Allied Warships

HMIS Indus (L 67 / U 67)

Sloop of the Grimsby class

NavyThe Royal Indian Navy
TypeSloop
ClassGrimsby 
PennantL 67 / U 67 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered14 Aug 1933 
Laid down8 Dec 1933 
Launched24 Aug 1934 
Commissioned15 Mar 1935 
Lost6 Apr 1942 
Loss position20° 07'N, 92° 50'E
History

HMIS Indus (Cdr. Jesser Evelyn Napier Coope, RIN) was bombed and sunk by Japanese aircraft off Akyab, Burma in position 20º07'N, 92º54'E.

 

Commands listed for HMIS Indus (L 67 / U 67)

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
1Cdr. Eric George Guilding Hunt, RIN24 Nov 193823 Sep 1941
2A/Cdr. Jesser Evelyn Napier Coope, RIN23 Sep 19416 Apr 1942

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Notable events involving Indus include:


28 Aug 1939
HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) arrived at Bombay from Trincomalee. At Bombay she was taken in hand for docking and boiler cleaning. (1)

2 Sep 1939
HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) departed Bombay for the Persian Gulf. (1)

3 Sep 1939
At 1815 hours (zone -4), HMS Liverpool (Capt. A.D. Read, RN), departed Masirah Island in the Arabian Sea for patrol in the Arabian Sea. This was to provide cover for the movements of warships from the Royal Indian Navy; HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.P. Hughes-Hallet, RIN); as well as the depot ship HMS Lucia (Cdr. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) (2)

20 Jan 1940
HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) arrived at Bombay for a short refit and engine repairs. (1)

7 Feb 1940
With her refit completed, HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), departed Bombay for Aden where she was to join the Perim patrol. (1)

12 Feb 1940
HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) arrived at Aden. (3)

16 Aug 1940
From 16 to 19 August 1940, Allied troops from Berbera, Italian Somaliland, were evacuated to Aden.

The troops were evacatuated by the transports Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (6491 GRT, built 1912), the hospital ship Vita (4691 GRT, built 1914) as well as the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).

Cover for the evacuation was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), AA -cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN), HMS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), minesweeper HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and the netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN).

On 17 August, HMS Ceres bombarded Italian Army targets which temporarily halted the Italian advance.

On 18 August, HMS Caledon and HMS Kandahar bombarded enemy units on the Bulhar-Berbera road.

The evacuation was completed on the 18th. Over 7000 men had been evacuated.

The last men were taken off by HMAS Hobart at Berbera early on the 19th. She left around 0845C/19 for Aden with the last of the Army personnel and the demolition parties which had demolished the harbour facilities. HMS Indus proceeded along the coast to pick up stragglers. (4)

1 Nov 1940

Convoy WS 4A.

This convoy departed Liverpool / the Clyde on 1 / 2 November 1940 for the far east.

The Liverpool section of the convoy departed Liverpool on 1 November and was made up of the following troopships / transports; Abosso (British, 11330 GRT, built 1935), Akaroa (British, 15130 GRT, built 1914), City of Manchester (British, 8917 GRT, built 1935), Duchess of Richmond (British, 22022 GRT, built 1928), Dunedin Star (British, 11168 GRT, built 1936), Malancha (British, 8124 GRT, built 1937), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

From the Bristol Channel three ships joined this convoy, these were; Delius (British, 6065 GRT, built 1937), Martand (British, 7967 GRT, built 1939) and Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1937).

It was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski). This last destroyer had been escorting the three ships that came from the Bristol Channel.

The Clyde section of the convoy departed the Clyde on 2 November was made up of the following troopships / transports;

Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Clan Chattan (British, 7262 GRT, built 1937), Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928) and Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

They were escort by the heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hammill, RN), AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN), HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, RN).

The convoy merged around 1000/2 in position 55°45'N, 07°21'W.

HMS Bulldog and ORP Garland left the convoy around 1200/3 in position 54°25'N, 14°39'W to go to the aid of the troopship Windsor Castle which had been damaged by German aircraft bombs in position 54°12'N, 13°18'W.

