Willem Harmsen, RNN

Born  14 Jun 1893Amersfoort, Netherlands
Died  23 Oct 1970(77)Nijkerk, Netherlands


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Ranks

31 Jul 1915 luitenant ter zee 3e klasse (S.Lt.)
31 Jul 1917 luitenant ter zee 2e klasse (Lt.)
4 Feb 1926 luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.)
1 Apr 1938 kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.)
1 Jun 1942 kapitein ter zee (Capt.)

Retired: 1 Apr 1946


Decorations

Warship Commands listed for Willem Harmsen, RNN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HNMS Campbeltown (I 42)kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.)Destroyer17 Jan 194115 Oct 1941
HNMS Isaac Sweers (G 83)kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.)Destroyer30 Dec 194113 Nov 1942
HNMS Jacob van Heemskerck (D 20)kapitein ter zee (Capt.)Light cruiser30 Apr 194327 May 1944

Career information

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

Events related to this officer

Destroyer HNMS Isaac Sweers (G 83)


2 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) conducted engine trials off Alexandria.

5 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Convoy AT 12

This convoy departed Alexandria on 5 January 1942 for Tobruk where it arrived on 7 January 1942.

The composition of this convoy is currently not entirely clear to us but the transports Robert Maersk (2290 GRT, built 1937) and Trajanus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930) at least appeared to be part of it.

Escort was provided by the escort destroyer HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN) and the A/S trawler HMSAS Southern Maid (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Trew, SANF(V)).

Cover for this convoy was provided by the destroyers HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN).

After delivering the convoy at Tobruk HMS Eridge then escorted empty store ships to Alexandria [The identity of these ships is currently not known to us].

On the way back, HMS Legion sighted a surfaced U-boat at 1706/8 to the north-west of Marsa Matruh in position 32°04’N, 26°40’E. The U-boat submerged and was hunted and depth charged by Legion and Isaac Sweers. The U-boat in question was the U-374. She was damaged and after she surfaced she was unable to submerge again and had to abandon her patrol and return to base. She was caught on the surface off Cape Spartivento on 12 January and sunk by the British submarine HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN).

All ships arrived at Alexandria on 9 January 1942.

5 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Alaxandria for operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

[See the event for 5 January 1942, called 'Convoy AT 12', for more information on this operation.]

8 Jan 1942
British destroyer HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen) attack German U-boat U-374 with depth charges. The submarine manages to escape but is damaged and unable to submerge again.

U-374 is caught on the surface and sunk four days later by the British submarine HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN).

9 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Alexandria.

10 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Alexandria to proceed towards Port Said from where they were to escort the transport Eastern Prince (10926 GRT, built 1929) to Beirut. (1)

12 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The transport Eastern Prince (10926 GRT, built 1929) arrived at Beirut escorted by HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN). (1)

13 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Alexandria from escort duty. (1)

16 Jan 1942

Operation MF 3.

Two convoy’s (MW 8A and MW 8B) departed Alexandria on 16 January 1942 for Malta where they arrived on 19 January 1942.

Convoy MW 8A was made up of the transports Ajax (7540 GRT, built 1931) and Thermopylae (Norwegian, 6655 GRT, built 1930). Escort was provided by the light (AA) cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A,M. McKillop, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt. N.H.G. Austen, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN). This convoy departed Alexandria at 0830/16.

Convoy MW 8B was made up of the transports City of Calcutta (8063 GRT, built 1940) and Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938). Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN). This convoy, which had a higher speed, 14 instead of 12 knots, then convoy MW 8A, departed Alexandria at 1530/16.

Both convoys were to converge later but they were delayed by heavy weather.

Cover for the convoy was provided by ‘Force B’ made up of the light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.A.H. Kelsey, DSC, RN flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Alliston, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Sommerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN). This force was due to sail at 2359/16. However when they left the harbour Alexandria was struck suddenly by very bad weather resulting in HMS Kingston and HMS Foxhound colliding with each other causing serious damage to both ships and they were unable to proceed. HMS Hotspur then fouled a propeller and was also unable to proceed. HMS Dido was delayed for a few hours and sailed only at 0545/17 while the remaining ships had departed at 0240/17.

