Allied Warships

HMS Rotherham (H 09)

Destroyer of the R class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassR 
PennantH 09 
ModFlotilla leader 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
OrderedMay 1940 
Laid down10 Apr 1941 
Launched21 Mar 1942 
Commissioned27 Aug 1942 
End service 
History

Transferred to India on 29 July 1949 being renamed Raiput.
Scrapped in 1976.

 

Commands listed for HMS Rotherham (H 09)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Francis Stephen Walter de Winton, RN23 Jun 194219 Mar 1943
2Lt. John Ronald Lawson Moore, RN19 Mar 194318 May 1943
3Capt. Francis Stephen Walter de Winton, RN18 May 194316 Aug 1944
4Capt. Hilary Worthington Biggs, DSO, RN16 Aug 1944late 1945

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Notable events involving Rotherham include:


17 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Blean (Lt. N.J. Parker, RN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN). (1)

19 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN), HMS Blean (Lt. N.J. Parker, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN). (1)

22 Sep 1942
The battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. HMS Howe was escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN). (2)

24 Sep 1942
Around 0630/24, HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN).

They arrived at Scapa Flow around 0730/25. (3)

25 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN). (1)

26 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN). (1)

29 Sep 1942
the battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) first conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. She then left Scapa Flow for exercises with aircraft in the Pentland Firth. While in the Pentland Firth she was, most likely, escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and HMS Campbell (A/Cdr. E.C. Coats, DSO, DSC, RN). (2)

1 Oct 1942
HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off the Orkney Islands.

HMS Duke of York and HMS Howe were, most likely, escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Campbell (A/Cdr. E.C. Coats, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. D.H.F. Hetherington, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blean (Lt. N.J. Parker, RN) and HMS Penylan (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN).

HMS Renown was, most likely, escorted by the destroyers HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN).

HMS Duke of York and HMS Renown returned to Scapa Flow late in the evening.

HMS Howe remained out for exercises and only returned in the afternoon of the following day. It looks like that on her return to harbour HMS Howe was escorted by the destroyers Porcupine, Montrose and the escort destroyer Lamerton. (4)

29 Oct 1942

Convoy WS 24

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 29 October 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Scotland (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Indochinois (British, 6966 GRT, built 1939), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Striling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The American seaplane tender Barnegat (Cdr. J.A. Briggs, USN) was also with the convoy.

On forming up the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR), HMS Skate (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN).

The convoy was to take an unusual route for a WS convoy. Due to the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) it was not thought wise to have another troop convoy passing through the same area as the convoys for this operations would be passing through. Therefore it was decided to sent the convoy southwards with a stopover at Bahia, Brasil instead of the usual stopover at Freetown.

The Liverpool section of the convoy made up of the Athlone Castle and Stirling Castle was late at the assembly point due to being delayed by fog. They and their escorts, HMS Sardonyx and HMS Skate only joined the main part of the convoy on 31 October. HMS Sardonyx and HMS Skate then parted company to proceed to Londonderry.

At 1430Z/31, in position 49°46'N, 21°17'W, HMS Onslow, on the port wing of the A/S screen, reported an A/S contact and shorly afterwards sighted a periscope. The convoy then carried out an emergency turn to starboard and HMS Rotherham joined HMS Onslow to hunt the U-boat. Contact was again obtained at 1443Z/31. The first depth charge attacks of both destroyers were probably reasonably accurate as the U-boat went very deep and remained there. A total of seven attacks were made in all by the two destroyers and about 1730Z/31 contact was lost. Both destroyers then carried out a search to regain contact but without success. HMS Rotherham then proceeded to rejoin the convoy leaving HMS Onslow in the area until after dark in case the U-boat should surface. The U-boat attacked was U-563 which sustained damage in the depth charge attacks.

At 0400Z/2, HMS Rotherham parted company with the convoy to proceed to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores, where she arrived around 1715Z/2. She departed again to rejoined the convoy at first light on 3rd November. On leaving Ponta Delgada HMS Holcombe was encountered to enter that port to fuel. She was not to rejoin the convoy but to proceed to Bathurst on completion of fuelling.

At 1355Z/2, in position 40°43'N, 25°10'W, USS Barnegat parted company to proceed to French Marocco to join the forces for Operation Torch.

At 1500Z/3, HMS Rotherham rejoined the convoy.

At 1530Z/3, in position 36°40'N, 28°40'W, the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

At 1700Z/3, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa and HMS Oribi parted company to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel. They too were not to rejoin the convoy.

Around 2100Z/7, in position 15°41'N, 30°56'W, the transport Indochinois started to drop back due to engine trouble.

At 0348Z/8, HMS Queen of Bermuda was detached to proceed ahead to search for the destroyer HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and A/S whaler HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). This was done due to the convoy arriving late at the arranged rendezvous.

At 1230Z/8, in position 13°16'N, 29°26'W, the troop transport Tamaroa parted company with the convoy to proceed to Freetown taking HMS Southern Pride with her as escort. HMS Southern Pride had been sighted only half an hour before.

HMS Queen of Bermuda rejoined the convoy at 1930Z/8. HMS Ilex had not been sighted.

At 1120Z/9, HMS Queen of Bermuda was again detached but not to search for the Indochinois using her aircraft to do so. When 50 miles clear of the convoy HMS Queen of Bermuda reported the position, speed and course of the convoy also for the benefit of HMS Ilex which had still not joined the convoy.

At 1500Z/9, in position 08°24'N, 29°22'W, the destroyer Ilex finally managed to join the convoy.

At 0715Z/11, HMS Queen of Bermuda rejoined the convoy. Her Seafox plane had made contact with the Indochinois and had passed instructions to her to rejoin the convoy. Since then she was however not seen and did not rejoin the convoy.

At 1000Z/11, in position 00°14'S, 30°42'W, the light cruiser HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 12th, HMS Ilex took in 60 tons of fuel from HMS Queen of Bermuda.

The convoy arrived at Bahia, Brazil on 15 November 1942.

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The convoy departed Bahia for South Africa at 1830Z/19.

It was still made up of the same transports, minus the Indochinois.

Escort on departure from Bahia was provided by the light cruiser HMS Despatch and the destroyers HMS Rotherham and HMS Ilex.

Armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda departed Bahia at 2359Z/19 to overtake the convoy which she did during the forenoon of the 20th.

At 0900Z/23, HMS Ilex was detached to return to Bahia.

At 2000Z/23, HMS Despatch parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pernambuco (Recife).

At 0800Z/28, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN) joined.

At 0930Z/29, the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) joined.

At 1350Z/30, in position 34°36'S, 17°40'E, a quantity of wreckage was passed and shortly afterwards survivors were seen clinging to broken boats and rafts. HMS Rotherham picked up seven of these while HMAS Norman picked up another eleven. They were the Master, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer and 15 men of the Greek merchant vessel Argo that had been torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni in position 34°45'S, 17°42'E at 2025Z/29. HMAS Norman transferred the survivors she had picked up to HMS Rotherham.

At 1440Z/30, the corvettes HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) joined.

At 1520Z/30, the transport Indochinois rejoined the convoy as did her escort, the destroyer HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN).

At 1610Z/30, HMS Rotherham parted company with the convoy to proceed to fuel at Simonstown where she also landed the survivors of the Argo. She arrived at Simonstown at 1830Z/30.

HMS Thyme parted company with the convoy late in the morning of 1st, December to proceed to Simonstown.

HMS Rotherham rejoined the convoy at 1600Z/1 having departed Simonstown at 0415Z/1. HMS Rockrose then parted company to proceed to Simonstown.

The convoy arrived at Durban at 0500Z/4. HMS Alcantara had parted company at 0400Z/4 to proceed to Simonstown. (5)

13 Dec 1942

Combined convoy WS 24A and CM 36.

This combined convoy departed Durban on 13 December 1942 for Mombasa / Aden.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Ascanius (British, 10048 GRT, built 1910), Ekma (British, 5128 GRT, built 1911) and Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930).

Escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) and HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN).

At 0904C/14, HMS Inconstant parted company with the convoy.

At 0950C/19, HMS Rotherham and HMAS Nepal parted company with the convoy.

At 1200C/19, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy.

Around 11020C/20, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) and the minesweeper HMAS Cessnock (A/Lt.Cdr. T.S. Marchington, RANR(S)) coming from Mombasa. They had brought out the transport Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937).

HMS Capetown then parted company for Mombasa with the convoy taking HMAS Cessnock and the transport Ekma with her.

At 2000C/25, HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Aden where it arrived on 27 December 1941.

21 Dec 1942
On 21 December 1942, HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet) and HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN), light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN), armed merchant cruisers HMS Ranpura (Capt.(Retd.) H.T.M. Pawsey, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. P. Bekenn, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) and HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. HMS Ranpura returned to Kilindini on 22 December the other ships on 23 December. (6)

29 Dec 1942
During 29/30 December 1942, the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN), destroyer HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini.

During the night exercises they were joined by the cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN). (7)

30 Dec 1942
During 30/31 December 1942, the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN, flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN, Second in Command, Eastern Fleet), heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN), light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Capetown (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), destroyer HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) carried out exercises off Kilindini / Mombasa. These included night exercises.

HMS Capetown came from Manza Bay. (8)

5 Jan 1943
During 5 to 8 January 1943, the battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN with Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN, on board), HMS Revenge (A/Capt. St.J. Cronyn, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN), light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN), HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN), escort destroyers HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) and HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini.

HMS Blackmore returned to Kilinidi for other duties on the 6th. (9)

20 Jan 1943
From 20 to 22 January 1943, the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN), light cruisers HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini / Mombasa. (10)

28 Jan 1943
During 28/29 January 1943, the battleship HMS Revenge (A/Capt. St.J. Cronyn, DSO, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN), light cruisers HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini / Mombasa.

On completion of the exercises HMS Devonshire set course to Aden while the other ships returned to Kilindini / Mombasa. (11)

3 Feb 1943
The battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), HMS Revenge (A/Capt. St.J. Cronyn, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN) and destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Kilindini for operations in the Indian Ocean. The main object of their sortie was to provide cover for the Pamplet troop convoy transporting 30000 men of the Australian 9th Division from Suez to Melbourne and Sydney.

They fuelled at Port Victoria, Seychelles on 6 February 1943 departing from there for Addu Atoll later the same day.

They arrived on Addu Atoll on 11 February 1943.

On 13 February 1943, they, less HMS Mauritius, departed Addu Atoll to return to Kilindini via the Seychelles.

They fuelled at Port Victoria, Seychelles on 17 February 1943.

They arrived at Kilindini on 20 February 1943. (12)

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.

26 Mar 1943

Convoy WS 27.

Part of the convoy that proceeded from South Africa to the Gulf of Aden.

A part of the convoy departed Capetown on 26 March 1943.

The composition of the convoy on departure from Capetown was as follows; Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Duchess of Richmond (British, 22022 GRT, built 1928), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) and Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927).

On departure from Capetown the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

On 29 March 1943 the ' Durban section ' of the convoy departed Durban, it was made up of the; Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

On departure from Durban this section was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN). The destroyers which had escorted the ' Capetown section ' then went to Durban.

The four destroyers parted company at 2100C/1 to return to Durban.

Around 1500C/3, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN) joined.

On the 4th the transport Bergensfjord was detached to Kilindini.

Around 0930D/5, the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO, OBE, RN) took over the escort duty from HMS Frobisher which then set course for Kilindini.

On 9 April 1943 the convoy was dispered in the Gulf of Aden.

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.

19 Apr 1943

Convoy CF 12.

This convoy departed Capetown on 19 April 1943.

It was made up of the troop transports; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930) and Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937). These ships were transporting troops and POW's to the U.K.

They were escorted by the battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN).

HMS Warspite had departed Durban on 16 April 1943 escorted by the destroyers HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN).

HMS Devonshire had departed Durban on 17 April 1943.

The convoy assembled off Capetown in the early afternoon of 19 April 1943. HMS Rotherham, HMS Foxhound and HMS Catterick then parted company.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 28 April 1943. En-route the destroyers had fuelled once from HMS Warspite and HMS Devonshire.

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The convoy departed Freetown for the U.K. on 29 April. The convoy sailed in the same composition and with the same escort.