HMS Cairo left the convoy at 1830/3 in position 54°12'N, 16°13'W.

HMS Hesperus and HMS Hurricane left the convoy around 1900/3 to go to the aid of the torpedoed armed merchant cruiser HMS Laurentic.

HMS Beagle, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena parted company with the convoy at 0300/4 in position 52°30'N, 19°00'W.

HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester parted company with the convoy at 1600/4 in position 52°30'N, 22°25'W.

At 0310/5 the Duchess of Richmond parted company with the convoy in position 52°10'N, 26°05'E to proceed to her destination independently.

At 0630/9 the Akaroa parted company with the convoy in position 32°44'N, 22°58'W to proceed to Trinidad.

At 0855/11 the Almanzora, Abosso, City of Manchester, Darius, Malancha and Martland were detached ('slow' group) were detached in position 23°47'N, 22°15'W under the escort of the armed merchant cruiser HMS Pretoria Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.J. Shelly, RN) which had just joined the convoy.

The 'fast' section of the convoy arrived at Freetown on 14 November escorted by HMS Cornwall.

The 'slow' section of the convoy arrived at Freetown on 15 November escorted by HMS Pretoria Castle.

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The convoy, now made up of troopships / transports Almanzora, City of Manchester, Clan Chattan, Clan Lamont, Delius, Dunedin Star, Highland Monarch, Malancha, Martand, Port Wyndham, Scythia, Stirling Castle and Warwick Castle, departed Freetown for South Africa around 1630 hours on 17 November 1940.

They were escorted by HMS Cornwall and HMS Pretoria Castle.

At 0805 hours on 26 November the Scythia and Warwick Castle parted company with the convoy in position 22°55'S, 09°03'E to proceed to Capetown. They were escorted by HMS Pretoria Castle.

These ships arrived off Capetown on 29 October. The troopships both entered the harbour but Scythia only briefly to take on board water.

HMS Pretoria Castle rejoined to convoy around 1200 hours on 29 November. Scythia rejoined about 45 minutes later.

At 1500 hours on 2 December, while in position 32°15'S, 29°35'E, the Almanzora, City of Manchester, Delius, Malancha and Martand were left astern to enable to other ships to arrive at Durban early the next day. HMS Pretoria Castle remained with these five ships while HMS Cornwall went ahead with the others.

Pretoria Castle arrived with the five ships that had split off at Durban some hours after the others. The convoy then entered harbour while HMS Pretoria Castle set course for Capetown.

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The convoy, now made up of troopships / transports City of Manchester, Clan Chattan, Clan Lamont, Delius, Dunedin Star, Highland Monarch, Malancha, Martand, Port Wyndham and Stirling Castle, departed Durban for Aden around 1030 hours on 5 December 1940.

There was one more ships in the convoy, this was the troopship Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937) who had taken over the troops of the Scythia and took her place in the convoy.

Escort was once again HMS Cornwall but she was now with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN).

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In the morning of 18 December 1940 the convoy arrived near Aden and was transferred to the Red Sea escort. HMS Cornwall and HMS Kanimbla parted company with the convoy at 0925/18 in position 11°53'N, 45°08'E. The then proceeded to Aden where they arrived around 1300/18.

The Red Sea escort joined the convoy as follows; sloops HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy at 0730/18 in position 11°53'N, 45°34'E.

Light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN) and AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined at 0945/18 in position 11°55'N, 45°03'E.

And the last ship to join, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined at 1023/18 in position 11°57'N, 44°56'E.

Two more troopships / transports joined the convoy at 1130/18 in position 12°02'N, 44°45'E. These were the City of Agra (British, 6361 GRT, built 1936) and Melbourne Star (British, 11076 GRT, built 1936).

HMS Carlisle parted company with the convoy at 1650/20 in position 20°33'N, 38°45'E.

HMIS Indus and HMAS Yarra parted company with the convoy at 1730/20 in position 20°42'N, 38°41'E.

At 1200/21, the Dunedin Star, Melbourne Star and Stirling Castle, escorted by HMS Kingston proceeded ahead. They arrived at Suez at 1500/22.

