Allied Warships

HMS Kite (U 87)

Sloop of the Modified Black Swan class


HMS Kite as completed

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassModified Black Swan 
PennantU 87 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Ordered27 Mar 1941 
Laid down25 Sep 1941 
Launched13 Oct 1942 
Commissioned1 Mar 1943 
Lost21 Aug 1944 
Loss position73° 01'N, 3° 57'E
History

At 20.45 hours on 20 Aug, 1944, the British destroyer HMS Keppel got a contact on her starboard quarter, while escorting the convoy JW-59 in position 73º01'N, 03º57'E - Grid AB 5456. Together with HMS Kite (U 87) and a Swordfish aircraft from the British escort carrier HMS Vindex the U-boat was attacked with hedgehogs and depth charges. They hunted the U-boat throughout the night with their foxers (Anti Gnat devices) streamed, but the hunt was fruitless.

At 06.40 hours on 21 August, HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. Andrew Neil Gillespie Campbell, RN) had slowed down to 6 knots to clear her foxers, which had become twisted around one another. At this vulnerable moment, U-344 fired a spread of three FAT torpedoes at the sloop, misidentified as Dido-class light cruiser by Pietsch. The ship was struck by two torpedoes on the starboard side and heeled over to that side immediately. The stern broke off, floated for a few seconds, then sank in position 73º01'N, 03º57'E. The bow remained afloat for a minute and then sank at a steep angle. At 07.30 hours, HMS Keppel stopped to pick up survivors, while the British sloops HMS Peacock and HMS Mermaid screened the rescue operation. Only 14 of the about 60 survivors in the water could be rescued from the ice cold water, five of them died on board and were later buried at sea.

 

Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 21 Aug 1944 by U-344 (Pietsch).

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

Commands listed for HMS Kite (U 87)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. William Francis Roderick Segrave, RN7 Jan 1943May 1944
2Lt.Cdr. Andrew Neil Gillespie Campbell, RNMay 1944 ?21 Aug 1944 (+)

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Notable events involving Kite include:


17 Mar 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN), HMS Lady Madeleine (T/A/Lt.Cdr. N.S. Heriot, DSC, RNVR), ML 166 and ML 574 (T/S.Lt. E.R.S. Gillham, RNVR). (1)

20 Mar 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Derby County (Lt. K.B. Hopkins, DSC, RNVR), HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) and HMS Wild Goose (Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN). (1)

21 Mar 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN), HMS Wild Goose (Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN), HMS Trent (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Rankin, DSC, RNR) and HMIS Rohilkhand (Lt. J.E. Gibbs, RIN). (1)

3 Apr 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. J.S. Launders, RN) conducted A/S exercises off the Isle of Mull together with HMS Duncan (Cdr. Sir P.W Gretton, DSO and Bar, DSC, OBE, RN) and HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN). (2)

24 Jun 1943
German U-boat U-449 was sunk at 1600hrs on 24 June 1943 in the North Atlantic, north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 45°00'N, 11°59'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr. R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) and HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN).

30 Jul 1943
German U-boat U-504 was sunk at 1543hrs on 30 July 1943 in the North Atlantic north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 45°33'N, 10°56'W, by depth charges from the British Sloops HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr. R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN) and HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN).

30 Jul 1943
German U-boat U-462 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay at position 45°33'N, 10°58'W.by a British Handley Page Halifax aircraft (Sqdn 502/S) and gunfire from the British sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN), HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr. R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN) and HMS Woodcock (Lt.Cdr. C. Gwinner, DSO, RN).

2 Sep 1943
HMS H 28 (Lt. E.C. Croswell, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN), HMS Wild Goose (A/Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC, RN), HMS Amaranthus (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR) and HMS Bentinck (Cdr.(Retd.) H.J.R. Paramore, RN). (3)

18 Oct 1943
HMS H 50 (Lt. J.C. Varley, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. R.P. Welland, DSC, RCN), HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, DSC, RN), HMS Woodcock (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C. Gwinner, DSO, RN) and aircraft. (4)

6 Nov 1943
German U-boat U-226 was sunk at 0700hrs on 6 November 1943 in the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland, in position 44°49'N, 41°13'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Woodcock (Lt.Cdr. C. Gwinner, DSO, RN) and HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, DSC, RN).

