Allied Warships

HMS Culver (Y 87)

Sloop of the Banff class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantY 87 
Built byBethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. (Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) 
Laid down20 Jun 1928 
Launched27 Nov 1928 
Commissioned30 Apr 1941 
Lost31 Jan 1942 
Loss position48° 43'N, 20° 14'W

HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. Randall Thomas Gordon-Duff, RN) blew up and sank after being hit by two torpedoes from U-105 while escorting the convoy SL-98 about 450 miles west-south-west of Cape Clear in position 48º43'N, 20º14'W with the loss of the commanding officer, seven officers and 119 ratings. Only one offcer and 12 ratings survived.


Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 31 Jan 1942 by U-105 (Schuch).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Culver
Former nameUSCGC Mendota

Commands listed for HMS Culver (Y 87)

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. Randall Thomas Gordon-Duff, RNApr 194131 Jan 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Culver include:

6 May 1941

Convoy HX 125

This convoy departed Halifax on 6 May 1941 in two sections, convoy HX 125A and convoy HX 125B. They merged in the afternoon of May 16th.

Convoy HX 125A was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Abraham Lincoln (British, 5740 GRT, built 1929), Armadale (British, 5066 GRT, built 1929), Athelknight (British (tanker), 8940 GRT, built 1930), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Baron Dunmore (British, 3938 GRT, built 1933), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), British Cinfidence (British (tanker), 8494 GRT, built 1936), British Fortitude (British (tanker), 8482 GRT, built 1937), British Sincerity (British (tanker), 8538 GRT, built 1939), Clausina (British (tanker), 8083 GRT, built 1938), Dallington Court (British, 6889 GRT, built 1929), El Aleto (British (tanker), 7203 GRT, built 1927), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1935), Eskbank (British, 5137 GRT, built 1937), Fjordheim (British, 4115 GRT, built 1930), Garonne (Norwegian (tanker), 7113 GRT, built 1921), Glenwood (British, 4897 GRT, built 1940), Harmala (British, 5730 GRT, built 1935), Harpagon (British, 5719 GRT, built 1935), Ingerfem (British, 3987 GRT, built 1912), King Neptune (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), King William (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928), Lancastrian Prince (British, 1914 GRT, built 1940), Lucellum (British (tanker), 9425 GRT, built 1938), Luminetta (British (tanker), 6159 GRT, built 1927), Luxor (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1930), O.A. Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 11007 GRT, built 1938), Port Nicholson (British, 8402 GRT, built 1919), Ramsay (British, 4855 GRT, built 1930), Robert F. Hand (British (tanker), 12197 GRT, built 1933), San Amado (British (tanker), 7316 GRT, built 1935), San Cipriano (British, 7966 GRT, built 1937), Silverelm (British, 4351 GRT, built 1924), Taron (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Topdalsfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921), Trevilley (British, 5296 GRT, built 1940), Troubadour (Norwegian, 5808 GRT, built 1920) and Vancouver (British (tanker), 5729 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 125A was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ascania (Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Ringrose-Wharton, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.B. Campbell, RCNR) and HMCS Wetaskiwin (Lt.Cdr. G.S. Windeyer, RCN). The corvettes however soon returned to Halifax.


Convoy HX 125B was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Breedijk (Dutch, 6861 GRT, built 1922), Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Governor (British (tanker), 6840 GRT, built 1926), British Prestige (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Christian Holm (British (tanker), 9119 GRT, built 1927), City of Adelaide (British, 6589 GRT, built 1920), Clearpool (British, 5404 GRT, built 1935), Cockaponset (British, 5995 GRT, built 1919), Corrales (British, 5363 GRT, built 1930), Diloma (British (tanker), 8146 GRT, built 1939), Egyptian Prince (British, 3490 GRT, built 1922), Empire Barracuda (British, 4972 GRT, built 1919), Empire Hail (British, 7005 GRT, built 1941), Evgenia Chandris (Greek, 5317 GRT, built 1920), Frontenac (Norwegian (tanker), 7350 GRT, built 1928), Gold Shell (British (tanker), 8208 GRT, built 1931), Hellen (Norwegian, 5289 GRT, built 1921), Ida Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 8913 GRT, built 1925), Invincible (British, 7592 GRT, built 1918), Kelso (British, 3956 GRT, built 1924), Kent (British, 8697 GRT, built 1918), Lodestone (British, 4877 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Exporter (British, 5277 GRT, built 1918), Masunda (British, 5250 GRT, built 1929), Modavia (British, 4858 GRT, built 1927), Norfolk (British, 10948 GRT, built 1918) and Nyanza (British, 4974 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 125B was escorted by the sloop HMS Aberdeen (Lt. S.G. Rivers-Smith, RN).