Around 1300Z/30, HMS Devonshire parted company to proceed independently to the U.K.

On 2 May 1943, HMS Warspite fuelled all four destroyers.

Around 1800B/9, HMS Warspite and the four destroyers parted company with the convoy to proceed to Greenock where they arrived the following morning.

The two troop transports arrived at Liverpool on 10 May. (13)

17 May 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN) and HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) arrived at Capetown from convoy escort duty. (14)

19 May 1943

Combined convoy WS 30 / KMS 15.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 19 May 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 30 and KMS 15 at sea on 25 May 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Argentina (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Brisbane Star (British, 12791 GRT, built 1937), Deseado (British, 9641 GRT, built 1942), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), H.F. Alexander (American, 8357 GRT, built 1915), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Siboney (American, 6938 GRT, built 1918), Sloterdijk (Dutch, 9230 GRT, built 1940), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

The landing ships HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) were also part of the convoy.

On formation off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier, heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), sloops HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), 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).

The destroyer HMS Sardonyx apparently parted company on 20 May.

HMS Cleveland fuelled from HMS Suffolk during the morning of 21 May.

At 1130Z/23, HMS Active sighted a surfaced submarine in position 42°16'N, 15°40'W at a range of about 6000 yards. Shortly afterwards HMS Ness also sighted this submarine. Both ships rushed towards to attack and the submarine was seen to crash dive. When the range was down to 2900 yards HMS Active obtained contact on the target with her Asdic. At 1143Z/23, HMS Active dropped a pattern of ten depth charges set at 150 and 300 feet. At 1150Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (150 and 300 feet). At 1158Z/23, HMS Active came back for another pattern of ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1212Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). A double explosion was then heard by the two escorts. At 1223Z/23, HMS Active dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1240Z/23, a small amount of wood and cork wreckage came to the surface as well as life-jackets, coffee tins marked 'Napoli' and a pair of fresh human lungs. At 1305Z/23, HMS Ness dropped a final pattern of ten depth charges (500, 550 and 700 feet). It is believed that the Italian submarine Leonardo Da Vinci was sunk in this attack. The most succesful Italian submarine of the Second World War disappeared with all hands. Nine officers and fifty-four ratings perished.

At 0630Z/24, the transports Brisbane Star and Deseado were detached from the convoy.

Around 1530Z/24 a German Focke Wulf aircraft attacked and dropped some bombs near HMS Unicorn but no damage was done.

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, DSO, RN) joined on either the 24th or the 25th.

At 1040Z/25 the convoy split up. All escorts proceeded with convoy KMF 15 except for HMS Suffolk, HMS Corfu which went along with WS 30. Convoy KMF 15 was made up of the transports Arawa, Boissevain, Duchess of York, Franconia, Indrapoera, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Letitia, Ormonde, Samaria, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle. HMS Royal Scotsman and HMS Royal Ulsterman were also part of this convoy.

The transport Letitia proceeded to Gibraltar as did HMS Unicorn. The escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) had come out to escort them in. HMS Active, HMS Cleveland and ORP Slazak also put into Gibraltar.

The transports Staffordshire and Stirling Castle were detached and arrived at Oran on 26 May.

The remainder of convoy KMF 15 arrived at Algiers on 27 May.

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Convoy WS 30 continued on to Freetown and was made up of Argentina, Brisbane Star, Deseado, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Siboney and Sloterdijk. Their escort of HMS Suffolk and HMS Corfu was joined by the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) which all came from Gibraltar. HMS Boadicea also rejoined after fuelling at Casablanca.

In the morning of May 27th, HMS Antelope fuelled from HMS Suffolk.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 31 May 1943.

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On 3 June 1943 the convoy departed Freetown now made up of the transports Argentina, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Siboney and Sloterdijk.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex, armed merchant cruisers HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), HMS Corfu, destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN), HMS Boardicea, HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick.

At 1500Z/6, the transport Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, 1923) and the destroyer HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Takoradi.

At 1950Z/6, HMS Corfu and HMS Boadicea parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi.

At 1445Z/9, the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) joined the convoy coming from Pointe Noire.

At 1517Z/9, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pointe Noire.

Around 0730A/13, the transports Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941) and Santa Barbara (American, 6507 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy as did the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza which had been escorting them.

On 15 June 1943 the convoy arrived at Capetown. HMS Sussex and HMS Carnarvon Castle then went on to Simonstown. In the approached to Capetown the destroyer HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) joined the escort as an enemy submarine had been reported to be operating in the area.

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On 16 June 1943, the convoy departed Capetown for Durban. It was now made up of the transports Argentina, Cuba, Exceller, Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland, Santa Barbara, Siboney and Sloterdijk.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt.

On 18 June, the transport Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy presumebly coming from Port Elizabeth or East London.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 20 June.

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On 25 June 1943, the convoy departed Durban for Aden / Bombay, now made up of the transports Cuba, General Fleischer (Norwegian, 5138 GRT, built 1943), Karagola (British, 7053 GRT, built 1917), Nieuw Holland, Sagoland (American, 5334 GRT, built 1913), Santa Barbara and Sibajak.

The convoy was now escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman, HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN).

The armed mercant cruiser HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) joined the convoy around 0900C/28 having departed Kilindini around 1745C/25.

The destroyers parted company with the convoy around 1830C/29 to return to Durban where they arrived in the morning of July 3rd.

Around 0900C/1, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy having departed Kilindini around 1730C/29. HMS Canton then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindi taking the transports Karagola and Sagoland with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1200C/2.

At 0310C/3, the transport Santa Barbara was detached to proceed independently to Colombo.

At 1115C/4, the transports General Fleischer and Sibajak were detached to proceed independently to Aden.

The transports Cuba and Nieuw Holland arrived at Bombay and their escort, HMS Alaunia, around 1000FG/9.

18 Jun 1943
Around 1040C/18, the battleships HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), on passage from Kilindini to Durban, and HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), on passage from Durban to Kilindini, made rendezvous.

HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) then joined HMS Resolution and HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) while HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined HMS Revenge and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN). (15)

20 Jun 1943
The battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) arrived at Durban.

HMS Revenge was then taken in hand for a short refit at the Durban Dockyard. (16)

28 Jul 1943
The battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN) departed Durban for Capetown. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN).

