Harry Leslie Howden, RAN

Born  4 Jul 1896Wellington, New Zealand


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Ranks

5 Oct 1916 Mid.
5 Jul 1917 S.Lt.
5 May 1919 Lt.
5 May 1927 Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1931 Cdr.
30 Jun 1938 Capt.

Retired: 4 Jul 1951


Decorations

3 Dec 1940 CBE

Warship Commands listed for Harry Leslie Howden, RAN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMAS Hobart (D 63)Capt.Light cruiser28 Aug 19397 Jun 1942

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Light cruiser HMAS Hobart (D 63)


8 Sep 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises in Port Phillip. (1)

11 Sep 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Williamstown for to make rendezvous with HMA Squadron. (1)

12 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Cape Howe. On completion of the exercises, HMAS Canberra set course for Sydney, HMAS Hobart set course for Melbourne. (2)

14 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted HA gunnery exercises in Port Phillip. (1)

18 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises in Port Phillip.

She departed later the same day for Sydney via Burnie, Tasmania. (1)

19 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 1020K/19 to 1630K/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) anchored in Emu Bay off Burnie, Tasmania.

On departure course was set for Sydney. (1)

26 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 26 to 28 September 1939, HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted exercises off Sydney. These included night exercises. (2)

30 Sep 1939
Around 1230K/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Sydney for operation OY 1.

[For more info see the event ' Operation OY 1 ' for 1 October 1939.] (1)

1 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Operation OY 1.

The object of this operation was to test the air reconnaissance capabilities of the RAAF.

By 0600K/1, HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN) had taken up positions of the coasts of New South Wales and Victoria.

Aircraft took off from Laverton, Richmond and Archerfield to search to a depth of 80 miles. Aircraft also took off from Canberra to search to a depth of 160 miles.

The exercises were completed around 1900K/1.

On completion of the exercises HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart and HMAS Adelaide set course for Sydney. HMAS Australia set course for Melbourne. (3)

2 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0100K/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Sydney from operation OY 1. (4)

5 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 5 to 7 October 1939, HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN) conducted exercises off Sydney. (3)

13 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Sydney for Singapore via Darwin. (4)

20 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Darwin to fuel. (4)

21 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Darwin for Singapore. (4)

26 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Singapore from Darwin. (4)

4 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Singapore from patrol. (4)

8 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Singapore for Colombo. (5)

12 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo from Singapore. (5)

15 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo for Bombay.

Later this day a signal was received from the sloop HMS Leith (Cdr. G.R. Waymouth, RN) that starshell had been sighted in position 09°00'N, 68°10'E. HMAS Hobart then raised steam for full speed and set course for the Eight Degree Channel to proceed to this position.

The following day, HMS Leith reported that she had searched the area but had found nothing. HMAS Hobart was then ordered to continue her passage to Bombay via a route west of the Laccadive Islands. (4)

18 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Bombay from Colombo. (4)

28 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Bombay for patrol in the Arabian Sea. (4)

1 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Bombay from patrol. Before entering harbour gunnery exercises were carried out. (4)

2 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1100Z/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Bombay escorting the transport Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924) towards the Gulf of Aden.

Around 1200Z/6, in position 15°31'N, 56°04'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Akbar and then set course to make rendezvous with the transport Ettrick (British, 11229 GRT, built 1938).

Rendezvous was effected around 0520Z/7, in position 13°00'N, 58°45'E.

Around 1300Z/8, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Ettrick and set course for Bombay at 25 knots.

HMAS Hobart returned to Bombay around 0945Z/9. (4)

20 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0900Z/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo after convoy escort duty. (4)

23 Dec 1939
Around 0250Z/23, the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard).

On departure from Colombo HMAS Hobart conducted gunnery exercises on a target that was being towed by the minesweeper HMS Widnes (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Chandler, RN).

Rendezvous with the Suffren was effected around 1015Z/24 in position 07°06'N, 85°48'E.

The cruisers made rendezvous with a convoy escorted by the French sloop Savorgnan de Brazza (Cdr. A.R.D. De Badens) around 2336Z/25 (dawn on 26 December in local time). The convoy was made up of the transports; Bougainville (French, 7293 GRT, built 1914), Yalou (French, 6783 GRT, built 1915) and Si-Kiang (French, 6738 GRT, built 1915).

HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy around 1200Z/27 and set course for Colombo where she arrived around 1235Z/28 and then completed with oil fuel.

HMAS Hobart departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN). They later joined the French convoy as additional escorts.

Around 0235Z/6, near Socotra, in position 12°00'N, 52°05'E, HMAS Hobart parted company and set course to return to Colombo where she arrived around 0325Z on 10 January 1940. (4)

29 Jan 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. (4)

31 Jan 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0145Z/31, HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) departed Trincomalee to make rendezvous with convoy US 1.

She was followed around 0400Z/31 by HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which was to overtake and join HMS Eagle and then join the convoy with her.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 1 ' for 6 January 1940.] (4)

13 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0405Z/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (4)

17 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1900Z/17, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to overtake the troop transport Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939) and then escort her to Colombo.

The Andes had departed Aden just a few hours previously. HMAS Hobart joined her the following day. (4)

22 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the troop transport Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939) arrived at Colombo from Aden. (4)

25 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is docked at Colombo. (4)

1 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is undocked. (4)

3 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with HMS Durban (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN), HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) near Nancowry Island and then take over the escort of the gunboats from HMS Durban. (4)

8 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1730Z/8, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) parted company with HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) to proceed to Trincomalee. (4)

9 Mar 1940
Around 1030Z/9, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee. (4)

11 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. (4)

12 Mar 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Trincomalee. HMAS Eagle was to proceed to Singapore for refit.

HMAS Hobart parted company around 0400FG/14, in position 07°55'N, 85°37'E, and set course to proceed to Colombo.

At 1403FG/14, an explosion occured in the bomb room of HMS Eagle, damage was sustained and one officer and twelve ratings were killed in the incident. (6)

16 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo. Before entering harbour gunnery exercises were carried out on a target that was being towed by HMS Widnes (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Chandler, RN). (4)

18 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The Commander-in-Chief East Indies, Vice-Admiral R. Leatham, CB, RN, hoisted his flag in HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). (4)

20 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The Commander-in-Chief East Indies, Vice-Admiral R. Leatham, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) to HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN). (4)

20 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1223Z/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the 2nd Minesweeper Flotilla coming from Singapore. HMAS Hobart was to escort them to Colombo. The 2nd Minesweeper Flottila was made up of the following ships; HMS Abingdon (Capt. (Retd.) A.R. Farquhar, DSC, RN), HMS Bagshot (Lt.Cdr. J.F.B. Gage, RNVR), HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN), HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) and HMS Stoke (Cdr.(Retd.) C.J.P. Hill, RN).

Rendezvous was effected around 0721Z/22.

They arrived at Colombo around 1330Z/23. (4)

8 Apr 1940
During 8/9 April 1940, several sections of HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) are fumigated. (7)

13 Apr 1940
Around 0345Z/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo for Aden. (7)

14 Apr 1940
At 0245Z/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) intercepted the Danish merchant vessel Afrika (8597 GRT, built 1920) in position 07°52'N, 73°55'E. She was boarded and sent to Colombo under an armed guard of one Petty Officer and four ratings. (7)

15 Apr 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
When in position 09°40'N, 63°07'E, the loom of a searchlight was sighted bearing 263°, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) then increased to full speed to intercept. It was considered probable that the searchlight was from the Dutch destroyer HrMS Van Galen (Cdr. A.S. Pinke, RNN) which was en-route from Colombo to Aden. This was subsequently fount to be the case and at 2106Z/15, signals were exchanged. It was estimated the loom of the searchlight had been sighted from a distance of over forty miles. (7)

18 Apr 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0600Z/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Colombo. (4)

25 Apr 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0815Z/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for courtesy visits to Kamaran, Hoheida and Mocca.

She arrived at Kamaran around 0500Z/26.

She departed Kamaran around 1500Z/26 and arrived at Hoheida around 0500Z/27.

She departed Hoheida around 1645Z/27 and arrived at Mocca around 0315Z/28.

She departed Mocca around 1645Z/28.

HMAS Hobart returned to Aden around 0600Z/29. (7)

2 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Djibouti. She departed for Berbera later the same day. (8)

3 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Berbera. She departed for Aden later the same day. (8)

4 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Berbera. (8)

12 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) briefly escorted convoy US 2.

For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 2 ' for 15 April 1940. (8)

14 May 1940
Around 1245Z/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to proceed to Berbera to provide cover for the disembarkment of Rhodesian troops from the transport Karanja (British, 9891 GRT, built 1931).

