Allied Warships

HMS Sardonyx (H 26)

Destroyer of the Admiralty S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassAdmiralty S 
PennantH 26 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
OrderedJun 1917 
Laid down25 Mar 1918 
Launched27 May 1919 
Commissioned12 Jul 1919 
End service 
History

Scrapped in June 1945.

 

Commands listed for HMS Sardonyx (H 26)

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
1Lt. William Alan Frank Hawkins, RN17 Jan 1939Dec 1939

2Lt.Cdr. Robert Basil Stewart Tennant, RN9 May 194014 Apr 1942
3Lt.Cdr. Alfred Francis Colenso Gray, RNR14 Apr 1942Jul 1943
4T/A/Lt.Cdr. Edward Playne, RNVRJul 1943Feb 1944
5A/Lt.Cdr. Thomas Aitken Easton, RNVRFeb 1944Nov 1944
6Lt.Cdr. Leslie Frederick Lewis Hill, RNRNov 194419 Jun 1945
7T/A/Lt.Cdr. Eric Robert Pate, DSC, RNR19 Jun 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Sardonyx include:


2 Sep 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Portsmouth for Dundee. She is escorted by HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, RN). While off Hastings, at 1900 hours, HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) took over the escort duties from Sardonyx. (1)

4 Nov 1939
HMS Tribune (Lt.Cdr. G.P.S. Davies, RN) departed from Portland for Portsmouth. She is escorted by HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, RN). (2)

17 Dec 1940
HMS H 32 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN) and HMS Anemone (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Boys-Smith, DSO, RNR). (3)

9 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Skate (Lt. F.P. Baker, DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN). (4)

1 Mar 1941

Convoy HX 112.

This convoy departed Halifax on 1 March 1941 for the U.K.

On departure from Halifax it was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ahamo (British, 8621 GRT, built 1926), Auris (British (tanker), 8030 GRT, built 1935), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), Black Condor (British, 5358 GRT, built 1921), Bonde (Norwegian, 1570 GRT, built 1936), Chaucer (British, 5792 GRT, built 1929), City of Oxford (British, 2759 GRT, built 1926), Dalcross (British, 4557 GRT, built 1930), Everleigh (British, 5222 GRT, built 1930), Ferm (British (tanker), 6593 GRT, built 1933), Gloucester City (British, 3071 GRT, built 1919), J.B. White (British, 7375 GRT, built 1919), Korshamn (British, 6673 GRT, built 1920), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Lima (Swedish, 3762 GRT, built 1918), Margarita Chandris (Greek, 5401 GRT, built 1920), Mosli (Norwegian (tanker), 8291 GRT, built 1935), Mount Kassion (Greek, 7914 GRT, built 1918), Norefjord (Norwegian, 3082 GRT, built 1920), Reynolds (British, 5113 GRT, built 1927), Silvercedar (British, 4354 GRT, built 1924), Stad Haarlem (Dutch, 4518 GRT, built 1929), Tortu Guero (British, 5285 GRT, built 1921), Trekieve (British, 5244 GRT, built 1919), Venetia (British, 5728 GRT, built 1927) and Westland (Dutch, 5888 GRT, built 1931).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranpura (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Bittersweet (A/Lt.Cdr. J.A. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Fennel (Lt. J.N. Smith, RCNR). The corvettes were however soon detached to return to Halifax.

In the morning of 4 March the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN) was sighted which provided close cover for the convoy until the morning of 15 March.

In the morning of 5 March 1941, Convoy BHX 112, coming from Bermuda, merged with Convoy HX 112. so the following merchant vessels joined; Beduin (Norwegian (tanker), 8136 GRT, built 1936), British Commodore (British (tanker), 6865 GRT, built 1923), British Sincerity (British (tanker), 8538 GRT, built 1939), Cistula (Dutch (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1939), Diloma (British (tanker), 8146 GRT, built 1939), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1936), Erodona (British (tanker), 6207 GRT, built 1937), Franche-Comte (British (tanker), 9314 GRT, built 1936), Ixion (British, 10263 GRT, built 1912), Katendrecht (British (tanker), 5099 GRT, built 1925), Ocana (British (tanker), 6256 GRT, built 1938), Oilreliance (British (tanker), 5666 GRT, built 1929), Robert F. Hand (British (tanker), 12197 GRT, built 1933), San Cipriano (British (tanker), 7966 GRT, built 1937), Traveller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1922) and Winamac (British (tanker), 8621 GRT, built 1926). Their escort, the armed merchant cruiser HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN), then parted company.

At 1620N/14, HMS Ranpura parted company with the convoy.

At 0720Z/15, HMS Norfolk parted company with the convoy.

Later on the 15th the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), escort destroyer HMS Viceroy (Lt.Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) and the corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR) and HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined the convoy. HMS Viceroy was however soon detached while the destroyer HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) also joined (or early on the 16th).

During the night of 15/16 March the German submarine U-110 sighted the convoy and then attacked it damaging the tanker Erodona. Following this attack she was depth charged by HMS Volunteer and HMS Vanoc but she managed to escape without damage. Later that night U-110 made another attack but her torpedoes all missed.

During the night of 16/17 March the German submarine U-99 attacked the convoy resulting in the loss of the following ships; Venetia, Ferm, J.B. White, Korshamn, Beduin. The Franche Comté was damaged during these attacks.

Following these attacks the escorts encountered U-99's sister boat U-100. HMS Scimitar depth charged her causing damage. The U-boat than surfaced and was then rammed and sunk by HMS Vanoc. 6 survivors were picked up from the enemy submarine.

Shortly afterwards U-99 was depth charged by HMS Walker. The U-boat was damaged and had to surface. HMS Walker was able to pick up 40 survivors from the U-boat including it's famous Commanding Officer Otto Kretschmer.

On the 18th, HMS Bluebell was detached.

On the 19th, HMS Walker, HMS Sardonyx and HMS Scimitar were detached.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on the 20th.

15 Mar 1941

Convoy HG 56.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 15 March 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 1 April 1941.

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ary Lensen (British, 3214 GRT, built 1930), Aymeric (British, 5196 GRT, built 1919), Baron Haig (British, 3391 GRT, built 1926), Baron Nairn (British, 3164 GRT, built 1925), Baron Pentland (British, 3410 GRT, built 1927), Bruce M. (British, 1887 GRT, built 1927), Crane (British, 785 GRT, built 1937), Cressado (British, 1228 GRT, built 1913), Dayrose (British, 4113 GRT, built 1928), Fanefjeld (Norwegian, 1354 GRT, built 1920), Fendris (British, 1018 GRT, built 1925), Lech (Polish, 1568 GRT, built 19341927), Lissa (British, 1511 GRT, built ), Magne (Swedish, 3103 GRT, built 1912), Margareta (British, 1173 GRT, built 1904), Ocean Coast (British, 1173 GRT, built 1935), Philipp M. (British, 2085 GRT, built 1924), Procris (British, 1033 GRT, built 1924), Rhineland (British, 1381 GRT, built 1922), Rimfakse (Norwegian, 1334 GRT, built 1921), Thurso (British, 2436 GRT, built 1919), Treminnard (British, 4964 GRT, built 1922), Ulea (British, 1574 GRT, built 1936), Uskside (British, 2708 GRT, built 1937) and Wallonia (Swedish, 1435 GRT, built ).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), sloop HMS Folkestone (Lt.Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), corvettes HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and the submarine HMS Olympus (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN).

HMS Velox, HMS Geranium and HMS Verbena parted company on 16 March to return to Gibraltar.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined the convoy around 0900Z/23.

At 1600Z/24, HMS Olympus parted company with the convoy and proceeded to join convoy OG 56.

Around 1130Z/25, the armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (A/Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0800Z/27, the destroyer HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), Léopard (Lt.Cdr. J. Evenou) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) joined the convoy.

Around 1000Z/27, the corvettes HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR), HMS Mallow (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Piggott, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1700Z/27, the destroyers HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), HMS Burwell (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR), sloop HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RNR), HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR) and rescue ship Zaafaran (1559 GRT, built 1921) joined.

Around 0930A/29, the destroyer HMS Broadwater (Lt.Cdr. W.M.L. Astwood, RN) joined the convoy.

25 Jun 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN) and HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN). (5)

26 Jun 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN). (5)

27 Jul 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. B.G. Heslop, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN). (6)

27 Feb 1942
HrMs O 10 (Lt. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN) and HMS Scimitar (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN). (7)

17 Apr 1942

Minelaying operation SN 88.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

On 17 April 1942, the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 88. The Squadron was made up of the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (A/Capt. J. Cresswell, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral T.B. Drew, OBE, RN), Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN), Menestheus (Capt.(Retd.) R.H.F. de Salis, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN), the destroyers HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN), HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RNR), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR) and the minesweeper / survey vessel HMS Scott (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Sharpey-Schafer, RN).

They were joined at 1815B/17 by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

Due to the difference in depth of water the minefield had to be laid in two sections;
The first section was made up of 972 mines and was laid by HMS Southern Prince and HMS Menestheus between 1627B/18 and 1813B/18, along a line 1.5 cables either side of a line joining positions, 62°46'3"N, 09°32'0"W and 63°05'5"N, 10°05'8"W. HMS Southern Prince laid 562 mines and HMS Menestheus 410 mines.

The second section was made up of 1081 mines and was laid by HMS Port Quebec and HMS Agamemnon between 1813B/18 and 2010B/18, along a line 1.5 cables either side of a line joining positions 63°05'6"N, 10°04'0"W, 63°12'8"N, 10°16'4"W and 63°22'8"N, 10°48'5"W. HMS Port Quebec laid 551 mines and HMS Agamemnon 530 mines.

