Allied Warships

HMS Turcoman (FY 130)

ASW Trawler

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeASW Trawler
Class[No specific class] 
PennantFY 130 
Built bySmiths Dock Co., Ltd. (South Bank-on-Tees, U.K.) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched26 Jan 1937 
CommissionedOct 1939 
End service 
History

Completed in February.
Taken over by the Admiralty in August 1939.
Displacement: 455 tons.

Sold in 1945.
 

Commands listed for HMS Turcoman (FY 130)

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.

CommanderFromTo
1Skr. Arthur George Day, RNR2 Oct 193922 Mar 1941
2T/Lt. Reginald Llewellyn Petty-Major, RNVR22 Mar 194114 May 1941
3T/Lt. Rowland Frank Pretty, RNVR14 May 1941Apr 1942

4T/S.Lt. Donald MacLean, RNVRAug 1942Jan 1943
5T/Lt. Vivian Walton Hixson, RNVRJan 1943Mar 1943
6T/Lt. Reginald Frederick Pembry, RNRMar 1943mid 1943
7T/A/Lt. D T McCormick, RNVRmid 194328 Aug 1943
8T/Lt. Ernest William Hawcroft, RNVR28 Aug 194331 Jan 1944
9T/Lt. Charles Desmond Ralph, RNVR31 Jan 1944early 1945
10R E Steward, RNVRearly 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Turcoman include:


27 Oct 1939
HMS H 50 (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) shifted from Portsmouth to Portland. She was escorted by HMS Turcoman (Skr. A.G. Day, RNR). (1)

2 Oct 1940

Landing of Free French troops in the French Cameroons.

Around 1740N/2, the troopships Pennland (Dutch, 16082 GRT, built 1922) and Westernland (Dutch, 16313 GRT, built 1918) departed Freetown for either Ambas Bay or the Cameroons River estuary. They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN), destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and the sloops FFS Commandant Dominé and FFS Commandant Duboc.

Around 0001N/3, the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza departed Freetown to join the troop transport convoy. She had been delayed with engine defects. She only joined after the convoy arrival at Ambas Bay, arriving there at 1130A/7. She arrived with defects, which also required the ship to be docked for repairs.

Around 1100N/3, the destroyer HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) departed Freetown to joined the troop transport convoy. She joined around 1200Z/5. HMS Foresight was detached at 1430Z/5 to return to Freetown with correspondence.

At 0910N/4, FFS Commandant Duboc was detached to Lagos to embark General De Gaulle and then rejoin the convoy. She rejoined the convoy after its arrival at Ambas Bay arriving there at 1300A/7.

At 2100Z/5, HMS Forester was detached to fuel at Lagos and to proceed to Ambas Bay on completion where she arrived at 1000A/7.

The troop transport convoy arrived off Victoria (now Limbe) and anchored in Ambas Bay around 0800A/7. Two of the destroyers were kept outside the bay for A/S patrol as was the A/S trawler HMS Kelt (Skr. W.McK. Smith, RNR). At Ambas Bay troops were then transferred to smaller vessels and stores to lighters. This was completed by 1800A/9.

The heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hammill, RN) was also patrolling in the area.

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At 0930N/3, a convoy of French transports [identity currently not known to us] departed Freetown for the Cameroons. The British transport Ocean Coast (1173 GRT, built 1935) was also with this convoy.

This convoy was escorted by the light cruisers HMS Delhi (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN), sloop HMS Milford (Capt.(Retd.) S.K. Smyth, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Turcoman (Skr. A.G. Day, RNR) and FFS President Houduce.

HMS Turcoman later had to be detached to Lagos due to engine trouble. HMS Kelt departed Ambas Bay at 1200A/8 to take over from her.

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At 0900A/8, the sloops FFS Commandant Dominé and FFS Commandant Duboc departed Ambas Bay for Douala with General De Gaulle and 200 troops on board.

At 1300A/8, the transports Warrien (?) and Eketien (?) departed Ambas Bay with 500 troops for Douala. They were escorted by HMS Forester.

At 2100A/8, the Pennland departed Ambas Bay to return to Freetown unescorted.

