Allied Warships

HMS Wild Swan (D 62)

Destroyer of the Admiralty Modified W class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassAdmiralty Modified W 
PennantD 62 
ModShort range escort 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
OrderedApr 1918 
Laid downJul 1918 
Launched17 May 1919 
Commissioned14 Nov 1919 
Lost17 Jun 1942 
Loss position49° 52'N, 10° 44'W
History

HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. Claude Edward Lutley Sclater, RN) was sunk by German aircraft bombs south of Ireland in position 49º52'N, 10º44'W.

 

Commands listed for HMS Wild Swan (D 62)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. John Leslie Younghusband, RN31 Jul 193922 Aug 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Claude Edward Lutley Sclater, RN22 Aug 194017 Jun 1942

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Notable events involving Wild Swan include:


19 Feb 1940
HMS H 32 (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Younghusband, DSC, RN). (1)

11 Mar 1940
HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Younghusband, RN) picks up 42 survivors from the Dutch tanker Eulota that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-28 about 130 nautical miles west of Ushant in position 48°35'N, 08°22'W.

2 Apr 1940

Convoy HX 32.

This convoy departed Halifax on 2 April 1940 for Liverpool where it arrived on 17 April.

Some of the merchant vessels had other destinations though.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Antonios Chandris (Greek, 5866 GRT, built 1918), Athellaird (British (tanker), 8999 GRT, built 1930), Balmoralwood (British, 5834 GRT, built 1937), Beaconhill (Panamanian (tanker), 6941 GRT, built 1919), Benwyvis (British, 5920 GRT, built 1929), British Chancellor (British (tanker), 7085 GRT, built 1921), British Honour (British (tanker), 6991 GRT, built 1928), British Prince (British, 4879 GRT, built 1935), Capsa (British (tanker), 8229 GRT, built 1931), Carslogie (British, 3786 GRT, built 1924), Defacto (British, 4800 GRT, built 1919), Eclipse (British (tanker), 9767 GRT, built 1931), Esmond (British, 4976 GRT, built 1930), Gitano (British, 3956 GRT, built 1921), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), King William (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Leontios Teryazos (Greek, 4479 GRT, built 1911), Lochmonar (British, 9412 GRT, built 1924), Minnie de Larringa (British, 5049 GRT, built 1914), Octavian (Norwegian, 1345 GRT, built 1938), Parthenia (British, 4872 GRT, built 1917), Port Hunter (British, 10735 GRT, built 1922), Queen Maud (British, 4976 GRT, built 1936), Rugeley (British, 4985 GRT, built 1936), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), Star of Alexandria (British, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Thistlegarth (British, 4747 GRT, built 1929), Weirbank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925) and Wellington Court (British, 4979 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN).

The Canadian destroyers parted company with the convoy on 3 April and then returned to Halifax.

The convoy was joined by the destoyer HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, RN) on 13 April 1940 and HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) T.A. Hussey, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Younghusband, DSC, RN) on 14 April 1940.

HMS Malaya parted company with the convoy on 14 April 1940 after she had been joined by the destroyers HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, RN) and HMS Whitshed (Cdr. E.R. Conder, RN). They proceeded to Plymouth arriving there on 15 April 1940.

HMS Vanquisher parted company with the convoy on 15 April 1940 and HMS Versatile on 16 April 1940.

HMS Wild Swan remained with the convoy until it arrived at Liverpool.

31 Jul 1940
HMS Whitshed (Cdr. E.R. Conder, DSC, RN) struck a mine off Harwich and was badly damaged. She was towed back to port by HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Younghusband, DSC, RN). Repairs were completed in mid-December.

5 Sep 1940
Around 2130A/5, HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) departed Immingham for Sheerness where they arrived around 0845A/6. They had been escorted by the destroyers HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN). These destroyers then returned to the Humber. (2)

13 Sep 1940
During the night of 13/14 September 1940, the British destroyers HMS Malcolm (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) and HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN) bombard Boulogne in a sweep along the French coast.

3 Jan 1941
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN). (3)

9 Jan 1941
HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) picks up 56 survivors from the British merchant Bassano that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-105 north-west of Rockall in position 57°57'N, 17°42'W.

31 May 1941

Convoy WS 8X.

This convoy departed the Clyde on 31 May 1941 and arrived off Aden on 11 July 1941 after which the convoy was dispersed and the ship proceeded to Aden independently.

The convoy departed from the Clyde around 2230B/31 and was made up of the following transports; Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1935) and Waiwera (British, 12435 GRT, built 1934).

On departure from the Clyde the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN), the light cruiser HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Esperance Bay (Capt.(Retd.) G.S. Holden, RN).

Around 0700B/1, the A/S escort joined the convoy. This was made up of the destroyers HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), HMCS Saguenay (Lt. P.E. Haddon, RCN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN), HMS Brighton (Cdr.(Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and HMS Sherwood (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN).

Around 1445B/2, ORP Piorun obtained an A/S contact in position 53°30'N, 16°46'W at a range of 1200 yards. She immediately attacked with depth charges. A total of 18 depth charges was dropped in four attack runs after which the contact was lost and Piorun rejoined the convoy around an hour later.

Around 0700B/3, in position 50°22'N, 19°55'E, HMS Wivern, HMS Wild Swan and HMS Vansittart were detached to Gibraltar.

Around 0900B/3, in position 49°57'N, 20°05'E, HMS St. Marys and HMS Brighton were detached to return to the U.K.

Around 1200B/3, in position 49°20'N, 20°30'W, HMS Esperance Bay was detached to search for enemy supply vessels operating in the North Atlantic.

Around 1500B/3, in position 48°40'N, 20°59'E, HMS Legion was detached to make rendezvous with a transport.

Around 1845B/3, HMCS Sauguenay parted company to proceed to Canada.

Around 2000B/3, in position 46°50'N, 22°29'E, HMS Sherwood and ORP Piorun parted company to return to the U.K.

At 1825B/4, in position 42°25'N, 23°39'E, HMS Neptune was detached to intercept a vessel reported by the Esperance Bay as well as aircraft from HMS Victorious.

Around 2100B/4, HMS Victorious was also detached to aid in the search of this suspected enemy supply vessel.

Around 2100B/5, HMS Victorious and HMS Neptune rejoined the convoy. The enemy vessel had been intercepted but had been scuttled by her crew and salvage was not possible. HMS Neptune had picked up the German crew.

Around 0100A/7, HMS Victorious and HMS Neptune parted company. They had been ordered to proceed to Gibraltar.

Around 1400Z/9, the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) joined the convoy escort.

The corvette HMS Aster (Lt.Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR) was to have joined the convoy coming from Bathurst. She had arrived at Bathurst late and she did not manage to join the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 11 June.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 15 June 1941 escorted by HMS Neptune.

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 24 June 1941 after which HMS Neptune proceeded to Simonstown.

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The convoy departed Capetown on 28 June 1941 still escorted by HMS Neptune.

The convoy arrived at Kilindini on 6 July 1941. It departed later the same day for Aden.

The convoy was dispersed on 11 July 1941. HMS Neptune then proceeded to Aden arriving later the same day. (4)

4 Jun 1941

Convoy WS 9A.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 4 June 1941.

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

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

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

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

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

HMS Highland was however soon detached for other duties.