At 2230B/19, HMS Kenya, HMS Menestheus and HMS Saladin parted company with the other ships which returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh early on the following day minus HMS Scott which arrived at Port Z.A. on 21 April.

At 0510B/20, HMS Kenya parted company with HMS Menestheus and HMS Saladin and arrived at Scapa Flow around 0645B/20.

HMS Menestheus and HMS Saladin arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) later the same day. [unclear to us why they first went further to the east though.]

(8)

22 May 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.S. Bridger, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Scarborough (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Carnduff, RN), HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR), HMS Columbine T/Lt. A.L. Turner, RNR) and HMS Vanessa (Lt. C.E. Sheen, RN). (9)

23 May 1942

Convoy WS 19W.

This ' convoy ' departed the Clyde on 23 May 1942 with troops for the Middle East.

It was made up of only one ship, the troopship Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936).

On departure she was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR).

At 1330B/23, HMS Keppel fell back with steering engine defects.

At 1515B/23, HMS Sardonyx fell back as she was unable to keep up in the heavy seas.

At 1615B/23, HMS Cairo, HMS Beagle and HMS Douglas parted company.

The Queen Mary then proceeded unescorted to Freetown where she arrived on 30 May.

She departed Freetown on 31 May for Capetown where she arrived on 6 June.

She departed Capetown on 6 June for Suez. She was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN) which joined coming from Simonstown.

Around 1100D/15, the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) took over the escort from HMS Mauritius which then proceeded to Mauritius.

At 0400D/18, HMS Devonshire parted company with the Queen Mary.

HMS Queen Mary arrived at Suez on 22 June 1942.

1 Jul 1942
Around 0430B/1, the battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) departed the Clyde for Rosyth for further outfitting.

Around 0700B/1, she was joined by the destroyers HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN) and HMS Shikari (Lt.Cdr. G.H.D. Williams, RN).

Around 0910B/1, they were joined by another destroyer, HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). [The logbook of HMS Howe gives the name of this destroyer as HMS Sabre (Lt. R.L. Caple, DSC, RN) but this is a mistake.]

Around 0005B/2, near Scapa Flow, they were joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

HMS Kenya, parted company around 1240B/2 to return to Scapa Flow where she arrived around 2100B/2.

The battleship and her destroyer escort arrived at Rosyth around 1800B/2. The battleship entered No.1 Dock one hour later. (10)

2 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 21S and Operation Pedestal.

Convoy WS 21S and the concentration of the escort forces

Convoy WS 21S departed the Clyde on 2 August 1942. The convoy was made up of the following ships;
American freighters;
Almeria Lykes (7773 GRT, built 1940), Santa Elisa (8379 GRT, built 1941), British freighters;
Brisbane Star (12791 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (7516 GRT, built 1930), Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Empire Hope (12688 GRT, built 1941), Glenorchy (8982 GRT, built 1939), Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933), Rochester Castle (7795 GRT, built 1937), Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938), Wairangi (12436 GRT, built 1935), and the American tanker;
Ohio (9264 GRT, built 1940).

These ships were escorted by light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. P.W. Gretton, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).

A cover force made up of departed Scapa Flow on the same day. This force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Somali (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). They were to rendez-vous with convoy WS 21S at sea on 3 August. HMS Penn was delayed by a defect and after topping off with fuel at Moville, Northern Ireland overtook the force and joined at sea.

The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) meanwhile had already left Scapa Flow on 31 July 1941 to rendez-vous with the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). These ships were joined at sea on 1 August 1942 by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), loaded with spare fighter aircraft for the operation, and her two escorts the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RD, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). HMS Argus and her two escorting destroyers had departed the Clyde on 31 July. HMS Buxton later split off and proceeded towards Canada and HMS Sardonyx proceeded to Londonderry.

The last ships to take part in the operation to depart the U.K. (Clyde around midnight during the night of 4/5 August) were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), loaded with Hurricane fighters for Malta, and her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and the Polish destroyer ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP). They were joined at sea, around dawn, by HMS Sardonyx coming from Londonderry. The destroyers parted company around midnight during the night of 5/6 August. They arrived at Londonderry on 7 August. HMS Furious and HMS Manchester then joined convoy WS 21S around midnight of the next night but HMS Manchester parted company shortly afterwards to proceed ahead of the convoy and fuel at Gibraltar.

On 1 August 1942 the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Freetown to proceed to a rendez-vous position off the Azores.

On 5 August 1942, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the the destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) departed Gibraltar also to the rendez-vous position off the Azores.

The convoy conducted maneuvering and AA exercises with the escorts between the Azores and Gibraltar during the period of 6 to 9 August. (Operation Berserk). Also dummy air attacks were carried out by aircraft from the carriers.

Passage of the Straits of Gibraltar and organization of escort forces.

The convoy then passed the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of 9/10 August 1942 in dense fog but despite this the convoy was detected by German and Italian spies and reported.

After passing the Straits of Gibraltar the convoy was organized as follows;
The actual convoy was protected a large force of warships until the whole force would split up before entering the Sicilian narrows after which ‘Force X’ under command of Rear-Admiral Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN was to accompany the convoy to the approaches to Malta where they would be met by the Malta Minesweeping Flotilla, which was then to sweep the convoy into the harbour. Force X was made up of the following ships:
Licht cruisers: HMS Nigeria (flagship), HMS Kenya,, HMS Manchester.
AA cruiser: HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN).
Destroyers: HMS Ashanti, HMS Fury, HMS Foresight, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn.
Escort destroyers: HMS Derwent, HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, RN). Also the rescue tug HMS Jaunty was to be part of this force.

After the escort was to be split up cover was provided by ‘Force Z’ under Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN. This force was made up of the following ships:
Battleships: HMS Nelson (flagship) and HMS Rodney.
Aircraft carriers: HMS Victorious, HMS Indomitable and HMS Eagle.
Light cruisers: HMS Phoebe, HMS Sirius and HMS Charybdis.
Destroyers: HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Quentin, HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair), HMS Wishart and HMS Vansittart. Escort destroyer: HMS Zetland. Also attached were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (for Operation Bellows, the launching of Hurricane fighters for Malta. HMS Furious only carried four Albacore aircraft for A/S searches after the Hurricanes had been launched) and the ‘spare’ destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Venomous, HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott, HMS Wolverine, HMS Wrestler and HMS Amazon. These ‘spare’ destroyers were to take the place of destroyers in the screen ‘Force Z’ if needed, escort HMS Furious during her return passage to Gibraltar after she had completed Operation Bellows and / or strengthen the escort of ‘Force R’.

Then there was also ‘Force R’, the fuelling force. This force was made up of the following ships:
Corvettes: HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR).
Rescue tug: HMS Salvonia.
RFA tankers: RFA Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, Master D.B.C. Ralph) and RFA Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, Master R.T. Duthie).

Before we give an account of the passage of the main convoy we will now first describe the operations taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean (Operations MG 3 and MG 4), the launching of the Hurricane fighters for Malta by HMS Furious (Operation Bellows) and the return convoy from Malta (Operation Ascendant) as well as on submarine operations / dispositions.

Diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As part of the plan for Operation Pedestal the Mediterranean Fleet had to carry out a diversion in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean. Before we go to the operations in the Western Mediterranean we will first give an account of the events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It was at this time not possible to sent any supplies from Egypt to Malta as all supplies and forces were much needed for the upcoming land battle at El Alamein it was agreed that ‘a dummy convoy’ would be sent towards Malta with the object of preventing the enemy to direct the full weight of their air and naval power towards the Western Mediterranean.

In the evening of 10 August 1942 a ‘convoy’ (MG 3) of three merchant ships departed Port Said escorted by three cruisers and ten destroyers. Next morning one more merchant ship departed Haifa escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers. The two forces joined that day (the 11th) and then turned back dispersing during the night. The Italian fleet however did not go to sea to attack ‘the bait’.

The forces taking part in this operation were:
From Port Said:
Merchant vessels City of Edinburgh (8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral I.G. Glennie, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton(Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN).

From Haifa:
Merchant vessel Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), the destroyers HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J. A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Tetcott (Lt. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

After dark on 11 August 1942 the force turned back and the City of Pretoria returned to Port Said escorted by HMS Eridge and HMS Hursley. The City of Edinburgh, escorted by HMS Beaufort and HMS Belvoir proceeded to Haifa. The City of Lincoln escorted by HMS Dulverton and HMS Hurworth proceeded to Beirut and finally the Ajax, escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Croome returned to Haifa. HMS Dido had to return to Port Said with hull defects. She was escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin and HMS Jervis.

HMS Cleopatra, HMS Arethusa, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to carry out another diversion (Operation MG 4). They bombarded Rhodos harbour and the Alliotti Flour Mills during the night of 12/13 August but did little damage. On the way back HMS Javelin attacked a submarine contact in position 34°45’N, 31°04’E between 0654 and 0804 hours. She reported that there was no doubt that the submarine was sunk but no Axis submarines were operating in this area so the attack must have been bogus. This force returned to Haifa at 1900/13.

Operation Bellows.

During operation Bellows, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, started 37 Spitfire which were to proceed to Malta, when south of the Balearic Islands. The Admiralty had decided to carry out this operation at the same time as Operation Pedestal.