At 2200A/8, the Westernland departed Ambas Bay for Pointe Noire. She had still about 400 Free French soldiers on board. She was escorted by HMS Cornwall.

At 0715A/9, the transports Dayspring (British, 1102 GRT, built 1928), Ajaza (?) and the tanker Glarona (Norwegian, 9912 GRT, built 1928) departed Ambas Bay for Douala. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Forester and HMS Fury.

At 0815A/9, HMS Devonshire and HMS Faulknor departed Ambas Bay to provide cover for the transport convoy proceeding towards the Cameroon River estuary.

At 1105A/9, HMS Faulknor, HMS Forester and HMS Fury were ordered to proceed with despatch to Freetown, their services being urgently required in the Mediterranean.

All transports and HMS Devonshire anchored in the Cameroons River estuary in the afternoon. HMS Milford and HMS Kelt then conducted A/S patrols.

On the 10th HMS Delhi and HMS Dragon were ordered to proceed to Lagos to fuel. They arrived there on the 11th. HMS Milford also went to Lagos to dock and refit. She arrived there on the 12th.

HMS Devonshire for the moment remained at anchor off Monoka.

(2)

7 Nov 1940

Operations against Gabon / landings off Libreville.

During the night of 7/8 November 1940, Free French Foreign Legion troops were landed by the Free French transport Fort Lamy (5242 GRT, built 1919) at Mondah Bay (north of Libreville). The Fort Lamy had departed Monaka around 0730A/6 escorted by the Free French sloop Savorgnan de Brazza (Lt.Cdr. A.J.M. Roux). They were known as ' convoy A '. Also in company had been the transport Anadyr (5224 GRT, built 1930) but she was later detached to proceed to Pointe Noire unescorted.

Around 2100A/6, ' Convoy B ' departed Manoka to land additional Free French troops at Mondah Bay after the first landings had proven to be successful. ' Convoy B ' was made up of the transports Casamance (5187 GRT, built 1921) and Nevada (5618 GRT, built 1917). They were escorted by the Free French sloop / minesweeper FFS Commandant Dominé (Lt. J. de la Porte des Vaux) and auxiliary patrol vessel FFS President Houduce (?).

Cover for this operation by the Free French was provided by British warships, these were the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Cdr. H.M.S. Mundy, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN) which departed Manoka around 0900A/6 and then first provided cover for ' Convoy A '.

The light cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) had departed Manoka around 0930A/3 to patrol off Gabon. Also patrolling off Gabon were the sloop HMS Milford (Capt.(Retd.) S.K. Smyth, RN) which had departed Manoka around 1300A/4 and the auxiliary ASW trawler HMS Turcoman (Skr. A.G. Day, RNR) which had departed Manoka around 1000A/4.

HMS Devonshire remained near ' Convoy A ' until 1800A/6 when she set course to make rendezvous with HMS Delhi. Rendesvous was effected around 0545A/7.

Meanwhile HMS Milford and HMS Turcoman were on A/S patrol north to north-east of Cap St. Lopez near Port Gentil. This was so that the Vichy French submarine Poncelet (Lt.Cdr. P.H.S.B. de Saussine du Pont de Gault) which was at Port Gentil could not proceed to Libreville to reinforce the Vichy French ships stationed there which were the sloop Bougainville (Cdr. R.J.A. Morin) and a river flotilla made up of the armed tugs Falaba, Mandji and Oviro and three fishing smacks Saint François, Le Nicot and Christiane.

At 0630A/7, HMS Devonshire launched her Walrus aircraft to search for the Vichy French submarine Poncelet. Shortly afterwards HMS Delhi was detached with orders to show herself between Cape Santa Clara and Cape Esterias (north-west of Libreville) and then rejoin HMS Devonshire at 1100A/7.

At 0745A/7, the Walrus aircraft returned and reported that the Poncelet was anchored off Port Gentil (138°, Cape Lopez, 8 nautical miles).

At 1500A/7, both cruisers parted company to show themselves off Cape Gombé (HMS Devonshire) and between Cape Santa Clara and Cape Esterias (HMS Delhi).