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

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 16 June 1941.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The remainder of the ships continued on to the vicinity of Aden escorted by HMS Hawkins. The convoy was dispersed on 21 July 1941. (4)

7 Jun 1941

At 2230A/7, ' Force H ', made up of HMS Renown (Capt. R.R. McGrigor, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN (Capt. D.8)), HMS Fearless (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) departed Gibraltar to the westward to be clear of the harbour as Vichy-French reprisals (air attacks) were expected after the start of the Syrian campaign. The aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) was also with ' Force H '. Also rendezvous was to be made with the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN) coming from the UK.

A speed of 17 knots was maintained, with the object of economising fuel in the destroyers and of ensuring efficient Asdic operating.

HMS Victorious was ordered to remain outside the submarine danger area and to pass through position 37°05'N, 13°48'W, at 0700A/9 steering 155° making good 16 knots.

Two outer and one inner A/S patrols were flown off at dawn on the 8th and maintained throughout the day. During the day a westerly wind enabled HMS Ark Royal to carry out deck landing training from inside the screen and full advantage was taken of this.

At 1800A/8, when in position 35°10'N, 11°08'W, a signal was received from a Catalina that she had unsuccessfully attacked a submarine at 1615A/8 in position 35°50'N, 13°00'W. Two relief A/S patrols were being ranged at tis time and these were flown off to search for and attack this submarine if she surfaced after the Catalina's attack. At 1845A/8 the Catalina, who returned to base after the attack, signalled that the submarine dived in position 36°02'N, 11°50'W. This latter position was based on a fix obtained at 1800A/8, presumably from the land and was some 60 miles further eastward then initially reported. The A/S striking force landed on at 1925 having sighted northing. The submarine attacked was the Italian Velella. The bombs were close but caused no damage.

At 2030A/8, ' HMS Force H ' entered a patch of very low visibility which lased for about an hour. Course was altered to 330° at 2200A/8 when in position 35°00'N, 12°21'W to make rendzvous with HMS Victorious at dawn.

Throughout the day HMS Sheffield kept RDF watch, and fighters were kept at short notice in both HMS Furious and HMS Ark Royal in case Vichy-French aircraft should take offensive action. No aircraft were seen or detected.

At 0600A/9 HMS Ark Royal flew off two outer and one inner A/S patrol with instructions to locate HMS Victorious. At 0630A/9 one of these aircraft reported HMS Victorious to the northward and course was altered to close. HMS Victorous, screened by HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN), HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) was sighted at 0650A/9 and HMS Furious, HMS Sheffield and HMS Fury were detached to join her and form ' Group II '. The remaining ships of ' Force H ' formed ' Group I '.

HMS Victorious then transferred 5 Fulmars to HMS Ark Royal who flew off 6 Swordfish to ferry the Hurricane erecting personnel from HMS Furious to HMS Victorious.

HMS Wivern, who was short of fuel and had a leaking fuel tank was detached at 1030A/9 to return to Gibraltar.

The transfer of 75 members of the Hurricane ercting party was completed by noon under somewhat unfavourable weather conditions. HMS Furious, escorted by HMS Sheffield, was detached to overtake and rendezvous with HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) in position 47°00'N, 24°00'W, at 1200A/11. HMS Sheffield was ordered to part company from HMS Furious in latitude 45°N and patrol an area between that latitue and 44°N, and between longtitudes 23°W and 25°W, till dusk on the 14th with the object of intercepting enemy shipping. She was also with convoy SL 76 between 1130Z/14 and 2200Z/16.

Around noon, HMS Vansittart, HMS Wild Swan and HMS Wrestler were detached to return to Gibraltar.

HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Victorious screened by the six 'F'-class destroyers, steered to the south-west at 16 knots, to keep clear of the submarine concentration to the eastward. At 1500A/9, HMS Ark Royal flew off a reconnaissance of six aircraft from position 37°06'N, 15°06'W, to search from 130° through south to 310° to a depth of 80 miles to locate enemy shipping and submarines. These aircraft landed on at 1730A/9 having sighted nothing.

At 0100A/10, Admiralty's instructions were received that the next ferry trip of fighter aircraft to Malta was to be carried out as soon as possible. Course was therefore altered to 090° and speed increased to 20 knots and an hour later to 26 knots. Two out and one inner A/S patrols were flown off at dawn.

At 0750A/10 one of the outer A/S patrols flying at 800 feet sighted a submarine breaking surface heading south-west about 1500 yards distant. The aircraft attacked and dropped a stick of 6 100lb. A/S bombs from a height of 150 feet. All bombs missed over and failed to explode, the low height being insufficient for aiming. The submarine was submerged by the time the bombs were released. This incident occurred in position 35°31'N, 14°12'W. On receipt of the W/T report from the aircraft the course of the Fleet was altered to clear. This was probably the Italian submarine Veniero which was operating in the area but did not report being attacked though although she did report sighting an aircraft at 0850A/10 (Rome time) an also at 1050A/10 (Rome time) during which he dived.

At 1000A/10, information was received that ' Force H ' had been sighted at 0038 by an enemy submarine.

At 1610A/10, four corvettes were sighted in position 35°50'N, 10°30'W, carrying out an A/S sweep in conjunction with five ML's who were working 30 miles to the southward.

' Force H ' arrived in Gibraltar Bay at 0330A/11 and then entered harbour. (5)

30 Jun 1941

Convoy WS 9B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HMS Maori was detached at 1600Z/2.

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

HMS Reading was detached at 0400Z/3.

HMS Edinburgh parted company around 2315Z/3.

HMS Cathay parted company around 0630Z/4.

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

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

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On 13 August the Athlone Castle and Elizabeth Bakke parted company forming convoy WS 9BX. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) and arrived at Bombay on 16 August 1941. (4)

18 Aug 1941
HMS Clyde (Cdr. D.C. Ingram, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 19th war patrol. She was initially ordered to patrol off the Canary Islands. Before making off for her patrol area Clyde conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN).

For the daily position of HMS Clyde during this patrol see the map below.

(6)

4 Oct 1941
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) departed Freetown for Gibraltar. She was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) and the corvettes HMS Armeria (T/Lt. H.N. Russell, DSC, RNR), HMS Aster (Lt.Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR).

The Free French minesweeper / sloop Commandant Duboc also remained near HMS Eagle during the passage to Gibraltar. She was however not in company all the time.

Around 1630N/6, HMS Aster parted company.

Around 1850N/6, HMS Armeria parted company.

Around 0945N/7, the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) joined.

Around 1235N/7, HMS Dunedin parted company.

Around 1135N/8, the destroyer HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) joined.

Around 1210N/8, the escort destroyer HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, RN) joined.

Around 1800N/8, HMS Vimy parted company.

Around 0300N/9, HMS Wild Swan was detached to fuel at Las Palmas.

Around 1200Z/10, HMS Wild Swan rejoined.