HMS Furious remained with the convoy until 1200/11. She then launched the Spitfires for Malta in 5 batches between 1230 and 1515 hours. During these flying off operations she acted independently with the destroyers HMS Lookout and HMS Lightning. After having launched the last batch of Spitfires she briefly re-joined to convoy until around 1700 hours when she split off and set course for Gibraltar escorted by the destroyers HMS Malcolm, HMS Wolverine and HMS Wrestler. These were joined shortly afterwards by HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous.

Around 0100/12, HMS Wolverine, rammed and sank the Italian submarine Dagabur which was trying to attack HMS Furious. Around 0200 hours, HMS Wolverine reported that she was stopped due to the damage she had sustained in the ramming. HMS Malcolm was detached to assist her.

At 1530/12, the destroyer HMS Vidette joined the screen. The force then entered Gibraltar Bay around 1930/12. The damaged HMS Wolverine arrived at Gibraltar at 1230/13 followed by HMS Malcolm around 1530/13.

Operation Ascendant

On 10 August 1942 the empty transports Troilus (7648 GRT, built 1921) and Orari (10107 GRT, built 1931) departed Malta after dark for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN). They first proceeded to the south of Lampedusa, then hugged the Tunisian coast as far as Galita Island. Near Cape Bon they encountered the Italian destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello that was laying a minefield. They had a brief gunfight but this was soon ended as both sides were thinking the enemy was Vichy-French. The remained of the passage to Gibraltar was uneventful and the convoy arrived at Gibraltar shortly before noon on 14 August 1942.

Submarine operations / dispositions.
Eight submarines took part in the operation; these were HMS Utmost (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN), HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, DSO, RN), HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 44 (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN), HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN). Two of these were to carry out normal dived patrol to the north of Sicily, one off Palermo, the other off Milazzo which is futher to the east. The other six submarines were given alternative patrol lines south of Pantelleria, one od which they were to take up at dawn on 13 August 1942, according to the movements of enemy surface ships that might threathen the convoy from the westward. When the convoy had passed the patrol line, which it should have done by that time, the submarines were to proceed on the surface parallel to the convoy as a screen and to dive away clear of the convoy at noon. It was expressly intended that they should be seen on the surface and reported by enemy aircraft in order to deter enemy warships from attacking the convoy.

Enemy warships did go to sea but as soon as it was clear that the enemy ships could not reach the convoy the sunmarines were ordered to dive and retire. These six sumarines had no contact with the enemy. One of the the two submarines off the north coast of Sicily, HMS P 42, managed to torpedo two Italian cruisers near Stromboli on the morning of 13 August 1942.

Now we return to the main convoy to Malta.

Passage eastwards after passing the Straits of Gibraltar.

10 and 11 August 1942.

After passing through the Straits of Gibraltar in the early hours of 10 August 1942, in dense fog, the convoy was first sighted by an Italian passenger aircraft, which sighted the convoy in the afternoon of the same day. German reconnaissance aircraft started shadowing the convoy from dawn on the 11th, and thereafter they or Italian aircraft kept the convoy under continuous observation, despite the effort of the fighters from the carriers to shoot them down or drive them off. At 1315 hours, HMS Eagle, was hit an sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-73 which had penetrated the destroyer screen. At that moment there were thirteen destroyers in the screen, the remainder was away from the main convoy, escorting HMS Furious during the flying off operations of the Hurricane fighters for Malta or oiling from and screening ‘Force R’ which was several miles away. Between 1430/10 and and 2030/11 no less then three cruisers and twenty-four destroyers fuelled from the two oilers of ‘Force R’.

At the time of the torpedoing of HMS Eagle the convoy was in four columns, zigzagging at 13 knots, with the heavy ships stationed close round it and a destroyer screen ahead. HMS Eagle was on the starboard quarter of the convoy. She was hit on her starboard side by four torpedoes which had dived through the destroyer screen and the convoy columns undetected and then torpedoed and sank the Eagle in position 38°05’N, 03°02’E (Another source gives 03°12’E but this might be a typo). The carrier sank quickly in about 8 minutes, 926 of her crew, including the Commanding Officer, were rescued by the destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout and the rescue tug HMS Jaunty. At the time of her sinking, HMS Eagle had four aircraft on patrol. These landed on the other carriers. All other aircraft were lost with the ship. The survivors picked up were later transferred to the destroyers HMS Keppel, HMS Malcolm and HMS Venomous that were to escort HMS Furious back to Gibraltar. The tug HMS Jaunty that had been involved in picking up survivors was never able to rejoin the convoy due to her slow speed.

Late in the afternoon air attacks were expected so Vice-Admiral Syfret ordered the destroyer to form an all-round screen. Indeed the air attacks started around sunset, 2045 hours. The last destroyers had just returned from oiling from ‘Force R’. The enemy aircraft that were attacking were 36 German bombers and torpedo aircraft, Ju 88’s and He 111’s, most of which attacked the convoy but a few attacked ‘Force R’ to the southward. The Junkers arrived first, diving down from 8000 feet to 2000 / 3000 feet to drop their bombs. They claimed to have hit an aircraft carrier and one of the merchant ships. Then the Heinkels attacked, they claimed to have torpedoed a cruiser but during the attacks no ship was hit. The British fighter cover was unable to attack / find the enemy in the failing light. Four enemy aircraft were claimed shot down by the ships AA fire but it appears only two JU 88’s were in fact shot down.

12 August 1942

At 0915/12 another wave of German aircraft attacked the convoy. Some twenty or more JU 88’s approached the convoy out of the sun ahead. They were intercepted by fighters about 25 miles from the convoy. About a dozen got through to the convoy, making high-level or shallow dive-bombing attacks individually but without any result. Eight German aircraft were claimed to be shot down by the fighters and two more by AA guns from the ships. The fighters meanwhile were also busy dealng with shadowers, three of which are claimed to have been shot down before the morning attack. Around this time destroyers were also busy with numerous submarine contact which were attacked by depth charges.

Around noon the enemy launched heavy air attacks from the Sardinian airfields. Seventy aircraft approached which were heavily escorted by fighters. They attacked in stages and employed new methods.

First ten Italian torpedo-bombers were each to drop some sort of circling torpedo or mine a few hundred yards ahead of the British force, while eight fighter bombers made dive-bombing and machine-gun attacks. The object at this stage was clearly to dislocate the formation of the force and to draw anti-aircraft fire, making the ships more vulnerable to a torpedo attack which soon followed with over forty aircraft. They attacked in two groups, one on either bow of the convoy. The next stage was a shallow dive-bombing attack by German aircraft, after which two Italian Reggiane 2001 fighters, each with a single heavy armour-piercing bomb were to dive bomb on one of the aircraft carriers, whilst yet another new form of attack was to be employed against the other carrier, but defects in the weapon prevented this attack from taking place.

The enemy attack went according to plan besides that the torpedo attack was only made half an our after the ‘mines’ were dropped instead of five minutes. British fighters met the minelaying aircraft, they shot down one of them as they approached. The remaining nine aircraft dropped their ‘mines’ at 1215 hours in the path of the force, which turned to avoid the danger. The mines were heard to explode several minutes later. Only three of the fighter-bombers of this stage of the attack appear to have reached as far the screen, but HMS Lightning had a narrow escape from their bombs.

The torpedo-aircraft appeared at 1245 hours. Their number were brought down a bit due to British fighters. The remaining aircraft, estimated at 25 to 30 machines, attacked from the port bow, port beam and starboard quarter. They dropped their torpedoes well outside the screen some 8000 yards from the merchant ships which they had been ordered to attack. The force turned 45° to port and then back to starboard to avoid the attack.

In the next stage, around 1318 hours, the German bombing attack, the enemy scored their one success. These aircraft were also intercepted on their way in but about a dozen of about twenty aircraft came through. They crossed the convoy from starboard to port and then dived to 3000 feet. They managed to damage the transport Deucalion which was leading the port wing column. More bombs fell close to several other ships.

Finally, at 1345 hours, the two Reggiane fighters approached HMS Victorious as if to land on. They looked like Hurricanes and HMS Victorious was at that time engaged in landing her own fighters. They managed to drop their bombs and one hit the flight deck amidships. Fortunately the bomb broke up without exploding. By the time HMS Victorious could open fire both fighters were out of range.

The Deucalion could no longer keep up with the convoy and was ordered to follow the inshore route along the Tunisian coast escorted by HMS Bramham. Two bombers found these ships late in the afternoon, but their bombs missed. At 1940 hours, however, near the Cani Rocks, two torpedo aircraft attacked and a torpedo hit the Deucalion. She caught fire and eventually blew up.

The convoy passed some 20 miles north of Galita Island and spent the afternoon avoiding enemy submarines which were known to be concentrated in these waters. There were innumerable reports of sightings and Asdic contacts and at least two submarines proved dangerous. At 1616 hours, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Zetland attacked one on the port bow of the convoy and hunted her until the convoy was out of reach. HMS Ithuriel, stationed on the quarter, then attacked, forced the enemy to surface and finally rammed her. She proved to be the Italian submarine Cobalto. Meanwhile HMS Tartar, on the starboard quarter, saw six torpedoes fired at close range at 1640 hours, and the next destroyer in the screen, HMS Lookout sighted a periscope. Together they attacked the submarine, continuing until it was no longer dangerous. There was no evidence this submarine was sunk.

At 1750 hours, HMS Ithuriel, which was on her way back to the convoy after sinking the Italian submarine Cobalto was attacked by a few dive-bombers, when still a dozen miles astern of the convoy. At this time the convoy came under attack by aircraft stationed on Sicily. This force numbered nearly 100 aircraft. Ju.87 dive-bombers as well as Ju.88’s and SM-79’s all with a strong escort of fighters. The enemy started attacking at 1835 hours, the bombers attacking from both ahead and astern which last was the direction of the sun. The torpedo aircraft came from ahead to attack on the starboard bow and beam of the convoy.

