced to reduce speed to economise their fuel.

Coastal Command started air searches along the route towards the Bay of Biscay by long range Catalina flying boats. Lack of fuel was effecting the destroyer screens of the capital ships. There was no screen available for HMS Victorious. The 4th Destroyer Flotilla, escorting troop convoy WS 8B, was ordered at 0159/26 to join the Commander-in-Chief in HMS King George V and HMS Rodney as was HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN) which sailed from Londonderry. Leaving the convoy the 4th D.F. proceeded to the north-east. Force H in the meantime was also approaching the immediate area of operations. These forces were to play an important part in the final stages of the chase of the Bismarck.

Force H, 26 May 1941.

HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Sheffield were having a rough passage north in heavy seas, high wind, rain and mist. Their escorting destroyers had already turned back towards Gibraltar at 0900/25. At dawn on the 26th there was half a gale blowing from the north-west. At 0716/26 HMS Ark Royal launched a security patrol in position 48°26'N, 19°13'W to search to the north and to the west just in case the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had departed Brest to come to the aid of the Bismarck. At 0835/26 there followed an A/S patrol of ten Swordfish. All planes had returned by 0930. None had seen anything.

Bismarck sighted at 1030/26.

It was at 1030/26 that one of the long range Catalina's of the Coastal Command sighted the Bismarck in position 49°30'N, 21°55'W. It was received in HMS King George V at 1043 hours and in HMS Renown in 1038 hours. It placed the enemy well to the westward of the Renown. It was confirmed within the hour when two Swordfish from the Ark Royal which reported the Bismarck in position 49°19'N, 20°52'W some 25 miles east of the position given by the Catalina. The Commander-in-Chief was at that moment about 130 miles to the north of the Bismarck but it was soon clear that the Bismarck had too great a lead to permit her being overtaken unless her speed could be reduced. Nor was the question one merely of distance and speed. The Bismarck was approaching a friendly coast and could run her fuel tanks nearly dry and was sure of air protection, while the British ships would have a long journey back to base in the face of air and submarine attack. HMS Renown was ahead of the Bismarck but it was important that she did not engage the Bismarck unless the latter was already heavily engaged by the better armoured HMS King George V and HMS Rodney.

When the Catalina found the Bismarck at 1030 hours, the 4th Destroyer Flotilla was steering east to join the Commander-in-Chief. They seem to have crossed astern of the enemy's track about 0800/26. The Catalina's report reached Capt. Vian in HMS Cossack at 1054/26 and 'knowing that the Commander-in-Chief would order him to intercept the enemy' Capt. Vian altered course to the south-east.

First attack by aircraft from the Ark Royal.

At 1315/26 HMS Sheffield was detached to the southward with orders to close and shadow the enemy, who was estimated to be 40 nautical miles south-west of the Renown. The visual signal ordering this movement was not repeated to HMS Ark Royal, an omission which had serious consequenses for the aircraft that were to take off did not know that HMS Sheffield had parted company.

At 1450/26 HMS Ark Royal launched a striking force of 14 Swordfish aircraft with the orders to proceed to the south and attack the Bismarck with torpedoes. Weather and cloud conditions were bad and a radar contact was obtained on a ship some 20 nautical miles from the estimated position of the enemy that had been given to the leader shortly before takeoff. At 1550 hours they broke through the clouds and fired 11 torpedoes. Unfortunately the supposed enemy was HMS Sheffield which managed to avoid all torpedoes. The Bismarck at that time was some 15 nautical miles to the southward. The striking force then returned an all aircraft had landed on by 1720/26.

At 1740/26, HMS Sheffield, sighted the Bismarck in position 48°30'N, 17°20'W and took station about 10 nautical miles astern and commenced shadowing the enemy.

Ark Royal's second attack, 2047/26.

The first striking force on its way back sighted the 4th Destroyer Flotilla 20 nautical miles west of Force H. As soon as the aircraft from the first strike had landed they were refuelled and rearmed as fast as possible. Take off started at 1910/26, a total of 15 Swordfish were launched. Reports coming in from HMS Sheffield placed the Bismarck at 167°, 38 nautical miles from the Ark Royal. The striking force was ordered to contact HMS Sheffield who was told to use DF to guide them in.

At 1955/26 HMS Sheffield was sighted but soon lost in the bad weather conditions. She was found again at 2035 hours, she guided the Swordfish in and directed them by visual signal on the enemy bearing 110°, 12 nautical miles. The force took departure for the target in subflights in line astern at 2040/26.

At 2047/26 no.1 subflight of three Swordfish dived through the clouds and sighted the Bismarck 4 nautical miles off to the south-east. One Swordfish of no.3 subflight was with them. Approaching again just inside the cloud they made their final dive at 2053/26 on the port beam under a very intense and accurate fire from the enemy. They dropped four torpedoes of which one was seen to hit. No.2 subflight, made up of two Swordfish, lost touch with no.1 subflight in the clouds, climed to 9000 feet, then dived on a bearing obtained by radar and then attacked from the starboard beam, again under heavy and intense fire. They dropped two torpedoes for one possible hit. The third plane of this subflight had lost touch with the other two and had returned to HMS Sheffield to obtained another range and bearing to the enemy. It then flew ahead of the enemy and carried out a determined attack from his port bow under heavy fire and obtained a torpedo hit on the port side amidships.

Subflight no.4 followed subflight no.3 into the clouds but got iced up at 6600 feet. It then dived through the clouds and was joined by no.2 aircraft from subflight no.3. The Bismarck was then sighted engaging subflight no.2 to starboard. The four aircraft then went into the clouds and cicled the German battleships stern and then dived out of the clouds again and attack simultaneously from the port side firing four torpedoes. All however missed the Bismarck. They came under a very heavy and fierce fire from the enemy and one of the aircraft was heavily damaged, the pilot and air gunner being wounded.

The two aircraft of subflight no.5 lost contact with the other subflights and then with each other in the cloud. They climbed to 7000 feet where ice began to form. When coming out of the cloud at 1000 feet aircraft 4K sighted the Bismarck down wind, she then went back into the cloud under fire from the enemy. She saw a torpedo hit on the enemy's starboard side, reached a position on the starboard bow, withdrew to 5 miles, then came in just above the sea and just outside 1000 yards fired a torpedo which did not hit. The second plane of this flight lost his leader diving through the cloud, found himself on the starboard quarter and after two attempts to attack under heavy fire was forced to jettison his torpedo.

Of the two Swordfish of subflight no.6 one attacked the Bismarck on the starboard beam and dropped his torpedo at 2000 yards without success. The second plane lost the enemy, returned to the Sheffield for a new range and bearing and after searching at sea level attacked on the starboard beam but was driven off by intense fire. The attack was over by 2125/26. Thirteen torpedoes had been fired and it was thought two hits and one probable hit had been obtained. Two torpedoes were jettisoned. The severe nature and full effect of the damage done was at first not fully realised. Actually the Bismarck had received a deadly blow. The last of the shadowing aircraft to return had seen her make two complete circles. One torpedo had struck her on the port side amidships doing little damage but th other torpedo that hit was on the starboard quarter damaging her propellors, wrecking her steering gear and jambing her rudders, it was this torpedo hit that sealed her fate.

HMS Sheffield was still shadowing astern when at 2140/26 the Bismarck turned to port and fired six accurate salvoes of 15". None actually hit Sheffield but a near miss killed three men and seriously injured two. HMS Sheffield turned away and while doing so she sighted HMS Cossack and the other destroyers from the 4th DF approaching from the westward. She then gave them the approximate position of the Bismarck. At 2155/26, HMS Sheffield lost touch with the Bismarck. The destroyers continued to shadow and eventually attack. Meanwhile HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal shaped course for the southward to keep the road clear for the Commander-in-Chief in HMS King George V and for HMS Rodney. Also in the Ark Royal aircraft were being got ready for an attack on the Bismarck at dawn.

Bismarck, 26 May 1941.

The Bismarck could no longer steer after the torpedo hit aft. The steering motor room was flooded up to the main deck and the rudders were jambed. Divers went down to the steering room and managed to centre one rudder but the other remained immovable. She was by this time urgently in need of fuel. It was hoped by the Germans that while she was nearing the French coast strong forces of aircraft and submarines would come to her assistance.

At 2242/26, Bismarck sighted the British destroyers. A heavy fire was opened on them. Their appearence greatly complicated the situation. Before their arrival however, Admiral Lütjens seems to have made up his mind as one hour earlier he had signalled to Berlin 'ship out of control. We shall fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer.'

The fourth Destroyer Flotilla makes contact, 26 May 1941.

Just as the sun was setting, Captain Vian (D.4) in HMS Cossack with HMS Maori, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu and the Polish destroyer ORP Piorun arrived on the scene.

Shortly after 1900/26 HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal were sighted to the northward. Ark Royal was just about to fly off the second striking force. The destroyers continued on the the south-east. At 2152/26 HMS Sheffield was sighted and from her Captain Vian obtained the approximate position of the enemy.

The destroyers were spread 2.5 nautical miles apart on a line bearing 250° - 070° in the order from north-east to south-west, Piorun, Maori, Cossack, Sikh, Zulu. During the latter stages of the approach speed was reduced and the flotilla manoeuvred so as to avoid making a high speed end-on contact.

At 2238/26, ORP Piorun on the port wing reported the Bismarck 9 nautical miles distant, bearing 145° and steering to the south-eastward.

Destroyers shadowing, late on 26 May 1941.

At the time the Piorun reported being in contact with the Bismarck the destroyers were steering 120°. All were at once ordered to take up shadowing positions. Four minutes later the Bismarck opened a heavy fire with her main and secondary armaments on the Piorun and Maori. Two attempts were made by these ships to work round to the northward of the enemy but they were silhouetted against the north-western horizon making them easy to spot. The Bismarck's fire was unpleasantly accurate, through neither destroyer was actually hit. The Commanding Officer of the Maori then decided to work round to the southward and altered course accordingly.

The Piorun closed the range and herself opened fire from 13500 yards but after firing three salvoes, she was straddled by a salvo which fell about 20 yards from the ships side. She then ceased fire and turned away to port while making smoke. During this engagement she lost touch with the other destroyers and later also with the Bismarck. She remained under fire for about one hour but was not hit. She worked round to the north-east of the Bismarck but eventually lost touch with her prey at 2355/26.

The other destroyers, meanwhile, had been working round to the southward of the enemy to take up shadowing positions to the eastward of him. Soon after the initial contact it was evident the the Bismarck's speed had been so seriously reduced that interception by the battlefleet was certain, provided that contact could be held. In these circumstances Captain Vian defined his object at firstly, to deliver the enemy to the Commander-in-Chief at the time he desired, and secondly, to sink or immoblise her with torpedoes during the night but not with to great a risk for the destroyers. Accordingly at 2248/26 as signal was made to all ordering them to shadow and this operation was carried out through the night, though torpedo attacks were carried out later under the cover of darkness.

As darkness came on, the weather deteriorated and heavy rain squalls became frequent. Visibility varied between 2.5 nautical miles and half a mile but the Bismarck, presumably using radar, frequently opened up accurate fire outside these ranges.

About half an hour after sunset, the destroyers were ordered at 2324/26 to take up stations prepartory to carrying out a synchronised torpedo attack. This was subsequently cancelled on account of the adverse weather conditions and they were ordered to attack independently as opportunity offered. At about 2300 hours the Bismarck altered course to the north-westward.

At this time HMS Zulu was in touch with her and kept her under observation from the southward. At 2342 hours the Bismarck opened fire on HMS Cossack, then about 4 miles to the south-south-west and shot away her aerials. The Cossack turned away under the cover of smoke, shortly afterwards resuming her course to the eastward.

A few minutes later, at 2350 hours, HMS Zulu came under heavy fire from the Bismarck's 15" guns. The first three salvoes straddled wounding an officer and two ratings. Drastic avoiding action was taken as a result of which Zulu lost touch. HMS Sikh, however, who had lost sight of the enemy half an hour previously, had observed her firing at HMS Cossack and now succeeded in shadowing from astern until 0020/27 when the enemy made a large alteration to port and commenced firing at her. HMS Sikh altered course to port, intending to fire torpedoes, but the view of the Torpedo Control Officer was obscured by shell splashes and Sikh then withdrew to the southward.

Destroyer night torpedo attacks, 26/27 May 1941.

HMS Zulu, after her escape at 2345/26, had steered to the northward and at 0030/27 fell in with HMS Cossack. Shortly afterwards she sighted ORP Piorun. On receipt of a signal from Captain Vian, timed 0040/27, to take any opporunity to fire torpedoes, HMS Zulu altered course to the westward,and at 0100/27 sighted the Bismarck steering 340°.

Positions of the destroyers was now as follows; to the north-eastward of the enemy, HMS Cossack was working round to the north and west. HMS Maori, since losing touch, had been making to the westward. She was now to the south-west of the Bismarck. HMS Sikh was some distance to the southward, not having received any information regarding the position of the Bismarck since 0025/27. HMS Zulu was astern of the enemy and in contact. Range was only 5000 yards. Bismarck finally spotted Zulu and at once opened fire with her main and secondary armament and straddled Zulu. She fired four torpedoes at 0121/27 but no hits were observed and they are believed to have missed ahead. Zulu then ran out to the northward in order to be clear of the other destroyers. Shortly afterwards they widnessed a successful attack by HMS Maori.

HMS Maori had seen the Bismarck opening fire on the Zulu at 0107/27. Maori then closed to 4000 yards on Bismarck's port quarter apparently undetected. When abeam of the enemy, who then appeared to be altering course to starboard Maori fired a star shell to see what he was about. Two minutes later, at 0137/27, two torpedoes were fired and course was altered towards the Bismarck with the intention of attacking again from her starboard bow once the enemy had steadied on her new course. Whilst Maori was turning a torpedo hit was observed on the enemy. A bright glow illuminated the waterline of the enemy battleship from stem to stern. Shortly afterwards there appeared between the bridge and the stem a glare that might have been a second hit. The enemy immediately opened up a very heavy fire with both main and secondairy armaments and quick firing guns. As the Maori was being straddled, she turned away, and increased to full speed. Shots continued to fall on both sides of the ship until the range had been opened up to 10000 yards. Maori was not actually hit. Meanwhile HMS Cossack had been creeping up from the north-eastward and at 0140/27, only three minutes after Maori had fired two torpedoes, Cossack launched three torpedoes from 6000 yards. Bismarck stood out plainly, silhoutted by the broadsides she was firing at the Maori. One torpedo was seen to hit. Flames blazed on the forecastle of the Bismarck after this hit but they were quickly extinguished. Probably as a consequence of the torpedo hits the Bismarck stopped dead in the water, this was reported by HMS Zulu at 0148/27. After about one hour the Bismarck got underway again. On receipt of this report, HMS Sikh, who was closing the scene of the action from the southward, made an attack. Four torpedoes were fired at 0218/27 at the stopped battleship. It is believed that one hit was obtained. After this attack Sikh remained in radar contact with the enemy until 0359/27 when contact was lost.

Around 0240/27 the Bismarck was underway again, proceeding very slowly to the north-westward. At 0335/27, HMS Cossack made another attack firing her last remaining torpedo from a range of 4000 yards. It missed. HMS Cossack then came under a heavy fire. She withdrew to the northward under the cover of smoke, altering to a westerly course shortly afterwards.

At 0400/27 all destroyers had lost touch with the enemy. HMS Cossack was then to the north-west and HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu and HMS Maori were between the south-west and south-east of the Bismarck. All destroyers now endeavoured to regain contact.

Touch with the enemy was not regained until shortly before 0600 hours. By that time ORP Piorun, which was running short of fuel, had been ordered to proceed to Plymouth.

Destroyers shadowing, morning twilight, 27 May 1941, final attack.

Touch was regained by HMS Maori at 0550/27 when she sighted the Bismarck zigzagging slowly on a base course of 340° at about 7 knots. Maori commenced shadowing until daylight. At 0625 hours, HMS Sikh was also in contact when the Bismarck emerged from a rain squal 7000 yards on her starboard bow. By then it was nearly full daylight but to the surprise of the crew of the Sikh she got away with it without being fired at.

Shortly before sunrise a final torpedo attack was carried out by HMS Maori, which fired two torpedoes at 0656/27 from 9000 yards. Both missed. The Bismarck opened fire and straddled Maori which escaped at 28 knots.

At daylight the destroyers were stationed in four sectors from which they were able to keep the enemy under continuous observation until the arrival of the Battle Fleet at 0845 hours.

Force H, 26/27 May 1941.

While the destroyers were shadowing the Bismarck, the pursuing forces were drawing steadily closer. To the north was the Commander-in-Chief with the King George V and the Rodney with the Norfolk closing on them. In the south HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) was coming up, while Force H was waiting for the dawn. When Captain Vian's destroyers got in touch at 2251/26 the Renown and Ark Royal were north-west of the enemy. It was not possible to attack with aircraft during the night but all preparations were made to attack at dawn with 12 Swordfish. Course was shaped to the northward and then to the west for a time and at 0115/27 Force H turned south. Shortly afterwards instructions were received from the Commander-in-Chief to keep not less then 20 miles to the southward of the Bismarck so as to leave a clear approach for the Battle Fleet. Force H accordingly continued to the southward during the night. Bursts of starshell and gunfire could be seen during the night while the destroyers attacked. At 0509/27 an aircraft was flown off from HMS Ark Royal to act as a spotter for HMS King George V but it failed to find the Bismarck in the bad weather. The striking of force of 12 Swordfish was ready but due to the bad weather to strike was cancelled.

At 0810/27, HMS Maori was sighted. She reported the Bismarck 11 miles to the north of her. The made the enemy 17 miles to the north of HMS Renown so course was shaped to the south-west. At 0915/27 heavy gunfire could be heard and the striking force was flown off. They found the Bismarck at 1016/27. By then the battle was almost over, her guns were silenced and she was on fire. They saw her sink. At 1115/27 they had all landed back on HMS Ark Royal. A German Heinkel aircraft dropped a couple of bombs near HMS Ark Royal when they were landing on.

HMS Norfolk, 26/27 May 1941.

When the Catalina report (1030/26) came in, HMS Norfolk altered course to the south-west and increased speed to 27 knots. At 2130/26 the Bismarck was still some 160 nautical miles to the southward and speed was increased to 30 knots. At 2228/26 the report on the torpedo hit by the aircraft from Ark Royal came in and the Norfolk turned to the southward, continuing to close the enemy. At 0753/27 Norfolk sighted the Bismarck. She did not open fire and was lost to sight after ten minutes. At 0821/27, HMS King George V, was sighted to the westward, 12 nautical miles away. The position of the enemy was passed to the Commander-in-Chief. The action opened at 0847/27 at which time HMS Norfolk was then some 10 nautical miles from the Commander-in-Chief and due north of the Bismarck. HMS Norfolk had seen the beginning and was now to see the end.

HMS Dorsetshire, 26/27 May 1941.

On 26 May 1941, HMS Dorsetshire, was with convoy SL 74 proceeding from Freetown to the U.K. When she received the sighting report from the Catalina at 1056/26 she was some 360 nautical miles to the south of the Bismarck. She then left the protection of the convoy to the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) and set course for the northward to take up the possible task of shadowing. By 2343/26 it became clear from reports that the Bismarck was making no ground to the eastward and that at 0230/27 she appeared to be laying stopped. Due to the heavy seas HMS Dorsetshire was forced to reduce speed to 25 knots and later even to 20 knots. At 0833/27 a destroyer was sighted ahead at a range of 8 nautical miles, it was HMS Cossack which reported the enemy at a range of 6 nautical miles. At 0850/27 the flashes of the Bismarck's guns could be seen to the westward. HMS Dorsetshire arrived at the scene of the action in the nick of time.

HMS King George V and HMS Rodney, 26/27 May 1941.

During 26 May 1941 the Commander-in-Chief in HMS King George V had been making hard to the south-east at 25 knots. He had been joined by HMS Rodney at 1806/26. They were then some 90 nautical miles north of the Bismarck. Fuel was a matter of grave anxiety. At noon on the 26th, HMS King George V, had only 32% remaining and HMS Rodney reported that she had to return at 0800/27. Speed had to be reduced on this account to 22 knots at 1705/26. In these circumstances it was no longer possible to hope to intercept the enemy, and the Commander-in-Chief decided that unless the enemy's speed had been reduced by 2400/26, he must turn at that hour. The only hope lay in the Bismarck being slowed up by the Swordfish attacking from HMS Ark Royal. A report came in that the striking force had left. Then at 2132/26, HMS Sheffield, reported that the enemy was steering 340° followed by 000° four minutes later. These reports indicated that the Bismarck was not able to hold her course and that her steering gear must have been damaged. It might still be possible to intercept her.

The Commander-in-Chief turned to the south at once hoping to make contact from the eastward in the failing light. Due to the bad weather conditions and visibility the Commander-in-Chief decided to haul off the the eastward and northward and then work round to engage from the westward at dawn. He turned eastward at 2306/26. During the night reports from Captain Vian's destroyers came in confirming the northerly course of the Bismarck. At 0236/27 the Commander-in-Chief ordered Captain Vian that the destroyers were to fire star-shell every half hour, but frequent rain squalls prevented these from being seen and they tended to attrack the enemy's fire. The Bismarck was still a formidable opponent for at 0353/27 Captain Vian reported that during the last hour she had done 8 nautical miles and that she was still capable of heavy and accurate fire. The Commander-in-Chief decided not to make a dawn approach but to wait until daylight while approaching from the west taking advantage of wind, sea and light. At 0529/27 HMS Rodney reported sighting HMS Norfolk to the eastward by DF. It was light at 0600 hours. At 0820 hours HMS Norfolk was sighted on the port bow of HMS King George V. She signalled 'enemy 130°, 16 nautical miles'. At 0843/27 looming on the starboard bow there emerges out of a rain squall the dark grey blot of a large ship. 'Enemy in sight'.

Bismarck 26/27 May 1941.

The Bismarck after altering course to the north-west had been labouring along with a jambed rudder, steering an erratic course at 8 knots. During the night the attacking destroyers were met with heavy and accurate salvoes. Sixteen torpedoes were fired at her. Early in the morning a glare of star-shell burst over her, lighting her up. Three torpedoes followed from a destroyer on the port bow (HMS Maori) of which one hit on the port side amidships. Three minutes later three more came from the starboard side (these were fired by HMS Cossack) of which one hit on the starboard bow. The damage that was sustained from these torpedo hits is not known. The Bismarck lay stopped for over one hour. At 0140/27 a message was received that a large number of Junkers bombers were coming to her aid as were U-boats but the Bismarck was beyond their help besides that the aircraft did not find her. One U-boat (U-556, which was out of torpedoes) on its way back from the Atlantic joined her and was within sight during the night. Another (U-74) arrived at 0600/27 but had been damaged in a depth charge attack and could do nothing as well. In the Bismarck the crew was exhausted and men were falling asleep at their posts. It was under these conditions that at 0840/27 two British battleships were seen to approach from the westward.

Situation before the action, 27 May 1941.

A north-westerly gale was blowing when dawn broke with a good light and clear horizon to the north-eastward. Reports received during the night indicated that, despite reduced speed and damaged rudders, Bismarck's armament was functioning effectively. Given the weather conditions the Commander-in-Chief decided to approach on a west-north-westerly bearing and, if the enemy continued his northerly course, to deploy to the southward on opposite course at a range of about 15000 yards. Further action was to be dictated by events.

Between 0600 and 0700 hours a series of enemy reports from HMS Maori which was herself located by DF bearings. This enabled HMS King George V to plot her position relatively to the Bismarck which had apparently settled down on a course of 330° at 10 knots. At 0708/27, HMS Rodney, was ordered to keep station 010° from the flagship. HMS Norfolk came in sight to the eastward at 0820/27 and provided a visual link between the Commander-in-Chief and the enemy. After the line of approach had been adjusted by two alterations of course, the Bismarck was sighted at 0843/27 bearing 118°, range about 25000 yards. Both British battleships was then steering 110° almost directly towards the enemy in line abreast formation, 8 cables apart.

Commencement of action 0847/27.

HMS Rodney opened fire at 0847/27, her first salvo sending a column of water 150 feet into the air. HMS King George V opened fire one minute later. Bismarck opened fire at 0850 hours after turning to open up A arcs. The first German salvo was short. The third and fourth salvoes straddled and nearly hit, but the Rodney manoeuvered succesfully to avoid them and the nearest fell 20 yards short. At 0854/27, HMS Norfolk joined in, but the target was not clearly visible and she opened fire without obtaining a range.

Observers state that the German gunnery was accurate at first, but commenced to deteriorate after 8 to 10 salvoes. The first hit on the Bismarck was believed to be scored by the Rodney at 0854 hours with her third salvo. Both British battleships made small alterations of course away from the enemy shortly after opening fire, the King George V to increase her distance from the Rodney and the latter to open her A arcs. From then onwards they manoeuvered independently although HMS Rodney conformed to the Flagship's general movements. The Bismarck's secondary armament came into action during this phase. HMS Rodney opened fire with her secondary armament at 0858 hours.

Run to the southward.

HMS King George V deployed to the southward at 0859/27 when the Bismarck was 16000 yards distant. HMS Rodney, 2.5 nautical miles to the northward, followed suit a minute or two later. Cordite smoke was hanging badly with the following wind and spotting was most difficult. Considerable smoke interference was therefore experienced on the southerly course which was partly overcome by radar. The Bismarck had transferred her fire to the King George V shortly after the turn but except for an occasional splash the latter hardly knew that she was under fire. At 0902/27, HMS Rodney saw a 16” shell hit the Bismarck on the upper deck forward, apparently putting the forward turrets out of action. At 0904 hours, HMS Dorsetshire joined in the firing from the eastwards from a range of 20000 yards but observation of the target was difficult and she had to check fire from 0913 to 0920 hours. Between 0910 and 0915 hours the range in King George V was more or less steady at 12000 yards.

The fate of the Bismarck was decided during this phase of the action although she did not sink until later. Around 0912 hours, the Bismarck was hit on her forward control position. During the run to the south HMS Rodney fired six torpedoes from 11000 yards and HMS Norfolk four from 16000 yards. No hits were obtained. The King George V’s secondary battery came into action at 0905 hours but this increased the smoke interference and was accordingly ordered to cease fire after two or three minutes.

Run to the northward.

At 0916/27 the Bismarck’s bearing was drawing rapidly aft and HMS Rodney turned 16 points to close and head her off. The King George V followed a minute or so later and both ships re-opened fire at ranges from 8600 and 12000 yards respectively. The Bismarck shifted her target to the Rodney about this time. A near miss damaged the sluice of her starboard torpedo tube. Most of the enemy’s guns had however been silenced at this time. Only one turret from her main armament was firing at this time as was part of her secondary armament. A fire was blazing amidships and she had a heavy list to port. During the run to the north HMS Rodney obtained a very favourable position on the Bismarck’s bow from which she poured in a heavy fire from close range. She also fired two torpedoes from 7500 yards but no hits were obtained.

HMS King George V’s position, further to leeward, was less favourable. Her view was obscured by smoke and splashes surrounding the target and her radar had temporarily broken down. Mechanical failures in the 14” turrets constituted, however, a more serious handicap at this stage. ‘A’, ‘X’ and ‘Y’ turrets were out of action for 30, 7 and a unspecified short period, respectively. This resulted in reduction of firepower of 80% for 7 minutes and 40% for 23 minutes which might have had serious effects under less favourable conditions. There were also several defects of individual guns in addition to those effecting the turrets.

At 0925/27, HMS King George V, altered outwards to 150° and reduced speed to avoid getting too far ahead of the Bismarck. She closed in again at 1005 hours, fired several salvoes from a range of only 3000 yards and then resumed her northerly course. Meanwhile HMS Rodney was zigzagging across the Bismarck’s line of advance at a range of about 4000 yards firing her main and secondary armaments. She also fired four torpedoes, one of which is thought to have hit. By 1015 hours the Bismarck was no more than a wreck. All her guns were silenced, her mast had been blown away, she was a black ruin, pouring high into the air a great cloud of smoke and flame. Men were seen jumping overboard at this time and the Captain of the King George V later remarked had he known it he would have ceased fire.

End of the action.

The Commander-in-Chief was confident that the enemy could never get back to harbour, and as both battleships were running short of fuel and as further gunfire was unlikely to hasten the Bismarck’s end, the Commander-in-Chief signalled the King George V and Rodney to steer 027° at 1015/27 in order to break off the action and return to base. At 1036/27 the Commander-in-Chief ordered HMS Dorsetshire to use her torpedoes, if she had any, on the enemy. In the meantime HMS Norfolk had been closing the target but due to the movements of the King George V and Rodney, had not fired her torpedoes until 1010 hours when she fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards and two possible hits were reported. The Dorsetshire was then approaching a mile or so to the southward, and anticipating the Commander-in-Chief’s signal at 1025 hours fired two torpedoes from 3600 yards into the enemy’s starboard side. She then steamed round the Bismarck’s bow and at 1036 hours fired another torpedo but now into her port side from 2600 yards. This was the final blow, the Bismarck heeled over quickly to port and commenced to sink by the stern. The hull turned over keel up and disappeared beneath the waves at 1040/27.

The Dorsetshire then closed and signalled to one of HMS Ark Royal’s aircraft to carry out a close A/S patrol while she was to pick up survivors assisted by HMS Maori. After 110 men had been picked up by both ships from the water both ships got underway again as a submarine was suspected to be in the area.

Damage to the Bismarck.

Survivors have told the story of terrible damage inflicted on her. The fore turrets seem to have been knocked out at 0902 hours. The fore control position was knocked out around 0912 hours. The after control position followed about 0915 hours. The after turrets were at that moment still in action. Then the aftermost gun turret was disabled by a direct hit on the left gun which burst sending a flash right through the turret. ‘C’ turret was the last one in action.

One survivor stated that around 0930 hours a shell penetrated the turbine room and another one entered a boiler room. A hit in the after dressing station killed all the medical staff and wounded that were in there at that moment. The upper deck was crowded with killed and wounded men and the seas surging in washed them overboard. Conditions below were even more terrible. Hatches and doors were jammed by concussion and blocked with wreckage. The air was thick with smoke and even more smoke was coming in from great holes in the upper deck. By 1000 hours all heavy guns were out of action and 10 minutes later the all secondary guns were also silent.

Commander-in-Chief returns.

As HMS King George V and HMS Rodney turned northwards they were joined by HMS Cossack, HMS Sikh and HMS Zulu at by 1600/28 more detroyers had joined the screen (HMS Maori, HMS Jupiter, HMS Somali, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi, HMAS Nestor, HMS Inglefield, HMS Lance, HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMCS St. Clair (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Wallace, RCNR), HMCS Columbia (Lt.Cdr. (Retd.) S.W. Davis, RN) and HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN). Heavy air attacks were expected that day, but only four enemy aircraft appeared, one of which bombed the screen while another one jettisoned her bombs on being attacked by a Blenheim fighter. The destroyers HMS Mashona and HMS Tartar, 100 nautical miles to the southward, were not so furtunate. They were attacked in position 52°58’N, 11°36’W at 0955/28 by German aircraft. HMS Mashona was hit and sank at noon with the loss of 1 officer and 45 men. The Commander-in-Chief reached Loch Ewe at 1230/29. Vice-Admiral Somerville with Force H was on his way back to Gibraltar. HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Sheffield made rendezvous at 0800/29 with the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN). At 1605/29, HMS Forester and HMS Fury were detached to hunt a submarine further to the west. Force H, minus the two destroyers that had been detached, arrived at Gibraltar around 2030/29.

