Allied Warships

HMS Largs (F 43)

Ocean boarding vessel

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeOcean boarding vessel
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 43 
Built byChantiers et Ateliers de Provence (Port-de-Bouc, France) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched 
Commissioned10 Nov 1941 
End service30 Nov 1945 
History

Passenger / cargo (ref.) vessel completed in October 1938.
Requisitioned by the Admiralty in May 1941.
Displacement: 4504 GRT.
Dimensions: 115 x 15.8.
Armament: 2 6" guns (2x1), 1 12pdr AA gun.
Speed: 17 knots.

Became a headquarters ship in late 1942.

Returned to the French on 30 November 1945.

 

Commands listed for HMS Largs (F 43)

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
1A/Cdr. Eric Arthur Divers, RNR24 Jun 194125 Sep 1943
2Capt. Henry Samuel Allan, RNR25 Sep 194313 Nov 1944
3A/Capt. Harold Robson Conway, RN13 Nov 1944Aug 1945
4Capt. Alaster Angus Martin, DSC, RD, RNR2 Aug 194530 Nov 1945

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Notable events involving Largs include:


10 Jan 1942
HMS H 33 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN) conducted practice attacks in the Clyde area on HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and HMS Kingfisher (Cdr.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, RN). Upon completion of these exercises HMS H 33 proceeded to Campbeltown. (1)

27 May 1942
Around 1115Z/27, the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN) departed Bathurst for the U.K. via the Azores.

Around 1450Z/27, she joined the troop transport Empress of Russia (British, 16810 GRT, built 1913) and her escort, made up of the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) and the ocean boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR). They had departed Freetown around 0645Z/26.

Around 1600Z/28, HMS Wild Swan parted company to proceed to Bathurst to fuel.

Around 1700Z/31, HMS Colombo parted company with the other ships to proceed to the Azores.

On HMS Colombo rejoining the troop transport on 1 June 1942, HMS Largs parted company.

On 3 June 1942, the destroyers HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), HMS Mansfield (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Hill, OBE, RNR) and HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. H.M.R. Crichton, RN) joined in approximate position 47°35'N, 21°34'W. HMS Colombo then parted company to proceed to Plymouth where she arrived on 5 June 1942.

The Empress of Russia and HMS Mansfield arrived at Liverpool on 6 June 1942. HMS Charlestown arrived at londonderry on 5 June and HMS Salisbury at Greenock also on 5 June having been detached. (2)

30 Jun 1942
Around 1200Z/30, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) made rendezvous in position 00°30'S, 08°30'W with the ocean boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) which was escorting the cable vessel Lady Denison-Pender (British, 1984 GRT, built 1920). The cable laying vessel is to repair the St. Helena - Capetown cable. (3)

4 Jul 1942
Around 0720Z/4, in position 11°31'S, 02°13'W, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and the cable vessel Lady Denison-Pender (British, 1984 GRT, built 1920) were joined by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN).

HMS Asturias and HMS Largs then parted company to proceed to Freetown while HMS Alcantara was to escort the cable laying vessel to Capetown. (4)

8 Jul 1942
Around 1530Z/8, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) arrived at Freetown. (5)

13 Jul 1942
Around 1630Z/13, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) departed Freetown to patrol in the mid-Atlantic and then onwards to St. Thomas in the West Indies. (6)

27 Jul 1942
Around 1200Q/27, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) arrived at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands from patrol. (5)

2 Aug 1942
Around 1600Q/7, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) departed St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. They then joined the floating dock AFD 25 in tow of the tugs HMS Aimwell and HMS Favourite and escorted by the corvettes HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR) and HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR).

The floating dock was on passage to Freetown. (7)

22 Oct 1942

Convoys KMS 1, KMF 1 for the landings at Algiers and Oran during Operation Torch.

Convoy KMS 1.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 23 October 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Alphard (Dutch, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Ardeola (British, 2609 GRT, built 1912), Benalbanach (British, 7153 GRT, built 1940), Charles H. Cramp (American, 6220 GRT, built 1920), Chattanooga City (American, 5687 GRT, built 1921), City of Worcester (British, 5469 GRT, built 1927), Clan MacTaggart (British, 7622 GRT, built 1920), Delilian (British, 6423 GRT, built 1923), Edward Ruthledge (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Empire Mordred (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Fort McLoughlin (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Glenfinlas (British, 7479 GRT, built 1917), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), Jean Jadot (Belgian, 5859 GRT, built 1929), Lalande (British, 7453 GRT, built 1920), Lochmonar (British, 9412 GRT, built 1924), Lycaon (British, 7350 GRT, built 1913), Macharda (British, 7998 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Maron (British, 6487 GRT, built 1930), Mary Slessor (British, 5027 GRT, built 1930), Ocean Rider (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Viceroy (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Volga (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Wanderer (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Pacific Exporter (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Salacia (British, 5495 GRT, built 1937), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), St. Essylt (British, 5634 GRT, built 1941), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Tadorna (British, 1947 GRT, built 1928), Theseus (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Urlana (British, 6852 GRT, built 1941), Walt Whitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William M. Floyd (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William Wirt (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

Also part of the convoy were the landing ships Derwentdale (8390 GRT, built 1941), Dewdale (8265 GRT, built 1941) and Ennerdale (8280 GRT, built 1941).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Avenger (Cdr. A.P. Colthurst, RN), AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN), destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), sloops HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), HMS Stork (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), corvettes HMS Convolvulus (A/Lt.Cdr. R.F.R. Yarde-Buller, RNVR), HMS Gardenia (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR), HMS Marigold (Lt. J.A.S. Halcrow, RD, RNR), HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J. Byron, DSC, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR), HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR) and the minesweepers HMS Acute (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, DSO, RN), HMS Alarm (T/Lt.Cdr. R. Patterson, SANF(V)), HMS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. J.D.L. Williams, RN) and HMS Cadmus (Lt.Cdr. J.B.G. Temple, DSC, RN).

