Allied Warships

HMS Enchantress (L 56 / U 56)

Sloop of the Bittern class


HMS Enchantress as seen during the war.
Note that the HF/DF has been deleted by the censor.

Photo Courtesy of Graham White.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassBittern 
PennantL 56 / U 56 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered5 Oct 1933 
Laid down9 Mar 1934 
Launched21 Dec 1934 
Commissioned4 Apr 1935 
End service 
History

When under construction she was to be named the Bittern however a decision was made to modify her by adding aft accommodation in place of 2x4.7 guns to serve as a Admiralty Yacht. She was renamed H.M.S. Enchantress before launch. The outbreak of war led to heavy modifications. Enchantress had her accomodation removed but she never shipped her aft 4.7\'s instead she was fitted with 2 x multiple machine guns (2x4) a vertical HF/DF mast in the X position a 12pdr A.A. gun in the Y position. Two 20mm A.A. guns added to the bridge wings and eventually 4 Hedgehog anti submarine spigot mortars! This meant for a small sloop the Enchantress had the A.A. Anti/Sub fire power of a much larger vessel.

Sold in 1946 for £22,500 to the Three Star Shipping company she was refitted as The Lady Enchantress to \"Pullman\" standard. To pay off the huge debt incurred a good season Torquay to Guernsey was needed unfortunately she suffered a catastrophic boiler failure on an early run. She was laid up and eventually scrapped at Dunston on Tyne, Gateshead UK starting on 16 February 1952.

 

Commands listed for HMS Enchantress (L 56 / U 56)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Alan Kenneth Scott-Moncrieff, RN10 Jan 19399 Jan 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Arthur Edward Tolfrey Christie, RN9 Jan 19417 Nov 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Evelyn David John Abbot, DSC, RN7 Nov 1943Jan 1945
4T/A/Lt.Cdr. Alfred John Clemence, RNR1 Jan 19451 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving Enchantress include:


9 Sep 1939
HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Cumberbatch, RN) departed Portsmouth for Dundee. She was escorted until around 1900 hours by HMS Skate (Lt.Cdr. A.O. Johnson, RN).

During the night of 9/10 September 1939 HMS Oberon was in company with HMS Bittern (Cdr. G.F. Stevens-Guille, OBE, RN) and HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN).

Around 0930/10, HMS Oberon, took station astern of a convoy until 1600 hours when she joined HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) which remained with Oberon until she was off Dundee on the 13th. (1)

24 May 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 23 survivors from the Greek merchant Kyma that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-37 about 175 nautical miles south of Cape Clear in position 48°30'N, 09°30'W.

12 Jun 1940
The British merchant Earlspark is torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-101 north-west of Cape Finisterre in position 42°26'N, 11°33'W. HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) later picks up 31 survivors.

26 Jul 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 79 survivors from the British passenger ship Accra that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-34 about 320 nautical miles west of Bloody Foreland in position 55°40'N, 16°28'W.

10 Oct 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 27 survivors from the British merchant Graigwen that was torpedoed and damaged the previous day by German U-boat U-103 37 nautical miles north-north-west of Rockall. The abandoned Graigwen was finally torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-123 in position 58°11'N, 13°57'W.

23 Nov 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 26 survivors from the British merchant Justitia that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-100 about 160 nautical miles west of Bloody Foreland in position 55°00'N, 13°10'W.

Enchantress also picks up 7 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Salonica that was also torpedoed and sunk by U-100 west of Ireland in position 55°16'N, 12°14'W. (2)

3 Mar 1941
HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.F. Christie, RN) successfully locates the Royal Navy submarine HMS Taku (Lt. J.F.B. Brown, RN) damaged and adrift in the Atlantic. With the corvette HMS Gladiolus and tug HMS Slavonia, HMS Enchantress successfully escorts HMS Taku into Londonderry on the 10th March. (2)

3 Mar 1941
At 0045 hours (zone +1), HMS Taku (Lt. J.F.B. Brown, RN), is joined by the British sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, RN). At 1130 hours the British corvette HMS Gladiolus (Lt.Cdr. H.M.C. Sanders, DSC, RNR) and the British rescue tug HMRT Salvonia also joined. Attempts were now undertaken to take Taku in tow but these failed. A connection between Salvonia and Taku was established only at 0808 hours the following morning. Taku was now towed to Londonderry. During passage the tow parted once. (3)

5 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN) and HMS Le Tiger (T/Lt. C.A. Hoodless, RNR). (4)

20 Aug 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.R. Drummond, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Walney (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Aberdeen (Lt. S.G. Rivers-Smith, RN), HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR) and HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Landman, RN). (5)

13 Dec 1942
The Italian submarine Corallo was rammed and sunk off Bougie, Algeria in position 36°58'N, 05°07'E by the British sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.F. Christie, OBE, RN). HMS Enchantress was an escort for convoy KMS 4 Gibraltar-Algiers). The Corallo was forced to the surface due to the depth charge attacks made by Enchantress. Next the Enchantress rammed the Corallo sinking her with all hands lost.