End of ‘Operation Rheinübung’.

The Bismarck’s consort, heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was not heard off until 4 June 1941 when aircraft reported her having arrived at Brest. After leaving the Bismarck at 1914/24, the Prinz Eugen’s primary need was to replenish her fuel stock. She set course for a rendez-vous with two tankers, the Spichern (9323 GRT, built 1935, former Norwegian Krossfonn) and the Esso Hamburg (9849 GRT, built 1939) which were position to the north-west of the Azores. All next day the German cruiser made her way southwards, and at 0906/26 , some 600 nautical miles west-north-west of the Azores she sighted the Spichern and refuelled. Two reconnaissance ships had also been ordered into this area, the Gonzenheim and the Kota Pinang. On the 28th Prinz Eugen fuelled from the Esso Hamburg. She then proceeded southwards to carry out cruiser warfare against independently routed ships in the area to the north and west of the Cape Verde Islands but an inspection of her engines the next day showed that an extensive overhaul was needed. Her Commanding Officer then decided to break off the action and course was set for Brest, France where she arrived at 2030/1 June.

A German reconnaissance ship, a supply vessel and two tankers were intercepted by Royal Navy warships and sunk by their own crew or sunk with gunfire. Also two tankers were captured. These were in chronological order; tanker Belchen (6367 GRT, built 1932, former Norwegian Sysla) by gunfire from HMS Kenya and HMS Aurora on 3 June 1941 in the Greenland area in approximate position 59°00'N, 47°00'W.
On 4 June the tanker Esso Hamburg by HMS London and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) in position 07°35'N, 31°25'W,
tanker Gedania (8966 GRT, built 1920) was captured in the North Atlantic in position 43°38'N, 28°15'W by naval auxiliary (Ocean Boarding Vessel) HMS Marsdale (Lt.Cdr. D.H.F. Armstrong, RNR), she was put into service with the MOWT as Empire Garden, reconnaissance vessel Gonzenheim (4000 GRT, built 1937, former Norwegian Kongsfjord) was scuttled by her own crew after being sighted by HMS Esperance Bay ((Capt.(ret) G.S. Holden, RN) and intercepted by HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN) and finally ordered to be boarded by HMS Neptune in position 43°29'N, 24°04'W. The next day (5 June) supply vessel Egerland (10040 GRT, built 1940) was intercepted by HMS London and HMS Brilliant in approximate position 07°00'N, 31°00'W. On 12 June, HMS Sheffield, intercepted tanker Friedrich Breme (10397 GRT, built 1936) in position 49°48'N, 22°20'W and finally on 15 June, HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN), captured the tanker Lothringen (10746 GRT, built 1940, former Dutch Papendrecht) in position 19°49'N, 38°30'W which had first been sighted by an aircraft from HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN). The Lothringen was sent to Bermuda and was put into service by the MOWT as Empire Salvage. (26)

19 May 1941
Around 0700B/19, HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol.

HMS Nigeria departed for Rosyth later the same day. (24)

22 May 1941
Around 2300B/22, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations in the North Atlantic.

HMS Lance however quickly returned to Scapa Flow with defects.

[for more information on these operations see the event ' Chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck, 18 to 27 May 1941, Parts I and II ' for 18 May 1941.] (27)

27 May 1941
Around 1600B/27, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), arrived at Hvalfiord from operations. (23)

30 May 1941
Around 0400Z/30, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Hvalfiord for a patrol in the North Atlantic to the south of Greenland to search for German supply vessels. (28)

31 May 1941
While on patrol, at 1122Z/31, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), encountered an upturned lifeboat with three survivors clinging to it. They were from the British merchant vessel Marconi which had been torpedoed and sunk on 21 May 1941 by the German submarine U-98.

HMS Kenya picked them up. (23)

3 Jun 1941
While on patrol, at 0800Z/3, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) a ship was sighted. The cruisers split up and altered course and speed to intercept. Position was approximately 58°34'N, 47°22'W.

At 0845Z/3, a submarine was seen to pull clear from the tanker.

At 0847Z/3, HMS Kenya catapulted one of her Walrus aircraft.

At 0848Z/3, the submarine was seen to submerge.

At 0900Z/3, HMS Kenya opened fire on the tanker from a range of 6.5 nautical miles.

At 0920Z/3, HMS Aurora opened fire on the tanker.

At 0930Z/3, The tanker listing heavily to starboard and in a sinking condition.

At 0933Z/3, She was finished off by a torpedo from HMS Aurora.

At 0935Z/3, two lifeboats with survivors were spotted by HMS Kenya.

At 0957Z/3, HMS Aurora and HMS Kenya were once again in company.

The German tanker that was sunk was the Belchen (6367 GRT, built 1932, former Norwegian Sysla). The submarine that had been alongside was the U-93 which later picked up the survivors from the tanker. (29)

5 Jun 1941
Around 0700Z/5, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Hvalfiord from patrol. (29)

8 Jun 1941
Around 0630Z/8, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Hvalfiord for the Denmark Strait patrol. She was however recalled early in the afternoon and arrived back at Hvalfiord around 2100Z/8. (30)

9 Jun 1941
Around 1700Z/9, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Hvalfiord for the Iceland - Faeroer patrol. (30)

15 Jun 1941

Minelaying operation SN 66.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0520B/15, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN) and HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) of the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 66. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN).

They were joined around 1145B/15 by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 0715B/15.

Distant cover was provided by the light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) which were on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer passage.

The minefield made up of 939 mines, was laid between 0655B/16 and 0850B/16, on a line joining positions, 62°22'7"N, 06°59'1"W, 62°32'0"N, 07°14'5"W and 62°40'3"N, 07°30'0"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Agamemnon 529 mines and HMS Menestheus 410 mines.

The 1st Minelaying Squadron returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1350B/17.

HMS Aurora returned to Scapa Flow around 1045B/17. She had parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron at 1127B/16.

HMS Nigeria remained on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap while HMS Kenya arrived at Scapa Flow around 0030B/17. (31)

23 Jun 1941

Minelaying operation SN 70B.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 1900B/23, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN) and HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 70B. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN).

They were joined around 2300B/23 by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 1300B/23 but had first conducted gunnery exercises in the Pentland Firth.

Around 0130B/24, the light cruiser HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) also joined. She had departed Scapa Flow around 1940B/23.

At 0515B/24, HMS Aurora (Capt. Sir W.G. Agnew, RN) joined company.

At 0545B/24, HMS Arethusa parted company and proceeded on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap.

At 1050B/24, the visibility decrased to 150 yards.

At 1110B/24, The Squadron made an emergency turn to port.

At 1115.30B/24, HMS Kenya sighted a destroyer 150 yards away coming towards.

At 1116B/24, HMS Kenya was hit by the destroyer which turned out to be HMS Brighton. HMS Kenya sustained some damage but was able to continue. This was not the case with HMS Brighton whose bow sustained major damage.

Most ships of the Squadron meanwhile lost contact with each other in the thick fog.

Later HMS Aurora and HMS Wells took the damaged Brighton to the Reyðarfiord, Iceland for inspection.

The remainder of the 1st Minelaying Squadron regrouped and proceeded on with the minelaying operation.

Between 2125B/25 and 2310B/25, minefield SN 70B was laid on a line joining positions, 65°11'0"N, 12°49'4"W and 65°34'6"N, 12°54'5"W.

At 1620B/26, the destroyer HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron. She had been on patrol to the north of Iceland but had been ordered to leave patrol and join the minelayers.

HMS Agamemnon, HMS Menestheus, HMS Castleton, HMS Wells and HMS Eclipse arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1717B/27.

HMS Kenya arrived at Scapa Flow around 1800B/27 having parted company with the 1st minelaying Squadron at 1154B/27.

The damaged destroyer HMS Brighton departed the Reyðarfiord for the Clyde on 28 June in tow of the tug Thames. The tug Marauder was standing by. They were escorted by HMS Aurora and the destroyer HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN) which had come from Hvalfiord.

The destroyer HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 1700B/29 to join which she did around 0330B/30.

In the meantime, at 2020B/29, HMS Brighton's bow broke away. The Marauder then took over the tow.

At 2105B/30, while in the North Minches, HMS Aurora, HMS Echo and HMS Lightning parted company to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0200/1.

HMS Brighton continued on with the tugs and arrived in the Clyde on 1 July 1941. (32)

28 Jun 1941
Around 1930B/28, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth where she is to be repaired. (30)

29 Jun 1941
Around 0730B/29, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Rosyth. (30)

30 Jun 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) is docked in No.3 Dock at Rosyth for repairs to the collision damage. (30)

22 Jul 1941
At Scapa Flow, Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, struck his flag in HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN). He and his staff then boarded the escort destroyer HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, RN) which then proceeded to Rosyth where the Rear-Admiral hoisted his flag on board HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). (33)

9 Aug 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) is undocked at Rosyth. (34)

25 Aug 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted DG trials in the Firth of Forth and then departed for Scapa Flow where she arrived shortly before midnight. (34)

27 Aug 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted engine trials, gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. On completion of these compass swing trials were carried out. (34)

28 Aug 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted full power trials and HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow.

These were followed by an RIX (rangefinding and inclination) exercise with HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN). (34)

29 Aug 1941
In the last part of the morning and early part of the afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted D/F (direction finding) trials at Scapa Flow. These were followed by gunnery exercises.

In the mid afternoon HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow.

In the late afteroon HMS Penelope and HMS Kenya conducted a range and inclination (RIX) exercise. During this exercise Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN was in HMS Penelope.

In the evening HMS Penelope and HMS Kenya carried out a night encounter exercise. During this exercise Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN was back in HMS Kenya. (35)

30 Aug 1941
In the afternoon, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

HMS Kenya returned to Scapa Flow on completion of the exercises.

HMS Euryalus remained out and conducted night encounter exercises with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). On completion of these exercises HMS Euryalus returned to Scapa Flow while HMS London set course for Akureyi, Iceland. (36)

2 Sep 1941

Operation EH.

Minelaying operation off Stadtlandet, Norway.

The fast minelayer HMS Manxman (Capt. R.K. Dickson, RN) departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1910A/2 for Scapa flow where she arrived around 0245A/3.

She departed for the operation around 0945A/3 together with the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyer HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN).

The force passed to the west of the Orkneys and Shetlands at a speed of 24 knots until reaching position ' B ' (62°30'N, 00°30'E) at 2200A/3. HMS Manxman was then detached to proceed ahead to the laying position at 35 knots. HMS Kenya and HMS Lightning following at 28 knots.

Rendezvous was set for 0600A/4 in position ' B '.

Due to the weather conditions HMS Manxman had difficulty fixing her position.

Minelaying started at 0217A. A total of 155 mines were laid in three groups as follows:

Group 1; From position 62°18'30"N, 05°06'48"E, 124 mines along a doglegged line extending for 2.2 nautical miles in a direction 175°, then through an arc to a direction 305° and continuing for 2.6 nautical miles.

Group 2; 16 miles along a line extending for 0.4 nautical miles in a direction 305° from position 62°18'36"N, 04°58'40"E.

Group 3; 15 miles along a line exerending for 0.4 nautical miles in a direction 215° from position 62°18'40"N, 04°55'24"E.

All mines were fitted with flooders set to operate on 18 September 1941, and laid at a depth of eight feet.

On completion of the lay HMS Manxman withdrew to the north-westward at high speed, cutting an enemy mine in her paravenes in approximate position 62°32'N, 04°00'E. At dawn the wind veered suddenly and the resulting cross sea caused her to reduce speed to 15 knots. Consequently she did not reach the rendezvous until 1545A/4.

The force then returned to Scapa Flow arriving at 0030A/5.

HMS Manxman arrived back at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1920A/5. (37)

9 Sep 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovering exercises at Scapa Flow. Also an RDF exercise was carried out. (38)

10 Sep 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN) conducted exercises to the west of Scapa Flow together with HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN).

During these exerices Prince of Wales was escorted by HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. H.B. Acworth, RN) and HMS Badsworth (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN).

They returned to harbour early on the 11th. (39)

11 Sep 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. (38)

12 Sep 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Greenock where some engine repairs were to be made.

Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, then transferred his flag from HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) to HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN).

HMS Sheffield departed Greenock later the same day for Gibraltar tansporting 300 service personnel from various services to that place. (38)

15 Sep 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted full power trials on the Arran measured mile. These were followed by 4" HA gunnery exercises. (38)

17 Sep 1941

Convoy WS 11X,
Troop convoy from Liverpool / Clyde to Gibraltar.

On 16 September 1941 the ships Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938) departed from Liverpool to make rendes-vous the following day off Orsay Island with the following ships that had departed the Clyde on the 17th; City of Calcutta (8063 GRT, built 1940), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Clan Macdonald (9653 GRT, built 1939), Dunedin Star (11168 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (12427 GRT, built 1934), Rowallan Castle (7801 GRT, built 1939), HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) (Capt.(ret.) C.A.G. Hutchison, RN), HMS Princess Beatrix (4136 GRT, built 1939) (Cdr.(ret.) T.B. Brunton, RN), HMS Queen Emma (4136 GRT, built 1939) (Capt.(ret.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (3288 GRT, built 1936) (T/Cdr. J.W. Peters, RNR), HMS Ulster Monarch (3791 GRT, built 1929) (T/Cdr. J. Wilson, RNR) and Leinster (4302 GRT, built 1937).

Most of the ships of this convoy were to form the convoy for operation Halberd from Gibraltar to Malta. The following ships made only the passage to Gibraltar with convoy WS 11X; HMS Princess Beatrix, HMS Queen Emma, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Ulster Monarch and Leinster.

Escort for this convoy was provided by; battleship HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Holmes, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSC, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski, ORP) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNethN).

In the evening of the 19th (2115 hours, B.S.T.) the destroyers HMS Havelock and HMS Harvester were detached from the convoy to escort the liner (troopship) Stratheden (23722 GRT, built 1937) all the way to Halifax. Until that moment the Stratheden had also been part of convoy WS 11X. The position in which these ships were detached was 50°57'N, 24°55'E.

On 21 September the convoy was joined by three destroyers coming from Gibraltar; HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN). These destroyers had sailed from Gibraltar on the 18th.

Also sailed from Gibraltar on the 18th was the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) escorted the destroyers HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) to provide cover for the convoy. Following this HMS Furious was then to proceed to Bermuda and finally to the US for a refit. The destroyers then made rendes-vous with the British battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) coming from a refit in the United States. They then provided cover for the convoy joining it around 1200/21. Shortly after Rodney had joined the convoy HMS Prince of Wales left the convoy for Gibraltar escorted by HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning and HMS Oribi. They arrived at Gibraltar to fuel late on the 23th. They departed Gibraltar around 0400/24 and rejoined the convoy west of Gibraltar around 1200/24. Before HMS Prince of Wales rejoined the convoy HMS Rodney had departed the convoy and also headed for Gibraltar escorted by the destroyers ORP Piorun, ORP Garland and HrMs Isaac Sweers. HMS Rodney and her escorting destroyers arrived at Gibraltar at 0900/24. In the evening of the 24th, HMS Nelson sailed westwards escorted by the same destroyers that had brought HMS Rodney in giving the German and Italian spies across the Bay in Spanish Algeciras the impression that HMS Rodney had just relieved HMS Nelson as flagship of Force H. This diversion seemed to have had the desired effect. During the night HMS Nelson and her escorting destroyers reversed course and passed the Straits of Gibraltar to the eastward unseen after dark.

On the 20th the cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyer HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) also departed Gibraltar to provide cover for the convoy.

On the 21th the cruisers HMS Kenya and HMS Euryalus departed the convoy for Gibraltar where they both arrived at 2300/22. After fuelling they departed before daylight on the 23th to rejoin the convoy to the west of Gibraltar. At Gibraltar Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, had hoised his flag on board HMS Kenya.

On the 23th the destroyer HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) bolstered the escort in the approaches to Gibraltar joining the convoy around 0800/24. Also on the 24th light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN) departed Gibraltar at 1230 hours to join the convoy.

Also on the 24th two groups of destroyers arrived at Gibraltar to refuel. The destroyers HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Gurkha and HMS Lance arrived at 1600 hours. The destroyers HMS Legion, HMS Lively and HMS Zulu arrived at 1800 hours.

See 25 September 1941 'Convoy operation Halberd' for the continuation of the events..

22 Sep 1941
Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, re-hoisted his flag in HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). (38)

25 Sep 1941

Operation Halberd
Supply convoy to Malta.

Continuation of the events of 17 September 1941, convoy WS 11X.

Situation at 1800 hours on 24 September 1941.

At 1800/24 the situation was as follows;
Convoy WS 11X was to the west of Gibraltar escorted at that moment by the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN), the British destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), the British escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN).

At Gibraltar were the British battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), the British light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN), the British destroyers HMS Duncan (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN with Capt. D.(13) Capt. H.W. Williams, RN, on board), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), the Polish destroyers ORP Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski, ORP) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNethN). Also at Gibraltar was the RFA oiler Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and the British corvette HMS Fleur de Lys (Lt.(Retd.) A. Collins, RNR).

Approaching Gibraltar from the west were the British destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN).

Movement of forces on the night of 24/25 September.

At 1815 hours, HMS Nelson departed Gibraltar and after passing farewell messages to HMS Rodney she proceeded westwards screened by HrMs Isaac Sweers, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland. These ships reversed course at 2130 hours and proceeded eastwards.

Shortly after HMS Nelson and her three escorting destroyers had departed Gibraltar harbour HMS Gurkha, HMS Zulu and HMS Lance, wich had been sent ahead to fuel aft Gibraltar, entered harbour.

At 2030/24 RFA Brown Ranger and her escort, corvette HMS Fleur de Lys departed Gibraltar to take up a position eastwards to fuel the destroyers that were to protect the Halberd convoy.

At 2300/24 HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermione escorted by HMS Duncan, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Lively, HMS Zulu, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion and HMS Lance departed from Gibraltar eastwards to simulate a normal sortie by 'Force H' and to rendezvous with the convoy to the eastward of Gibraltar at 0800/25.

'Force Z', consisting of, HMS Princess Beatrix (4136 GRT, built 1939) (Cdr.(ret.) T.B. Brunton, RN), HMS Queen Emma (4136 GRT, built 1939) (Capt.(ret.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (3288 GRT, built 1936) (T/Cdr. J.W. Peters, RNR) (whose ultimate destination was Freetown), HMS Ulster Monarch (3791 GRT, built 1929) (T/Cdr. J. Wilson, RNR) and Leinster (4302 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the British corvettes HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) had been stationed behind the main convoy at dusk was ordered to proceed into Gibraltar Bay. It was hoped that the presence of these ships in the Bay would lay suspicion in the event of the convoy having been sighted and reported while passing through the Straits.

The remainder of convoy WS 11X, made up of transport ships Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931), City of Calcutta (8063 GRT, built 1940), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Clan Macdonald (9653 GRT, built 1939), Dunedin Star (11168 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (12427 GRT, built 1934), Rowallan Castle (7801 GRT, built 1939) and HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) (Capt.(ret.) C.A.G. Hutchison, RN), with the escort, organised in two groups one mile apart, and led by the Vice Admiral, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet in HMS Prince of Wales, and the Rear Admiral commanding 18th Cruiser Squadron in HMS Edinburgh respectively, passed south of Europa Point at 0130/25. This disposition was adopted to reduce the frontage of the convoy during its passage through the Straits.

At 0730/25 HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal and their screening destroyers were sighted from HMS Nelson at a range of about 10 nautical miles. Half an hour later the convoy and its escort was sighted.

The escorting force was now reorganised into two groups;
Group 1: HMS Nelson, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermione, HMS Cossack, HMS Zulu, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Laforey and HMS Lightning.

Group 2: HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney, HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Sheffield, HMS Euryalus, HMS Duncan, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion, HMS Lance, HMS Lively, HMS Oribi, HrMs Iscaac Sweers, ORP Piorun, ORP Garland, HMS Fury, HMS Farndale and HMS Heytrop and the entire convoy.

Events of group 1 and group 2 during 25 September

At 1700/25 (time zone -2) HMS Duncan obtained an Asdic contact in position 36°36'N, 01°58'W and attacked with a pattern of four depth charges (more were intended but the starboard thrower failed to fire. Another depth charge attack was carried out by HMS Grukha at 1716 hours. She dropped a pattern of fourteen depth charges. HMS Duncan attacked again at 1750 hours with a second depth charge pattern. Both destroyers then proceeded to rejoin the screen at 1758 hours. Both ships sighted bubbles rising to the surface possibly from a damaged submarine.

Meanwhile on the 25th all destroyers of group 2 were fuelled by RFA Brown Ranger but not without delay as Brown Rangers speed was slower then anticipated and she was therefore further to the west then anticipated. This resulted in that not all destroyers were back in position at dusk. HMS Oribi was unable to find group 2 during the night and joined up with group 1 until daylight of the 26th when she rejoined group 1.

Events of group 1 and group 2 during 26 September

At 0932/26 lookouts on HMS Nelson spotted an Italian aircraft shadowing group 1 at a range of 10 miles. The aircraft was flying very low and had not been picked up by RDF. The fighters from HMS Ark Royal that were in the air failed to intercept this aircraft due to failure of the R/T equipment in the flight leaders aircraft. An enemy report from the aircraft was intercepted at 0935 hours. A re-broadcast of this signal by an Italian shore station was picked up 20 minutes later.

At 1300 hours Group 1 reversed course to close the distance to group 2 and HMS Hermione was stationed astern of HMS Ark Royal for RDF purposes and to give additional AA protection to the carrier.

At 1537 hours two aircraft were sighted low down to the eastward by HMS Zulu, HMS Nelson and HMS Hermione. These aircraft were at first thought to be Hudsons but turned out to be enemy when a signal they made was intercepted. By now it was too late to vector fighters towards them.

Movements of group 1 and group 2 and enemy air attacks during 27 September.

Around 0730/27 group 1 and 2 joined. HMS Ark Royal was now protected by HMS Euryalus (ahead) and HMS Hermione (astern) as close escort. Four Fulmar fighters were flown off at 0800 hours. This number was increased to ten at 1000 hours and twelve at 1100 hours and finally to sixteen at 1200 hours when it was though most likely air attacks might develop due to the fact the the forcehad been shadowed and reported by enemy aircraft from at least 0810 hours.

At 1255 hours RDF picked up enemy aircraft formations closing in on the convoy, one from the north and one from the east, both 30 miles distant. Position was 37°48'N, 08°50'E. Fighters were vertored towards these formations and one enemy aircraft was shot down at 1300 hours. Six enemy torpedo bombers approached from the port bow and beam of the convoy. Two were shot down at 1302 hours, most likely by AA fire from HMS Rodney and HMS Prince of Wales. An unknown number of torpedoes were dropped by the other aircraft. No hits were obtained but HMS Lance was narrowly missed by two of these torpedoes. HrMs Isaac Sweers was missed with one torpedo by 30 yards and HMS Rodney by one torpedo by 100 yards. One of the attacking aircraft was shot down by the destroyers while another torpedo bomber meanwhile was shot down by the Fulmars from the Ark Royal. Finally at 1310 hours a Fulmar was accidentaly shot down by HMS Prince of Wales. The first attack was was now over.

At 1327/27 RDF reported a group of aircraft splitting into two formations and approaching from the east. Destroyers on the starboard wing of the screen opened fire at 1329 hours when six or seven torpedo bombers (BR 20's) were seen approaching very low from the starboard bow and beam. Position was 37°49'N, 08°58'E.

Three of these aircraft pressed on through the barrage put up by the destroyers and made a most determined attack on HMS Nelson who was swinging to starboard to comb the tracks. On aircraft dropped its torpedo out 450 yards 20° on Nelson's starboard bow passing over the ship at a height of 200 feet. This aircraft was almost certainly shot down astern of HMS Nelson by HMS Sheffield and HMS Prince of Wales. The track of the torpedo was not seen until about 150 yards ahead of the ship and no avoiding action was possible and the torpedo hit HMS Nelson on the port bow 10 feet below the waterline. The speed of HMS Nelson was reduced to 18 knots.

The second aircraft of this formation missed HMS Nelson with its torpedo by about 100 yards while the third aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by HMS Laforey. It's W/T operator, the only one of the crew alive but wounded, was picked up by HMS Forester.

Three or four aircraft from this group attacked from the starboard quarted but without result.

One torpedo bomber was shot down by the Fulmars at 1336 hours. One of the Fulmars was now shot down by mistake by pompom fire from HMS Rodney but the crew was rescued by HMS Duncan.

At 1345 hours the third attack started. RDF reported a group coming in from the south-west. Ten or eleven S.79's split into two groups and were seen coming in low over the water and were taken under fire from the escorting ships on the starboard side of the convoy. Seven or eight of the attackers then retired to the south-west and disappeared but three others tried to work round the starboard bow of the convoy which then turned ay 60° to port. The three attackers were then driven off by gunfire from the destroyer screen and dropped their torpedoes at long range but one torpedo narrowly missed HMS Lightning. One of these aircraft was shot down by a Fulmar as it retired. Position of this attack was 37°50'N, 09°06'E.

At 1354 hours three of the aircraft that had initialy turned away returned from astern. Two of these retired again on being fired at but the third pressed on to attack HMS Ark Royal but it was shot down by AA fire from that ship and HMS Nelson before it had dropped it's torpedo.

At 1358 hours one aircraft, seen right ahead of HMS Nelson, dropped a torpedo outside the screen. HMS Cossack was able to avoid this torpedo by the HE of this torpedo being picked up by her Asdic set.

Attempt to intercept the Italian battlefleet

While the third air attack was still in progress at 1404 hours an emergency report was received from an aircraft operating from Malta that it had sighted two Italian battleships and eight destroyers in position 38°20'N, 10°40'E steering a course of 190° at 20 knots at 1340 hours. The position of HMS Nelson when this report was received was 37°46'N, 09°04'E so the enemy was only 70-75 miles away. At this time HMS Nelson, with it's gun armament unimpaired was thought to be capable of 18 knots or more. Admiral Somerville decided to proceed towards the enemy at best speed with HMS Nelson, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney and the destroyers HMS Duncan, HMS Gurkha, HMS Lance, HMS Lively, HrMs Isaac Sweers and ORP Garland, leaving HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Sheffield and ten destroyers with the convoy. HMS Euryalus, HMS Hermione and the destoyers HMS Piorun and HMS Legion remained with the Ark Royal.

It was also decided to fly off two Swordfish aircraft from the Ark Royal to take over shadowing duties from the aircraft operating out of Malta and to arm and fly off air striking force as soon as possible.

Ark Royal launched the two Swordfish at 1448 hours. It was intended to have launched them earlier but the launch was delayed due to the main armamant of HMS Ark Royal being in action and the recovery of two Fulmar fighters which were short on fuel.

In the meantime, at 1425 hours, the aircraft that was in contact with the Italians now also reported four cruisers and eight destroyers 15 nautical miles west-south-west of the enemy battlefleet. They were steering the same course and speed.

Meanwhile, at 1417 hours, the battleships had been ordered to form on HMS Nelson who had increased speed and proceeded ahead of the convoy. However at 1433 hours it became necessary for HMS Nelson to reduce speed to avoid further flooding due to the damage sustained. The Vice Admiral, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet in HMS Prince of Wales was now ordered to proceed with his flagship, HMS Rodney, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Sheffield and six destroyers to close the enemy at best speed. HMS Nelson meanwhile took station astern of the convoy.

While these instructions were carried out a report was received that the enemy had reversed course to 360°. This was followed by a further report that the enemy was steering 060°. Also a report was received that the battleships were of the Littorio class and not Cavour's as was previously believed. It was now clear that the enemy tried to avoid contact. It was still hoped that a striking force from HMS Ark Royal would be able to inflict damage to the enemy and reduced his speed allowing our battleships to overtake him before dark.

At 1530 hours a Fulmar fighter which was short of fuel force landed on the water astern of the Ark Royal. The crew was picked up by ORP Piorun.

At 1540 hours, HMS Ark Royal launched her stiking force of twelve Swordfish and four Fulmars. These aircraft did not find the enemy force and all aircraft returned to HMS Ark Royal around 1900 hours.

Between 1620 and 1645 hours, Fulmars from the CAP drove off an air attack threatening from the port side of the convoy. Later a shadowing enemy aircraft was shot down by Fulmars.

At 1658 hours, the Vice Admiral, second in Command Home Fleet, was ordered to reverse course and rejoin the convoy which was done at 1851 hours. No further reports of the enemy had been received for almost two hours and even if the striking force from HMS Ark Royal was able to inflict damage on the enemy these could not be intercepted before dark.

Detachment of Force X and the convoy.

At 1855 hours, on reaching the Skerki Channel, the escort of the convoy was split up into two forces, Force A, made up of HMS Nelson, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Duncan, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion, HMS Lively, HMS Lance, HMS Fury, HrMs Isaac Sweers, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland split off from the convoy while Force X, made up of HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburg, HMS Sheffield, HMS Hermione, HMS Euryalus, HMS Cossack, HMS Zulu, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Oribi, HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop remained with the convoy.

Between 1915 and 1930 hours enemy aircraft twice approached the convoy but turned away after fire had been opened on them. They were probably CR.42 fighters.

Night T/B attack on Force X and the convoy and loss of the Imperial Star.

Between 2000 and 2040 hours four torpedo bomber attacks were made on the convoy and Force X from the port beam, two or three aircraft taking part in each attack. The first two attacks had no result for the Italians.

During the third attack the two rear ships in the port column of the convoy collided with each other, these were the Rowallan Castle and the City of Calcutta. No serious damage was sustained and both were able to proceed on their way.

During the fourth attack, at 2032 hours, in position 37°31'N, 10°46'E the Imperial Star was struck by a torpedo on her port side aft. HMS Oribi was also attacked and narrowly missed by a torpedo four minutes later. She was able to shoot down the aircraft that had dropped this torpedo with her pompom and oerlikons.

When the Imperial Star was torpedoed it is probable that the explosion blew away both propellers and her rudder. In addition no.6 hold and the after engine room were both flooded.

HMS Heythrop, the rear ship of the port screen, proceeded alongside, but did not attempt to take Imperial Star in tow as she did not consider she was a suitable vessel to do so.

About 2045 hours HMS Oribi was ordered by HMS Euryalus to go to the assistance of the Imperial Star. When Oribi closed Heythrop was already standing by, and while Heythtop took off the passengers of the Imperial Star, HMS Oribi proceeded alongside to receive a report of the damage. It was decided to attempt to tow her to Malta.

For two hours the most determined attemps were made by HMS Oribi to tow the Imperial Star to Malta and although a speed of 8 knots was obtained nothing could be done to prevent her steering in circles. At is thought that her damaged stern was now acting as rudder.

Eventually, at 0120/28, HMS Oribi found herself being dragged stern first by her tow sheering off and she was forced to slip the tow. Oribi went alongside to consult again and it was reluctantly decided that there was no other choice then to scuttle the ship. Three depth charges were placed lashed together abreast a bulkhead and these were fired by a safety fuse.

HMS Oribi cast off 0340/28 and the depth charges were fired eleven minutes later, starting a large fire aft. As this did not spread quickly, Oribi shelled Imperial Star with 4.7" S.A.P. shells. Oribi finally left her at 0452 hours. Imperial Star was by that time heavily on fire fore and aft and listing badly. Aircraft from Malta could not find the wreck of the Imperial Star so there is no doubt that she sank.

HMS Oribi then made off from the scene along the convoy route at 32 knots and came with them near Malta 1215/28 having passed unmolested within 7 nautical miles from the Sicilian coast in daylight.