Around 1000A/4, the convoy was split up into two sections KMS A1 and KMS O1. KMS A1 was destined for Algiers and KMS O1 was destined for Oran. KMS O1 then proceeded to the westwards so as to pass the Straits of Gibraltar later.

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Convoy KMS A 1.

Convoy KMS A 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 2345A/5; it was made up of the transports; City of Worcester, Glenfinlas, Jean Jadot, Lalande, Lochmonar, Macharda, Manchester Port, Maron, Ocean Rider, Ocean Viceroy, Ocean Volga, Ocean Wanderer, Sobo, Stanhill, Tiba and Urlana.

The landing ships Dewdale and Ennerdale were also part of the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Stork, corvettes HMS Convolvulus, HMS Marigold, HMS Pentstemon, HMS Samphire [this corvette might have already parted company though, see below] and the minesweepers HMS Acute, HMS Alarm, HMS Albacore and HMS Cadmus.

Around 0700A/5, the corvette HMS Samphire arrived at Gibraltar with defects from convoy KMS A1.

Around 0800A/5, the minesweepers HMS Algerine (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Williams, RNR) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

Around 1830A/5, the M/S trawlers HMS Cava (T/Lt. R.L. Petty-Major, RNVR), HMS Juliet (Lt. L.B. Moffatt, RNR), HMS Othello (T/Lt. S.C. Dickinson, RNVR), HMS Stroma (Skr. J.S. Harper, RNR), HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (Lt. J. Plomer, RCNVR), HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR) and the motor launches ML 238, ML 273, ML 283, ML 295, ML 307, ML 336, ML 338, ML 444 departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

Around 2230A/5, the monitor HMS Roberts (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN), escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN), HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and the corvette HMS Samphire (with her repairs completed) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

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Convoy KMS O 1.

Convoy KMS O 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 1630A/6; it was made up of the transports; Alcinous, Alphard, Benalbanach, Charles H. Cramp, Chattanooga City, Clan Mactaggart, Delinlian, Edward Rutledge, Empire Confidence, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Lycaon, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor, Pacific Exporter, Recorder, Salacia, St. Essylt, Thesues, Walt Whitman, William Floyd, William Wirt and Zebulon B. Vance.

The landing ship Derwentdale was also part of this convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the AA ship HMS Alynbank, sloop HMS Deptford, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Rhododendron, HMS Vetch and HMS Violet.

Around 1500A/6, the minesweepers HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR), HMS Bude (Lt. F.A.J. Andrew, RN), HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR) and HMS Felixstowe (T/Lt. C.G. Powney, RNVR) departed Gibraltar to join the convoy KMS O1.

After dark on the 6th, the M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus (T/Lt. N. Hunt, RNVR), HMS Eday (T/Lt. W.Y. Surtees, RNR), HMS Inchmarnock (T/Lt. C.G.V. Corneby, RNR), HMS Kerrera (Skr. R.W. Slater, RNR) and the motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139 departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1.

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Operation Crupper.

Two ships from Convoy KMS 1, the Ardeola and Tadorna formed part of Convoy KMS 1A after the convoy had split up. They were to proceed to Malta unescorted. The Admiralty had decided to make use of the expected confusion of the landings in North Africa to run two 'small' merchant ships with important cargo to Malta. These ships were considered expendable. They parted company with convoy KMS 1A on 8 November. They did not reach Malta however. When off Cape Bon on 9 November, they were taken under fire by Vichy French coastal batteries, despite the darkness, and then captured by motor torpedo boats. They were brought into Bizerta where their cargo was unloaded. The ships were later taken over by the Italians.

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Convoy KMF 1.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 26 October 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Cathay (British, 15225 GRT, built 1925), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Derbyshire (British, 11660 GRT, built 1935), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Ettrick (British, 11279 GRT, built 1938), Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941), Leinster (British, 4302 GRT, built 1937) Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (British, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937), Viceroy of India (British, 19627 GRT, built 1929), Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).

The headquarters ships HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR), the landing ships HMS Glengyle (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN), HMS Karanja (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) D.S. Hore-Lacy, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN), HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Royal Ulsterman (A/Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) and the attack transports USS Almaack (T/Capt. C.L. Nichols, USN), USS Leedstown (Cdr. D. Cook, USNR), USS Samuel Chase (Capt. R.C. Heimer, USCG) and USS Thomas Stone (Capt. O.R. Bennehoff, USN) were also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay on the 27th the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), escort carrier HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN), destroyer HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Landman, RN), sloops HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), HMS Ibis (Lt.Cdr. H.M. Darell-Brown, RN), cutters HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR), HMS Walney (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Meyrick, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Spey (Cdr. H.G. Boys-Smith, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR) and HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR).

Around 1120A/2, the destroyers HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined coming from the Azores.

Around 0200A/3, the AA ships HMS Palomares (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN), HMS Pozarica (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) departed Gibraltar to join the convoy. At 1045A/3, the destroyer HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) also departed to join the convoy. She had been unable to depart earlier due to defects.

Around 0800A/3, the destroyer HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) joined the convoy coming from the Azores.

Around 1300A/3, the light cruiser HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) also departed Gibraltar to join the convoy.

Around 1830Z/3, HMS Sheffield parted company with the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived at 0815A/3, she was to fuel and then join ' Force O '.

Around noon on 4 November 1942, the convoy was split up into two sections KMF A1 and KMF O1. KMF A1 was destined for Algiers and KMF O1 was destined for Oran. KMF O1 then proceeded to the westwards so as to pass the Straits of Gibraltar later.

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Convoy KMF A 1.

Convoy KMF A 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 0100A/6; it was made up of the (troop) transports; Almaack, Awatea, Cathay, Dempo, Ettrick, Exceller, Leedstown, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Otranto, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Viceroy of India and Winchester Castle.

The headquarters ship HMS Bulolo and the landing ships HMS Karanja, HMS Keren, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and Ulster Monarch and the attack transports USS Samuel Chase and USS Thomas Stone were also part of the convoy.

[exactly which ships of the escort went on with this part of the convoy will have to be researched further.]