Both battleships had been ordered to return to the U.K. to be decommissioned from active service and serve as training ships. (17)

31 Jul 1943
HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) arrived at Capetown from Durban. (18)

8 Oct 1943
During 8/9 October 1943, the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Danae (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. These included night exercises. (19)

11 Oct 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) conducted exercises off Kilindini.

On completion of the exercises HMS Newcastle proceeded to Manza Bay. (20)

19 Jan 1944
Around 1000 hours, 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 HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) were joined by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

Shortly afterwards however, HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck parted company. Around 1130 hours, HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck joined HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

Around 1200 hours HMS Unicorn, HMS Paladin, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Petard and HMS Rocket parted company with the other ships of their group to proceed to Aden to refuel.

Around 1515 hours HMS Renown, HMS Illustrious and HMS Rotherham arrived at Aden to refuel.

Around 1630 hours, HMS Unicorn, HMS Paladin, HMS Pathfinder HMS Petard and HMS Rocket arrived at Aden to refuel.

In the evening HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant, HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck arrived off Aden. As they could not refuel yet they remained out and in the meantime conducted exercises. (21)

21 Jan 1944
Around 1700 hours, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) departed Aden.

Around 1930 hours they joined 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 Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

The fleet then proceeded eastwards minus HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid, HMS Rocket and HMS Roebuck which proceeded to Aden to refuel after which they were to set sail again to overtake the fleet. (21)

22 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), 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 Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) were rejoined by HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) which had fuelled at Aden. (21)

24 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), 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 Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) were still proceeding eastwards to join the Eastern Fleet.

Some of the destroyers had to be fuelled as these did not had the endurance to reach their destination without doing so. Therefore HMS Queen Elizabeth refuelled HMAS Norman between 0815 and 1135 hours. HMS Valiant fuelled HMS Paladin between 0648 and 0905 hours and HMS Pathfinder between 1001 and 1148 hours. HMS Renown fuelled HMS Petard between 0935 and 1136 hours. (21)

26 Jan 1944
Around 1900/26, HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) parted company with HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), 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 Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN).

HMS Unicorn, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck then set course for Cochin, India where they arrived at 0900/27. (21)

27 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), 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 Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) were joined at dawn (around 0700 hours) by HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN).

Around 0830 hours, HMS Renown parted company to proceed to Colombo escorted by HMS Rotherham and HMAS Norman. They arrived at Colombo around 1500 hours.

Between 2100 and 2400 hours, the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), which was on passage from Trincomalee to Colombo, conducted a shadowing exercises with the fleet.

Around 2300 hours, HMAS Napier parted company to proceed ahead of the fleet to Trincomalee. (22)

8 Feb 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, DSO, RN) departed from Trincomalee for her 8th war patrol (1st in the Far East). She was ordered to patrol off Sabang, Phuket and the Malacca Straits.

Before proceeding on patrol A/S exercises were performed with the British destroyer HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN).

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(23)

10 Feb 1944
The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN), light cruisers HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN).

These ships departed Trincomalee and then proceeded to the north-east to give the Japanese the impression that they were to preform a raid against the coast of Burma towards Ramree Island. A fake signal was sent to bolster this. Course was reversed the next day and exercises were then carried out during that day and the next days.

They returned to Trincomalee in the morning of the 14th. Various exercises had been carried out while at sea.

17 Feb 1944
During 17/18 August 1944, the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (24)

22 Feb 1944

Operation Sleuth.

Operation to intercept suspected German blockade runners to the south-west of Cocos Island.

On 22 August 1944 the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNN) departed Trincomalee to proceed to an area to the south-west of Cocos Island to search for suspected German blockade runners.

On 25 February 1944 the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Fremantle to join these ships. She joined in the afternoon of 28 February 1944. HMNZS Gambia then proceeded to Fremantle arriving there on 2 March 1944.

HMS Illustrious, HMS Rotherham and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes arrived back at Trincomalee on 3 March 1944. HMS Sussex returned to Fremantle on 9 March 1944.

No enemy ships had been encountered. (25)

8 Mar 1944

Operation Initial.

Sweep into the Bay of Bengal to show force in that area and also to provide training for the Fleet.

The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) departed Trincomalee.

They were later followed by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN).

In the afternoon, a full programme of practices was carried out, including 15" and 6" full calibre firings at battle practice targets and also AA firing practices for all types of close range weapons.

HMS Illustrious flew off No.847 Squadron (9 Barracudas) to China Bay aerodrome and embarked No.1830 Fighter Squadron, making her complement No.810, 1830 and 1833 Squadrons, a total of 12 Barracudas and 27 Corsairs. At 1630/8 the fleet was formed as a unit, W/T silence enforced and course set for the northward.

Early on 11 March, during night exercises a serious accident on the flight deck of HMS Illustrious occured. A Corsair fighter crashed into the port barrier stanchion and almost immediately burst into flames. There was a serious petrol fire in which two officers and two ratings were killed and several others badly burned. The fire took an hour to extinguish and wrecked Port no.2 pom pom mount.

Five aircraft that were in the air at the time were ordered to land at Madras. HMAS Quickmatch picked up a badly burned officer from the sea and was sent to Madras with him.

During the day (11th), W/T silence was broken, in accordance with the Commander in Chief’s orders, in the hope that the transmissions might be picked up by the enemy, thus indicating that our units were operating in the Bay of Bengal.

In the evening (11th), HMS Ceylon was detached to the Palk Straits to carry out oiling trials by the double trough method with the RFA tanker Arndale. These trials were unsuccessful.

The Fleet returned to Trincomalee on March 12th. (25)

15 Mar 1944
During 15/16 March 1944, HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee together with the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), the Australian destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN), HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNN). (26)

12 Apr 1944
Around 0930/12, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) and HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet) departed Trincomalee. Off the harbour entrance they joined the destoyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, DSO, RN) which had departed half an hour before. At sea they joined the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) for exercises.