HMS Eagle, HMS Wild Swan and HMS Croome arrived at Gibraltar around 0830Z/11. (7)

13 Oct 1941

Convoy OS 9

This convoy departed Liverpool on 13 October 1941 for Freetown where it arrived on 5 November 1941. Several merchant ships were detached en-route for other destinations.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adjutant (1931 GRT, built 1922), Alderamin (Dutch, 7886 GRT, built 1920), Arlesford (2472 GRT, built 1922), Annavore (Norwegian, 3324 GRT, built 1921), Baluchistan (6992 GRT, built 1940), Baron Cawdor (3638 GRT, built 1935), Baron Ramsay (3650 GRT, built 1929), Brittany (4772 GRT, built 1928), City of Barcelona (5787 GRT, built 1930), City of Dublin (1095 GRT, built 1882), City of Hereford (5101 GRT, built 1927), Cornish City (4952 GRT, built 1936), Cressado (1228 GRT, built 1913), Egba (4989 GRT, built 1914), Empire Glade (7006 GRT, built 1941), Empire Glen (6327 GRT, built 1941), Fagersten (Norwegian, 2342 GRT, built 1921), Filleigh (4856 GRT, built 1928), Fjord (Norwegian, 4032 GRT, built 1914), Graiglas (4312 GRT, built 1940), Guinean (5205 GRT, built 1936), Hadleigh (5222 GRT, built 1930), Harmonides (5237 GRT, built 1920), Harpasa (5082 GRT, built 1934), Ittersum (Dutch, 5199 GRT, built 1938), Leeds City (4758 GRT, built 1927), Leerdam (8815 GRT, built 1921), Leeds City (4758 GRT, built 1927), Leerdam (Dutch, 8815 GRT, built 1921), Loch Ranza (4958 GRT, built 1934), Madras City (5082 GRT, built 1940), Marwarri (8067 GRT, built 1935), Nigerian (5423 GRT, built 1936), Ottinge (2870 GRT, built 1940), Queen Victoria (4937 GRT, built 1936), Rembrandt (5559 GRT, built 1941), Ribera (5559 GRT, built 1940), Rio Blanco (4086 GRT, built 1922), Salabangka (Dutch, 6586 GRT, built 1920), Sheaf Crown (4868 GRT, built 1929), Spero (1589 GRT, built 1922), Stad Amsterdam (Dutch, 3780 GRT, built 1920), Stanmore (4970 GRT, built 1940), Superman (tug, 359 GRT, built 1933), Talthybius (10254 GRT, built 1912), Tintern Abbey (2471 GRT, built 1939), Treworlas (4692 GRT, built 1922) and Willemsplein (Dutch, 5489 GRT, built 1910).

Escort was initially provided by the following warships; Free French sloop / minesweeper Commandant Domine (13 – 24 October), sloops Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) (14 October – 2 November), Fowey (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN) (14 October – 1 November), Leith (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Hulton, RN) (14 October – 1 November), Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN), Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RN) and the corvettes HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, RNR) (14 October – 5 November), HMS Stonecrop (A/Lt.Cdr. J.V. Brock, RCNVR) (14 October – 1 November).

When approaching Freetown the following corvettes joined on 31 October; HMS Burdock (T/Lt. H.J. Fellows, SANF(V)), Clover (Lt.Cdr. F.A. Shaw, RNR) and Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR). They remained with the convoy until it arrived at Freetown on 5 November.

On 24 October 1941 the Gibraltar (and Lisbon) section of the convoy split off. This were nine merchant vessels escorted by HMS Fowey, HMS Leith and HMS Stonecrop. The destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) departed Gibraltar on 25 October to join the convoy on the 27th. Two more destroyers, HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) departed Gibraltar in the morning of 28 October and they joined the convoy in the afternoon of the next day. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 1 November. The previous day the ships destined for Lisbon had split off.

10 Nov 1941

Operation Perpetual and the sinking of HMS Ark Royal

Transfer of Hurrican fighters (from aircraft carriers) and Blenheim bombers (from Gibraltar) to Malta.

10 November 1941.

At 0235 hours (zone -1) on 10 November 1941, Force H departed Gibraltar for operation Perpetual. Force H was made up of the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. C. Coppinger, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, CBE, RN), HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN). They were escorted by seven destroyers; HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN).

At 0800 hours, HMS Argus flew off one aircraft for A/S patrol and a Catalina aircraft joined from Gibraltar at 0930 hours. The force passed to the north of Alboran Island. A French merchant vessel was sighted ahead at 1526 hours. She was north bound. During the afternoon AA firing exercises were carried out.

11 November 1941.

Force H continued to the eastward during the night. As the takeoff of the Blenheim bombers from Gibraltar was delayed due to unsuitable weather conditions it was decided that Force H would withdraw to the westward for a while, with the dual object of increasing the distance to the enemy air bases in Sardinia and to give the impression to possible enemy shadowers that the fly off of the Hurricanes had already taken place, and that Force H was already retiring.

At 0935 two aircraft were reported by RDF to the southward. Later the echo faded, but they were sighted flying very low over the Algerian coast. They were too far to be identified and were thought to be possibly French. However a report timed 0935 by an Italian reconnaissance aircraft was intercrypted shortly afterward and it became clear that the two aircraft were in fact Italian.

As hurricanes were range on Ark Royal’s flight deck, making it impossible for her to operate her own fighters. Argus had two Sea Hurricanes ranged, but the enemy aircraft disappeared before these could be launched.

Between 1835 and 1910 hours Vice-Admiral Somerville had a message transmitted that unless the Hurricanes could be flown off the following morning he intended to return to Gibraltar, as he did not consider it desirable to remain in this area without A/S air and fighter patrols.

At 2130 hours, Force H turned to the eastward again towards the flying off position.

12 November 1941.

Shortly after midnight a signal was received that it was intended that the carriers could launch their Hurricanes for Malta at 1000 hours.

At 0743 hours a signal was received that the firt group of Blenheim bombers was airborn at that they would be near the takeoff position of the Hurricanes shortly after 1000 hours.

Between this time and the completion of flying off of all the land Hurricanes, no fighters were available for the interception of enemy aircraft.

Two aircraft, presumed hostile, were detected by RDF to the north-eastward at 0907 hours, but they were not sighted. Later a report from an Italian reconnaissance aircraft time 0907 hours was intercripted, and this no doubt originated from one of these two aircraft.

At 1004 hours four Blenheim bombers were sighted and by 1021 hours 13 Hurricanes had been launched by Ark Royal and 6 by Argus. One of the Hurricanes that was to be launched from Ark Royal had troubles with the engine and was, after repairs, included in the second batch that was to be launched.

At 1048 hours, two more Blenheims were sighted, and within five minutes Ark Royal had flown off the first of the Hurricanes for her second batch. By 1112 hours all Hurricanes had been launched by the carriers and they made off with the Blenheims for Malta.

By 1130 hours all ships were back in position after the flying off operations and course was set to the west. From Ark Royal one Swordfish was flown off for A/S duties and four Fulmars for fighter patrol. These patrols were maintained until dusk.

At 1425 hours HMS Ark Royal reported an aircraft in sight low down to the southward. The four Fulmar fighters were vectored but a section of two Fulmars only sighted the enemy until on the return trip from the chase. One of the Fulmars was able to fire one good burst of gunfire from 300 yards before the enemy aircraft escaped into the clouds. Both wings of this Fulmar were damaged by enemy gunfire. Two sighting reports from this aircraft were intercepted.

Between 1500 and 1515 hours RDF reported that enemy aircraft were shadowing the fleet but by now weather had deteriorated and there was much low rain cloud. Although fighters were vectored no interceptions were made.

At 1625 hours hours Malta reported the arrival of 34 Hurricanes and 7 Blenheims. One Blenheim had returned to Gibraltar with engine trouble. Also a report on U-boat sightings in the Western Mediterranean was received.

Late in the evening speed had to be reduced in the bad weather to avoid weather damage to the escorting destroyers.

13 November 1941

At 0140 hours, weather had improved at bit and speed was increased by one knot to 17 knots but by 0500 hous weather had worsened even further then earlier and speed was reduced to 15 knots. This was only temporary though and at 0630 hours speed was increased to 17 knots and by 0800 hours (daylight) even to 19 knots.