In the morning of 5 November, HrMs Isaac Sweers parted company with the convoy to join ' Force H '. HMS Escapade and HMS Marne were apparently detached to Gibraltar on the convoy passing the Strait of Gibraltar.

Also on 5 November, the corvettes HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF A1.

Around 0200A/6, the destroyers HMS Broke (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF A1 and relieve HMS Achates, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon and HMS Wivern. After having been relieved these destroyers arrived at Gibraltar around 0545A/6. Also arriving at Gibraltar were the Leinster, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and Ulster Monarch.

Around 1000A/6, HMS Broke, HMS Malcolm, HMS Vanoc and HMS Wrestler joined ' Force O ' while the screen on ' Force O ' joined the convoy, the destroyers / escort destroyers involved were ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R. de L. Brooke, DSC, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN). The AA ship HMS Tynwald (Capt.(Retd.) P.G. Wodehouse, DSO, RN) also joined the convoy from ' Force O ' at the same time.

Around 0535A/7, in position 37°34'N, 00°01'W, the attack transport USS Thomas Stone was torpedoed and damaged by an enemy aircraft. HMS Spey remained with the damaged ship. At 2040A/7, the destroyers HMS Wishart and HMS Velox joined and the ship was taken in tow by HMS Wishart. HMS Spey by that time had departed with the ships 24 landing craft in which the ships troops had embarked. She was to escort them to Algiers but all had to be scuttled and the troops were taken on board HMS Spey. At 0535A/8 the tug St. Day joined which also passed a tow. The damaged ship anchored off Algiers around 1030A/11 being towed there by HMS Wishart and HMS St. Day.

Around 0725Z/7, HMS Clare parted company to join ' Force O ' which she did around 0913Z/7.

Around 1815A/7, the section destined for ' C Sector ' (Charlie Sector) parted company with the convoy. It was made up of the USS Almaack, USS Leedstown, USS Samuel Chase, Exceller and Dempo. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Tynwald, escort destroyers HMS Cowdray, HMS Zetland, sloop HMS Enchantress, minesweepers HMS Algerine, HMS Hussar, HMS Speedwell, corvettes HMS Pentstemon, HMS Samphire, MS trawlers HMS Cava, HMS Othello and the motor launches HMS ML 273 and HMS ML 295. At 2135A/7, the beacon submarine HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) made contact with the force and the ships were guided to their positions for the landings. From convoy KMS A1 the transports Macharda and Maron were destined for Charlie sector. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Stork and the corvettes HMS Pentstemon and HMS Samphire.

Around 1900A/7, The remainder of convoy KMF A1 split into two sections, one for ' A Sector ' (Apple Sector) and one for ' B Sector ' (Beer Sector).

The force for ' A Sector ' was made up of HMS Karanja and the Marnix van St. Aldegonde and Viceroy of India. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Pozarica, escort destroyers HMS Bicester, HMS Bramham, frigate HMS Rother, minesweeper HMS Cadmus, MS trawlers HMS Juliet, HMS Rysa, HMS Stroma and the motor launches HMS ML 283, HMS ML 336 and HMS ML 338. At 2214A/7, the made contact with their beacon submarine HMS P 221 (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSC, RN). A few minutes later they stopped and the landings commenced. From convoy KMS A1 the following ships were assigned to ' A Sector '; Dewdale, Lalande, Manchester Port, Ocean Viceroy and Ocean Wanderer. They were escorted by the corvettes HMS Convolvulus and HMS Marigold.

The force for ' B Sector ' was made up of HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and the Awatea, Cathay, Otranto, Sobieski, Strathnaver and Winchester Castle. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Palomeres, destroyer ORP Blyskawica, escort destroyers HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland, HMS Wilton, minesweepers HMS Acute, HMS Alarm, HMS Albacore, MS trawlers HMS Hoy, HMS Incholm, HMS Mull and the motor launches HMS ML 238, HMS ML 307 and HMS ML 444. They made contact with their beacon submarine HMS P 48 (Lt. M.E. Faber, RN) around 2220A/7 hours and landing operation commenced shortly afterwards. From convoy KMS A1 the following ships were assigned to ' A Sector '; City of Worcester, Ennerdale, Glenfinlas, Jean Jadot, Lochmonar, Ocean Rider, Ocean Volga, Sobo, Stanhill, Tiba and Urlana. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Stork and the corvettes HMS Pentstemon and HMS Samphire which then went on with the ships for the ' Charlie sector '.

On 9 November the ships involved in the landings anchored in Algiers Bay.

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Convoy KMF O 1.

Convoy KMF O 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 2230A/6; it was made up of the (troop) transports; Batory, Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Letitia, Llangibby Castle, Monarch of Bermuda, Mooltan, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Reina del Pacifico, Tegelberg and Warwick Castle.

The headquarters ship HMS Largs and the landing ships HMS Glengyle, HMS Princess Beatrix and HMS Queen Emma were also part of the convoy.

Around 1950A/4, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF O1.

For the landings at Oran three main beaches were selected. ' X ', ' Y ' and ' Z ' beach. There was also one subsidiary beach, ' R '.

The fast convoy, KMF O1, would, after passing through the Straits of Gibraltar make rendezvous with the slow convoy, KMS O1 in position 36°26'N, 01°15'W.

The convoys would then be diverted into nine groups, these were;
For ' X ' beach
Group I, 1st Division; Batory, HMS Princess Beatrix, Queen Emma, 2nd Division; Benalbenach, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor and Walt Whitman. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, destroyer HMS Wivern, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Vetch and the motor launch HMS HDML 1139.
Group VIII, LST HMS Bachaquero (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, RNR) escorted by the M/S trawler HMS Horatio (T/Lt. C.A. Lemkey, RNR).

For ' Y ' beach
Group II; HMS Glengyle, Monarch of Bermuda, Llangibby Castle, Clan Mactaggart and Salacia. They were escorted by the destroyers Brilliant, HMS Verity, M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera and the motor launches HMS ML 458, HMS ML 463, HMS ML 469, HMS ML 471 and HMS HDML 1128.