The Italian SM-79’s torpedo bombers dropped their torpedoes from ranges of about 3000 yards outside the destroyer screen, and once again the convoy turned away to avoid them. However the destroyer HMS Foresight was hit by a torpedo and disabled. The bombers chose HMS Indomitable as their main target. She was astern of HMS Rodney at the time on the port quarter of the convoy. Four Ju.88’s and eight Ju.87’s came suddenly out of the sun and dived steeply towards HMS Indomitable from astern. Some of the Ju.87 came down to 1000 feet and the carrier received three hits and her flight deck was put out of action. Her airborne fighters eventually had to land on HMS Victorious. HMS Rodney meanwhile had a narrow escape when a bomber attacked from ahead. One enemy aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by AA fire from the ships while the fighters claimed nine more although there were about twice as much enemy fighters in the air then British.

HMS Tartar took the damaged HMS Foresight in tow and proceeded westward for Gibraltar. Next day, as they were shadowed by enemy aircraft, and enemy submarines were known to be in the area, it was decided to scuttle the cripple before both ships might be lost. HMS Tartar then torpedoed HMS Foresight a few miles from Galita Island.

Passage through the narrows, 12-13 August 1942, and the loss off HMS Manchester.

These last air attacks took place about 20 nautical miles west of the Skerki Channel and at 1900 hours, when the attacks were clearly over, Vice-Admiral Syfret turned away with ‘Force Z’. It was now up to Rear-Admiral Burrough with ‘Force X’ to take the convoy to Malta.

At 2000 hours, when the convoy was changing it’s formation from four to two columns, the convoy was attacked by Italian submarines. The submarine Dessiè attacked a freighter with four torpedoes and claimed three hits. The sound of the torpedo hits was however not caused by her attack but by an attack by the Axum which hit three ships, HMS Nigeria, HMS Cairo and the tanker Ohio.

HMS Nigeria had to turn back to make for Gibraltar escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Derwent, HMS Wilton and HMS Bicester. Rear-Admiral Burrough transferred his flag to the destroyer HMS Ashanti. The stern of HMS Cairo had been blown off and she had to be sunk as she was beyond salvage with both engines also out of action. She was scuttled by HMS Pathfinder. The Ohio meanwhile managed to struggle on.

At this time the convoy was still trying to form up the the submarine attacks messed things up and right at thus time the convoy was once more attacked from the air in the growing dusk at 2030 hours. About 20 German aircraft, Ju-88’s made dive bombing and torpedo attacks, hitting the Empire Hope with a bomb and the Clan Ferguson and Brisbane Star with torpedoes. The first of these ships had to be sunk (by HMS Bramham, the second blew up but the last eventually reached Malta. Soon after this attack, at 2111 hours, HMS Kenya was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Alagi. She was able to evade three of the four torpedoes but was hit in the bow by the fouth. She was however able to remain with the convoy.

The situation was then as follows. HMS Kenya and HMS Manchester with two merchant ships, and with the minesweeping destroyers HMS Intrepid, HMS Icarus and HMS Fury sweeping ahead, had passed the Skerki Channel and were steering to pass Zembra Island on the way to Cape Bon. HMS Ashanti, with Rear-Admiral Burrough on board was fast overhauling these ships. The other two destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury, were rounding up the remaining nine merchant ships. The escort destroyer HMS Bramham was also catching up after having escorted the single Deucalion until she sank.

On learing about the fate of HMS Nigeria and HMS Cairo, Vice-Admiral Syfret detached HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali to reinforce Rear-Admiral Burrough. It would take these ships several hourse to catch up with the convoy.

The main body of the convoy passed Cape Bon around midnight. Fourty minutes later enemy Motor Torpedo Boats appeared and started to attack. Their first victim was HMS Manchester which was torpedoed at 0120/13 by the Italian MS 16 or MS 22. She had to be scuttled by her own crew. Many of her ships company landed in Tunisia and were interned by the Vichy-French but about 300 were picked up by destroyers (first by HMS Pathfinder, and later by HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. These last two destoyers then set off towards Gibraltar.)

Four and possibly five of the merchant ships were also hit by the Motor Torpedo Boats. These were the Wairangi, Rochester Castle, Almeria Lykes, Santa Elisa and probably the Glenorchy. They were attacked between 0315 and 0430 hours about 15 nautical miles south-east of Kelibia whilst taking a short cut to overhaul the main body of the convoy. Four were lost, only the Rochester Castle survived and she managed to catch up with the main body of the convoy at 0530 hours. The Glenorchy was sunk by the Italian MS 31, the other four, of which the Rochester Castle survived as mentioned earlier, were hit by the German S 30 and S 36 as well as the Italian MAS 554 and MAS 557.

Shortly before 0530 hours HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali had joined the main body of the convoy making the force now two cruisers and seven destroyers with the transports Rochester Castle, Waimarama and Melbourne Star. The damaged tanker Ohio was slowly catching up. With her was the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury. Astern of the main body was the Port Chalmers escorted by the destroyer HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Bramham. The destroyers recued the crew of the Santa Elisa when the passed by the abandoned ship which was afterwards finished off by a German bomber. The Dorset was proceeding without escort and lastly the damaged Brisbane Star was still keeping close to the Tunisian coast independently, intending to steer towards Malta after nightfall.

At 0730 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, sent back HMS Tartar and HMS Somali to Kelibia to assist HMS Manchester and then go to Gibraltar. When they arrived they found out that the Manchester had been scuttled several hours earlier so they rescued those of her crew that had not reached the shore yet and then made off to Gibraltar as ordered. Besides crew of the Manchester they also picked up survivors from the Almeria Lykes and Wairangi.

The next encounter with the enemy was an air attack on the main body of the convoy at 0800 hours by German bombers. About 12 Ju.88’s made a shallow diving attack coming down from 6000 feet to 2000 feet to drop their bombs. Two dived on the Waimarama hitting her several times and she blew up immediately, one of the bombers was even destroyed in the explosion. HMS Ledbury saved some of her crew out of the blazing sea. At 0925 hours, when the Ohio, Port Chalmers and Dorset where with the main body again, a few Ju.87’s escorted by Italian fighters attacked. They dived down to 1500 to 1000 feet. HMS Kenya leading the port column, and the Ohio last ship but one in the starboard column, had narrow escapes. One of the enemy aircraft crashed on board the Ohio just after having released it’s bomb after being damaged by gunfire from the Ohio and HMS Ashanti. Another aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by fighters from Malta that had been patrolling overhead since daybreak.

Arrivals at Malta 13-15 August 1942.

At 1050 hours, about 20 bombers, mostly Ju.88’s with a few Ju.87’s, came in to attack. Target was the Ohio and she received four or five near misses and her engines were disabled. At the same time the Rochester Castle in the port column was near-missed and set on fire but she continued with the convoy. The Dorset which was astern of her was hit and stopped. The convoy went on leaving the Dorset behind with the Ohio and two destroyers.

At 1125 hours the last air attack on the main body took place. Five Italian SM.79’s attacked with torpedoes and almost hit the Port Chalmers as the torpedo got stuck in the paravane. Further attacks on the main body were held of by fighters from Malta. At 1430 hours, four minesweepers from Malta joined the main body of the convoy, these were HMS Speedy (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Doran, RN, with the group’s commander A/Cdr. H.J.A.S. Jerome, RN on board), HMS Hebe, HMS Rye and HMS Heyte. Also with them were seven Motor Launches; ML 121, ML 126, ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462. HMS Rye and two of the ML’s were sent towards the damaged Ohio which was ‘vital for Malta’, according to A/Cdr. Jerome.

At 1600 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, set course to the west with his two cruisers and with five destroyers. The Port Chalmers, Melbourne Star and Rochester Castle arrived in Grand Harbour around 1800 hours with the force of A/Cdr. Jerome. The Rochester Castle was by that time very low in the water, she had just made it into port on time.

Out were still the Ohio, Dorset and the Brisbane Star. The valuable Ohio had been helpless with HMS Penn and HMS Bramham. When HMS Rye arrived at 1730 hours, HMS Penn took the Ohio in tow. Meanwhile HMS Bramham was sent to the Dorset but soon afterwards German bombers came again and the ships were attacked repeatedly until dark. Both merchantman were hit around 1900 hours and the Dorset sank.

At daylight on the 14th HMS Ledbury arrived to help bringing the Ohio to Malta. HMS Speedy also soon arrived on the scene with two ML’s. The rest of his force he had sent to search for the Brisbane Star. At 1045 hours, enemy aircraft made their last attempt, causing the parting of the tow. Fighter from Malta shot down two of the attackers. The tow was passed again and the slow procession went on and in the morning of the 15th the vital tanker finally reached Malta.

The Brisbane Star had by then also arrived. She left the Tunisian coast at dusk on the 13th. Aircraft had attacked her unsuccessfully and one of the attackers was shot down by a Beaufighter escort that had been sent from Malta. She arrived at Malta in the afternoon of the 14th.

Italian surface ships to operate against the convoy ?