Passage of the convoy and Force X through the narrows.

In the meantime the convoy and Force X had proceeded through the narrows along the south coast of Sicily.

In the meantime. at 2030/27, HMS Hermione had departed the convoy to carry out a bombardment of Pantellaria harbour. Having completed the bombardment HMS Hermione rejoined Force X at 0615/28. At daylight HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop were detached to fuel at Malta.

Although several formations of enemy aircraft were detected between dawn and the arrival of the convoy at Malta, the excellent protection given by shore based fighters from Malta prevented any attack from developing.

At 0800/28 a report was received that no enemy surface forces were reported near the convoy. The cruisers HMS Kenya, HMS Sheffield, HMS Euryalus and HMS Hermione then proceeded ahead to Malta to fuel where they arrived at 1130 hours. The remainder of Force X and the entire convoy, with the exception of the Imperial Star, arrived later in the afternoon.

Movements of Force A during 28 September.

While Force X and the convoy continued on to Malta, Force A proceeded to the west at 14 knots, which was the best speed of HMS Nelson at that time.

At 0725/28 HMS Ark Royal flew off one A/S patrol and three fighters. At 0812 hours one enemy shadower was seen but it escaped into a cloud.

At 1025 hours HMS Nelson sighted a Cant. 506 aircraft very low down and fighters were vectored in. After a chase to the south-east this aircraft was shot down near Cape de Fer, Algeria.

Shadowers were again reported at 1640 hours and again one hour later but due to a failure of the R/T transmitter in Ark Royal it was not possible to vector fighters in time to intercept. An enemy report made by Italian aircraft was intercepted at 1720 hours.

At 1942/28 one of the destroyers of the screen, HMS Duncan, obtained an Asdic contact in position 37°30'N, 03°45'E. She carried out two depth charge attacks but with no apparent result. HMS Legion closed to co-operate but did not gain contact. Both ships left the area at 2012 hours to rejoin the screen.

At 2020 hours speed was reduced to 12 knots to reduce the strain on bulkheads and decks of HMS Nelson. At this time Nelson was about 8 feet down by the bows and it was estimated that 3500 tons of water had entered the ship.

At 2100/28, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Gurkha, HMS Lance, HMS Legion, HMS Lively, HMS Fury and HrMs Isaac Sweers were detached to proceed to the eastward and rendezvous with Force X. HMS Nelson, escorted by HMS Duncan, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland, continued on to Gibraltar.

At 0555/29, in position 37°30'N, 06°25'E, HMS Prince of Wales obtained an RDF surface echo ahead, and an emergency turn of 40° to port was carried out with all ships at 0609 hours. Three minutes after this turn HMS Gurkha sighted a torpedo track approaching. It was too late to alter course to avoid. A second torpedo track followed a few seconds later. Both torpedoes appeared to pass underneath the ship. HMS Gurkha then turned to port in the direction from which the torpedoes had approached and HrMs Isaac Sweers also joined to hunt the submarine. No A/S contacts were obtained and no depth charges were dropped. HMS Gurkha and HrMs Isaac Sweers rejoined the screen at 0700/29. The attacker was the Italian submarine Diaspro which managed to escape unharmed.

At 0810/29 HMS Gurkha obtained an A/S contact in position 37°26'N, 07°14'E. At 0815 hours a pattern of fourteen depth charges was dropped. Six minutes later a heavy underwater explosion was heard. At 0841 hours HMS Gurkha was ordered to rejoin screen and the hunt was abandoned.

Movements of Force X during 28/29 September on the return trip from Malta.

In the meantime the ships that are part of Force X had all fuelled at Malta and at 1500/28 the escort destroyers HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop were sailed followed at 1615 hours by HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburgh and HMS Oribi. The remainder of Force X sailed at 1830 hours. HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop joined Force A at 0835/29. The remainder of Force X joined Force A at 1030/29.

Movements of HMS Nelson and passage to Gibraltar.

In the meantime HMS Nelson and her three escorting destroyers were still proceeding to the west. They were joined by aircraft to provide additional A/S protection from 0730/29 onwards.

At 1110/29, ORP Piorun obtained a doubtful A/S contact and dropped one depth charge.

At 1909/29, HMS Duncan also obtained A/S contact and dropped one depth charge.

At 1945/29 the A/S screen was reinforced by the destroyer HMS Rockingham (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN) coming from Gibraltar. Later in the evening four corvettes also joined for additional A/S protection of the damaged battleship, HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) joined at 2120/29, HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) at 2140/29, HMS Fleur de Lys at 2150/29 and finally HMS Arbutus (T/Lt. A.L.W. Warren, DSC, RNR) at 2340/29. Nelson's screen now consisted of four destroyers and four corvettes.

At 0130/30 HMS Samphire and HMS Arbutus obtained an A/S contact and dropped depth charges without result, the contact was probably non-sub.

At 1200/30 HMS Nelson entered Gibraltar Harbour.

Movements of Force A and Force X as of 1030 hours on 29 September.

Meanwhile after all ships of Force X had joined up with force A at 1030/29 course was shaped to the westward, keeping 40 nautical miles clear of the African coast.

At 1645/29, in position 37°26'N, 04°37'E, HMS Lively, sighted an object resembling a ship's lifeboat with mast at a range of 1000 yards. This was soon identified as the conning tower and periscope of a submarine momentarily breaking surface. Two torpedo tracks were sighted shortly afterwards. Lively immediately attacked with a pattern of fourteen depth charges at 1650 hours. HMS Legion, which was next to Lively in the destroyer screen, had already dropped a pattern of five depth charges about a minute and a half earlier. HMS Legion then joined up with HMS Lively to hunt this submarine.

At 1700 hours HMS Lively obtained a definate A/S contact and attacked with another pattern of fourteen depth charges five minutes later. After having dropped this pattern contact was regained at 1715 hours. Contact was however soon lost at and not regained. The hunt was abandoned at 1745 hours.

At 1930/29, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Kenya, HMS Sheffield, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Oribi, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester and HMS Fury parted company with the rest of the force and proceeded ahead to arrive at Gibraltar p.m. 30 September 1941. They arrived at Gibraltar at 1800/30.

At 0928/30, in position 37°10'N, 00°56'E, HMS Gurkha, obtained Asdic contact wich was confirmed as a submarine. She immediately attacked and fired a pattern if fourteen depth charges at 0935 hours. A black circular buoy with electric cable attached to it came to the surface after this attack. At 0945 hours a loud underwater explosion was heard and felt and oil started to come to the surface. Gurkha was unable to gain contact on the submarine from now on. HMS Legion who was by now assisting Gurkha in the hunt obtained contact and attacked with a fourteen depth charge pattern at 0955 hours. A second fourteen depth charge pattern was fired at 1009 hours. During Legion's second attack wreckage and oil came to the surface. Among the wreckage picked up was an Italian dictionary, a mattess, a pillow, numerous pieces of wood, some with bright screws and a piece of human scalp attached to a piece of wood by a splinter of metal. The interiors of the dictionary, the mattress and the pillow were dry. There was now no doubt that an Italian submarine was sunk by HMS Gurkha and HMS Legion.

All ships in this force entered Gibraltar harbour between 0700 and 0900 hours on 1 October.

Convoy MG 2, passage of three merchant vessels from Malta to Gibraltar.

At noon on the 26th the first out of three empty transports, the Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), departed Malta for Gibraltar. At 1030/27 the other two ships Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937). These last two ships were escorted by the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR) until 1930/27. After an uneventful passage the Melbourne Star arrived at Gibraltar at 0700/29. The Port Chalmers and City of Pretoria were spotted and reported by Italian aircraft at 1200/27, shortly after leaving Malta. No enemy surface craft were seen until 2320/27 when it was believed that an E-boat was sighted by the Port Chalmers which was following in the wake of the City of Pretoria. The Port Chalmers opened fire on the E-boats bow wave with it's 4" gun. The enemy then returned fire with a machine gun. After six rounds of 4" the enemy crossed the stern of the Port Chalmers and was not seen again. The City of Pretoria had not seen the enemy at all. The action had taken place about 15 nautical miles south-south-west of Pantelleria.

At 0535/28 the Commodore of the convoy ordered he Port Chalmers to part company. Port Chalmers then proceeded at full speed, wearing French colours.

At 0915/28 an Italian Cant. 506 seaplane approached from the direction of the French north African coast and circled the City of Pretoria. This aircraft then made off to the westward and gave the Port Chalmers the same attention. Both ships were wearing French colours and had taken care to keep all service personnel out of sight. Both ships were fully ready for action, but did not open fire as the aircraft took no offensive action.

At 1015/28 the City of Pretoria was circled several times by a large three-engine seaplane, with distinct French markings, which approached from the direction of Bizerta.

At 1145/28 the City of Pretoria sighted a twin-engined Italian seaplane stopped on the water, five nautical miles to the north. She lost sight of this aircraft at 1215 hours.

The Port Chalmers was circled by an Italian aircraft at 1555/28. The aircraft did not attack.

At 1725/28 the City of Pretoria was attacked by three Italian torpedo bombers. As the aircraft approached with obviously hostile intentions the British colours were hoised and fire was opened as soon as the leader came in range. By skilful handling all three torpedoes were avoided. A submarine periscope was then reported on the starboard quarter by two independent lookouts. Three smoke floats and a depth charge set to 150 feet were dropped and under the cover of the smoke the City of Pretoria turned away.

When the City of Pretoria was approaching Cape de Gata at 0200/30 an unidentified vessel, possibly a submarine, was seen to be following. Two or three rapid shots, followed by a dull explosion, were heard. City of Pretoria made smoke and dropped smoke floats and then made close in Almeira Bay, into territorial waters, thus shaking off her pursuer.

The Port Chalmers arrived at Gibraltar at 0900/30. City of Pretoria followed during the afternoon. (40)

1 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) departed Gibraltar for patrol and then on to the Clyde.

They were to search for a German supply vessel known to have sailed from Bordeaux. (41)

3 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) sinks the German supply vessel Klara (7275 GRT, built 1930, former Dutch Kota Pinang) with gunfire and torpedoes in position 43°26'N 24°30'W. The Germans also set off scuttling charges. The enemy supply vessel had been escorted by the submarine U-129.

(All times are zone A/-1)
1802 hours - Sighted a ship bearing 143°, range 12 nautical miles.

1825 hours - Our aircraft, which had been launched at 1743 hours, reported the ship is the enemy supply vessel we were looking for.

1828 hours - Opened fire.

1849 hours - The enemy was seen to be abandoning ship.

1851 hours - Ceased fire.

1900 hours - Fired two torpedoes. Both are though to have hit.

1909 hours - The enemy ship was seen to blow up. (42)

6 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) arrived at Greenock from Gibraltar. (41)

10 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. (41)

11 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (41)

14 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (42)

15 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) conducted RD/F exercises off Scapa Flow. (43)

21 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (42)

22 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (42)

23 Oct 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (42)

31 Oct 1941
Around 2300A/31, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN), departed Scapa Flow for Seidisfiord. (44)

2 Nov 1941
Around 1300A/2, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN), arrived at Seidisfiord, Iceland. (44)

5 Nov 1941
Around 1345A/5, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) departed Seidisfjord patrol west of the Iceland-Faroes minefield. (45)

7 Nov 1941
Around 0600A/7, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) arrived at Seidisfjord from patrol. (45)

8 Nov 1941

Minelaying operation SN 83B.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0810A/8, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), HMS Newark (Lt.Cdr. R.H.W. Atkins, RN) and HMS Montrose (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN) departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 83B.

Cover for this minelaying operation was provided by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) which departed from Seidisfjord, Iceland around 1315Z/8.

The minefield made up of 933 mines, was laid between 1320Z/9 and 1408Z/9, along a line joining positions, 62°49'8"N, 09°52'5"W and 63°02'8"N, 10°37'0"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 550 mines.

Very bad weather was experienced. During the night from 9/10 November the weather got even worse and as a result of it the force split up. HMS Brighton experienced two temporary engine breakdowns and HMS Newark had to steer by hand for two days.

HMS Port Quebec and HMS Charlestown arrived at Port Z.A. at 0430A/12. HMS Menestheus followed at 0700A/12 and finally HMS Brighton and HMS Newark arrived at 1145A/12.

HMS Montrose had been ordered to return to Scapa Flow where she arrived around 0800A/12.

HMS Kenya, HMS Bedouin and HMS Intrepid remained at sea, patrolling in the Iceland - Faeroer gap until returning to Seidisfiord around 1100Z/12. (46)

9 Nov 1941

Convoy PQ 3.

This convoy departed Hvalfiord, Iceland on 9 November 1941 for Archangel, Russia where it arrived on 22 November 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930), Cape Corso (British, 3807 GRT, built 1929), Cape Race (British, 3807 GRT, built 1930), Cocle (Panamanian, 5630 GRT, built 1920), El Capitan (Panamanian, 5255 GRT, built 1917), San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935), Trekieve (British, 5244 GRT, built 1919) and Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Hvalfiord the convoy was escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Hamlet (T/Lt. H.H. Bolton, RNVR) and HMS Macbeth (T/Lt. R.M. Thorne, RNR).

On the 14th HMS Hamlet was detached to return to Hvalfiord with the merchant vessel Briarwood which had been damaged by ice.

HMS Macbeth detached from the convoy on 15 November.

Around 0335Z/13, the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) departed Seidisfiord, Iceland to make rendezvous with the convoy.

They were followed around 1050Z/13 by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN).

Around 1235Z/14, HMS Bedouin and HMS Intrepid were joined by HMS Kenya.

HMS Bedouin parted company at 0500Z/15.

Early in the afternoon of the 15th, HMS Kenya attempted to fuel HMS Intrepid but the weather was unsuitable and the attempt had to be broken off.

Early in the evening of the 15th, HMS Kenya and HMS Intrepid made contact with the convoy.

At 2345A/16, HMS Bedouin joined the convoy.

Between 1025A/17 and 1205A/17, HMS Kenya transferred 90 tons of fuel to HMS Intrepid.

In the moring of the 18, it had been intended to fuel HMS Bedouin by HMS Kenya but the weather conditions were unsuitable.

In the morning of the 20th, the local A/S escort joined, this was made up of the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN) and HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN).

At 1600C/20, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy which went on to Archangel where it arrived on 22 November 1941.

HMS Kenya arrived at Murmansk around 1045C/21.

HMS Bedouin and HMS Intrepid arrived at Murmansk around 0950C/22 having been detached from the convoy. HMS Bramble also arrived at Murmansk on this day.

HMS Seagull and HMS Speedy arrived at Murmansk at 1105C/24.

24 Nov 1941

Operation AR.

Sweep along the German convoy route and bombardment of Vardø.

During the night of 24/25 November 1941, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN), Gremyashchiy and Gromkiy conducted a sweep along the German convoy route of Northern Norway up to the North Cape. On their return they bombarded Vardø around 0530 hours. They had departed the Kola Inlet around 1500C/24 and returned around 1000C/24. (47)

27 Nov 1941

Convoy QP 3.

This convoy departed Archangel, Russia on 27 November 1941. The convoy was later dispersed with all the ships eventually proceeding to Kirkwall.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Andre Marti (Russian, 2352 GRT, built 1918), Arcos (Russian, 2343 GRT, built 1918), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Herpalion (British, 5486 GRT, built 1932), Hartlebury (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Kuzbass (Russian, 3109 GRT, built 1914), Orient City (British, 5095 GRT, built 1940), Queen City (British, 4814 GRT, built 1924), Revolyutsioner (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936) and Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940).

On departure from Archangel the convoy was escorted. [It is a bit unclear to us which ships escorted the convoy. This might have been by several out of the following minesweepers HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN), HMS Hussar ( Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN) and / or HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN). HMS Gossamer and HMS Hussar were definately with the convoy on its passage towards the west. HMS Seagull and HMS Speedy remained in Northern Russia.]

Two merchant ships had to return due to defects, these were the Arcos and Kuzbass.

Around 1500C/27, the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) departed Murmansk to join the convoy which they did around 1200C/28.

Around 1515C/28, the light cuiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) departed Murmansk to join the convoy which she did around 1230C/29.

Around 1400B/2 HMS Bedouin and HMS Intrepid parted company with the convoy in position 73°44'N, 23°20'E to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1700A/5.

At 1042B/3, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy to proceed independently to Rosyth where she arrived around 1545A/6.

HMS Gossamer and HMS Hussar also parted company with the convoy [we have been unable to find out when]. HMS Hussar arrived at Scapa Flow around 1600A/9 and HMS Gossamer at 1200A/11.

[No more information on this convoy is currently available to us, this will have to be reseached further in the future.]

6 Dec 1941
At 1545A/6, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Rosyth after convoy escort duty. At Rosyth she was to be docked for repairs. (48)

8 Dec 1941
In the evening, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), is docked in No.2 Dock at the Rosyth Dockyard. The dock is pumped dry the following morning. (48)

13 Dec 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) is undocked. (48)

14 Dec 1941
In the afternoon, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), conducted DG trials in the firth of Clyde following which she departed for Scapa Flow. (48)

15 Dec 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (48)

17 Dec 1941
In the morning, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (48)

18 Dec 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted RD/F calibration trials at Scapa Flow. Late in the afternoon / early in the evening gunnery exercises were carried out. (48)

19 Dec 1941
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. This included a bombardment exercise. (48)

23 Dec 1941
HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Scapa Flow for her 11th war patrol. She was part of Operation Archery, a commando raid on Vågsøy, Norway. Tuna was to act as navigational beacon for the surface ships involved in this operation.

The raid on Vågsøy was carried out by the British Light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Burrough, RN), the British destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and the landing ships Prince Charles (A/Cdr. W.R. Fell, DSC, OBE, RN) and Prince Leopold (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Byles, RD, RNR). (49)

24 Dec 1941

Operation Archery.

Commando raid against the Norwegian island of Vågsøy.

Around 2100A/24, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), the escort destroyer HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. L.W.L. Argles, RN), and the landing ships HMS Prince Charles (A/Cdr. W.R. Fell, DSC, OBE, RN) and HMS Prince Leopold (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Byles, RD, RNR) departed Scapa Flow for operation Archery. First they were to proceed to Sullom Voe where they arrived around 1330A/25. and Maaloy Island. The Force arrived at Sullom Voe on the 25th.

Heavy weather had been encountered on the passage to Sullom Voe and the operation was postponed 24 hours so that some weather damage to the landing ships could be made good.

The raiding force departed Sullom Voe around 1600A/26.

The arrived off the Vaagsfiord in perfect weather around 0740A/27. At 0640A/27 they had made rendezvous with the submarine HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) which acted as beacon.

Enemy positions were bombarded and troops were landed.

The enemy was caught by surprise but resistance was however stiff as an enemy unit of mountain troops was present at Måløy for a rest.

HMS Kenya engaged the enemy shore battery at Rugsundöy. She was also hit in return.

HMS Onslow and HMS Oribi sank the German patrol vessel V 5108 / Föhn (207 GRT, built 1911, former Norwegian whaler Hadarøy) in Måløy-Sund. The merchant vessels Reimar Edzard Fritzen (2936 GRT, built 1923), Norma (2258 GRT, built 1911, former Dutch Calypso) and Anita L.M. Russ (1712 GRT, built 1926) and Eismeer (1003 GRT, built 1941, former Dutch Duiveland) were either sunk or driven on the rocks.

HMS Offa and HMS Chiddinfold sank the German patrol vessel V 5102 / Donner (223 GRT, built ?) and the merchant vessel Anhalt (4621 GRT, built 1922).

The commandoes commenced to retreat back to the landing ships around 1400A/27.

The raiding force returned to Scapa Flow around 1600A/28. (50)

31 Dec 1941
Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) to HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN). (51)

2 Jan 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (52)

7 Jan 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) and HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

On completion of these exercises HMS Kenya returned to Scapa Flow while HMS Trinidad set course for Seidisfiord, Iceland. (53)

8 Jan 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (52)

9 Jan 1942
The battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) and HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

Also participating in the exercises were the light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). (54)

11 Jan 1942
HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer Island gap. (55)

12 Jan 1942
HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) were ordered to return to Scapa Flow. (55)

13 Jan 1942
HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived back at Scapa Flow. (55)

17 Jan 1942
Around 1630A/17, the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfiord. The German battleship Tirpitz was reported to be at sea. (56)

19 Jan 1942
Around 1230N/19, the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) arrived at Hvalfiord. (56)

21 Jan 1942
Around 2100N/21, HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN), departed Hvalfiord to patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer Islands gap. The cruiser parted company with each other shortly after midnight. (57)

28 Jan 1942
Around 0930N/28, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) returned to Hvalfiord from patrol. (57)

2 Feb 1942
Around 1000N/2, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) departed Hvalfiord to patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap. (58)

8 Feb 1942
Around 0900N/8, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) returned to Hvalfiord from patrol. (58)

15 Feb 1942

Minelaying operation SN 84.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0900A/15, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Menestheus (Capt.(Retd.) R.H.F. de Salis, DSC, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN) and HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN) departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 84.

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN) and HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN).

The destroyer HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 1000A/15 and joined at sea.

The destroyer HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) was sailed from Liverpool on the 14th and also joined on the 15th.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Hvalfiord around 2200N/14 to provide cover for the operation.

The minefield made up of 1489 mines and was laid between 1630A/16 and 1850A/16, along a line joining positions, 63°08'5"N, 10°29'0"W, 63°19'2"N, 11°08'2"W and 63°32'3"N, 11°30'5"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Menestheus 410 mines, HMS Port Quebec 551 mines and HMS Agamemnon 528 mines.

HMS Kenya parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron at 1930A/17 and then proceeded on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer Islands gap.

HMS Somali arrived at Scapa Flow at 0815A/18 after having been detached.

HMS Menestheus, HMS Port Quebec, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lancaster and HMS Wells arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) on the 18th.

HMS Vanquisher returned to Liverpool on the 19th. (59)

21 Feb 1942
Around 0915A/21, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol. (60)

27 Feb 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (60)

28 Feb 1942
Around 1830A/28, the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfiord, Iceland where they arrived around 1300N/2. (61)

1 Mar 1942

Convoys PQ 12 and QP 8.

Convoy PQ 12 from Iceland to Northern Russia and Convoy QP 8 from Northern Russia to Iceland.

On 1 March 1942 convoy PQ 12 departed Reykjavik for ports in Northern Russia.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Artigas (Panamanian, 5613 GRT, built 1920), Bateau (Panamanian, 4687 GRT, built 1926), Beaconstreet (British (tanker), 7467 GRT, built 1927), Belomorcanal (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Capulin (Panamanian, 4977 GRT, built 1920), Dneprostroi (Russian, 4756 GRT, built 1919), Earlston (British, 7195 GRT, built 1941), El Coston (Panamanian, 7286 GRT, built 1924), El Occidente (Panamanian, 6008 GRT, built 1910), Empire Byron (British, 6645 GRT, built 1941), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Navarino (British, 4841 GRT, built 1937), Sevzaples (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1932), Stone Street (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922) and Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940).

Close escort on departure from Reykjavik was provided by the A/S trawlers HMS Angle (T/Lt. E. Playne, RNVR), Chiltern (Ch.Skr.(Retd.) B. Bevans, RNR), HMS Notts County (T/Lt. R.H. Hampton, RNR) and HMS Stella Capella (Lt. W.L. Sadgrove, RANVR). These trawlers parted company with the convoy early on 5 March. the minesweeper HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN) and the A/S whaler Sulla (T/Skr. T. Meadows, RNR) were to join the convoy coming from Reykjavik as well as the destroyers HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and the A/S whalers HMS Shera (T/Lt. W.E. Bulmer, RNR), Shusa (S.Lt. J.B. Powell, RNR), Stefa (T/Lt. T. Costley, RNVR) and Svega (T/Lt. F.P. Maitland, RNVR) which came from Seidisfjord.

Of the whalers Sulla later had to turn back.Shusa and Stefa were able to join the convoy while Svega made the passage to Murmansk independently with Shera until that ship sank on 9 March, presumably as a result of stability problems as she suddenly capsized. The Svega was able to pick up three survivors from the freezing water.

HMS Offa and HMS Oribi joined the convoy early on the 5th 100 miles south of Jan Mayen Island while HMS Gossamer could not find the convoy and proceeded to Murmansk independently.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) also joined on the 5th. She had departed Hvalfiord with the cover force at 0600/3. She parted company again on the 6th. She was however ordered to rejoin the convoy and she did so in the evening of the 6th.

The same evening the escorts were informed that a German heavy ship, thought to be the Tirpitz had left Trondheim and was proceeding northwards. The same evening the convoy encountered ice and course had to be changed from north-east to south-east. One of the merchant ships, the Bateau and the whaler Sulla had to turn back. The destroyer HMS Oribi sustained ice damage.

On the 7th the convoy was able to resume its original course. At noon on the 7th it passed convoy QP 8 in position 72°09'N, 10°34'E, some 200 miles south-west of Bear Island.

Around 1400/7, HMS Kenya sighted smoke on the horizon to the northward so she set off to investigate. Visibility was now at the maximum. It soon became apparent that it was a staggler from convoy QP 8 so Kenya then rejoined convoy PQ 12 at 1515/7.

Then around 1600/7 HMS Kenya received Admiralty signal 1519A/7 stating that enemy surface forces might be nearby. The convoy was ordered to steer north so at 1640/7 course was altered to 360°. Shortly afterwards a signal timed 1632/7 was received from the Russian merchant vessel Izhora, a staggler from convoy QP 8, that she was being gunned by an enemy warship in position 72°35'N, 10°50'E although the position was doubtful and the signal was garbled. It was thought this was the merchant vessel we sighted a few hours earlier. This ship was now thought to be 35 to 40 miles to the eastward of convoy PQ 12 and its northerly course might drive the convoy straight into the arms of the enemy.

Capt. Denny then decided to change course to 60°. Kenya's Walrus aircraft was launched at 1720/7 to search between 270° and 210°. The Walrus returned soon after 1800/7 having sighted nothing after searching to a depth of 45 miles. Course was therefore altered to 040° to bring the convoy closer to its original track.

No more news was heard from the Izhora or the enemy but soon after midnight another signal from the Admiralty was received telling the convoy to steer north of Bear Island, if ice permitted, a very considerable diversion from the original route. At daylight therefore the convoy altered further to the northward. Capt. Denny warning the convoy Commodore not to take the destroyers through the ice. The weather and information about the icefield, soon determined Capt. Denny and the convoy Commodore to disregard the Admiralty signal and they altered course to the south-east a little after mid-day, intending to cross the miridian of Bear Island to the southward after dark that evening. About 1530/8, between snowstorms, they sighted the island 40 miles off to the north-east, and the icefield at the same time. At dusk, 1700/8, they ran into the fringe of the ice.

it took the convoy three hours to work clear and reform, whereupon, to avoid further damage to HMS Oribi, Captain Denny detached her to make her own way to Murmansk, which she reached on March 10th.

The convoy went on, keeping as far north as the ice allowed. On the 9th, HMS Offa detected a patrolling aircraft by her radar, but thick and persistent sea smoke rising many feet into the air, combined with a change of course for two hours, prevented discovery, while intercepted signals showed that the Tirpitz was no longer likely to be a threat, for which she had been attacked off the Lofoten Islands by aircraft from HMS Victorious.

The convoy arrived at Murmansk on 12 March 1942.

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On 1 March 1942 convoy QP 8 departed Murmansk for Iceland.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), British Workman (British (tanker), 6994 GRT, built 1922), Cold Harbor (Panamanian, 5105 GRT, built 1921), El Lago (Panamanian, 4219 GRT, built 1920), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1936), Empire Selwyn (British, 7167 GRT, built 1941), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Fridrikh Engels (Russian, 3972 GRT, built 1930), Izhora (Russian, 2815 GRT, built 1921), Larranga (American, 3892 GRT, built 1917), Noreg (Norwegian (tanker), 7605 GRT, built 1931), Revolutsioner (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Tbilisi (Russian, 7169 GRT, built 1912) and West Nohno (American, 6186 GRT, built 1919).

Close escort on departure from Murmansk was provided by the destroyers Gremyashchiy, Gromkiy, corvettes HMS Oxlip (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Sweetbriar (Lt.(Retd.) J.W. Cooper, RNR) and the HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN) and HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN).

The two Soviet destroyers, HMS Harrier and HMS Sharpshooter parted company with the convoy on 3 March. The other escorts remained with the convoy until it arrived in Iceland.

Close cover for the convoy was provided from 3 to 7 March by the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN) which had departed the Kola Inlet on 2 March and arrived at Scapa Flow on 8 March.

On 4 March the convoy scattered due to the bad weather conditions but was later reformed. On 9 March the convoy was disbanded after wich most ships arrived in Icelandic ports on 11 March 1942 minus a staggler from the convoy, the Soviet Izhora, which had been found and sunk around 1630/7 by the German destroyer Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn.

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Distant cover for these convoys was provided by battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet), light cruiser HMS Kenya and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN). These ships had departed Hvalfjord, Iceland at 0600/3.

At 0600/4 the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN) departed Scapa Flow.

At 0700/4, the destoyers HMS Faulknor and HMS Eskimo were detached from the Renown group to refuel at Seidisfjord.

At 1600/4, HMS Berwick was detached from the King George V'-group to return to Scapa escorted by HMS Bedouin. She had developed engine trouble. The cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) was ordered to take over her place after refuelling at Seidisfjord.

At 2300/4, HMS Kenya was detached from the Renown group to provide close cover for convoy PQ 12. Around the same time HMS Bedouin was ordered to part company with HMS Berwick and go to the aid of HMS Sheffield which had been mined near the Seidisfjord. HMS Faulknor and HMS Eskimo were also ordered to assist the damaged cruiser.

At 1200/5 the 'Renown'-group was in position 66°45'N, 06°30'W steering a northerly course. This was about 100 miles south of convoy PQ 12.

At the same time the 'King George V'-group was about 100 miles bearing 154° from the 'Renown'-group and was also steering a northerly course.

At 1900/5 HMS Kenya joined the close escort of convoy PQ 12.

At 2000/5, the 'Renown'-group altered course easterly to affect a rendezvous with the 'King George V'-group the next morning. Admiral Tovey had decided to concentrate his forces.

At 1030/6, both groups made rendezvous in position 71°00'N, 04°30'E amd the two forces joined together. They continued to steer a northerly course. The entire force was now made up of the battleships HMS King George V, HMS Duke of York, battlecruiser HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Lookout, HMS Ashanti, HMS Punjabi, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Fury, HMS Echo and HMS Elcipse.

At 1100/6, the German battleship Tirpitz escorted by the destroyers Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann, Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn and Z 25 departed Trondheim and steered north to intercept a convoy (PQ 12) reported by Focke Wulf reconnaissance aircraft.

At 1400/6, the Home Fleet altered course to the south.

In a signal timed 1801/6 the submarine HMS Seawolf (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN) reported sighting the Tirpitz off Kya. At 0010/7, Admiral Tovey received the news of Seawolf's sighting. Tovey now knew that Tirpitz was out but he was unsure if the German battleships was out to attack the convoy or to break out into the Atlantic. It had been intended to fly off search aircraft from HMS Victorious but the weather conditions prevented any flying from taking place.

At 1750/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the east and the destroyers HMS Icarus and HMS Intrepid detached to refuel in Iceland.

At 2000/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the north. At the same time the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Ashanti, HMS Punjabi, HMS Fury, HMS Echo and HMS Eclipse were detached to sweep north between the Home Fleet and the Lofoten Islands along what Admiral Tovey thought to be the enemy’s most likely route to return to Trondheim. After this sweep the destroyers were to proceed to Seidisfjord to refuel. Apparently only HMS Lookout remained with the Fleet.