Around 1600/12, HMS Cumberland parted company to return to Trincomalee where she arrived an hour later.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Renown and HMS London returned to Harbour around 0815/13 followed about an hour later by HMS Rotherham and HMS Petard. HMAS Nepal and HMAS Nizam remained at sea. (27)

16 Apr 1944

Operation Cockpit

Carrier raid against Sabang by the Eastern Fleet.

On 16 April 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon in two task forces;
Task Force 69, 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. Lambert), the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, 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 Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, DSO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Force 70, 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), the British 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), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, 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).

During the forenoon of the 17th the four 'N' class and two 'P' class destroyers of Force 69 were fuelled by HMS Newcastle, HMS Nigeria, HMS Ceylon, HMNZS Gambia. The three 'Q' class destroyers from Force 70 were fuelled by HMS Renown and HMS London.

On the 18th HMS Ceylon and HMNZS Gambia were transferred from Force 69 to Force 70 to bolster the latters AA defence. (On the 19th HMS Nigeria replaced HMS Ceylon in this force as HMS Ceylon had problems with one shaft and could only make 24 knots.) At sunset Force 70 was detached so as to arrive at the flying off position for the aircraft at 0530/19.

At 0530/19 the carriers launched 46 bombers and 37 fighters (17 Barracudas and 13 Corsairs from HMS Illustrious and 11 Avenges, 18 Dauntless and 24 Hellcats from USS Saratoga) to attack Sabang and nearby airfields. Besides that 12 fighters were launched to patrol overhead of both Task forces.

The enemy was taken completely by surprise and 24 Japanese aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Only 1 fighter, a Hellcat from the Saratoga, was lost on the Allied side and it's pilot was rescued out of the water by the British submarine HMS Tactician (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN). All aircraft, except the one lost, had returned to the carriers by 0930 hours after which both task forces retired to the west. The Japanese tried to attack the Allied task force with three torpedo bombers but these were shot down by Allied fighter aircraft at 1010 hours.

At Sabang the Japanese merchants Kunitsu Maru (2722 GRT, built 1937) and Haruno Maru (775 GRT, built 1927, former Dutch Kidoel) were sunk by the Allied aircraft while the Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka was damaged.

At 0800 hours on the 20th the fleet set course to return to Trincomalee. The cruisers and destroyer meanwhile carried out attack exercises.

The fleet returned to Trincomalee on 21 April. (28)

28 Apr 1944
HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) conducted gunnery (close range AA) and underway refueling exercises (with the RFA oiler Arndale off Trincomalee. Also a 6" bombardment exercise was carried out.

During the night of 28/29 April a night encounter exercise was carried out with the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN). (29)

30 Apr 1944
Task Force 67, made up of the 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) and their escort made up of the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN) and the frigate HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR) departed Trincomalee.

Task Force 67 was to proceed to Exmouth Gulf, Australia.

On 1 May 1944 the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (A/Capt. W.F.H.C. Rutherford, RN) departed Trincomalee to overtake and join Task Force 67.

HMS Rotherham, HrMs Van Galen and HMS Findhorn parted company around 0900FG/3 to return to Trincomalee.

[For more infomation on the movements of Task Force 67 see the event ' Operation Transom ' for 6 May 1944.]

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. (30)

8 Jun 1944
Around 0730/8, HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) and 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) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. They were escorted by HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

They arrived at Colombo around 0930/9. (31)

9 Jun 1944
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), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN). Later the destroyer HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) also joined. (32)

10 Jun 1944
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), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (32)

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. (25)

29 Jun 1944
During 29/30 June 1944 HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) was exercises off Trincomalee. Amonst the exercises were A/S exercises with the British submarine HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) and the British destroyer HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN). (33)

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. (33)

6 Jul 1944
During 6/7 July 1944, 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), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. They were escorted by HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN). These exercises included night exercises. (34)

7 Jul 1944
During 7/8 July, Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux) and 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) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. They were escorted by HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN). These exercises included night exercises. (35)

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. (36)

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. (37)

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.

5 Dec 1944
The battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) conducted D/F calibration and manoeuvering trials off Durban. During these trials she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and the frigate HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, DSC, RNR).

On completion of these trials, she and her escorts set course for the Seychelles.

At 1200D/7, HMS Test parted company to return to Durban. (38)

13 Dec 1944
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) arrived at Port Victoria, Seychelles to fuel.

While there were fuelling the corvette HMS Thyme (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F.E. Eastman, SANF(V)) conducted an A/S patrol off the Bay.

After fuelling the battleships and the two destroyers departed for Trincomalee later the same day. (38)

19 Dec 1944
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) arrived at Trincomalee. (38)

3 Jan 1945
HMS Stygian (Lt. G.S.C. Clarabut, DSO, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Trincomalee together with HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN). (39)

3 Jan 1945
From 3 to 5 January 1945, the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) conducted exercises and trials off Trincomalee. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

Before the start of the exercises Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN, temporary transferred his flag to Tyne (Capt. S. Boucher, RN). The flag was transferred back upon HMS Queen Elizabeth returning to harbour. (40)

9 Jan 1945

Convoy HB 1.

This convoy departed Hobart, Tasmania on 9 January 1945 and was dispersed at sea on 21 January 1945.

The convoy was made up of the British troop transport Empress of Scotland (Former Empress of Japan, 26032 GRT, built 1930) and the US troopships USS General William Mitchell (17811 GRT, built 1944) and USS General George M. Randall (17811 GRT, built 1944). [The Empress of Scotland had departed Wellington on 5 January 1945 and arrived at Hobart on 8 January 1945, this movement was known as 'convoy' US 25.]

On departure from Hobart the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC and Bar, RAN).

Around 1105H/14, HMAS Quiberon and HMAS Quickmatch parted company with the convoy.

Around 1140H/14, HMNZS Achilles was relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN).

Around 1400F/20, HMS London was relieved as escort by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

At 0530F/21, the Empress of Scotland parted company with the US troopships and then proceeded to Aden escorted by HMS Roebuck. They arrived at Aden on 25 January 1945.

The US troopships, and their escort of HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless arrived at Bombay on 23 January. (41)

15 Mar 1945
During 15/16 March 1945, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN) and HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. The destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. R.J.R. Cundall, RN) and HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) also participated in (part of) these exercises. (42)

27 Apr 1945

Operation Bishop.