The remaineder of the convoy arrived at Suez at 0700/23 escorted by HMAS Perth. (5)

1 Nov 1940
HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and the troopship Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930) departed Aden for Kilindini / Mombasa. They were escorted out for a few hours by the sloops HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN). (6)

27 Nov 1940

Convoy BN 10.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was made up of the following transports; El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

Around 1310C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) relieved HMS Hector in position 14°11'N, 53°03'E.

At 0700C/3, the sloop HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined in position 12°22'N, 45°30'E.

At 1630C/3, the convoy joined the ' Aden section ' of the convoy in position 12°25'N, 43°40'E.

The Aden section was made up of the following transports / tankers; Alcides (British, 7634 GRT, built 1930), Aldington Court (British, 4891 GRT, built 1929), Alpherat (Dutch, 5759 GRT, built 1928), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Dunkirk (British, 5861 GRT, built 1912), Doris (Greek, 4604 GRT, built 1917), Elizabeth Moller (British, 4353 GRT, built 1906), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Gazana (British, 5284 GRT, built 1920), Hatasu (British, 3198 GRT, built 1921), Islami (British, 5879 GRT, built 1934), Macoma (Dutch (tanker), 8069 GRT, built 1936), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nyholm (Norwegian (tanker), 5843 GRT, built 1927), Pontfield (British (tanker), 8319 GRT, built 1940), Riley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1936), Silvermaple (British, 5313 GRT, built 1937), Star of Suez (Egyptian, 4999 GRT, built 1926), Sygna (Norwegian, 3881 GRT, built 1907), Tanafjord (Norwegian, 5922 GRT, built 1921) and Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929).

The captured Italian submarine HMS X 2 (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) P.E. Heathfield, RN) was also part of the convoy.

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN).

Around 1750C/5, in position 18°08'N, 40°08'E the transport Talma parted company to proceed to Port Sudan. She was escorted by HMS Calcutta and HMS Kimberley.

Around 0530C/5, the Alcides, Sygna and parted company to proceed to Port Sudan escorted by HMIS Indus.

The transport Islami also parted company to proceed to Jeddah.

Around 1600C/6, HMS Kimberley rejoined having fuelled at Port Sudan.

Around 1200C/7, convoy BN 10 and convoy BS 10 met in position 21°50'N, 37°50'E. HMAS Hobart, HMS Kimberley and HMS Auckland joined convoy BS 10 and the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) took over the escort of convoy BN 10.

One hour later HMS Kimberley was ordered to escort the transport Talma to convoy BN 10. This ship had been escorted to the rendezvous position from Port Sudan by HMIS Indus. HMIS Indus then joined convoy BS 10. After the Talma had rejoined convoy BN 10, HMS Kimberely proceeded south again to rejoin convoy BS 10.

Convoy BN 10, escorted by HMS Grimsby and HMIS Clive arrived at Suez on 10 December 1940. (4)

4 Dec 1940

Convoy BS 10.

This convoy departed Suez on 4 December 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 11 December 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alice Moller (British, 4986 GRT, built 1914), Arena (Norwegian (tanker), 6362 GRT, built 1927), British Endurance (British (tanker), 8406 GRT, built 1936), British Hope (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Renown (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1928), British Sailor (British (tanker), 5576 GRT, built 1918), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (British, 12427 GRT, built 1935), Ioannis P. Goulandris (Greek, 3750 GRT, built 1910), Katingo Hadjipatara (Greek, 3661 GRT, built 1913), Katy (Norwegian, 6825 GRT, built 1931), Khosrou (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marcella (British, 4592 GRT, built 1928), Margot (British, 4545 GRT, built 1926), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rosalie Moller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1910), Roxane (British, 7813 GRT, built 1929), Speybank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT (tanker), built 1930).

They were escorted on departure from Suez by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 7 December 1940 five ships joined coming from Port Sudan. These were; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helen Moller (British, 5259 GRT, built 1918), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Wayfarer (British, 5068 GRT, built 1925).