At 2400/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the south so that the Fleet could be in position off the Lofoten Islands to launch a strike force at dawn in case the Tirpitz would be sighted by the destroyers. At 0400/8 Admiral Tovey concluded that he had missed the German battleships and since he was without destroyers except for HMS Lookout and in submarine infected waters, he turned south-west towards Iceland to collect some destroyers that had already refuelled.

At 1820/8 the Home Fleet altered course to the north-east despite that no destroyer had joined so far. Admiral Tovey then broke radio silence sending a signal to the Admiralty requesting destroyers to be sent out and refuelling facilities at sea for his destroyers. The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Iceland with orders to rendezvous with the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) coming from the Denmark patrol and the light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) and HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) departed Scapa Flow on 7 March. These cruisers were ordered to refuel destroyers at sea.

The heavy cruisers apparently did not fuel any destroyers. The light cruisers fuelled HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury on the 9th. HMS Echo was unable to fuel from them due to the bad weather conditions. She went to Seidisfjord to fuel as did HMS Onslow HMS Ashanti and HMS Eclipse.

Around 2000/8 the Tirpitz, having been unable to find the convoy, set course to return to Trondheim.

At 0240/9, the Admiralty informed Admiral Tovey that the Tirpitz was heading south so the Home Fleet altered course to the south-east to close the Lofoten Islands.

At 0640/9, Admiral Tovey ordered HMS Victorious to fly off a reconnaissance force of 6 Albacores on a diverging search between 105° and 155° to a depth of 150 miles to search for the German battleship.

At 0730/9, a strike force of 12 torpedo-carrying Albacores were flown off.

At 0802/9, one of the reconnaissance aircraft the Tirpitz and a destroyer (Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn) sailing south and made a report. Shortly after being sighted the Germans however altered course towards the Vestfjord and Narvik.

At 0917/9, the Tirpitz was attacked by the strike force. No hits were obtained though one torpedo only missed the battleships stern by 30 feet. Two of the attacking Albacores were shot down by AA fire.

At 0940/9, the Home Fleet turned west and then south-west.

At 1545/9, the Home Fleet was attacked by 3 Ju-88 bombers, one bomb landed close astern of HMS Victorious but no damaged was caused.

At 1620/9, The Tirpitz and Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn arrived at Narvik.

At 1840/9 the destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo and HMS Tartar (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) joined the Home Fleet coming from Iceland. The Home Fleet now set course to return to Scapa Flow.

Around 0800/10 the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and the escorted destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) joined coming from Iceland.

Around 0920/10 the destroyers Verdun (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN), HMS Woolston (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN) joined after they had fuelled at Scapa Flow coming from Rosyth (first two) and Port ZA (last two) respetively.

Around 1200/10 the destroyers HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus joined.

Around 2300/10 the Home Fleet arrived at Scapa Flow. Shortly before arriving the destroyers HMS Verdun and HMS Woolston were detached to return to Rosyth and HMS Lancaster and HMS Wells were detached to return to Port ZA.

HMS Liverpool, HMS Trinidad, HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury arrived at Scapa Flow at 0930/11. (62)

20 Mar 1942

Convoys PQ 13 and QP 9.

Convoy PQ 13 from Iceland to Northern Russia and Convoy QP 9 from Northern Russia to Iceland.

On 20 March 1942 convoy PQ 13 departed Reykjavik for Murmansk.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ballot (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922), Bateau (Panamanian, 4687 GRT, built 1926), Dunboyne (American, 3513 GRT, built 1920), Effingham (American, 6421 GRT, built 1919), El Estero (Panamanian, 4219 GRT, built 1920), Eldena (American, 6900 GRT, built 1919), Empire Cowper (British, 7164 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ranger (British, 7008 GRT, built 1942), Empire Starlight (British, 6850 GRT, built 1941), Gallant Fox (Panamanian, 5473 GRT, built 1918), Harpalion (British, 5486 GRT, built 1932), Induna (British, 5086 GRT, built 1925), Mana (Honduras, 3283 GRT, built 1920), Mormacmar (American, 5453 GRT, built 1920), New Westminster City (British, 4747 GRT, built 1929), Raceland (Panamanian, 4923 GRT, built 1910), River Afton (British, 5479 GRT, built 1935), Scottish American (British (tanker), 6999 GRT, built 1920) and Tobruk (Polish, 7048 GRT, built 1942).

The RFA oiler Oligarch (6897 GRT, built 1918) was also part of the convoy.

Close escort on departure from Reykjavik was provided by the escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Blackfly (T/Lt. A.P. Hughes, RNR) and HMS Paynter (Lt. R.H. Nossiter, RANVR). Three M/S whalers were also with the convoy, these were: Silja (Skr. W. Rigby, RNR), Sulla (T/Skr. T. Meadows, RNR) and Sumba (T/Lt. W.E. Peters, RNR).

In the afternoon of 23 March convoy PQ 13 was joined by the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN, SO close escort) which came from Seidisfjord.

At 2030/23, the light cruiser HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) made contact with the convoy to provide close cover. A strong south-westerly wind had accelerated the passage and the convoy was some 40 miles ahead of its sheduled position when it was sighted by HMS Trinidad. On reaching the miridian 5°W course was altered to the eastward in compliance with Admiralty instructions amending the route, on order to avoid a U-boat area.

At 0200/24, HMS Lamerton and the RFA oiler Oligargh parted company with the convoy. They wre to make rendezvous with destroyers that were with the Home Fleet which were to fuel from the tanker.

By noon on the 24th the convoy was in position 69°20'N, 00°20'E, making good almost 9 knots. So far so good.

That night, however, a gale sprang up from the north-east and by the forenoon of the 25th it was blowing force 8, with visibility varying up to 2 miles. For the next 36 hours the gale continued unabated. By dawn on the 27th the convoy was widely scattered, and not a single merchant ship was in sight from HMS Trinidad or either of the escorting destroyers.

Throughout the 27th short visibility and heavy weather made it difficult to find the scattered units of PQ 13. HMS Trinidad was searching the area about 100 miles south-west of Bear Island, where she was joined by HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN), sighted none for them till the evening, when two ships were located. HMS Eclipse some 180 miles to the south-westward had one ship in company. HMS Fury spent most of the afternoon finding and fueling the whaler Sumba in sesponse to a urgent appeal received from the Sumba at 1127/27. This she completed at 2041/2, and then steered to rejoin the convoy, falling in with the merchant vessel Harpalion at 0710/28, with whom she remained in company.

By this time the weather was moderating and the situation was approximately as follows. The convoy was strung out over 150 miles. Furthest east was the merchant vessel Empire Ranger by herself, some 80 miles due north of North Cape at 0800/28. About 40 miles astern of her was a group of six merchant vessels and the armed whaler HMS Silja. 35 miles astern of this group was the Harpalion with HMS Fury. A further 65 miles to the west were six merchant vessels with HMS Eclipse, HMS Paynter and HMS Sumba in company. Four merchant vessels and an armed whaler were straggling (most likely HMS Sulla had already gone down by this time though).

HMS Trinidad had spent the night sweeping to the eastward along the convoy route, sighted the Empire Ranger at 0830/28. She then turned and swept back along the convoy's track, with the intention of concentrating with HMS Fury and HMS Eclipse, in view of the possibility of surface attack of which warning had been received from the Admiralty. The Harpalion and HMS Fury were sighted at 1125/28 and 20 minutes later, with HMS Fury in company course was again altered to the eastward. Meanwhile the convoy had been located by the enemy air reconnaissance.

The forenoon of the 28th March was clear and sunny, with occasional snow patches. At 1007/28, HMS Trinidad sighted a shadowing aircraft. which she engaged ineffectively at long range. The enemy wasted no time, within about an hour their bombers arrived on the scene. In the afternoon the German destroyers Z 24, Z 25 and Z 26 sailed from Kirkenes in search of the convoy.

Throughout the remainder of the day, air attacks were carried out at intervals. The eastern group of six merchant vessels with HMS Silja was dive bombed twice, the Panamanian merchant vessel Ballot being so shaken by near-misss that she dopped astern and started to abandon ship, though she subsquently reached port under her own steam.

At 1127/28, HMS Paynter was attacked.

At 1318/28, HMS Trinidad was narrowly missed by three bombs from an aircraft which dided out of a cloud. Between 1418 and 1430/28, HMS Trinidad was persistently dived bombed by Ju-88's but she sustained only some minor damage from near misses.

During the afternoon the merchant Raceland was sunk by aircraft and at about 1930/28 the Empire Ranger reported that she was sinking and abandoning ship in position 72°13'N, 32°10'E. The trawler Blackfly was sent to this position but she did not sighted any survivors.

During the hours of darkness during the night of 28/29 March, HMS Trinidad and HMS Fury cruised to the southward if 72°25'N, 30°00'E in order to cut off the enemy destroyers, should they attack either main group of the convoy. Course was altered to the east-north-east at 0200/29, in order to close the leading group of merchant ships and to locate the destroyers Sokrushitelny, Gremyashchiy and HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) which had sailed from the Kola Inlet to make rendezvous which was effected at 0422/29. Around the same time, HMS Trinidad, opened fire on a U-boat which then dived to safety. This was U-378. Course was then shaped to the westward to close the group of merchant vessels that were with HMS Eclipse. Shortly afterwards they passed wreckage from the merchant vessel Empire Ranger. Four lifeboats, well stocked with ample supplies, were examined by HMS Oribi. The absence of survivors indicated that some ship must have rescued them.

The convoy group that was with HMS Eclipse now numbered eight merchant vessels. HMS Paynter and HMS Sumba were also with this group when they were found at 0630/29 in position 72°29'N, 31°48'E. The two Russian destroyers and HMS Oribi were ordered to remain with this group.

HMS Trinidad and HMS Fury altered course at 0700/29 to 105° and proceeded at 20 knots to seek the eastern group, which by now had been reduced to four ships. One ship, as already mentioned, had straggled the day before as a result of air attacks while another, the Induna, with HMS Silja in tow as the whaler had run short of fuel, got caught in heavy ice during the night and did not get clear till the following afternoon.

Meanwhile the German destroyers Z 24, Z 25 and Z 26 (S.O.) had left Kirkeness at 1330/28 and shaped course to the northward. At 2145/28, being then in approximately 72°20'N, 32°50'E course was altered to the westward to sweep along the estimated route of the convoy, at 15 knots. The destroyers were spread three miles apart. An hour later they came across the Empire Ranger's boats and picked up her survivors.

Continuing to the westward, they sighted a straggler, the Bateau at 0035/29 in position 72°20'N, 30°40'E. Z 26 promptly sank her by torpedo and gunfire. The Germans remained in the vicinity for an hour, and then, apparently thinking they were too far to the north-west, at 0140/29 set course 140°, and swept to the south-eastwar at 25 knots till 0530/29, when the turned due north up the meridian 33°55'E.

At 0820/29, they were once more on the estimated convoy route in approximately 72°22'N, 34°00'E. They altered course to 270° at 17 knots, to sweep to the westwards. This course took them directly towards HMS Trinidad and HMS Fury. The weather, which had earlier been fine, with the sky almost free from cloud and the visibility extreme, was then deteriorating and the visibility rapidly shortening.

The visibility had falled to two miles when at 0843/29, Trinidad's radar picked up an echo bearing 079°, 6.5 miles. Two minutes later the bearing changed to 092°, 4.5 miles - apparently three ships -. Captain Saunders though that they might be ships of the convoy but that he was surprised that three wounld be in this position. At 0849/29 shapes were sighted in the mist, which were identified as three foreign destroyers on approximate course 330°. As this could not be the Russian destroyers as these were further to the west fire was opened at the leading destroyer at 0851/29.

The Germans replied at almost the same moment. By 0852/29 the leading destroyer, Z 26 had been frequently hit and was blazing amidships. Fire was then shifted by HMS Trinidad to the second enemy destroyer in line. Half a minute later the wheel was put hard to starboard as it seemed likely that torpedoes had been fired and indeed two were seen later passing up the port side while the ship was still turning. The action now ceased for the time being.

Z 26, severely damaged, made to the north-westward. The other two German destroyers, who had not sighted the enemy through the mist, turned to the north-eastward to avoid torpedoes (none had been fired by the British), thus becoming separated from their leader whom they failed to rejoin for an hour.

Meanwhile, HMS Trinidad with HMS Fury astern had steadied on course 360°. At the same time radar contact was regained with Z 26 bearing 358°, 7200 yards so speed was increased and course altered to port so as to close. At 0917/29, the outline of the destroyer ws sighted fine on the port bow. HMS Trinidad, opened fire from 2900 yards. The enemy endeavoured to avoid the salvoes which were falling all round her by a continuous and violent zigzag. She did not return the fire and was apparently unable to fire her torpedoes due to damage but she was able to steam.

At 0922/29, HMS Trinidad fired a torpedo at Z 26. Two others fired shortly afterwards failed to leave the tubes due to icing. Meanwhile Z 26 was suppering a beating until at 0923/29 a torpedo was seen breaking surface 200 yards on the Trinidad's port bow. The wheel was put hard to port but it was too late and the torpedo hit HMS Trinidad between 71 and 79 stations on the port side. The ship almost immediately liste 17° to port, speed dropped to 8 knots, all communication from the compass platform failed and steering had to be shifted to the after-steering position.

Z 26 made off to the south-westward and was soon lost to view, pursued by HMS Fury, which from her station astern of HMS Trinidad had hitherto not sighted the enemy. This course took thhem close north of the approaching convoy. Visibility was then about 6 cables. The destroyers of the escort were zigzagging furiously around in order to maintain a decent speed when HMS Eclipse sighted a warship (Z 26) bearing 20° just visible in the mist. One of the Russian destroyers opened fire, but the Eclipse, mistaking her for HMS Trinidad, refrained from doing so. At this moment, 0930/29, HMS Fury appeared out of the snow ahead at high speed and for some minutes chaos reigned in the destroyer screen. HMS Fury actually fired two salvoes at HMS Eclipse before recognition. HMS Fury then turned back to rejoin HMS Trinidad, and the Eclipse, hauled round to the westward at 15 knots to follow the ship which had passed the convoy a few minutes before. HMS Eclipse had not gone far when her radar picked up an echo distant two miles, which she closed keeping the bearing about 20° on the port bow. Slowly the range decreased. At 0950/29 a ship was dimly sighted through the snow half a mile off. She was again taken for HMS Trinidad, but when the range was down to 800 yards she was recognised as a German destroyer and promptly engaged. The luckless Z 26 quickly increased speed to get away.

There followed a running fight in a snowstorm, the German ship making smoke and altering away whenever HMS Eclipse worked up on his quarter and opened A-arcs. The damage previously inflicted by HMS Trinidad prevented the German ship from replying to the British fire except with occasional shots which did no harm. Conditions were very severe. Spray, which swept over guns and bridge, immediately froze on anything it touched. Gundecks were icy and gun wells full of water and ice. Use of binoulares by bridge and director personnel was almost impossible.

This went on for half an hour, till at 1020/29, having by then been hit six times by 4.7" guns shells the Z 26 came to a stop, her stern almost awash and listing to port. HMS Eclipse was just about to fire her remaining torpedo into the German destroyer, when suddenly Z 24 and Z 25 hove into sight about two miles on her disengaged beam. At the same time the snow stopped and visibility increased rapidly. The two German destroyers immediately opened fire so HMS Eclipse made off at high speed to the north-westward, eventually reaching cover in a snow squall at 1035/29, but not before she had been hit aft by two shells at 1028/29 and holed above the waterline forward by two others which burst close alongside. Her main aerials were also shot away. The Germans made no attempt to follow, but stood by the sinking Z 26, which capsized at 1057/29. After rescuing survivors, Z 24 and Z 25 set course to retire at high speed to Kirkeness, where they arrived in the evening of the same day.

HMS Eclipse meanwhile find herself in an unseaworthy condition, short of fuel, and with nine wounded in urgent need of attention. She accordingly shaped course independently for Murmansk where she arrived the next day with only 40 tons of fuel remaining.

HMS Trinidad, meanwhile, after the explosion of the torpedo (It was later found out to have been her own) had turned to the south-eastward and was steering 130° at 6 knots, when HMS Fury rejoined her. Speed was slowly increased as much as due regard for the strain on her bulkheads permitted. At about 1100/29 the group of merchant ships screened by the Russian destroyers was overhauled and HMS Oribi was ordered to join HMS Fury as A/S screen. Early in the afternoon the minesweeper HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, MVO, DSO, RN) also joined the screen. (The minesweepers HMS Harrier, HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSC, RN) and HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Youngs, OBE, RNR) had departed the Kola Inlet on 28 March to patrol along the last part of the convoy route.) During the forenoon the list of HMS Trinidad had been gradually reduced and by this time she was on an even keel and making good between 12 to 14 knots. Late that night, however, priming with salt water in the feed water compelled a reduction of speed to only 2 to 4 knots, and threathened to stop her altogether. At 2315/29, HMS Trinidad was in position 70°18'N, 34°55'E, some 70 miles from the entrance to the Kola Inlet. By 0200/30, speed could be increased to 7 knots.

By the early moring the wind, which had been freshening all night, was blowing hard from the northward, with a considerable sea. On the whole HMS Trinidad weathered it well, and she reached to Kola Inlet at 0930/30. Three hours later HMS Trindidad and HMS Fury anchored at Rosta.

During 29 March 1942 the various groups and stragglers pursued their way to the east unmolested, turning to the southward on reaching the 37th meridian. Short visibility and low cloud gave protection from air attack and they were not yet in the area chosen by the enemy for submarine attack.

The western group of eight ships was escorted by the two Russian destroyers and HMS Oribi, ater their fleeting glimpse of Z 26, passed clear to the southwar of the other two German destroyers while they were searching for their leader. The four ships of the eastern group by the time surface actions were over were about to alter course to the south.

The Induna and HMS Silja did not get clear of the ice untill 1500/29. They estimated they were in approximately 72°00'N, 38°00'E and shaped course direct for Murmansk. Five hours later the tow parted and HMS Silja disappeared in a squall. Efforts to find her proved unvailing and the Induna continued her voyage alone. At 0707/30 (0807/30, German time), she was torpedoed by U-376 and sank around 0840/30 after having been hit be a coupe de grâce shortly before.

The Effingham was torpedoed by the German submarine U-456. She did not sink and a coupe de grâce missed. U-456 then lost sight of the damaged merhant vessel but she was found shortly afterwards by U-435 and she was then hit and sunk by the third torpedo fired from this submarine.

By the night of 30 March all the surviving 14 ships had arrived in the Kola Inlet except one which arrived early on 1 April. Nineteen ships had left Reykjavik on 20 March, five had been lost on passage.

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On 21 March 1942 convoy QP 9 departed Murmansk for Reykjavik.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ashkhabad (Russian, 5284 GRT, built 1917), Barrwhin (British, 4998 GRT, built 1929), City of Flint (American, 4963 GRT, built 1920), Daldorch (British, 5571 GRT, built 1930), Earlston (British, 7195 GRT, built 1941), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Byron (British, 6645 GRT, built 1942), Empire Magpie (British, 6517 GRT, built 1919), Hartlebury (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Lowther Castle (British, 5171 GRT, built 1937), Makawao (Hunduran, 3545 GRT, built 1921), Marylyn (British, 4555 GRT, built 1930), North King (Panamanian, 4608 GRT, built 1903), Pravda (Russian, 2513 GRT, built 1928), Shelon (Russian, 2310 GRT, built 1918), Stepan Khalturin (Russian, 2513 GRT, built 1921) and Trevorian (British, 4599 GRT, built 1920).

On departured from the Kola Inlet the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), Gremyashchiy and the minesweepers HMS Britomart (Lt.Cdr. S.S. Stammwitz, RN), HMS Gossamer, HMS Harrier, HMS Hussar, HMS Niger (Cdr.(ret.) A.J. Cubison, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN) and HMS Speedwell.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) departed the Kola Inlet on 22 March to overtake the convoy which she joined later on the same day. She remained with the convoy until it reached 01°00'E and then she parted company to proceed to Scapa Flow arriving there at 1030/29.

On 23 March most of the convoy escorts parted company to return to the Kola Inlet. The convoy continued on escorted by HMS Offa, HMS Britomart and HMS Sharpshoorter (S.O.).

The convoy had an uneventful passage except for that HMS Sharpshooter rammed and sank the U-boat U-655 on 24 March.

The convoy arrived at Reykjavik on 3 April 1942.

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Cover for these convoys was provided by ships from the Home Fleet.

At 1000/22, the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet), HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destoyers HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt. R.deL. Brooke, RN) departed Scapa Flow to proceed to the east of Iceland before proceeding to a position from where to provide distant cover for the convoys. HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN) parted company at 1230/22 to return to Scapa Flow due to defects.

Around 2245/22, the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) and light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow to overtake the ships that had sailed earlier.

At 1600/23, the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) sailed from Seidisfiord, Iceland to relief the fleet destroyers that had sailed with the Home Fleet from Scapa Flow. The destroyers were exchanged at 2100/23. HMS Faulknor, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi and HMS Onslow arrived at Seidisfiord to fuel at 2230/23.

At 0400/24, HMS Faulknor, HMS Onslow, HMS Eskimo and HMS Punjabi departed from Seidisfiord to rejoined the fleet. A fifth destroyer was now with them, this was HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN). They rejoined at 0800/24 after which the three escort were detached to Seidisfiord.

At 0530/25, HMS Tartar, when in position 66°14'N, 02°34'W was detached to return to Scapa Flow having sustained damage in the severe weather conditions. She arrived at Scapa Flow at 2000/26.

At 1400/27, the destroyers HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) and HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, OBE, RN) sailed from Skaalefiord, Iceland to join the Home Fleet at 1800/27 in position 63°05'N, 04°20'W to augment the destroyer screen on the Home Fleet's return passage to Scapa Flow which, given the fact that no German heavy units were at sea, was now in the proces of being undertaken.

HMS King George V, HMS Duke of York, HMS Renown, HMS Victorious, HMS Kent, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Inglefield, HMS Faulknor, HMS Onslow, HMS Echo, HMS Escapade, HMS Foresight, HMS Icarus, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi and HMS Marne returned to Scapa Flow at 0800/28. (63)

4 Apr 1942
In the morning, HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN), made a few runs over the DG range at Scapa Flow after which she conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow.

She then left Scapa Flow for gunnery exercises in the Pentland Firth upon completion of which she returned to Scapa Flow. (64)

8 Apr 1942
HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (65)

10 Apr 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted a refuelling exercise at Scapa Flow with HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN).

In the afternoon and early evening HMS Kenya, HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Charybdis (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (66)

15 Apr 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted hight finding exercises off Scapa Flow with aircraft. After her return to Scapa Flow she conducted a torpedo firing exercise. (64)

17 Apr 1942

Minelaying operation SN 88.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

On 17 April 1942, the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 88. The Squadron was made up of the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (A/Capt. J. Cresswell, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral T.B. Drew, OBE, RN), Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN), Menestheus (Capt.(Retd.) R.H.F. de Salis, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN), the destroyers HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN), HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RNR), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR) and the minesweeper / survey vessel HMS Scott (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Sharpey-Schafer, RN).

They were joined at 1815B/17 by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

Due to the difference in depth of water the minefield had to be laid in two sections;
The first section was made up of 972 mines and was laid by HMS Southern Prince and HMS Menestheus between 1627B/18 and 1813B/18, along a line 1.5 cables either side of a line joining positions, 62°46'3"N, 09°32'0"W and 63°05'5"N, 10°05'8"W. HMS Southern Prince laid 562 mines and HMS Menestheus 410 mines.

The second section was made up of 1081 mines and was laid by HMS Port Quebec and HMS Agamemnon between 1813B/18 and 2010B/18, along a line 1.5 cables either side of a line joining positions 63°05'6"N, 10°04'0"W, 63°12'8"N, 10°16'4"W and 63°22'8"N, 10°48'5"W. HMS Port Quebec laid 551 mines and HMS Agamemnon 530 mines.

At 2230B/19, HMS Kenya, HMS Menestheus and HMS Saladin parted company with the other ships which returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh early on the following day minus HMS Scott which arrived at Port Z.A. on 21 April.

At 0510B/20, HMS Kenya parted company with HMS Menestheus and HMS Saladin and arrived at Scapa Flow around 0645B/20.

HMS Menestheus and HMS Saladin arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) later the same day. [unclear to us why they first went further to the east though.]

(67)

24 Apr 1942
The battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN), heavy cruisers USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and seven destroyers conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (64)

26 Apr 1942

Convoys PQ 15 and QP 11 and the sinking of HMS Edinburgh and HMS Punjabi.

Convoy PQ 15 from Iceland to Northern Russia and Convoy QP 11 from Northern Russia to Iceland. Also includes an account on the sinking of HMS Edinburgh and HMS Punjabi.

On 26 April 1942 convoy PQ 15 departed Reykjavik for Murmansk where it arrived on 5 May 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alcoa Cadet (American, 4823 GRT, built 1919), Alcoa Rambler (American, 5500 GRT, built 1919), Bayou Chico (American, 5401 GRT, built 1920), Botavon (British, 5858 GRT, built 1912), Cape Corso (British, 3807 GRT, built 1929), Cape Race (British, 3807 GRT, built 1930), Capira (Panamanian, 5625 GRT, built 1920), Deer Lodge (American, 6187 GRT, built 1919), Empire Bard (British, 3114 GRT, built 1942), Empire Morn (British, CAM ship, 7092 GRT, built 1941), Expositor (American, 4959 GRT, built 1919), Francis Scott Key (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Hegira (American, 7588 GRT, built 1919), Jutland (British, 6153 GRT, built 1928), Lancaster (American, 7516 GRT, built 1918), Mormacrey (American, 5946 GRT, built 1919), Mormacrio (American, 5940 GRT, built 1919), Paul Luckenbach (American, 6606 GRT, built 1913), Seattle Spirit (American, 5627 GRT, built 1919), Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926), Texas (American, 5638 GRT, built 1919) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942).

Two icebrakers were also part of the convoy, these were the Krassin (Russian, 4902 GRT, built 1917) and Montcalm (Canadian, 1432 GRT, built 1904, to be transferred to the Russians)

The RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) was also with the convoy.

On departure from Reykjavik the convoy was escorted by the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, RN), HMS Leda (Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, DSC, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR), HMS Northern Pride (T/Lt. A.R. Cornish, RNR), HMS Vizalma (T/Lt. J.R. Anglebeck, RNVR) and the A/P trawler Chiltern (Ch.Skr.(ret) P. Bevans, RNR).

Around 0300Z/28, ' Force Q ' a refuelling force for the convoy escorts, made up of the RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) departed Seidisfiord with her escort, the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN). With them were the AA ship HMS Ulster Queen (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN) and the submarine HMS Sturgeon (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, RN). They joined the convoy during the night of 28/29 April.

Around 0500Z/29, A close cover force made up of the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN), HNoMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr. S.V. Storheill, RNorN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN) departed Seidisfiord to join the convoy which they did early on 30 April.

The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) also joined the convoy (close cover force), she had departed Scapa Flow around 1645B/28.

around 0635B/1, the submarine HMS Sturgeon parted company with the convoy to take up a patrol position in the Artic Sea. ' Force Q ', the refuelling force made up of the tanker Grey Ranger and escort destroyer HMS Ledbury also parted company with the convoy on 1 May.

Around 2220B/1, Six German Ju.88 torpedo bombers attacked the convoy but no hits were obtained. One of the attackers was shot down by AA fire.

During the night of 1/2 May, HMS London was detached to provide close cover for convoy QP 11.'

At 1000B/2, HMS Nigeria also parted company with the convoy to join convoy QP 11. The Admiralty had decided that there was no need for the cruisers to proceed further to the east as the enemy destroyers operating in Northern Norway had been sunk or damaged in action with the cover force of convoy QP 11 (see below).

At 2009B/2, HNoMS St. Albans and HMS Seagull attacked an A/S contact with depth charges in position 73°01'N, 17°32'E. The submarine was forced to the surface but turned out to be the Polish submarine ORP Jastrzab (Lt.Cdr. B. Romanowski). She was way out of position and in waters where German submarines were expected to be operating. No blame could possibly be taacked to HNoMS St. Albans and HMS Seagull. Five of the crew of the Polish submarine died while the others were picked up.

At 0120B/3, the convoy was again attacked by enemy torpedo bombers. Visibility was bad and the enemy planes were not sighted until it was too late. Also radar had not picked them up. The succeeded in sinking two merchant vessels, the Botavon (the ship of the Convoy Commodore) and the Cape Corso. A third merchant vessel, the Jutland was damaged and was abandoned by her crew. The drifting ship was shortly afterwards torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-251.

At 2230C/3, a final German air attack took place while the convoy was in position 73°00'N, 31°15'E. A bomb near missed the A/S trawler HMS Cape Palliser which sustained some slight damage. One German Ju.88 aircraft was shot down. Visibility deteriorated in the evening of the 4th and a south-easterly gale sprang up bringing heavy snow. This provided the convoy with excellent cover for the remainder of the passage. The convoy arrived in the Kola Inlet around 2100C/5.

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On 28 April 1942 convoy QP 11 departed Murmansk for Reykjavik where it arrived on 7 May 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Atheltemplar (British (tanker), 8992 GRT, built 1930), Ballot (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922), Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930), Dan-Y-Bryn (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Dunboyne (American, 3515 GRT, built 1919), El Estero (Panamanian, 4219 GRT, built 1920), Eldena (American, 6900 GRT, built 1919), Gallant Fox (Panamanian, 5473 GRT, built 1918), Mormacmar (American, 5453 GRT, built 1920), Stone Street (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922), Trehata (British, 4817 GRT, built 1928), Tsiolkovsky (Russian, 2847 GRT, built 1935) and West Cheswald (American, 5711 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Murmansk the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, OBE, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Huddart, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN), corvettes HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. W. Hine, RNR), HMS Oxlip (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Saxifage (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.P. Chapman, RNR), HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, RNR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Lord Middleton (T/Lt. R.H. Jameson, RNR) and HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR). Cover was provided by the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN).

Besides these ships there was a local escort by the Russian destroyers Sokrushitelny and Gremyashchiy until at least 30°E and by the minesweepers HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN), HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSC, RN) and HMS Niger (Cdr.(ret.) A.J. Cubison, DSC and Bar, RN) until the evening of the 29th.

The convoy was sighted and reported by enemy aircraft and submarines on the 29th, but no attacks took place that day. The following afternoon (30 September), however, HMS Edinburgh, then zigzagging at high speed some 15 nautical miles ahead of the convoy, in approximate position 73°09'N, 32°45'E, was struck by two torpedoes from the German submarine U-456. Her stern was blown off and her steering gear was wrecked. She was able to steam at slow speed on two shafts. The explosion was seen from the convoy and the destroyers HMS Foresight and HMS Forester were detached to her assistance, followed shortly afterwards by the two Russian destroyers. Escorted by these destroyers HMS Edinburgh started in the 250 nautical mile return passage to Murmansk.

The presence of the destroyers prevented U-456 from finishing the cruiser off. She continued to shadown and report the Edinburgh's movements. These reported tempted the German Flag Officer, Northern Waters to sent three destroyers from Kirkenes to attack convoy QP 11 with its depleted escort and the destroyers Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann, Z 24 and Z 25 put to sea and steered to the north.