Around 0308Z/15, HMAS Hobart anchored off Berbera.

Around 0545Z/15, HMAS Hobart launched her aircraft for A/S patrol and to locate the Karanja.

Around 1000Z/15, the Karanja arrived from Mombasa / Kilindini. Disermarkation of the troops and stores commenced at 1130Z/15, boats from HMAS Hobart were assisting.

Disembarkation was halted for the night around 1800Z/15.

Around 0100Z/16, unloading the troops and stores recommenced. This was completed at 2359Z/16. A total of forty-two motor vehicles, four motor ambulances, 150 tons of general stores and 1164 troops had been landed.

Around 0400Z/17, the Karanja sailed for Aden followed 50 minutes later by HMAS Hobart.

HMAS Hobart arrived at Aden around 1400Z/17.

(8)

20 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0400Z/20, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the A/S trawler HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN) departed Aden to reinforce the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) on the Perim patrol. HMAS Hobart was to provide cover for the two other ships.

21 May 1940
At 1439Z/21, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) received a signal ordering to proceed up the Red Sea to provide cover of British and Allied shipping. (8)

23 May 1940
At 0920Z/23, when in position 16°38'N, 41°02'E, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) turned south to make rendezvous with HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN).

HMAS Hobart joined them at 1336Z/23, in position 15°58'N, 41°32'E.

HMAS Hobart parted company with them around 2130Z/23 and then set course for Port Sudan. (8)

24 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1230Z/24, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Port Sudan from patrol. (8)

26 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Port Sudan to relieve HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN) on the Perim patrol.

They made rendezvous around 1030C/27 and then briefly conducted exercises before HMS Liverpool departed for Aden about an hour later. (8)

28 May 1940
Around 1330C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) anchored in Perim Harbour.

Earlier that day, around 1030C/28, the destroyers HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) had taken over the Perim patrol from the sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) and A/S trawler HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN) which then set course to proceed to Djibouti. (8)

29 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 1811C/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) left Perim Harbour for patrol. She returned at 1027C/30. (8)

29 May 1940
At 0956C/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) left Perim Harbour for patrol.

Around 1000C/1, she proceeded northwards to provide cover for fourteen British ships proceeding southwards through the Red Sea.

At 1420C/2, HMAS Hobart turned southwards when in position 17°50'N, 40°10'E.

Around 0800C/3, in position 15°09'N, 41°49'E, an Italian destroyer was sighted, which turned out to be the torpedo boat Vincenco Giordano Orsini apparently proceeding towards Massawa.

At 1125C/4, HMAS Hobart arrived at Aden. Before entering harbour gunnery exercises were carried out. (8)

13 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1100C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to provide cover for ships on the Perim patrol. (9)

14 Jun 1940
Around 1300C/14, the transport Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923) departed Aden for Suez. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

They were joined around 1730C/14, in position 12°21'N, 44°10'E, by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN).

Around 1835C/15, HMS Flamingo was detached in position 16°48'N, 41°03'E to proceed to Kamaran.

Around 0130C/17, HMS Kingston was detached in position 22°40'N, 37°27'E

Around 0800C/17, HMAS Hobart detached the Khandalla in position 24°00'N, 37°00'E to continue her passage to Suez unescorted. She then joined the transport Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938) to escort her southwards through the Red Sea.

Around 0520C/18, HMS Kingston joined in position 20°26'N, 38°32'E.

Around 0818C/18, HMS Flamingo joined in position 19°55'N, 38°51'E.

At 0804C/19, HMAS Hobart launched her Walrus aircraft to attack the Italian W/T station on Centre Peak Island which was done successfully exactly an hour later. The aircraft then proceeded to Kamaran to refuel and from there flew to Aden.

Around 1200C/20, HMS Kingston was detached to Aden to fuel where sdhe arrived around 1430C/20.

Around 1350C/20, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Shahristan and HMS Flamingo and set course for Aden arriving around 1520C/20. (9)

20 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2018C/20, having completed with fuel, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for the Perim patrol. (9)

23 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1300C/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from operations. (9)

30 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1800C/30, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) departed Aden for Berbera. They were transporting Indian troops.

They arrived at Berbera around 0710C/1. HMAS Hobart and HMS Chantala anchored in the harbour. HMS Flamingo carried out an A/S patrol off the harbour entrance.

Around 1830C/1, HMAS Hobart and HMS Flamingo left Berbera to return to Aden where they arrived around 0630C/2. (10)

5 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0515C/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to provide cover for HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) on the Perim patrol. (11)

7 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0600C/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Aden from patrol. (11)

9 Jul 1940
Around 2220C/9, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) departed Aden to make rendezvous with the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) which was escorting the transports Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

Rendezvous was effected around 0630C/10. HMS Kimberley then took over the escort of the Takliwa with HMAS Hobart providing cover. They set course for Berbera.

HMS Colombo and the Talamba meanwhile continued on to Aden where they arrived early in the afternoon.

HMAS Hobart, HMS Kimberley and the Takliwa arrived off Berbera around 1320C/19 and disembarkation of troops and stores commenced. HMS Kimberley meanwhile conducting an A/S patrol off the area.

Around 1800C/11, disembarkation was completed and the ships left Berbera around 2210C/11.

Around 0030C/12, HMS Kimberley parted company to search for an enemy submarine reported earlier off Siyara (to the east of Berbera).

Around 0530C/12, HMAS Hobart and the Takliwa made rendezvous with HMS Colombo and the Talamba which had departed Aden around 0155C/12.

HMS Colombo then took over the escort of the Takliwa to Aden where they arrived around 1035C/12.

HMAS Hobart now escorting the Talamba proceeded to Berbera where they arrived around 1345C/12. They had been joined by HMS Kimberley around 0950C/12.

Unloading commenced with HMS Kimberley again conducted an A/S patrol off the area.

Unloading was completed around 1800C/14 and the ships left Berbera for Aden around an hour later.

Around 0045C/15, HMAS Hobart and HMS Kimberley parted company with the Talamba in position 11°32'N, 45°34'E.

The Talamba then set course for Bombay where she arrived on 19 July.

HMAS Hobart and HMS Kimberley arrived at Aden around 0730C/15. Before entering harbour exercises were carried out. (12)

23 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0015C/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for the Perim patrol. (11)

26 Jul 1940
Around 0915C/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Aden from patrol. (11)

31 Jul 1940
Around 1800C/31, the transport Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914), with Indian troops on board, departed Aden for Berbera. She is escorted by the sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN).

Around 1820C/31, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to join them which she did around 2000C/31.

Around 1240C/1, the Varsova and HMAS Hobart arrived at Berbera. HMS Shoreham conducted an A/S patrol to seaward of them.

Around 1545C/1, the disembarkation of the Indian troops and their stores commenced.

At 0815C/2, HMAS Hobart commenced dragging her anchors due to the worsening weather conditions.

At 0815C/2, HMAS Hobart grounded.

Around 1600C/2, HMAS Hobart got off with assitance from the Varsova and HMS Shoreham. HMAS Hobart then proceeded to sea and carried out a short trials, manoeuvering under full rudder. The trial proved satisfactory and HMAS Hobart returned to Berbera, anchoring around 1715C/2. (13)

3 Aug 1940
At 1224C/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), departed Berbera to patrol off Cape Guardafui as it was thought that an Italian merchant vessel or even raider had departed Massawa and had evaded the Perim patrol during the night of 1 / 2 August. It was thought the enemy was posing as the Greek merchant vessel (tanker) Petrakis Nomikos (7020 GRT, built 1914).

The ship was not sighted an HMAS Hobart returned to Berbera around 1840C/5. On her arrival back at Berbara it was found that the Varsova and HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) had departed for Aden while the transport Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), sloop HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) and A/S trawler HMS Amber (A/S.Lt P.le M. Andrew, RNR) had arrived from Aden.

HMAS Hobart was to remain at Berbera to provide cover for landing and evactuation operations. (14)

11 Aug 1940
Around 0245C/11, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Berbera for Aden where she arrived around 1030C/11. (14)

14 Aug 1940
Around 0800C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for Berbera. (14)

19 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1500C/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Berbera. (14)

23 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1140C/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden with troops for Suez. (14)

26 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0745C/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Suez where the troops were disembarked. (14)

28 Aug 1940
Around 0900C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Suez for Aden. (14)

29 Aug 1940
Around 1830C/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived off Jeddah, having been ordered to show herself of that port. Half an hour later she continued her passage to Aden. (14)

30 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 0850C/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is attacked by an Italian SM.81 bomber in position 17°13'N, 40°29'E. No damage was done.