For ' Z ' beach
Group III, 1st Division; Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Ettrick, Warwick Castle. 2nd Division; Derwentdale, Reina del Pacifico and Tegelberg. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Jamaica, escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), minesweepers HMS Brixham, HMS Bude, HMS Clacton, HMS Felixtowe, HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR), HMS Rothesay (Cdr. A.A. Martin, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the motor launches HMS ML 280, HMS HDML 1127.

Group V; Alcinous, Alphard, Charles H. Cramp, Chatanooga City, Delilian, Recorder and Zebulon B. Vance. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, corvettes HMS Rhododendron, HMS Violet and the motor launches HMS ML 480 and HMS ML 483.

Group VI, 1st division; Derbyshire, Letitia, Mooltan and Nieuw Zeeland. 2nd division, Empire Confidence, Lycaon and Theseus.

Group VII, 1st division, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Pacific Exporter and St. Essylt. 2nd division; Edward Rutledge, William Floyd and William Wirt. Groups VI and VII were escorted by the light (AA) cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN), destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloop HMS Aberdeen and the frigates HMS Exe and HMS Swale.

Group IX; LST's HMS Misoa (T/Lt. K.G. Graham, RNR) and HMS Tasajera (Lt.Cdr. W.E. Gelling, DSC, RD, RNR). They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen (T/Lt. B.J. Hampson, RNR), HMS Ronaldsay (T/Lt. A. Stirling, RNR) and HMS Shiant (T/Lt. A.C. Elton, RNR).

For ' R ' beach
Group IV; HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and HMS Ulster Monarch. They had the same escort as Group III.

Two submarines were stationed off the beaches as beacons, these were HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN) and HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN).

8 Nov 1942

The landings at Oran as part of Operation Torch

For the landings at Oran the Centre Naval Task Force was deployed.

This Task Force was made up of the following warships; battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), escort carriers HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN), HMS Dasher (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), AA cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN), AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN), destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, DSO, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), escort destroyers 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), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), submarines HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN), HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN), minesweepers HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Felixstowe (T/Lt. C.G. Powney, RNVR), HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR), HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR), HMS Rothesay (Cdr. A.A. Martin, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR), HMS Bude (Lt. F.A.J. Andrew, RN), HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR), sloops HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), cutters HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR), HMS Walney (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Meyrick, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR), corvettes HMS Gardenia (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR), HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR), M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus (T/Lt. N. Hunt, RNVR), HMS Fluellen (T/Lt. B.J. Hampson, RNR), HMS Horatio (T/Lt. C.A. Lemkey, RNR), HMS Eday (T/Lt. W.Y. Surtees, RNR), HMS Inchmarnock (T/Lt. C.G.V. Corneby, RNR), HMS Kerrera (Skr. R.W. Slater, RNR), HMS Shiant (T/Lt. A.C. Elton, RNR), HMS Ronaldsay (T/Lt. A. Stirling, RNR), motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and the harbour defence motor launches HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139.

Also parted of the Centre Naval Task Force were the following amphibious ships; headquarters ship HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR, flying the flag of Commodore T.H. Troubridge, RN), landing ships infantery HMS Glengyle (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN), HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN), HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Royal Ulsterman (A/Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR), RFA Derwentdale, landing ships tank HMS Bachaquero (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, RNR), HMS Misoa (T/Lt. K.G. Graham, RNR) and HMS Tasajera (Lt.Cdr. W.E. Gelling, DSC, RD, RNR).

Also parted of the Oran Attack Force were the ships in convoys KMS O1 and KMF O2.

Around 1700Z/6, convoy KMS O1 passed through the Straits of Gibraltar followed by convoy KMF O1 around 1830Z/6. These convoys then merged to the east of the Straits of Gibraltar. These convoys came direct from the U.K. and were made up of the following (troop) transports; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Alphard (British, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Benalbanach (British, 7153 GRT, built 1940), Charles H. Cramp (American, 6220 GRT, built 1920), Chattanooga City (American, 5687 GRT, built 1921), Clan Mactaggart (British, 7622 GRT, built 1920), Delinlian (British, 6423 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Edward Rutledge (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Empire Mordred (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Lycaon (British, 7350 GRT, built 1913), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Mary Slessor (British, 5027 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928)), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Pacific Exporter (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Salacia (British, 5495 GRT, built 1937), St. Essylt (British, 5634 GRT, built 1941), Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937), Thesues (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Walt Whitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930), William Floyd (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William Wirt (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

Also part of these convoys was the headquarters ship HMS Largs and the landing ships infantery Glengyle, Queen Emma, Queen Beatrix, Royal Scotsman, Royal Ulsterman, Ulster Monarch and RFA Derwentdale.

From the above warships the following had come direct from the U.K. with convoys KMS 1 and KMF 1; escort carrier HMS Biter, AA ship HMS Alynbank, destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloops HMS Aberdeen, HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, frigates HMS Exe, HMS Swale and the corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Rhododendron, HMS Vetch and HMS Violet.

On 2 November 1942, the minesweepers HMS Rhyl, HMS Clacton, HMS Polruan, HMS Rothesay and HMS Stornoway departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS 1.

Around 0300A/3, the light cruiser HMS Jamaica departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF 1 coming from the U.K.

Around 1950A/4, the light cruiser HMS Aurora departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF O1.

Around 0430A/6, the battleship HMS Rodney and the destroyers HMS Bulldog, HMS Boreas and HMS Beagle departed Gibraltar as part of Force H.

Around 1500A/6, the destroyer HMS Vansittart, which had arrived at Gibraltar on the 5th, departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1 with her were also the minesweepers HMS Bude, HMS Brixham and HMS Felixtowe.

A few hours later, shortly after dark on the 6th, the landing ships tank HMS Bachaquero, HMS Misoa and HMS Tasajera departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1. They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen, HMS Horatio, HMS Ronaldsay, HMS Shiant, HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera, the motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and the harbour defence motor launches HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139.