Convoy QP 11, meanwhile, continued its passage. At 0540/1, being then about 150 miles to the east-south-east of Bear Island it was unsuccesfully attacked by four torpedo aircraft. At the same time an enemy submarine was sighted and forced to dive by HMS Amazon. Frequent HF/DF bearings indicated that four enemy submarines were keeping pace with the convoy on different bearings, and at 0820/1, course was altered 40° to starboard (to 320°) in an endeavour to shake them off. Then ice was sighted in large quantities ahead. This was found to extend some 20 miles to the southward of the route, and course was again altered to the westward.

The forenoon passed without incident. The weather was moderate, wind north-north-east, force 3. Frequent snow squalls caused the visibility to vary between ten and two miles.

At 1345/1, the convoy was in course 275°, skirting heavy drift ice to starboard, when HMS Snowflake reported three radar contacts bearing 185°. At the some moment, HMS Beverley, screening on the port bow, reported enemy in sight, bearing 210°. The enemy proved to be three large destroyers. In the course of the next four hours they made five separate attempts to reach the convoy, each of which wass foiled by the aggressive tactics of the escorting destroyers desipite their great inferiority in gun power to the Germans.

On receipt of the Beverley's sighting report, Commander Richmond who was on the starboard bow of the convoy, moved across to the threatened flank and ordered the destroyers to concentrate on him. The convoy (with the corvettes and trawlers) at once carried out an emergency turn of 40° to starboard, the destroyers making smoke to cover it.

At 1400/1, HMS Bulldog turned towards the enemy on a south-westerly course, with the destroyers in line ahead in the order HMS Beagle, HMS Amazon and HMS Beverley. The Germans were at this time in line of bearing formation, about 10000 yards distant, heading towards the convoy. At 1407/1, both sides opened fire, the Germans turning together to starboard to open 'A' arcs, and the British destroyers to port to a similar course. Both sides fired torpedoes but none of them found its mark, but a track was seen to pass close astern of HMS Bulldog. After three minutes (1410/1), the Germans turned away asnd the British destroyers returned towards the convoy, making smoke. In this brief engagement HMS Amazon was hit. Her steering gear, telegraphs and one gun being put out of action, but she managed to keep control and was stationed at the rear of the line.

A quarter of an hour after this action ceased, the convoy suffered its only loss, when the Russian merchant vessel Tsiolkovsky, which was staggling from the convoy, was hit by torpedo and sink rapidly. The survivors were rescued by the Lord Middleton.

Commander Richmond, meanwhile, was keeping his destroyers between the convoy and the estimate position of the enemy. At 1433/1 they were again sighted, bearing 160° about 15000 yards off, and the second attack developed. The British destroyers again steered for them and at 1440/1 fire was opened at 12000 yards range. No hits were obtained by either side, but after five minutes the enemy turned away and the British once more retired on the convoy. By this time the convoy was well within the ice and ' in order to maintain touch the destroyers were led through lanes of open water as opportunity offered, bearing in mind that sufficient sea room to manoeuvre in action must be maintained. The presented a nice problem.'

About an hour elapsed before the enemy's next attempt. Then at 1558/1, he was sighted six miles away coming in from the eastward, bearing 115°. Commander Richmond repeated his tactics, and both sides opened fire at 1600/1. HMS Bulldog was straddled several times and slightly damaged, but after ten minutes the enemy turned away under smoke to the southward and the British again closed the convoy, by then spread out over a distance of some seven miles, as it picked its way through the heavy drift ice in single line formation.

Shortly before 1700/1 the Germans were again sighted, following a radar report from HMS Snowflake, this time bearing 146°, 20000 yards. HMS Bulldog led round towards them, fire was opened at 1658/1 and after seven minutes the enemy made smoke and turned away.

Half an hour later the Germans made their fifth and last attempt to break through. Fire was exchanged between 1736/1 and 1742/1, when they once more turned away. The British held on towards them for a few minutes till the rear destroyer disappeared into the smoke to the south-east. This was the last seen of them, shortly afterwards they were ordered to attack the damaged Edinburgh some 200 nautical miles to the eastward, and altered course accordingly. Commander Richmond of course could not know this, and for the next three hours he kept his force cruising between the supposed direction of the enemy and the convoy, while the latter was breaking its way through the ice. By 2155/1, the convoy was in open water and the destroyer resumed their screening stations.

The remainder of the passage was uneventful. Convoy PQ 15 was sighted proceeding to the eastward at 1000/2. QP 11 arrived at Reykjavik at 0700/7.

In the meantime, while convoy QP 11 was being subjected to the attacks by the German destroyers, the damaged HMS Edinburgh had been making the best of her way towards Murmansk. The first torpedo had hit the starboard side forward, causing considarable flooding. The second torpedo hit right aft and virtually blew her stern off. She had lost her rudder and the two inner shafts, but could steam at about 8 knots with the outer propellers.

HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, Sokrushitelny and Gremyashchiy arrived about an hour after she had been hit. An attempt by HMS Forester to take her in tow failed, with no stern and seven feet down by the bow, she came rapidly into the wind as soon as she gathered headway, and parted the tow. Further attempts to aid her were then delayed while the destroyers hunted a German submarine that was sighted on the surface four miles away.

During the night of 30 April / 1 May some progress at about three knots was made by the Edinburgh taking HMS Foresight in tow and using her to control the steering. At 0600/1, however, the Russian destroyers reported that they had to return to harbour for fuel and parted company. German submarines were known to be about and in these circumstances Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter deemed it essential that both the remaining destroyers should be used for screeing. So HMS Foresight was cast off and HMS Edinburgh struggled on, steering as best she could with her engines. Left to her own devices, a persitent swing to port could only be countered by gathering sternway every few minutes and the speed of advance fell to two knots. Thus she proceeded for about 23 hours. That no enemy submarine succeeded in attacking during this anxious period is the measure of alterness of HMS Forester and HMS Foresight.

That afternoon the Bulldog's report of the German destroyer attacks came in. The probability of their shifting their attentions to HMS Edinburgh was at once realised and Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter and he gave the following instructions; ' In event of attack by German destroyers, HMS Forester and HMS Foresight are to act independently, taking every opportunity to defeat the enemy without taking undue risks to themselves in defending HMS Edinburgh. HMS Edinburgh is to proceed wherever the wind permits, probably straight into the wind. If minesweepers are present they will also be told to act independently retiring under smoke screen as necessary. HMS Edinburgh had no RDF or Director working.'

At 1800/1, the Russian escort vessel Rubin joined and six hours later the minesweepers Gossamer, Harrier, Hussar and Niger arrived with a Russian tug. Disappointingly, the tug was not powerful enough to tow. Eventually at 0530/2, HMS Edinburgh was again making three knots under her own power and holding a fairly steady course of 150°. She was steered by the tug fine on the starboard bow and HMS Gossamer acting as a drogue on the port quarter. HMS Niger had been detached during the night to make rendezvous with the Russian destroyers which would return after fuelling. However they did sail long after they were expected to do so and HMS Niger rejoined at 1020/2. HMS Harrier, HMS Hussar, Rubin, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester patrolled around the damaged cruiser in a circle.

The wind was north-north-east, force three. As usual there were frequent snow squalls and the visibility varied from ten to two miles. Despite the fact that enemy submarines were known to be taking up positions to intercept, and the probability of destroyer attack there seemed to be a chance of making port. But it was not to be.

At 0627/3 gunfire from HMS Hussar, then on the starboard quarter, heralded the approach of the enemy, which proved to be the three destroyers. HMS Hussar was almost immediately straddled, and fell back on HMS Edinburgh.

There ensued a series of individual actions, ships engaging whenever visibility permitted. The Germans kept about seven miles to the north-north-east of HMS Edinburgh making full use of snow squalls and smoke to get within torpedo range, and it was seldom that more than one of them was in sight at the same time.

At the first alarm HMS Edinburgh cast off the tows and went on to her maximum speed - about eight knots. Unable to steer, she circled round to port, sometimes rapidly, sometimes on a wider curve, firing with 'B' turret whenever it could be directed from the bridge on to a fleeting target. The minesweepers remained near her, engaging the enemy with their one gun salvoes whenever they appeared and looking out for enemy submarines. HMS Foresight at once steered for the gunflashes at 24 knots while HMS Forester, which was two or three miles to the westward, went on to 30 knots and steered to join her.

First blood on either side was drawn by HMS Edinburgh, which opened fire on the Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann at 0636/2. Her first salvo fell within 100 yards. The German destroyer increased speed to 31 knots, made smike and turned away, but the second salvo scored a hit, which put both engines out of action and destroyed all control instruments. This fortunate hit had a marked effect on the events of the day. She came to a stop and remained virtually out of action, while from then onwards the efforts of her consorts were largely directed towards succouring and screening her.

Meanwhile HMS Foresight had sighted an enemy destroyer, Z 24, 10000 yards off, steering straight towards her, just as HMS Edinburgh opened fire at 0836/2. At 0640/2 the range was down to 8000 yards and Commander Salter opened fire on Z 24, altering course to the eastwards to open 'A' arcs. For the next eight minutes all three enemy destroyers were playing hide and seek in the snow and their own smoke screens. Targets were engaged as and when they came into vision, ranges varying between 6000 and 8000 yards.

HMS Forester was also fighting under much the same conditions, but shestood on to the northward when HMS Foresight turned to open her 'A' arcs. At 0650/1 she fired torpedoes. almost at the same moment she received three hits. One in No.1 boiler room brought her to a standstill. One put 'B' gun out of action and killed the Commanding Officer and one on 'X' gun shattered its breech mechanism. At 0653/2, torpedoes were seen passing underneath the ship in the direction of HMS Edinburgh which was then about five miles north-west of HMS Foresight which had just, at 0648/2, altered away from the enemy to the westward, in order to close HMS Edinburgh. Seeing HMS Forester stopped and on fire, Commander Salter steered to her assistance. HMS Forester with her sole remaining gun and her 1st Lieutenant now in Command, was engaging the stationary Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann some three miles to the northward, and shifted to the other destroyers whenever they appeared from the snow. HMS Foresight had closed to within half a mile by 0700/2, and then turned to an easterly course, so as not to foul the Forester's range, and engaged on of the destroyers which had been firing on her.

Just at this time, 0702/2, HMS Edinburgh was torpedoed. The torpedoes were seen breaking surface as they approached. These was nothing she could do to avoid them but it looked as if her eccentric gyrations would take her clear. However her 'luck' was out. One torpedo, which was running deep, struck her port side amidships at a point practically opposite one of the former hits. She immediately listed to port and gradually came to a standstill. The ship was 'open from side to side'. It was clear that she might break in two and sink at any moment, and Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter ordered HMS Gossamer alongside to take off the wounded and passanger. HMS Edinburgh nevertheless continued to engage the enemy whenever they appeared. Her shooting was described by the Z 24 as 'extra-ordinarily good' and twice deterred her from going to the assistance of the Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann. However the list was increasing and when it reached 17° her guns would no longer bear. The Rear-Admiral then directed Captain Faulkner to abandon ship.

Meanwhile HMS Foresight after engaging her opponent for five minutes again turned to the westward and seeing HMS Forester being heavily straddled, passed between her and the enemy, drawing their fire. At 0714/2, Commander Salter, altered course to close the range, and a few minutes later fired a salvo of torpedoes (which missed) at the Z 7 / Herman Schoemann. Just afterwards he came under a heavy concentration of fire from Z 24 and Z 25 at 4000 yards range. He increased to full speed and tried to get away under smoke, but received four hits, one of them in No.3 boiler, which brought the ship to a standstill at 0724/2 in welter of steam and smoke with only one gun still in action.

The Edinburgh, Foresight and Forester were thus all stopped with their gun power much reduced. There seemed nothing to prevent the two comparatively undamaged German destroyers from sinking each of them separately and afterwards dealing with the slow, lightly armed minesweepers at their leisure. But though they made repeated attacks on the destroyers with heavy but fortunate inaccurate fire, they did not press home their advantage. Their main concern was with the Hermann Schoemann. Already thee attempts by the Z 24 to go alongside and take off her ship's company had been foiled by British gunfire, and they let the opportunity pass.

Ten minutes after HMS Foresight stopped, HMS Forester managed to get underway (0735/2). At the same time Z 24 and Z 25 again opened fire on her but they soon disappeared into smoke, emerging a few minutes later to concentrate on HMS Foresight. This gave HMS Forester an opportunity to repay the debt she owned for the respite HMS Foresight had afforded her earlier in the day, and, zigzagging between her and the enemy, she covered her with a heavy efficient smoke screen. This was the close of the action. Shortly afterwards Z 24 finally managed to get alongside Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann and took off about 200 survivors. The latter - already in a sinking condition - was then scuttled, and the Z 24 and Z 25 (which had received a hit in her wireless room) withdrew at high speed to the north-west and were lost to view by the British around 0820/2.

Meanwhile HMS Foresight had effected temporary repairs and by 0815/2 was proceeding slowly on the port engine. HMS Edinburgh had been abandoned by 0800/15, HMS Gossamer taking about 440 men and HMS Harrier, in which Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter hoisted his flag, about 350. Meanwhile HMS Hussar was screening them and laying a smoke screen. Attempts by HMS Harrier to sink the cruiser by gunfire and depth charges failed so HMS Foresight was ordered to finish her off with her last remaining torpedo. This she did and all ships then shaped course for the Kola Inlet where they arrived without further incident the next day.

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To provide distant cover for these convoys a heavy cover force was deployed which departed Scapa Flow around 2200/28 and was made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruisers USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN), destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), USS Wilson (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Sturges, USN), USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN), USS Madison (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Ammon, USN), USS Plunkett (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Standley, Jr., USN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN).

At 0600/30, they were joined by the destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) which came from Seidisfiord. HMS Inglefield, USS Wilson, USS Wainwright, USS Madison and USS Plunkett then proceeded to Seidisfiord to refuel.

They rejoined the fleet in the afternoon. Another destroyer, HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), had come with them. The four escort destroyers were then detached to return to Scapa Flow.

At 1550/1, in very bad visibility, HMS Punjabi ended up in front of HMS King George V which could not avoid a collision and cut HMS Punjabi in half. The aft part sank immediately and there was no time to set the ready depth charges to safe which as a result exploded also causing damage to HMS King George V. The front part of HMS Punjabi took 40 minutes to sink during which time HMS Martin and HMS Marne managed to take off 5 officers and 201 ratings.

As a result of the damage to HMS King George V, the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet) departed from Hvalfiord, around 2045/1, to take her place in the cover force. HMS Duke of York was escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN). They made rendezvous with the cover force around 2330/2 after which HMS King George V parted company at 0006/3 and proceeded to Seidisfiord escorted by HMS Martin, HMS Marne and HMS Oribi. They arrived at Seidisfjord around 1100/3. HMS Martin, HMS Marne and HMS Oribi then rejoined the fleet, having also fuelled at Seidisfiord, around 0610/4.

At 1800/4, USS Washington, HMS Wichita, USS Tuscaloosa, USS Wilson, USS Wainwright, USS Madison and USS Plunkett were detached to Hvalfiord where they arrived around 0815/6.

Around 2100/5, HMS Duke of York, HMS Victorious, HMS Kenya, HMS Inglefield, HMS Faulknor, HMS Escapade, HMS Eskimo, HMS Martin, HMS Marne and HMS Oribi arrived at Scapa Flow. (68)

6 May 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock to make minor repairs and give leave to the crew. (69)

7 May 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) arrived at Greenock. (70)

18 May 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. On departure she also conducted full power trials on the Arran measured mile. (69)

19 May 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (69)

24 May 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol the Iceland - Faroer Islands gap. (69)

31 May 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) returned to Scapa Flow from patrol. (69)

3 Jun 1942
The light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN), HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde where they arrived the next day.

Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN hoisted his flag on board HMS Kenya on arrival at Greenock. (71)

4 Jun 1942
Convoy WS 19 Z departed the Clyde for Gibraltar (Malta). This convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Burdwan (British, 6069 GRT, built 1928), Chant (American, 5601 GRT, built 1938), Orari (British, 10350 GRT, built 1931), Tanimbar (Dutch, 8169 GRT, built 1930) and Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921).

Escort was provided by HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and ORP Kujawiak (Lt. L. Lichodziejewski).

The convoy arrived off Gibraltar on 12 June 1942.

[For further proceedings of this convoy see the 'event', 'Operation Harpoon', for 12 June 1942.] (71)

12 Jun 1942

Operation Harpoon. Supply convoy to Malta from Gibraltar.


Timespan: 12 to 18 June 1942.

During March and April 1942 Malta had been attacked very heavily by the German and Italian air forces and was in much need of supplies. It was therefore decided that two convoy’s were to be sent, one from the west (Harpoon) and one from the east (Vigorous). This was to increase the chance of success as the enemy would have to split force if they want to attack both convoys. Also a group of minesweepers were to be sent to Malta.

Below we will give the events regarding the Harpoon convoy in chronological order.

12 June 1942.

Western Mediterranean (Harpoon convoy)

During the night convoy WS 19 Z passed the Straits of Gibraltar. This convoy had departed the Clyde on June 6th. It was made up of five merchant vessels; Burwan (British , 6069 GRT, built 1928), Chant (American, 5601 GRT, built 1938), Orari (British, 10350 GRT, built 1931), Tanimbar (Dutch, 8169 GRT, built 1930) and Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921).

Off Gibraltar the tanker Kentucky (American , 9308 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy.

Close escort was provided by ‘Force X’ which was made up of the AA-cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), ORP Kujawiak (Lt. L. Lichodziejewski), minesweepers HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RN), HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, RN), HMS Rye (Lt. J.A. Pearson, DSC, RN), HMS Hythe (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Miller, RN) and the motor launches (ML’s) ML 121 (group commander Lt.Cdr. E.J. Strowlger, RNVR), ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462.

Also operating with ‘Force X’ was the fast minelayer HMS Welshman (Capt. W.H.D. Friedberger, RN).

Distant cover was provided by ‘Force W’ which was made up of the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), AA-cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN). This force was to cover the convoy until off the Skerki Channel, the entrance to the Sicily-Tunis Narrows. The cover forces for this convoy were however rather weak. For instance the aircraft carriers were rather old and had hardly enough fighters available to provide a decent air patrol.

Then there was also a tanker force to fuel the escorts ‘Force Y’. It was made up of the RFA oiler Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941), escorted by two corvettes; HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR).

Besides these forces four submarines were on patrol in the western Mediterranean. They were stationed between Sardinia and Sicily. These were HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 43 (Lt. A.C. Halliday, RN) and HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN).

By 0800 hours on the 12th force was in full strength and proceeded eastwards at 12 to 13 knots.

The remainder of the day was uneventful except for the sighting of a Spanish merchant vessel in the evening.

13 June 1942.

On this day the convoy was shadowed continuously by German and Italian aircraft. Also it was thought an Italian submarine might have spotted the convoy but was not the case as of yet.

HMS Cairo and almost all the destroyers and escort destroyers oiled from Brown Ranger and HMS Liverpool. This was completed late in the evening.

Italian warships reported to be at sea.

Two Italian cruisers and five destroyers had been reported at daybreak (actually six detroyers were present). These were the light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia, Raimondo Montecuccoli and the destroyers Alfredo Oriani, Vincenzo Gioberti, Ascari, Ugolino Vivaldi, Nicolò Zeno and Premuda. They had sailed on the 13th from Cagliari, Sardinia. The most western British submarine on patrol HMS P 43 had attacked them at 1931 hours on the 13th. She claimed to have hit a cruiser but this was obviously not the case. Two hours later the next submarine on the patrol line HMS P 211 also sighted this Italian force but was too far off to attack.

14 June 1942.

During the night the force was spotted and reported by an Italian submarine. In fact two Italian submarines made attacks on the convoy during the night. These were the Uarsciek at 0152 hours (zone -2) which fired two torpedoes at a destroyer in position 38°02'N, 05°06'E. Both torpedoes missed. Then at 0505 hours, the Giada fired four torpedoes at an aircraft carrier (probably HMS Eagle although this carrier did not report hearing torpedo explosions and HMS Argus did) and a cruiser or battleship in position 37°55'N, 06°12'E. She claimed two hits but in fact all torpedoes missed.

At dawn enemy shadowing aircraft appeared once more. The convoy was approaching the danger area for air attacks coming from Sardinia. At 1000 hours the first radar warning came and at about the same time fighters from Eagle shot down an Italian torpedo aircraft. More of these aircraft were seen gathering about 20 miles from the convoy and form up for attack.

It was a bright and clear morning with hardly a cloud in the sky. There was little wind but such as there was came from the west and this made it difficult for the British fighter crews, especially for those from the 25-year old Argus with her small margin of speed, unless she would turn into the wind and leave the destroyer screen.

The convoy was steering east in two columns in line ahead. HMS Kenya was leading the port column while HMS Liverpool was leading the starboard one. Astern of the convoy was HMS Malaya with HMS Welshman astern of her. The aircraft carriers were operating independently to port of the convoy. Each carrier had an AA cruiser and a destroyer as escort. HMS Eagle was with HMS Cairo and HMS Wishart while HMS Argus was with HMS Charybdis and HMS Vidette.

The remaining fifteen destroyers and four minesweepers formed an all-round screen spread from three to three and a half miles from the convoy. This was done on purpose so that all ships could fire outward but also inward with a freedom that would have been impossible with a closer screen.

The air attacks began at 1030 hours. The first was a shallow dive-bombing attack by two groups, each of four or five Italian fighter-bombers (CR. 42). One group approached from astern at 12000 feet and diving to 6000 feet. The other group came from ahead at 6000 feet and dropped their bombs from 3000 to 4000 feet. Their target was HMS Argus and her consorts on the port beam of HMS Malaya. No damage was done, only one bomb fell close to HMS Charybdis. Two of the enemy planes were shot down after their attack by Fulmar’s from Eagle which were controlled by the Argus and afterwards landed aboard her. It was the policy to employ the Hurricanes from Eagle as high fighter force and the Fulmar’s from Argus as low fighter force.

A much more serious attack followed half an hour later when 28 Savoia torpedo aircraft escorted by 20 Macchi fighters conducted a combined attack with 10 Cant. high level bombers. The Savoia approached from the northward in two waves of equal strength. The first wave came in at 1110 hours and the second soon afterwards. The firstwave passed through the destroyer screen at 500 feet above the water, rounded the rear of the convoy, and attacked from the starboard side, splitting into groups before firing. They dropped their torpedoes from a height of 100 feet at a range of 2000 yards. They hit HMS Liverpool, which was leading the starboard column, when she was turing to meet the attack. Also the Dutch merchant Tanimbar was hit in the rear and she sank within a few minutes in position 36°58’N, 07°30’E.

The second wave attacked the port column dropped their torpedoes at longer range. All torpedoes missed. The Cant. bombers also came in two formations, coming from ahead out of the sun at a height of about 10000 feet. Their targets seemed to be Eagle and Argus but none of their bombs hit.

A little before 1200 hours several torpedo planes made harmless attacks from long range. They were probably stragglers turned back by gunfire during the earlier attacks and anxious to get rid of their torpedoes before turning back to base.

Upon the whole the Italians seem to have attacked gallantly. The British fighters claimed to have shot down three enemy fighters and three torpedo aircraft. Three British fighters were lost ofwhich one was shot down in error by a ship in the screen. The convoy and escort claim to have shot down seven enemy aircraft, all Savoia SM 79’s.

HMS Liverpool was hit in the engine room and badly damaged. She could only make 3 to 4 knots on one shaft. She was ordered to return to Gibraltar being towed by HMS Antelope and screened by HMS Westcott. A long voyage during which the first 24 hours she was attacked from the air. At 1640 hours, five CR. 42 fighter-bombers attacked from astern out of the sun, luckily without hitting, though one or two bombs fell close enough to increase the ships list. At 1800 hours, the tow having parted, there was a harmless attempt by eleven high-level bombers followed by an equally harmless attempt by seven torpedo aircraft which were heavily escorted by fighters. The Liverpool and Westcott each claimed to have destroyed a torpedo plane.

At 2015 hours, now once more in tow, fife high-level bombers attacked but their bombs fell wide.

At 2230 hours, six torpedo bombers made a twilight attack from very long range only to loose one of their number to the barrage HMS Liverpool put up.

The fruitless attacks on the damaged Liverpool in the afternoon and evening of the 14th evidently occupied the remaining aircraft available to the enemy in Sardinia for as the convoy was able to continue without being attacked. It was however still being shadowed and came within range of the Sicilian air bases in the evening.

HMS Welshman had replaced HMS Liverpool at the head of the starboard column of the convoy. She however parted company with the convoy around 2000 hours to continue the passage to Malta on her own at high speed.

At 1820 hours German bombers appeared, about ten Ju. 88’s approached the convoy from astern at 10000 feet and then dived to 6000 feet to make the attack. Both carriers had narrow escapes, Argus in particular. A bomb pitched fine on her port bow, dived under the ship and exploded on the starboard bow. No ship was damaged however. No enemy aircraft were shot down. Six British fighters however harassed the enemy and forced several of them to release their bombs prematurely. One Fulmar was lost.

As in the morning the shallow dive-bombing attack preluded a heavy combined torpedo and bombing attack but in the evening the lapse of time was greater and dive-bombers as well as high level-bombers took part in the massed attack. It was a combination of Italians and Germans. 16 Savoia 79 bombers heavily escorted by Macchi fighters with 10 Ju 88’s and 15 Ju 87’s. The first to appear were the Savoia’s which approached from the north-east to port at about 2000 hours. They were flying well above the water. Worked their way around the stern of the convoy outside gun range to glide down and attack on the starboard side. In the meantime, a few minutes after the Savoia’s had been sighted, two groups of Ju 88’s came in from ahead at 12000 feet and dropped their bombs without effect as they flew across the screen and along the columns of the convoy. Next the Ju 87’s arrived on the port bow and attacked the port wing of the screen, diving from 7000 to 1000 feet. They narrowly missed HMS Icarus and HMS Wrestler, though they had probably hoped to reach HMS Eagle. These dive bombers took most of the attention of the screen but then at 2020 hours the Italian torpedo-bombers came in. Most of them concentrated onHMS Malaya, HMS Argus, HMS Charybdis and HMS Vidette. They managed to drop three torpedoes within 300 yards from the carrier but she still managed to avoid them.

Around the time of these attacks HMS Middleton sighted a periscope and dropped a depth charge. Two other destroyers then hauled out of the screen and dropped depth charges. The periscope was next sighted by HMS Malaya after which HMS Speedy obtained an Asdic contact and attacked with depth charges in position 37°39’N, 09°35’E, claiming to have destroyed the enemy submarine.

This was the last encounter with the enemy before ‘Force W’ would separate from the convoy which was then to continue on to Malta only escorted by ‘Force X’.

As the convoy reached the entrance of the Narrows at 2100 hours, four Beaufighters arrived from Malta to relieve the hard worked naval aviators of the carriers. Around this time the Italian submarine Alagi attacked an aircraft carrier with two stern torpedoes in position 37°36'N, 09°53'E which both missed. The attack was not reported by either of the carriers and was probably not observed. Half an hour later ‘Force W’ turned westwards. The convoy continued eastwards with A/Capt. Hardy of HMS Cairo in command. For the passage of the Tunisian coast the five remaining merchant vessels formed a single line ahead with ‘Force X’ screening them.

At 2205 hours, as it was getting dark, eight Ju 88’s made a shallow dive-bombing attack dropping down from 6000 to 3000 feet to release their bombs. No hits were obtained. They lost two aircraft, one was shot down by a Beaufighter and the ther by gunfire from the ships. This was the end of this day’s fighting.

The Italian ships that had been reported to be at sea the previous day.

On receiving the submarines reports Vice-Admiral Leatham at Malta arranged for a striking force of Wellington aircraft to attack the enemy. Aircraft again sighted the enemy north-west of Cape San Vito, Sicily at 0255/14. At 0525/14 the enemy was sighted off Palermo. At 1800/14 two cruisers were reported to be in the harbour there. At dusk, at 2125 hours, two cruisers and four destroyers were reported to be leaving Palermo harbour but their course was not reported. Vice-Admiral Leatham judged that they were proceeding to the east to join the main Italian battlefleet that had left Taranto that same evening to operate against the ‘Vigorous-convoy’ in the eastern Mediterranean. Accordingly he stationed a naval air patrol over the Strait of Messina, with a naval air striking force at Malta standing by to attack.

‘Force W’

Vice-Admiral Curteis, who was taking ‘Force W’ westwards, also received the report of the enemy leaving Palermo and had to decide whether to strengthen ‘Force X’ with either one or both his cruisers, HMS Kenya and HMS Charybdis. He was then, at 2315/24, in position 37°30’N, 09°30’E, over 50 nautical miles from the convoy, which would be a further 100 nautical miles further on to the east by dawn on the 15th. He also judged that the Italian ships would be unlikely to be danger to the convoy and that the escort would be strong enough ‘to deter them from doing any harm’ escpecially as it would be expected that the Italians would be attacked from the air by aircraft from Malta. Apart from this he was anxious for the safety of his aircraft carriers, which would need the cruisers support while within striking distance from the enemy air bases in Sardinia. Furthermore there was barely time to overtake the convoy before by the morning. With the force available a decision either way was a gamble this might have been different had Liverpool not been torpedoed. He therefore decided against sending any reinforcement to the convoy.

15 June 1942.

Action south of Pantellaria

A/Capt. Hardy, the convoy escort commander in HMS Cairo first knew of the presence of the enemy through the report of a Beaufighter which was on it’s way to patrol above the convoy and which at 0620 hours reported two cruisers and four destroyers to be 15 nautical miles on the port beam of the convoy. The convoy at that time was stearing at 12 knots to the south-east. The merchantmen were formed in two columns again, with HMS Cairo ahead, the five ‘Fleet’ destroyers in the screen to starboard and the four ‘Hunt’s’ to port. The minesweepers and the ML’s were astern of the convoy. A few minutes later the Italian ships were sighted hull down against the brightening sky to the eastward. They were broad on the port bow and drawing ahead of the convoy at high speed. It was now also seen that there were five destroyers present instead of the reported four. Commander Scurfield (in HMS Bedouin led out the ‘Fleet’ destroyers to attack while HMS Cairo and the remainder of the convoy escort started making smoke to cover the merchant ships, which were ordered to turn to starboard and to seek shelter in Tunisian waters. It was A/Capt. Hardy’s intention to gain as much time as possible to enable an air striking force from Malta to attack the enemy.

At 0640 hours, the Italian cruisers opened fire at a range of over 20000 yards. Their second salvo straddled HMS Cairo and others fell near the convoy before the smoke screen could take effect. The British ships could not yet reply as the enemy was still out of range. As the ‘Fleet’ destroyers gathered way, they became strung out in a loose line of bearing, nearly line ahead, in the order HMS Bedouin, HMS Partridge, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Marne and HMS Matchless, though the last ship worked up to 32 knots in the endeavour to keep up. The first to destroyers opened fire on the enemy cruisers at 0645 hours with their guns at maximum elevation but in a quarter of an hour both Bedouin and Partridge were badly hit and stopped and the fight passed them by. Ithuriel held her fire till she got within 15000 yards, then she engaged a cruiser, which she eventually hit at a range of 8000 yards. Marne also engaged a cruiser, opening fire at over 18000 yards. In the meantime the Italian destroyers had fallen astern of the cruisers, three of them, in fact, soon left the line and disappeared to the northward. The last two enemy destroyers opened fire on the Marne from her port beam at around 0700 hours and she and Matchless, which was astern of her, replied. Both British destroyers soon found the range and hit one of the enemy (Ugolino Vivaldi) and drove them off. They then pressed on to engage the enemy cruisers which kept their distance and were zig-zagging and making smoke to upset the aim of the British ships.

