Allied Warships

HMS Waterwitch (J 304)

Minesweeper of the Algerine class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 304 
ModReciprocating engined 
Built byLobnitz & Co. Ltd. (Renfrew, Scotland) 
Ordered1 Jan 1942 
Laid down15 Aug 1942 
Launched22 Apr 1943 
Commissioned6 Sep 1943 
End service 


Commands listed for HMS Waterwitch (J 304)

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.

1Lt.Cdr. Douglas Stewart Campbell, RNVRJun 1943Jun 1945
2A/Lt.Cdr. William George Pitcher, RNRJun 1945mid 1946

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Notable events involving Waterwitch include:

9 Dec 1943

Combined convoy OS 61 / KMS 35.

This combined convoy assembled off Oversay on 9 December 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Agen (French, 4186 GRT, built 1921), Anglo-Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Baron Fairlie (British, 6706 GRT, built 1925), Barrgrove (British, 5222 GRT, built 1918), Barrington Court (British, 4910 GRT, built 1924), Chertsey (British, 6001 GRT, built 1943), Clan MacGillivray (British, 5023 GRT, built 1911), Clan MacIlwraith (British, 4839 GRT, built 1924), Commandant Dorise (British (former French), 5529 GRT, built 1917), Dimitrios Inglessis (Greek, 5275 GRT, built 1918), Drammensfjord (Norwegian, 5339 GRT, built 1920), Empire Austen (British, 7057 GRT, built 1942), Empire Boswell (British, 2898 GRT, built 1942), Empire Gale (British, 7089 GRT, built 1941), Empire Razorbill (British, 5620 GRT, built 1920), Empire Snow (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Fairwater (British, 4108 GRT, built 1928), Fort Covington (British, 7130 GRT, built 1943), Fort George (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Fort Meductic (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Ingleton (British, 7203 GRT, built 1942), Ingman (British, 3149 GRT, built 1907), Johilla (British, 4042 GRT, built 1937), Keilehaven (Dutch, 2968 GRT, built 1919), Kiruna (Swedish, 5484 GRT, built 1921), Linge (Dutch, 2114 GRT, built 1928), Lisbeth (Norwegian, 2732 GRT, built 1922), Madoera (Dutch, 9360 GRT, built 1922), Madras City (British, 5080 GRT, built 1940), Mahanada (British, 8489 GRT, built 1943), Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Martand (British, 7967 GRT, built 1939), Melampus (Dutch, 6336 GRT, built 1924), Merton (British, 7195 GRT, built 1941), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), Stad Arnhem (Dutch, 3819 GRT, built 1920), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Tactician (British, 5996 GRT, built 1928), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938) and Zypenberg (Dutch, 4973 GRT, built 1920).

The rescue ship Pinto (British, 1346 GRT, built 1928) was also part of the convoy as were three Greek LST's, RHS Lemnos, RHS Lesbos and RHS Samos.

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the destroyer ORP Burza (Kmdr.ppor. (Cdr.) F. Pitulko), cutter HMS Fishguard (Lt. C.D. Smith, DSC, RNR), frigates HMS Inver (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR), HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN), corvettes HMS Narcissus (T/Lt. G.T.S. Clampitt, RNR), FFS Aconit, FFS Lobelia, FFS Roselys and the A/S trawlers HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. R.C. Heron, RNVR) and HMS Sapper (T/Lt. R.C. Lees, RNR).

The Clan MacGillivray had to return to the U.K. and arrived in the Clyde on 10 December 1943.

On 11 December 1943, the AA ship HMCS Prince Robert (Cdr. A.M. Hope, RCN) joined the convoy coming from Plymouth which she had departed on 10 December.

Around 1245Z/12, the escort carrier HMS Fencer (Capt. E.W. Anstice, RN) joined the convoy having parted company with northbound convoy SL 141 / KMS 32.

On 16 December 1943, HMCS Prince Robert parted company. Also the transport Linge parted company with the convoy to proceed to the Azores. She was escorted by HMS Fishguard. They arrived at the Azores on 18 December 1943.

Around 0535Z/17, HMS Fencer parted company with the convoy to join the combined convoy SL 142 / MKS 33. She joined this combined convoy around 1120Z/17. She had been escorted to the rendezvous by HMS Inver which then parted company to rejoin combined convoy OS 61 / KMS 35.

On 19 December 1943 the convoy split into convoy OS 61 bound for Freetown and convoy KMS 35 bound for the Mediterranean. The merchant vessels Barrington Court, Empire Boswell, Fort Covington and Lisbeth were detached to Lisbon.


Convoy OS 61 was made up of the merchant vessels; Commandant Dorise, Fort George, Kiruna, Merton and Sobo.