They had left Port Sudan on the 6th.

Around 1200C/7 the convoy escort was taken over by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN). Around 1300C/7, HMS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined. She had come with the transport Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) from Port Sudan. On HMIS Indus joining, HMS Kimberley parted company with the convoy to escort the Talma to convoy BN 10 which she was to join. After doing so HMS Kimberley rejoined convoy BS 10 around 0700C/8.

At 0630C/8, the patrol yacht HMS Sagitta (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.H. Straight, RNR) joined the convoy.

The destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) also joined convoy BS 10, apparently on the 8th.

Around 0635C/9, the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined convoy BS 10.

Around 1830C/10, HMS Carlisle and HMS Kandahar parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden.

Around 1800C/11, HMS Auckland and HMS Sagitta were detached with the ' Aden portion ' of the convoy which was made up of the following ships Ayamonte, Elpis and Khosrou, Roxane.

Around 2030C/11, the transport Vacport was detached to Aden due to a reported case of smallpox.

Around 0400C/12, HMAS Hobart and HMIS Indus parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden. The convoy went on to it's dispersal point escorted by HMS Kimberley.

The convoy was dispersed later on the 12th. (7)

12 Dec 1940

Convoy BS 10A.

This convoy departed Suez on 12 December 1940.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Clan Cameron (British, 7243 GRT, built 1937), Cornwall (British, 10605 GRT, built 1920), Johan de Witt (Dutch, 10474 GRT, built 1920), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) and Tyndareus (British, 11361 GRT, built 1916).

On departure from Suez the convoy was not escorted.

Around 1100C/14, the light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN) and AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1800C/14, the merchant vessel Talma was detached to Port Sudan.

Around 1830C/14, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined from Port Sudan.

Around 0810C/15, the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) and the merchant vessels City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922) and Stanpark (British, 5103 GRT, built 1937) joined coming from Port Sudan.

Around 1030C/15, the Stanpark was detached to return to Port Sudan apparently with engine trouble. HMS Chantala was sent with her as escort.

Around 1800C/16, HMS Carlisle parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden arriving there around 0900C/17.

In the early afternoon of the 17th the sloop HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined. HMAS Perth then proceeded to Aden arriving in the afternoon.

Later on the 17th the convoy was dispersed. HMS Kingston then proceeded to Aden with the City of Evansville, Johan de Witt and Nieuw Zeeland. They arrived at Aden around 1800C/17.

18 Dec 1940

Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper

This convoy departed U.K. ports on 18/19 December 1940. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Suez where the convoy arrived on 16 February 1941.

On 17 December 1940 the transport Rangitiki (British, 16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Avonmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) towards the rendez-vous position.

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A slow;
Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Atreus (British, 6547 GRT, built 1911), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Delane (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Elizabethville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922), Menelaus (British, 10307 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Settler (British, 6202 GRT, built 1939) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Costa Rica (Dutch, 8055 GRT, built 1910), Ernebank (British, 5388 GRT, built 1937), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912). Ernebank was however forced to return around 1800 hours on the 21st escorted by HMS Witch and HMS St. Mary’s. On the 22nd, HMS Wellington, was detached to take over the escort of the Ernebank. They were escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN), HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from Lough Foyle (Belfast); City of Derby (British, 6616 GRT, built 1921) and Stentor (British, 6148 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN).

The slow part of the convoy was met around dawn on the 19th by the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN).

Around 2300/21 all destroyers parted company with the slow part of the convoy.

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A fast;
Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Essex (British, 13655 GRT, built 1936) and Northern Prince (British, 10917 GRT, built 1929).

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Adviser (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Arabistan (British, 5874 GRT, built 1929), Barrister (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Benrinnes (5410 GRT, built 1921), Clan Cumming (British, 7264 GRT, built 1938), Empire Song (British, 9228 GRT, built 1940) and Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922).

