Allied Warships

HMS Javelin (F 61)

Destroyer of the J class


HMS Javelin during the war

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassJ 
PennantF 61 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered25 Mar 1937 
Laid down11 Oct 1937 
Launched21 Dec 1938 
Commissioned10 Jun 1939 
End service 
History

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 11 June 1949 and scrapped at Troon, Scotland.

The ships bell belonging to HMS Javelin is presently hung at the Royal Canadian Legion Building Branch 29 in Burin, Newfoundland, Canada.

 
Former nameHMS Kashmir

Commands listed for HMS Javelin (F 61)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Anthony Follett Pugsley, RN8 May 1939late 1940

2Lt.Cdr. George Emery Fardell, RN30 Dec 194130 Sep 1942
3Lt.Cdr. William Frank Niemann Gregory-Smith, DSO, DSC, RN30 Sep 1942Dec 1942
4Lt.Cdr. John Melvill Alliston, DSC, RNDec 1942ca. mid 43

5Lt.Cdr. Peter Barthrop North Lewis, DSC, RN23 Nov 1943ca. mid 44

6Lt.Cdr. James Bogue Marjoribanks, RN14 Nov 194417 Nov 1945

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Notable events involving Javelin include:


1 Sep 1939
Around 2015/1, the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), departed Grimsby for a patrol off the coast of Norway. (1)

5 Sep 1939
In the afternoon the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) were detached from HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN).

The destroyers that had been detached arrived at Invergordon 0715/6.

6 Sep 1939
Around 1315/6, HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), departed Invergordon for Rosyth where they arrived around 0030/7. (2)

8 Sep 1939
Shortly after noon on the 8th, the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Rosyth for a patrol in the North Sea to intercept German shipping between Rotterdam and Hamburg.

Nothing of interest was sighted and the ships returned to Rosyth around 1800/9. (1)

10 Sep 1939
Around 1800 hours, the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Rosyth for Sheerness. (1)

11 Sep 1939
Around 1200 hours, the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) arrived at Sheerness from Rosyth. They had been sent to Sheerness to be in a position to provide cover for minelaying operations in the Dover Strait, if this was needed.

In the evening they all sailed for patrol returning to Sheerness the following morning. (1)

13 Sep 1939
HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Sheerness around 0345 hours for a patrol off the Nore. They returned to Sheerness around 1445 hours. (1)

14 Sep 1939
HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Sheerness around 0630 hours. They arived at Grimsby around 2345 hours. (1)

14 Sep 1939
HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Sheerness around 0615 hours for patrol. They arrived at Grimsby around 2330 hours. (3)

18 Sep 1939
HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) conducted exercises off the Firth of Forth during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN). (4)

19 Sep 1939
HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) conducted exercises off the Firth of Forth during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN). (4)

20 Sep 1939
HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) conducted exercises off the Firth of Forth during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN). (4)

22 Sep 1939
To conduct an operation against German shipping off the Norwegian coast the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Capt. G.H. Warner, DSC, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, RN) and HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN) departed Scapa Flow as well as the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Rosyth. HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), coming from the Chatham Dockyard, joined at sea.

To provide cover for this operation two forces were deployed from Scapa Flow. One force was made up of the battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN) and HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN).

The other force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN). Later the destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN) and HMS Express (Cdr. J.G. Bickford, RN) joined at sea.

The raid was abandoned when HMS Javelin and HMS Jersey collided in position 57°09'N, 03°08'W at 2038/22.

All forces returned to their port of departure on 23 September but not before HMS Hood reported an explosion at 1330/23. The destroyers HMS Firedrake and HMS Fortune were detached to investigate but no contact was obtained. In fact this was indeed an attack by a German submarine; U-24 which reported to have made a failed torpedo attack at 1328/23 on HMS Hood and two escorting destroyers.

23 Sep 1939
Shortly after noon, HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), parted company with HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN). HMS Jersey then proceeded to Leith for repairs to her collision damage.

HMS Jersey was escorted to Leith by HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN).

HMS Jersey arrived at Leith around 1530 hours. (5)

22 Oct 1939
HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Rosyth for Immingham.

En-route she was diverted to go to the assistance of her sister ship HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) which had collided with a merchant vessel.

HMS Jupiter took HMS Javelin in tow until she was relived by a tug after which she screened the tow proceeding to the Humber. (6)

8 Jan 1940
Around 1545/8, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), departed Immingham for a night patrol. HMS Jupiter returned to Immingham around 1000/9. HMS Javelin remained at sea until around 1700/9 when she too returned to Immingham. (7)

11 Jan 1940
HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) departed Immingham for patrol.

HMS Juno returned to Immingham with defects the following day and she was substituted with HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN).