The convoy had experienced the violence of the enemy in every shape except that of an attack by large surface ships. Yet Italian cruisers and destroyers had been at sea to intercept and attack it. Two light cruiser had left Cagliari in the evening of 11 August 1942 and the heavy cruisers Gorizia and Bolzano from Messina, and a light cruiser from Naples had sailed on the morning of the 12th. That evening reconnaissance aircraft reported one heavy and two light cruisers with eight destroyers about 80 nautical miles to the north of the western tip of Sicily and steering south. It would have been possible for this force to meet the convoy at dawn on the 13th so the shadowing aircraft was therefore ordered in plain language to illuminate and attack. This apparently influenced the Italians as they had limited air cover and they turned back at 0130/13 when near Cape San Vito. At 0140 hours the aircraft reported that it had dropped its bombs but no hits had been obtained. Similar orders were signalled, in plain language, to relief shadowers and to report the position of the enemy force to the benefit of imaginary Liberator bombers in case the Italians would change their minds and turn back. They however held on to the eastward.

The submarine HMS P 42 sighted them around 0800/13 off Stromboli and attacked with four torpedoes claiming two hits. She had in fact hit the heavy cruiser Bolzano which was able to proceed northwards and the light cruiser Muzio Attendolo which managed to reach Messina with her bows blown off. The other cruisers went to Naples. Following the attack P 42 was heavily depth charged by the destroyers but managed to escape.

In fact the following Italian ships had been at sea; heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trieste, Bolzano, light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia Raimondo Montecuccoli, Muzio Attendolo. They were escorted by eleven destroyers; Ascari, Aviere, Camicia Nera, Corsaro, Fuceliere, Geniere, Legionaro, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Grecale and Maestrale.

The return to Gibraltar.

The British ships returning to Gibraltar had better fortune. Having left the convoy off Malta in the afternoon of the 13th, they rounded Cape Bon around 0130/14 and from that point until past Zembra Island they successful ran the gauntled of E-boats laying in wait.

at 0450/14, near the Fratelli Rocks, a submarine fired torpedoes at HMS Ashanti from the surface. She was nearly rammed by HMS Kenya, which was next astern of the ‘flagship’ (Rear-Admiral Burrough was still in HMS Ashanti). The inevitable shadowers arrived soon after daylight to herald their air attacks that began at 0730 hours. They lasted until around 1315 hours. German bombers came in first with three attemps by a few Ju.88’s. This was followed by a more severe attack with about 30 bombers, Ju-88’s and Ju-87’s between 1030 and 1050 hours. An hour later 15 Savoia high-level bombers attacked followed until 1315 hours by torpedo-carrying Savoia’s. Around 20 aircraft attacking single or in pairs. Also aircraft are though to be laying mines ahead. Several ships were near missed, but no further damage was sustained. After these attacks the British were left alone and in the evening they joined ‘Force Z’.

Vice-Admiral Syfret had gone as far west as 01’E where he ordered the damaged carrier HMS Indomitable to proceed to Malta with HMS Rodney and a destroyer screen made up of HMS Ithuriel, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Zetland. He then turned back to the east to make rendez-vous with Rear-Admiral Burrough. HMS Rodney, HMS Indomitable, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Zetland arrived at Gibraltar in the evening of the 14th.

A few hours before they arrived the damaged HMS Nigeria and her escort had also entered port, as had HMS Tartar, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. On her way back HMS Nigeria had been attacked by torpedo-bombers and a submarine but she had not been hit.

Conclusion.

Out of the fourteen ships that had sailed only five arrived ‘safe’ at Malta. This was not a very high score also given the very heavy escort that had been provided also taken in mind that an aircraft carrier, a light cruiser, an AA cruiser an a destroyer had been lost and two heavy cruiser had been damaged. But the convoy had to meet very heavy air attacks by over 150 bombers and 80 torpedo aircraft, all in the space of two days. Also these aircraft were protected by fighter in much greater strength that the carriers and Malta could provide. And there were also the enemy submarines and E-boats.

The spirit in which to operation was carried out appears in Vice-Admiral Syfret’s report: ‘ Tribute has been paid to the personnel of His Majesty’s Ships, both the officers and men will desire to give first place to the conduct, courage, and determination of the masters, officers, and men of the merchant ships. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on their way to Malta through all attacks, answering every maneuvering order like a well trained fleet unit, was a most inspiring sight. Many of these fine men and their ships were lost. But the memory of their conduct will remain an inspiration to all who were privileged to sail with them. ‘ (11)

28 Sep 1942
HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR) picks up 42 survivors from the American merchant Yorktown that was torpedoed and sunk on 26 September 1942 by German U-boat U-619 about 550 nautical miles west of Butt of Lewis in position 55°10'N, 18°50'W.

29 Oct 1942

Convoy WS 24

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 29 October 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Scotland (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Indochinois (British, 6966 GRT, built 1939), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Striling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The American seaplane tender Barnegat (Cdr. J.A. Briggs, USN) was also with the convoy.

On forming up the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR), HMS Skate (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN).

The convoy was to take an unusual route for a WS convoy. Due to the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) it was not thought wise to have another troop convoy passing through the same area as the convoys for this operations would be passing through. Therefore it was decided to sent the convoy southwards with a stopover at Bahia, Brasil instead of the usual stopover at Freetown.

The Liverpool section of the convoy made up of the Athlone Castle and Stirling Castle was late at the assembly point due to being delayed by fog. They and their escorts, HMS Sardonyx and HMS Skate only joined the main part of the convoy on 31 October. HMS Sardonyx and HMS Skate then parted company to proceed to Londonderry.

At 1430Z/31, in position 49°46'N, 21°17'W, HMS Onslow, on the port wing of the A/S screen, reported an A/S contact and shorly afterwards sighted a periscope. The convoy then carried out an emergency turn to starboard and HMS Rotherham joined HMS Onslow to hunt the U-boat. Contact was again obtained at 1443Z/31. The first depth charge attacks of both destroyers were probably reasonably accurate as the U-boat went very deep and remained there. A total of seven attacks were made in all by the two destroyers and about 1730Z/31 contact was lost. Both destroyers then carried out a search to regain contact but without success. HMS Rotherham then proceeded to rejoin the convoy leaving HMS Onslow in the area until after dark in case the U-boat should surface. The U-boat attacked was U-563 which sustained damage in the depth charge attacks.

At 0400Z/2, HMS Rotherham parted company with the convoy to proceed to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores, where she arrived around 1715Z/2. She departed again to rejoined the convoy at first light on 3rd November. On leaving Ponta Delgada HMS Holcombe was encountered to enter that port to fuel. She was not to rejoin the convoy but to proceed to Bathurst on completion of fuelling.

At 1355Z/2, in position 40°43'N, 25°10'W, USS Barnegat parted company to proceed to French Marocco to join the forces for Operation Torch.

At 1500Z/3, HMS Rotherham rejoined the convoy.

At 1530Z/3, in position 36°40'N, 28°40'W, the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

At 1700Z/3, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa and HMS Oribi parted company to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel. They too were not to rejoin the convoy.

Around 2100Z/7, in position 15°41'N, 30°56'W, the transport Indochinois started to drop back due to engine trouble.

At 0348Z/8, HMS Queen of Bermuda was detached to proceed ahead to search for the destroyer HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and A/S whaler HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). This was done due to the convoy arriving late at the arranged rendezvous.

At 1230Z/8, in position 13°16'N, 29°26'W, the troop transport Tamaroa parted company with the convoy to proceed to Freetown taking HMS Southern Pride with her as escort. HMS Southern Pride had been sighted only half an hour before.

HMS Queen of Bermuda rejoined the convoy at 1930Z/8. HMS Ilex had not been sighted.

At 1120Z/9, HMS Queen of Bermuda was again detached but not to search for the Indochinois using her aircraft to do so. When 50 miles clear of the convoy HMS Queen of Bermuda reported the position, speed and course of the convoy also for the benefit of HMS Ilex which had still not joined the convoy.

At 1500Z/9, in position 08°24'N, 29°22'W, the destroyer Ilex finally managed to join the convoy.

At 0715Z/11, HMS Queen of Bermuda rejoined the convoy. Her Seafox plane had made contact with the Indochinois and had passed instructions to her to rejoin the convoy. Since then she was however not seen and did not rejoin the convoy.

At 1000Z/11, in position 00°14'S, 30°42'W, the light cruiser HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 12th, HMS Ilex took in 60 tons of fuel from HMS Queen of Bermuda.

The convoy arrived at Bahia, Brazil on 15 November 1942.

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The convoy departed Bahia for South Africa at 1830Z/19.

It was still made up of the same transports, minus the Indochinois.

Escort on departure from Bahia was provided by the light cruiser HMS Despatch and the destroyers HMS Rotherham and HMS Ilex.

Armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda departed Bahia at 2359Z/19 to overtake the convoy which she did during the forenoon of the 20th.

At 0900Z/23, HMS Ilex was detached to return to Bahia.

At 2000Z/23, HMS Despatch parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pernambuco (Recife).

At 0800Z/28, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN) joined.

At 0930Z/29, the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) joined.

At 1350Z/30, in position 34°36'S, 17°40'E, a quantity of wreckage was passed and shortly afterwards survivors were seen clinging to broken boats and rafts. HMS Rotherham picked up seven of these while HMAS Norman picked up another eleven. They were the Master, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer and 15 men of the Greek merchant vessel Argo that had been torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni in position 34°45'S, 17°42'E at 2025Z/29. HMAS Norman transferred the survivors she had picked up to HMS Rotherham.

At 1440Z/30, the corvettes HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) joined.

At 1520Z/30, the transport Indochinois rejoined the convoy as did her escort, the destroyer HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN).