Around 2200A/6, the escort carrier HMS Dasher and the destroyers HMS Wivern, HMS Amazon, HMS Achates, HMS Antelope, HMS Boadicea and HMS Brilliant departed Gibraltar to join the convoys.

Around 0300A/7, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, AA cruiser HMS Delhi and the escort destroyers HMS Farndale, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Calpe and HMS Puckeridge departed Gibraltar for the operation.

Around 0300A/7, the destroyers HMS Westcott and HMS Verity departed Gibraltar for the operation.

Landing beaches, Oran

The port of Oran, is situated at the head of a large bight between Cape Falcon, the rocky north-eastern end of the promontory of which Pointe Corales is the north-western extremity, to the west and Cap d'Aguille, to the east. This bight is divided into three bays of nearly equal size by Point Canastel and by Point Mers-el-Kebir which projects in an easterly direction from the foot of Jebel Santon and is surmounted by a powerful fortress. The heights of Jebel Murjajo lie westward of Oran with the conspicuous Fort Santa Cruz at their eastern end. The artificial harbour at Oran consists of six basins. It is protected on its northern side by a stone breakwater extending eastwards about a mile and a quarter from Pointe Mona on which, at the eastern end of the cliffs under Jebel Murjajo, lies Fort Lambourne.

The arrangement of landing beaches at Oran was comparatively simple and consisted of three main beaches; 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' and one subsidiary beach 'R'.

An armoured column from Combat Command 'B' would land at 'X' beach which lay at El Mrairia close to Cape Figalo, with orders to capture La Lourmel airfield, block the main roads north-east and south of La Lourmel, advance south of Debkra, and assist in the capture of the airfields at Tafraoui and Es Senia.

The 26th Regimental Combat Team would land at 'Y' beach near Les Andalouses with orders to take control of the Jebel Murjajo heights and capture Oran from the west.

The 18th Regimental Combat Team would land at 'Z-Green' beach near Arzew with the orders to capture the coastal defence, the port of Arzew and the port of Oran from the east. The 16th Regimental Combat Team would land at 'Z-White' beach to secure a bridgehead for Armoured Combat Command 'B', cover the east flank of the Oran Force and then take part in the capture of Oran.

Combat team 'B' would land at 'Z-Red' beach to capture Tafaraoui, Es Senia and Oggaz airfields and assist in capturing Oran from the south.

A portion of the First Ranger Battalion would made a subsidiary landing at 'R' beach southeast of Cape Carbon to capture the batteries at Fort la Ponte. The remainder of the battalion landed in Arzew harbour.

Meanwhile a parachute battalion was flown from the U.K. and dropped at H-hour near Tafaraoui airfield with orders to neutralise all aircraft on Es Senia airfield and capture Tafaraoui landing ground.

Instructions for Assault, Oran Beaches

The fast assault convoy, KMF O1, after proceeding through the Mediterranean at 11.5 knots under the orders of Commodore Troubridge, would meet the slow convoy, KMS O1, in position 36°26'N, 01°15'W around 1600A on 7 November 1942.

Here the convoys are split into nine groups; For ' X ' beach
Group I, 1st Division; Batory, HMS Princess Beatrix, Queen Emma, 2nd Division; Benalbenach, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor and Walt Whitman. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, destroyer HMS Wivern, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Vetch and the motor launch HMS HDML 1139.
Group VIII, LST HMS Bachaquero escorted by the M/S trawler HMS Horatio.

For ' Y ' beach
Group II; HMS Glengyle, Monarch of Bermuda, Llangibby Castle, Clan Mactaggart and Salacia. They were escorted by the destroyers Brilliant, HMS Verity, M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera and the motor launches HMS ML 458, HMS ML 463, HMS ML 469, HMS ML 471 and HMS HDML 1128.

For ' Z ' beach
Group III, 1st Division; Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Ettrick, Warwick Castle. 2nd Division; Derwentdale, Reina del Pacifico and Tegelberg. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Jamaica, escort destroyers HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, minesweepers HMS Brixham, HMS Bude, HMS Clacton, HMS Felixtowe, HMS Polruan, HMS Rothesay, HMS Rhyl, HMS Stornoway and the motor launches HMS ML 280, HMS HDML 1127.

Group V; Alcinous, Alphard, Charles H. Cramp, Chatanooga City, Delilian, Recorder and Zebulon B. Vance. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, corvettes HMS Rhododendron, HMS Violet and the motor launches HMS ML 480 and HMS ML 483.

Group VI, 1st division; Derbyshire, Letitia, Mooltan and Nieuw Zeeland. 2nd division, Empire Confidence, Lycaon and Theseus.

Group VII, 1st division, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Pacific Exporter and St. Essylt. 2nd division; Edward Rutledge, William Floyd and William Wirt. Groups VI and VII were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Delhi, destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloop HMS Aberdeen and the frigates HMS Exe and HMS Swale.

Group IX; LST's HMS Misoa and HMS Tasajera. They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen, HMS Ronaldsay and HMS Shiant.

For ' R ' beach
Group IV; HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and HMS Ulster Monarch. They had the same escort as Group III.

Two submarines were stationed off the beaches as beacons, these were HMS Ursula and HMS P 54.

HMS Aurora would be stationed ahead of Group II, HMS Jamaica ahead of Group III and HMS Delhi ahead of Group IV. On reaching position 35°52'N, 00°10'5"W, in the Gulf of Arzew, HMS Jamaica would proceed independently for fire support duty off 'Z' beach. On reaching position 35°48'N, 00°54'W, HMS Aurora was also detached from her group to patrol to the north of Mers-el-Kebir to engage, if needed reinforced by HMS Jamaica, any escaping vessels from Mers-el-Kebir during the darkness. During daylight HMS Aurora was to remain outside the range of the shore batteries. Meanwhile around 0400A/8, HMS Delhi, would leave her group to meet the aircraft carriers at 0530A/8 in position 36°07'N, 00°45'W so as to provide additional AA protection.