An underwater explosion was observed by HMS Legion in her wake at 0413 hours. This was also heard be several of the other ships. Legion at that time was the starboard wing destroyer. This was thought to be a torpedo exploding at the end of its run.

This might well be correct as according to German sources the German submarine U-205, at 0506 hours (Berlin time), made a torpedo attack on a force of enemy warships but no hits were obtained.

At 0645 hours, Ark Royal flew of an AS patrol of six Swordfish for a dawn A/S patrol. They sighted nothing. They returned at 0850 hours. More A/S patrol were maintained throughout the day.

At 0817 hours a report was received that submarine were to be expected to be in the area. Course was now altered to approach Gibraltar directly from the east and not as was usually the case along the Spanish or Maroccan coast.

Later in the morning HMS Laforey and later HMS Lightning both reports A/S contacts and the fleet evaded these.

The fleet conducted exercises in the afternoon. HMS Laforey reported another A/S contact and the fleet once again made an emergency turn. The contact was however soon classified as ‘non sub’ and the main course was promptly resumed.

At 1541 hours, while in position 36°03’N, 04°40’W HMS Ark Royal was hit by a torpedo on the starboard side. Following this HMS Malaya immediately altered course to port and increased speed. HMS Legion and HMS Gurkha, the rear destroyers on the starboard wing at once turned outwards and started an A/S search to the north and east of the Ark Royal, the most probable area where the attacker must have been.

At this time HMS Ark Royal was still going ahead at considerable speed, listing to starboard and apparently under port wheel. A number of her aircraft were still circling overhead as she had been conducting aircraft operations when she was hit.

At 1549 hours, HMS Laforey and HMS Lightning were ordered to join HMS Ark Royal who appeared to be loosing speed. Signals were also made to require tugs to be sent out from Gibraltar and all available A/S craft to be sent out to patrol the area. HMS Hermione was ordered to stand by HMS Ark Royal The remaining three destroyers, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu and HrMs Isaac Sweers were ordered to screen HMS Malaya.

By 1610 hours, HMS Ark Royal was laying stopped and listing heavily to starboard but she reported she had steam on her port engine. HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning and HMS Gurkha had closed her and were circling Ark Royal. HMS Legion was alongside Ark Royal. HMS Hermione was still closing. HMS Malaya and her three escorting destroyers were about 5 miles off and proceeding to Gibraltar at 18 knots as was HMS Argus who was some distance astern of her but catching up on Malaya. At 1615 hours Argus flew off two Swordfish aircraft for A/S patrol.

At 1710 hours, when 8 nautical miles eastwards of Europa Point, HMS Malaya was passed by units coming out of Gibraltar to assist. These were the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), motor launches ML 121, ML 130, ML 132, ML 135, ML 170, ML 172, ML 176 and the tugs St. Omar and Thames. Shortly before the tug St. Day had also been sighted proceeding eastwards. Besides these ships the destroyer HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN) had also been ordered to proceed to the east.

HMS Malaya and HMS Argus entered harbour around 1820 hours and before she was berthed Vice-Admiral Somerville had transferred to HMS Sikh and went out again to proceed to HMS Ark Royal. Shortly before Sikh left the harbour the destroyer HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) had also left the harbour to assist. Sikh, Zulu, Isaac Sweers and Wishart joined the patrol near Ark Royal for the night.

At 1900 hours, three corvettes departed Gibaltar to assist. These were; HMS Rhododendron (Lt. H.I. Davis, RNVR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR), HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr. J. Byron, RNR). This last corvette had a large 6” portable pump on board

The trawlers HMS St. Nectan (T/Lt.Cdr. H.B. Phillips, RNR) and HMS Lady Shirley (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Callaway, RANVR) had also been sailed around 1715 hours to patrol the area. They had not been very near to Ark Royal during the coming night.

Around 2040 hours the situation was as follows. Ark Royal was being towed by Thames and St. Day. The tow was proceeding at 2 knots. It was hoped that Ark Royal was able to raise steam shortly.

At 2224 hours, the Capt. (D) 19th Destroyer Flotilla on board Laforey reported that Ark Royal had her own steam and power and that flooding was apparently under contral and that no more tugs would be required until off the harbour. Shortly afterwards Vice-Admiral Somerville therefore ordered the three corvettes to establish A/S patrol astern of the Ark Royal and to close her only by daylight.

At 2355 hours, HMS Legion arrived at Gibraltar packed with crew of HMS Ark Royal which were not needed in the rescue effort. After landing these she proceeded back to sea.

14 November 1941

At 0221 hours, the Capt. (D) 19th Destroyer Flotilla reported that Ark Royal had lost steam (and power) and that a powerful pump would be required. Another signal at 0242 hours stated that another tug would be required. This indicated that the situation was deteriorating. Vice-Admiral Somerville therefore ordered HMS Sikh to close. HMS Pentstemon, the corvette with the portable pump on board, was also ordered to close. From Gibraltar the tug Rollicker was also sent out to assist.

On approaching HMS Laforey, which was alongside Ark Royal together with St. Day, signaled to Sikh that Vice-Admiral Somerville could better transfer to an ML which he did. At 0430 hours Vice-Admiral Somerville boarded Laforey to find she was on the point of casting off from HMS Ark Royal. Capt. Maund was also on board Laforey with the last of the steaming party. Ark Royal now had a list of 35° and was listing still further judging by the straining and parting of wires securing the ships alongside her. The situation was reported by signal to the Admiralty at 0446 hours.

After getting clear in HMS Laforey, Vice-Admiral Somerville, ordered St. Day to go ahead of Thames but at 0600 hours Thames reported that she had cast off the tow as Ark Royal was sinking. The carrier turned over at 0613 hours and remained bottom up for a few minutes after which she disappeared from sight. This was reported by signal to the Admiralty at 0623 hours.

Vice-Admiral Somerville then ordered the Capt. (D) 19th Destroyer Flotilla to take all destroyers in the area under his command and to commence an A/S sweep to the eastward. He was instructed to return to Gibraltar by dark. In the end HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion and HMS Zulu returned to Gibraltar at 1535/14 followed about 15 minutes later by HMS Wild Swan.

Vice-Admiral Somerville himself returned to Gibraltar in HMS Sikh arriving at 0830 hours as did HrMs Isaac Sweers at 0900 hours. (5)

16 Nov 1941

Operation Chieftan

Dummy convoy to Malta from Gibraltar to create a diversion for the enemy during army operations in Libya.

16 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

On 16 November a dummy convoy departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards, it was made up of the merchant vessels; Baron Newlands (British, 3386 GRT, built 1928), Blairatholl (British, 3319 GRT, built 1925), Cisneros (British, 1886 GRT, built 1926), Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940) and Shuna (British, 1575 GRT, built 1937).

The RFA tanker Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), sloop HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), and the corvettes HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.C. Connell, RNR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, DSO, RNR).

HMS Wild Swan got an A/S contact and was detached to hunt it reinforced by the corvette HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) from Gibraltar.

The corvette Marigold detected and depth charged the German submarine U-433. The submarine surfaced and was sunk at 2155/6 on 16 November 1941 in the Mediterranean east of Gibraltar, in position 36°13'N, 04°42'W.

17 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy turned back to the eastwards again on the 17th.

18 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy arrived back at Gibraltar in the evening of the 18th.

Eastern Mediterranean.