HMS Gurkha, escorting convoy MW 8B, was torpedoed at 0740/17 by the German U-boat U-133 in position 31°50'N, 26°15'E. She was towed clear of the burning oil by HrMs Isaac Sweers which managed to rescue 240 survivors. Only 9 of the crew of the Gurkha lost their lives. While rescueing the crew of the Gurkha, HMS Maori screened them and hunted the attacker but she was unable to obtain contact. HMS Gurkha sank at 0917/17. HrMs Isaac Sweers and HMS Maori then rejoined convoy MW 8B at 1125 hours. HrMs Isaac Sweers was detached at 1540/17 to land the survivors at Tobruk where she arrived at 1745/17 and already left again at 1830/17. She rejoined the convoy the following day at 0200/18.

’Force K’, made up of the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), left Malta at 1900/17 to make rendez-vous with the convoy on the morning of the 18th.

Both convoy and ’Force B’ eventually joined up at 1100/18. ‘Force K’ made contact at 1315/18 and the convoy then proceeded westwards. There were a number of attacks by single German Ju-88 aircraft during the day but without damage to any of the ships.

Before ‘Force K ‘had joined the transport Thermopylae was detached at 1130/18 due to engine defects and was ordered to proceed to Benghazi escorted by HMS Carlisle, HMS Arrow and HMS Havock. She was later able to make 13 knots and was then ordered to return to Alexandria.

At 1930 hours on the 18th, air reconnaissance had not sighted any enemy warships so HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Dido, HMS Griffin, Kelvin, HMS Kipling, HMS Hero, HMS Hasty, HrMs Isaac Sweers and HMS Jaguar set course to return to Alexandria. HMS Maori joined ‘Force K’ vice HMS Jaguar and HMS Legion also proceeded to Malta as she was to dock there. At daylight on the 19th HMS Hero and HMS Hasty were detached to join the ships escorting the Thermopylae.

However at 0945/19 the Thermopylae was hit by two bombs in the engine room during a bombing attack by a single German JU-88 pressed right home. The ship caught fire and could not be saved. She was eventually scuttled at 1153/19 in position 33°02'N, 24°16'E by a torpedo from HMS Havock.

The remaining ships of the convoy arrived safely at Malta at 1530/19. Heavy enemy air attacks having been held off by effective fighter protection.

’Force B’ had also been attacked on the way back to Alexandria by single German JU-88’s. The only damage done was to HMS Naiad by a near-miss. In the afternoon of the 19th, HMS Kelvin was detached and ordered to proceed to Tobruk to pick up the survivors from HMS Gurkha and take them to Alexandria.

The first ships to return to Alexandria were the ones from ‘Force B’. They arrived around 0830/20. HMS Carlisle, HMS Arrow, HMS Havock, HMS Hasty and HMS Hero arrived shortly afterwards as did HMS Kelvin later on the day with the survivors of HMS Gurkha. (1)

16 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Alexandria for operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

[See the event for 16 January 1942, called 'Operation MF 3', for more information on these operations.]

20 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Alexandria.

24 Jan 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Operation MF 4.

The passage of HMS Breconshire from Alexandria to Malta from 24 to 27 January and the passage of convoy ME 9 from Malta to Alexandria from 25 to 28 January 1942.

In the morning on of 24 January 1942, HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) departed Alexandria with stores for Malta. Escort was provided by ‘Force B’ which was made up of the light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.A.H. Kelsey, DSC, RN flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A,M. McKillop, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt. N.H.G. Austen, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Alliston, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Sommerville, DSO, DSC, RN). HMS Kingston was to proceed to Malta for docking and repairs.

In the morning of 25 January 1942, convoy ME 9 departed Malta for Alexandria. This convoy was made up of the transports HMS Glengyle (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Petrie, DSO and Bar, RN) (9919 GRT, built 1939) and Rowallan Castle (7801 GRT, built 1939). Escort was provided by ‘Force K’ which was made up of the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN).