24 Jan 1943

Combined convoy WS 26 / KMF 8.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 24 January 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 26 and KMF 8 at sea on 29 January 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Chyebassa (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Dempo (British, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empire Pride (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Rembrandt (Dutch, 8126 GRT, built 1941), Ruys (British, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Sibajak (British, 12226 GRT, built 1927), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tiwali (British, 8178 GRT, built 1931) and Volendam (British, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, RN) was also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN), HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Scott, RN), destroyers HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR), escort destroyers RHS Adrias, RHS Miaoulis, sloops HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN), Savorgnan de Brazza, cutters HMS Banff (Lt. P. Brett, RNR), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and the frigate HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RN).

On 25 January 1943 the destroyer HMS Clare parted company to return to Londonderry. The escort destroyer RHS Miaoulis had lost touch with the convoy during the night of 24/25 January 1943. She was unable to regain touch and was also ordered to return to Londonderry. Her sister ship RHS Adrias had also lost touch but apparently was able to regain contact.

Around 1730A/26, the Antenor parted company with defects to return to the Clyde. It appears that she was escorted back to the Clyde by the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza.

Around 1630A/29, the convoy split into two parts.

Convoy KMF 8 continued on towards the Mediterranean and was made up of the transports Circassia, Duchess of York, Dunnottar Castle, Empire Pride, Letitia, Samaria, Strathnaver, Tawali and the aircraft carrier HMS Argus. They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Banff, HMS Fishguard and HMS Test.

Around 1630A/30, HMS Argus and the transport Letitia parted company with convoy KMF 8 to proceed to Gibraltar. They entered Gibraltar Bay around 0330A/31. Presumably they were escorted by the frigate HMS Test which also arrived at Gibraltar on this day.

On 31 January the destroyer HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) and sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN) joined convoy KMF 8 having departed Gibraltar on 30 January.

Later on 31 January the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Alberni (Lt. I.H. Bell, RCNVR), HMCS Baddeck (T/Lt. J. Brock, RCNVR), HMCS Lunenburg (T/Lt. W.E. Harrison, RCNVR), HMCS Port Arthur (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.T. Simmons, DSC, RCNVR) and HMCS Summerside (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F.O. Gerity, RCNR) joined the escort of convoy KMF 8. They had departed Mers-el-Kebir earlier on 31 January. On the joining of HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout, HMS Verity was detached to join convoy GUF 4 as was the corvette HMCS Port Arthur.

The transport Strathnaver was detached to proceed to Oran escorted by HMCS Alberni, HMCS Baddeck, HMCS Luneburg and HMCS Summerside.

The remainder of convoy KMF 8 arrived at Algiers on 1 February escorted by HMS Laforey, HMS Lookout, HMS Egret, HMS Enchantress, HMS Banff and HMS Fishguard.

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When the convoys split up, WS 26 continued on to Freetown. It was made up of the transports . They were escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, destroyers HMS Quadrant, HMS Relentless and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

On 31 January, the repair ship HMS Wayland (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.S. Carson, RN) and the transport Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) escorted by the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) joined. They had departed Gibraltar on 29 January. Also on 31 January the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) joined. They had departed Gibraltar on 30 January.

The destroyers HMS Quadrant, HMS Relentless and escort destroyer RHS Adrias parted company on 31 January to fuel at Casablanca from where they departed again on 1 February to rejoin the convoy.

On 4 February the transport Leopoldville parted company with the convoy escorted by the destroyer HMS Redoubt. They arrived at Bathurst on 5 February.

Convoy WS 26 arrived at Freetown on 6 February 1943 escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, destroyers HMS Quality, HMS Quadrant HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch, HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

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Convoy WS 26 departed Freetown on 9 February for South Africa. It was made up of the transports Arundel Castle, California, Chyebassa, Dempo, Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Dominion Monarch, Duchess of Richmond, Empress of Canada, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Mooltan, Orduna, Rembrandt, Ruys, Sibajak, Stratheden, Volendam and the repair ship HMS Wayland.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, armed boarding vessel Corinthian, destroyers HMS Quality, HMS Quiberon, HMS Quickmatch, HMS Racehorse and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

On 12 February HMS Corinthian and RHS Adrias parted company with the convoy.

At 1145AB(-1.5)/13, the destroyer HMS Relentless joined the convoy coming from Lagos having departed there on 12 February immediately after being undocked.

Also on the 13th the corvette FFS Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves joined the convoy escort.

In the morning and early afternoon of the 14th, HMS Racehorse and HMAS Quickmatch fuelled from HMS Canton.

On the 15th the destroyers HMS Quality and HMAS Quiberon arrived at Porte Noire to fuel. After doing so they departed again to rejoin the convoy. Also on the 15th the Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves fuelled from HMS Canton.

Around 2215O/20, the escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) joined the convoy coming from Saldanha Bay.