9 Feb 1944
German U-boat U-238 was sunk in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 49°45'N, 16°07'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN) and HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN).

15 Aug 1944

Operation Victual passage of convoys JW 59 and RA 59A between the U.K. and Northern Russia, and Operation Goodwood, to provide cover for these convoys and to attack the German battleship Tirpitz in the Kaafjord.

Operation Victual.

Convoy JW 59.

This convoy departed Loch Ewe on 15 August 1944 for Northern Russia.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; British Promise (British (tanker), 8443 GRT, built 1942), Charles A. McAllister (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Charles Dauray (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Clark Howell (American, 7198 GRT, built 1944), David B. Johnson (American, 7198 GRT, built 1944), Edward H. Crockett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Edward L. Grant (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Elijah Kellogg (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Empire Buttress (British (crane ship), 2905 GRT, built 1943), F.T. Freylingh Uysen (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Fort Glenora (British, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Frank Gilbreth (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Herbrand (Norwegian (tanker), 9108 GRT, built 1935), John La Farge (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Jose Marti (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Josephine Shaw Lowell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Leo J. Duster (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Luculus (British (tanker), 6546 GRT, built 1929), Nacella (British, 8196 GRT, built 1943), Oakley Wood (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samannan (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samcalia (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samconstant (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samgara (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samidway (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samloyal (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samlyth (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samsuva (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samtredy (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Silas Weir Mitchell (American, GRT, built 1943), Thomas Donaldson (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Thomas H. Sumner (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944) and Warren Delano (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944).

The rescue ship Rathlin (British, 1600 GRT, built 1936) was also with the convoy.

Also with the convoy were eleven Russian patrol vessels / submarine chasers, these were BO-213 (former SC-1484), BO-214 (former SC-1480), BO-215 (former SC-1496), BO-216 (former SC-1488), BO-218 (former SC-1492), BO-219 (former SC-1475), BO-220 (former SC-1490), BO-221 (former SC-1481), BO-222 (former SC-1498), BO-223 (former SC-1476) and BO-224 (former SC-1507).

On departure from Loch Ewe the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. I.J. Tyson, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. P.J. Cowell, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Cygnet (Cdr. A.H. Thorold, DSC, OBE, RN, Senior Officer), HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), HMS Mermaid (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Mosse, RN), HMS Peacock (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Stannard, VC, DSO, RNR), frigate HMS Loch Dunvegan (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, DSC, RNVR), HMS Camellia (T/Lt. G.W. Charlton, DSC, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (T/Lt. J.A. Wright, RNR), HMS Oxlip (T/Lt. J.K. Craig, RNVR) and HMS Charlock (T/Lt. J.E.B. Healy, RNVR).

On the 16th the escort carriers HMS Vindex (Capt. H.T.T. Bayliss, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, CB, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN), light cruiser HMS Jamaica (Capt. J. Hugh-Hallett, DSO, RN) and the destroyers Wrangler (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), Whirlwind (Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSO, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN) and HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) departed Scapa Flow. The destroyers were to proceed to Skaalefjord. They were detached around 0930B/17, when the other ships joined the convoy. The destroyers arrived at Skaalefjord later that day. They were replaced by the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Musketeer (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Caprice (Lt.Cdr. G.W. McKendrick, RN) which had departed Skaalefjord earlier on the 17th.

On 17 August 1944, the Russian battleship Archangelsk departed Scapa Flow to first rendezvous with eight Russian destroyers coming from Skaalefjord and then join the convoy. On departure from Scapa Flow the Archangelsk was escorted by the British destroyers HMS Scorpion (Cdr. W.S. Clouston, DSC, RN), HMS Serapis (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Cambrian (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Harrel, RN).