On the 25th HMS Breconshire and ‘Force B’ were shadowed by enemy aircraft. They were attacked by eight German JU-88 bombers between 1445 and 1520 hours. No ships were seriously damaged. HrMs Isaac Sweers sustained six near misses causing the Asdic and Gyro compass to be out of action for a few hours. Two JU-88’s are thought to have been shot down during the attacks. The enemy aircraft are thought to have been damaged.

At noon on the 26h both forces made rendez-vous. ‘Force B’ then turned back with the ships of convoy ME 9 while ‘Force K’ took over HMS Breconshire. Also HMS Lance joined ‘Force B’ vice HMS Kingston.

’Force K’ was bombed during the afternoon and both ‘Force B’ and ‘Force K’ were attacked during the afternoon by enemy torpedo bombers. No ships were damaged although HrMs Isaac Sweers was missed by a few hundred yards by a torpedo down the starboard side.

’Force K’ and HMS Breconshire arrived at Malta around 1000 hours.

’Force B’ and convoy ME 9 arrived at Alexandria around 1100 hours. (1)

24 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Alaxandria for operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

[See the event for 24 January 1942, called 'Operation MF 4', for more information on these operations.]

28 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Alexandria.

29 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Alexandria for Port Said. Isaac Sweers was to proceed to the Dutch East Indies to reinforce the Dutch Navy there. (1)

30 Jan 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Port Said. She passed the Suez Canal and arrived at Suez later the same day. Late in the afternoon Isaac Sweers departed Suez for Aden. (2)

2 Feb 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Aden. (2)

3 Feb 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Aden for Colombo. (2)

8 Feb 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Colombo. At Colombo she was to be docked before she could continue to Java. There was however a delay as the damaged US light cruiser USS Boise (T/Capt. E.J. Moran, USN) was giving priority for docking. (2)

28 Feb 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Colombo for Java.

4 Mar 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Colombo. She had been ordered to return to Colombo after the battle of the Java Sea had been lost.

16 Mar 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Colombo for Addu Atoll. (3)

17 Mar 1942
HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Addu Atoll from Colombo (3)

18 Mar 1942
HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Addu Atoll to make rendez-vous with HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN) coming from the west coast of the U.S.A. via Australia. Rendez-vous was made at 0600/19 (zone -6). (3)

22 Mar 1942
HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Trincomalee.

The destroyers departed later the same day with HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN) to make rendez-vous at sea with HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN).

Rendez-vous was made around 1700/23 and HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Ramillies now proceeded in company to Addu Atoll escorted by HMS Griffin, HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers. (3)

25 Mar 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN) and their destroyer escort, HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Addu Atoll. (3)

26 Mar 1942
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN , flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN, second in command Eastern Fleet), HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN) and their destroyer escort made up of HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. I.M. Balfour, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Addu Attoll for exercises in that area.

They were joined at sea the next day by HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) coming from Mauritius. (3)

28 Mar 1942
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN, flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN, second in command Eastern Fleet), HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN) and their destroyer escort made up of HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. I.M. Balfour, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Addu Attoll upon completion of their exercises in that area. (3)

29 Mar 1942
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN , flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN, second in command Eastern Fleet), HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN) and their destroyer escort made up of HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. I.M. Balfour, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Addu Atoll for more exercises in that erea.

[For the events following this, see the event titled 'Operations by the Eastern Fleet from 29 March to 13 April 1942' for 29 March 1942.] (3)

4 Apr 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Addu Atoll with 'Force B' to fuel.

5 Apr 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Addu Atoll with 'Force B'.

8 Apr 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Addu Atoll with 'Force B' to fuel.

9 Apr 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Addu Atoll with 'Force B'.

14 Apr 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Mombasa with 'Force B'.

21 Apr 1942
Around 0700 hours, HMS Caledon (A/Capt. H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Mombasa for exercises. (4)

22 Apr 1942
Around 0700 hours, HMS Caledon (A/Capt. H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) returned to Mombasa from exercises. (4)

27 Apr 1942
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN , flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN, second in command Eastern Fleet) and a destroyer escort made up of HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Mombasa for exercises. They proceeded towards Zanzibar. They returned to Mombasa the next day minus HrMs Isaac Sweers whih remained at sea until 1 May 1942. (3)

