Allied Warships

HMS Southern Gem (K 247)

ASW Whaler

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeASW Whaler
Class[No specific class] 
PennantK 247 
Built byBremer Vulkan (Vegesack, Germany) 
Laid down 
CommissionedJul 1940 
End service 

Completed in October 1937.
Whaler of Southern Whaling & Sealing Co. Ltd., London, U.K., requisitioned by the Admiralty in March 1940.
Displacement: 593 tons.

Returned to owner in April 1945 (???).


Commands listed for HMS Southern Gem (K 247)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1T/Lt. Charles Edward Denne, RNVR17 Jul 1940mid 1941
2T/Lt. John David Walter Lewis, RNVRmid 194110 Jun 1941
3T/Lt. Dennis Charles Hayes, RNVR10 Jun 194117 Feb 1943
4T/Lt. Philip Henry Riseley, RNVR17 Feb 1943Aug 1944
5T/Lt. William Arthur Andrew Sternslow, SANF(V)Aug 1944Dec 1944
6T/Lt. Keith Robinson Blenkharn, RNVRDec 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Southern Gem include:

11 Aug 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. C.E. Denne, RNVR) and HMS Helier 2 (Skr. J. Mawer, RNR). (1)

16 Aug 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. C.E. Denne, RNVR). (1)

19 Aug 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. C.E. Denne, RNVR) and HMS Peony (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, RN). (1)

16 Apr 1942

Convoy WS 18.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 16 April 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Capetown Castle (British, 27000 GRT, built 1938), City of Capetown (British, 8046 GRT, built 1937), Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1939), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931, Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Phemius (British, 7406 GRT, built 1921), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Soudan (British, 6677 GRT, built 1931) and Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934).

The destroyer tender HMS Hecla (Capt. E.F.B. Law, RN) was also part of the convoy.

On assembly from Oversay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, Senior Officer), heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN), destroyers HMS Georgetown (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. M.H.R. Crichton, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) and the destroyer escorts HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. R.H. Rycroft, RN).

Around 0700N/19, HMS Badsworth and HMS Lauderdale parted company to return to the U.K.

Around 1900N/19, HMS Lancaster, HMS St. Marys, HMS Boadicea and HMS Volunteer parted company to return to the U.K.

Around 2000N/19, HrMs Van Galen and HMS Tetcott parted company to refuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores and to rejoin the convoy on completion. The departed Ponta Delgada to rejoin the convoy on the 20th.

Around 0915N/21, HMS Georgetown and HMS Salisbury parted company to refuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Around 1900N/22, HrMs Van Galen rejoined.

Around 1030N/23, HMS Tetcott rejoined. Both had been delayed in rejoining the convoy due to them having difficulty finding the convoy.

Around 0930N/26, the destroyers HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and the corvette HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) joined.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 29 April 1942.


The convoy departed Freetown on 3 May 1942 in the same composition with the addition of the troop transport Rimutaka (British, 16576 GRT, built 1923), transport Agwileon (American, 6678 GRT, built 1907) and the seaplane carrier HMS Albatross (A/Capt. F.W.H. Clarke, RN).

Escort on departure from Freetown was provided by the light cruiser HMS Gambia, heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher, destroyers HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Boreas, HrMs Van Galen and escort destroyer Tetcott.

Around 1245Z/4, the corvette HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined. The corvette FFS Commandant Detroyant was also to have joined the convoy but failed to do so.

Around 1430Z/4, HMS Wivern and HMS Boreas were detached.

Around 1020Z/5, HMS Hydrangea parted company.

In the morning of 8 May 1942, HMS Frobisher fuelled HMS Tetcott and on completion of doing so parted company with the convoy around 1315Z/8 to escort the Agwileon to Walvis Bay. This ship was detached from the convoy as she was unable to keep up.

In the morning of 9 May 1942, HMS Gambia fuelled HrMs Van Galen however after only 57 tons of fuel had been transferred to hose parted due to the bad weather conditions. These two ships then parted company with the convoy to proceed to St. Helena, which was only 52 nautical miles away, where they were able to complete fuelling (another 155 tons was transferred) while at anchor. HMS Gambia rejoined the convoy around 1550A/10. HrMS Van Galen proceeded independently to Capetown arriving there on 22 May 1942.

Late in the morning of the 14th, HMS Gambia transferred 20 tons of fuel to HMS Tetcott which was running low.

Around 1300B/14, the A/S whalers HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. D.C. Hayes, RNVR) and HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR) joined.