On the 18th the Russian destroyers Derzkij, Dejatelnyj, Doblestnyj, Dostojnyj, Zarkij, Zguchij, Zivuchij and Zostkij, departed Skaalefjord to make rendezvous with the Archangelsk in position 62°20'N, 05°30'W. They were brought out to the rendezvous by the British destroyer HMS Cassandra (Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) which parted company on the Russian destroyers joining the Russian battleship. The three British destroyers that had brought out the Russian battleship from Scapa Flow then proceeded to Skaalefjord to fuel.

At 2250B/20, the Archangelsk and the eight Russian destroyers joined the convoy.

Several German U-boats attacked the convoy during its passage. The only success was, U-344 which sank the sloop Kite with two FAT torpedoes (out of three fired) on 21 August. U-344 was sunk the next day by a Swordfish from HMS Vindex and U-354 was sunk on 24 August by HMS Mermaid and HMS Loch Dunvegan.

The convoy arrived in the Kola Inlet on 25 August.

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Convoy RA 59A.

This convoy departed the Kola Inlet on 28 August 1944 for the U.K.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Barbara Frietchie (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Bard (British, 3114 GRT, built 1942), Empire Elgar (British, 2847 GRT, built 1942), Empire Prowess (British, 7058 GRT, built 1943), Fort Verscheres (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Herbrand (Norwegian (tanker), 9108 GRT, built 1935), Lacklan (British (tanker), 8670 GRT, built 1929), Luculus (British (tanker), 6546 GRT, built 1929) and W.R. Grace (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from the Kola Inlet the convoy was escorted by the escort carriers HMS Vindex, HMS Striker, light cruiser HMS Jamaica, destroyers HMS Milne, HMS Marne, HMS Meteor, HMS Musketeer, HMS Caprice, HMS Keppel, HMS Whitehall, sloops HMS Cygnet, HMS Mermaid, HMS Peacock, frigate HMS Loch Dunvegan and the corvettes HMS Bluebell, HMS Camellia, HMS Charlock, HMS Honeysuckle and HMS Oxlip.

On 2 September 1944, a Swordfish aircraft from HMS Vindex attacked the German U-boat U-394. The German submarine was the sunk by HMS Keppel, HMS Whitehall, HMS Mermaid and HMS Peacock.

The convoy arrived at Loch Ewe on 5 September 1944.

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Opertion Goodwood.

The object of this operation was to inflict sufficient damage on the German battleship Tirpitz and to put her out of action for the remainder of the war and to provide cover for the passage of convoys JW 59 and RA 59A against attack by the Tirpitz in case the air attacks on the Tirpitz failed to put her out of action. For the operation ' Force 1 ', made up of the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, CVO, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. P. Ruck-Keene, CBE, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSO, DSC, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Berwick (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. D.K. Bain, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Myngs (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN), HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN) and HNoMS Stord (Lt.Cdr. H. Øi) departed Scapa Flow on the 18th.

' Force 1 ' sailed in company with ' Force 2 ', which was made up of the escort carriers HMS Trumpeter (A/Capt. K.S. Colquhoun, RN), HMS Nabob (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RCN), heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN), and the frigates HMS Aylmer (Lt. A.D.P. Campbell, RN), HMS Bickerton (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Bligh (A/Lt.Cdr. J.W. Cooper, RNR), HMS Keats (T/A/Lt.Cdr. N.F. Israel, RNR) and HMS Kempthorne (Lt.Cdr. A. Brown, RD, RNR).

Also on the 18th, a tanker force, ' Force 9 ' departed Scapa Flow. It was made up of the RFA tankers Black Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and Blue Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941). They were escorted by the corvettes HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.F. Tognola, RNR), HMS Poppy (T/Lt. D.R.C. Onslow, RNR) and HMS Starwort (T/A/Lt.Cdr. M.F. Villiers-Stuart, RNVR).

Around 1900B/18, the destroyer HMS Cassandra joined company having first escorted eight Russian destroyers to their rendezvous (see above).

At 0800B/19, HMS Kempenfelt, HMS Zambesi and HMS Cassandra were detached to return to Scapa Flow.