On 22 February the Capetown section of the convoy, made up of Arundel Castle, California, Cheyebassa, Duchess of Richmond, Highland Chieftain, Orduna, Ruys, Sibajak and HMS Wayland arrived there with part of the escort, some of which then went to Simonstown.

The light cruiser Ceres joined the Durban section as did the corvette Genista. This corvette was later detached and arrived at Port Elizabeth on 24 February.

The remaining ships proceeded to Durban arriving there on 25 February escorted by HMS Ceres, HMS Cicilia, HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch and HMS Racehorse.

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On 26 February 1943 the Capetown section departed there to proceed towards Durban. It was now made up of the transports Arundel Castle, California, Cheybassa, Highland Chieftain, Orduna and HMS Wayland. The convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Canton, destroyer HMS Relentless and the escort destroyers HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Blackmore.

At 0115C/1, HMS Relentless was detached to proceed ahead to Durban to fuel.

On completion of fuelling she returned from Durban together with the corvette HMS Freesia (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.A. Cherry, RNR), and the minesweepers HMIS Carnatic (Lt. H.J.D. Hamilton, RIN) and Commandant Duboc.

Meanwhile the corvette HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR) had also joined the convoy escort.

HMS Blackmore and HMS Catterick also went to Durban to fuel. They returned later together with the light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN) and HMS Ceres.

HMS Canton parted company with the convoy and entered Durban.

Transports that joined coming from Durban were the City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922), Dempo, Dilwara, Dominion Monarch, Lancashire (British, 9445 GRT, built 1917), Maloja, Mooltan, Rembrandt, Selandia (South African, 8482 GRT, built 1938) and Stratheden. The repair ship HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN) also joined the convoy. The Dilwara however returned to Durban with defects shortly after sailing.

Around 1830C/3, HMS Jasmine and HMS Freesia parted company.

Around 0530C/4, HMS Relentless, HMS Blackmore and HMS Catterick parted company.

Around 1500D/6, the Lancashire was detached to Tamatave escorted by the Commandant Duboc.

Around 0300C/8, HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy to proceed to Diego Suarez.

Around 0800CD(-3.5)/9, HMS Resource was detached from the convoy to proceed to Kilindini escorted by HMS Birmingham. The heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) had joined just before.

Around 1200D/10, the heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0700D/11, the convoy split up into the Aden section and the Bombay section.

The Aden section was made up of the Arundel Castle, City of Paris, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Orduna, Rembrandt and Selandia. They were escorted by HMS Frobisher. They arrived off Aden on 15 March 1943 where the convoy was dispersed.

The Bombay section was made up of the California, Chyebassa, Dempo, Dominion Monarch, Mooltan and Stratheden. They were escorted by HMS Hawkins. They arrived at Bombay on 17 March 1943.

25 May 1943
HMS H 33 (Lt. J.A. Spender, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Starwort (Lt. A.H. Kent, DSC, RNR) and HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN). (6)

26 May 1943
HMS H 33 (Lt. J.A. Spender, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Poppy (T/Lt. D.R.C. Onslow, RNR), HMS Starwort (Lt. A.H. Kent, DSC, RNR), HMS Moyola (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lawson, RD, RNR) and HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN). (6)

27 May 1943
HMS Universal (Lt. C. Gordon, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Londonderry with HMS Poppy (T/Lt. D.R.C. Onslow, RNR), HMS Starwort (Lt. A.H. Kent, DSC, RNR), HMS Lotus (Lt.Cdr. H.J. Hall, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.F. Tognola, RNR) and HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN). (7)

28 May 1943
HMS H 33 (Lt. J.A. Spender, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN). (6)

17 Jun 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. H.V. Gordon, DSC, RNVR), HMS Teviot (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, DSC, RN) and HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN). (8)

17 Jun 1943
HMS H 34 (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Wellington (Cdr. G.A. Thring, DSO, RN), HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR). (9)

18 Jun 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN), another vessel (unable to read the name in the log of HMS P 511) and HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN). (10)

6 Nov 1943
HMS Thrasher (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS Pictou (T/Lt. P.T. Byers, RCNR), HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Glenarm (Lt.Cdr. W.R.B. Noall, DSO, RNR). (11)

2 Apr 1945
HMS Vengeful (Lt. A.S. Melville-Ross, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Enchantress (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR). (12)

6 Apr 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Enchantress (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR) and HMS Kilmington (T/Lt. D.D. Humphreys, RNVR). (13)

7 Apr 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Enchantress (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR) and HMS Kilmington (T/Lt. D.D. Humphreys, RNVR). (13)

9 Apr 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Enchantress (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR) and HMS Woodruff (Lt. W.K. Tadman, RNR). (13)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15802
  2. Personal communication
  3. ADM 199/1846
  4. File 2.12.03.6368 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/17216
  6. ADM 173/17782
  7. ADM 173/18350
  8. ADM 173/17771
  9. ADM 173/17795
  10. ADM 173/17925
  11. ADM 173/18231
  12. ADM 173/20259
  13. ADM 173/20232

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


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