They were joined by the following merchant vessels; Baron Stranraer (British, 3668 GRT, built 1929)), Corfirth (British, 1803 GRT, built 1934), Domby (British, 5582 GRT, built 1932), Empire Farmer (British, 7049 GRT, built 1943), Fort Binger (British, 5671 GRT, built 1919), Fort Charnisay (British, 7133 GRT, built 1943), Fort Finlay (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Yale (British, 7132 GRT, built 1942), Marrakech (French, 6179 GRT, built 1914), Middlesex Trader (British, 7421GRT, built 1942), Nairnbank (British, 5155 GRT, built 1925), Orient City (British, 5095 GRT, built 1940), Silverash (British, 7750 GRT, built 1926) and Tynebank (British, 4651 GRT, built 1922) which came from Gibraltar which they had departed Gibraltar on 19 December 1943 escorted by the sloops HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN), HMS Sandwich (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR) and the corvette HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. R.A. Baker, RNVR) which now took over the escort of convoy convoy OS 61.

On 21 December 1943, the merchant vessels Chelma (French, 4968 GRT, built 1920), El-Biar (French, 4678 GRT, built 1927) and Montaigne (French, 2770 GRT, built 1920) joined coming from Casablanca which they had departed on 20 December 1943. The Corfirth, Fort George and Kiruna were then detached to Casablanca where they arrived on 22 December 1943.

On 26 December 1943, the Chelma, Marrakech, Montaigne and Tynebank arrived at Dakar after having been detached from the convoy while the merchant vessel Canada (French, 9684 GRT, built 1912) and the minesweeping sloop Gazelle departed Dakar to join the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 29 December 1943. Some ships of the convoy did not enter Freetown but proceed directly to other destinations.


Convoy KMS 35 was made up of the merchant vessels; Agen, Anglo-Indian, Baron Fairlie, Barrgrove, Chertsey, Clan MacIlwraith, Dimitrios Inglessis, Drammensfjord, Empire Austen, Empire Gale, Empire Razorbill, Empire Snow, Fairwater, Fort Meductic, Ingleton, Ingman, Johilla, Keilehaven, Madoera, Madras City, Mahanada, Manchester Commerce, Manchester Port, Martand, Melampus, Ocean Vesper, Stad Arnhem, Stanhill, Tactician, Temple Inn, Tiba and Zypenberg.

The Pinto and the three Greek LST's, RHS Lemnos, RHS Lesbos and RHS Samos were also part of this convoy.

On 21 December 1943, the following ships; Agen, Barrgrove, Ingman, Pinto, RHS Lemnos, RHS Lesbos and RHS Samos arrived at Gibraltar after having parted company with the convoy as did the original escort. [It is possible several other ships of the convoy made a short stop at Gibraltar.]

Early on 22 December 1943, the three Greek LST's and the merchant vessels Colytto (Dutch, 4408 GRT, built 1926), Djebel Aures (French, 2835 GRT, built 1929), Empire Pierrot (British (tug), 232 GRT, built 1943), Fomalhaut (French, 5795 GRT, built 1936), Haakon Hauan (Norwegian (tanker), 6582 GRT, built 1935), Harry A. Garfield (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Stal (British (former Danish), 2242 GRT, built 1921), Vera Radcliffe (British, 5587 GRT, built 1925) and Zena (British, 1416 GRT, built 1911) departed Gibraltar to (re)join the convoy. Also joining were the submarine tender Jules Verne, RFA salvage vessel Salvage Duke, rescue tug HMRT Mindful and the submarine HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN). A new escort group also joined, made up of the frigates HMS Dart (Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Inver, corvettes HMS Gloxinia (Lt. M.C. English, RNR), HMS Primula (Lt. G.H. Taylor, RNR), A/S trawler HMS Wolborough (T/Lt. G.A. Hartnell, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMSAS Southern Maid (?). Additional escorts were the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN), cutter HMS Fishguard (Lt. C.D. Smith, DSC, RNR), minesweepers HMS Rosario (A/Cdr. F.E. Brooking, RN), HMS Waterwitch (Lt.Cdr. D.S. Campbell, RNVR), patrol vessel / sloop Amiral Mouchez and the A/S trawler La Setoise.

On 23 December 1943, the following ships; Dimitrios Inglessis, Haakon Hauan, Stad Arnhem, Vera Radcliffe and Zypenberg were detached to Oran, as were the Amiral Mouchez and La Setoise, while the following merchant vessels; George Dewey (American, 7225 GRT, built 1943), George Matthews (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Hilary A. Herbert (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James G. Birney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Loke (Norwegian, 2421 GRT, built 1915), Paul Hamilton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and William Patterson (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy coming from Oran. Also joining from Oran was the salvage vessel USS Tackle (Lt. J.M. Gillespie , USNR).