The battleship HMS Rodney, escorted by HMS Bulldog, HMS Boreas and HMS Beagle, detached from Force H, was to protect the anchorage from attack by heavy enemy units. She too was to join the carriers around 0530A/8.

Initial landings were to be made at all beaches simultaneously at H-hour with the follow up forces being landed as soon as possible.

Oran attack opens, 8 November 1942.

The attack opened, after some delay at 0116A/8. The assault on 'X' beach was delayed by around 35 minutes due to the strong current. The appearance of a small Vichy-French convoy of four ships escorted by a trawler had also caused some delay. One of the merchant vessels, the Eridan (9928 GRT, built 1929) had sabotaged her engines. She was boarded by an armed guard. The other three merchant vessels, the Agen (4186 GRT, built 1921), Carthage (2440 GRT, built 1897) and Montaigne (2770 GRT, built 1920) initially escaped to the north-east but then ran into Allied forces. They then beached themselves south of Cape Figalo.

The appearance of the convoy had the effect that the minesweepers were badly delayed and were almost run over by the ships proceeding to 'X' beach. The minesweepers were then ordered to keep clear and no sweep was carried out ahead of the ships proceeding to 'X' beach.

Despite some delays and other difficulties [it would go to far to give a full account of the landings here] that landings were successful.

HMS Walney's assault on Oran harbour.

It had been decided, that the cutters HMS Walney and HMS Hartland were to attack Oran harbour to prevent the French from performing demolition operations to destroy the ports facilities. They were to attack shortly after 0300A/8.

The cutters were to land American troops and anti-sabotage parties with orders to seize the shore batteries covering the harbour, prevent the scuttling of the dock and harbour works and prevent the blockage of the harbour. The motor launches ML 480 and ML 483 were to provide a smoke screen. HMS Aurora was to provide cover fire if needed and also to distract and confuse the shore batteries.

The attack was carried out under the command of A/Capt. (Retd.) F.T. Peters, DSO, DSC, RN, which was embarked on board HMS Walney. The attack commenced at 0245A/8, when HMS Walney and HMS Hartland with ML 480 and ML 483 in company, approached the harbour entrance. Sirens were heard sounding ashore and all lights in the town had been extinguished. For a time the force circled off the entrance while an announcement was made in French by loud hailer from HMS Walney. The reply was hostile. A searchlight was quickly trained on the Walney and she came under a heavy, though inaccurate, machine gun fire. Followed by the Hartland, she at once turned away northwards coming round in a full circle to charge the booms. At the same time ML 480 went on ahead to full speed, laying a smoke screen, but hit the outer boom, coming to rest under heavy fire half way across it. She got off again at 0310A/8, just as HMS Walney, after completing her circle, charged the two booms at 15 knots, through the smoke and entered the harbour. On reaching it, A/Capt. Peters, slipped three canoes, manned with special parties, but at least one of the was sunk almost immediately by gunfire.

HMS Walney herself was steaming up the harbour to westwards at slow speed was hit by pompom fire from the Ravin Blanc battery. Half way up the harbour she narrowly missed ramming a French destroyer proceeding towards the harbour entrance. It raked her with two broadsides from point blank range, wrecking her main engines, and a few minutes later she came under heavy cross fire from the destroyer Epervier laying alongside to the south and from submarines and destroyers moored to the northward. At last, blazing forward and amidships, she drifted out of control bows on to the jetty ahead of the Epervier. An attempt to get heaving lines ashore failed and she drifted once more slowly out into the harbour. Her guns were out of action, their crew virtually wiped out. Sixteen officers and men were lying dead on her bridge where A/Capt. Peters was the sole survivor. Below only five officers and men of the landing parties remained alive amidst scenes of undescridale carnage. Nothing further could be done and the ship was abandoned, her few survivors, including A/Capt. Peters were taken prisoner. The abandoned wreck rolled over shortly afterwards.

HMS Hartland's assault on Oran harbour.

When HMS Walney entered Oran harbour at 0310A/8, Lt.Cdr. Billot waited five minutes, in compliance with his orders, before heading towards the harbour entrance. As she approached the smoke screen laid by ML 480, HMS Walney was picked up by a searchlight, and came under a devastating fire from the Ravin Blanc battery which killed nearly all her guns crews and temporarily blinded Lt.Cdr. Billot with a splinter. Before he recovered his sight the ship struck the breakwater, but eventually she entered the harbour and made for her objective, the Quai de Dunkerque, under gunfire from point blank range from the destroyer Typhon laying alongside it. Shells bursting inside her hull brought her to a standstill turning her mess decks, on which the troops were waiting, into shambles. Then with fires raging fore and aft, she drifted alongside the mole but she almost immediately was blown back into the harbour where she anchored while being under heavy fire from the French but these then ceased fire so that the ship could be abandoned. By 0410A/8, all survivors had left and at 0525A/8 there was an explosion on board but she remained afloat buring furiously. She later blew up and sank after a huge explosion which caused damage to buildings in a large area around the mole.

Oran captured.

While HMS Walney and HMS Hartland were gate-crashing into Oran Harbour, HMS Aurora was patrolling five miles away to the northward. At 0527A/8, she opened fire on the searchlight illuminating HMS Hartland, successfully extinguishing its beam. Then shortly before first light she engaged and disabled a Vichy-French destroyer of the Simoun-class from a range of 6000 yards. This destroyer later sank and appears to have been the Tramontaine.

Around 0600A/8, two more destroyers of the Simoun-class were seen leaving Oran, but seeing that they were standing by their sinking consort, HMS Aurora for a time withheld her fire. These destroyers were however soon in action with HMS Boadicea and HMS Calpe, and when they fired torpedoes at HMS Aurora she too opened fire from 13600 yards. In the ensuing fight HMS Boadicea was hit forward, and one of the French destroyers, being severely damaged and set on fire by a broadside, was driven inshore [this was the Tornade]. The action ended abruptly at 0727A/8, when the other destroyer, on being hit aft, turned and fled to the direction of Oran [this was the Typhon]. Meanwhile the sloop / minelayer La Surprise was sunk by HMS Brilliant around 0630A/8.