As soon as the convoy was well behind the smoke screen and on it’s way to the westward. HMS Cairo and the four Hunt class escort destroyers were proceeding south and now also engaged the two enemy destroyers which had been engaged by Marne and Matchless. At about 0700 hours HMS Cairo came under fire from the enemy cruisers again. They were using two turrets each to engage the Cairo and two turrets to engage the ‘Fleet’ destroyers. HMS Cairo was hit by a 6” shell. She herself fired her 4” guns occasionally, though without much hope of doing real damage to the enemy.

At 0715 hours, A/Capt. Hardy decided to concentrate the remaining three ‘Fleet’ destroyers on HMS Cairo and ordered HMS Ithuriel to join him. HMS Marne and HMS Matchless continued to engage the enemy for about half an hour. Though fire from both sides was accurate no hits were obtained on either side. At 0745 hours the Italians turned to port on which A/Capt. Hardy turned north and ordered all destroyers to join him.

Meanwhile, the convoy, 15 nautical miles away to the north-west, steering westwards, now turned to the south-east again. At 0705 hours, now deprived of the support of HMS Cairo, all destroyers and escort destroyers, and without air support, the convoy was attacked by eight German JU 87 dive bombers. They sank the Chant and disabled the Kentucky. HMS Hebe took the Kentucky in tow. The convoy then went on until 0745 hours when course was changed to rejoin the escorts. The Italians however meanwhile where following the British escorts and kept them under fire.

At 0834 hours, A/Capt. Hardy, ordered the convoy to reverse course while Cairo and the destroyers laid a smokescreen across it’s track. This seems to have baffled the Italians which first turned to the south-west and then at 0840 hours hauled round to the north-eastward and stood away. A/Capt. Hardy then sent the ‘Hunt’-class escort destroyers to rejoin the convoy and then led the ‘Fleet’ destroyers after the enemy. At this time HMS Cairo was hit for the second time. For the present however the Italians had given up the game. By 0930 hours they were out of sight and the British ships then turned to rejoin the convoy.

At 1030 hours the merchant vessel were back on their proper course to Malta, with the escort at full strength except for HMS Bedouin and HMS Partridge. Long-range Spitfires from Malta were patrolling overhead.

At 1040 hours a few German bombers appeared but these were driven off before they could drop their bombs. The fighters were able to shot one down. Unfortunately this exhausted fuel and ammunition of the Spitfires which were operating at their extreme range so when at 1120 hours another attack started they were not able to repel it. Their relief had not yet arrived.

It was a combination of high-level and dive bombing by Ju. 88’s and Ju. 87’s. Gunfire destroyed one of the German’s. One or two were shot down afterwards by the relieving Spitfires which had arrived during the attack. By then however the merchant vessel Burdwan was disabled. There was still 150 nautical miles to go, with the likelihood of further attacks from the air and with Italian ships nearby. A/Capt. Hardy therefore decided that he had no other choice then to sacrifice the damaged Kentucky and Burdwan as the best way to save the rest of the convoy whose speed would otherwise be reduced to six knots. He ordered HMS Hebe and HMS Badsworth to sink the cripples which enabled the remaining two merchant ships to continue at their best speed.

At 1315 hours, dive-bombers attacked yet again. And again there was no fighter cover present over the convoy. This time however the German’s were unsuccessful. One bomber out of twelve was shot down by the ships AA fire while the relief flight of Spitfires came in time to shoot down two more as the enemy retired. This was the last time the convoy was attacked from the air before it arrived at Malta under the protection from short-range Spitfires. The next threat of attack came from the Italian warships which closed the convoy once more.

After the engagement in the morning the Italian cruisers had gone back to join up with their destroyers, one of wich had been badly damaged by HMS Marne and HMS Matchless. While preparing to take this destroyer in tow the Italians were disrupted by British aircraft. Malta had been able to sent a small torpedo aircraft force to attack them. Four Albacores followed by two Beauforts attacked them about 12 nautical miles south of Pantelleria at 1030 hours. Unfortunately without success.

The two cruisers with two destroyers then went south again hoping to find stagglers from the convoy. They found HMS Hebe, which was on her way back to rejoin the convoy, having left the tanker Kentucky in a sinking condition astern. HMS Hebe sighted the enemy a long way to the north at 1255 hours. In the next half an hour the enemy was able to close as to open fire on the small minesweeper and eventually she was hit.

On receiving Hebe’s enemy report, A/Capt. Hardy, left the convoy in HMS Cairo taking the three remaining ‘Fleet’ destroyers with him; HMS Ithuriel, HMS Marne and HMS Matchless. Besides the Hebe to protect there were other ships coming back from the scuttled merchantmen and also HMS Bedouin and HMS Partridge which, A/Capt. Hardy believed to be following the convoy.

At 1355 hours the Italians gave up the chase, presumably on sighting HMS Cairo and turned to engage a target to the westward. This could only be HMS Bedouin and HMS Partridge but A/Capt. Hardy felt bound to return to the convoy, then nearly 15 nautical miles off, though it meant leaving the damaged destroyers to their fate.

These two ships had been had been striving to preserve themselves for the King’s service ever since they had been crippled in the morning. HMS Partridge was ready to steam again by 0745 hours, three-quarters of an hour after being put out of action. She prepared to take HMS Bedouin in tow as that ship was entirely disabled. These preparations were disrupted by two Italian destroyers which had to be driven away. By 1000 hours however Bedouin was being towed by Partridge and the two ships were proceeding slowly towards the convoy which they had orders to join. They met it at 1145 hours. There was still hope to get one engine going in HMS Bedouin but later on it became evident that this hope had to be abandoned. It was then thought best to try to make it to Gibraltar.

At 1320 hours, the Italian Squadron came into sight again and two destroyers were apparently closing the two British destroyers while there were also enemy dive-bombers flying around. HMS Partridge therefore had no choice then to slip the tow and to lay smoke around HMS Bedouin. As the enemy cruisers approached, after their chase of HMS Hebe, HMS Partridge stood away to draw their fire and in this she succeeded. She was straddled from long range at 1400 hours. It was the intention the return to HMS Bedouin later but the latter ship was torpedoed by an Italian torpedo bomber at 1425 hours and she sank within a few minutes but not before shooting down the attacker. The enemy surface ships also sank the derelict Kentucky and Burdwan around the same time. Kentucky was finished off by the Oriani while Burdwan was possibly sunk by the Ascari.

A/Capt. Hardy rejoined the convoy at 1530 hours after the last encounter with the Italian squadron. At 1730 hours, HMS Welshman rejoined the convoy south of Linosa coming from Malta. She had arrived there in the morning and was sent out again by Vice-Admiral Leatham as soon as she had landed her cargo.

Then at 1910 hours, there was another air attack. Upon that time the enemy had been kept away by the strong fighter escort from Malta directed by the radar in HMS Cairo. Twelve German bombers managed to close and near misses were obtained on HMS Welshman, HMS Matchless and the merchant Troilus.

A last attempt was foiled at 2040 hours by the fighters from Malta and the ships guns. There was now only one danger to be overcome, enemy mines.

HMS Liverpool

At 1420 hours, three torpedo aircraft made a final unsuccessful attempt to attack HMS Liverpool after which she, HMS Antelope and HMS Westcott were not again molested. That afternoon the tug HMRT Salvonia arrived from Gibraltar and they took over the tow. Antelope then joined Westcott as A/S screen. With Salvonia came also the A/S trawler HMS Lady Hogarth (T/Lt. S.G. Barnes, RNR).

'Force Y'.

At 2345 hours the Italian submarine Bronzo sighted an enemy escort vessel of the 'Kingfisher-class' which opened fire on the submarine in position 36°50'N, 00°10'E. This was HMS Coltsfoot. The submarine was depth-charged and escaped by going down to 117 metres.

16 June 1942.

It had been intended that the minesweepers would be ahead of the convoy when approaching Malta but owning to mistakes the convoy arrived first. The result was that one of the two remaining merchant vessels, the Orari, the destroyer HMS Matchless, two escort destroyers HMS Badsworth, ORP Kujawiak and the minesweeper HMS Hebe hit mines. Fortunately damage was light except for ORP Kujawiak which unfortunately sank in three minutes.

After having taken on board ammunition at Malta, HMS Cairo, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Marne, HMS Middleton and HMS Blankney departed the island in the evening to return to Gibraltar.

HMS Liverpool

Shortly after 0800 hours, the destroyer HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) joined the A/S screen of the disabled HMS Liverpool. Two more vessels came out from Gibraltar to join the A/S screen, these were the corvette HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) which joined around 0940 hours. At 1530 hours, the motor launch ML 458 joined.

17 June 1942.

As HMS Cairo and the two destroyers and two escort destroyers were skirting along the African coast they were shadowed from sunrise onward. They were however not attacked until midday, when they were passed the Galita bank. From then until 2030 hours that evening, German bombers pestered them continuously. The Germans came sometimes in flights of six, though generally in flights of two and three. Main target seems to have been HMS Ithuriel which had a tough time and sustained some minor damage due to leaks from near misses. During the attacks one enemy bomber was shot down by HMS Cairo.

At 2017 hours, they joined with Vice-Admiral Curteis with HMS Kenya and HMS Charybdis in position 37°30’N, 04°30’E. After leaving the convoy in the evening of the 14th, the Vice-Admiral had taken ‘Force W’ some 400 nautical miles to the west of Sardinia in order to avoid observation and attack while waiting for the return of ‘Force X’. His ships had however been shadowed on the 15th and was then attacked by two small groups of torpedo aircraft. Hurricanes from HMS Eagle forced them to drop their torpedoes from long range. They were also able to shoot down one of the attackers.

From the morning of the 16th to noon on the 17th, Vice-Admiral Curteis, cruised with HMS Kenya and HMS Charybdis near the rendez-vous position. HMS Malaya both aircraft carriers and the remaining destroyers had been sent to Gibraltar around 0800/16. They arrived at Gibraltar around 1030/17.

Around noon on the 17th, Vice-Admiral Curteis, with his two cruisers proceeded eastwards to meet up with A/Capt. Hardy’s force after which they proceeded in company to Gibraltar where they arrived in the early evening of the 18th.

HMS Liverpool

HMS Liverpool and her escorts safely arrived at Gibraltar late in the afternoon of the 17th. (72)

19 Jun 1942
Around 2300B/19 the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN, Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), destroyers HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) departed Gibraltar for the U.K.

At 1912B/22, HMS Blankney and HMS Middleton were detached to the Clyde.

At 1616B/23, HMS Partidge was detached to the Clyde.

Around 0615B/24, HMS Kenya and HMS Marne arrived at Scapa Flow. (73)

24 Jun 1942
Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) to HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN). (71)

28 Jun 1942
Vice-Admiral Sir B. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, hoisted his flag in HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) but transferred it to HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) upon Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN striking his flag in that ship. Vice-Admiral Fraser then took over as Second in Command, Home Fleet.

Later in the day Vice-Admiral Sir B. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Anson to HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN). (74)

30 Jun 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (75)

1 Jul 1942
Around 0430B/1, the battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) departed the Clyde for Rosyth for further outfitting.

Around 0700B/1, she was joined by the destroyers HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN) and HMS Shikari (Lt.Cdr. G.H.D. Williams, RN).

Around 0910B/1, they were joined by another destroyer, HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). [The logbook of HMS Howe gives the name of this destroyer as HMS Sabre (Lt. R.L. Caple, DSC, RN) but this is a mistake.]

Around 0005B/2, near Scapa Flow, they were joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

HMS Kenya, parted company around 1240B/2 to return to Scapa Flow where she arrived around 2100B/2.

The battleship and her destroyer escort arrived at Rosyth around 1800B/2. The battleship entered No.1 Dock one hour later. (76)

3 Jul 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Iceland - Foeroer Islands gap. (77)

8 Jul 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) returned to Scapa Flow from patrol. (77)

14 Jul 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (78)

15 Jul 1942
The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfiord. (79)

17 Jul 1942
The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) arrived at Hvalfiord from Scapa Flow.

Before they entered Hvalfjord they carried out exercises for which they were joined by ships that had already been at Hvalfjord, these were the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN), USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN) and the destroyer HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN). (79)

21 Jul 1942
Around 0915Z/21, HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Hvalfiord, followed about one hour later by HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN).

Around noon they were joined at sea by HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) which came from Scapa Flow.

Also participating in these exercises were the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN).

Exercises were then carried out during the afternoon. Upon completion of the exercises HMS London, HMS Cumberland and the destroyers proceeded to Hvalfiord while HMS Norfolk and HMS Kenya set course for Scapa Flow. (80)

23 Jul 1942
Around 0815B/23, HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (81)

24 Jul 1942
Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN) to HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN). (71)

30 Jul 1942
HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde. (71)

31 Jul 1942
HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) arrived in the Clyde from Scapa Flow. (71)

1 Aug 1942
Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) to HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN).

HMS Nigeria then sailed for exercises in the Clyde area returning to Greenock later the same day. (82)

2 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 21S and Operation Pedestal.

Convoy WS 21S and the concentration of the escort forces

Convoy WS 21S departed the Clyde on 2 August 1942. The convoy was made up of the following ships;
American freighters;
Almeria Lykes (7773 GRT, built 1940), Santa Elisa (8379 GRT, built 1941), British freighters;
Brisbane Star (12791 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (7516 GRT, built 1930), Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Empire Hope (12688 GRT, built 1941), Glenorchy (8982 GRT, built 1939), Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933), Rochester Castle (7795 GRT, built 1937), Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938), Wairangi (12436 GRT, built 1935), and the American tanker;
Ohio (9264 GRT, built 1940).

These ships were escorted by light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. P.W. Gretton, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).

A cover force made up of departed Scapa Flow on the same day. This force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Somali (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). They were to rendez-vous with convoy WS 21S at sea on 3 August. HMS Penn was delayed by a defect and after topping off with fuel at Moville, Northern Ireland overtook the force and joined at sea.

The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) meanwhile had already left Scapa Flow on 31 July 1941 to rendez-vous with the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). These ships were joined at sea on 1 August 1942 by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), loaded with spare fighter aircraft for the operation, and her two escorts the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RD, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). HMS Argus and her two escorting destroyers had departed the Clyde on 31 July. HMS Buxton later split off and proceeded towards Canada and HMS Sardonyx proceeded to Londonderry.

The last ships to take part in the operation to depart the U.K. (Clyde around midnight during the night of 4/5 August) were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), loaded with Hurricane fighters for Malta, and her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and the Polish destroyer ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP). They were joined at sea, around dawn, by HMS Sardonyx coming from Londonderry. The destroyers parted company around midnight during the night of 5/6 August. They arrived at Londonderry on 7 August. HMS Furious and HMS Manchester then joined convoy WS 21S around midnight of the next night but HMS Manchester parted company shortly afterwards to proceed ahead of the convoy and fuel at Gibraltar.

On 1 August 1942 the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Freetown to proceed to a rendez-vous position off the Azores.

On 5 August 1942, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the the destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) departed Gibraltar also to the rendez-vous position off the Azores.

The convoy conducted maneuvering and AA exercises with the escorts between the Azores and Gibraltar during the period of 6 to 9 August. (Operation Berserk). Also dummy air attacks were carried out by aircraft from the carriers.

Passage of the Straits of Gibraltar and organization of escort forces.

The convoy then passed the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of 9/10 August 1942 in dense fog but despite this the convoy was detected by German and Italian spies and reported.

After passing the Straits of Gibraltar the convoy was organized as follows;
The actual convoy was protected a large force of warships until the whole force would split up before entering the Sicilian narrows after which ‘Force X’ under command of Rear-Admiral Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN was to accompany the convoy to the approaches to Malta where they would be met by the Malta Minesweeping Flotilla, which was then to sweep the convoy into the harbour. Force X was made up of the following ships:
Licht cruisers: HMS Nigeria (flagship), HMS Kenya,, HMS Manchester.
AA cruiser: HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN).
Destroyers: HMS Ashanti, HMS Fury, HMS Foresight, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn.
Escort destroyers: HMS Derwent, HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, RN). Also the rescue tug HMS Jaunty was to be part of this force.

After the escort was to be split up cover was provided by ‘Force Z’ under Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN. This force was made up of the following ships:
Battleships: HMS Nelson (flagship) and HMS Rodney.
Aircraft carriers: HMS Victorious, HMS Indomitable and HMS Eagle.
Light cruisers: HMS Phoebe, HMS Sirius and HMS Charybdis.
Destroyers: HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Quentin, HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair), HMS Wishart and HMS Vansittart. Escort destroyer: HMS Zetland. Also attached were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (for Operation Bellows, the launching of Hurricane fighters for Malta. HMS Furious only carried four Albacore aircraft for A/S searches after the Hurricanes had been launched) and the ‘spare’ destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Venomous, HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott, HMS Wolverine, HMS Wrestler and HMS Amazon. These ‘spare’ destroyers were to take the place of destroyers in the screen ‘Force Z’ if needed, escort HMS Furious during her return passage to Gibraltar after she had completed Operation Bellows and / or strengthen the escort of ‘Force R’.

Then there was also ‘Force R’, the fuelling force. This force was made up of the following ships:
Corvettes: HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR).
Rescue tug: HMS Salvonia.
RFA tankers: RFA Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, Master D.B.C. Ralph) and RFA Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, Master R.T. Duthie).

Before we give an account of the passage of the main convoy we will now first describe the operations taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean (Operations MG 3 and MG 4), the launching of the Hurricane fighters for Malta by HMS Furious (Operation Bellows) and the return convoy from Malta (Operation Ascendant) as well as on submarine operations / dispositions.

Diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As part of the plan for Operation Pedestal the Mediterranean Fleet had to carry out a diversion in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean. Before we go to the operations in the Western Mediterranean we will first give an account of the events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It was at this time not possible to sent any supplies from Egypt to Malta as all supplies and forces were much needed for the upcoming land battle at El Alamein it was agreed that ‘a dummy convoy’ would be sent towards Malta with the object of preventing the enemy to direct the full weight of their air and naval power towards the Western Mediterranean.

In the evening of 10 August 1942 a ‘convoy’ (MG 3) of three merchant ships departed Port Said escorted by three cruisers and ten destroyers. Next morning one more merchant ship departed Haifa escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers. The two forces joined that day (the 11th) and then turned back dispersing during the night. The Italian fleet however did not go to sea to attack ‘the bait’.

The forces taking part in this operation were:
From Port Said:
Merchant vessels City of Edinburgh (8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral I.G. Glennie, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton(Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN).

From Haifa:
Merchant vessel Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), the destroyers HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J. A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Tetcott (Lt. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

After dark on 11 August 1942 the force turned back and the City of Pretoria returned to Port Said escorted by HMS Eridge and HMS Hursley. The City of Edinburgh, escorted by HMS Beaufort and HMS Belvoir proceeded to Haifa. The City of Lincoln escorted by HMS Dulverton and HMS Hurworth proceeded to Beirut and finally the Ajax, escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Croome returned to Haifa. HMS Dido had to return to Port Said with hull defects. She was escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin and HMS Jervis.

HMS Cleopatra, HMS Arethusa, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to carry out another diversion (Operation MG 4). They bombarded Rhodos harbour and the Alliotti Flour Mills during the night of 12/13 August but did little damage. On the way back HMS Javelin attacked a submarine contact in position 34°45’N, 31°04’E between 0654 and 0804 hours. She reported that there was no doubt that the submarine was sunk but no Axis submarines were operating in this area so the attack must have been bogus. This force returned to Haifa at 1900/13.

Operation Bellows.

During operation Bellows, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, started 37 Spitfire which were to proceed to Malta, when south of the Balearic Islands. The Admiralty had decided to carry out this operation at the same time as Operation Pedestal.

HMS Furious remained with the convoy until 1200/11. She then launched the Spitfires for Malta in 5 batches between 1230 and 1515 hours. During these flying off operations she acted independently with the destroyers HMS Lookout and HMS Lightning. After having launched the last batch of Spitfires she briefly re-joined to convoy until around 1700 hours when she split off and set course for Gibraltar escorted by the destroyers HMS Malcolm, HMS Wolverine and HMS Wrestler. These were joined shortly afterwards by HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous.

Around 0100/12, HMS Wolverine, rammed and sank the Italian submarine Dagabur which was trying to attack HMS Furious. Around 0200 hours, HMS Wolverine reported that she was stopped due to the damage she had sustained in the ramming. HMS Malcolm was detached to assist her.

At 1530/12, the destroyer HMS Vidette joined the screen. The force then entered Gibraltar Bay around 1930/12. The damaged HMS Wolverine arrived at Gibraltar at 1230/13 followed by HMS Malcolm around 1530/13.

Operation Ascendant

On 10 August 1942 the empty transports Troilus (7648 GRT, built 1921) and Orari (10107 GRT, built 1931) departed Malta after dark for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN). They first proceeded to the south of Lampedusa, then hugged the Tunisian coast as far as Galita Island. Near Cape Bon they encountered the Italian destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello that was laying a minefield. They had a brief gunfight but this was soon ended as both sides were thinking the enemy was Vichy-French. The remained of the passage to Gibraltar was uneventful and the convoy arrived at Gibraltar shortly before noon on 14 August 1942.

Submarine operations / dispositions.
Eight submarines took part in the operation; these were HMS Utmost (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN), HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, DSO, RN), HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 44 (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN), HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN). Two of these were to carry out normal dived patrol to the north of Sicily, one off Palermo, the other off Milazzo which is futher to the east. The other six submarines were given alternative patrol lines south of Pantelleria, one od which they were to take up at dawn on 13 August 1942, according to the movements of enemy surface ships that might threathen the convoy from the westward. When the convoy had passed the patrol line, which it should have done by that time, the submarines were to proceed on the surface parallel to the convoy as a screen and to dive away clear of the convoy at noon. It was expressly intended that they should be seen on the surface and reported by enemy aircraft in order to deter enemy warships from attacking the convoy.

Enemy warships did go to sea but as soon as it was clear that the enemy ships could not reach the convoy the sunmarines were ordered to dive and retire. These six sumarines had no contact with the enemy. One of the the two submarines off the north coast of Sicily, HMS P 42, managed to torpedo two Italian cruisers near Stromboli on the morning of 13 August 1942.

Now we return to the main convoy to Malta.

Passage eastwards after passing the Straits of Gibraltar.

10 and 11 August 1942.

After passing through the Straits of Gibraltar in the early hours of 10 August 1942, in dense fog, the convoy was first sighted by an Italian passenger aircraft, which sighted the convoy in the afternoon of the same day. German reconnaissance aircraft started shadowing the convoy from dawn on the 11th, and thereafter they or Italian aircraft kept the convoy under continuous observation, despite the effort of the fighters from the carriers to shoot them down or drive them off. At 1315 hours, HMS Eagle, was hit an sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-73 which had penetrated the destroyer screen. At that moment there were thirteen destroyers in the screen, the remainder was away from the main convoy, escorting HMS Furious during the flying off operations of the Hurricane fighters for Malta or oiling from and screening ‘Force R’ which was several miles away. Between 1430/10 and and 2030/11 no less then three cruisers and twenty-four destroyers fuelled from the two oilers of ‘Force R’.

At the time of the torpedoing of HMS Eagle the convoy was in four columns, zigzagging at 13 knots, with the heavy ships stationed close round it and a destroyer screen ahead. HMS Eagle was on the starboard quarter of the convoy. She was hit on her starboard side by four torpedoes which had dived through the destroyer screen and the convoy columns undetected and then torpedoed and sank the Eagle in position 38°05’N, 03°02’E (Another source gives 03°12’E but this might be a typo). The carrier sank quickly in about 8 minutes, 926 of her crew, including the Commanding Officer, were rescued by the destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout and the rescue tug HMS Jaunty. At the time of her sinking, HMS Eagle had four aircraft on patrol. These landed on the other carriers. All other aircraft were lost with the ship. The survivors picked up were later transferred to the destroyers HMS Keppel, HMS Malcolm and HMS Venomous that were to escort HMS Furious back to Gibraltar. The tug HMS Jaunty that had been involved in picking up survivors was never able to rejoin the convoy due to her slow speed.

Late in the afternoon air attacks were expected so Vice-Admiral Syfret ordered the destroyer to form an all-round screen. Indeed the air attacks started around sunset, 2045 hours. The last destroyers had just returned from oiling from ‘Force R’. The enemy aircraft that were attacking were 36 German bombers and torpedo aircraft, Ju 88’s and He 111’s, most of which attacked the convoy but a few attacked ‘Force R’ to the southward. The Junkers arrived first, diving down from 8000 feet to 2000 / 3000 feet to drop their bombs. They claimed to have hit an aircraft carrier and one of the merchant ships. Then the Heinkels attacked, they claimed to have torpedoed a cruiser but during the attacks no ship was hit. The British fighter cover was unable to attack / find the enemy in the failing light. Four enemy aircraft were claimed shot down by the ships AA fire but it appears only two JU 88’s were in fact shot down.

12 August 1942

At 0915/12 another wave of German aircraft attacked the convoy. Some twenty or more JU 88’s approached the convoy out of the sun ahead. They were intercepted by fighters about 25 miles from the convoy. About a dozen got through to the convoy, making high-level or shallow dive-bombing attacks individually but without any result. Eight German aircraft were claimed to be shot down by the fighters and two more by AA guns from the ships. The fighters meanwhile were also busy dealng with shadowers, three of which are claimed to have been shot down before the morning attack. Around this time destroyers were also busy with numerous submarine contact which were attacked by depth charges.

Around noon the enemy launched heavy air attacks from the Sardinian airfields. Seventy aircraft approached which were heavily escorted by fighters. They attacked in stages and employed new methods.

First ten Italian torpedo-bombers were each to drop some sort of circling torpedo or mine a few hundred yards ahead of the British force, while eight fighter bombers made dive-bombing and machine-gun attacks. The object at this stage was clearly to dislocate the formation of the force and to draw anti-aircraft fire, making the ships more vulnerable to a torpedo attack which soon followed with over forty aircraft. They attacked in two groups, one on either bow of the convoy. The next stage was a shallow dive-bombing attack by German aircraft, after which two Italian Reggiane 2001 fighters, each with a single heavy armour-piercing bomb were to dive bomb on one of the aircraft carriers, whilst yet another new form of attack was to be employed against the other carrier, but defects in the weapon prevented this attack from taking place.

The enemy attack went according to plan besides that the torpedo attack was only made half an our after the ‘mines’ were dropped instead of five minutes. British fighters met the minelaying aircraft, they shot down one of them as they approached. The remaining nine aircraft dropped their ‘mines’ at 1215 hours in the path of the force, which turned to avoid the danger. The mines were heard to explode several minutes later. Only three of the fighter-bombers of this stage of the attack appear to have reached as far the screen, but HMS Lightning had a narrow escape from their bombs.

The torpedo-aircraft appeared at 1245 hours. Their number were brought down a bit due to British fighters. The remaining aircraft, estimated at 25 to 30 machines, attacked from the port bow, port beam and starboard quarter. They dropped their torpedoes well outside the screen some 8000 yards from the merchant ships which they had been ordered to attack. The force turned 45° to port and then back to starboard to avoid the attack.

In the next stage, around 1318 hours, the German bombing attack, the enemy scored their one success. These aircraft were also intercepted on their way in but about a dozen of about twenty aircraft came through. They crossed the convoy from starboard to port and then dived to 3000 feet. They managed to damage the transport Deucalion which was leading the port wing column. More bombs fell close to several other ships.

Finally, at 1345 hours, the two Reggiane fighters approached HMS Victorious as if to land on. They looked like Hurricanes and HMS Victorious was at that time engaged in landing her own fighters. They managed to drop their bombs and one hit the flight deck amidships. Fortunately the bomb broke up without exploding. By the time HMS Victorious could open fire both fighters were out of range.

The Deucalion could no longer keep up with the convoy and was ordered to follow the inshore route along the Tunisian coast escorted by HMS Bramham. Two bombers found these ships late in the afternoon, but their bombs missed. At 1940 hours, however, near the Cani Rocks, two torpedo aircraft attacked and a torpedo hit the Deucalion. She caught fire and eventually blew up.

The convoy passed some 20 miles north of Galita Island and spent the afternoon avoiding enemy submarines which were known to be concentrated in these waters. There were innumerable reports of sightings and Asdic contacts and at least two submarines proved dangerous. At 1616 hours, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Zetland attacked one on the port bow of the convoy and hunted her until the convoy was out of reach. HMS Ithuriel, stationed on the quarter, then attacked, forced the enemy to surface and finally rammed her. She proved to be the Italian submarine Cobalto. Meanwhile HMS Tartar, on the starboard quarter, saw six torpedoes fired at close range at 1640 hours, and the next destroyer in the screen, HMS Lookout sighted a periscope. Together they attacked the submarine, continuing until it was no longer dangerous. There was no evidence this submarine was sunk.

At 1750 hours, HMS Ithuriel, which was on her way back to the convoy after sinking the Italian submarine Cobalto was attacked by a few dive-bombers, when still a dozen miles astern of the convoy. At this time the convoy came under attack by aircraft stationed on Sicily. This force numbered nearly 100 aircraft. Ju.87 dive-bombers as well as Ju.88’s and SM-79’s all with a strong escort of fighters. The enemy started attacking at 1835 hours, the bombers attacking from both ahead and astern which last was the direction of the sun. The torpedo aircraft came from ahead to attack on the starboard bow and beam of the convoy.

The Italian SM-79’s torpedo bombers dropped their torpedoes from ranges of about 3000 yards outside the destroyer screen, and once again the convoy turned away to avoid them. However the destroyer HMS Foresight was hit by a torpedo and disabled. The bombers chose HMS Indomitable as their main target. She was astern of HMS Rodney at the time on the port quarter of the convoy. Four Ju.88’s and eight Ju.87’s came suddenly out of the sun and dived steeply towards HMS Indomitable from astern. Some of the Ju.87 came down to 1000 feet and the carrier received three hits and her flight deck was put out of action. Her airborne fighters eventually had to land on HMS Victorious. HMS Rodney meanwhile had a narrow escape when a bomber attacked from ahead. One enemy aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by AA fire from the ships while the fighters claimed nine more although there were about twice as much enemy fighters in the air then British.

HMS Tartar took the damaged HMS Foresight in tow and proceeded westward for Gibraltar. Next day, as they were shadowed by enemy aircraft, and enemy submarines were known to be in the area, it was decided to scuttle the cripple before both ships might be lost. HMS Tartar then torpedoed HMS Foresight a few miles from Galita Island.

Passage through the narrows, 12-13 August 1942, and the loss off HMS Manchester.

These last air attacks took place about 20 nautical miles west of the Skerki Channel and at 1900 hours, when the attacks were clearly over, Vice-Admiral Syfret turned away with ‘Force Z’. It was now up to Rear-Admiral Burrough with ‘Force X’ to take the convoy to Malta.

At 2000 hours, when the convoy was changing it’s formation from four to two columns, the convoy was attacked by Italian submarines. The submarine Dessiè attacked a freighter with four torpedoes and claimed three hits. The sound of the torpedo hits was however not caused by her attack but by an attack by the Axum which hit three ships, HMS Nigeria, HMS Cairo and the tanker Ohio.

HMS Nigeria had to turn back to make for Gibraltar escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Derwent, HMS Wilton and HMS Bicester. Rear-Admiral Burrough transferred his flag to the destroyer HMS Ashanti. The stern of HMS Cairo had been blown off and she had to be sunk as she was beyond salvage with both engines also out of action. She was scuttled by HMS Pathfinder. The Ohio meanwhile managed to struggle on.