Around 0730/18 the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria to be at sea to support several operations in the Mediterranean.

The fleet turned back towards Alexandria after dark.

On the 18th HMS Naiad and HMS Euryalus split off together with the destroyers HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling for a night bombardment of the Helfaya pass area upon which they also returned to Alexandria. They too arrived before noon on the 19th.

' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1845/18 to create a diversion during the night.

19 November 1941.

Eastern Mediterranean.

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0730/19.

The fleet arrived back in harbour before noon on the 19th followed shortly afterwards by HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling. (8)

30 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Woodruff (A/Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN). (9)

9 Dec 1941

Convoy WS 14.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 9 December 1941.

On forming up the convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Abosso (British, 11330 GRT, built 1935), Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), City of Pretoria (British, 8049 GRT, built 1937), Clan Cameron (British, 7243 GRT, built 1937), Duchess of Atholl (British, 20119 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empire Condor (British, 7773 GRT, built 1940), Empire Curlew (British, 7101 GRT, built 1941), Empire Egret (British, 7169 GRT, built 1939), Empire Oriole (British, 6535 GRT, built 1941), Empire Peregrine (British, 6440 GRT, built 1941), Empire Pintail (British, 7773 GRT, built 1940), Empire Widgeon (British, 6737 GRT, built 1940), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Esperance Bay (British, 14204 GRT, built 1921), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orestes (British, 7748 GRT, built 1926), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920), Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938), Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921) and Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

The aircraft transport HMS Engadine (Cdr. W.T. Fitzgerald, RD, RNR) was also part of the convoy.

On forming up the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Cilicia, AA ship HMS Ulster Queen (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN), HMS Newark (Lt.Cdr. R.H.W. Atkins, RN), HMS Sherwood (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, DSO, RN).

In the afternoon of the 11th, HMS Newark parted company with the convoy due to damaged fuel tanks.

Bad weather was experienced on the 11th, and late in the evening, the Empire Oriole had to heave to in order to secure tanks that were carried as deck cargo. She did not rejoin the convoy and proceeded independently to Freetown arriving there on 23 December.

At 0415N/12, HMS Ulster Queen parted company with the convoy in approximate position 49°08'N, 19°08'W.

Later that morning, HMS Lancaster parted company with the convoy in approximate position 47°50'N, 20°42'W.

Around midnight during the night of 12/13 December, Westcott, HMS Witherington, HMS Beverley, HMS Newark and HMS Sherwood parted company with the convoy in approximate position 41°46'N, 22°51'W.

Around 0940Z/13, the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Holmes, RN) and HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 44°00'N, 22°16'W coming from Milford Haven (HMS Gurkha came from Plymouth).

At the time of joining HMAS Nestor, HMS Foxhound, HMS Badsworth, HMS Beaufort and HMS Croome were supposed to be with the convoy but they had lost touch with the convoy in the heavy weather conditions. All were in touch trough V/S except for HMS Croome. HMAS Nestor, HMS Foxhound and HMS Gurkha were then ordered to proceed to Gibraltar. Vanquisher, Volunteer, Witch, HMS Badsworth and HMS Beaufort remained with the convoy.

At 1800Z/13, in approximate position 42°38'N, 22°40'W HMS Badsworth and HMS Beaufort were detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Also on 13 December (around 0500 hours) the Scythia left the convoy due to ' not being under control '. She did not rejoin the convoy and arrived independently at Freetown on 23 December.

At 2200Z/14, in approximate position, 36°07'N, 23°24'W, HMS Vanquisher was detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores. She was detached earlier then intended due to condenser trouble.

At 0400Z/15, in approximate position 35°02'N, 23°23'W, HMS Volunteer and HMS Witch were detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

At 1030Z/15, HMS Badsworth and HMS Beaufort rejoined the convoy in approximate position 34°03'N, 23°24'W.

At 0930Z/18, the destroyer HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 18°50'N, 21°52'W.

At 0910Z/19, the destroyers HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 14°30'N, 19°17'W.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 21 December 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 25 December 1941 for South Africa.

The convoy sailed with the same ships as with it had arrived except for HMS Engadine

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies, destroyers HMS Brilliant, HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN), escort destroyers HMS Beaufort, HMS Hurworth and the sloop HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr.(Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN).

At 1100Z/26, HMS Vimy developed engine trouble and fell behind. She rejoined the convoy at 0600Z/27.

At 1800Z/26, in approximate position 03°02'N, 12°25'W, HMS Brilliant parted company with the convoy, taking the troopship Abosso with her. They were to proceed to Takoradi.

At 0400Z/27, the Orestes fell out of line with engine trouble. As by noon she was not in sight HMS Vimy was ordered to search for her. She reported at 1800Z/27 that she had found the Orestes which was now able to proceed at 14 knots. HMS Vimy was then ordered to return to Freetown. The Orestes then proceeded to Capetown unescorted.

At 1900Z/27, HMS Bridgewater was detached to proceed ahead to fuel from the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917).

At 0600Z/29, HMS Beaufort was detached to fuel from the Rapidol.

At 1100Z/30, HMS Hurworth was detached to fuel from the Rapidol but she could not find the tanker and rejoined the convoy at 1930Z/29. Fortunately the tanker was then sighted on the convoy's beam and she was able to fuel after all. On completion of fuelling she started a search for an unidentified ship that had been sighted earlier by the Rapidol.

At 1320/30, HMS Beaufort rejoined the convoy.

At 1700/30, HMS Bridgewater rejoined the convoy.

At 1845A/31, HMS Hurworth rejoined the convoy. The ship reported by the Rapidol had not been sighted.

At 0100Z/3, the Andes was detached to proceed ahead of the convoy to Capetown where politicians were to be landed. She later joined the Durban section of the convoy.

In the morning of the 4th, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Derbyshire (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, DSO, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 31°45'S, 14°00'E.

At 1600Z/4, in approximate position, 33°12'S, 15°45'E, HMS Derbyshire parted company with the convoy taking the Durban section of the convoy with her. The Durban section was made up of the Andes, Athlone Castle, Cameronia, Duchess of Atholl, Durban Castle, Esperance Bay, Highland Princess, Oronsay, Reina del Pacifico, Scythia and Strathallan.

The Capetown section of the convoy, made up of the City of Pretoria, Clan Cameron, Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Egret, Empire Oriole, Empire Peregrine, Empire Pintail, Empire Widgeon, Empress of Australia, Highland Monarch, Orcades, Troilus and Warwick Castle arrived at Capetown early in the morning escorted by HMS Ramillies, HMS Beaufort and HMS Hurworth. The escort destroyers then proceeded to Simonstown. The Orestes arrived later in the morning.

The Durban section was joined in the morning of the 6th by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H.W.V. Stephenson, RN) in approximate position 35°18'S, 23°32'E.

In the morning of the 8th the convoy arrived at Durban in three sections in order to avoid congestion in the swept channel. Each of the escorts, HMS Ceres, HMS Bridgewater and HMS Derbyshire took one section under their orders.

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On 9 January 1942, the Capetown section, made up of the City of Pretoria, Clan Cameron, Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Egret, Empire Oriole, Empire Peregrine, Empire Pintail, Empire Widgeon, Empress of Australia, Highland Monarch, Orcades, Troilus and Warwick Castle. An additional transport, the Malancha (British, 8124 GRT, built 1937), joined the convoy.

The Orestes was also to have joined the convoy but she was delayed, probably due to repairs, and she sailed later with orders to overtake the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies and the corvettes HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR).