At 1610Z/30, HMS Rotherham parted company with the convoy to proceed to fuel at Simonstown where she also landed the survivors of the Argo. She arrived at Simonstown at 1830Z/30.

HMS Thyme parted company with the convoy late in the morning of 1st, December to proceed to Simonstown.

HMS Rotherham rejoined the convoy at 1600Z/1 having departed Simonstown at 0415Z/1. HMS Rockrose then parted company to proceed to Simonstown.

The convoy arrived at Durban at 0500Z/4. HMS Alcantara had parted company at 0400Z/4 to proceed to Simonstown. (12)

8 Nov 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. T.S. Weston, RN) departed Londonderry for Rothesay. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). (13)

13 Jan 1943
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Wedgeport (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.L. Fetherstonhaugh, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR). (14)

14 Jan 1943
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Dornoch (Lt. H.E. Jackson, RN), HMS Wedgeport (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.L. Fetherstonhaugh, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR). (14)

15 Jan 1943
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Dornoch (Lt. H.E. Jackson, RN), HMS Starwort (Lt. A.H. Kent, RNR), HMS Wedgeport (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.L. Fetherstonhaugh, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR). (14)

1 May 1943
HMS H 50 (Lt. J.M. Michell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. G.J. Luther, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR). (15)

2 May 1943
HMS Upstart (Lt. P.C. Chapman, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises in Lough Foyle with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR) and HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. J.P. Kilbee, RNR). (16)

3 May 1943
HMS Upstart (Lt. P.C. Chapman, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises in Lough Foyle with HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Gregorie, RD, RNR), HMCS Wetaskiwin (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.R. Kidston, RCNVR), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR) and HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. J.P. Kilbee, RNR). (16)

19 May 1943

Combined convoy WS 30 / KMS 15.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 19 May 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 30 and KMS 15 at sea on 25 May 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Argentina (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Brisbane Star (British, 12791 GRT, built 1937), Deseado (British, 9641 GRT, built 1942), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), H.F. Alexander (American, 8357 GRT, built 1915), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Siboney (American, 6938 GRT, built 1918), Sloterdijk (Dutch, 9230 GRT, built 1940), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

The landing ships HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) were also part of the convoy.

On formation off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier, heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), sloops HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), Cutters HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

The destroyer HMS Sardonyx apparently parted company on 20 May.

HMS Cleveland fuelled from HMS Suffolk during the morning of 21 May.

At 1130Z/23, HMS Active sighted a surfaced submarine in position 42°16'N, 15°40'W at a range of about 6000 yards. Shortly afterwards HMS Ness also sighted this submarine. Both ships rushed towards to attack and the submarine was seen to crash dive. When the range was down to 2900 yards HMS Active obtained contact on the target with her Asdic. At 1143Z/23, HMS Active dropped a pattern of ten depth charges set at 150 and 300 feet. At 1150Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (150 and 300 feet). At 1158Z/23, HMS Active came back for another pattern of ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1212Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). A double explosion was then heard by the two escorts. At 1223Z/23, HMS Active dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1240Z/23, a small amount of wood and cork wreckage came to the surface as well as life-jackets, coffee tins marked 'Napoli' and a pair of fresh human lungs. At 1305Z/23, HMS Ness dropped a final pattern of ten depth charges (500, 550 and 700 feet). It is believed that the Italian submarine Leonardo Da Vinci was sunk in this attack. The most succesful Italian submarine of the Second World War disappeared with all hands. Nine officers and fifty-four ratings perished.

At 0630Z/24, the transports Brisbane Star and Deseado were detached from the convoy.

Around 1530Z/24 a German Focke Wulf aircraft attacked and dropped some bombs near HMS Unicorn but no damage was done.

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, DSO, RN) joined on either the 24th or the 25th.

At 1040Z/25 the convoy split up. All escorts proceeded with convoy KMF 15 except for HMS Suffolk, HMS Corfu which went along with WS 30. Convoy KMF 15 was made up of the transports Arawa, Boissevain, Duchess of York, Franconia, Indrapoera, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Letitia, Ormonde, Samaria, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle. HMS Royal Scotsman and HMS Royal Ulsterman were also part of this convoy.

The transport Letitia proceeded to Gibraltar as did HMS Unicorn. The escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) had come out to escort them in. HMS Active, HMS Cleveland and ORP Slazak also put into Gibraltar.

The transports Staffordshire and Stirling Castle were detached and arrived at Oran on 26 May.

The remainder of convoy KMF 15 arrived at Algiers on 27 May.

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Convoy WS 30 continued on to Freetown and was made up of Argentina, Brisbane Star, Deseado, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Siboney and Sloterdijk. Their escort of HMS Suffolk and HMS Corfu was joined by the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) which all came from Gibraltar. HMS Boadicea also rejoined after fuelling at Casablanca.

In the morning of May 27th, HMS Antelope fuelled from HMS Suffolk.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 31 May 1943.

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On 3 June 1943 the convoy departed Freetown now made up of the transports Argentina, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Siboney and Sloterdijk.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex, armed merchant cruisers HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), HMS Corfu, destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN), HMS Boardicea, HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick.

At 1500Z/6, the transport Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, 1923) and the destroyer HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Takoradi.

At 1950Z/6, HMS Corfu and HMS Boadicea parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi.

At 1445Z/9, the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) joined the convoy coming from Pointe Noire.

At 1517Z/9, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pointe Noire.

Around 0730A/13, the transports Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941) and Santa Barbara (American, 6507 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy as did the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza which had been escorting them.

On 15 June 1943 the convoy arrived at Capetown. HMS Sussex and HMS Carnarvon Castle then went on to Simonstown. In the approached to Capetown the destroyer HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) joined the escort as an enemy submarine had been reported to be operating in the area.

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On 16 June 1943, the convoy departed Capetown for Durban. It was now made up of the transports Argentina, Cuba, Exceller, Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland, Santa Barbara, Siboney and Sloterdijk.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt.

On 18 June, the transport Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy presumebly coming from Port Elizabeth or East London.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 20 June.

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On 25 June 1943, the convoy departed Durban for Aden / Bombay, now made up of the transports Cuba, General Fleischer (Norwegian, 5138 GRT, built 1943), Karagola (British, 7053 GRT, built 1917), Nieuw Holland, Sagoland (American, 5334 GRT, built 1913), Santa Barbara and Sibajak.

The convoy was now escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman, HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN).

The armed mercant cruiser HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) joined the convoy around 0900C/28 having departed Kilindini around 1745C/25.

The destroyers parted company with the convoy around 1830C/29 to return to Durban where they arrived in the morning of July 3rd.

Around 0900C/1, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy having departed Kilindini around 1730C/29. HMS Canton then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindi taking the transports Karagola and Sagoland with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1200C/2.

At 0310C/3, the transport Santa Barbara was detached to proceed independently to Colombo.

At 1115C/4, the transports General Fleischer and Sibajak were detached to proceed independently to Aden.

The transports Cuba and Nieuw Holland arrived at Bombay and their escort, HMS Alaunia, around 1000FG/9.

19 Jul 1943
HMS Sealion (Lt. N.J. Coe, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area for the C.O.Q.C. (Commanding Officers Qualifying Course) during which HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) and HMS Saladin (Lt. A.A. Diggens, DSC, RN) served as the targets. (17)

20 Jul 1943
HMS Otus (Lt. R.H.H. Brunner, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) and HMS Saladin (Lt. A.A. Diggens, DSC, RN) serving as targets. (18)

5 Aug 1943
HMS Upstart (Lt. P.C. Chapman, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. She makes the passage north through the Minches together with HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) that was to proceed to Scapa Flow. They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (19)

7 Aug 1943
HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, MBE, DSC, RN) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (20)

8 Aug 1943
HMS Stoic (Lt. P.B. Marriott, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, RN), and HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, MBE, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (21)

12 Sep 1943
HMS Tuna (Lt. D.S.R. Martin, DSO and Bar, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area for the C.O.Q.C. (Commanding Officers Qualifying Course) with HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A.E. Johnston, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. G.C. Potter, DSC, RN), HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) and HMS Blade (T/A/Lt.Cdr. S.T. Wenlock, RNR). (22)

18 Oct 1943
HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN) departed from Plymouth for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (23)

21 Oct 1943
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, RN) and HMS Syrtis (Lt M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN) both departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (24)

9 Nov 1943
HrMs K XIV (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Drijfhout Van Hooff, RNN) departed Dundee for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HrMs O 15 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) that was to proceed to Scapa Flow.

They were escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR). HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) took over the escort of K XIV near Scapa Flow. They then proceeded south through the Minches towards Holy Loch.