On 24 December 1943, the following ships; were detached to Djebel Aures, Empire Austen, Empire Razorill, Fort Meductic, Madras City and Temple Inn to Algiers as were the Jules Verne, HMS Salvage Duke and the USS Tackle. The following ships joined the convoy of Algiers; Dallington Court (British, 6889 GRT, built 1929), Empire Bairn (British (tanker), 813 GRT, built 1941), Empire Summer (British, 6949 GRT, built 1941), Esneh (British, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Harald (British, 1970 GRT, built 1903), Ile de Brehat (French, 6176 GRT, built 1919), Kosciuszko (Polish, 6852 GRT, built 1915), Loriga (British, 6665 GRT, built 1919) and Norbris (Panamanian (tanker), 7619 GRT, built 1930). The LST HMS LST 324 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Bell, RNR) also joined the convoy.

On 25 December 1943, the merchant vessel Empire Tana () joined the convoy off Bougie.

Later on 25 December 1943, the merchant vessels Riverton (British, 7307 GRT, built 1943) and Van der Capelle (Dutch, 7037 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy off Bougie.

Also on 25 December 1943, the Harry A. Garfield, Ingleton, Stal and Tiba were detached off Bone as was the rescue tug HMRT Mindful while the following merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Bone; Empire Damsel (British (tanker), 784 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Stranger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Star (Norwegian, 1531 GRT, built 1922) and Tintern Abbey (British, 2471 GRT, built 1939).

On 26 December 1943, the merchant vessels Harald, Keilehaven, Loke and Paul Hamilton parted company with the convoy off Bizerta as did HMS Colombo, HMS LST 324, RHS Lemnos, RHS Lesbos and RHS Samos.

The following merchant vessels joined the convoy off Bizerta; Benjamin Goodhue (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Empire Opal (British (tanker), 9811 GRT, built 1941), Joseph Hewes (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Mannington (British, 1127 GRT, built 1943), Theodore Foster (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Ugo Fiorelli (Italian, 1600 GRT, built 1943) as did the buoy tender Sunflower (American, 1100 GRT, built 1907).

The Empire Damsel and Sunflower were subsequently detached to Porto Empedocle on the south coast of Sicily.

On 27 December 1943, the merchant vessels Drammensfjord, Kosciuszko and Manchester Port were detached to Malta as was the minesweeper HMS Waterwitch while the merchant vessels Bantria (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928) and Forthbank (British, 5057 GRT, 1929) joined the convoy.

On 27 December 1943 the following merchant vessels departed Augusta to join the convoy; Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch, 7086 GRT, built 1942), Berkel (Dutch, 2130 GRT, built 1930), Clan Murdoch (British, 5950 GRT, built 1919), Crista (British, 2590 GRT, built 1938), Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Empire Capulet (British, 7044 GRT, built 1943), Empire Daring (British, 7059 GRT, built 1943), Empire Glory (British, 7290 GRT, built 1943), Empire Path (British, 6140 GRT, built 1943), Fort Ash (British, 7131 GRT, built 1943), Fort Caribou (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Erie (British, 7128 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frederick (British, 7135 GRT, built 1942), Fort Nashwaak (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort St. Paul (British, 7137 GRT, built 1943), Ocean Liberty (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Sambrake (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Sofala (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937).

On 28 December 1943, the following merchant vessels arrived at Augusta after having parted company with the convoy; Baron Fairlie, Benjamin Goodhue, Chertsey, Colytto, Empire Bairn, Empire Gale, Empire Snow, Empire Summer, Empire Tana, Esneh, Fairwater, Fomalhaut, George Dewey, George Matthews, Hilary A. Herbert, Ile de Brehat, James G. Birney, Joseph Hewes, Loriga, Mannington, Manchester Commerce, Norbris, Ocean Stranger, Ocean Vesper, Riverton, Stanhill, Star, Theodore Foster, Tintern Abbey, Ugo Fiorelli, Van der Capelle, William Patterson and Zena.

On 30 December 1943, HMS Inver arrived at Tobruk after having been detached from the convoy.

On 31 December 1943, the following merchant vessels Aelbert Cuyp, Bantria, Berkel, Crista, Empire Capulet, Empire Daring, Empire Glory, Fort Ash, Fort Erie, Fort Nashwaak, Sambrake and Sofala were detached to Alexandria as were HMS Gloxinia, HMS Fishguard, HMS Rosario, HMS Wolborough and HMSAS Southern Maid.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Port Said on 1 January 1944 after which the two remaining escorts, HMS Dart and HMS Primula proceeded to Haifa.

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