On 7 May 1941, the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Halifax to provide cover for both sections of the convoy. She set course to return to Halifax around midnight during the night of 13/14 May 1941.

Four recently transferred US Coast Guard Cutters were also with the convoy, though these had not been rearmed and worked up. These were; HMS Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN), HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and HMS Hartland ( A/Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN).

On the 16th the destroyers HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Begonia (T/Lt. T.A.R. Muir, RNR), HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR) and HMS Larkspur (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Iceland. They remained with the convoy until the 18th.

In the afternoon of the 16th, Convoys HX 125A and HX 125B merged into one big convoy.

Around 1330Z/18, HMS Ascania parted company with the convoy to proceed to Reykjavik.

On the 18th the destroyers HMS Ramsey (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Stannard, VC, RNR), HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR), HMS Candytuft (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Gregorie, RNR), HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR), HMS Tulip (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and HMS Wallflower (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RN), and the minesweeper HMS Salamander (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 19th the destroyer HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) joined on the 19th as did the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN), HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, RN), HMS Seagull ( Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN) and HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN) but apparently only for a short while.

The destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined the convoy on the 20th.

also on the 20th the corvettes HMS Tulip and HMS Wallflower were detached.

The destroyers HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade were destached on the 21st as was the corvette HMS Honeysuckle.

The convoy arrived in British waters on 22 May 1941.

6 Jun 1941
HMS H 34 (Lt. H. Winter, RN) made a practice attack on HMS H 31 (Lt. R.J. Hemingway, DSC, RN) followed conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN) and aircraft. (1)

7 Jun 1941
HMS H 34 (Lt. H. Winter, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN). (1)

8 Jun 1941
HMS H 34 (Lt. H. Winter, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN) and HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR). (1)

9 Jun 1941
HMS H 34 (Lt. H. Winter, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN) and HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR). (1)

26 Oct 1941

Convoy OS 10.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 26 October 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aldermarin (Dutch, 7886 GRT, built 1920), Anglo-Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Bennekom (Dutch, 5998 GRT, built 1917), Berwickshire (British, 7464 GRT, built 1912), Blommersdijk (British, 6855 GRT, built 1922), Clan Alpine (British, 5442 GRT, built 1918), Clan Chattan (British, 7262 GRT, built 1937), Custodian (British, 5881 GRT, built 1928), Derrymore (British, 4799 GRT, built 1938), Dundrum Castle (British, 5259 GRT, built 1919), Dunelmia (British, 5207 GRT, built 1929), Egyptian (British, 2868 GRT, built 1920), Elysia (British, 6757 GRT, built 1908), Empire Moonbeam (British, 6849 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ortolan (British, 4970 GRT, built 1919), Fana (Norwegian, 1375 GRT, built 1939), Gleniffer (British, 9559 GRT, built 1919), Halizones (British, 3298 GRT, built 1920), Henri Jaspar (Belgian, 5760 GRT, built 1929), Holmpark (British, 5780 GRT, built 1927), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Lagosian (British, 5412 GRT, built 1930), Lindenhall (British, 5248 GRT, built 1937), Lulworth Hill (British, 7628 GRT, built 1940), Mariso (British, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Marklyn (British, 3090 GRT, built 1918), Marsa (British, 4405 GRT, built 1928), Mary Kingsley (British, 5021 GRT, built 1930), New Brooklyn (British, 6546 GRT, built 1920), Rio Verde (Norwegian, 3223 GRT, built 1924), San Andres (Norwegian, 1975 GRT, built 1921), Silverteak (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Somerville (Norwegian, 4265 GRT, built 1929), Starstone (British, 5702 GRT, built 1938), Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940), Trefusis (British, 5299 GRT, built 1918) and Twickenham (British, 4762 GRT, built 1940).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Bideford (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Moore, RNR), cutters HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN), HMS Landguard (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, RN), HMS Lulworth (Lt.Cdr. C. Gwinner, RN) and the corvettes HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR).

On 4 November 1941, HMS Verbena was detached.

On 13 November 1941, the destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and the corvettes HMS Burdock (T/Lt. H.J. Fellows, SANF(V)), HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR) and HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) and the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917) joined the convoy.

On 14 November 1941, HMS Bideford, cutters HMS Culver, HMS Landguard, HMS Lulworth, corvettes Freesia and the Rapidol were detached.

During 14/15 November 1941, cover for the convoy was provided by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN).

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 18 November 1941.

31 Oct 1941
HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN) picks up 25 survivors from the Dutch merchant Bennekom that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-96 in convoy OS-10 about 530 nautical miles west of Cape Clear in position 51°20'N, 23°40'W.

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)


  1. ADM 173/16761

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

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