At 1025C/30, HMAS Hobart was attacked by three Italian SM.81 bombers in position 16°39'N, 40°41'E. Again no damage was done. (14)

31 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 0900C/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Suez. (14)

12 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0545C/12, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for escort duty with convoy WS 2A.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy WS 2 ' for 6 August 1940.] (15)

14 Sep 1940
Around 0900C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) made rendezvous with the southbound troopship Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931) which had departed Suez unescorted on the 12th.

Around 1600C/14, HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) joined coming from Port Sudan.

They arrived at Aden around 1600C/16. (15)

18 Sep 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Aden on a target that was being towed by HMS Huntley (Lt.Cdr. H.R.A. King, RNR).

She also fired a practice torpedo at HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) which acted as ' target '. (15)

20 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Between 1300C/20 and 1345C/20, the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) departed Aden to join convoy AP 1.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy's AP 1 and AP 2 ' for 22 August 1940.] (16)

23 Sep 1940

Convoy BN 6.

The Karachi section of this convoy departed that place on 23 September 1940.

It was made up of the transports; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911) and Pundit (British, 5305 GRT, built 1919).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

On 26 September 1940, the ' Kararchi section ' was joined by the ' Bombay section ' which had departed that place on 25 September 1940.

It was made up of the following transports (one one tanker); Borgestad (Norwegian, 3924 GRT, built 1924), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marisa (Dutch (tanker), 8029 GRT, built 1937), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nizam (British, 5322 GRT, built 1914), President Doumer (British, 11898, built 1935), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ranee (British, 5060 GRT, built 1928), Rhona (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Shirala (British, 7841 GRT, built 1925), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).

Around 1230C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) took over from the armed merchant cruisers which then parted company to proceed to Bombay.

Around 0800C/3, the sloops HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined.

Around 0830C/4, the ' Bombay / Karachi section ' merged with the ' Aden section '. On doing so, HMAS Hobart parted company and proceeded to Aden.

The ' Aden section ' was made up of the following transports / tankers; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Bencruachan (British, 5920 GRT, built 1928), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), City of Singapore (British, 1988 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ross (British, GRT, built ), Cyprian Prince (British, GRT, built ), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), El Amin (British, 746 GRT, built 1926), El Segundo (Panamanian (tanker), 3664 GRT, built 1912), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helka (British (tanker), 3471 GRT, built 1912), Hilda Moller (British, 4622 GRT, built 1912), Jalaputra (British, 4856 GRT, built 1906), Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Jhelum (British, 4038 GRT, built 1936), Liss (British (tanker), 5932 GRT, built 1921), Lurigethan (British, 3564 GRT, built 1916), Quiloa (British, 7765 GRT, built 1925), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Robert L. Holt (British, 2918 GRT, built 1926), Soli (Norwegian (tanker), 5834 GRT, built 1915), Star of Alexander (Egyptian, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Strix (Norwegian (tanker), 6219 GRT, built 1930), Therese Moller (British, 3930 GRT, built 1905) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

The convoy now proceeded northwards up the Red Sea.

At dawn on the 5th, the Ayamonte was detached to proceed to Kamaran escorted by HMAS Parramatta.

On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October convoy BN 6 was attacked by high level Italian bombers but no damage was done.

The following ships were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on 7 or 8 October 1940; Borgestad, Devonshire, El Amin, Garmula, Jehangir, Khandalla, Pundit, Rajput, Ranee, Rohna, Strix, Takliwa and Talamba.

From the escort HMIS Hindustan arrived and left Port Sudan on 7 October 1940, HMAS Auckland arrived and left on 8 October and HMAS Yarra arrived and left on 9 October. HMS Kingston also called at Port Sudan [date currently unknown to us].

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Suez on 11 October 1940. on 9 October 1940, HMS Leander had been replaced as escort by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN). (17)

24 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0015C/24, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived off Suez. She anchored and repairs to her main and auxiliary engines were immediately taken in hand. She had also developed condenser trouble on 22 September. (15)

28 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2240C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (15)

4 Oct 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1430C/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (18)

5 Oct 1940

Convoy BS 6.

This convoy departed Suez on 5 October 1940.

It was made up of the transports / tanker; Bahadur (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929), Baron Erskine (British, 3657 GRT, built 1930), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Charlbury (British, 4836 GRT, built 1940), Duffield (British (tanker), 8516 GRT, built 1938), Hydroussa (Greek, 2038 GRT , built 1922), Jalapadma (British, 3935 GRT, built 1929), Jessmore (British, 4099 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Phenix (British (tanker), 5920 GRT, built 1920, former French), Raby Castle (British, 4996 GRT, built 1925), Star of Mex (Egyptian, 1116 GRT, built 1911) and Trevarrack (British, 5270 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 8 October 1940 the transport Karoa was detached to Port Sudan.

On 9 October 1940 the two sloops were relieved by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division) and the sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN).

Also on 9 October 1940 the convoy was joined by the transport Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923) and sloop HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) coming from Port Sudan.

Around 1030C/13, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which relieved HMS Leander. The transports Baron Erskine, Hydroussa, Phenix and Star of Mex were detached to Aden escorted by HMIS Hindustan. They arrived around 2000C/13.

At dusk, HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy and set course for Colombo.

The convoy was dispersed later the same day and HMS Auckland and HMAS Yarra proceeded to Aden arriving around 0700C/14. (19)

8 Oct 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Between 0645C/8 and 1015C/8, HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) departed Aden for escort duty with convoy US 5.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 5 ' for 14 September 1940.] (18)

10 Oct 1940
Around 0800C/10, northbound convoy US 5 and southbound convoy SW 2 met in the Red Sea and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) parted company with US 5 and joined SW 2.

[For more info on the southbound convoy see the event ' Convoy SW 2 ' for 8 October 1940.] (18)

13 Oct 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0600C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to join convoy BS 6 which she did around 1030C/13.

She parted company with the convoy at dusk and then set course for Colombo.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BS 5 ' for 5 October 1940.] (18)

17 Oct 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo from Aden. At Colombo she is to undergo a short refit and docking. (18)

19 Oct 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is docked at Colombo. (18)

16 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is undocked. (20)

19 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Colombo. (20)

19 Nov 1940

Convoy BS 9.

This convoy departed Suez on 19 November 1940.

It was made up of the transports; Arundo (Dutch, 5163 GRT, built 1930), Askot (Norwegian, 1323 GRT, built 1938), Australind (British, 5020 GRT, built 1929), Bahadur (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929), Clan Campbell (British, 7255 GRT, built 1937), Daisy Moller (British, 4078 GRT, built 1911), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Erica (South African, 5112 GRT, built 1926), Inviken (Norwegian, 4131 GRT, built 1925), Jalakrishna (British, 4991 GRT, built 1937), Katie Moller (British, 3100 GRT, built 1919), King Arthur (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Konistra (Greek, 3539 GRT, built 1907), Marion Moller (British, 3287 GRT, built 1909), Myrtlebank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Nyco (Norwegian, 1345 GRT, built 1938), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Serbino (British, 4099 GRT, built 1919), Subadar (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 22 or 23 November the transport Empire Defender (British, 5649 GRT, built 1910) joined coming from Port Sudan while the Marion Moller and Umberleigh, which had straggled from the convoy, were ordered to proceed to Port Sudan where they arrived on 23 November.

The two escorting sloops were replaced A.M. on 23 November by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN).

Around 1330C/26, the transports Clan Campbell, Inviken, Katie Moller, Konistra and Subadar parted company to proceed to Aden as did HMS Leander, HMS Carlisle and HMS Auckland.

At the same time, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) joined coming from Aden.

Around 0900C/27, HMIS Hindustan was detached to Aden.

Around 1200C/27, the convoy was dispersed in position 12°08'N, 46°53'E. HMAS Hobart and HMS Kingston setting course for Aden. (19)

20 Nov 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Colombo.

On completion of the exercises she set course for Aden. (20)

23 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Colombo. (20)

26 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0945C/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to join convoy BS 9 which she did around 1330C/26.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BS 9 ' for 19 November 1940.] (20)

27 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1830C/27, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (20)

27 Nov 1940

Convoy BN 10.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was made up of the following transports; El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

Around 1310C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) relieved HMS Hector in position 14°11'N, 53°03'E.

At 0700C/3, the sloop HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined in position 12°22'N, 45°30'E.

At 1630C/3, the convoy joined the ' Aden section ' of the convoy in position 12°25'N, 43°40'E.

