Allied Warships

HMS Salopian (F 94)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 94 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched10 Jun 1926 
Commissioned18 Sep 1939 
Lost13 May 1941 
Loss position56° 43'N, 38° 57'W

In Sepember 1939 the motor passenger ship Shropshire of the Bibby Brothers & Co, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 18 September 1939 the ship was renamed HMS Salopian (F 94).

Displacement: 10549 BRT
Armament: 6x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15.5 knots

October 39 - January 40: South Atlantic Station
February 40 - August 40: Northern Patrol
November 40 - February 41: Northern and Western Patrol
March 41 - April 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
May 41: North Atlantic Escort Force

At 04.00 hours on 13 May 1941 HMS Salopian (Capt. Sir John Meynell Alleyne, DSO, DSC, (retired), RN) was spotted by the German submarine U-98 while escorting the convoy SC-30 about 400 miles southeast of Cape Farewell and missed with a first spread of two torpedoes because the ship zigzagged every 7 to 12 minutes. The next two torpedoes at 06.19 and 06.22 hours also missed and Gysae had to reload two bow tubes at the surface while running at high speed to search the vessel in the fog. At 07.20 hours, the heavy armed ship came in sight again and five minutes later both reloaded bow torpedoes were fired like in a motor torpedo boat on the surface. The torpedoes hit amidships and in the bow but the U-boat had to dive because the ship opened fire. At 08.00 and 08.50 hours, two torpedoes were fired that both hit in the engine room, but the ship remained afloat. The U-boat then reloaded the tubes and observed how more than ten boats were launched and a motor boat tried to cover the ship by laying a smoke screen. At 10.43 hours, a coup de grâce was fired that struck amidships and caused the ship to break in two and sink in two minutes in position 56º43'N, 38º57'W. 278 officers and ratings were rescued by the British destroyer HMS Impulsive.


Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 13 May 1941 by U-98 (Gysae).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Salopian

Commands listed for HMS Salopian (F 94)

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.

1Capt. (retired) John Phellips Farquharson, DSO, OBE, RN2 Sep 19391 Mar 1940
2Capt. (Retd.) Sir John Meynell Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN1 Mar 194013 May 1941

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Notable events involving Salopian include:

7 Oct 1940

Convoy WS 3 (Fast).

This convoy departed Liverpool and the Clyde on 7 October 1940. The convoy arrived at Suez on 16 November 1940.

The Liverpool section was made up of the troop transports; Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929).

It was escorted by the destroyers HMS Douglas (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Crossley, RN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN). HMCS St. Laurent however collided with a small merchant vessel very early on the 8th and had to return to Liverpool for repairs.

The Clyde section was made up of the transports; Capetown Castle (British, 27000 GRT, built 1938), Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).

It was escorted by the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN) and HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN).

At 0700/8, the Clyde section was joined by the destroyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. H.W. Williams, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) which came from Londonderry.

At 1012/8, a large enemy bomber was seen to approach the Capetown Castle off the Clyde section and dropped a bomb which missed.

At 1050/8, HMCS Ottawa and HMS Active were ordered to close the Oronsay which had been damaged by air attack and needed assistance. HMS Active however misunderstood the order and remained with the convoy. Meanwhile the Oronsay had dropped out of the convoy.

At 1152/8, HMS Arrow joined the damaged Oronsay as well.

Around 1400/8, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Cheshire (Capt.(Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and HMS Salopian (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) also arrived on the scene. HMS Salopian later departed to continue her patrol. HMS Cheshire remained with Oronsay and the two destroyers.

At 1440/8, Oronsay got underway at slow speed and was able to increase speed to 9 knots.

At 1520/8, the ships that were with the Oronsay sighted the Liverpool section of the convoy which apparently had been delayed by bad weather conditions and therefore unable to have joined up with the Clyde section as had been intended. HMS Douglas, one of the escorting destroyers of the Liverpool section had been unable to keep up with it due to the weather conditions now joined the Oronsay group.

At 1900/8, the destroyers HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN) and HMS Sabre (Cdr.(Retd.) B. Dean, RN) joined.

The destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) also joined but it is unknown when.

At 2115/8, the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined.

At 0205/9, HMS Arrow and HMCS Ottawa parted company with Oromsay and the other escorts to proceed to Londonderry.

Around 1030/9, the damaged Oronsay escorted by HMS Cairo, HMS Cheshire, HMS Douglas, HMS Verity, HMS Viscount and HMS Sabre arrived at Greenock.

Meanwhile the Clyde section had continued on escorted by HMS Whitehall, HMS Achates and HMS Active. As did the Liverpool section but apparently unescorted. They had failed to make rendezvous with each other in the heavy weather.

Around 1215/9, the Clyde section was joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). It seems that at this time the destroyers were no longer present.

At noon on the 12th the Clyde section, with HMS Kenya was finally joined by the Liverpool section of the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown in the afternoon of October 18th.


The convoy departed Freetown on 20 October 1940 and was made up of the Capetown Castle, Duchess of York, Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes and Winchester Castle.

The convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 28 October 1940. HMS Dorsetshire then proceeded to Simonstown where she arrived also on the same day.


On 30 October the convoy, now made up of the Duchess of York, Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda and Orontes departed Capetown for Suez. They were escorted by HMS Dorsetshire.

In the morning of 3 November the convoy overtook and then merged with the slow section of convoy WS 3 which was made up of the transports Dorset (British, 10624 GRT, built 1934), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Khedive Ismael (British, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Oropesa (British, 14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936) and Port Chalmers (British, 8535 GRT, built 1933) and their escort the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

Shortly before noon the Erinpura and Khedive Ismael split off from the convoy and set course for Mombasa escorted by HMS Carthage. HMS Dorsetshire continued on with the remainder of the convoy towards Suez.

In the morning of November 11th, the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) joined the convoy at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden.

The transport City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928) and several more escort vessels, the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined on 12 November 1940 for the passage through the Red Sea in which the Italian Navy was still active at this time.

The troopships Duchess of York and Georgic also re-joined the convoy after a brief visit to Aden. HMS Caledon also briefly left the convoy to oil at Aden before re-joining it.

Around 2130/12, the convoy entered the Perim Strait.

HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy at 0915/14.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 16 November 1940. (1)


  1. ADM 199/372 + ADM 199/1136

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

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