Carrier raid and surface bombardment of Car Nicobar and Port Blair and to provide cover for Operation Dracula which are amphibious landings off Rangoon, Burma.

On 27 April 1945 ships from the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon for operation Bishop. These ships formed Task ' Force 63 '. This task force was, at that moment, made up of the following ships: battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), escort carriers HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN), HMS Empress (Capt. J.R.S. Brown, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Tartar (Capt. B. Jones, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC and Bar, RN). Two more destroyers were sent out to join this task force later; HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN). These two destroyers actually joined on the 29th.

An oiling force (Task Force 69), made up of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers Olwen (6470 GRT, built 1917) and Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942) escorted by the destroyer HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN) had departed Trinomalee on the 26th. HrMs Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled from this force on the 29th.

At dawn on the 30th air attacks were carried out against Car Nicobar followed by a bombardment of the airfields At 0600/30, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Cumberland opened fire on the southern and northern airfields respectively from a range of 18000 yards Both ships soon found the range and it was not possible for any aircraft to take off after the bombardment. HMS Suffolk and HMS Ceylon then bombarded enemy AA positions. Shortly after sunrise around 0700 hours the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HMS Nubian and HMS Verulam started to bombard the settlement of Malacca. Soon afterwards a large fire, thought to be petrol, was seen near the jetty and another on one the southern airfield. At 0710 hours cease fire was ordered and a fighter strike was then commenced. They dropped bombs on and then strafed the airfields. At 0735 hours, after the fighter strike was over, the battleshios HMS Queen Elizabeth and Richelieu opened fire to crater the runways. They continued to fire on the runways until 0805 and 0809 respectively. Capt. (D) 11th destroyer flotilla on board HMS Rotherham meanwhile reported that the jetty at Malacca had been severly damaged and that two steam coasters and five small vessels had been destroyed.

At 1530/30, Richelieu, HMS Cumberland and HMS Rotherham were sent ahead to bombard Port Blair while on a northerly course. At 1730 hours Richelieu opened fire on the southern airfield and Cumberland on a coastal battery. Both firings were spotted by Hellcat fighters from the escort carriers. Later HMS Rotherham also engaged coastal batteries but from a closer range. Around 1835 hours these ships completed their bombardment but then HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Suffolk, HrMs Tromp, HMS Tartar and HMS Penn took over. Queen Elizabeth engaged the airfields while Suffolk worked over the marine yards with the same aircraft that had spotted for Richelieu and Cumberland. The other three ships engaged shore batteries. By the time the bombardment ceased after about 40 minutes the airfields were well cratered and hits were obtained on a lot of other targets. After the bombardment HrMs Tromp reported that she had seven wounded, two seriously (they both died later) from two near misses, at least that was thought at that moment. Later investigation however showed that the explosion was caused by American manufactured defective ammunition and not by enemy fire. Both bombarding forces then retired to the south an re-joined the escort carriers which had provided them with fighter cover during their bombardments.

During the night all ships proceeded southwards so as to bombard Car Nicobar a second time at dawn. At 0720/1 HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Suffolk opened fire on their target. After cratering the northern airfield Queen Elizabeth shifted target to the southern airfield at 0741 hours and carried out yet another effective shoot. At 0755 hours both ships ceased fire. HMS Cumberland and HMS Ceylon then took over. The French battleship Richelieu however did not participate in the bombardment this time as she had already expended her ammunition allowance. Cumberland enganged targets at/near the northern airfield and HMS Ceylon did the same working over the southern airfield. HMS Tartar was sent ahead to bombard the jetty at and targets in the village of Malacca. At 0915 hours all ships were again in one force and course was set to the north to conduct another bombardment of Port Blair but this time approaching from the north.

At 0800/2 HMS Queen Elizabeth opened fire on the runways of the airports and HMS Suffolk on coastal batteries. Again considerable damage was done to the airports and also a large petrol fire was started at one of them. At 0845 hours Richelieu (firing 6” from her secondary armament at the marine jetty) and HMS Cumberland took over. HMS Rotherham was ordered to take out an AA battery that was firing at the spotter aircraft and in this she succeded.

In the afternoon a signal was received that the landing off Rangoon had been successful and without opposition. The force now retired to the north-east for her cover position during operation Dracula.

On 4 May rendes-vous was again made with the oiling force and all ships were fueled by the Olwen. HMS Penn then remained with the Olwen while HMS Paladin joined Task Force 64.

On 6 May bombardments and air strikes were again carried out in the Port Blair area. As of 0700/6 HMS Empress started to launch fourteen Hellcats while HMS Shah launched eight Avengers and four Hellcats. At 0800 hours, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Suffolk, HrMs Tromp and HMS Paladin opened fire on AA and coastal batteries in the vicinity of Phoenix Harbour, Hopetown Island and Ross Island in order to neutralise these defences for the air strike. At 0814 hours the air strike leaded ordered cease fire and a few minutes later the aircraft started attacking shipping inside Port Blair harbour. One aircraft was hit by enemy AA fire and failed to return to it’s carrier. HMS Tartar made a search for it but was unable to locate the aircraft or it’s pilot.

At 1730/6 HMS Queen Elizabeth bombarded a 6” gun known to be at Stewart Sound. The bombardment was completed at 1809 hours. HMS Suffolk meanwhile bombarded a pillbox on Sound Island with her 4” armament and appeared to have set the target on fire.

On 7 May another air attack was made on Car Nicobar by the carriers with a total of 10 Hellcats. With this air attack over course was set to return to Trincomalee.

A part of Task Force 63 returned to Trincomalee on 7 May, these were Richelieu, HMS Cumberland, HMS Ceylon, most likely escorted by HMS Rotherham, HMS Verulam and HMS Penn.

The other ships returned on 9 May. (43)

10 May 1945

Operation Dukedom.

Intercepting Japanese surface ships trying to evacuate troops from the Andaman Islands.