Aircraft from HMS Furious, HMS Biter and HMS Dasher had meanwhile attacked airfield destroying enemy aircraft on the ground and also in the air with only small losses to themselves.

Shore batteries managed to hit the Reina del Pacifico and Llangibby Castle. HMS Rodney proceeded closer inshore and opened fire at 1010A/8 on the Jebel Santon battery from a range of over 20000 yards. The battery was engaged several times during the day before HMS Rodney retired to seaward again.

Fighting continued on 9 November 1942. At 1024A/9, HMS Jamaica and HMS Aurora engaged the Epervier and Typhon. The Epervier was driven ashore in flames south of Cape de l'Aiguille while the Typhon retired to Oran where she too was beached.

The Vichy-French at Oran capitulated around noon on the 10th. (8)

16 Mar 1943

Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 March 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 28 and KMS 11 at sea on 21 March 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Brittanic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937), Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

Also the naval auxiliaries HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) were part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the following escorts were with the convoy; sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN, with the S.O. 2nd Escort Group on board, Capt. F.J. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz, ORP).

On 21 March the convoy split up into two sections, KMF 11, made up of Banfora, Cuba, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Ormonde, Orion, Nea Hellas, Rangitata, Windsor Castle and HMS Ulster Monarch proceeded to Algiers where it arrived on 23 March 1943 escorted by the original escort minus HMS Douglas which put into Gibraltar on 22 March with damage to her port propeller. After inspection it was apparent that she was able to continue but she was not to exceed 22 knots so it was decided that she could rejoin the convoy. All five escort destroyers also put into Gibraltar to fuel but departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy. HMS Ulster Monarch also put into Gibraltar.

At 0254/23, the Windsor Castle was torpedoed by a German He.111 from I/KG 26 in position 37°28'N, 01°10'E. The passengers (troops) were taken off by HMS Wren, HMS Eggesford and HMS Whaddon. The last two ships reported to be dangerously overloaded with survivors.

Three tugs were sailed to go to the damaged ship assistance, Salvestor from Algiers, Hengist from Gibraltar and Restive from Oran.

Also the destroyer HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), which were on A/S patrol off Algiers were ordered to proceed to the convoy. Also the destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) were ordered to do the same sailing from Oran.

At 1027/3, it was reported that Windsor Castle was abandoned and slowly sinking and the HMS Loyal had taken off the crew. HMS Whaddon and HMS Eggesford were proceeding to Algiers covered by HMS Douglas.

At 1621/3, Windsor Castle was still afloat and HMS Farndale was ettempting to take her in tow. The ship however sank suddenly at 1724/3. HMS Eskimo, HMS Loyal, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, Hengist and Restive then proceeded to Oran while HMS Lamerton and Salvestor proceeded to Algiers.

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WS 28, made up of Brittanic, Duchess of Bedford, Empire Might, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Tegelberg, Waipawa, Winchester Castle, HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and HMS Largs.

To escort these ships the destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) and HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) sailed from Casablanca on 20 March and the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) sailed from Gibraltar also on 20 March. They joined the convoy in the morning of March 21st after which the convoy split up.

Another destroyer, HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), departed Gibraltar on 21 March and she joined the convoy later the same day.

On 22 March the transport Empire Might reported a fire in her stokehold rendering her immobile. She was then towed to Dakar by HMS Ashanti.

The remainder of convoy WS 28 arrived at Freetown on 27 March 1943.

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Convoy WS 28 departed Freetown for South Africa on 30 March 1943.

The composition of the convoy was the same on departed as in which it had arrived at Freetown three days earlier.

Escort was provided on departure from Freetown by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), destroyers HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Quadrant, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine.

At 2359Z/30, HMS Ulster Monarch overtook and joined the convoy coming from Freetown.

At 0600A/4, HMS Redoubt and HMS Quadrant parted company with the convoy to refuel at Pointe Noire. They rejoined the convoy at 1212B/5.

At 1300B/5, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine were detached.

At 1420B/5, HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined the escort.

On the 11th the convoy split up, Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Monarch of Bermuda, Tegelberg, Waipawa and Winchester Castle went to Capetown apparently escorted by HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Largs and HMS Ulster Monarch went to Simonstown, as did HMS Kenya and HMS Quadrant and HMS Racehorce.

The destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the remainder of the convoy (Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, HMS Bulolo and HMS Keren) which arrived at Durban on 14 April 1943.

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On 15 April the 'Capetown section' of the convoy departed from there, it was made up of the same ships as that had arrived at Capetown but apparently without the Britannic. HMS Largs joined the convoy off Simonstown. Escort was provided by HMS Kenya, HMS Quadrant, HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless.

Around noon on the 18th the 'Capetown section' joined up with the 'Durban section' which had departed from there escorted by HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) which also joined the convoy as escorts. HMS Quadrant parted company and proceeded to Durban.

At 2000C/20, the destroyers parted company to return to Aden.

At 1015D/24, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton (A/Capt. G.N. Loriston-Clarke, RN) and HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. They had sailed from Kilindini on 22 April. HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy at noon and set course for Kilindini where she arrived on 25 April to join the Eastern Fleet.

At 2300D/27, HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy following which she proceeded to Bombay where she arrived on 1 May 1943.

On 30 April 1943 the convoy was dispersed off Aden. HMS Canton arrived at Aden later on the same day.

30 Apr 1943
Around 1130C/30, HMS Canton (A/Capt. G.N. Loriston-Clarke, RN), HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN) and HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) arrived at Aden. (9)

11 Jun 1943

Operation Corkscrew.

Capture of Pantellaria and Lampedusa.

From Sfax, ' Convoy A ' sailed for the landings on Pantelleria. This convoy was made up the headquarters ship HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGregor, RN), landing ships HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN) and HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN). They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN).

