Allied Warships

HMS Skudd 5 (FY 1806)

MS Whaler

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeMS Whaler
Class[No specific class] 
PennantFY 1806 
Built byNylands Værksted (Oslo, Norway) 
Laid down 
Launched7 Aug 1930 
CommissionedNov 1940 
End service 

Completed on 28 August 1930.
Norwegian whaler of Hvalfangerselskap Skytteren A/S (Yngvar Hvistendahl) Tønsberg, Norway taken over by the Admiralty in June 1940.
Displacement: 265 tons.

Renamed HMS Surge on 3 April 1944.
Returned to owner in October 1945.


Commands listed for HMS Skudd 5 (FY 1806)

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.

1S.Lt. Robert Arthur Neville Cox, RNR30 Sep 194029 Aug 1941
2T/Lt. Konrad Andreas Braa, RNR29 Aug 194114 Nov 1941
3Lt. Robert Houston Morrison, RNR14 Nov 1941Apr 1944
4T/Lt. Thomas Sellers Otley, RNVRApr 1944late 1944
5T/Lt. Ronald Farrington Hatch, RNVRlate 1944early 1945

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Notable events involving Skudd 5 include:

11 Feb 1941

Operation Canvas

The object of this operation was the capture of Kismayu by land militery forces with the support of Naval and Air Force co-operation.

Regarding the naval side of the operations there were two objectives for which they were to assist the Army forces; 1) Bombarding the coast road and demonstrations off Brava (Barawe) and Merca (Marka). 2) Bombardment and bombing of Kismayu prior to the assault.

Purely naval objectives were; 1) The interception, capture or sinking of enemy merchant vessels escaping from Kismayu or Mogadishu. 2) Sweeping Kismayu clear after capture. 3) The arrangement and protection of seaborne military supplies in former Italian ports. 4) The taking over and establishment of a Naval Base at the port of Kismayu.

For the naval side of the operation ' Force T ' was formed. It was made up of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, MVO, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN, Senior Officer), HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) and the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN).

Of these ships HMS Hermes and HMS Hawkins had departed Kilindini / Mombasa around 1300C/10.

HMS Kandahar had already departed Aden on 8 Febraury.

A bombardment for coast road to the North of Kismayu was set for 13 and 14 February.

Bombardment and bombing of Kismayu was set for 15 and 16 February.

Air reconnaissance photographs taken on 30 January 1941 had shown 16 merchant ships off Kismayu, 10 of which were Italian and 4 German.

Air reconnaissance photographs taken on 5 and 6 February 1941 had shown that the German Tannenfels (7840 GRT, built 1938) had sailed.

Air reconnaissance, carried out on 11 February, showed a merchant vessel 26 miles south of Brava, and two self propelled lighters 10 miles south of Brava proceeding North, while three larger ships, one tug and one coaster were observed in the Northern anchorage at Kismayu and five merchant ships in the Southern anchorage.

11 February 1941.

On 11 February 1941, The Italian ships Adria (3809 GRT, built 1914) and Savoia (5490 GRT, built 1922) were captured by HMS Hawkins. Prize crews were put on board and the ships were taken to Kilindini / Mombasa. The captured Adria came across another Italian merchant ship, the Erminia Mazzella (5644 GRT, built 1917). This ship was then also captured. On this day HMS Ceres departed Kilindini / Mombasa to arrive in the operations area the following day.

Air reconnaissance, carried out on 12 February, showed that many of the merchant vessels had sailed. Four merchant vessels were seen in the Southern anchorage. In the Northern anchorage nine lighters were spotted.

Around 1630C/11, HMS Shropshire and HMS Ceres departed Kilindini / Mombasa for operations.

12 February 1941.

On 12 February 1941, The Italian ships Manon (5652 GRT, built 1901) and Leonardo da Vinci (7432 GRT, built 1937) were captured by HMS Hawkins and HMS Hermes respectively. Later the German Uckermark (7021 GRT, built 1930) was intercepted by HMS Hawkins but before she could be closed and captured she was scuttled by her crew. She did not sink however but no ship could be spared to try to salvage her at this moment in the operation as HMS Kandahar had been detached to fuel at Kilindini / Mombasa where she arrived on this day and HMS Capetown only departed Kilindini / Mombasa on this day to arrive in the operations area the following day. The small German ship Askari, with 'white' troops on board, is attacked by aircraft from HMS Hermes and driven ashore by near Brava.

Around 0830C/12, HMS Capetown departed Kilindini / Mombasa for operations.

13 February 1941.

On 13 February 1941, the Senior Officer of ' Force T ' was ordered, given the speedy advance on land, to reconnoitre Kismayu. HMS Kandahar, which had returned from Kilindini / Mombasa , was ordered to do this. She fired three salvoes from 10000 yards. There was no answering fire and it appreared the town had been abandoned by the enemy. Aircraft reported that there was oil all over the harbour and that no AA fire was encountered. HMS Shropshire showed herself of Mogadishu and bombarded a merchant vessel in the anchorage. This was later found out to be the Italian Pensilvania (6268 GRT, built 1903). On retiring from the area HMS Shropshire was bombed by a single Caproni bomber. She sustained no damage. HMS Shropshire also carried out a successful bombardment of an encampment and military lorries near Brava.