Around 0300B/15, the Capetown section parted company. It was made up of the Dempo, Empress of Canada, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Orduna, Phemius, Reina del Pacifico, Rimutaka and Waipawa. HMS Albatross, HMS Tetcott, HMS Southern Gem and HMS Southern Pride went with them. The Capetown section arrived there later the same morning.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Durban escorted by HMS Gambia.

At 1600B/15, HMS Hecla suffered a heavy explosion on the starboard side. Position was to the south of Cape Aghulas, in 36°06'S, 19°55'E. It was though that she had been torpedoed but this was soon changed to being mined. HMS Gambia stood by the stricken vessel. Later it was found out that also the transport Soudan had also been mined and had been sunk as a result of the damage sustained.

HMS Hecla and HMS Gambia arrived off Simonstown around 0800B/16. HMS Hecla was immediately docked in the Selborne dry dock.

The Durban section of convoy WS 18 was then joined around 1000B/16 by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN). This ship had been en-route from Durban to Simonstown and had now been ordered to escort the Durban section with HMS Gambia absent.

The Durban section arrived at Durban around noon on the 18th.


On 19 May 1942, the Capetown section of the convoy departed from there. It was now made up of the Bulkoil (American (tanker), 8071 GRT, built 1942), Dempo, Empress of Canada, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Orduna, Phemius, Reina del Pacifico and Waipawa. HMS Albatross was also with the convoy which was escorted by HMS Frobisher. The Phemus however had to return to Capetown later the same day.

On 23 May 1942, the Durban section of the convoy departed from there. It was made up of the Capetown Castle, City of Capetown, Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Empire Woodlark (British, 7793 GRT, built 1913) and Llandaff Castle (British, 10799 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN).

The two sections then merged, but the Reina del Pacifico was detached to proceed independently to Bombay arriving there on 2 June.

Around 0615C/27, the Phemus rejoined the convoy after having returned to Capetown on the 19th.

Around 2300C/27, the Llandaff Castle parted company with the convoy to proceed to Diego Suarez. HMS Frobisher went with her as escort. They arrived there around 2000C/29.

Around 1330C/30, the light cruisers HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) and HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C.A. Annesley, DSO, RN) joined. HMS Resolution, HMS Albatross and the Empire Woodlark then parted company to proceed to Kilindini where they arrived the following morning.

At 0745D/31, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt.(Retd.) E.H. Hopkinson, RN) joined. HMS Emerald then parted company.

Around 1530D/2, HMS Worcestershire parted company taking the Bulkoil, Phemius and Waipawa with her to Aden where they arrived around 0900C/4.

The remainder of the convoy continued on towards Bombay escorted by HMS Enterprise. It arrived at Bombay around 1100FG/7. (2)

5 Oct 1942

Convoy WS 23.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 5 October 1942.

It consisted of the following transports / troopships; Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Russia (British, 16810 GRT, built 1913), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Kina II (British, 9823 GRT, built 1939), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), Port Jackson (British, 9687 GRT, built 1937), Silverandal (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930) and Straat Malakka (Dutch, 439 GRT, built 1939).

Initial escort consisted of the light cruisers HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN), HMS Durban (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO and Bar, OBE, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and RHS Kanaris.

At 2200Z/6, HMS Durban parted company with the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel.

At 1850Z/8, HMS Beagle parted company with the convoy to return to the UK. HMS Zetland had a leaking Asdic dome and was apparently also detached on the 8th to return to the UK for a docking and repairs.

At 1000Z/9, HMS Puckeridge arrived at Ponta Delgada to refuel. She departed to rejoin the convoy at 1345Z/9. RHS Kanaris arrived at 1100Z/9 and departed again at 1430Z/9. [It is currently not known to us when they had left the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada.]

At 1545Z/9, HMS Durban rejoined the convoy. HMS Despatch was then detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada.

At 1900Z/9, HMS Puckeridge and RHS Kanaris rejoined the convoy.

At 0100Z/10, HMS Wrestler and HMS Bicester parted company with the convoy to fuel at Ponta Delgada after which they were to return to the UK.

At 0810/Z/13, HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN) joined the convoy shorly afterwards followed by HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN).

On 16 October 1942 the convoy arrived at Freetown escorted by HMS Despatch, HMS Durban, HMS Queen of Bermuda, HMS Antelope, HMS Velox, HMS Puckeridge and RHS Kanaris.


The convoy departed Freetown for Durban on 20 October 1942.