On 8 May 1945 a report was received from two British submarines on patrol in the Malacca Strait (HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) that they had sighted a Japanese heavy cruiser and a destroyer proceeding to the north-west. The Eastern Fleet was already on alert due to intelligence and ships from the Eastern Fleet immediately (around 0700 hours) put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon for operation Dukedom. These ships formed Task Force 61. This task force was, at that moment, made up of the following ships;
British battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN), the French battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the British escort carriers HMS Hunter (Capt. A.D. Torlesse, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN), HMS Emperor (Capt. Sir C. Madden, RN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN), the British light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. W.G. Brittain, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Commodore N.G. Oliver, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the British destroyers HMS Saumarez (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, DSC, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC and Bar, RN). This latter destroyer however had to return due to defects.

The British destroyer HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN) sailed at 1700 hours to overtake and then join the Task Force. She was joined by HMS Tartar (Capt. B. Jones, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) as substitute for HMS Penn whose defects could not be repaired in time. HMS Verulam and HMS Tartar eventually joined the Task Force at 1505/11.

Most ships of the Task Force had only returned from the previous operation the day before and for instance HMS Queen Elizabeth had only 50% ammunition for her 15” guns on board. Also HMS Emperor and HMS Khedive were not fully fueled.

The same day the tanker Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942) departed Trincomalee escorted by the British destroyer HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN) (Force 70) to provide fuel for the smaller ships of Force 61.

At 1940/11 a fast attack force, made up of Richelieu, HMS Cumberland and the destroyer of the 26th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Saumarez, HMS Venus, HMS Verlulam, HMS Viliglant and HMS Virago were ordered to proceed ahead to about 50 miles from the Task Force to be in a better position to intercept the reported Japanese heavy cruiser.

In the early afternoon of the 12th an air strike with four Hellcats was carried out against airfields on Car Nicobar Island. One Japanese aircraft was seen to go up in flames.

Also on the 12th submarine HMS Statesman reported that the Japanese cruiser and it's escort were returning to Singapore most likely to Force 61 being sighted the previous day by a Japanese aircraft.

During the 13th all destroyers of the Task Force fueled from HMS Emperor, HMS Hunter and HMS Shah. Besides that Task Force 62 was sent out from Trincomalee. This Task Force was made up of the British light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. F.W.M. Carter, DSC, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), which was escorting a convoy, was ordered to leave her convoy and then join this Task Force. Also sailed was Task Force 67, made up of Royal Fleet Auxiliary oiler Olwen escorted by HMS Penn, which by now had completed repairs on her defects.

On the 14th HrMs Tromp was sent ahead to fuel from Task Force 70. Late in the evening the remainder of Task Force 61 arrived at the rendez-vous with Task Force 70.

On the 15th the enemy cruiser and destroyer were sighted by an aircraft from HMS Shah. They were again proceeding to the south-east. Shortly afterwards the enemy was also sighted by a patrolling Liberator aircraft which began shadowing the enemy. At 1500 hours three Avenger aircraft attacked the cruiser.

The 26th destroyer flottila, made up of HMS Saumarez, HMS Venus, HMS Verulam, HMS Vigilant and HMS Vigaro were ordered to intercept the enemy after dark. At 1500 hours they were 85 miles from the position of the enemy.

Around midnight the destroyers made radar contact on the cruiser. They then attacked from all directions with torpedoes. About eight hits were scored and the cruiser was sunk. During the attack HMS Saumarez was hit three times with 8" shells. Two ratings were killed on one boiler room was put out of action. The destroyers rejoined the task force at 1000/16. HMS Virago had only 17% fuel left, the other destroyers between that and 30%. HMS Virago and HMS Venus had to fuel from the escort carriers as they could not make it to the oiling force without doing so.

In the evening of the 16th the Task Force was attacked by Japanese aircraft. HMS Virago was near missed and suffered four ratings killed, five ratings severely wounded and thirteen other casualties. She was also listing slightly due to splinter damage.

At 1000/17 the following ships were detached to return to Trincomalee; Richelieu, HMS Nigeria, HMS Royalist, HrMs Tromp, HMS Khedive, HMS Shah and HMS Racehorce.

1740 hours, the 26th Destroyer Flotilla was also detached to return to Trincomalee where they arrived late in the afternoon on the 18th. By this time all the destroyers of this flotilla had fueled from Force 70.

The remaining ships were ordered to return to Trincomalee at 2130/19. They arrived back at Trincomalee on 21 May. (44)

14 Jun 1945

Operation Balsam

Photographic reconnaissance of Southern Malaya and fighter strikes on airfields in Northern Sumatra.

On 14 June 1945, ' Task Force 63 ' departed Trincomalee. It was made up of the light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. W.G. Brittain, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Commodore N.G. Oliver, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), escort carriers HMS Ameer (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. L.C. Sinker, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. F.W.M. Carter, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN).

On the 16th, HMS Royalist and the destroyers were topped off with fuel. HMS Suffolk fuelling HMS Rotherham and HMS Racehorce. HMS Ameer fuelling HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Stalker fuelled HMS Royalist and HMS Redoubt. HMS Khedive did not fuel any of the other ships.

From flying off position in the northern approaches to the Malacca Straits, aircraft of 888 Squadron, from HMS Ameer made successful photographic reconnaissance flights over southern Malaya from 18 to 20 June.

On 20 June, fighter strikes against the airfields at Lhoksemawe, Medan, and Binjai (all in Northern Sumatra) were made by aircraft of 804, 808 and 809 Squadrons. The runways at Medan and Binjai were put out of action. Attacks on grounded enemy aircraft resulted in three being destroyed, seven left burning and probably destroyed and nine was claimed to have been damaged. Aerodrome buildings, locomotives, and rolling stock were also effectively strafed. Off Medan two junks, one of which was obviously carrying oil, were attacked and set on fire.

Own losses were only one Hellcat shot down by enemy AA fire.

It looked like that ' Force 63 ' had not been detected by the enemy throughout the operation.

In the morning/early afternoon of 21 June, HMS Rotherham fuelled from HMS Ameer, HMS Racehorce, HMS Roebuck and HMS Redoubt fuelled from HMS Khedive, HMS Royalist fuelled from HMS Stalker and HMS Relentless fuelled from HMS Suffolk

At 1340GH/21, HMS Ameer, HMS Stalker, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless parted company with the remainder of the force.