Also on the 19th the destroyers HMS Scorpion, HMS Scourge, HMS Serapis, HMS Verulam, HMS Virago, HMS Volage, HMCS Algonquin, HMS Whirlwind, HMS Wrangler and HMS Cambrian joined ' Force 1 '.

On 20 August the weather was found unsuitable to attack the Tirpitz.

On 21 August the destroyer HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) and frigate HMS Grindall (Cdr. W. Cole, RD, RNR) departed Scapa Flow to join ' Force 9 '.

On 22 August another attempt was made to attack the Tirpitz. 32 Barracudas, 24 Corsairs, 11 Fireflies, 9 Hellcats and 8 Seafires took off from the three fleet carriers. During the attacks Tirpitz was not hit. Four German BV-138, one He-115 and two Ar-196 were destroyed. The German submarine U-965 had just left Hammerfest when she was attacked by aircraft from HMS Indomitable. She sustained three dead and eight wounded among her crew and returned to Hammerfest shortly after having sailed. Three British aircraft were lost. Part of ' Force 1 ' then proceeded to a rendezvous with ' Force 9 ' to fuel.

Also on the 22nd, the German submarine U-354 managed to hit and damage HMS Nabob with a FAT torpedo. A T-5 (Gnat) torpedo was then fired to finish off the stricken ship but it hit the frigate HMS Bickerton. The stricken frigate was beyond salvage and was later scuttled by a torpedo from HMS Vigilant. The damaged HMS Nabob was escorted back to Scapa Flow arriving on 27 August together with HMS Trumpeter. On arrival at Scapa Flow they were escorted by the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt, HMS Cassandra, HMS Zest (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN) and the frigate HMS Kempthorne. These four destroyers had departed Scapa Flow to rendezvous with the escort carriers and take over escort from the frigates HMS Aylmer, HMS Bligh and HMS Keats which arrived at the Faeroer Islands on the 27th.

On the 24th another air strike was flown off. 33 Barracudas, 24 Corsairs, 10 Hellcats, 10 Fireflies and 8 Seafires were flown off from the fleet carriers but further to the south then the previous attack so as to archive surprise by approaching undetected. This however failed and by the time the actual attack on the Tirpitz started she was completely obscured by smoke the Tirpitz. Two hits were obtained but one bomb did not explode. Also other targets were attacked and some damage was done. Six British aircraft were lost in the attack.

On 26 February part of ' Force 1 ', HMS Duke of York, HMS Devonshire, HMS Myngs, HMCS Algonquin, HMCS Sioux, HMS Scorpion, HNoMS Stord arrived at Thorshavn, Faeroer Islands to fuel. They departed to resume operations on the 27th. HMS Furious and HMS Serapis also arrived at Thorshavn on the 26th but did not departed again. They proceeded from Thorshavn to Scapa Flow on the 28th. They had been joined by the frigates HMS Aylmer, HMS Bligh and HMS Keats.

Also on the 26th, HMS Berwick and HMS Kent were detached to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 28th.

Also on the 26th, HMS Whirlwind arrived at Scapa Flow having been detached earlier due to engine defects.

Another air attack was carried out on the 29th. 26 Barracudas, 17 Corsairs, 10 Fireflies, 7 Hellcats and 7 Seafires were flown off. Again the Tirpitz was completely covered in smoke. No direct hits were obtained on the battleship but some splinter damage was done. The 7 Seafires claimed results during an attack on Hammerfest. Two British aircraft were shot down by enemy AA fire.

HMS Indefatigable, escorted by HMS Scorpion, HMCS Algonquin and HMS Wrangler, were detached on the 29th and HMS Formidable, escorted by HNoMS Stord and HMS Volage on the 30th. HMS Indefatigable and her three escorting destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow at 0730B/1, HMS Formidable her her two escorting destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow at 0830B/2.

HMS Duke of York, HMS Devonshire, HMS Myngs, HMS Vigilant, HMS Virago, HMCS Sioux, HMS Cambrian and HMS Scourge arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700B/3. (5)

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


amazon.co.uk
(£ 38.25)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6382 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 173/17923
  3. ADM 173/17762
  4. ADM 173/17833
  5. ADM 199/1427

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


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