At 1552A/7, HMS Milford reported that the Vichy French submarine Poncelet had gotten underway. This signal was however not received by Vice-Admiral Cunningham. An amplifying report set by Milford at 1615A/7 was received at 1623A/7. It reported Poncelet zig-zagging on course 060°. HMS Milford's own course was reported as 048°, speed 16 knots. At 1636A/7, Milford's signal timed 1619A/7 was received. It gave Milford's position as 00°20'S, 08°50'E. She reported the submarine bearing 030°, steering 060°, distance 7 nautical miles.

At 1650A/7, HMS Devonshire flew off her Walrus aircraft to attack the Poncelet with the intention to either damage the submarine or force her to submerge so that HMS Milford could overtake and attack her.

At 1715A/7, HMS Milford's signal timed 1700A/7 was received. It gave the position now as 00°11'S, 08°57'E. The submarine was now steering 039°, at 16 knots. Distance between the enemy and HMS Milford was 6.5 nautical miles.

At 1739A/7, HMS Milford's signal timed 1720A/7 was received. It stated that HMS Milford was now engaging the Vichy submarine which had altered course to the west and dived. Shortly afterwards she signalled that the Poncelet had surfaced in position 00°04'S, 08°56'E.

At 1801A/7, HMS Delhi was ordered to close this position and put a prize crew on board the submarine and then escort it to Lagos.

At 1815A/7, HMS Devonshire received HMS Milford's signal timed 1805A/7. It stated that Poncelet's engines had broken down and that she had surrendered.

At 1837A/7, HMS Milford's signal timed 1820A/7 was received. It stated that the Poncelet had been scuttled by her crew and that Milford was picking up the survivors. HMS Delhi was ordered to assist in recovering the survivors. All survivors were however picked up by HMS Milford, these were a total of three officers and fifty-one ratings. The French Commanding Officers had elected to go down with his submarine. From the French it was learnt that the Poncelet had actually fired two torpedoes at HMS Milford but that one of them had got stuck in the tube and toxic gasses had entered the submarine. Also about one third of the crew of the submarine had been landed at Port Gentil to bolster the garrison there.

At 1922A/7, HMS Devonshire received HMS Delhi's signal timed 1922A/7 which stated that she was in company with HMS Milford and HMS Turcoman in position 00°01'N, 09°03'E. HMS Milford would keep the prisoners on board for the night. HMS Turcoman's Asdic dome had been punctured.

At 2346A/7, HMS Devonshire received a signal from the Savorgnan de Brazza timed 2130A/7 that the operation (landing) was proceeding satisfactorily and that she was awaiting the news from the troops which were landing up the creeks.

At 0545A/8, HMS Devonshire made rendezvous with HMS Milford to obtain a full report on the sinking of the Poncelet.

At 0700A/8, HMS Devonshire made rendezvous with HMS Delhi and HMS Turcoman after which HMS Devonshire set course to proceed to the northwards.

At 0910A/8, a signal was received from the Savorgnan de Brazza timed 0630A/8 that the troops had been landed around 0730A/8 but that they had been machine gunned by enemy aircraft. Casualties were however small. ' Convoy B ' had just arrived and was proceeding to the anchorage to disembarked their troops.

At 1500A/8, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1335A/8 was received stating that all troops and material from the Casamance had been landed and that they were now at Assimba Island but would proceed to join the troops to the north of the airfield after dark. The Nevada was disembarking her troops for landing up the Mondah River.

At 1700A/8, HMS Devonshire closed the Gabon River estuary to see of Vichy French ships were patrolling there but none were sighted.

At 1840A/8, HMS Turcoman left the area as she was short of coal and water. She was to proceed to Port Harcourt.

At 1920A/8, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1745A/8, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that the Commandant Dominé was patrolling from 10 miles west of Cape Santa Clara to 10 miles west of Gombé lighthouse with the Savorgnan de Brazza 5 miles to the westward. They intended to take offensive action against the Vichy-French sloop Bougainville the following morning. The transport Casamance was still at Monday Bay. The transport Fort Lamy was patrolling east of Corisco Island and the transport Nevada was patrolling north and west of Corisco Island.