The Aden section was made up of the following transports / tankers; Alcides (British, 7634 GRT, built 1930), Aldington Court (British, 4891 GRT, built 1929), Alpherat (Dutch, 5759 GRT, built 1928), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Dunkirk (British, 5861 GRT, built 1912), Doris (Greek, 4604 GRT, built 1917), Elizabeth Moller (British, 4353 GRT, built 1906), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Gazana (British, 5284 GRT, built 1920), Hatasu (British, 3198 GRT, built 1921), Islami (British, 5879 GRT, built 1934), Macoma (Dutch (tanker), 8069 GRT, built 1936), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nyholm (Norwegian (tanker), 5843 GRT, built 1927), Pontfield (British (tanker), 8319 GRT, built 1940), Riley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1936), Silvermaple (British, 5313 GRT, built 1937), Star of Suez (Egyptian, 4999 GRT, built 1926), Sygna (Norwegian, 3881 GRT, built 1907), Tanafjord (Norwegian, 5922 GRT, built 1921) and Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929).

The captured Italian submarine HMS X 2 (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) P.E. Heathfield, RN) was also part of the convoy.

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN).

Around 1750C/5, in position 18°08'N, 40°08'E the transport Talma parted company to proceed to Port Sudan. She was escorted by HMS Calcutta and HMS Kimberley.

Around 0530C/5, the Alcides, Sygna and parted company to proceed to Port Sudan escorted by HMIS Indus.

The transport Islami also parted company to proceed to Jeddah.

Around 1600C/6, HMS Kimberley rejoined having fuelled at Port Sudan.

Around 1200C/7, convoy BN 10 and convoy BS 10 met in position 21°50'N, 37°50'E. HMAS Hobart, HMS Kimberley and HMS Auckland joined convoy BS 10 and the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) took over the escort of convoy BN 10.

One hour later HMS Kimberley was ordered to escort the transport Talma to convoy BN 10. This ship had been escorted to the rendezvous position from Port Sudan by HMIS Indus. HMIS Indus then joined convoy BS 10. After the Talma had rejoined convoy BN 10, HMS Kimberely proceeded south again to rejoin convoy BS 10.

Convoy BN 10, escorted by HMS Grimsby and HMIS Clive arrived at Suez on 10 December 1940. (19)

30 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0630C/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to make rendezvous with convoy BN 10 which was effected around 1310C/1 in position 14°11'N, 53°03'E.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BN 10 ' for 27 November 1940.] (21)

12 Dec 1940
Around 0735C/12, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) anchored in the outer harbour at Aden. She entered the inner harbour around 1110C/12.

Around 1800C/12, she left for Colombo.

HMAS Hobart was to return to Australia. (22)

19 Dec 1940
Around 1150EF/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Addu Attoll to fuel from the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917). During her passage to Colombo she had been diverted to search for an enemy raider reported east of the Maldive Islands.

She left around 1730EF/19, to patrol south-south-east of Ceylon in the area near 00°01'N, 83°00'E and then to proceed to Fremantle. (22)

28 Dec 1940
Around 1030H/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Fremantle.

Around 1800H/28, she departed for Sydney. (22)

3 Jan 1941
Around 1105K/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Sydney (Garden Island) from Fremantle. (23)

4 Jan 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) commenced a short refit at Sydney. She was to remain at 48 hours notice for sea though. (23)

21 Jan 1941
At 0800K/21, the Rear-Admiral Commanding HMA Squadron, Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, hoised his flag on board HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). (23)

22 Jan 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) conducted D/G trials at Sydney. (23)

23 Jan 1941
Around 1400K/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Sydney to join HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) at sea. HA gunnery exercises were then carried out on a sleeve towed by an aircraft.

On completion of the exercises HMAS Adelaide proceeded to Sydney.

HMAS Hobart was then joined by the troop transports Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) which she was to escort to New Zealand. (23)

26 Jan 1941
Around 0115LM/26, in position 36.22'S, 169.00'E, the Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) was detached to proceed independently to Wellington.

HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, XBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) then continued with the Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924) towards Auckland.

At 0300M/27, when off the entrance of the swept channel near Cape Brett thick for was encountered. The ships then proceeded independently to Auckland.

Around 1250M/27, arrived at Auckland. Rear-Admiral Grace then left the ship with most of his staff to proceed to Wellington by train. (23)

29 Jan 1941
Around 0500M/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Auckland for Wellington. (23)

30 Jan 1941
Around 1445M/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Wellington from Hobart. Here Rear-Admiral Grace re-boarded the ship. (23)

1 Feb 1941
Around 1545M/1, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Wellington to escort the troopship Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) to Sydney where they arrived around 0620K/4.

On arrival at Sydney, Rear-Admiral Crace transferred his flag to shore establishment HMAS Rushcutter. (24)

11 Feb 1941
Around 0815H/11, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle to return to Sydney. (25)

16 Feb 1941
Around 1315K/16, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Sydney from Fremantle. (25)

17 Feb 1941
Around 1500K/17, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Achilles (from the New Zealand Division) (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) departed Sydney for exercises. They returned around 2330K/17. (25)

18 Feb 1941
Around 0840K/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Achilles (from the New Zealand Division) (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) departed Sydney for exercises. They parted company around 1610K/18. HMAS Hobart returning to harbour while HMS Achilles set course for New Zealand escorting the transport California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938). (25)

19 Feb 1941
Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, hoisted his flag in HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). (25)

22 Feb 1941
At 1100K/22, Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, struck his flag on board HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and transferred it to shore establishment HMAS Rushcutter. His Office and Staff remained on board HMAS Hobart though.

Around 1145K/22, HMAS Hobart departed Sydney to escort the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) to Auckland. (25)

25 Feb 1941
Around 1305M/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) arrived at Auckland from Sydney.

Around 1745/25, HMAS Hobart departed Auckland to patrol in the Tasman Sea but shortly afterwards her orders were cancelled and she was ordered to proceed to Melbourne instead. (25)

1 Mar 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Melboune from Auckland.

She departed later the same day in company with her sister ship HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN). They were to proceed to Fremantle. (25)

5 Mar 1941
Around 0700H/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Melbourne.

At 1100H/5, Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, hoisted his flag on board HMAS Hobart. (25)

6 Mar 1941

Convoy CF 1.

This convoy departed Colombo on 6 March 1941.

It was made up of the troopships; Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN).

Around 1730FG/11, HMAS Australia was reinforced by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) coming from Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle in the early afternoon of March 15th, (26)

7 Mar 1941
Around 1600H/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) departed Fremantle for exercises which lasted until 2100H/7, they then set course to make rendezvous with convoy CF 1.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy CF 1 ' for 8 March 1941.] (27)

15 Mar 1941
HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) arrived at Fremantle with convoy CF 1. (27)

17 Mar 1941
Around 0830H/17, HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) departed Fremantle. They were escorting the troopships Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) until 0700H/18 when the cruisers left the troopships in position 36°11'S, 116°25'E.

The troopships then proceeded independently, HMAS Australia set course for Albany while HMAS Hobart and HMAS Sydney set course for Melbourne. (27)

22 Mar 1941
Around 0900K/22, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) entered Port Philip. HMAS Hobart then proceeded to Melbourne while HMAS Sydney proceeded to Williamstown. (27)

23 Mar 1941
Around 0915K/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) departed Melbourne and Williamstown respectively.

They then met HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) in position 38°41'S, 144°29'E around 1500K/23.

The three cruisers then set course for Sydney. (27)

24 Mar 1941
Around 1540K/24, HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) arrived at Sydney.

HMAS Hobart then went to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard where she was docked in the Sutherland Dock. (27)

27 Mar 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) is undocked. (27)

4 Apr 1941
Around 0930K/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) departed Sydney for Wellington. (28)

6 Apr 1941
Around 1800M/6, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) arrived at Wellington from Sydney.

At 1336K/6, while in Cook Strait, the Walrus aircraft of HMAS Australia crashed on being launched. The pilot was killed, the other crewmembers were picked up. (28)

18 Apr 1941
Around 1200K/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) departed Sydney for gunnery exercises.

On completion of these exercises, HMAS Hobart returned to Sydney around 1645K/18.

HMAS Adelaide then joined the transport Zealandia (Australian, 6660 GRT, built 1910) which she was to escort to Rabaul. (29)

22 Apr 1941
Around 1155K/22, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) to Auckland. (28)

25 Apr 1941
Around 0625M/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) arrived at Auckland from Sydney. (28)

27 Apr 1941
Around 0830M/27, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Auckland for Sydney. (28)

30 Apr 1941
Around 1500K/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) arrived at Sydney from Auckland. (28)

5 May 1941
From 5 May to 13 May 1941, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) was at the Garden Island naval base for some modifications and repairs. (30)

19 May 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Sydney for Melbourne. (30)

22 May 1941
Around 1300K/22, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) arrived at Melbourne from Sydney. (30)

23 May 1941
Around 1830K/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Melbourne escorting the transport Zealandia (Australian, 6660 GRT, built 1910) part of the way to Fremantle.