14 February 1941.

On 24 February, HMS Shropshire bombarded the Kismayu Island Battery for 22 minutes and then the Mtanga Ya Papa Battery for 15 minutes. They were engaged from ranges between 20000 and 25000 yards. There was no reply from either battery and numerous fires were started. As a result ground forces were able to enter Kismayu at 1415Z/14, six days ahead of shedule. The remainer of ' Force T ' patrolled so as to try to intercept enemy shipping. HMS Ceres left the area to fuel at Kilindini / Mombasa. She briefly towed the scuttled, but still not sunken, Uckermark but in the end the German ship could not be saved and she finally sank in the afternoon.

15 February 1941.

On 15 February 1941, HMS Shropshire carried out a bombardment of targets off Brava. With Kismayu fallen and the Italians in full retreat, the plan developed into an advance on Mogadishu, where it was proposed that HMS Shropshire, HMS Hermes and HMS Hawkins should bombard and bomb the defences as well as shipping. This proposal was, however, cancelled on receipt of an Admiralty message that no merchant vessel was to be sunk that could possibly be saved, and information that the advance on Mogadishu could not start for four day in view of the opposition encountered at the Jubba River. A supply convoy and minesweepers (these were most likely the 109th M/S Group made up of the M/S whalers, Skudd 3 (Lt. A.F. Harkness, RNR), Skudd 4 (T/Lt. K. Tholfson, RNR), Skudd 5 (S.Lt. R.A.N. Cox, RNR) and Swona (T/Lt. A.C.C. Seligman, RNR)) had left Kilindini / Mombasa for Kismayu. HMS Ceres arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa.

16 February 1941.

On 16 February HMS Shropshire remained in the Jubba River / Brava area in support of the ground troops. HMS Hermes and HMS Hawkins left the area for Kilindini / Mombasa, sweeping well to seaward during their passage south to look for enemy shipping. HMS Capetown remained on patrol off Mogadishu. HMS Ceres and HMS Kandahar were employed in giving protection to the supply convoy and the minesweepers.

17 February 1941.

On 17 February, HMS Shropshire relieved HMS Capetown on the Mogadishu patrol, HMS Capetown then proceeded to Kilindini / Mombasa to fuel and clean boilers. The Military hospital ship Tairea (7934 GRT, built 1924) arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa. The Admiralty suggested the withdrawal of HMS Hermes from this operation, and she was therefore sent to Kilindini / Mombasato fuel and clean boilers. In the meantime discussions were ongoing about the future of the operation. If not required HMS Hermes was to operate in the Indian Ocean together with the light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN) which was also proceeding to Kilindini / Mombasa. On land the Army was in contact with the enemy near the Jubba River.

18 February 1941.

On 18 February, HMS Shropshire left patrol off Magadishu and set course for Kilindini / Mombasa. HMS Ceres took over the Mogadishu patrol after arrival of the minesweepers and part of the supply convoy at Kismayu. HMS Capetown arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa. It was decided that ships involved in the operation would prepare for the next move, presumably to Mogadishu. It was confirmed that HMS Hermes was to clean boilers and then team up with HMS Enterprise for trade route protection. HMS Kandahar was to return to Aden to rejoin the Red Sea force. HMS Shropshire, HMS Ceres and HMS Capetown would remain on patrol off Mogadishu, one cruiser only at a time.

19 February 1941.

On 19 February, the remainder of the supply convoy arrived at Kismayu. HMS Shropshire, HMS Hermes, HMS Hawkins and HMS Kandahar arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa.

20 February 1941.

On 20 February, the Army crossed the Jubba River in force and captured Jumbo (Jamame). It was decided that the Army was to capture Mogadishu if possible but that they should also prepare to release a South African division for deployment in Eritrea at short notice if required.

21 February 1941.

On 21 February, an inter-service conference was held at Kismayu and, in brief, the following plans were made; 1) On 22 and on 23 February bombardments from seaward were to be carried out on the Brava area. HMS Shropshire was detailed for this duty. 2) On 24 February Brava was to be captured. 3) On 27 February Merca was to be captured. 4) On 1 March the attack on Magadishu was to commence. Also on 21 February HMS Shropshire left Kilindini / Mombasa for the Brava area and HMS Ceres left the Mogadishu patrol to return to Kilindini / Mombasa.

22 February 1941.

The ships in the operation were now designated as ' Force W '. HMS Shropshire bombarded Modun over Brava. Considarable damage was inflicted including direct hits on targets. Many casualties were reported. It was later learnt that the bombardment had been a decisive factor in the Italian rout. After the bombardment HMS Shropshire proceeded to join the hunt for the German pocket battleship sighted in the Indian Ocean and HMS Ceres was ordered to take over.

23 February 1941.

On 23 February 1941, HMS Ceres arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa. On land the rapid military advance continued and over 3000 prisoners were taken.

24 February 1941.

On 24 February 1941, the Army occupied Modaneun (?) and Brava.

25 February 1941.

On 25 February 1941, the Army occupied Merca and Vittorio (?). HMS Ceres departed Kilindini / Mombasa for Kismayu.

26 February 1941.

On 26 February 1941, HMS Ceres arrived at Kismayu. The army captured Mogadishu, three days before the assualt had been sheduled to start. (1)


  1. ADM 199/408

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

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