Allied Warships

HMS Roebuck (H 95)

Destroyer of the R class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassR 
PennantH 95 
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
OrderedMay 1940 
Laid down19 Jun 1941 
Launched10 Dec 1942 
Commissioned10 Jun 1943 
End service 
History

Reconstructed as Type 15 frigate during 1952-1953.

Scrapped at Inverkeithing in August 1969.

 

Commands listed for HMS Roebuck (H 95)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. John Trevor Lean, DSO, RN15 Apr 1943Feb 1945
2Cdr. Christopher Douglas Bonham-Carter, RNFeb 1945Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Roebuck include:


18 Jun 1943
During the morning HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN) carries out A/S exercises with HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN) and HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN).

During the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN). (1)

19 Jun 1943
During the morning, HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN), carries out A/S exercises with HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN) and HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN).

During the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Savage (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN). (1)

21 Jun 1943
During the morning, HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN), carries out A/S exercises with HMS Savage (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN) and HMS Talybont (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN).

During the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN). (1)

24 Jun 1943
During the morning, HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN), carries out A/S exercises with HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN).

During the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN). (1)

14 Dec 1943

Convoy US 23.

This convoy departed Fremantle on 14 December 1943 and arrived at Bombay on 26 December 1943.

The convoy was made up of the (troop)transports; Hermitage (American, 23254 GRT, built 1925) and Uruguay (American, 20183 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Fremantle the convoy was escorted by the light (AA) cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and the destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN). HrMs Van Galen parted company with the convoy in the morning of the 15th to return to Fremantle.

Around 1200FG/18, they made rendezvous with the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN). HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck parted company to return to Fremantle around 1330FG/18.

Around 1000FG/25, the destroyers HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 26 December 1943.

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. (2)

20 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, 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) were still exercising in the Aden area until around 1700 hours when the battleships arrived at Aden to refuel. Late in the moring HMS Racehorce embarked some fuel from HMS Valiant. [It is possible the other destroyer fuelled from HMS Queen Elizabeth but there is no mention of this in her logbook].

Around 1330, HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) departed Aden followed at 1430 hours by 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 at 1515 hours by HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN). HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) also departed Aden around this time. At sea they joined 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).

The force then proceeded southwards until midnight and then changed course to the north-eastward to rendezvous with the ships which were now fuelling at Aden. (2)

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. (2)

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. (2)

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. (2)

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. (2)

1 Feb 1944
Around 1600 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), departed Colombo for Trincomalee. She was escorted by HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

At sea, around 1700 hours, the were joined by HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) which came from Cochin. (3)

2 Feb 1944
Around 1615 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), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), arrived at Trincomalee.

On entering the harbour HMS Renown collided with a small landing craft (LCP). (3)

8 Feb 1944
During 8/9 February 1944, HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee together with the British destroyer HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and the Australian destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN). (4)

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.

5 Mar 1944

Operation Covered.

Attempt to intercept the German supply tanker Brake.

Around 0630D/5, the escort carrier HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN) departed Mauritius escorted by the destroyer HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN).

Around 1030D/5, the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (A/Capt. W.F.H.C. Rutherford, RN) departed Mauritius to overtake the escort carrier which they did around 1400D/5.

They then proceeded in company to the east-south-east to the area the German supply vessel was suspected.

Between 0815F/8 and 0943F/8, HMS Suffolk fuelled HMS Quadrant, 200 tons of fuel oil was passed.

Around 0700FG/10, the destroyer HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), which had departed Mauritius on 6 March, joined HMS Suffolk, which at that moment was detached from the other ships. Suffolk then attempted to fuel the destroyer but it was not possible due to the weather conditions. Later, between 1649FG/10 and 1829FG/10, another succesful attempt to fuel HMS Roebuck was made during which 210 tons of fuel oil were passed.

At 1440FG/10, a Swordfish from HMS Battler crashed into the sea. HMS Quadrant picked up the crew.

Around 0915FG/11, HMS Suffolk and HMS Roebuck joined HMS Newcastle, HMS Battler and HMS Quadrant.

Around 2200F/11, HMS Quadrant was detached for Mauritius where she arrived on the 14th.

At 1610F/12, a patrolling Swordfish from HMS Battler reported the sighting of an enemy supply vessel with two submarines alongside. This was the supply vessel Brake (9925 GRT, built 1937). Actually three German submarines were near the tanker, these were U-168, U-188 and U-532.

At 1623F/12, HMS Roebuck was detached to attack the tanker followed at 1640F/12 by HMS Newcastle which was to provide distant cover for HMS Roebuck.

HMS Roebuck sighted the enemy tanker at 1711F/12 and engaged it with torpedoes and gunfire from 15800 yards at 1726F/12. HMS Roebuck did not close too much due to the presence of the enemy submarines. She ceased fire at 1812F/12. The tanker was seen to sink shortly afterwards. It was thought three torpedo hits had been obtained.