The escort duties of the transport were handed over to HMAS Sydney (Capt. J. Burnett, RAN) around 1200K/26. (30)

28 May 1941
Around 1130K/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) returned to Melbourne from escort duty. (30)

2 Jun 1941
Around 1315K/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Melbourne for Sydney. On departure she conducted torpedo firing exercises in Port Phillip. (31)

4 Jun 1941
Around 1015K/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) arrived at Sydney from Melbourne. (31)

7 Jun 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) is docked in the Sutherland Dock at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. She is to undergo a short refit before being sent to the Mediterranean. (31)

15 Jun 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) is undocked at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. She then proceeded to the Garden Island naval base to complete her refit which also included the removal of her catapult and other aircraft facilities as these were to be substituted for more close range AA armament. (31)

19 Jun 1941
Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, struck his flag on board HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and then hoisted it in HMAS Rushcutter. (31)

20 Jun 1941
Around 2000K/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Sydney for Fremantle. (31)

25 Jun 1941
Around 2100H/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Sydney. (31)

26 Jun 1941
Around 1145H/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle for Port Victoria, Seychelles. On leaving harbour gunnery exercises were carried out. (31)

5 Jul 1941
Around 0915D/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Port Victoria, Seychelles from Fremantle.

She departed around 1715D/5 for Aden. On leaving gunnery exercises were carried out on a smoke float. (32)

9 Jul 1941
Around 0945C/9, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, cBE, RAN) arrived at Aden from Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Around 1620C/9, she departed Aden for Suez. (32)

12 Jul 1941
Around 1600C/12, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Suez from Aden. (32)

13 Jul 1941
Around 1835C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) weighted anchor off Suez and entered the Suez Canal for northward passage together with HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN).

Shortly after entering the Suez Canal their passage was cancelled and they returned, stern first, to the inner anchorage where they anchored around 2000C/13. (32)

14 Jul 1941
In the early hours of the 14th, Port Tewfik and the anchorages were attacked by German aircraft. Among the ships damaged were the troopship Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932) and the landing ship HMS Glenearn (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, OBE, RN).

HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) went to the assistance of both ships. (32)

18 Jul 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is taken in hand at Alexandria for the fitting off additional close range anti-aircraft armament. (32)

25 Jul 1941
Work on fitting additional close range anti-aircraft armament to HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is resumed. (32)

28 Jul 1941
Around 1315C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria for Haifa. (32)

28 Jul 1941
Around 0900C/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Haifa from Alexandria. (32)

31 Aug 1941
Around 1830C/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Haifa for Alexandria. (33)

1 Sep 1941
Around 1110C/1, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Alexandria from Haifa. (34)

25 Nov 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is docked in the floating dock (AFD 5) at Alexandria. (35)

27 Nov 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is undocked. (35)

9 Dec 1941
Around 1800B/9, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria to return to Australia now that the Japanese had declared war. (36)

10 Dec 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) transited the Suez Canal southbound and on leaving the canal she immediately set course for Aden. (36)

13 Dec 1941
Around 0645C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Aden.

She departed for Colombo around 1230C/13. (36)

17 Dec 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) made a short stop of Minikoi Attol, Laccadive Islands.

As no radio contact could be made with the island, HMAS Hobart was ordered to invistigate. There had indeed been some minor problems on the attol but all was fine now. HMAS Hobart then continued her passage to Colombo. (36)

18 Dec 1941
Around 0935EF/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Colombo. (36)

19 Dec 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is taken in hand by the Colombo Dockyard to mount a four barrelled pom-pom which she had taken with her (in a crate) from Alexandria. The work was completed on 22 December. (36)

22 Dec 1941

Convoy BM 9B.

This convoy departed Bombay on 22 December 1941.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Jalarajan (British, 5076 GRT, built 1925), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Risaldar (British, 5407 GRT, built 1940) and Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923).

On departure from Bombay it was escorted by the Greek armoured cruiser RHS Georgios Averoff.

Around 1530EF/26, the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Cdr. J.W. Cuthbert, RN) departed Colombo with the transport Madura (British, 8975 GRT, built 1921). They joined the convoy around 0730EF/27 in position 04°38'N, 80°40'E. The Georgios Averoff then parted company to proceed to Colombo. The transport Talma had apparently parted company on the 26th to proceed to Colombo.

Around 1415G/31, HMS Glasgow was relieved in position 00°27'S, 94°51'E by the light cruisers HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN).

Around 1230GH/3, the destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) joined in approximate position 06°27'S, 103°00'E.

Around 0700GH/4, HrMs Java and the transport Madura parted company to proceed to Batavia.

Around 1200GH/4, the light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) joined in approximate position 05°15'S, 106°20'E. They had departed Banten Bay earlier in the day.

Around 0600GH/5, the minesweepers HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)) and HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) joined the convoy.

Around 1200GH/5, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) joined the convoy in Banka Strait in approximate position 02°40'S, 105°49'E.

After the passage of the Banka Strait had been completed the Dutch ships that had joined around 1200GH/4 parted company around 2000GH/5.

Around 1645GH/6, HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy to proceed to Batavia.

The convoy arrived at Singapore around 1930GH/6.

The convoy arrived at Singapore (37)

24 Dec 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2000EF/24, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) departed Colombo to join convoy BM 9A.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BM 9A ' for 21 December 1941.] (36)

4 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1700GH/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Singapore to make rendezvous with convoy BM 9B in Banka Strait.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BM 9B ' for 22 December 1941.] (38)

7 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1715GH/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Batavia after convoy escort duty. (38)

8 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0600GH/8, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Batavia for Fremantle. (38)

10 Jan 1942

Convoy MS 1.

This convoy departed Melbourne on 10 January 1942.

The ' Melbourne section ' of the convoy was made up of the following transports; City of Manchester (British, 8917 GRT, built 1935), Derrymore (British, 4799 GRT, built 1938), Java (Dutch, 9250 GRT, built 1939), Peisander (British, 6225 GRT, built 1925), Phrontis (Dutch, 6616 GRT, built 1926), Tjikandi (Dutch, 7979 GRT, built 1921) and Tjikarang (Dutch, 9505 GRT, built 1922).

On departure from Melbourne, around 1300K/10, the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. W.L.G. Adams, RN).

Around 0730I/20, the ' Fremantle section ' of the convoy departed Fremantle. It was made up of the following transport / tanker; Enggano (Dutch, 6364 GRT, built 1920) and Pan Europe (Norwegian (tanker), 9468 GRT, built 1931). The RFA tanker War Sirdar (5542 GRT, built 1920).

It was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). The ' Fremantle section ' made rendezvous with the ' Melbourne section ' around 1300I/21 and course was set for Singapore.

Around 0945I/22, the transport Gorgon (British, 3533 GRT, built 1933) joined coming from Geraldton.

Around 1100H/28, the destroyers HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) joined the convoy in position 08°31'S, 104°08'E.

Around 1400H/28, HMS Kanimbla was detached to return to Australia.

Around 0645H/29, the ships destined for Oosthaven / Batavia parted company, these were the Enggano and Java.

Around 1500H/29, the transport Anglo Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938) joined the convoy.

Around 0950H/30, the convoy entered the Banka Strait.

Around 2130H/30, HMS Tenedos was detached to go to the assitance of HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) which was towing HMS Isis (Lt. L.R.P. Lawford, DSC, RN) from Singapore to Batavia.

Also on 30 January the tanker Pan Europe was detached to Pladjoe (Palembang).

Around 0040H/31, HMS Tenedos rejoined the convoy as her assitance was no longer needs as HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) had been detailed to do so.

The convoy arrived at Singapore around 0500H/1. (39)

11 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1115I/11, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Batavia. (38)

20 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0730I/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle escorting the ' Fremantle section ' of convoy MS 1. They were to make rendezvous with the ' Melbourne section ' of the convoy.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy MS 1 ' for 10 January 1942.] (40)

1 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0500H/1, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) arrived at Singapore with convoy MS 1. (40)

2 Feb 1942
Around 1815GH/2, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Singapore for Batavia.

Around 1235GH/3, when in position 02°16'S, 105°24'E, HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos sighted three aircraft bombing a single merchant vessel bearing 106°, distance 19 nautical miles. Increased speed to close.

Around 1245GH/3, the aircraft approached HMAS Hobart in attack formation. Fire was opened and the aricraft turned away without releasing bombs.

At 1306GH/3, HMAS Hobart was bombed by Japanese aircraft which had returned and had not been spotted. Some bombs fell close to the starboard side between the stern and the bridge.