At this time the convoy was still trying to form up the the submarine attacks messed things up and right at thus time the convoy was once more attacked from the air in the growing dusk at 2030 hours. About 20 German aircraft, Ju-88’s made dive bombing and torpedo attacks, hitting the Empire Hope with a bomb and the Clan Ferguson and Brisbane Star with torpedoes. The first of these ships had to be sunk (by HMS Bramham, the second blew up but the last eventually reached Malta. Soon after this attack, at 2111 hours, HMS Kenya was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Alagi. She was able to evade three of the four torpedoes but was hit in the bow by the fouth. She was however able to remain with the convoy.

The situation was then as follows. HMS Kenya and HMS Manchester with two merchant ships, and with the minesweeping destroyers HMS Intrepid, HMS Icarus and HMS Fury sweeping ahead, had passed the Skerki Channel and were steering to pass Zembra Island on the way to Cape Bon. HMS Ashanti, with Rear-Admiral Burrough on board was fast overhauling these ships. The other two destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury, were rounding up the remaining nine merchant ships. The escort destroyer HMS Bramham was also catching up after having escorted the single Deucalion until she sank.

On learing about the fate of HMS Nigeria and HMS Cairo, Vice-Admiral Syfret detached HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali to reinforce Rear-Admiral Burrough. It would take these ships several hourse to catch up with the convoy.

The main body of the convoy passed Cape Bon around midnight. Fourty minutes later enemy Motor Torpedo Boats appeared and started to attack. Their first victim was HMS Manchester which was torpedoed at 0120/13 by the Italian MS 16 or MS 22. She had to be scuttled by her own crew. Many of her ships company landed in Tunisia and were interned by the Vichy-French but about 300 were picked up by destroyers (first by HMS Pathfinder, and later by HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. These last two destoyers then set off towards Gibraltar.)

Four and possibly five of the merchant ships were also hit by the Motor Torpedo Boats. These were the Wairangi, Rochester Castle, Almeria Lykes, Santa Elisa and probably the Glenorchy. They were attacked between 0315 and 0430 hours about 15 nautical miles south-east of Kelibia whilst taking a short cut to overhaul the main body of the convoy. Four were lost, only the Rochester Castle survived and she managed to catch up with the main body of the convoy at 0530 hours. The Glenorchy was sunk by the Italian MS 31, the other four, of which the Rochester Castle survived as mentioned earlier, were hit by the German S 30 and S 36 as well as the Italian MAS 554 and MAS 557.

Shortly before 0530 hours HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali had joined the main body of the convoy making the force now two cruisers and seven destroyers with the transports Rochester Castle, Waimarama and Melbourne Star. The damaged tanker Ohio was slowly catching up. With her was the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury. Astern of the main body was the Port Chalmers escorted by the destroyer HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Bramham. The destroyers recued the crew of the Santa Elisa when the passed by the abandoned ship which was afterwards finished off by a German bomber. The Dorset was proceeding without escort and lastly the damaged Brisbane Star was still keeping close to the Tunisian coast independently, intending to steer towards Malta after nightfall.

At 0730 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, sent back HMS Tartar and HMS Somali to Kelibia to assist HMS Manchester and then go to Gibraltar. When they arrived they found out that the Manchester had been scuttled several hours earlier so they rescued those of her crew that had not reached the shore yet and then made off to Gibraltar as ordered. Besides crew of the Manchester they also picked up survivors from the Almeria Lykes and Wairangi.

The next encounter with the enemy was an air attack on the main body of the convoy at 0800 hours by German bombers. About 12 Ju.88’s made a shallow diving attack coming down from 6000 feet to 2000 feet to drop their bombs. Two dived on the Waimarama hitting her several times and she blew up immediately, one of the bombers was even destroyed in the explosion. HMS Ledbury saved some of her crew out of the blazing sea. At 0925 hours, when the Ohio, Port Chalmers and Dorset where with the main body again, a few Ju.87’s escorted by Italian fighters attacked. They dived down to 1500 to 1000 feet. HMS Kenya leading the port column, and the Ohio last ship but one in the starboard column, had narrow escapes. One of the enemy aircraft crashed on board the Ohio just after having released it’s bomb after being damaged by gunfire from the Ohio and HMS Ashanti. Another aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by fighters from Malta that had been patrolling overhead since daybreak.

Arrivals at Malta 13-15 August 1942.

At 1050 hours, about 20 bombers, mostly Ju.88’s with a few Ju.87’s, came in to attack. Target was the Ohio and she received four or five near misses and her engines were disabled. At the same time the Rochester Castle in the port column was near-missed and set on fire but she continued with the convoy. The Dorset which was astern of her was hit and stopped. The convoy went on leaving the Dorset behind with the Ohio and two destroyers.

At 1125 hours the last air attack on the main body took place. Five Italian SM.79’s attacked with torpedoes and almost hit the Port Chalmers as the torpedo got stuck in the paravane. Further attacks on the main body were held of by fighters from Malta. At 1430 hours, four minesweepers from Malta joined the main body of the convoy, these were HMS Speedy (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Doran, RN, with the group’s commander A/Cdr. H.J.A.S. Jerome, RN on board), HMS Hebe, HMS Rye and HMS Heyte. Also with them were seven Motor Launches; ML 121, ML 126, ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462. HMS Rye and two of the ML’s were sent towards the damaged Ohio which was ‘vital for Malta’, according to A/Cdr. Jerome.

At 1600 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, set course to the west with his two cruisers and with five destroyers. The Port Chalmers, Melbourne Star and Rochester Castle arrived in Grand Harbour around 1800 hours with the force of A/Cdr. Jerome. The Rochester Castle was by that time very low in the water, she had just made it into port on time.

Out were still the Ohio, Dorset and the Brisbane Star. The valuable Ohio had been helpless with HMS Penn and HMS Bramham. When HMS Rye arrived at 1730 hours, HMS Penn took the Ohio in tow. Meanwhile HMS Bramham was sent to the Dorset but soon afterwards German bombers came again and the ships were attacked repeatedly until dark. Both merchantman were hit around 1900 hours and the Dorset sank.

At daylight on the 14th HMS Ledbury arrived to help bringing the Ohio to Malta. HMS Speedy also soon arrived on the scene with two ML’s. The rest of his force he had sent to search for the Brisbane Star. At 1045 hours, enemy aircraft made their last attempt, causing the parting of the tow. Fighter from Malta shot down two of the attackers. The tow was passed again and the slow procession went on and in the morning of the 15th the vital tanker finally reached Malta.

The Brisbane Star had by then also arrived. She left the Tunisian coast at dusk on the 13th. Aircraft had attacked her unsuccessfully and one of the attackers was shot down by a Beaufighter escort that had been sent from Malta. She arrived at Malta in the afternoon of the 14th.

Italian surface ships to operate against the convoy ?

The convoy had experienced the violence of the enemy in every shape except that of an attack by large surface ships. Yet Italian cruisers and destroyers had been at sea to intercept and attack it. Two light cruiser had left Cagliari in the evening of 11 August 1942 and the heavy cruisers Gorizia and Bolzano from Messina, and a light cruiser from Naples had sailed on the morning of the 12th. That evening reconnaissance aircraft reported one heavy and two light cruisers with eight destroyers about 80 nautical miles to the north of the western tip of Sicily and steering south. It would have been possible for this force to meet the convoy at dawn on the 13th so the shadowing aircraft was therefore ordered in plain language to illuminate and attack. This apparently influenced the Italians as they had limited air cover and they turned back at 0130/13 when near Cape San Vito. At 0140 hours the aircraft reported that it had dropped its bombs but no hits had been obtained. Similar orders were signalled, in plain language, to relief shadowers and to report the position of the enemy force to the benefit of imaginary Liberator bombers in case the Italians would change their minds and turn back. They however held on to the eastward.

The submarine HMS P 42 sighted them around 0800/13 off Stromboli and attacked with four torpedoes claiming two hits. She had in fact hit the heavy cruiser Bolzano which was able to proceed northwards and the light cruiser Muzio Attendolo which managed to reach Messina with her bows blown off. The other cruisers went to Naples. Following the attack P 42 was heavily depth charged by the destroyers but managed to escape.

In fact the following Italian ships had been at sea; heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trieste, Bolzano, light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia Raimondo Montecuccoli, Muzio Attendolo. They were escorted by eleven destroyers; Ascari, Aviere, Camicia Nera, Corsaro, Fuceliere, Geniere, Legionaro, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Grecale and Maestrale.

The return to Gibraltar.

The British ships returning to Gibraltar had better fortune. Having left the convoy off Malta in the afternoon of the 13th, they rounded Cape Bon around 0130/14 and from that point until past Zembra Island they successful ran the gauntled of E-boats laying in wait.

at 0450/14, near the Fratelli Rocks, a submarine fired torpedoes at HMS Ashanti from the surface. She was nearly rammed by HMS Kenya, which was next astern of the ‘flagship’ (Rear-Admiral Burrough was still in HMS Ashanti). The inevitable shadowers arrived soon after daylight to herald their air attacks that began at 0730 hours. They lasted until around 1315 hours. German bombers came in first with three attemps by a few Ju.88’s. This was followed by a more severe attack with about 30 bombers, Ju-88’s and Ju-87’s between 1030 and 1050 hours. An hour later 15 Savoia high-level bombers attacked followed until 1315 hours by torpedo-carrying Savoia’s. Around 20 aircraft attacking single or in pairs. Also aircraft are though to be laying mines ahead. Several ships were near missed, but no further damage was sustained. After these attacks the British were left alone and in the evening they joined ‘Force Z’.

Vice-Admiral Syfret had gone as far west as 01’E where he ordered the damaged carrier HMS Indomitable to proceed to Malta with HMS Rodney and a destroyer screen made up of HMS Ithuriel, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Zetland. He then turned back to the east to make rendez-vous with Rear-Admiral Burrough. HMS Rodney, HMS Indomitable, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Zetland arrived at Gibraltar in the evening of the 14th.

A few hours before they arrived the damaged HMS Nigeria and her escort had also entered port, as had HMS Tartar, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. On her way back HMS Nigeria had been attacked by torpedo-bombers and a submarine but she had not been hit.

Conclusion.

Out of the fourteen ships that had sailed only five arrived ‘safe’ at Malta. This was not a very high score also given the very heavy escort that had been provided also taken in mind that an aircraft carrier, a light cruiser, an AA cruiser an a destroyer had been lost and two heavy cruiser had been damaged. But the convoy had to meet very heavy air attacks by over 150 bombers and 80 torpedo aircraft, all in the space of two days. Also these aircraft were protected by fighter in much greater strength that the carriers and Malta could provide. And there were also the enemy submarines and E-boats.

The spirit in which to operation was carried out appears in Vice-Admiral Syfret’s report: ‘ Tribute has been paid to the personnel of His Majesty’s Ships, both the officers and men will desire to give first place to the conduct, courage, and determination of the masters, officers, and men of the merchant ships. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on their way to Malta through all attacks, answering every maneuvering order like a well trained fleet unit, was a most inspiring sight. Many of these fine men and their ships were lost. But the memory of their conduct will remain an inspiration to all who were privileged to sail with them. ‘ (83)

20 Aug 1942
Around 0330B/20, the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN), destroyers HMS Somali (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) departed Gibraltar for the U.K.

In the afternoon of 21 February HMS Nelson topped off HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous with fuel while HMS Kenya topped off HMS Malcolm and HMS Bicester.

At 0445A/25, HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous parted company to proceed to Londonderry.

Around 1230A/25, HMS Nelson, HMS Furious, HMS Argus, HMS Somali, HMS Eskimo, HMS Tartar, HMS Fury and HMS Bicester arrived in the Clyde.

HMS Malcolm proceeded on to Liverpool arriving there later on the 25th.

HMS Kenya arrived at Scapa Flow around 1800A/25 having parted company with the other ships around 0030A/25. (84)

26 Aug 1942
Around 2215A/26, HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Tyne. She was escorted until 0850A/27 by HNoMS Eskdale (Lt.Cdr. S. Storheill) (85)

27 Aug 1942
Around 1815A/27, HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) arrived at North Shields, Tyne. (85)

31 Aug 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) is docked and taken in hand for repairs and refit at the Middle Docks & Engineering Company Ltd. at South Shields. (85)

19 Dec 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) is undocked at South Shields. She continued her refit alongside the quay. (86)

29 Dec 1942
HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) is towed from South Shields to North Shields. (86)

2 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) is towed from North Shields to Jarrow Slake. (87)

12 Jan 1943
with her repairs and refit completed HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) proceeded from the Tyne to Rosyth. (87)

17 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted DG trials in the Firth of Forth. (87)

18 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) proceeded from Rosyth to Scapa Flow. (87)

21 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (87)

22 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (88)

25 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted a refueling at sea exercise with the escort destroyer HMS Easton (Lt. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN). (87)

26 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (87)

27 Jan 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. These were followed by exercises with aircraft to the west off Scapa Flow. (87)

29 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (88)

2 Feb 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. Following these exercises compass adjustment trials were conducted. (89)

3 Feb 1943
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN) conducted tactical exercises off Scapa Flow. (90)

5 Feb 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises to the west of Scapa Flow. (89)

17 Feb 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMS Uganda (Capt. W.G. Andrewes, RN) conducted exercises to the east of Scapa Flow. (91)

23 Feb 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery and radar exercises to the west of Scapa Flow. (92)

24 Feb 1943
HMS P 31 (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN).

Following these A/S exercises, HMS Kenya and HMS Newfoundland conducted gunnery exercises to the west of Scapa Flow. (93)

1 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow with aircraft. The exercises had to be broken off due to the unsuitable weather conditions. (94)

4 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted hight finding exercises with aircraft and gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (94)

6 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. On completion of the exercises she set course for Plymouth. (95)

8 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Plymouth. (95)

12 Mar 1943
Around 1700A/12, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), departed Plymouth for a patrol off the Bay of Biscay to intercept enemy blockade breakers.

At 2200/13, the destroyers parted company to return to Plymouth where they arrived the following day.

HMS Kenya is ordered to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived around 0930A/18. (95)

16 Mar 1943

Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 March 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 28 and KMS 11 at sea on 21 March 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Brittanic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

Also the naval auxiliaries HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) were part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the following escorts were with the convoy; sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN, with the S.O. 2nd Escort Group on board, Capt. F.J. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz, ORP).

On 21 March the convoy split up into two sections, KMF 11, made up of Banfora, Cuba, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Ormonde, Orion, Nea Hellas, Rangitata, Windsor Castle and HMS Ulster Monarch proceeded to Algiers where it arrived on 23 March 1943 escorted by the original escort minus HMS Douglas which put into Gibraltar on 22 March with damage to her port propeller. After inspection it was apparent that she was able to continue but she was not to exceed 22 knots so it was decided that she could rejoin the convoy. All five escort destroyers also put into Gibraltar to fuel but departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy. HMS Ulster Monarch also put into Gibraltar.

At 0254/23, the Windsor Castle was torpedoed by a German He.111 from I/KG 26 in position 37°28'N, 01°10'E. The passengers (troops) were taken off by HMS Wren, HMS Eggesford and HMS Whaddon. The last two ships reported to be dangerously overloaded with survivors.

Three tugs were sailed to go to the damaged ship assistance, Salvestor from Algiers, Hengist from Gibraltar and Restive from Oran.

Also the destroyer HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), which were on A/S patrol off Algiers were ordered to proceed to the convoy. Also the destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) were ordered to do the same sailing from Oran.

At 1027/3, it was reported that Windsor Castle was abandoned and slowly sinking and the HMS Loyal had taken off the crew. HMS Whaddon and HMS Eggesford were proceeding to Algiers covered by HMS Douglas.

At 1621/3, Windsor Castle was still afloat and HMS Farndale was ettempting to take her in tow. The ship however sank suddenly at 1724/3. HMS Eskimo, HMS Loyal, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, Hengist and Restive then proceeded to Oran while HMS Lamerton and Salvestor proceeded to Algiers.

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WS 28, made up of Brittanic, Duchess of Bedford, Empire Might, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Tegelberg, Waipawa, Winchester Castle, HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and HMS Largs.

To escort these ships the destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) and HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) sailed from Casablanca on 20 March and the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) sailed from Gibraltar also on 20 March. They joined the convoy in the morning of March 21st after which the convoy split up.

Another destroyer, HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), departed Gibraltar on 21 March and she joined the convoy later the same day.

On 22 March the transport Empire Might reported a fire in her stokehold rendering her immobile. She was then towed to Dakar by HMS Ashanti.

The remainder of convoy WS 28 arrived at Freetown on 27 March 1943.

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Convoy WS 28 departed Freetown for South Africa on 30 March 1943.

The composition of the convoy was the same on departed as in which it had arrived at Freetown three days earlier.

Escort was provided on departure from Freetown by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), destroyers HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Quadrant, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine.

At 2359Z/30, HMS Ulster Monarch overtook and joined the convoy coming from Freetown.

At 0600A/4, HMS Redoubt and HMS Quadrant parted company with the convoy to refuel at Pointe Noire. They rejoined the convoy at 1212B/5.

At 1300B/5, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine were detached.

At 1420B/5, HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined the escort.

On the 11th the convoy split up, Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Monarch of Bermuda, Tegelberg, Waipawa and Winchester Castle went to Capetown apparently escorted by HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Largs and HMS Ulster Monarch went to Simonstown, as did HMS Kenya and HMS Quadrant and HMS Racehorce.

The destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the remainder of the convoy (Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, HMS Bulolo and HMS Keren) which arrived at Durban on 14 April 1943.

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On 15 April the 'Capetown section' of the convoy departed from there, it was made up of the same ships as that had arrived at Capetown but apparently without the Britannic. HMS Largs joined the convoy off Simonstown. Escort was provided by HMS Kenya, HMS Quadrant, HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless.

Around noon on the 18th the 'Capetown section' joined up with the 'Durban section' which had departed from there escorted by HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) which also joined the convoy as escorts. HMS Quadrant parted company and proceeded to Durban.

At 2000C/20, the destroyers parted company to return to Aden.

At 1015D/24, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) and HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. They had sailed from Kilindini on 22 April. HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy at noon and set course for Kilindini where she arrived on 25 April to join the Eastern Fleet.

At 2300D/27, HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy following which she proceeded to Bombay where she arrived on 1 May 1943.

On 30 April 1943 the convoy was dispersed off Aden. HMS Canton arrived at Aden later on the same day.

22 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Gibraltar for Freetown. (96)

27 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Freetown. (97)

30 Mar 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Freetown to escort convoy WS 28.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11 ' for 16 March 1943.] (94)

11 Apr 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Simonstown after convoy escort duty. (94)

15 Apr 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Simonstown for escort duty with convoy WS 28.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11 ' for 16 March 1943.] (98)

16 Apr 1943

Combined convoy WS 29 / KMS 13.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 April 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 29 and KMS 13 at sea on 20 April 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Empire Kamal (British, 7862 GRT, built 1938), Empire Prime (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Gloucester (British, 8532 GRT, built 1941), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Índrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Pardo (British, 5400 GRT, built 1940), Silverwalnut (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Straat Malakka (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939) and Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921).

When the convoy was formed up off Oversay the escort for the combined convoy was made up of the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN), escort destroyer HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), cutters HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

Around 1530B/18, the light (AA) cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined the convoy having sailed from Plymouth around 1415B/17. She parted company with the convoy after dark on the 20th.

Around 1600A/20, HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to fuel at Casablanca.

Around 2100A/20, the Nea Hellas parted company to proceed to New York unescorted. Also around the same time HMS Charybdis parted company to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived the following day.

Around 1030A/21, the destroyer HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) and HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) joined coming from Casablanca. The combined convoy then split up.

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Convoy KMF 13, made up of the Banfora, Boissevai, Cuba, Duchess of York, Dunnottar Castle, Empire Pride, Franconia, Indrapoera, Nieuw Holland, Ormonde and Staffordshire escorted by HMS Weston, HMS Wellington, HMS Gorleston, HMS Totland, HMS Exe and HMS Ness set course to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar. All the merchant vessels were to proceed to Algiers, except the Dunnottar Castle which was to proceed to Gibraltar and the Boissevain and Nieuw Holland which were to proceed to Oran.

On 22 April the escort destroyer HMS Atherstone (Lt. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) joined the convoy off Gibraltar.

Also the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Algiers on 23 April 1943.

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Convoy WS 29, made up of the Athlone Castle, City of Edinburgh, Empire Kamal, Gloucester, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Highland Princess, Orion, Pardo, Silverwalnut, Straat Malakka and Troilus escorted by HMS Newcastle, HMS Venomous, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Lauderdale.

At 2020A/21, HMS Rapid rejoined from fuelling at Casablanca. HMS Venomous and HMS Lauderdale were then detached to proceed to Gibraltar.

On 24 April the Gloucester was detached.

On 26 April the transport China Mail (American, 8616 GRT, built 1942) joined coming from Dakar.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 28 April 1943.

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Convoy WS 29 departed Freetown for South Africa on 5 May 1943, it was now made up of the transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Athlone Castle, City of Edinburgh, Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Empire Kamal, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Highland Princess, Orion, Pardo, Silverwalnut, Straat Malakka and Troilus.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Newcastle, destroyers HMS Rapid, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Lewes (Lt.Cdr. M.V. Thorburn, DSC, RNVR) and the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza.

At 0930Z/6, Savorgnan de Brazza was detached.

At 1800Z/7, the City of Edinburgh, Highland Princess and Troilus split off from the convoy to proceed to Takoradi. The destroyers HMS Boreas and HMS Witch were their escorts.

At 2359B/11, HMS Rapid, HMS Malcolm and HMS Wolverine, were detached at 2359B/11 to Pointe Noire.

At 0700B/12, the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) joined coming from Pointe Noire.

In the afternoon of the 12th HMS Lewes fuelled from HMS Newcastle.

HMS Lewes was again fuelled by HMS Newcastle in the afternoon of the 14th.

In the afternoon of the 15th, HMS Relentless fuelled from HMS Newcastle.

On the 16th the Capetown section of the convoy split off, it was made up of the Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Empire Kamal, Pardo and Silverwalnut. They were escorted by HMS Newcastle, HMS Rotherham and HMS Lewes. They arrived at Capetown on the 17th. HMS Lewes then proceeded to Simonstown arriving there on the 18th.

The remaining ships, Aorangi, Clan Lamont, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Orion and Straat Malakka made up the Durban section. They were escorted by HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN). This last destroyer having joined on the 16th coming from Salanha Bay. HMS Racehorse and HMS Relentless were relieved on the 18th by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) which had departed Simonstown at 0815B/18. HMS Racehorse and HMS Relentless then proceeded to Capetown arriving later on the 18th. The Durban section of the convoy arrived there on 21 May 1943.

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On 22 May 1943, the Capetown section of convoy WS 29 departed there, it was now made up of the following transports; Alcoa Pioneer, (American, 6761 GRT, built 1941), Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Empire Kamal, Llanstephan Castle (British, 11348 GRT, built 1914), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Pardo and Silverwalnut. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and HMS Rotherham.

On 25 May 1943, HMS Racehorse arrived at Durban to fuel.

On 25 May 1943, the Durban section of the convoy departed there, it was now made up of the following transports; Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Clan Lamont, Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Selandia (South African, 8482 GRT, built 1938), Straat Malakka, Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935). They were escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman, Quadrant, HMS Racehorse and Redoubt. The Silverwalnut had to return to Durban due to defects.

The Capetown and the Durban section made rendezvous on 26 May and then merged minus the transports Empire Kamal and Llanstephan Castle which proceeded to Durban escorted by HMS Relentless and HMS Rotherham. They arrived at Durban on 26 May 1943. HMS Racehorse joined the three destroyers that came with the Durban section.

Around 1700C/27, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) which had departed Durban at 1645C/26 to overtake the convoy.

At 1650C/28, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy.

At 2359C/28, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt parted company.

At 1100C/29, HMS Racehorse parted company.

At 0810D/2, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy.

At 1300D/2, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini where she arrived around 1700C/4.

At 0800D/3, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy.

At 1230D/5, the convoy was split up in the Aden section and the Bombay section.

The Aden section was made up of; Alcoa Pioneer, Bergensfjord, Clan Lamond, Leopoldville, Pardo, Ruys and Selandia. It was escorted by HMS Chitral and arrived at Aden on 8 June 1943.

The Bombay section was made up of; Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Orbita, Straat Malakka, Strathaird and Strathmore. It was escorted by HMS Alaunia and arrived at Bombay on 10 June 1943, minus the Straat Malakka which had been detached on 9 June 1943 for Karachi where she also arrived on 10 June 1943.

25 Apr 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Kilindini after convoy escort duty. At Kilindini she joined the Eastern Fleet. (98)

28 Apr 1943
From 28 to 30 April 1943, HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.W. Davis, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Caradoc (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. (99)

4 May 1943
From 4 May to 7 May 1943 ships from the Eastern Fleet conducted exercises off Kilindini / Mombasa.

In the morning of the 4th the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.W. Davis, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) departed Kilindini.

They were followed in the afternoon by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), light cruisers HMS Capetown (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

All ships returned to the harbour in the morning of May 7th minus HMS Mauritius which returned in the afternoon. (100)

7 May 1943

Convoy JM 1.

This convoy departed Bombay on 7 May 1943 and arrived at Durban on 18 May 1943.

The convoy was made up of the troopships; Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

On departure from Durban (around 1530FG/7) the convoy was escorted by the 'heavy' cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN).

Around 0915C/13, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) took over the escort from HMS Hawkins which then proceeded to Kilindini arriving there around 1300C/14.

Around 1130C/15, the destroyer HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Durban around 0715B/18. (101)

11 May 1943
During 11 and 12 May 1943, the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMS Dauntless (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. These included night exercises.

Upon completion of the exercises HMS Kenya proceeded to make rendezvous with convoy JM 1. (102)

13 May 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) took over the escort of convoy JM 1.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy JM 1 ' for 7 May 1943.] (103)

18 May 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) with convoy JM 1. (103)

26 May 1943
Around 1645C/26, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Durban to overtake convoy WS 29.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Combined convoy WS 29 / KMS 13 ' for 16 April 1943.] (103)

4 Jun 1943
Around 1700C/4, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), arrived at Kilindini after convoy escort duty. (104)

6 Jun 1943
Around 1800C/6, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), departed Kilidini to make rendezvous with the transport Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917) near Diego Suarez. (104)

8 Jun 1943
Around 1450D/8, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), made rendezvous with the transport Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917) and then commenced escorting this ship to Kilindini. (104)

10 Jun 1943
Around 1630D/10, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and the transport Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917) arrived at Kilindini. (104)

18 Jun 1943
Around 1530C/18, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), departed Kilindini to proceed to the Socotra area. (105)

21 Jun 1943
Around 1245E/21, in approximate position 10°45'N, 52°48'E, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) made rendezvous with troopships Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939) and they proceeded towards the vicinity of Addu Atoll. (104)

24 Jun 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Addu Atoll to rendez-vous with HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) which was escorting the troopships Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939).

Around 1600FG/24, the ships met and one hour later they split up again. HMS Sussex took Nieuw Amsterdam with her towards Fremantle while HMS Kenya proceeded with the Dominion Monarch towards Colombo. (106)

26 Jun 1943
At 0245F/26, the troop transport Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939) parted company with HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN).

The Dominion Monarch arrived at Colombo later on the 26th.

HMS Kenya arrived at Trincomalee around 1900F/26. (104)

28 Jun 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. (104)

29 Jun 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Colombo. (104)

1 Jul 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) is docked at Colombo. (107)

7 Jul 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) is undocked. (107)

15 Jul 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. On departure exercises were carried out with aircraft.

During the night of 16/17 July, exercises were carried out during which HMS Hindustan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.J. Wilson, DSO, RINR) acted as target.

HMS Kenya arrived at Trincomalee in the morning of the 17th. (107)

19 Jul 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises with aircraft off Trincomalee. (107)

22 Jul 1943
During 22/23 July 1943, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMS Hindustan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.J. Wilson, DSO, RINR) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (107)

30 Jul 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. She also served as target for an exercise by a shore battery. (107)

4 Aug 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) departed Trincomalee to rendezvous with convoy US 20 coming from Fremantle.

[see the event ' Convoy US 20 ' for 4 August 1943 for more info on this convoy.] (108)

4 Aug 1943

Convoy US 20.

This convoy departed Freemantle on 4 August 1943 and was dispersed on 16 August 1943.

It was made up of the following transports; Cape Henlopen (American, 5094 GRT, built 1942), Cape St.George (American, 5105 GRT, built 1942), Tarakan (Dutch, 8183 GRT, built 1930), Tatra (Norwegian, 4766 GRT, built 1937) and Tawali (Dutch, 8152 GRT, built 1931).

On departure from Fremantle, the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Capt. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

At dusk on the 5th, HrMs van Galen parted company and returned to Fremantle.

At 1400FG/9, in position 21°13'S, 93°04'E, HrMs Tromp turned over the escort of the convoy the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN).

At 1900F/15, HMS Kenya the convoy was dispersed in position 00°10'N, 70°09'E. (109)

9 Aug 1943
Shortly after 1400 hours, in position 21°13'S, 93°04'E, HrMs Tromp (Capt. J.B. de Meester, RNN) was relieved as escort for convoy US 20 by the British light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN). (110)

16 Aug 1943
Around 0900F/16, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Addu Atoll after convoy escort duty. After fuelling she departed Addu Atoll for Kilindini around 1715F/16. (108)

20 Aug 1943
Around 0700C/20, HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) arrived at Kilindini. (108)

20 Aug 1943
Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN) to HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN).

HMS Newcastle then departed Kilindini for Simonstown where she is to undergo a short refit and docking. (111)

25 Aug 1943
During 25/26 August 1943, HMS Kenya (Cdr. T.E. Podger, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) and HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. These included night exercises. (112)

4 Sep 1943
Durning 3 / 4 September 1943, HMS Kenya (Cdr. T.E. Podger, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. These included night exercises. (113)

9 Sep 1943
During 9 / 10 September 1943, HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) and HMS Ceres (A/Capt. R.C. Harry, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. These included night exercises. (114)

15 Sep 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Kilindini. Upon completion of these exercises she proceeded to Manza Bay, Tanzania. (115)

18 Sep 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) proceeded from Manza Bay to Kilindini. En-route she serves as target for HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) which made a practice torpedo attack. (115)

24 Sep 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN) arrived at Kilindini.

Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) to HMS Newcastle. (116)

30 Sep 1943
HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. (117)

1 Oct 1943
In the morning HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted an RIX (range and inclination) exercise off Kilindini.

In the afternoon, HMS Kenya conducted exercises with the submarine HMS Osiris (T/Lt. M.H. Atkinson, RNR). These were followed by gunnery exercxises.

HMS Suffolk conducted exercises with aircraft in the afternoon as well as gunnery exercises. (118)

3 Oct 1943
HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. On completion of the exercises, HMS Suffolk set course for Durban while HMS Kenya anchored off the harbour to await the departure of convoy KR 7 which she was to escort to Colombo. (118)

3 Oct 1943

Convoy KR 7

This convoy departed Kilindini on 3 October 1943 and arrived at Colombo on 12 October 1943.

The convoy was made up of the following (troop)transports; Ascania (British, GRT, built ), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Kilindini the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN).

At 0605E/7, HMS Quality and HMAS Quiberon parted company with the convoy to return to Kilindini where they arrived on the 9th.

Around 1200F/10, the minesweeper HMIS Rajputana (Lt W.G. Coltham, RIN) joined the convoy escort.

Around 1730F/10, the destroyer HMS Scout (Lt. R.G. Woodward, RN) joined the convoy escort.