The same ships made up the convoy plus the merchant vessels Hai Lee (Norwegian, 3616 GRT, built 1934) and Tamesis (Norwegian, 7256 GRT, built 1939).

On departure from Freetown the convoy escort was made up of the light cruisers HMS Despatch, HMS Durban, armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN), escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), RHS Kanaris, sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and the corvette HMS Tamarisk (Lt. S. Ayles, RNR).

At 1020A/23, HMS Avon Vale parted company. HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. D.C. Hayes, RNVR) had joined just before. She had sailed from Takoradi on the 22nd.

At 1842A/23, HMS Durban parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi to repair a defect. She arrived at Takoradi around 0745/24 and departed again around 0230A/25. She rejoined the convoy around 0945A/27.

Also detached on 23 October were the two Norwegian merchant vessels and the corvette HMS Tamarisk. These were also to proceed to Takoradi.

The corvette HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) joined on the 25th coming from Ponte Noire. After she joined HMS Southern Gem was detached to Ponte Noire due to engine trouble.

On the 26th, HMS Amaranthus parted company to join convoy CF 7.

On 30 October the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and the corvettes HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) joined the convoy. These ships had sailed from Walvis Bay, the corvettes at 0600Z/29 and HMAS Norman at 2000Z/29. HMAS Norman joined the convoy around 1300B/30 and the corvettes around 1530B/30.

At 2100B/30, HMS Durban, HMS Despatch and HMS Milford were detached to fuel at Walvis Bay where they arrived around 0840/30. HMS Durban departed Walvis Bay aroud 1845B/31 and she rejoined the convoy around 1800B/1

On 2 November the transport / troopship Rimutaka (British, 16576 GRT, built 1923) joined the convoy coming from Capetown.

At 1330C/2, the destroyer HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) joined coming from Simonstown.

Around 1545C/2, RHS Kanaris parted company to refuel at Simonstown. She rejoined the convoy around 0100C/3.

At 2215C/2, HMS Rockrose and HMS Thyme were detached to search for survivors from ships that had been torpedoed by German submarines.

At 1950C/4, HMS Express was detached to search for survivors from a ship that had been torpedoed by a German submarines.

At 0530C/5, the escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Durban in the early afternoon of 5 November escorted by HMS Durban, HMS Carthage, HMAS Norman, HMS Catterick, HMS Derwent and RHS Kanaris.


The convoy departed Durban around noon on 9 November 1942, now made up of Capetown Castle, Empress of Russia, Highland Monarch, Kina II, Port Jackson, Silversandal and Straat Malakka.

On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dauntless (Cdr.(Retd.) N.G. Leeper, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage, destroyers HMAS Norman, HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), escort destroyers HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN), RHS Kanaris and the corvettes HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR).

At 1700C/10, HMS Insconstant, HMS Genista and HMS Jasmine were detached.

At 1500D/11, HMS Dauntless, HMAS Norman, HMS Blackmore and RHS Kanaris were detached.

At 1830D/11, the cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) joined.

At 1600E/16, HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN) joined and at 1230E/16, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini taking the Empress of Russia with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1700D/18.

At 1800E/17, the convoy was split up into the ' Aden section ' and the ' Bombay section '.

The ' Aden section ' was made up of the Highland Monarch, Kina II, Port Jackson and the Straat Malakka. They were escorted by HMS Carthage and arrived at Aden around 1300C/21. They had earlier been joined by the destroyer RHS Panther around 0615/20.

The ' Bombay section ' was made up of the other transports escorted by HMS Mauritius. They arrived at Bombay around 1000FG/24 except for the Silversandal which had been detached on November 22nd to proceed to Karachi where she also arrived on the 24th. (2)

10 Jun 1943
The AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) departed Plymouth around 1100B/11 to patrol off the Bay of Biscay from an anti-blockade breaker patrol. Also proceeding on patrol were the destroyers HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki).

HMS Charybdis was to proceed to position 43°01'N, 12°59'W and to patrol within 50 miles from this position.

HMCS Iroqouis and ORP Orkan were ordered to return to Plymouth on the 12th. ORP Orkan arrived later on the 12th but HMCS Iroquois remained at sea to provide cover for a convoy of landing craft that was only being escorted by the A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR).

On the 14th, while HMS Charybdis was on the way back to Plymouth she was also ordered to provide cover for the convoy of landing craft as German forces had been reported. She therefore joined HMCS Iroquois around 1145B/14.