Around 1330GH/3, HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos arrived near the merchant vessel which was idenified as the Norah Moller (British, 4348 GRT, built 1915). HMS Tenedos went alongside and reported that the ship engines were out of action. The ship was also on fire. HMS Tenedos then assisted in putting out the fire while the ships wounded and passengers were transferred to HMAS Hobart.

By 1430GH/3, the fire seems to have been extinguished and the ship anchored of the West Nangka lighthouse. HMS Tenedos then casted off.

By 1445GH/3, the fire was observed to have broken out afresh and the ships superstructure was blazing fiercely. As there seems to be no hope of saving the ship, HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos continued their passage to Batavia where they arrived around 0815GH/4. (41)

4 Feb 1942
Around 1815GH/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Batavia to make rendezvous with HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) which had been detached as a striking force from convoy BM 12. [For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BM 12 ' for 23 January 1942.]

Rendezvous was effected around 0745GH/5 and they then proceeded to sweep to the north and east of Banka Island to search for report Japanese warships.

They are sighted to the north-east of the Sunda Strait by the Japanese submarine RO-34 which fired four torpedoes at HMS Encounter but no hits were obtained.

Around 1155GH/5, HMAS Hobart was attacked by a single aircraft. Three bombs fell close ahead.

Around 1215GH/5, a single aircraft attacked HMS Jupiter, the bombs fell astern.

Around 1320GH/5, a single aircraft attacks HMAS Hobart, four bombs fell 100 yards on the starboard beam.

Around 1700GH/5, the force passed southwards through the Gaspar Straits on their return. Later they are sighted to the north-east of the Sunda Strait by the Japanese submarine RO-34 which fired four torpedoes at HMS Encounter but no hits were obtained.

They arrived at Batavia around 0700GH/6. (41)

6 Feb 1942

Convoy EMU

Shortly before midnight during the night of 6/7 February 1942 this convoy departed Singapore.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939) and Felix Roussell (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930, former French).

On board the City of Canterbury were mostly RAF personnel for Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies while on board the other two ships were evacuees with were to be taken to Bombay.

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the sloops HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

Around 1930GH/7, HMAS Yarra was detached to escort the damaged transport Hosang (British, 5698 GRT, built 1922) to Palembang. The transport however reported to be not in immediate danger and HMAS Yarra then joined the destroyer HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) which was towing the immobile destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) from Singapore to Batavia, instead.

Around 0830GH/8, the destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) joined.

Around 1300GH/8, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) joined south of Banka Strait.

Around 1500GH/8, HMS Danae, HMIS Sutley and the City of Canterbury were detached to Batavia.

Around 1000GH/9, HMS Electra was detached to Batavia.

Around 1100GH/9, the convoy was dispersed. HMAS Hobart then set course to make rendezvous with convoy JS 1 which she did around 1350GH/10. (42)

8 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0615GH/8, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Batavia to make rendezvous south of Banka Strait with the EMU convoy.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy EMU ' for 6 February 1942.] (41)

9 Feb 1942
Around 1100GH/9, convoy EMU was dispersed. HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) then set course to make rendezvous with convoy JS 1 which she did around 1350GH/10.

[For more info on convoy JS 1 see the event ' Convoy JS 1 ' for 3 February 1942.] (41)

14 Feb 1942
Around 0355GH/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is ordered to proceed to Oosthaven instead of Batavia to join the Allied Striking Force.

She arrived there around 0900GH/14. (41)

16 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1000GH/16, HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN) arrived off Tandjong Priok / Batavia.

earlier that morning, around 0625GH/16 and during a heavy rain squall, HrMs De Ruyter and HMAS Hobart had narrowly avoided grounding on Krawang Point, and subsequent colliding with each other. (41)

17 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) commenced boiler cleaning at Tandjong Priok / Batavia. This was completed on 20 February. During boiler cleaning she remained at eight hours notice for sea. (41)

21 Feb 1942
Around 2355GH/21, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) departed Batavia escorting the troopship Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937, with around 3500 evacuees / personnel on board) through the Sunda Strait. [Some sources gives this as convoy SJ 6.]

Around 0815GH/22, the ships had cleared the western entrance of the Sunda Strait.

Around 1700GH/22, HMS Electra was detached in position 08°45'S, 103°22'E to return to Batavia.

Around 2200GH/23, in position 05°16'S, 95°03'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Orcades which then continued on to Colombo unescorted. HMAS Hobart set course to return to Batavia. (41)

25 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0855GH/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Batavia from escort duty. (41)

6 Mar 1942

Convoy SU 2.

This convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports / tankers; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), British Aviator (British (tanker), 6998 GRT, built 1924), California Standard (Panamanian (tanker), 11246 GRT, built 1929), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Querimba (British, 7769 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926) and Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) and corvette HMS Tulip (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR).

Around 2000F/8, when in position 00°37'S, 79°02'E, the British Aviator, California Standard and Querimba were detached to proceed independently. Also HMS Shoreham and HMS Tulip were detached to return to Colombo.

Around 1100H/18, in position 31°16'S, 105°04'E, the light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and destroyers USS Alden (Lt. E.E. Evans, USN) and USS John D. Ford (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Cooper, USN) joined the convoy as additional escorts.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle in the morning of February 20th.

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The convoy departed Fremantle in the early afternoon of 22 February 1942. It was made up of the same five transports that had arrived at Fremantle on the 20th with the addition of two more transports, these were the USS Gold Star (4871 GRT, built 1920) and Sea Witch (American, 6021 GRT, built 1940).

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart, destroyers USS Alden, USS John D. Ford and the minesweepers HMAS Burnie ( T/Lt. T. Christy, RANR(S)) and HMAS Toowoomba (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) P.H. Hirst, RAN).

Around 0430I/24, when in position 35°34'S, 118°00'E, the Aronda was detached to Albany.

Around 2030I/24 the convoy was dispersed in position 35°30'S, 121°26'E. (43)

26 Mar 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0800I/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived in Gage Roads off Fremantle. She entered harbour early in the afternoon. (44)

27 Mar 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1745I/27, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle escorting the troopship Monterey (American, 18017 GRT, built 1932) to Melbourne via Adelaide. (44)

31 Mar 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1045IK/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the troopship Monterey (American, 18017 GRT, built 1932) arrived at Adelaide from Fremantle.

They departed for Melbourne around 1530IK/31.

Around 1630K/1, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Monterey.

HMAS Hobart arrived off Williamstown around 1900K/1.

She berthed at Williamstown around 0830K/2. (45)

3 Apr 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0900K/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Williamstown for Sydney. (46)

4 Apr 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1045K/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Sydney from Williamstown. (46)

6 Apr 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is taken in hand for repairs / short refit at Sydney. (46)

9 Apr 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is docked at the Morts Dock Shipyard at Woolwich, Sydney. (46)

2 May 1942
Around 1545K/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Hervey Bay.

Around 2100K/2, HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Hobart and USS Whipple (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN) departed Hervey Bay to make rendezvous with Task Force 11 which was effected around 0805KL/4. USS Whipple did not join Task Force 11 but was released and proceeded to Port Vila, New Hebrides. (46)

4 May 1942

Battle of the Coral Sea

Allies Forces in the area on 4 May 1942.

The Allied forces in the area were made up of the following units;
Task Force 11; aircraft carrier Lexington (R.Adm. A.W. Fitch, USN), heavy cruisers New Orleans, Minneapolis (R.Adm. T.C. Kinkaid) and the destroyers Phelps, Farragut, Dewey, Worden, Monaghan, Aylwin and the tanker Tippecanoe.

Task Force 17; aircraft carrier Yorktown (R.Adm. F.J. Fletcher, USN), heavy cruisers Chester, Portland, Astoria, and the destroyers Sims, Anderson, Hammann, Russell, Walke, Morris and the tanker Neosho. The heavy cruiser Chicago and the destroyer Perkins were also temporary attached to Task Force 17, these two ships were units of Task Force 44.

Early on the 4th (0805KL/4), Two more units of Task Force 44, the Australian heavy cruiser Australia (R.Adm. Crace, RN) and Australian light cruiser Hobart had made rendezvous with Task Force 11.

Prelude up to 4 May 1942.

Task Force 11 and Task Force 17 had met earlier, around 0615LM(-11.5) on 1 May 1942 in position 16°16'S, 162°20'E. Task Force 17 had just spent seven days of upkeep and provisioning at Tonga.

Task Force 11 was then ordered to join the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, destroyer USS Perkins and tanker USS Tippecanoe in position 16°00'S, 161°45'E and with those ships rejoin Task Force 17 the next morning which they did.

It was desirable to take as much fuel out of USS Tippecanoe as possible before she was to return to Port Vila, Efate in accordance with orders from the Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet and to hold as much fuel as possible in USS Neosho as a reserve.