Escort for the fast section of convoy WS 5A joined around dawn on the 20th and was provided by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RNRN), destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) which came from the Clyde. And also by the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Harvester and FSS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) which came from Londonderry. The first two of these destroyers had fuelled there after escorting the slow part of the convoy for a while. Also the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) (with fighters embarked for Takoradi) and the destroyers HMS Beverley (Cdr.(Retd.) E.F. Fitzgerald, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling joined from Liverpool.

The destroyers of the fast portion of the convoy were detached during the night of 21/22 December 1940.

At dawn on 23 December 1940 the slow and fast part of the convoy made rendez-vous and proceeded in company.

On the 24th, HMS Naiad parted company to return to the U.K. The heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) both joined the escort of the convoy.

At dawn on the 25th the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. She had made contact with the convoy with radar the previous day and had already made a torpedo attack shortly before 0400/25 but no hits had been obtained nor had the attack been noticed by the British.

Then shortly after 0800/25 she made visual contact with the convoy and it came as a surprise to the Germans to sight HMS Berwick.

Around 0830 hours the Germans opened fire on HMS Berwick but due to the bad visibility she soon shifted target to the troopship Empire Trooper which was not in her assigned station. The troopship was slightly damaged as was the merchant vessel Arabistan.

The convoy was ordered to scatter and HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure both engaged the German cruiser as did the corvette Cyclamen briefly.

Meanwhile HMS Dunedin laid a smokescreen to cover the ships of the convoy. HMS Furious flew off a few aircraft but these failed to find the German cruiser in the bad visibility.

HMS Berwick was damaged by gunfire from the German cruiser but she forced, together with HMS Bonaventure, the enemy to break off the action around 0915 hours.

In the evening HMS Boneventure was detached to search for the damaged Empire Trooper.

On the 28th the convoy was reassembled at sea (minus Empire Trooper which was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar via the Azores) and continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 6 January 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown for South Africa on 8 January.

The convoy was now made up of the (troop) transports; Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability (British, 7603 GRT, built 1931), Menelaus, Neuralia, Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor and Tamaroa.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.La T. Bisset, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), destroyers HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN), sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN), HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) and the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR).

At 0700N/9, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined the convoy. She had also departed Freetown around the same time as the convoy but apparently acted independently until the time she joined the convoy.

At 0600N/10, HMS Formidable, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Norfolk, HMS Velox and HMS Vidette parted company with the convoy. At the same time the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) joined.

It appears that HMS Bridgewater, HMS Milford, HMS Asphodel and HMS Calendula parted company on 12 January.

At 1000B/21, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN) joined the convoy and HMS Devonshire parted company.

At 1600B/22, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy taking the transports Anselm and City of Canterbury to Capetown where they arrived on 23 January.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Durban on 25 January 1941 escorted by HMS Shropshire.

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The convoy departed Durban for Suez on 29 January 1941. It was now made up of the transports, Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability, Menelaus, Neuralia, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor, Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Tamaroa.

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire and the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN).

Around 0800B/30, HMS Shropshire was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN).

In the morning of 31 January the transport Delane parted company with the convoy to return to Durban due to engine defects.

At 1000CD(-3.5)/4, HMS Ceres parted company taking the transports Nieuw Holland and Orbita with her to Kilindini / Mombasa where they arrived on 5 February.

At 1440CD/5, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) joined.

At 1500CD/5, the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) joined.

At 0430CD/6, HMS Capetown parted company with the convoy having been ordered to do so.

At 1730CD/10, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy to fuel at Aden. She rejoined the convoy around 2130C/11.

Around 0630C/11, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) and the sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN). HMS Hector then parted company with the convoy.

At 2300C/11, HMIS Indus parted company with the convoy upon being relieved by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

At 1830C/13, HMS Flamingo parted company with the convoy to return to Aden and HMS Grimsby parted company with the convoy taking the transport Neuralia with her to Port Sudan.

At 0400C/14, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy.

The convoy escorted by HMS Caledon arrived at Suez on 16 February 1941. (5)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/368
  2. ADM 53/109582
  3. ADM 199/2557
  4. ADM 199/383
  5. ADM 199/1136
  6. ADM 53/112531 + ADM 199/383
  7. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1940

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


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