From Sousse, departed ' Convoy B ' and ' Convoy C '.
' Convoy B ' was made up of the landing ship HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR), 20 LCI(L)'s and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN).
' Convoy C ' was made up of landing ship HMS Misoa (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Grace, DSC, RD, RNR), gunboat HMS Aphis ( Lt.Cdr. F.Y. Bethell, RN), and 21 LCI(L)'s, 4 LCF's and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the minesweepers HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR), HMS Polruan (Lt. C.D. Sampson, RNVR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the M/S trawlers HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (T/Lt. R.R. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR).

From Malta departed the bombardment / cover force which was made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Eight motor torpedo boats and / or motor gun boats were also set to patrol in the area.

All forces sailed on 10 June to be off Pantellaria on 11 June 1944.

A final bombardment was then carried out and also aircraft from North African air bases carried out attacks. The island surrendered shortly before noon without further fighting. Rear-Admiral McGregor transferred his flag to HMS Tartar. HMS Largs, landing ships, landing craft and escorts were then ordered to proceed to Sousse.

The cruisers and fleet destroyers then proceeded to Lampedusa. Bombandment of that island commenced at 2245/11 and continued throughout the 12th. Also air bombardments were carried out. The island surrendered in the evening.

Weather was to bad to land at Lampion Island but the island appeared to be uninhabited.

The surrender of Linosa Island was accepted by HMS Nubian.

The forces that were still at sea were then dispersed. (10)

17 Oct 1943

Combined convoy MKF 24 / XIF 2A.

This convoy departed Port Said on 17 October 1943.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Glenartney (British, 9795 GRT, built 1940), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Martand (British, 7967 GRT, built 1925), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The headquarters ship HMS Largs (Capt. H.S. Allan, RNR) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Kanaris and RHS Themistocles.

On 18 October 1943, the (troop) transports; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llandgibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929) and Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) departed Alexandria to join the convoy which they did later the same day.

The were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR).

In the morning of 21 October 1943, the convoy arrived off Augusta where the Britannic, Glenartney, Largs Bay, Maloya, Martand, Stirling Castle, Stratheden, Tamaroa, and HMS Largs were detached and entered harbour.

The Aronda, Egra, Karoa, Letitia, Llangibby Castle and Nieuw Holland and the entire convoy escort then proceeded to Taranto where they arrived early in the morning of 22 August 1943.

The convoy departed Taranto in the late afternoon to proceed to Augusta. The escort destroyer HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) had joined the convoy escort. The Llangibby Castle and HMS Lamerton did not sail with the convoy.

Early in the afternoon of 23 October the convoy was back off Augusta. the Nieuw Holland was then detached and entered Augusta. The convoy was rejoined by the Britannic, Glenartney, Largs Bay, Maloya, Martand, Stirling Castle, Stratheden, Tamaroa and HMS Largs which had been detached on 21 October. More (troop) transports however joined coming from Augusta, these were; Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931) and Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927).

Late in the afternoon of 23 October the convoy was off Malta where it was joined by the damaged light cruiser HMS Cleopatra (Cdr. M.J. Ross, DSC, RN) and the landing ships HMS Prince Charles (A/Cdr. (Retd.) S.H. Dennis, DSC, RN), HMS Prince Leopold (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Lowe, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Princess Josephine Charlotte (Lt. J.E. Bromley, RNR) and HMS Princess Astrid (T/A/Lt.Cdr. (Retd.) C.E. Hall, RNR).

On 25 October 1943, the convoy arrived at Algiers. Part of the convoy however went on to Oran. These were the Aronda, Egra, Karoa, escorted by HMS Croome, HMS Tetcott, RHS Kanaris and RHS Themistocles.

On 27 October 1943, the convoy departed Algiers. It was now made up of the following (troop) transports; Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Dunnottar Castle, Durban Castle, Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Largs Bay, Maloja, Martand, Reina del Pacifico, Samaria, Sibajak, Stirling Castle, Stratheden, Tamaroa,

The light cruiser HMS Cleopatra, headquarters ship HMS Largs and the landings ships HMS Prince Charles, HMS Prince Leopold, HMS Princess Josephine Charlotte, HMS Princess Astrid, HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) were also part of the concoy.

The convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Colombo, escort destroyers HMS Haydon, HMS Wilton, sloop HMS Pelican (Cdr. J.S. Dalison, DSO, RN) and the frigates HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Spey (Lt.Cdr. B.A. Rogers, RD, RNR).

The frigate HMS Evenlode (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.L. Turner, RNR) departed Algiers on the 28th to overtake and join the convoy at sea which she did on 30 October.

On 28 October 1943, the convoy passed Gibraltar and the following ships were detached from the convoy; HMS Cleopatra, HMS Prince Charles, HMS Prince Leopold, HMS Princess Josephine Charlotte, HMS Princess Astrid, HMS Colombo and HMS Haydon.

From Gibraltar the following ships joined the convoy; (troop) transports; Esperance Bay (British, 13837 GRT, built 1922), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Saturnia (Italian, 23940 GRT, built 1927), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

The landing ship HMS Prince Albert (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Peate, RNR) also joined as did the AA ship HMCS Prince Robert (Cdr. A.M. Hope, RCN) and the destroyers HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN).

On 30 October 1943, HMS Wilton was detached to return to Gibraltar where she arrived at following day.

On 1 November 1943, the convoy was joined by the frigate HMS Tavy (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F. Ardern, RNR).

On 4 November 1943, HMCS Prince Robert arrived at Horta, Azores after having been detached from the convoy earlier on it approaching 50°N.

On 4 November 1943, HMS Prince Albert and HMS Bulldog arrived at Plymouth after having been detached from the convoy earlier.

On 5 November 1943, the convoy arrived in U.K. waters. The bulk of the convoy proceeded to Liverpool.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17221
  2. ADM 53/115648 + ADM 53/116155 + ADM 199/2241 + ADM 199/2242
  3. ADM 53/115379
  4. ADM 53/115379 + ADM 199/2245
  5. ADM 53/115380
  6. ADM 53/115380 + ADM 199/647
  7. ADM 53/115381 + ADM 199/647 + ADM 199/2248
  8. ADM 234/359
  9. ADM 53/117107
  10. ADM 199/639

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


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