HMS Battler meanwhile flew off aircraft to attack the submarines. One of which attacked U-168 with rockets.

The crew of the tanker was picked up by U-168 which took them to Batavia.

At 1210F/13, HMS Roebuck rejoined the other ships but HMS Suffolk then parted company followed shortly afterwards by HMS Newcastle.

HMS Suffolk arrived at Mauritius around 0800D/15 followed by HMS Newcastle around 1315D/15.

HMS Battler and HMS Roebuck arrived at Mauritius around 0730D/16. (5)

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. (6)

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. (7)

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. (8)

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. (8)

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. (9)

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. (10)

10 Dec 1944
HMS Strongbow (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Far East) at Trincomalee. She was escorted in by HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN). (11)

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. (12)

12 Feb 1945
The flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN, was transferred from HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) to HMS Empress (Capt. H.A. Traill, OBE, RN).

HMS Queen Elizabeth then departed Trincomalee around 1530FG/12 for Colombo. She was escorted by HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN).

At 1615FG/13, HMS Queen Elizabeth entered Colombo harbour, the destroyers having parted company off the harbour entrance to return to Trincomalee.

(13)

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. (14)

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. (15)

2 Jul 1945

Operation Collie.

The object of this operation was; sweeping mines off Car Nicobar and to bombardment and and conduct air strikes directed against appropriate targets.

Two forces were deployed;
Force 61, made up of the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN), escort carriers HMS Ameer (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO, RN), HMS Emperor (Capt. C. Madden, RN), HMS Eskimo (Lt. Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, DSC, RN) HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN) and HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN).

Force 62: made up of the minesweepers HMS Melita (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.R. May, RNR, with Cdr. D.L. Johnston, RN, Senior Officer Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla on board), HMS Gozo (Lt.Cdr. T.T. Euman, RN), HMS Lennox (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.H. Walton, RNR), HMS Lightfoot (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.S. Drysdale, RNVR), HMS Pelorus (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Bourgat, RN), HMS Persian (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Woollcombe, RN), HMS Postillion (A/Lt.Cdr. W.E. Halbert, DSC, RNR), and the trawlers HMS Imersay (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.H.A. Winfield, RNR) and HMS Lingay (T/Lt. P.W. Jequier, RNVR) as danlayers.

In the afternoon of 2 July both forces sailed from Trincomalee to proceed direct to Car Nicobar. The destroyers and minesweepers fuelled from the carriers on passage and as necessary during the operation.

The minesweepers operated off Car Nicobar daily from the 5th to 10th July, inclusive. A total of 167 moored mines were swept, all to the eastward of the island.

To cover the activities of the minesweepers, Nigeria and the destroyers bombarded gun positions and targets of opportunity on the island, while Hellcats from the escort carriers carried out a series of strikes, during which radar stations were put out of action and all craft seen in the area rendered unseaworthy.

The only enemy reaction was accurate Anti-Aircraft fire. Four of our aircraft were shot down, but all pilots were rescued inshore, one by a Walrus aircraft flown off from HMS Emperor and the remainder by the destroyers who drew ineffective machine gun fire from shore.

Precautionary measures against a landing, these including the erection of stakes on airfield runways, were observed to be taken by the Japanese.

On 7th July, Nancowry was subjected to bombardments and air strikes by Force 61, operating in heavy rain squalls. Fires and explosions were observed in the area of Naval Point and two coasters were left on fire. Two of our Hellcats were shot down by Anti-Aircraft fire, the pilot of one being rescued.

At first light on 11th July, twenty four Hellcats attacked Kotaraja and Lhonga Airfields in northwest Sumatra. No aircraft were observed on either airfield, nor at Sabang, but runways and buildings were bombed and strafed. After being hit by Anti-Aircraft fire, one Hellcat force landed in the sea, the pilot being picked up by a destroyer. One Japanese aircraft which approached was shot down by fighters.

Force 61 arrived back at Trincomalee on 13 July 1945, Force 62 on the 14th. (16)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/18284
  2. ADM 53/119575 + ADM 53/120303 + ADM 53/120374 + ADM 53/120663 + ADM 53/120675
  3. ADM 53/120375 + ADM 53/120664
  4. File 2.12.03.6853 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 53/118948 + ADM 53/120138 + ADM 53/120570 + ADM 199/2291
  6. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4767 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  7. ADM 53/120379 + ADM 199/1388
  8. ADM 53/120308 + ADM 199/1388
  9. ADM 199/1388
  10. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4622 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  11. ADM 173/18855
  12. ADM 53/120780 + ADM 53/121692 + ADM 199/1457 + logbook of USS General William Mitchell
  13. ADM 53/122069
  14. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4630 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  15. ADM 53/120826 + ADM 53/121593 + ADM 53/122171 + ADM 53/122303 + ADM 53/122326 + ADM 53/122529 + ADM 199/1457
  16. ADM 199/1457

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


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