Intelligence reports meanwhile indicated that the long awaited Japanese attack on Port Moresby, New Guinea, might start very soon. Task Force 17 completed fuelling on May 2, but Task Force 11 did not expected to complete fuelling until noon on the 4th. Rear-Admiral Fletcher therefore ordered Rear-Admiral Fitch to fuel his destroyers, if practicable, on northwesterly course at night and rejoin Task Force 17 at daylight May 4 in position 15°00'S, 157°00'E. This was the same rendezvous as had been arranged with Rear-Admiral Crace, RN, which was to join with the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and light cruiser HMAS Hobart.

At 1545LM/2, an air scout from USS Yorktown sighted an enemy submarine on the surface in position 16°04'S, 162°18'E, just 32 miles north of the Task Forces at that moment. The submarine dived but surfaced shortly afterwards as it was again sighted and depth charges by three planes sent out to locate it. Two destroyers were then ordered to search the area but no contact was made. It was thought possible that the Task Forces might have been reported by the enemy. [The enemy submarine in question was the Japanese I-21 (offsite link) en-route from Rabaul to Noumea. She reported the attack but did NOT report that the attacking aircraft were CARRIER BASED aircraft, so the Japanese were still unaware of the American carriers that were operating in the Coral Sea.]

Task Force 17 with USS Neosho continued to the northwestward during the night and topped off destroyers from Neosho on the third. It was intended to top off other ships requiring it after effecting rendezvous with Rear-Admirals Fitch and Crace the next morning. The former had been directed to sent USS Tippecanoe to Efate with a destroyer escort, this he did after his entire force had topped off with fuel. The destroyer USS Worden was ordered to escort the tanker to Efate.

Task Force 17 consistently kept in readiness for action on short notice by topping off destroyers from the tanker, cruiser and the carrier whenever they could receive as mich as 500 barrels of fuel. This condition of readiness paid dividends on the night of May 3 and 6.

At 1900LM/3, Rear-Admiral Fletcher received intelligence reports from the Commander Southwest Pacific Forces stating that five or six enemy vessels had been sighted at 1700 hours on 2 May, off the southern end of Santa Isabel Island possibly heading to Tulagi and that two transports were unloading into barges at Tulagi at an unspecified time. This was just the kind of report he was waiting for. It was regrettable that Task Force 11 was not available yet but it was fortunate that Task Force 17, fully fuelled, was able to stike at daylight on the 4th. USS Neosho, escorted by USS Russell was ordered to proceed to position 15°00'S, 157°00'E to meet Rear-Admirals Fitch and Crace at 0800 hours on 4 May and the combined force was then to proceed eastwards and join Task Force 17 in position 15°00'S, 160°00'E at daylight on 5 May.

Japanese landings at Tulagi on 3 May 1942 and the American response on 4 May 1942.

Tulagi had been evacuated by the Australians based there on 2 May 1942 and the Japanese landed there the following day. The Japanese force that had arrived there and had landed troops and supplies was made up of the minelayer Okinoshima, auxiliary minelayer Koei Maru, destroyers Kikuzuki, Yuzuki, auxiliary submarine chasers Toshi Maru No.3 and Tama Maru No.8, auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1, Wa-2, Hagoromo Maru, Noshiro Maru No.2 and Tama Maru. The transport Azumasan Maru (7623 GRT, built 1933) is also part of the force. (All links are offsite links).

At 2030LM/3, Task Force 17, currently made up of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, heavy cruisers USS Chicago, USS Chester, USS Portland, USS Astoria and the destroyers USS Perkins, USS Sims, USS Anderson, USS Hammann, USS Walke and USS Morris changed course to the north and increased speed to 24 knots and two hours later to 27 knots. At 0701LM/4, USS Yorktown launched a six plane combat air patrol and the first attack group. Combat air patrol was maintained throughout the day and cruisers maintained inner air patrol. The surface force maneuvered south of Guadacanal Island. Three air attacks were made on the Japanese at Tulagi. No enemy ships or aircraft were sighted from the ships of Task Force 17. The last attack group landed back on USS Yorktown at 1702LM/4.

One torpedo plane and two fighters failed to return due to being lost and running out of gasoline. The fighter pilots were recovered from Guadalcanal Island by USS Hammann that same evening. Six scout bombers and two torpedo planes were slightly damaged. USS Perkins was also detached to search for the missing torpedo plane but found no trace of it.

Enemy losses were reported by returning aircraft as two destroyers, one cargo ship and four gunboats sunk. One light cruiser beached and sunk, one destroyer, one heavy cruiser or aircraft tender severely damaged. One cargo ship damaged. Various small craft destroyed. Five single float planes shot down. [Actual damage inflicted on the enemy was as follows; During the first strike the destroyer Kikuzuki was sunk. During the second strike the auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1, Wa-2 were sunk. The Okinoshima , escorted by the Yuzuki were attacked but managed to dodge all torpedoes by radical maneuvering. She sustained some minor damage though, from near misses and strafing. Also the Yuzuki, Azumasan Maru, Koei Maru were damaged as was the Tama Maru which sank two days later as a result of the damage. Also five float planes were destroyed.]

Events between the action of Tulagi and the action of Misima.

During the night of May 4 - 5, Task Force 17, less USS Perkins and USS Hammann, proceeded southeast and south at 23 knots to rendezvous as previously arranged. The two detached destroyers rejoined Task Force 17 in the morning.

At 0825LM/5, USS Yorktown launched four fighters to investigate a radar contact bearing 252°, distance 30 miles. Interception was completed 15 minutes later and an enemy patrol plance was shot down. At this time the patrol plane was fifteen miles from USS Lexington and twenty-seven miles from USS Yorktown, so it might have been trailing Task Force 11 and not Task Force 17. Shortly before rejoining USS Hammann sighted the patrol plane. At 0845LM/5 Task Force 17 made rendezvous with Task Force 11 and HMAS Australia and HMAS Hobart.

Task Force 17 fuelled from USS Neosho on 5 and 6 May 1942. Task Force 11 and Task Force 44 now joined Task Force 17.

The heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis, USS Astoria, USS Portland, USS New Orleans, USS Chester and five of the destroyers were assigned as ' Attack Group ' in case enemy surface ships were to be attacked during a surface action.

HMAS Australia, USS Chicago, HMAS Hobart and two destroyers were assigned as ' Support Group '.

The carriers were assigned four destroyers as close escort.

The remaining two destroyers were assigned to escort the tankers, though one destroyer and one tanker were at Efate.

Intelligence reports were received on a large amount of various types of enemy vessels in the Salomon Sea between New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomon Islands. It was also reported that three enemy carriers were in the area.

It was decided to be in attack position at daylight on 7 May. Tanker USS Neosho was detached to the southwards escorted by USS Sims.

Action of Misima Island, 7 May 1942.

The morning air search was planned to locate the most suitable objective for attack and to obtain positive or negative information regarding enemy carriers of whose movements no information had been received since the previous afternoon. It was quite possible that three enemy carriers might be within striking distane. Unfortunately the search to the east-north-eastward was not completed due to bad weather. A scout searching to the north-westward reported two carriers and two cruisers north of Masima Island. After launching the attack groups, the scouts were recovered and it was learned that an error had been made in using the contact pad and that the pilot had not sighted any carriers. About the time this error was discovered, Army aircraft reported an enemy carrier group close to Misimi and the attack groups were diverted and made contact. The carrier and a light cruiser were claimed sunk in position 10°29'S, 152°53'E. The large number of torpedo and bomb gits and the rapidity of her sinking (within five minutes) must have resulted in the loss of practically all personnel and aircraft aboard the carrier. The light cruiser was reported to sink so quickly that there must have been great loss of life in her also. The attack groups returned to USS Yorktown and USS Lexington around 1338LM/7.

The Japanese carrier sunk was the Shoho, which had been part of the cover force for the Port Moresby landing group. The cover force had been made up of the already mentioned Shoho, the heavy cruisers Aoba, Furutaka, Kako, Kinugasa and the destroyer Sazanami.

The main assault force for the Port Moresby landings was made up of the light cruiser Yubari, minelayer Tsugaru, destroyers Oite, Asanagi, Mutsuki, Mochitsuki, Yayoi, minesweeper W-20, auxiliary minesweepers Hagoromo Maru, Noshiro Maru No.2 and Fumi Maru No.2, the fleet tanker Hoyo Maru (8692 GRT, built 1936) and ten transports with troops and supplies, these were the naval transport Shoka Maru (4467 GRT, built 1935), Mogamigawa Maru (7509 GRT, built 1934), Goyo Maru (8469 GRT, built 1939), Akibasan Maru (4670 GRT, built 1924), Chowa Maru (2719 GRT, built 1940) and the army transports Matsue Maru (7061 GRT, built 1921), Taifuku Maru (3520 GRT, built 1939), Mito Maru (7061 GRT, built 1921), China Maru (5870 GRT, built 1920) and Hibi Maru (5873 GRT, built 1921).