The convoy arrived at Colombo in the afternoon of October 12th. (119)

21 Oct 1943
HMS Taurus (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, DSO, DSC, RN) carries out attack exercises off Colombo on HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Kenya carried out A/S excerises with HMS Taurus.

In the afternoon HMS Kenya also carried out HA gunnery exercises on a target towed by aircraft. (120)

28 Oct 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (119)

29 Oct 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (119)

3 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (121)

4 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. (121)

5 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (121)

9 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Colombo for Bombay. (121)

11 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Bombay. (121)

12 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted a shore bombardment exercise off Bombay. (121)

15 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted a shore bombardment exercise off Bombay. (121)

16 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Bombay for Kilindini. (121)

22 Nov 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Kilindini. (121)

24 Nov 1943
From 24 to 26 November 1943, HMS Ramillies (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini.

On 25 November 1943 the submarine HMS Osiris (T/Lt. M.H. Atkinson, RNR) also came out to participate in the exercises.

On completion of the exercises on the 26th, HMS Ramilles, HMS Kenya and HMS Frobisher returned to Kilindini while HMS Newcastle proceeded to Manza Bay, Tanzania. (122)

4 Dec 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Kilindini for Trincomalee. (123)

9 Dec 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (123)

17 Dec 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises. (124)

19 Dec 1943
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) both returned to Trincomalee after the completion of the exercises.

HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) had proceeded to Colombo and also arrived there on this day. (124)

22 Dec 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) departed Colombo and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises.

Around 0100/23 the ships joined company and the exercises began. (124)

24 Dec 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) arrived at Trincomalee upon completion of the exercises. (124)

29 Dec 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises. (125)

31 Dec 1943
Upon completion of the exercises, HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) returned to Trincomalee while HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) proceeded to Colombo arriving there on the same day. (125)

5 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Trincomalee or Colombo for several days of exercises. (126)

7 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Trincomalee after exercises. (126)

9 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Madras. (127)

10 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Madras. (127)

12 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Madras for Colombo. (127)

13 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (127)

14 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Suffolk (Rear-Admiral R. Shelley, CBE, RN) departed Colombo for Mauritius. (127)

19 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Suffolk (Rear-Admiral R. Shelley, CBE, RN) arrived at Mauritius. (127)

19 Jan 1944

Operations Thwart and Sleuth.

Attempt to intercept the German supply tanker Charlotte Schliemann.

The light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and the escort carrier HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN) departed Mauritius to patrol an area roughly near position 30°00'S, 68°00'E. A German supply vessel (Charlotte Schliemann (7747 GRT, built 1928) is suspected to be operating in that area to resupply U-boats operating in the Indian Ocean.

On 21 January 1944, the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Rear-Admiral R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and the frigate HMS Bann (Lt.Cdr. F.A. Shaw, RD, RNR) also departed Mauritius to join HMS Newcastle and HMS Battler.

HMS Suffolk, joined HMS Newcastle and HMS Battler around dawn on the 24th.

In the morning of the 26th HMS Suffolk fuelled HMS Bann.

Around noon on the 29th, HMS Newcastle parted company with HMS Suffolk and HMS Battler to return to Mauritius.

In the evening of the 30th, HMS Suffolk and HMS Battler set course to proceed to the westwards to pastrol their way towards Durban.

HMS Newcastle arrived at Mauritius on 31 January 1944.

HMS Bann arrived at Mauritius on 2 February 1944 [Her exact movements during this patrol are unknown to us.]

HMS Suffolk and HMS Battler arrived at Durban on 4 February 1944.

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Also on 21 January 1944, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and the destroyer HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) departed Mauritius to patrol to patrol an area roughly near position 25°00'S, 65°00'E.

HMS Nepal returned to Mauritius on 28 January 1944.

HMS Kenya returned to Mauritius on 1 February 1944. (128)

1 Feb 1944
In the morning, HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), returned to Mauritius from operations. After fuelling and watering she departed for Simonstown in the evening. (129)

7 Feb 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Simonstown. (129)

10 Feb 1944
Having completed de-ammunitioning, HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) is taken in hand for refit at the Simonstown Dockyard. (129)

15 Feb 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) is docked at the Simonstown Dockyard. (129)

10 Mar 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) is undocked. (130)

5 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) is fumigated at the Simonstown Dockyard. (131)

14 Apr 1944
With her refit completed, HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), conducted gunnery exercises off Simonstown. On completion of the exercises she proceeded to Capetown. (131)

15 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) ran over the DG range off Capetown and also conducted compass swing trials on completion of which she set course for Durban. (131)

18 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Durban. (131)

19 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Durban for Kilindini. (131)

24 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Kilindini. (131)

27 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted gunnery and HA gunnery exercises off Kilindini. (131)

28 Apr 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Kilindini for Colombo. (131)

4 May 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (132)

5 May 1944
Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN) to HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN). (133)

6 May 1944

Operation Transom.

Carrier raid against Surabaya by the Eastern Fleet.

On 6 May 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee or Colombo in two task forces;
Task Force 65, which was made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, DSC, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Force 66, which was made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) (went to Task Force 65 the next day), the aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), USS Saratoga (Capt. J.H. Cassady, USN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), USS Cummings (Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Bentley, USN).

On 10 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers. During fuelling from HMS Valiant the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen sustained some minor damage (fractured hull plate on her port side) but the crew of the Van Galen was able to effect emergency repairs.

On 15 May 1944, task forces 65 and 66 were fuelled at Exmouth Gulf, Australia by Task Force 67 which was made up of of six Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers; Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917), Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) and supplyship (used as distilling ship) Bacchus (3154 GRT, built 1936). This force had already left Trincomalee on 30 April and was escorted by the heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Suffolk (A/Capt. W.F.H.C. Rutherford, RN). They had also been escorted near Ceylon by a local escort for A/S purposes, this local escort had been made up of the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HrMs Van Galen and the frigate HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR). The local escort returned to Ceylon on 5 May 1944. The two cruisers mentioned above now joined Task Force 66. Later this day Task Forces 65 and 66 went to sea again for the actual attack on Surabaya. On leaving Exmouth Gulf the fleet was spotted by the merchant vessel Aroona. This ship was now instructed to put into Exmouth Gulf and was held there by HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdale, OBE, RAN) for 24 hours and to impress on the master and crew of this vessel the necessity of not disclosing any information concerning the Fleet on the arrival of their ship at Fremantle (their next port of call).

In the early morning hours of the 17th the carriers launched 45 dive bombers and 40 fighters for an attack on the harbour and oil installations (Wonokromo oil refeniry) of Surabaya, Netherlands East Indies. (USS Saratoga: 12 Avengers (1 had to return with engine trouble shortly after being launched), 18 Dauntless, 24 Hellcats; HMS Illustrious: 18 Avengers (2 of which force landed in the sea shortly after being launched), 16 Corsairs). On the ground they destroyed 12 enemy aircraft (20 were claimed). The damage to the harbour and shipping were over estimated (10 ships were thought to have been hit) as in fact only the small transport ship Shinrei Maru (987 GRT, built 1918) was sunk and patrol vessel P 36, auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-107 and CHa-108, tanker Yosei Maru (2594 GRT, built 1928, former Dutch Josefina) and cargo ships Choka Maru (???? GRT, built ????) and Tencho Maru (2716 GRT, built 1919) were damaged.

On the 18th the US ships were released. The other ships then proceeded to Exmouth Gulf where they arrived to fuel the next day before starting on the return trip to Ceylon less destroyer HMAS Quiberon which was to refit in Australia and was sent to Fremantle.

On 23 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers.

The ships of Task Force 65 and 66 arrived back at Colombo or Trincomalee on the 26 or 27th.

On 1 June 1944, Task Force 67 arrived at Trincomalee from Exmouth Gulf having been escorted by HMS London and HMS Suffolk until 1700FG/31. On arrival at Trincomalee Task Force 67 had an A/S escort made up of the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch, HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and corvette HMS Burnet (Lt. D.S. Charles, RNR). These ships had joined at 2300FG/28 (HMAS Nizam, HMS Roebuck and HMS Burnet) and 0630FG/30 (HMAS Quickmatch and HMS Raider).

During this operation several US Submarine guarded the passages to the Indian Ocean to spot a possible Japanese counter attack. The submarines deployed for this purpose were the following; In the Sunda Strait from 12 to 23 May 1944; USS Angler (Cdr. R. I. Olsen, USN) and USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN).
South of Lombok Strait from 13 to 20 May 1944; USS Cabrilla (Cdr. W.C. Thompson, Jr., USN) and also the USS Bluefish (Cdr. C.M. Henderson, USN) from 13 May until the night of the 16th.
South of Bali Strait from 17 to 20 May; USS Bluefish.
North of Bali Strait; USS Puffer (Cdr. F.G. Selby, USN) during the night of 16/17 May.

The following US Submarines were deployed in the Surabaya area for air/sea rescue duties; USS Puffer in the Madura Strait about 40 miles to the east of Surabaya.
USS Rasher (Cdr. W.R. Laughton, USN) in the Java Sea about 40 miles to the north of Surabaya. (134)

26 May 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) returned to Colombo from operations. (132)

5 Jun 1944
Rear-Admiral Read then transferred his flag from HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) to HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN).

Both cruisers then departed Colombo for Trincomalee where they arrived the following day. En-route exercises had been carried out. (135)

9 Jun 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) proceeded from Trincomalee to Palk Bay. En-route exercises had been carried out. (135)

10 Jun 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) conducted exercises in / off Palk Bay. (135)

12 Jun 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Palk Bay for Trincomalee where they arrived the following day. En-route exercises had been carried out. (135)

15 Jun 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted an underway refueling exercise during which she fuelled from the RFA tanker Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941). (136)

19 Jun 1944

Operation Pedal.

Air strikes against Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

On 19 June 1944, ' Force 60 ' deaparted Trincomalee. It was made up of the following warships: battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

The submarines HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO and Bar, RN) were deployed on air/sea rescue duties.

At dawn on 21 June, ' Force 60 ' was in the flying off position, about 95 miles to the west of Port Blair.

At 0530/21, an air striking force of 15 Barracudas escorted by 16 Corsairs was flown off followed by a separate fighter striking force of 8 Corsairs.

They were to attack the following targets near Port Blair;
Parked aircraft on the two enemy airfields were to be attacked by the fighter striking force.
Shipping in the harbour was to be attacked by the air striking force. Also targets on Ross Island, the Chatham Island saw mills, the seaplane base at Phoenix Bay and military installations in Aberdeen harbour.

Two Barracudas returned to HMS Illustrious with engine trouble before they could attack their targets.

Surprise appears to have been almost complete. Weather was poor though.

The total bomb load taken over the target area was 26 500lb bombs and 26 250lb bombs. 3 Bombs failed to release. Another 3 were released set at safe. 4 were jettisoned in the sea. The remaining 42 fell in the target area, of which 17 were seen to hit the selected targets.

The following results were reported:
2 - 500lb and 1 - 250lb bombs on the barracks and 1 - 500lb bomb on the power house on Ross Island.

2 - 250lb and 3 - 500lb bombs in the saw mills at Chatham Island.

1 - 500lb bomb on workshops and 4 more bombs in close proximity of the sea-plane base in Phoenix Bay.

2 - 500lb bombs on the barracks and 1 - 250lb bomb on the motor transport yard in the Aberdeen harbour area.

2 single engined enemy aircraft were set on fire at Port Blair main airfield. No enemy aircraft were see on the secondary landing strip.

Mount August radar station was completely destroyed and Mount Harriet radar station and tower were damaged by Corsairs.

4 aircraft had been hit by AA fire but were able to return to HMS Illustrious.

1 Barracuda was lost over the target area, the crew must be considered lost. 1 Corsair crahed into the sea on return. The pilot was picked up after having bailed out just in time.

A total of 57 aircraft had been embarked in HMS Illustrious for this operation. At one time 51 aircraft were in the air at the same time.

After landing on the aircraft, ' Force 60 ' withdrew to the westward at high speed during 21 June. No enemy aircraft approached the force throughout this operation.

' Force 60 ' returned to Trincomalee in the morning of 23 June 1944. (137)

29 Jun 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises. They were joined at sea by their sister ship HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) which had departed Colombo on 28 June. (138)

30 Jun 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) arrived at Trincomalee early in the evening upon completion of their exercises. (138)

4 Jul 1944
During 4/5 July 1944, HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN). Later the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) also joined.

The exercises included night exercises.

On completion of the exercises, HMS Kenya set course to proceed to Colombo. (139)

6 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (140)

7 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) embarked passengers at Colombo and then departed for Addu Atoll. (140)

8 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Addu Atoll. (140)

9 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Addu Atoll for Colombo. (140)

10 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (140)

12 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (140)

13 Jul 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (140)

14 Jul 1944
During 14/15 July, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (141)

19 Jul 1944
During 19/20 July 1944, HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), all conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (139)

22 Jul 1944

Operation Crimson.

Carrier raid and surface bombardment against Sabang, Netherlands East Indies by the Eastern Fleet.

On 22 July 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. The ships that participated in this sortie were the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN).

The British submarines HMS Templar (Lt. T.G. Ridgeway, RN) and HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) were deployed for air/sea rescue duties.

In the early hours of the 25th the carriers, HMS Illustrious and HMS Victorious, separated from the fleet under the escort of HMS Phoebe, HMS Roebuck and HMS Raider, and launched a total of 34 fighter aircraft to attack airfields in the area (18 Corsairs from HMS Illustrious and 16 Corsairs from HMS Victorious). One Corsair fighter was damaged by AA fire from the enemy and crashed into the sea, the pilot was picked up by HMS Nigeria. Five other Corsairs were damaged by AA fire but managed to return to the carriers. Two of these could be repaired on board, the other three were too badly damaged for effective repairs.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant, Richelieu, battlecruiser HMS Renown, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, light cruisers HMS Nigeria, HMS Kenya, HMS Ceylon, HMNZS Gambia and the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HMS Relentless, HMS Racehorse, HMS Rocket and HMS Rapid then commenced a bombardment of the Sabang area. They fired a total of 294 - 15", 134 - 8", 324 - 6", ca. 500 - 4.7" and 123 - 4" shells.

Then the Dutch cruiser HrMs Tromp entered Sabang Bay, her rightful waters, with the destroyers HMS Quilliam, HMS Quality and HMAS Quickmatch. In all these four ships fired a total of 8 Torpedos and 208 - 6", 717 - 4.'7" and 668 x 4" shells. Japanese shore batteries obtained 4 hits on the Tromp while Quilliam and Quality were both hit once. The hit by what was thought to be a 3” shell on Quilliam caused minor structural damage but killed one petty officer and wounded four ratings. Quality was hit by what is thought to be a 5” shell which hit the tripod foremast and HA director. One war correspondent was killed and one officer and eight retings were wounded, some of them seriously. Tromp was hit by two 5” and two 3” shells but was lucky that none of these exploded !!!, she suffered only minor structural damage and no deaths or even wounded amongst her crew !

Later that day 13 fighters from the carriers intercepted a Japanese counter attack with 10 aircraft. 7 of these were shot down for no losses of their own.

The fleet arrived back at Trincomalee on 27 July. (142)

8 Aug 1944
During 8/9 August 1944, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) and HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. On completion of the exercises HMS Nigeria and HMS Kenya proceeded to Palk Bay where they arrived in the afternoon of the 10th. HMS London and HMNZS Gambia returned to Trincomalee. (143)

11 Aug 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises in Palk Bay / Palk Strait. On completion of the exercises they set course to proceed to Trincomalee. (144)

12 Aug 1944
HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (144)

17 Aug 1944
During 17/18 August 1944, HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (145)

19 Aug 1944

Operation Banquet.

Carrier raid against Padang, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies by ships of the Eastern Fleet.

On 19 August 1944 ships from the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. ' Force 64 ' was made up of the following ships; Aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), battleship HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

On the 17th ' Force 67 ' made up of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942) escorted by the light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) had already gone to sea to be in a position to refuel ships from ' Force 64 ' on the 22th.

The submarine HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) was in the area for air/sea rescue duties.

On the 24th the carriers launched aircraft to attack Padang. They claimed to have sunk a transport and to have damaged two more transports.

Three aircraft were lost. One on take off, one during the action and one one landing.

' Force 64 ' returned to Trincomalee on 27 August 1944. (146)

28 Aug 1944
During 28/29 August 1944, the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) and the light cruisers HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. During the first part of the exercises the light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) were also present but they parted company around midnight during the night of 28/29 August to proceed to Colombo and Durban respectively. Later the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) also joined. (139)

29 Aug 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (147)

10 Sep 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (148)

11 Sep 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (148)

14 Sep 1944

Operation Light.

Carrier raid against the railway repair and maintenance centre at Sigli, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies by ships of the Eastern Fleet.

On 14 September 1944 ships from the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. ' Force 63 ' was made up of the following ships; battleship HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) departed Trincomalee for operation Light.

On the 18th the target area was attacked by aircraft from the carrier. Some hits were reported in the target area but the raid did not inflict much damage. One Barracuda aircraft was lost but the crew of three was picked up by the submarine HMS Spirit (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN).

' Force 63 ' returned to Trincomalee on 20 September 1944.

25 Sep 1944
HMS Kenya, (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Fremantle. (148)

3 Oct 1944
HMS Kenya, (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Fremantle. (149)

14 Oct 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Fremantle as escort for the troopship Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Fremantle a local A/S escort was present made up of the mineseepers HMAS Inverell (Lt. A.I. Chapman, RANR(S)) and HMAS Parkes (Lt.Cdr. N.O. Vidgen, RANR). These returned to Fremantle after a few hours. (149)

23 Oct 1944
In the afternoon of 23 October 1944, the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. M.C. Morris, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) took over the escort of the troopship Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936) from HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) which then set course to proceed to Addu Atoll. (149)

25 Oct 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Addu Atoll. After fuelling she departed for Colombo later the same day. (150)

26 Oct 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. She departed for Bombay later the same day. (150)

28 Oct 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Bombay where she was immediately docked. (150)

3 Nov 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) is undocked. (151)

6 Nov 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Bombay. (151)

8 Nov 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Bombay for Trincomalee. (151)

11 Nov 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (151)

16 Nov 1944
During 16/17 November 1944, HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. During the exercises HMS Howe was escorted by the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Hopkins, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN). (152)

20 Nov 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Trincomalee. (151)

21 Nov 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Trincomalee.

She then joined HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and four destroyers (two of which were HMAS Napier (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) for night exercises and returned to harbour the following day. (151)

21 Nov 1944
During 21/22 November 1944, HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. She was escorted by four destroyers (two of which were HMAS Napier (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN). These included night exercises for which HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) joined.

[We have been unable to found out which destroyers had been escorting HMS Renown during these exercises.] (153)

5 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (154)

14 Dec 1944
The Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet, A/Adm. A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, hoisted his flag in HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) which then departed Trincomalee for Chittagong. (154)

16 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN) arrived at Chittagong. (154)

18 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN) proceeded from Chittagong to Cox's Bazar. (154)

19 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN) departed Cox's Bazar for Calcutta. (154)

20 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN) arrived at Calcutta.

A/Adm Power struck his flag in HMS Kenya the following day. (154)

27 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Calcutta for Trincomalee. (154)

29 Dec 1944
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (154)

3 Jan 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Trincomalee.

She later joined HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) for exercises during the night of 3/4 January 1945. (155)

5 Jan 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Bombay. (155)

8 Jan 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Bombay.

After embarking landing craft she departed later the same day to return to Trincomalee. (155)

11 Jan 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (155)

13 Jan 1945
HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (156)

19 Jan 1945
During 19/20 January 1945, HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. Before joining HMS Nigeria for the exercises, HMS Kenya conducted DG trials. (157)

26 Jan 1945

Operation Sankey.

Landings on Cheduba Island.

Task Force 65, made up of the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. M.C. Morris, RN) departed Trincomalee on 23 January 1945 with 500 Royal Marines embarked in the cruisers.

They were joined on 25 January by ships coming from Akyab, these were the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), escort carrier HMS Ameer ( A/Capt. J.H. Lewes, OBE, RN) destroyers HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMAS Norman (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN) and the frigates HMS Teviot (Cdr.(Retd.) T. Taylor, DSC, RN) and HMS Spey (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR).

An 26 January the destroyer HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) joined with the Landing Craft for the operation. Also small craft such as BYMS and an ML's arrived.

The landing of the marines was successful. They were later relieved by the Army and the marines were re-embarked A.M. on 31 January 1945.

During 27-31 January the cruisers supported the Army operations on Ramree Island by bombardments.

Sagu Island was occupied on 30 January after HMAS Norman and HMS Raider had neutralized Japanese field guns which had repulsed an attempted landing the previous day.

Force 65 left the the area P.M. on 31 January having carryied out a final bombardment of Ramree Island. (158)

2 Feb 1945
HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from operations of the Burmese coast. (159)

3 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. (160)

4 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Colombo. (160)

10 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (160)

11 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (160)

13 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included an A/S exercise with the submarine HMS Terrapin (Lt. R.H.H. Brunner, RN). (160)

14 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HMS Empress (Capt. H.A. Traill, OBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (161)

20 Feb 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (160)

22 Feb 1945

Operation Stacey

Photographic reconnaissance of Penang and the Kra Isthmus between latitudes 7°N and 10°N, and of Northern Sumatra.

On 22 February 1945, ' Force 62 ', made up of the escort carriers HMS Empress (Capt. H.A. Traill, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Ameer (A/Capt. J.H. Lewes, OBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), destroyers HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and the frigates HMS Spey (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR), HMS Plym (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Swale (A/Lt.Cdr. P.V. Collings, DSC, RNR).

The escorts were refuelled in the morning / early afternoon of February 24th. HMS Volage and HMS Vigilant were fuelled by HMS Kenya. fuelled HMS Virago and HMS Plym. HMS Ameer fuelled HMS Spey

A tanker force was also deployed, ' Force 61 ', which was made up of the RFA tanker Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941) escorted by the frigate HMS Trent (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Rankin, DSC, RNR). They departed Trincomalee on 26 February 1945.

In the evening of 26 February HMS Spey was detached with defects. She joined the refuelling force.

Photographic reconnaissance of the Kra Isthmus and Penang was carried out successfully between 26th and 28th February. Three enemy aircraft were shot down by Allied fighters without loss.

Force 62 proceeded to rendezvous with the oiling force on 2 March 1945 and continue the operation.

Force 62 then proceeded to a flying off position north west of Simalur Island. On 4 March 1945 a successful photographic reconnaissance was made of the northeast coast of Sumatra, and of Niass, Simalur, and Banjak Islands.

Force 62 arrived at Trincomalee on 7 March 1945. (158)

21 Mar 1945
During 21/22 March 1945, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. The cruisers were later joined by three destroyers. (139)

28 Mar 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Durban via the Seychelles. (162)

2 Apr 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Port Victoria, Seychelles. After fuelling she departed again to continue her passage to Durban. (163)

6 Apr 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Durban. (163)

15 Apr 1945
At the Durban Dockyard the 'X' 6" gun turret of HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) was hoisted out. (163)

23 Apr 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Durban for Capetown. (163)

25 Apr 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Capetown. (163)

27 Apr 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Capetown for Freetown. (163)

4 May 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Freetown. (164)

5 May 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Freetown for Casablanca. (164)

9 May 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Casablanca. (164)

10 May 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) departed Casablanca for Sheerness. (164)

13 May 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) arrived at Sheerness. (164)

15 May 1945
HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) proceeded from Sheerness to the Chatham Dockyard where she was taken in hand for refit which would last until March / April 1946. (164)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/112534
  2. ADM 53/112534 + ADM 53/112894
  3. ADM 53/112535 + ADM 199/1136
  4. ADM 199/372 + ADM 199/1136
  5. ADM 53/112535
  6. ADM 53/112536
  7. ADM 53/112537
  8. ADM 199/392
  9. ADM 53/112537 + ADM 199/379
  10. ADM 53/114488 + ADM 199/409
  11. ADM 199/1810
  12. ADM 53/114488
  13. ADM 53/114130 + ADM 53/114323 + ADM 53/114324 + ADM 53/114332 + ADM 53/114333 + ADM 53/114489 + ADM 199/409
  14. ADM 53/114489
  15. ADM 53/114490
  16. ADM 53/114503 + ADM 53/114554 + ADM 199/396
  17. ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/2558
  18. ADM 53/114437
  19. ADM 199/409
  20. ADM 199/396
  21. ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/650 + ADM 234/651
  22. ADM 53/113712 + ADM 53/114202 + ADM 53/114491 + ADM 53/114624 + ADM 199/650 + ADM 199/651
  23. ADM 53/114491
  24. ADM 53/114491 + ADM 53/114796
  25. ADM 53/114316 + ADM 53/114491 + ADM 53/114796 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  26. ADM 234/322
  27. ADM 53/114304 + ADM 53/114316 + ADM 53/114491
  28. ADM 53/113674 + ADM 53/114491
  29. ADM 53/113675 + ADM 53/114492
  30. ADM 53/114492
  31. ADM 53/113675 + ADM 53/114492 + ADM 53/114797 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  32. ADM 53/113675 + ADM 53/114492 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  33. ADM 53/114493 + ADM 53/114798 + ADM 199/409
  34. ADM 53/114494
  35. ADM 53/114494 + ADM 53/114849
  36. ADM 53/114246 + ADM 53/114494 + ADM 53/114558
  37. ADM 53/114495 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  38. ADM 53/114495
  39. ADM 53/114892
  40. ADM 199/831
  41. ADM 53/114496 + ADM 53/105059
  42. ADM 53/114496
  43. ADM 53/114496 + ADM 53/115059
  44. ADM 53/114496 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399
  45. ADM 53/114497 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399
  46. ADM 53/114497 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  47. ADM 53/114497 + ADM 199/396
  48. ADM 53/114498
  49. ADM 199/1844
  50. ADM 53/114498 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399
  51. ADM 53/116119 + ADM 53/114803
  52. ADM 53/116119
  53. ADM 53/116119 + ADM 53/116698
  54. ADM 53/116588 + ADM 53/116119 + ADM 53/116363
  55. ADM 53/116119 +ADM 53/116363 + ADM 199/396
  56. ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429
  57. ADM 199/396 + ADM 53/116119 + ADM 53/116363
  58. ADM 53/116120 + ADM 199/396
  59. ADM 53/116120 + ADM 199/421
  60. ADM 53/116120
  61. ADM 53/115827 + ADM 53/115828 + ADM 53/116120 + ADM 53/116121 + ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429
  62. ADM 234/340
  63. ADM 234/369
  64. ADM 53/116122
  65. ADM 53/116122 + ADM 53/116384
  66. ADM 53/115573 + ADM 53/116122 + ADM 53/116366
  67. ADM 53/116122 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  68. ADM 234/359
  69. ADM 53/116123 + ADM 199/427
  70. ADM 53/116123
  71. ADM 199/427
  72. ADM 234/353
  73. ADM 53/116124 + ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429
  74. ADM 53/115322 + ADM 53/116738 + ADM 199/427
  75. ADM 53/116124
  76. ADM 53/116067 + ADM 53/116125
  77. ADM 53/116125 + ADM 199/427
  78. ADM 53/116125
  79. ADM 53/116125 + ADM 53/116173 + ADM 199/427
  80. ADM 53/115687 + ADM 53/116125 + ADM 53/116173 + ADM 53/116387 + ADM 199/644
  81. ADM 53/116125 + ADM 53/116387
  82. ADM 53/116126 + ADM 53/116370 + ADM 199/427
  83. ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
  84. ADM 53/115365 + ADM 53/115965 + ADM 53/116126 + ADM 53/116353 + ADM 199/427
  85. ADM 53/116126
  86. ADM 53/116130
  87. ADM 53/117701
  88. ADM 53/117701 + ADM 53/118599
  89. ADM 53/117702
  90. ADM 53/117877
  91. ADM 53/117702 + ADM 53/118637
  92. ADM 53/117702 + ADM 53/118273
  93. ADM 173/17897
  94. ADM 53/117703
  95. ADM 53/117703 + ADM 199/632
  96. ADM 53/117703 + ADM 199/767
  97. ADM 53/117703 + ADM 199/635
  98. ADM 53/117704
  99. ADM 53/117124 + ADM 53/117564 + ADM 53/117704 + ADM 53/117897
  100. ADM 53/117120 + ADM 53/117565 + ADM 53/117705 + ADM 53/117898 + ADM 53/118464 + ADM 53/118603
  101. ADM 53/117621 + ADM 53/117705
  102. ADM 53/11705 + ADM 53/118603
  103. ADM 53/117705
  104. ADM 53/117706
  105. ADM 53/117706 + ADM 199/643
  106. ADM 53/117706 + ADM 53/118604 + ADM 199/643
  107. ADM 53/117707
  108. ADM 53/117708
  109. ADM 53/117708 + File 2.12.03.6852 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  110. File 2.12.03.6852 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  111. ADM 53/117708 + ADM 53/118267
  112. ADM 53/117444 + ADM 53/117708
  113. ADM 53/117625 + ADM 53/117709
  114. ADM 53/117181 + ADM 53/117625 + ADM 53/117709
  115. ADM 53/117709
  116. ADM 53/117709 + ADM 53/118267
  117. ADM 53/117709 + ADM 53/118586
  118. ADM 53/117710 + ADM 53/118587
  119. ADM 53/117710
  120. ADM 53/117710 + ADM 173/18209
  121. ADM 53/117711
  122. ADM 53/118270 + ADM 53/117711
  123. ADM 53/118271 + ADM 53/117712
  124. ADM 53/117188 + ADM 53/117712 + ADM 53/118271
  125. ADM 53/117188 + ADM 53/117712 + ADM 53/118271 + ADM 199/643
  126. ADM 53/119110 + ADM 53/119642 + ADM 53/120136 + ADM 53/120587
  127. ADM 53/119642 + ADM 53/120136
  128. ADM 53/118946 + ADM 53/118947 + ADM 53/120136 + ADM 53/120137 + ADM 53/120568
  129. ADM 53/119643
  130. ADM 53/119644
  131. ADM 53/119645
  132. ADM 53/119646
  133. ADM 53/119646 + ADM 53/120164
  134. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4767 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  135. ADM 53/119647 + ADM 53/120165
  136. ADM 53/119647
  137. ADM 199/1388
  138. ADM 53/119115 + ADM 53/119482 + ADM 53/119647 + ADM 53/120165
  139. File 2.12.03.6854 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  140. ADM 53/119648
  141. ADM 53/120380
  142. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4622 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  143. ADM 53/119484 + ADM 53/119805 + ADM 53/119649 + ADM 53/120167
  144. ADM 53/119649 + ADM 53/120167
  145. ADM 53/119117 + ADM 53/119484 + ADM 53/119649 + ADM 53/120167
  146. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4980 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  147. ADM 53/119649
  148. ADM 53/119650
  149. ADM 53/119651
  150. ADM 53/119651
  151. ADM 53/119652
  152. ADM 53/118757 + ADM 53/119561 + ADM 53/119652 + ADM 53/120170 + ADM 53/120243
  153. ADM 53/120384
  154. ADM 53/119653
  155. ADM 53/121582
  156. ADM 53/121582 + ADM 53/121893 + ADM 53/121917
  157. ADM 53/121582 + ADM 53/121917
  158. ADM 199/1457
  159. ADM 53/121582 + ADM 53/121894
  160. ADM 53/121583
  161. ADM 53/121328 + ADM 53/121583
  162. ADM 53/121584
  163. ADM 53/121585
  164. ADM 53/121586

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


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