At 2216A/8, the President Houduce's signal timed 2030A/8, was received, it stated that she had disembarked the governor at Assimba Island and that she would remain there throughout the night.

At 0745A/9, HMS Milford disembarked the Vichy French prisoners of the Poncelet to HMS Delhi. The Walrus aircraft of HMS Devonshire conducted an A/S patrol in the area during the transfer.

An ultimatum was sent to the Vichy French.

At 1306A/9, HMS Devonshire received a signal from the Savorgnan de Brazza timed 1150A/9 that she and the Commandant Dominé were proceeding up river towards the airfield. The Commandant Dominé was sweeping for mines ahead of the Savorgnan de Brazza.

At 1400A/9, HMS Delhi was detached to fuel at Lagos and also to land the Vichy French prisoners there. She arrived at Lagos around 1130A/10.

At 1410A/9, gunfire was heard on board HMS Devonshire coming from the direction of Libreville.

At 1457A/9, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1355A/9, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that she was about to attack the enemy which was trying to put to sea.

At 1622A/9, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1430A/9, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that the Bougainville was on fire and that the Vichy transport Cap des Palmes was picking up survivors.

At 1940A/9, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1820A/9, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that the Savorgnan de Brazza and Commandant Dominé was anchored off Libreville and that the Cap de Palmes was used as hospital and depot ship.

At 0044A/10, Savorgnan de Brazza's 2230A/9, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated the the Vichy-French had accepted the terms issued to them.

At 0754A/10, Savorgnan de Brazza's 0605A/10, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that negotiations were proceeding and that it was hoped that Port Gentil would also be included.

At 1157A/10, a message was received which stated that at 1100A/10, Libreville was occupied by Free French naval and other military Free French forces. Negotiations were still going on with Port Gentil but there were communication difficulties.

At 1730A/11, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1505A/11, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that the Commandant Dominé would leave Libreville tonight and was expected to arrive at Port Gentil around 0800A/12 to arrange for a peaceful occupation by Free French troops.

At 1916A/11, Savorgnan de Brazza's 1840A/11, was received by HMS Devonshire. It stated that the President Houduce and the three transports had been ordered to join the Savorgnan de Brazza at Libreville.

At 1530A/12, HMS Delhi rejoined coming from Lagos. HMS Devonshire then departed the area for Lagos. HMS Turcoman was also enroute to return to the area to relieve HMS Milford.

At 2016A/12, a signal was received from the Commandant Dominé that negotiations were ongoing but that most likely some more force must be shown off Port Gentil.

Around 0600A/13, the Savorgnan de Brazza departed Libreville for Port Gentil followed around 1730A/13 by the transport Casamance. Free French troops occupied Port Gentil at 0830A/14. (2)

1 Mar 1941

Convoy SL 67.