27 Nov 1943
HMS Thrasher (Lt. H.R.B. Newton, RN) departed Scapa Flow. The next morning she made rendez-vouz with HMS Storm (T/Lt. E.P. Young, DSC, RNVR) for passage to the Clyde. The submarines were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (25)

29 Nov 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (26)

1 Dec 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (27)

4 Dec 1943
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS White Bear (Cdr.(Retd.) A.L. Sanders, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) served as the targets. (28)

11 Dec 1943
Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) departed her builders yard for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (29)

15 Dec 1943
HMS Truant (Lt. E.C. Crosswell, DSC, RN) and HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (27)

17 Dec 1943
HMS Trusty (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) departed Blyth for Rothesay. She makes the passage together with HMS Uther (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) and HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN). They were escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR) until 1305/18 when HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) took over the escort. Also HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) joined the convoy. (30)

17 Dec 1943
HMS Uther (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) departed Blyth for Rothesay. She makes the passage together with HMS Trusty (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) and HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN). They were escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR) until 1305/18 when HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) took over the escort. Also HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) joined the convoy. (31)

18 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She made the passage south together with HMS Trusty (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN), HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) and HMS Uther (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (32)

22 Dec 1943
HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, MBE, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. She made the passage together with HMS Sea Nymph (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (33)

25 Dec 1943
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, DSC, RN) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). Late the same day, while off Scapa Flow, HMS Viking (Lt. R. Bannar-Martin, DSC, RN) also joined. (34)

9 Jan 1944
HMS Vox (Lt. J.M. Michell, RN) conducted deep dive trials in the Clyde area. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne DSC, RNVR). (35)

10 Jan 1944
HMS Vox (Lt. J.M. Michell, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.D. O'Driscoll, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne DSC, RNVR). (35)

11 Jan 1944
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) served as the target. These exercises however had to be abandoned due to the bad visibilty. (36)

17 Jan 1944
HMS Spirit (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne DSC, RNVR). (37)

20 Mar 1944
HMS Vigorous (Lt. J.C. Ogle, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) and HMS Stygian (Lt. G.S.C. Clarabut, DSO, RN) served as the targets. These included night exercises. (38)

21 Mar 1944
HMS Trenchant (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the target. (39)

22 Mar 1944
HMS Trenchant (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR), HMS Honeysuckle (T/Lt. J.A. Wright, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (T/Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR). These included night exercises. (39)

25 Mar 1944
HMS Trenchant (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the target. (39)

1 Apr 1944
HMS Sturdy (Lt. W.St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Vox (Lt. J.M. Michell, RN) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. The submarines were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (40)

4 Apr 1944
HMS Visigoth (Lt. J.R.H. Haddow, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (41)

7 Apr 1944
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted special trials off Port HHZ. Later the same day she departed Port HHZ for Holy Loch. Passage south was made together with HMS Terrapin (Lt.Cdr. D.S.R. Martin, DSO and 2 bars, RN) and HMS Virtue (Lt. R.D. Cairns, DSC. RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (42)

7 Apr 1944
HMS Virtue (Lt. R.D. Cairns, DSC. RN) departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She joined HMS Terrapin (Lt.Cdr. D.S.R. Martin, DSO and 2 bars, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) at sea. (43)

11 Apr 1944
HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. During the passage south through the Irish Sea she was escorted, until 2210/12, by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (44)

14 Apr 1944
HMS Sturdy (Lt. W.St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Vox (Lt. J.M. Michell, RN) departed Holy Loch for passage to Gibraltar. Sturdy was to proceed to the Far East and Vox to the Mediterranean.

The submarines were escorted during the passage south through the Irish Sea by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (45)

17 Apr 1944
Shalimar (Lt. W.G. Meeke, DSC, MBE, RN) and FFS Rubis departed St. Mary's. They made rendez-vouz with HMS Sibyl (Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSO, DSC, RN) and their escort HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). Course was then set for Holy Loch. (46)

22 Apr 1944
HMS Sibyl (Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for passage to Dundee. She made the passage together with HrMs O 19 (Lt.Cdr. A. van Karnebeek, RNN) and HMS Strongbow (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN). O 19 was also to proceed to Dundee and Strongbow was to proceed to Lerwick to begin her 1st war patrol from there.

They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (47)

2 May 1944
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) and HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Blyth and Scapa Flow respectively. They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR).

At 1540/3 Taku parted company with Voracious and Sardonyx and continued her passage to Blyth but now escorted by HMS Godetia (T/Lt. M.A.F. Larose, RNR) while Voracious and Sardonyx proceeded to Scapa Flow. (48)

4 May 1944
HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick.

Later the same day she departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Strongbow (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) and HMS Vigorous (Lt. J.C. Ogle, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (49)

11 May 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) conducted attack exercises for the C.O.Q.C. (Commanding Officers Qualifying Course) in the Clyde area during which HMS Braithwaite (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RD, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) served as the targets. (50)

14 May 1944
HMS Trenchant (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) departed from Holy Loch for the Far East. The first leg of the trip is to Gibraltar. Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with the French submarine FFS Junon (Lt. E. Schlumberger). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR).

For the daily positions of HMS Trenchant during this passage see the map below.

(51)

18 May 1944
HMS Virtue (Lt. R.D. Cairns, DSC. RN) departed Campbeltown for Lerwick. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR) at sea. (52)

20 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Ulysses (Lt.Cdr. R.J. Hanson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN) and HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN).

Upon completion of these exercises HMS Voracious departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (53)

1 Jun 1944
HrMs O 15 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) departed Campbeltown for Londonderry. She made the passage together with ORP Dzik (Kpt.mar. (Lt.Cdr.) B.S. Romanowski) which came from Rothesay.

They were escorted by the British destroyer HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (54)

2 Jun 1944
HMS Varangian (Lt. G.J. Glennie, RANVR) shifted from Londonderry to Rothesay. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (55)

4 Jun 1944
HrMs Dolfijn (Lt.Cdr. H.M.L.F.E. van Oostrom Soede, RNN) departed Holy Loch for Dundee. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (56)

8 Jun 1944
HMS Upright (Lt. J.A.L. Wilkinson, RN) departed Dundee for Tobermory. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (57)

8 Jun 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) and HMS Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.D. O'Driscoll, RNR). These included night exercises. (58)

21 Jun 1944
HMS Shakespeare (Lt. D. Swanston, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted night attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the target. (59)

23 Jun 1944
HMS Supreme (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She made the passage together with HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (60)

9 Jul 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) conducted attack exercises for the C.O.Q.C. (Commanding Officers Qualifying Course) in the Clyde area during which HMS PC 74 (A/Lt.Cdr. A. Richardson, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as targets. (61)

11 Jul 1944
HMS Upshot (Lt. H.W. Wilkinson, RN) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the target. (62)

11 Jul 1944
HMS Urtica (Lt. K.H. Martin, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which served HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) as the target. (63)

14 Jul 1944
HMS Sea Scout (Lt. J.W. Kelly, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow where she is to participate in exercises.

She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (64)

15 Jul 1944
HMS Tuna (A/Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) departed Port H.H.Z. for Leith. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) until 0600/16 when HMS St. Agnes (A/Skr.Lt. W. Kirman, RNR) took over the escort. (65)

16 Jul 1944
At 1046 hours, HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN), made rendez-vous with her escort, HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). They then proceeded in company towards Holy Loch. They were joined at 1725 hours by HMS Shakespeare (Lt. D. Swanston, DSC and Bar, RN) which came from Scapa Flow. (66)

27 Jul 1944
HMS Thrasher (Lt.Cdr. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSO, DSC, RN) was undocked and then departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She made the passage together with HMS Spark (Lt. D.G. Kent, RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (67)

30 Jul 1944
HMS Sea Scout (Lt. J.W. Kelly, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch.

She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (64)

2 Aug 1944
HMS Supreme (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 1st war patrol. This is an anti-uboat patrol in the Northern North Sea.

She made the passage North through the Minches escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR).

For the daily positions of HMS Supreme during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Supreme 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (68)

4 Aug 1944
HMS Trusty (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSO, RN) departed from Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She is escorted by with HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (69)

19 Aug 1944
HMS Urtica (Lt. K.H. Martin, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the targets. (70)

20 Aug 1944
HMS Tiptoe (Lt.Cdr. P.R.H. Harrison, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Shikari (Lt. E.H.U. Cautley, RNVR) and HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the targets. These included night exercises. (71)

21 Aug 1944
HMS Trident (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, DSO, RN) conducted full power trials. These were followed by attack exercises during with HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as target. (72)

21 Aug 1944
HMS Urtica (Lt. K.H. Martin, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the target. These included night exercises. (70)

26 Aug 1944
HMS Trump (Cdr. E.F. Balston, DSO, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). These included night exercises. (73)

22 Oct 1944
HMS Virulent (Lt. S.J. Fovargue, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She joined her escort, HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR), for onward passage, around 2300/23. (74)

31 Oct 1944
HMS Vitality (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Selene (Lt.Cdr. H.R.B. Newton, DSC, RN) and HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, MBE, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (75)

9 Nov 1944
HMS Vengeful (Lt. A.S. Melville-Ross, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the targets. These included night exercises. (76)

12 Nov 1944
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted full power trials off Plymouth. During these trials she was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (77)

13 Nov 1944
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted diving trials off Plymouth. During these trials she was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (77)

15 Nov 1944
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Plymouth. During these trials and exercises she was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (77)

17 Nov 1944
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) shifted from Plymouth to Falmouth. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (77)

25 Nov 1944
HMS Solent (Lt. J.D. Martin, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 1st war patrol. She was made the passage North through the Miches together with HMS Volatile (Lt. F.R. Lawrence, RN) and HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. P.J.S. de Jong, RNN). They were escorted by escorted by HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR). (78)

29 Nov 1944
HMS Torbay (Lt. C.P. Norman, DSO, RN) ended her 24th war patrol at Holy Loch. Passage south through the Minches had been made together with HMS Vengeful (Lt. A.S. Melville-Ross, DSC, RN). They had been escorted by HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (79)

26 Dec 1944
HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Shikari (Lt. E.H.U. Cautley, RNVR) served as the targets. These were followed by night exercises with HMS Hastings. (80)

30 Dec 1944
HMS Vengeful (Lt. A.S. Melville-Ross, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (A/Lt.Cdr. T.A. Easton, RNVR) served as the target. (81)

31 Dec 1944
HMS Taciturn (Lt.Cdr. E.T. Stanley, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (82)

2 Jan 1945
HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. P.J.S. de Jong, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. (83)