Thoughts were given to launching another strike or search but it was unlikely that another suitable objective was to be found near the location of the attack of this morning. The location of the Japanese 5th Carrier Division was still unknown but it was thought possible that these were within striking distance. Radar contacts and radio interceptions showed that our position was known to the enemy. One four engined enemy patrol bomber had been shot down by fighters from USS Yorktown.

It was decided to head westwards during the night to be in position if the enemy would pass through the Jomard Passage by morning heading for Port Moresby.

At 1659LM/7 an enemy seaplane was sighed but fighters failed to intercept.

At 1747L/7 (clocks had been set to zone -11 at 1700 hours), radar showed a group of planes to the south-eastward on a westerly course. Fighters were sent to intercept and between fifteen and twenty enemy planes were claimed to have been shot down. American losses were three fighters. When American aircraft were landing after dark, three enemy aircraft circled showing light and they made no sign of hostility probably having mistaken our forces for their own. It was realized that the enemy carriers must be in the area for such a mistake to happen. One of these enemy aircraft was shot down by AA gunfire.

Loss of USS Neosho and USS Sims.

While all of the above was going on, at 1051LM/7, a signal, repeated several times, was reveived from USS Neosho that she was being bombed by three enemy aircraft in position 16°50'S, 159°08'E. Later at 1600LM/7, USS Neosho reported that she was sinking in position 16°38'S, 158°28'E.

A subsequent signal from the Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet indicated that USS Sims had also been sunk. Unfortunately, nothing was received as to the type of aircraft which attacked them. It would have been extremely valuable information if it had been reported that they were carrier planes. The destroyer USS Monaghan was detached during the night of May 7-8 to search the next morning for survivors. While well clear of the Fleet, she was also to sent radio signals to the Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet and others. This left seven destroyers and five cruisers with the two carriers.

According to survivors of the USS Sims around 0910LM/7, a lone Japanese twin engined bomber had dropped a single bomb which hit the water rather close to port abreast the forward guns. On man at No.2 gun mount was injured by a fragment but no furher damage was done. The plane then kept shadowing USS Sims and USS Neosho. Weather was clear and the sea smooth.

USS Sims had numerous radar contacts and about 0930LM/7, sixteen high level bombers came in to attack USS Sims and USS Neosho. They dropped bombs but missed wide, causing no damage to either ship.

Survivors from the USS Sims reported that the ships 5" DP gunfire apparently disturbed them with the above result. During these fist two actions 328 rounds of 5" ammunition was expended.

The horizontal bombers disappeared from sight but USS Sims continued to pick up planes on her SC radar. None were sighted, however, until twenty-four dive bombers, appeared around 1130LM/7. As soon as these aircraft appeared, USS Sims went to flank speed and turned left to take position on the port quarter of the tanker. Fire was opened with the 5" guns in director control when the planes came within range. The attacks were directed promarily at the tanker and came in from various bearings astern in three waves. The planes approached at about 15000 feet and dove close to the ship in shallow dives of about 30°. Bombs were released quite close aboard. Survivors stated that some dive-bombers were destroyed by the blast of their own bombs. USS Sims obtained one direct hit on one of the dive bombers and the plane exploded in the air. The 20mm AA guns fired continuously at the dive bombers as they passed overhead and tracers were seen to pass through the planes, but the projectiles failed to burst and destroy the aircraft. One of the forward 20mm guns jammed early in the action and was not cleared during the remainder of the engagement.

Four aircraft broke off from one wave of Neosho attackers and directed their attack at USS Sims, diving on their succession from astern. All of these planes were single motored, had fixed landing gear, and had a silhoutte similar to that of Japanese dive bombers. The first released a bomb wihch landed in the water about amidships to port. The second released a bomb which landed on no.2 torpedo mount and exploded in the forward engine room. The third released a bomb which apparently hit the after upper deck house and went down through diagonally forward, exploding in the after engine room. The fourth plane is believed to have made a direct hit on No.4 gun but this can not be definitely established.

Numbers three and four gun mounts and the after 20mm guns were put out of commission by the bomb hits, but the forward mounts in local control and one 20mm gun forward continued firing at the planes untill all of them were out of range. The total of rounds fired by the Sims cannot be ascertained, but one survivor states that over 200 rounds were fired from number two mount alone. During this last attack, the paint on the barrel of number one mount blistered and caught fire. The crew, however, continued to fire with the complete length of the barrel in flames. Several planes were brought down by gun fire during this attack. It is believed that the bombs dropped were of about 500 pounds size. USS Sims broke in two and sank around noon.

Though there are only thirteen survivors of the Sims, these men are from widely separated battle stations and it was possible to reconstruct a fairly accurate account of her last moments. The survivors of the USS Sims then made for the USS Neosho was had been abandoned but was still afloat.

Operations by Task Force 17.3 / Task Force 44.

At daylight on the 7th (0645LM/7), Rear-Admiral Crace, Royal Navy, had been detached with the ' Support Force ' made up of HMAS Australia, USS Chicago, HMAS Hobart, USS Perkins and USS Walke and reinforced with the destroyer USS Farragut. They were to proceed to the Jomard passage to destroyer enemy transports and light cruisers heading towards there. The group was known as Task Force 17.3.

Around 1130LM/7, an enemy shadowing aircraft was sighted by this group.

At 1506LM/7, Task Force 17.3 was attacked by eleven enemy torpedo bombers. No hits were obtained and five of the attackers were shot down. One torpedo passed close down the Port side of HMAS Hobart.

At 1513LM/7, they were attacked by nineteen high level bombers. Bombs fell close to HMAS Australia but no hits were obtained.

At 1519LM/7, three high level bombers attacked but they did no damage. It was later found out that this had been Allied aircraft which had attacked in error.

At 1055LM/8, a single shadowing aircraft was sighted.

In the afternoon of the 18th, HMAS Hobart fuelled USS Perkins.

At 2013LM/8, HMAS Hobart and USS Walke were detached to proceed to the Grafton Passage and then onwards to Australia.

At 1235LM/9, HMAS Hobart and USS Walke entered the Grafton Passage.

At 0045KL/10, HMAS Hobart and USS Walke parted company with each other. HMAS Hobart set course for Brisbane while USS Walke proceeded to Townsville.

Meanwhile USS Farragut fuelled from HMAS Australia in the morning of the 8th.

At 1947LM/9, a signal was received that Task Force 17.3 was released from operations with Task Force 17 and reverted to being Task Force 44 under operational command of ComSoWesPacFor.

Around 0735LM/10, Task Force 44 set course for the Grafton Passage which they entered around 1745LM/10.

Task Force 44 arrived in Cid Harbour around 1145KL/11 where they fuelled. The cruisers from the Australian Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Karumba (3798 GRT, built 1916), and the destroyers from the cruisers. Around 1900KL/11, USS Chicago and USS Perkins departed for Sydney where they arrived in the morning of the 14th. HMAS Australia and USS Farragut proceeded to Brisbane where they arrived in the afternoon of the 13th.

Sources

  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1939
  2. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1939
  3. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron
  4. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  5. ADM 53/108443 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  6. ADM 53/112115 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  7. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1940
  8. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for May 1940
  9. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1940
  10. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  11. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  12. ADM 53/111834 + ADM 53/112626 + ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  13. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1940
  14. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1940
  15. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1940
  16. ADM 53/111875 + ADM 53/112628 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1940
  17. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Parramatta for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for October 1940
  18. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940
  19. ADM 199/383
  20. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1940
  21. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1940
  22. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1940
  23. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for January 1941
  24. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for February 1941
  25. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1941
  26. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for March 1941
  27. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for March 1941
  28. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for April 1941
  29. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for April 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for April 1941
  30. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for May 1941
  31. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1941
  32. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1941
  33. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobert for August 1941
  34. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobert for September 1941
  35. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1941
  36. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1941
  37. ADM 53/114033 + ADM 53/114230 + ADM 53/115714 + ADM 199/408 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 9 December 1941 to 11 January 1942 + Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  38. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 9 December 1941 to 11 January 1942
  39. Report of proceedings of HMS Hobart for January 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMS Kanimbla for January 1942
  40. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for January 1942
  41. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942
  42. ADM 199/426 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for February 1942
  43. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 6 to 26 March 1942
  44. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for March 1942
  45. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for March 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1942
  46. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1942

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


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