Around 2330B/14, HMCS Iroquois parted company to search for a reported downed Whitley aircraft in position 49°10'N, 06°20'W but no survivors were however found.

Both HMS Charybdis and HMCS Iroquois arrived at Plymouth on the 15th. (3)

19 Jun 1943

Combined convoy OS 50/KMS 17G.

This combined convoy assembled off Oversay on 19 June 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anglo-Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Balteako (British, 1328 GRT, built 1920), Baron Douglas (British, 3899 GRT, built 1932), Baron Ramsay (British, 3650 GRT, built 1929), Baron Ruthven (British, 3178 GRT, built 1925), Basil (British, 4913 GRT, built 1928), Blairesk (British, 3300 GRT, built 1925), Calgary (British, 7206 GRT, built 1921), City of Dundee (British, 5273 GRT, built 1921), City of Eastbourne (British, 5563 GRT, built 1923), Coity Castle (British, 2767 GRT, built 1919), Colytto (Dutch, 4408 GRT, built 1926), Como (British, 1295 GRT, built 1910), Corcrest (British, 2373 GRT, built 1918), Cromarty (British, 4974 GRT, built 1936), Dalcross (British, 4557 GRT, built 1930), Dordrecht (Dutch, 4402 GRT, built 1928), Dornoch (British, 5186 GRT, built 1939), Dumfries (British, 5149 GRT, built 1935), Empire Candida (British, 2908 GRT, built 1943), Empire Fal (British, 4880 GRT, built 1914), Empire Franklin (British, 7292 GRT, built 1941), Empire Harp (British (tanker), 861 GRT, built 1942), Empire Nightingale (British, 5698 GRT, built 1918), Evviva (Norwegian, 1597 GRT, built 1921), Fort Abitibi (British, 7122 GRT, built 1942), Fort Liard (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Nipigon (British, 7132 GRT, built 1942), Fort Senneville (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Glenwood (British, 4897 GRT, built 1940), Godfrey Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929), Helencrest (British, 5233 GRT, built 1941), Henzada (British, 4161 GRT, built 1934), Kristianiafjord (Norwegian, 6759 GRT, built 1921), Lafian (British, 4876 GRT, built 1937), Llanberis (British, 5055 GRT, built 1928), Lysaker V (Norwegian, 1571 GRT, built 1936), Marga (Norwegian, 1583 GRT, built 1923), Merkland (British, 1363 GRT, built 1934), Nijkerk (Dutch, 5843 GRT, built 1915), Norfalk (British, 5675 GRT, built 1919), Ocean Viceroy (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pendeen (British, 4174 GRT, built 1923), Pentridge Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1941), Phemius (British, 7406 GRT, built 1921), Richmond Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1940), Saltwick (British, 3775 GRT, built 1929), Sansu (British, 5446 GRT, built 1939), Silverash (British, 7750 GRT, built 1926), Souliotis (Greek, 4299 GRT, built 1917), Stad Maasluis (Dutch, 6541 GRT, built 1918), Stanhope (British, 2337 GRT, built 1919), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Tombouctou (British, 5636 GRT, built 1919), Trevaylor (British, 5257 GRT, built 1940), Uranienborg (British, 5257 GRT, built 1940) and Vigsnes (Norwegian, 1599 GRT, built 1930).

On assembly of Oversay the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN), HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN) and the corvettes HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. H.V. Gordon, DSC, RNVR), HMS Coreopsis (T/Lt. B.C. Hamilton, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR) which joined coming from Londonderry.

The monitors HMS Abercrombie (A/Capt. G.V.B. Faulkner, RN) and HMS Roberts (A/Capt.(Retd.) R.E.C. Dunbar, RN) were also taking passage in this convoy as was the RFA tanker Orangeleaf (5983 GRT, built 1917).

On 21 June HMS Folkestone was detached to return to Londonderry for repairs to defective hull plating.

On 24 June the merchant vessel Dornoch straggled from the convoy. The next day HMS Folkestone was ordered to search for her. She had departed Londonderry to overtake the convoy on 24 June having effected repairs there.

Cover for the convoy during part of the passage was provided by the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN).

En-route the merchant vessels Baron Ramsay, Merkland and Stanhope were detached to Lisbon as was the Coity Castle which was detached to Huelva.

On 27 June 1943 the convoy was split up.