At 1510GH/21, HMS Royalist, HMS Roebuck and HMS Racehorce parted company with HMS Khedive, HMS Suffolk and HMS Redoubt.

At 2200GH/21, HMS Ameer parted company with HMS Stalker, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless.

At 1200GH/22, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless parted company with HMS Stalker.

HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless arrived at Trincomalee at 0700FG/23.

HMS Royalist, HMS Roebuck and HMS Racehorce arrived at Vishakhapatnam around 1115FG/23.

HMS Ameer arrived at Madras around 1600FG/23.

HMS Khedive, HMS Suffolk and HMS Redoubt arrived at Trincomalee around 1700FG/23.

And finally HMS Stalker arrived at Cochin around 1915FG/25. (45)

5 Jul 1945
During 5/6 July 1945, exercises were carried out off Trincomalee by ships of the Eastern Fleet. Ships participating were the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), escort carrier HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. J.S. Kerans, RN). (46)

12 Jul 1945
During 12/13 July 1945, HMS Ceylon (Capt. K.L. Harkness, DSC, RN), HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises.

HMS Cleopatra joined the exercises around 0500FG/13 coming from Colombo which she had departed around 1700FG/12. (47)

19 Jul 1945

Operation Livery.

Sweeping of mines off Phuket; bombardment and air strikes directed against appropriate targets.

'Force 63' departed Trincomalee on 19 July 1945. It was made up of the following warships; battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Ameer (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO, RN), HMS Empress (Capt. J.R.S. Brown, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN) and the minesweepers HMS Pincher (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.B. Blake, RNVR), HMS Plucky (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G. Wallis, RNVR), HMS Squirrel (Lt. M. Buist, RN), HMS Rifleman (Lt. C.L. Carroll, DSC, RNR), HMS Vestal (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Porter, DSC, RN), HMIS Punjab(Lt. A.V. Baker, RIN) and HMS Deccan as attached danlayers.

The force passed through Sombrero Channel during the night of 22/23 July 1945 and arrived off Phuket in the morning of 24 July.

The area which had been given first priority was cleared of mines of as a result of operations carried out of 24th, 25th, and 26th July. A total of 24 mines were swept.

During the minesweeping operations HMS Squirrel was mined and damaged forward. Two and a half hours after hitting the mine she took a heavy list and therefore had to be sunk by our own forces. Seven ratings were lost with the ship.

In strikes against targets on the Kraa Isthumus, our aircraft achieved commendable results. Three small ships were destroyed and eleven others strafed in the Singora area, while fifteen locomotives were put out of action and rolling stock strafed on the railway system between Bandon and Dhungsong. A camp at Huatsei was bombed. One Sungei Patani airfield six grounded aircraft were destroyed, three left burning and two others hit. In all these operations only one Hellcat fighter was lost.

On 26 July 1945 attacks by enemy suicide aircraft were launched against units of 'Force 63'. One of these aircraft was shot down in flames by HMS Ameer and two were shot down by HMS Sussex. HMS Vestal was hit by a suicide aircraft, caught fire and had to be sunk by our own forces. Fifteen ratings were lost with the ship. Another enemy suicide aircraft bounced on the water and hit the side of HMS Sussex which sustained some hull damage above the waterline, but remained fully operational.

'Force 63' left the area of operation p.m. on 26 July and returned to Trincomalee where it arrived on 30 July. (48)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

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  3. ADM 53/116527
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  5. ADM 199/1211
  6. ADM 53/115440 + ADM 53/115981 + ADM 53/116518 + ADM 53/113366 + ADM 53/116769 + ADM 199/429
  7. ADM 53/116046 + ADM 53/116564
  8. ADM 53/115440 + ADM 53/115502 + ADM 53/116046 + ADM 53/116542
  9. ADM 53/117047 + ADM 53/117617 + ADM 53/117652 + ADM 53/117894 + ADM 53/118438 + ADM 53/118460
  10. ADM 53/117365 + ADM 53/117537 + ADM 53/117561 + ADM 53/117894 + ADM 53/118438 + ADM 53/118709
  11. ADM 53/117365 + ADM 53/117537 + ADM 53/117561 + ADM 53/117894 + ADM 53/118460
  12. ADM 53/117895 + ADM 53/118439 + ADM 53/118461 + ADM 53/118710 + ADM 199/643
  13. ADM 53/117368 + ADM 53/118712
  14. ADM 53/118264
  15. ADM 53/118443 + ADM 53/118465
  16. ADM 53/118465
  17. ADM 53/118444 + ADM 53/118466 + ADM 199/2349
  18. ADM 53/118444 + ADM 53/118466
  19. ADM 53/117307 + ADM 53/118269
  20. ADM 53/118269
  21. ADM 53/119575 + ADM 53/120303 + ADM 53/120374 + ADM 53/120663 + ADM 53/120675
  22. ADM 53/119328 + ADM 53/119575 + ADM 53/120303 + ADM 53/120374 + ADM 53/120675
  23. ADM 199/1868
  24. ADM 53/120304 + ADM 53/120676
  25. ADM 199/1388
  26. File 2.12.03.6853 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  27. ADM 53/119171 + ADM 53/119801 + ADM 53/120306 + ADM 53/120377
  28. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4621 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  29. ADM 53/119113
  30. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4767 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  31. ADM 53/120379 + ADM 199/1388
  32. ADM 53/120308 + ADM 199/1388
  33. File 2.12.03.6854 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  34. ADM 53/120309 + ADM 53/120681
  35. ADM 53/120380
  36. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4622 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  37. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4980 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  38. ADM 53/120314
  39. ADM 173/19762
  40. ADM 53/122068
  41. ADM 53/120780 + ADM 53/121692 + ADM 199/1457 + logbook of USS General William Mitchell
  42. ADM 53/122125
  43. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4778 and ADM 199 / 193 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  44. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4630 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  45. ADM 53/120826 + ADM 53/121593 + ADM 53/122171 + ADM 53/122303 + ADM 53/122326 + ADM 53/122529 + ADM 199/1457
  46. ADM 53/121153 + ADM 53/121984 + ADM 53/122074 + ADM 53/122224
  47. ADM 53/121091 + ADM 53/121110
  48. ADM 199/1457

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


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