3 Jan 1945
HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. P.J.S. de Jong, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. (83)

7 Jan 1945
HMS Tuna (Lt.Cdr. E.D. Norman, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted special trials off Campbeltown with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (84)

8 Jan 1945
HMS Tuna (Lt.Cdr. E.D. Norman, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted special trials off Campbeltown with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (84)

9 Jan 1945
HMS Tuna (Lt.Cdr. E.D. Norman, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted special trials off Campbeltown with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). Upon completion of these exercises HMS Tuna proceeded to Rothesay. (84)

9 Jan 1945
HMS Tuna (Lt.Cdr. E.D. Norman, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted special trials off Campbeltown with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). Upon completion of these exercises HMS Tuna proceeded to Rothesay. (84)

10 Jan 1945
HMS Tuna (Lt.Cdr. E.D. Norman, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area for the C.O.Q.C. (Commanding Officers Qualifying Course) with HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) G.G. Slade, RN), HMS Whitehall (Lt. J. Monroe, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (84)

13 Jan 1945
HMS Sibyl (Lt. H.R. Murray, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area.

These were followed by night radar tracking exercises with HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR), HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) and HMS Spearhead (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.E. Youngman, RNR). (85)

20 Jan 1945
While both conducting attack exercises off Inchmarnock on HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR), at 1452 hours (time zone -1) HMS Turpin (A/Lt.Cdr. J.S. Stevens, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) collide with each other. Both submarines were at periscope depth and both submarines sustained damage. (86)

21 Jan 1945
HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. P.J.S. de Jong, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the targets. (83)

7 Feb 1945
HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as target. (87)

25 Feb 1945
HMS Tapir (Lt. J.C.Y. Roxbourgh, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as target. (88)

25 Feb 1945
HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as target. (87)

26 Feb 1945
HMS Tapir (Lt. J.C.Y. Roxbourgh, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as target. These included night exercises. (88)

26 Feb 1945
HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as target. (87)

28 Feb 1945
HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as targets. (87)

2 Mar 1945
HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.D. O'Driscoll, RNR) served as the targets. (89)

3 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Kihna (Cdr.(Retd.) T.J.T.C. Jenks, RN) served as target. Kihna was escorted by HMS Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.D. O'Driscoll, RNR), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN). (90)

4 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.D. O'Driscoll, RNR), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Spearhead (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.E. Youngman, RNR) served as targets. These included night exercises. (90)

5 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted night attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Spearhead (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.E. Youngman, RNR) served as targets. Upon completion of these exercises HMS Scotsman returned to Holy Loch. (90)

6 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.D. O'Driscoll, RNR), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Spearhead (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.E. Youngman, RNR) served as targets. (90)

8 Mar 1945
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Inman (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.E. Petre, RNR) served as targets. (91)

9 Mar 1945
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) served as targets. (91)

10 Mar 1945
HMS Tactician (Lt.Cdr. L.N.A. Jewell, DSC, MBE, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. These included two practice attacks on HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) escorted by HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (92)

10 Mar 1945
HMS Turpin (A/Lt.Cdr. J.S. Stevens, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. These included night exercises. (93)

10 Mar 1945
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted radar and attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) served as targets. (91)

10 Mar 1945
HMS Vagabond (Lt. I.M. Stoop, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the targets. Upon completion HMS Vagabond proceeded to Campbeltown. (94)

12 Mar 1945
HMS Turpin (A/Lt.Cdr. J.S. Stevens, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. These included night exercises. (93)

12 Mar 1945
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) served as targets. (91)

14 Mar 1945
HMS Tactician (Lt.Cdr. L.N.A. Jewell, DSC, MBE, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as target. (92)

16 Mar 1945
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) served as targets. (91)

16 Mar 1945
HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the targets. (95)

18 Mar 1945
HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer, DSC, RN) served as the targets. (89)

25 Mar 1945
HMS Turpin (A/Lt.Cdr. J.S. Stevens, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Viking (Lt. R. Bannar-Martin, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. These included night exercises. Upon completion of these exercises the submarines anchored off Campbeltown. (96)

28 Mar 1945
HMS Trespasser (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Scorcher (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR), HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) all conducted exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (95)

28 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR), HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer DSC, RN) and HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) served as the targets. (90)

29 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR), HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer DSC, RN) and HMS Varne (Lt. I.G. Raikes, DSC, RN) served as the targets. These included night exercises. (90)

30 Mar 1945
HMS Trespasser (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Scorcher (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR), HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) all conducted exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN), HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR). (95)

30 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted night attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR), HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer DSC, RN) and HMS Varne (Lt. I.G. Raikes, DSC, RN) served as the targets. Upon completion of these exercises HMS Scotsman proceeded to Holy Loch. (90)

3 Apr 1945
HMS Trespasser (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. (97)

7 Apr 1945
HMS Tactician (Lt.Cdr. L.N.A. Jewell, DSC, MBE, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as targets. (98)

12 May 1945
HMS Tactician (Lt.Cdr. L.N.A. Jewell, DSC, MBE, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN) served as target. During these exercises HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as escort for HMS Hastings. (99)

30 May 1945
HMS Truncheon (A/Lt.Cdr. R.J. Clutterbuck, DSO, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. (100)

31 May 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Ravager (A/Capt. G.V.B. Faulkner, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) served as the targets.

[As no log is available for June 1945, no further details of her work-up programme can be given before HMS Scotsman's departure to the Far East.] (101)

31 May 1945
HMS Sea Devil (Lt. D.W. Mills, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. These attack exercises were followed by gunnery exercises. (102)

2 Jun 1945
HMS Surf (T/Lt. T.D. Wood, RNVR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer, DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the targets. (103)

3 Jun 1945
HMS Surf (T/Lt. T.D. Wood, RNVR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) and HMS Ravager (A/Capt. G.V.B. Faulkner, RN) served as the targets. (103)

4 Jun 1945
HMS Surf (T/Lt. T.D. Wood, RNVR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer, DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the targets. (103)

15 Jun 1945
HMS Surf (T/Lt. T.D. Wood, RNVR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. (103)

16 Jun 1945
HMS Surf (T/Lt. T.D. Wood, RNVR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the target. (103)

19 Jun 1945
HMS Surf (T/Lt. T.D. Wood, RNVR) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer, DSC, RN) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. L.F.L. Hill, RNR) served as the targets. (103)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16210
  2. ADM 173/16197
  3. ADM 173/16291
  4. ADM 173/16780
  5. ADM 173/16782
  6. ADM 173/16741
  7. File 2.12.03.6378 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  8. ADM 53/116122 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  9. ADM 173/17201
  10. ADM 53/116067 + ADM 53/116125
  11. ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
  12. ADM 199/1211
  13. ADM 173/17207
  14. ADM 173/17790
  15. ADM 173/17828
  16. ADM 173/18373
  17. ADM 173/18017
  18. ADM 173/17886
  19. ADM 173/18376
  20. ADM 173/18006
  21. ADM 173/18113
  22. ADM 173/18312
  23. ADM 173/18286
  24. ADM 173/18139
  25. ADM 173/18231
  26. ADM 173/18213
  27. ADM 199/627
  28. ADM 173/18443
  29. ADM 173/18110
  30. ADM 173/18302
  31. ADM 173/18398
  32. ADM 173/18214
  33. ADM 173/18009
  34. ADM 173/18141
  35. ADM 173/19442
  36. ADM 173/18856
  37. ADM 173/18780
  38. ADM 173/19380
  39. ADM 173/19057
  40. ADM 199/1385
  41. ADM 173/19414
  42. ADM 173/18973
  43. ADM 173/19401
  44. ADM 173/18461
  45. ADM 199/1873B
  46. ADM 173/18725
  47. ADM 173/18737
  48. ADM 173/18922
  49. ADM 173/18819
  50. ADM 173/18621
  51. ADM 173/19059
  52. ADM 173/19402
  53. ADM 173/19434
  54. File 2.12.03.6399 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  55. ADM 173/19351
  56. File 2.12.03.5654 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  57. ADM 173/19283
  58. ADM 173/19435
  59. ADM 173/18718
  60. ADM 173/18891
  61. ADM 173/18623
  62. ADM 173/19297
  63. ADM 173/19318
  64. ADM 173/18682
  65. ADM 173/18148
  66. ADM 199/1816
  67. ADM 173/19021
  68. ADM 199/1873A
  69. ADM 173/19128
  70. ADM 173/19319
  71. ADM 173/19026
  72. ADM 173/19088
  73. ADM 173/19116
  74. ADM 173/19410
  75. ADM 173/19422
  76. ADM 173/19364
  77. ADM 173/18859
  78. ADM 173/18769
  79. ADM 199/1868
  80. ADM 173/18860
  81. ADM 173/19365
  82. ADM 173/18918
  83. File 2.12.03.6444 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  84. ADM 173/20054
  85. ADM 173/19648
  86. ADM 173/20062
  87. ADM 173/19949
  88. ADM 173/19852
  89. ADM 173/19950
  90. ADM 173/19580
  91. File 2.12.03.6428 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  92. ADM 173/19807
  93. ADM 173/20064
  94. ADM 173/20219
  95. ADM 173/20345
  96. ADM 173/20064 + ADM 173/20281
  97. ADM 173/19975
  98. ADM 173/19808
  99. ADM 173/19809
  100. ADM 173/20029
  101. ADM 173/19582
  102. ADM 173/19595
  103. ADM 173/19788

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


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