The destroyer HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Reighton Wyke (Skr. G.M. Sutherland, RNR), HMS Visenda (T/Lt. S.F. Archer, RNR) and A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR) took over the escort of convoy KMS 17G. These escorts, plus the corvette HMS Columbine (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.J. Griffiths, RNR) had brought out convoy OS 50G from Gibraltar which they had departed earlier on 27 June. [For the ships of convoy OS 50G see below.]

HMS Aberdeen and HMS Folkestone from the original escort also proceeded to Gibraltar escorting convoy KMS 17G.

On 28 June the convoy escort was reinforced by the escort destroyer Holcombe and Viceroy.

Convoy KMS 17G arrived at Gibraltar on 29 June.

Convoy KMS 17G was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anglo-Indian, Balteako, Baron Douglas, Baron Ruthven, Blairesk, Como, Corcrest, Cromarty, Dalcross, Dumfries, Empire Candida, Empire Fal, Empire Harp, Empire Nightingale, Evviva, Fort Abitibi, Fort Nipigon, Helencrest, Kristianiafjord, Lysaker V, Marga, Norfalk, Pendeen, Pentridge Hill, Richmond Hill, Saltwick, , Trevaylor and Vigsnes.

The Orangeleaf also was part of KMS 17G as were HMS Abercrombie and HMS Robert.


Convoy OS 50 then continued on with the escort. It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Basil, Calgary, City of Dundee, City of Eastbourne, Colytto, Dordrecht, Empire Franklin, Fort Liard, Fort Sonneville, Glenwood, Godfrey B. Holt, Lafian, Llanberis, Nijkerk, Ocean Viceroy, Sansu, Silverash, Souliotis, Tiba, Tombouctou and Unanienborg.

These were joined by the merchant vessels which had made up convoy OS 50G which had been brought out of Gibraltar by the escortx which took over convoy KMS 17G, except for HMS Columbine which joined convoy OS 50.

The merchant vessels in question were the following; Baron Herries (British, 4574 GRT, built 1940), Biafra (British, 5405 GRT, built 1933), Empire Kangaroo (British, 6219 GRT, built 1919), Empire Miranda (British, 7054 GRT, built 1943), Empire Sunbeam (British, 6711 GRT, built 1941), Fort Fairford (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Lac La Ronge (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Fort McLoughlin (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Fort Vermillion (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Junecrest (British, 6945 GRT, built 1942), Madras City (British, 5080 GRT, built 1940), Ocean Verity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Volunteer (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940) and Wearpool (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936).

Later more merchant vessels joined coming from Casablanca, these were the; Dan-Y-Brin (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Dunkerque (French, 2477 GRT, built 1925), Elorn (French, 5482 GRT, built 1930), Finisterre (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909), Hoggar (French, 5146 GRT, built 1923), Ingleton (British, 7203 GRT, built 1942) and Schiaffino (French, 3236 GRT, built 1920).

The following merchant vessels were then detached to Casablanca; Fort Laird and Fort Senneville.

Off Dakar the following merchant vessels joined the convoy; Fort de Vaux (British, 5186 GRT, built 1918), Fort Jemseg (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Horace Williams (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Palacio (British, 1346 GRT, built 1927) and Salta (Norwegian, 3907 GRT, built 1920).

The following merchant vessels were then detached to Dakar; Calgary, Dan-Y-Bryn, Dunkerque, Elorn, Finisterre, Fort Lac La Ronge, Hoggar, Ingleton and Madras City.

The merchant vessel Godfrey B. Holt was detached to Bathurst.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 8 June 1943.

15 Jul 1943
Le Centaure conducted A/S exercises off Freetown with HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR), HMS Butser (T/Lt. A.F. Cameron, RNVR) and HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR). (4)

2 Dec 1943

Convoy SL 142.

This convoy departed Freetown on 22 November 1943.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Balfe (British, 5369 GRT, built 1920), Baron Elgin (British, 3942 GRT, built 1933), Cape Wrath (British, 4512 GRT, built 1940), Egton (British, 4363 GRT, built 1938), Empire Foam (British, 7047 GRT, built 1941), Empire Pibroch (British, 7046 GRT, built 1942), Empire Swale (British, 5452 GRT, built 1937), Fordsdale (British, 11023 GRT, built 1924), Gerard Dou (Dutch, 7242 GRT, built 1941), Janeta (British, 4312 GRT, built 1929), Katanga (Belgian, 5183 GRT, built 1917), Lycaon (British, 7552 GRT, built 1913), North Leigh (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Royal Star (British, 7900 GRT, built 1919), San Tirso (British (tanker), 6266 GRT, built 1913), Silverlarch (British, 5064 GRT, built 1924), Silverlaurel (British, 6142 GRT, built 1939), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921), Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927) and William Hawkins (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942).