This convoy departed Freetown on 1 March 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 26 March 1941.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alphard (Dutch, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Anadyr (British, 5321 GRT, built 1930), Ashworth (British, 5227 GRT, built 1920), Banffshire (British, 6479 GRT, built 1912), Baron Belhaven (British, 6591 GRT, built 1925), Baron Cawdor (British, 3638 GRT, built 1935), Beaconstreet (Detached to Gibraltar on 11 March) (British, 7467 GRT, built 1927), Bolton Castle (British, 5203 GRT, built 1939), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), British Diligence (British (tanker), 8408 GRT, built 1937), British Hope (Detached to Gibraltar on 11 March) (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Integrity (British (tankr), 8412 GRT, built 1927), British Security (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), Celtic Monarch (British, 5824 GRT, built 1929), City of Cairo (British, 8034 GRT, built 1915), City of Dunkirk (British, 5861 GRT, built 1912), City of Kimberley (British, 6169 GRT, built 1925), City of Nagpur (British, 10146 GRT, built 1922), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Clan Macbean (British, 5000 GRT, built 1918), Copeland (British (rescue vessel), 1526 GRT, built 1923), Deebank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Defender (British, 8258 GRT, built 1915), Dunkwa (British, 4752 GRT, built 1927), Friesland (Dutch, 2662 GRT, built 1930), Godfrey B. Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929), Guido (British, 3921 GRT, built 1920), Harmodius (British, 5229 GRT, built 1919), Harpefjell (Norwegian, 1333 GRT, built 1939), Helder (Dutch, 3629 GRT, built 1920), Henrik Ibsen (British, 4671 GRT, built 1906), Hindpool (British, 4897 GRT, built 1928), Inneroy (Norwegian (tanker), 8260 GRT, built 1936), King Edwin (British, 4536 GRT, built 1927), Lahore (British, 5304 GRT, built 1920), Llangollen (British, 5056 GRT, built 1928), Martaban (British, 4161 GRT, built 1934), Mendoza (British, 8233 GRT, built 1919), Nagina (British, 6551 GRT, built 1921), Nardana (British, 7974 GRT, built 1919), Nebraska (British, 8261 GRT, built 1920), Ogmore Castle (British, 2481 GRT, built 1919), Peisander (British, 6225 GRT, built 1925), Queen Anne (British, 4937 GRT, built 1937), Recorder (British, 2276 GRT, built 1902), Roxane (British (tanker), 7813 GRT, built 1929), Sansu (British, 5446 GRT, built 1939), Sire (British, 5664 GRT, built 1938), Solfonn (Norwegian (tanker), 9925 GRT, built 1939), Taxiarchis (Greek, 4221 GRT, built 1913), Tielbank (British, 5084 GRT, built 1937), Tunisia (British, 4337 GRT, built 1927), Turkistan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1939), Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927), Urbino (British, 5198 GRT, built 1918), Winsum (Dutch, 3224 GRT, built 1921) and Zamalek (British (rescue vessel), 1567 GRT, built 1921).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) V.B. Cardwell, OBE, RN), corvette HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS Kelt (T/Lt. W.T. Hodson, RNVR), HMS Spaniard (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Webster, RNR) and HMS Turcoman (Skr. A.G. Day, RNR).

At 1700/3 the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the escort of the convoy.

At 1800/4 the three A/S trawlers parted company with the convoy.

In the early morning hours of 8 March 1941 the convoy was attacked by the German submarines U-105 and U-124. Five ships of the convoy were sunk, these were the Harmodius, Hindpool, Lahore, Tielbank and Nardana.

At 1330/8 HMS Forester, which was well to the west of the convoy, briefly sighted the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau steaming towards the convoy. The German ships were also sighted around the same time by HMS Malaya's Swordfish aircraft. Following the report of the sighting HMS Malaya and HMS Faulknor left the convoy to join HMS Forester to put themselves between the convoy and the enemy.

At 1645/8 hours HMS Malaya and the Scharnhorst sighted each other and the German battlecruisers turned away being chased briefly by HMS Malaya and the destroyers. As Malaya's speed was much lower contact was soon lost and the battleship and the destroyers then returned to the convoy. At 1900 hours they rejoined the convoy

In the afteroon of March, 10th, the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt R.R. McGrigor, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN) and aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN) joined the escort of the convoy. HMS Malaya then parted company with the convoy and set course for Gibraltar.

At 1730/11, HMS Asphodel parted company with the convoy with the tankers Beaconstreet and British Hope which she then escorted to Gibraltar.

At 1000/13, HMS Faulknor and HMS Foresight parted company with the convoy and set course for Gibraltar.

At 1000/19, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. At 1600/19, HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Cilicia parted company with the convoy.

On 21 March the escort of the convoy was reinforced with the destroyers HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN), HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN), HMS Veteran (Cdr. W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Wolsey (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC, RN), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. H.M.R. Crichton, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), the corvettes HMS Arbutus (T/Lt. A.L.W. Warren, RNR), HMS Camellia (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Willmott, RNR) and the catapult ship HMS Pegasus (Capt.(Retd.) P.G. Wodehouse, RN). HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy in the afternoon and proceeded to join convoy HG 56.

HMS Havelock and HMS Verity parted company with the convoy on 24 March as did HMS Veteran on the 25th.

9 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Turcoman (T/Lt. R.F. Pretty, RNVR). (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15749
  2. ADM 199/388
  3. ADM 173/16988

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


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