In the early morning of the 10th both corvettes parted company to return to Capetown.

On the 13th the convoy was joined by the Durban section made up of the transports City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Duchess of Atholl, Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937), Esperance Bay, Nova Scotia (British, 6796 GRT, built 1926) and Thysville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) J.P. Landon, RN).

Also the Orestes caught up with the convoy off Durban and joined.

The Orcades of the Capetown section parted company with the convoy and entered Durban.

The Duchess of Athol soon developed engine trouble and returned to Durban. Her troops were transferred to the Andes and this ship then departed Durban on 14 January 1942, escorted by HMS Ceres to overtake the convoy which Andes did early on the 16th. HMS Ceres then set course to return to Durban where she arrived on the 18th.

Early on the 19th, rendezvous was made with the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) which then took the ships of Singapore with her forming convoy DM 2. These were the City of Canterbury, City of Pretoria, Dunera, Empress of Australia, Malancha, Troilus and Warwick Castle. They then set course for Port T (Addu Atoll).

At 1000C/20, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) which had the transports Mendoza (British (former French), 8233 GRT, built 1919) and Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937) with her. HMS Ramillies then parted company and proceeded to Mombasa arriving there on 21 January 1942.

The convoy then split into two more sections; convoy WS 14A was to proceed to the Gulf of Aden where it was to disperse. It was made up of the Empire Egret, Empire Oriole, Empire Pintail, Highland Morarch, Mendoza, Orestes and Salween. HMS Colombo was escorting these ships. The convoy was dispersed on 26 January 1942 in the Gulf of Aden. The Thysville proceeded independently to Aden as she had straddled from the convoy not long after it had departed Durban due to bad coal having been supplied.

HMS Corfu took the remainder of the ships with her towards Bombay. This convoy was then known as convoy WS 14B and was made up of the Andes, Clan Cameron, Dilwara, Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Peregrine, Empire Widgeon, Esperance Bay and Nova Scotia.

At 1930E/25, the Clan Cameron, Empire Curlew, Empire Peregrine, Empire Widgeon parted company with the convoy to proceed to Basra independently.

The remainder of Convoy WS 14B arrived at Bombay on 28 January 1942. (4)

12 Jan 1942

Convoy WS 15.

This convoy assembled off Oversay on 12 January 1942.

On assembly the convoy was made up of the (troop) transports; Aagtekerk (Dutch, 6811 GRT, built 1934), Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Autolycus (British, 7621 GRT, built 1922), Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Dorset (British, 10624 GRT, built 1934), Elisabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Empire Woodlark (British, 7793 GRT, built 1913), Laconia (British, 19695 GRT, built 1922), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Melbourne Star (British, 11076 GRT, built 1936), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Pardo (British, 5400 GRT, built 1940), Pasteur (British, 29253 GRT, built 1938), Port Chalmers (British, 8535 GRT, built 1933), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936), Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935), Stratnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) and Viceroy of India (British, 19627 GRT, built 1929).

The Dutch submarine tender HrMs Colombia (Capt. J.L.K. Hoeke, RNN) was also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Cdr. E.J. van Holte, RNN), armed merchant cruisers HMS Ascania (A/Capt. A.G. Davidson, RN), HMS Cheshire (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Begg, RN), destroyers HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Demirhisar (?). [This was an 'I-class' destroyer, one of four ordered by the Turkish government before the start of the war. Two of these destroyers were taken over by the Royal Navy and two were delivered to Turkey. On passage to Turkey they were commissioned as HMS ships with a Royal Navy crew so they also served on escort duty during their passage to Turkey (via the Cape of Good Hope).]

On 15 January, HMS Vanoc and HMS Walker parted company with the convoy.

On 16 January, the Llangibby Castle was torpedoed and damaged by the German submarine U-402. The damaged ship managed to reach the Azores steering on her engines as her rudder had been blown off.

Around 0900N/17, the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.E.C. Tait, CB, MVO, RN) and the destroyer Norman joined coming from Milford Haven. The destroyers Garland and Anthony had also been with the battleship but these had been detached to go to the assistance of the damaged Llangibby Castle. It had originally been intended that HMS Resolution would join the convoy on 15 January but this did not materialise due to the bad weather conditions.

Around 1400N/17, HMS Boreas and HMS Demirhisar were detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Around 1400N/18, HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck parted company with the convoy to fuel at Ponta Delgada.

Around 1830N/18, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy to fuel at Ponta Delgada.

Around 1400O/19, HMS Boreas rejoined the convoy but the Demirhisar had sustained damage to her stern and had to make some repairs before she was able to proceed.

Around 1000O/20, HMAS Norman and later HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck rejoined the convoy.

Around 1500O/21, the destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) joined. She had however one engine out of action and could only proceed at 22 knots.

After nightfall on the 21st, HMS Resolution was ordered to proceed ahead for an ocean rendezvous with the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917). Due to the bad weather conditions encountered, HMS Resolution had not enough fuel on board to reach Freetown without refuelling. She met the Rapidol and her escort, the corvette HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR), the following day but conditions were unfavourable to fuel and every attempt failed. Course was therefore set to the Cape Verde Islands.

The convoy meanwhile continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 25 January. On 22 January the convoy had been joined by the destroyer HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) and on 23 January HMS Demirhisar rejoined after her delay at the Azores. Shortly before the convoy arrived at Freetown, HMS Vimy was detached to join HMS Resolution (see below).

At 0830N/23, in the lee of Sal Island, another attempt was made just outside Portugese territorial waters. However wind and swell were still too great for oizling at sea and the ships therefore anchored in Murdeira Bay with the Rapidol proceeding alongside while the Jasmire and the Vansittart, which meanwhile had also joined to fuel, conducted an A/S patrol off the Bay.

Oiling was ceased at 1230N/23 so then it was Vansittart's turn. HMS Resolution then left the Bay and proceeded ahead to Freetown. HMS Vansittart was to overtake her.

At 0830N/25, the destroyer HMS Vimy joined HMS Resolution. Two hours later HMS Vansittart finally caught up with HMS Resolution. They arrived at Freetown early in the afternoon.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 29 January 1942, in the same composition. The convoy was now escorted by the battleship HMS Resolution (now flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire destroyers HMS Vimy, HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Boreas, HMS Demirhisar and the sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN).

At dusk on 31 January, HMS Vimy, HMS Wild Swan, HMS Boreas parted company to return to Freetown.

It had been arranged that the RFA tanker Rapidol would be in position 14°30'S, 05°10'W at 0830Z/3, to fuel HMS Demirhisar and HMS Milford and if needed HMS Resolution.

At 1800Z/3, HMS Resolution parted company with the convoy to make a short call at St. Helena.

At 0610Z/4, HMS Resolution anchored off St. Helena. She departed around 1130Z/4 to rejoin the convoy which she did in the afternoon of 6 February.

The convoy split into two section and the Capetown section made up of the Dorset, Elizabeth Bakke, Laconia, Orontes, Pasteur and HrMs Colombia. They arrived at Capetown on 9 February escorted by HMS Resolution, HMS Cheshire and HMS Demirhisar. HMS Demirhisar then proceeded to Simonstown for repairs for the damage she had sustained at Ponta Delgada.

The other ships continued on to Durban escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Dunnottar Castle (Capt.(Retd.) C.T.A. Bunbury, RN) and HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt.(Retd.) E.H. Hopkinson, RN) which had joined the convoy on 9 February coming from Capetown. HMS Milford also remained with the convoy until Durban the Durban section arrived there on 13 February 1942.