The rescue tug Thames was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN), corvettes HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR), HMS Columbine (T/Lt. J.C. Grose, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR).

On 3 December 1943, the Umberleigh arrived back at Freetown after having been forced to return .

On 4 December 1943, HMS Southern Gem was detatched as was the William Hawkins which arrived at Bathurst later the same day.

On 5 December 1943, the Lycaon arrived at Dakar after having been detached from the convoy while the merchant vessels Djebel Aures (French, 2835 GRT, built 1929) and Rutenfjell (Norwegian, 1334 GRT, built 1935) departed Dakar to join the convoy as did the submarine tender Jules Verne.

Also on 5 December 1943, HMS Bellwort was detached and joined southbound convoy OS 59.

On 12 December 1943, the merchant vessels Belgian Crew (Belgian, 7048 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frobisher (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Thistlemuir (British, 7237 GRT, built 1942) and Tilemachos (Greek, 3658 GRT, built 1921) departed Casablanca to join the convoy. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-480 (Lt. F.W. Meyers, Jr., USNR), USS PC-481 (Lt. N.W. Roeder, USNR) and USS PC-482 (Lt. D.W. Hunter, USNR).

On these ships joining the Djebel Aures and Jules Verne were detached to Casablanca where they arrived on 13 December 1943 escorted by the three above mentioned patrol vessels.

On 14 December 1943, the convoy merged with convoy MKS 33(G) coming from the Mediterranean.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anadyr (British, 5321 GRT, built 1930), Baron Forbes (British, 3061 GRT, built 1915), Blackheath (British, 4637 GRT, built 1936), Boltonhall (British, 4824 GRT, built 1935), Ceronia (British (tanker), 4955 GRT, built 1929), City of Lancaster (British, 3041 GRT, built 1924), Debrett (British, 6244 GRT, built 1940), Egholm (British, 1327 GRT, built 1924), Empire Faith (British, 7061 GRT, built 1941), Empire Gareth (British, 2847 GRT, built 1942), Empire Trent (British, 5006 GRT, built 1927), Errington Court (British, 4913 GRT, built 1925), Masirah (British, 6578 GRT, built 1919), Norman Monarch (British, 7005 GRT, built 1943), Rancher (British, 5882 GRT, built 1927), Rippingham Grange (British, 10365 GRT, built 1943), Robert Maersk (British, 2294 GRT, built 1937), Schiaffino (British, 3236 GRT, built 1920), Spurt (Norwegian, 2061 GRT, built 1918) and Tarantia (British, 7268 GRT, built 1942).

The rescue ship Fastnet (British, 1415 GRT, built 1928) and the headquarters ship HMS Hilary (Capt.(Retd.) J.F. Paget, RN) were also with the convoy.

Convoy MKS 33(G) was escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. C.W. McMullen, DSC, RN), HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), frigates HMS Avon (Lt.Cdr. P.G.A. King, RD, RNR), corvettes HMS Abelia (Lt. R.I. Floris, RNZNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Carse, DSC, RNVR), HMS Clover (Lt. P.H. Grieves, RNR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Northern Spray (Lt. F.A.J. Downer, RNR) and HMS Northern Sun (T/Lt. H. Meredith, RNVR).

The original escort of convoy SL 142 then parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 14 December 1943.

Around 1120Z/17, the escort carrier HMS Fencer (Capt. E.W. Anstice, RN) joined the convoy.

During 20/21 December 1943, the escort was reinforced by the destroyers Hurricane, Wanderer, Watchman and the frigate Glenarm.

On 22 December 1943, in bad weather conditions the Baron Forbes straggled from the convoy.

On 23 December 1943, HMS Hilary was detached to Milford Haven where she arrived on 26 December 1943.

Around 1700Z/24, HMS Fencer, HMS Walker and HMS Abelia were detached from the convoy to proceed ahead with three of the merchant vessels (the Troilus was one of them). HMS Fencer arrived at Greenock on 26 December 1943, HMS Walker and HMS Abelia arrived at Londonderry also on the 26th.

On 25 December 1943, the Tilemachos straggled from the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 27/28 December 1943.


  1. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 199/1211
  3. ADM 53/117200 + ADM 199/2266 + ADM 199/2267
  4. ADM 199/635

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

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