1 May 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Mombasa. (3)

8 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) J.P. Landon, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Mombasa to make rendez-vous with HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) which was escorting convoy WS 17. HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Corfu then took over the escort of the convoy while HMS Revenge proceeded to Mombasa escorted by the two destroyers where they arrived the next day. (3)

12 May 1942
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN) departed Mombasa for Durban. She was escorted by HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN)

HrMs Isaac Sweers only escorted the battleship briefly. She returned to Mombasa the next day. (3)

23 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Mombasa for Durban. Isaac Sweers is to proceed to the U.K. for a much needed refit. (3)

27 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Durban. (3)

28 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Durban for Simonstown. (2)

30 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Simonstown. (2)

31 May 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Simonstown for Freetown. (2)

7 Jun 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Freetown. (2)

9 Jun 1942
HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Freetown for Gibraltar. The next day they made a very short top at Bathurst to fuel before continuing their passage.

16 Jun 1942
HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN), and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Gibraltar. They departed, after fuelling, later the same day for the U.K.

22 Jun 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Portsmouth. In late June she proceeded to Southampton where she was taken in hand for refit at the Thornycroft shipyard.

25 Sep 1942
With her refit completed, HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN), departed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow via Greenock. (5)

27 Sep 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Scapa Flow for a post refit work-up period.

19 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Late in the evening, HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Londonderry. (6)

20 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) arrived at Londonderry around 1300 hours.

They departed later the same day together with HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) to make rendez-vous with HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) and then escort her to Gibraltar.

25 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) and her escorting destroyers, HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) and HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar.

26 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) and HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to proceed to Ponta Delgada, Azores where they were to fuel before proceeding to a rendez-vous with convoy KMF 1.

29 Oct 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) and HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Ponta Delgada, Azores. After fuelling they departed later the same day to make rendez-vous with convoy KMF 1. HrMs Isaac Sweers and HMS Escapade joined this large convoy on 2 November. HMS Marne joined the convoy on 3 November.

5 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) parted company with convoy KMF 1 and joined 'Force H'.

6 Nov 1942
'Force H' made up of HMS Nelson, HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) and HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar.

While taking up her berth HMS Nelson fouled the merchant vessel Empire Gawain and the minesweepers HMS Bude (Lt. F.A.J. Andrew, RN) and HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR). HMS Nelson sustained some minor damage. (7)

8 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Gibraltar. Presumably to patrol near Gibraltar.

11 Nov 1942
HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) arrived at Gibraltar at 0900 hours. She departed again at 1445 hours to go to the aid of the torpedoed troop transport Nieuw Zeeland.

Later that day the British destroyer HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), the British escort destroyer HMS Albrighton (Lt. R.J. Hanson, DSC, DSO, RN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) together rescue 238 survivors from the Dutch troop transport Nieuw Zeeland that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-380 about 80 miles east of Gibraltar in position 35°57'N, 03°58'W.

The three ships then took the survivors to Gibraltar where they arrived around 2115 hours.

HrMs Isaac Sweers and HMS Porcupine departed Gibraltar soon after having landed the survivors. They were to join 'Force H' at sea. Before doing so they were to fuel at sea from 'Force R'.

12 Nov 1942
In the evening of 12 November 1942 HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) both fuelled from 'Force R' which was made up of the tankers Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, master R.T. Duthie) and Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, master D.B.C. Ralph). Escort for this force was provided by the corvette HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and four A/S trawlers, HMS Arctic Ranger (Skr. J.F. Banks, RNR), HMS Imperialist (T/Lt. A.R.F. Pelling, RNR), HMS Loch Oskaig (T/Lt. G.T.S. Clampitt, RNR) and HMS St. Nectan (Lt. J.B. Osborne, RANVR).

The destroyers were to join 'Force H' at sea but were ordered to remain with 'Force R' during the night.

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


amazon.co.uk
(£ 42.22)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/650
  2. ADM 199/2557
  3. ADM 199/426
  4. ADM 53/116556
  5. ADM 199/421
  6. ADM 199/429
  7. ADM 199/662

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


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