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The Capetown section departed from there (less the Elizabeth Bakke) on 14 February 1942 escorted by HMS Cheshire.

They made rendezvous off Durban with the Durban section (less the Arawa and Letitia) on 17 February 1942. The Durban section was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H.W.V. Stephenson, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire and the destroyer HMAS Norman.

On 21 February, HMAS Norman fuelled from HMS Worcesterhire, while being alongside and proceeding at 10 knots !.

At 0800C/22, HMAS Norman was detached to the Seychelles.

At 1230C/22, the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN) joined and half an hour later the 'Batavia Section' of the convoy parted company in position 10°22'S, 42°00'E forming convoy DM 3 to proceed to Port T (Addu Atoll). The ships that parted company were the Aagtekerk, Autolycus, Christiaan Huygens, Empire Woodlark, Pardo, Port Chalmers, Staffordshire, Strathnaver and HrMs Colombia.

The remaining ships continued northwards escorted by HMS Ceres and HMS Worcestershire.

They were joined at 0700C/24, in position 02°44'S, 43°20'E, by the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) and the transport Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923) coming from Mombasa. HMS Ceres then parted company to proceed to Mombasa.

At 0300C/26, the convoy split up into two sections. Convoy WS 15A set course for the Gulf of Aden escorted by HMS Colombo. It was made up of the Dorset, Laconia, Melbourne Star, Orontes, Otranto, Pasteur and Viceroy of India. It was dispersed off Aden on 1 March 1942 to proceed independently to Suez.

Convoy WS 15B set course for Bombay escorted by HMS Worcestershire. It was made up of the Britannic, Khandalla, Stirling Castle and Strathmore. The convoy arrived at Bombay on 4 March 1942. In the approaches to Bombay it was joined by the sloop Lawrence (T/Lt. C.F. Smith, RINR) and the auxiliary patrol vessel HMIS Dipavati (T/Lt. P. Munday, RINR). (10)

16 Feb 1942

Convoy WS 16.

This convoy departed the Clyde on 16 February 1942 and arrived at Freetown on 1 March 1942.

The convoy was made up of the troopships / transports; Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936), Bergensfjord (British, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Brisbane Star (British, 12791 GRT, built 1937), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Delftdijk (Dutch, 10220 GRT, built 1929), Denbighshire (British, 8983 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Empire Pride (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Port Jackson (British, 9687 GRT, built 1937), Potaro (British, 5410 GRT, built 1940), Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937) and Volendam (Dutch, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The Straithaid was unable to sail with the convoy and joined at sea on 21 February 1942.

On departure from the Clyde the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. C. Coppinger, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN), HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Duncan (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt. R. Horncastle, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSC, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, DSO, RN).

Between 1300/18 and 1500/18 the transports City of Edinburgh, City of Lincoln and Potaro reported that their cargo had shifted. The Potaro was able to continue but was ordered to proceed to Freetown independently. The other two ships had to return to the U.K.

At 0920/20 the destroyer HMS Anthony left the convoy to proceed to the Azores with condensor trouble.

At 1800/20 HMS Panther was detached to fuel at the Azores and then rejoin the convoy.

At 1300/21 the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) and destroyer HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN) joined the convoy. They had the troopship Strathaird with them. They had departed from the Clyde on 18 February 1942.

At 0800/21 HMS Croome was detached to Gibraltar.

At 1530/21 HMS Malaya, HMS Eagle, HMS Hermione, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Duncan, HMS Active and HMS Blankney were detached to Gibraltar.

At 1600/21 HMS Paladin was detached to the Azores to refuel after which she was to rejoin the convoy.

At 1800/21 HMS Firedrake was detached. She was to return to the U.K independently.

At 1800/22 HMS Verity, HMS Walker and HMS Witherington were detached to the Azores where they were to fuel after which they were to proceed to Halifax.

At 1600/23 HMS Paladin rejoined the convoy. HMS Panther had sailed from the Azores before her but apparently she was unable to find the convoy. Eventually she joined in the evening.

At 0905/26 the destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) joined the convoy coming from Bathurst.

The convoy arrived safely at Freetown in the morning of 1 March 1942 escorted by HMS Formidable, HMS Newcastle, HMS Paladin, HMS Panther, HMS Boreas, HMS Brilliant and HMS Wild Swan.

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The same ships departed Freetown on 6 March 1942 for South Africa.

Escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Newcastle, destroyers Brilliant, Wild Swan, sloop HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr.(Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) and the corvettes HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR) and HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR).

Before deparure of the convoy HMS Newcastle conducted gunnery exercises and the A/S escorts conducted an A/S sweep off Freetown returning to meet the convoy off the boom.

At 2100Z/6, HMS Nigella was detached due to engine trouble. After repairs she was to proceed to St. Helena to fuel.

In the morning of 8 March 1942 HMS Newcastle attempted to fuel HMS Bridgewater but owning to the swell this was not possible.

At 0930Z/8, in position 01°46'N, 17°52'W, HMS Brilliant and HMS Wild Swan were detached to return to Freetown.

On 9 March 1942 further attempts were made to fuel HMS Bridgewater and some fuel was transferred.

In the afternoon of 12 March 1942 HMS Newcastle was able to fully fuel HMS Bridgewater. After dark, at 1930Z/12, HMS Jasmine was detached in position 15°44'S, 04°27'W to fuel at St. Helena.

At 1600Z/17, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Dunnottar Castle (Capt.(Retd.) C.T.A. Bunbury, RN) and the sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) joined the convoy in position 33°13'S, 16°06'E. These ships had departed Capetown at 0520Z/17. Shortly afterwards, the Capetown section, made up of; Bergensfjord, Brisbane Star, Delftdijk, Denbighshire, Nea Hellas, Port Jackson, Potaro, Sibajak, escorted by HMS Newcastle and HMS Milford splít off. The Capetown section arrived there around 0900Z/18. HMS Milford split off shortly before the convoy arrived and proceeded to Simonstown arriving there at 1410Z/18.

The Durban section, made up of the Awatea, Cuba, Duchess of Richmond, Dutchess of York, Empire Pride, Monarch of Bermuda, Mooltan, Ormonde, Strathaird, Stratheden and Volendam continued on now escorted by HMS Dunnotar Castle and HMS Bridgewater.

At 0400Z/18, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Begg, RN) and the corvettes HMS Freesia (T/Lt. R.A. Cherry, RNR) and HMS Fritillary (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Barker, RD, RNR) joined the Durban section of the convoy in position 34°55'S, 18°08'E. They had departed Capetown at 1715Z/17.

At 0630Z/18, in position 35°19'S, 18°55'E, HMS Bridgewater parted company to proceed to Simonstown where she arrived at 1156Z/18.

At 1300A/18, in position 35°57'S, 19°36'E, HMS Freesia and HMS Fritillary parted company. They arrived at Capetown at 0620Z/19.

The Durban section of the convoy arrived off Durban at 0800Z/21. The transports then entered harbour. HMS Cheshire and HMS Dunnotar Castle did not enter the harbour but set course to return to Capetown.

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The sloop HMS Milford departed Simonstown at 0500Z on 22 April 1942 to make rendezvous with the Capetown position of the convoy in Table Bay at 1000Z/22.

On departure the convoy was also briefly escorted by HMS Jasmine and HMS Fritillary. These corvettes returned to Capetown at 1150Z/22.

At 0800Z/22, HMS Newcastle departed from Simonstown to make rendezvous with the Capetown section of the convoy.

At 1330Z/25, the Capetown section made rendezvous in position 33°30'S, 31°22'E with the Durban section of the convoy, now made up of the Awatea, Duchess of Richmond, Duchess of York, Empire Pride, Stratheden and Volendam, which had departed Durban at 1000Z/25 escorted by the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt.(Retd.) E.H. Hopkinson, RN). HMS Milford by that time was no longer with the convoy as she arrived at Simonstown at 1300Z/26. HMS Newcastle parted company with the convoy at 2200Z/25 in position 30°03'S, 33°08'E and proceeded to Durban for repairs arriving there at 0548Z/26.

At 0245Z on 1 April 1942 the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) and armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt.(Retd.) E.N. Kershaw, RN) joined in position 01°38'S, 44°52'E.

At 1800Z/2, HMS Colombo split off in position 04°49'N, 50°00'E with the Aden section of the convoy which was made up of the Bergensfjord, Nea Hellas and Volendam. This section of the convoy was dispersed off Aden on 6 April 1942.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Bombay escorted by HMS Alaunia and HMS HMS Worcestershire. It arrived at Bombay on 8 April 1942. (11)

1 May 1942
Around 1530 hours HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) is joined by the destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) which were to escort the battleship to Freetown. (12)

3 May 1942
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) arrived at Freetown. (12)

9 May 1942
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) departed Freetown for Gibraltar. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN). (12)

10 May 1942
In the late afternoon / early evening, HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), fuelled her escorting destroyers one by one, first HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) and then HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN). (12)

11 May 1942

Convoy WS 19.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 11 May 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Akaroa (British, 15130 GRT, built 1914), Athlone Castle (British, 25565 GRT, built 1936), Borinquen (American, 7114 GRT, built 1931), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Lanarkshire (British, 9816 GRT, built 1940), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), USS Orizaba (American, 6937 GRT, built 1918), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Pasteur (British, 29253 GRT, built 1938), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920), Strarthaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) and Sussex (British, 13647 GRT, built 1937).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), HMS Castleton (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Bristowe, DSO, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN).

Around 0400Z/14, HMS Keppel, HMS Volunteer and HMS Leamington parted company with the convoy in approximate position 46°00'N, 21°40'W.

Around 1600Z/14, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley parted company in approximate position 43°40'N, 22°40'W. They were to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Around 0100Z/15, the Akaroa was detached to proceed to Bermuda independently.

Around 2100Z/15, HMS St. Marys parted company in approximate position 37°25'N, 23°30'W.

Around 1600Z/16, HMS Castleton parted company in approximate position 33°08'N, 23°46'W.

Around 1800Z/17, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley rejoined in approximate position 27°43'N, 24°24'W.

Around 1030Z/19, the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) joined in approximate position 19°45'N, 20°40'W. She came from convoy SL 110.

Around 0845Z/20, the destroyers HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) and HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) joined, coming from Bathurst, in approximate position 15°27'N, 20°40'W.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 22 May 1942.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 26 May 1942.

It was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Mauritius, armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN), destroyers HMS Boreas, HMS Velox, escort destroyers HMS Belvoir, HMS Hursley and the sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN).

Around 1900Z/28, HMS Boreas and HMS Velox parted company in approximate position 01°07'S, 13°43'W. HMS Velox was to return to Freetown while HMS Boreas was to proceed to Takoradi taking the Highland Monarch from the convoy with her. The Highland Monarch was later to proceed to the River Plate area.

Around 0800Z/29, HMS Alcantara and HMS Milford parted company with the convoy so that the armed merchant cruiser could top off the sloop with fuel. They rejoined around 1630Z/29. HMS Alcantara then immediately left the convoy again in position 05°18'S, 10°38'W to proceed to St. Helena. HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley went with her so that they could fuel in the lee of St. Helena from HMS Alcantara

Around 2000Z/31, HMS Alcantara, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley rejoined the convoy in approximate position 15°48'S, 06°02'W

Around 1600A/1, HMS Alcantara parted company with the convoy in approximate position 18°05'S, 02°20'W. She was to patrol in the South Atlantic.

Around 1230B/5, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 32°25'S, 14°20'E.

Around 1700B/5, in approximate position 32°55'S, 14°59'E, HMS Shropshire parted company taking the Clan MacArthur, Moreton Bay, USS Orizaba, Ormonde, Pasteur and Strathaird with her to Durban where they arrived on 9 June. HMS Shropshire then turned back towards the Capetown area to make rendezvous with the Capetown section of the convoy and then escort it eastwards.

The remainder of the convoy proceeded to Capetown where it arrived on 6 June. HMS Mauritius then went on to Simonstown as did the A/S escorts later.

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On 11 June the Athlone Castle, Borinquen, Lankashire, Monarch of Bermuda, Mooltan, Strathnaver, Sussex departed Capetown to continue their voyage. With them was now also the transport Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924).

They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire (A/Capt. H.G. Hopper, RN).

Around 1200B/12, HMS Shropshire joined them in approximate position 37°10'S, 19°56'E.

Around 0900C/14, the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley joined.

Around 1100C/15, HMS Cheshire parted company with the convoy off Durban.

Around 1200C/15, the Durban section of the convoy joined. They were being escorted by the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN). The Durban section was made up of the Clan Macarthur, Moreton Bay, USS Orizaba and Strathaird. With them were now also the Clan MacInnes (British, 4672 GRT, built 1920), Clan MacTavish (British, 7631 GRT, built 1921), Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and Empire Woodlark (British, 7793 GRT, built 1913).

Around 1100D/18, the light cruiser HMS Mauritius joined the convoy in approximate position 27°28'S, 43°05'E. HMS Shropshire then parted company.

Around 0900C/23, the Clan MacInnes, Clan MacTavish, Empire Trooper, Empire Woodlark and Moreton Bay parted company with the convoy in approximate position 13°51'S, 53°03'E to proceed to Diego Suarez where they arrived on 24 June. They were escorted by HMS Emerald, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley.

Around 2000E/26, the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN) joined coming from Kilindini/Mombasa. She relieved HMS Mauritius which then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini/Mombasa.

Around 1700E/26, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) J.P. Landon, RN) joined the convoy in in approximate position 05°26'N, 52°16'E, The Athlone Castle, USS Orizaba and Strathaird parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bombay where they arrived on 1 July. They were escorted by HMS Devonshire.

The remainder of the convoy proceeded towards Aden escorted by HMS Corfu. They arrived off Aden on 30 June. (10)

13 May 1942
At 0750 hours HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) was joined by the destroyers HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN) and HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN). HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) were then detached. (12)

17 Jun 1942
Wild Swan was returning alone to Plymouth to refit when she was attacked and sunk by twelve German dive bombers, but not before six of the enemy aircraft had been shot down, a feat unsurpassed in a single ship action. (see Times obituary of Cmdr Claude Sclater dated 3 May 1986) (13)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16283
  2. ADM 199/379
  3. ADM 173/16789
  4. ADM 199/1138
  5. ADM 199/657
  6. ADM 173/18708
  7. ADM 53/114165 + ADM 53/114195 + ADM 199/395
  8. ADM 199/415
  9. ADM 173/16988
  10. ADM 199/1211
  11. ADM 199/653 + ADM 199/1211
  12. ADM 53/116215
  13. Personal communication

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


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