HMS Jackal returned to Immingham in the morning of the 13th while HMS Javelin remained out on patrol. She was joined by HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) in the afternoon. (8)

13 Jan 1940
HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Immingham around 1415/13. At sea she joined HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) around 1630/13. Both destroyers then proceeded on an A/S search. Both destroyers patrolled throughout the night. (9)

14 Jan 1940
HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) all arrived at Harwich on this day.

All available 'J' class destroyers had been ordered to proceed to Harwich. HMS Jervis and HMS Juno had departed the Humber earlier that day, the other destroyers were already at sea on east coast patrol.

15 Jan 1940
Around 1100/15, the destroyers HMS Grafton (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) and Blyskawica (Lt. J. Umecki), departed Harwich to make a sweep off the Dutch coast (Operation ST 2) during the night of the 15th/16th.

During this operation cover was provided by the 7th Destroyer Flottilla; HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN). These destroyers departed Harwich around 1500/15.

HMS Grafton, HMS Griffin and ORP Blyscawica returned to Harwich around 1500/16. During the operation one Latvian merchant vessel had been ordered to proceed to the U.K. for inspection.

The 7th Destroyer Flotilla had already returned to Harwich around 0915/16.

18 Jan 1940
Around 1530/18, HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), departed Harwich for a sweep along the Dutch coast. They returned to Harwich shortly before noon the following day.

19 Jan 1940
HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) departed Immingham presumably for patrol. All returned the following day.

[no further information known.] (10)

21 Jan 1940
HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) shifted from Harwich to the Humber. (10)

22 Jan 1940
Around 1600 hours HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) departed Immingham for Rosyth. (9)

23 Jan 1940
Around 0900 hours HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) arrived at Rosyth from Immingham. (9)

24 Jan 1940
Shortly before 0900 hours, HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), departed Rosyth for an A/S hunt. They were followed by HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN) around 0915 hours. An enemy submarine was reported off Kinnaird Head.

At 1125 hours, HMS Javelin parted company to return to Rosyth.

Shortly after 1400 hours a contact was obtained and first HMS Jackal and then HMS Jaguar dropped depth charges.

At 1505 hours, HMS Ashanti parted company and proceeded to Portsmouh for a refit. She arrived there in the evening of the 26th.

HMS Jackal and HMS Jaguar remained on patrol until 0730/26 when HMS Jackal parted company to return to Rosyth. Around 0445/26, they had been joined by HMS Javelin which had departed Rosyth at 2215/25. HMS Jaguar and HMS Javelin remained on patrol until late in the evening of the 26th when they arrived at Invergordon. They had been ordered to proceed there due to a strong gale being forecasted.

27 Jan 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) departed Invergordon for patrol shortly after 0900/27.

HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Invergordon at 1730/27 and joined HMS Javelin at sea shortly before 2000/27.

At 1600/28 they were joined by HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) which came from Rosyth. HMS Jaguar then parted company and proceeded to Scapa Flow arrinving there shortly before 1730/28.

HMS Javelin parted company with HMS Jackal at 0740/30 and arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900/30.

HMS Javelin rejoined HMS Jackal at 0545/31.

HMS Jackal and HMS Javelin arrived at Rosyth around 0430/1 escorting the tanker Athelknight (British (tanker), 8940 GRT, built 1930). (11)

19 Mar 1940

Convoy ON 21.

This convoy was formed off Methil on 19 March 1940. It arrived in Norwegian waters near Bergen on 23 March 1940.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Arnold Bratt (Swedish, 1430 GRT, built 1925), Aslaug (Danish, 1509 GRT, built 1927), Blaafjeld I (Norwegian, 1146 GRT, built 1918), Borgsten (Norwegian, 1569 GRT, built 1922), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Consul Bratt (Swedish, 1117 GRT, built 1913), Cresco (Norwegian, 1270 GRT, built 1916), Cygnus (Norwegian, 1333 GRT, built 1921), Cyril (Danish, 2116 GRT, built 1925), Dunvegan Head (British, 638 GRT, built 1920), Ella (Swedish, 690 GRT, built 1909), Erling Lindoe (Norwegian, 1281 GRT, built 1917), Fanefjeld (Norwegian, 1354 GRT, built 1920), Ferrum (Finnish, 2089 GRT, built 1918), Gol (Norwegian, 985 GRT, built 1920), Halse (Norwegian, 2136 GRT, built 1910), Havorn (Norwegian, 1527 GRT, built 1902), Homeside (British, 4617 GRT, built 1924), Island (Norwegian, 638 GRT, built 1918), Kronprins Olav (Danish, 2083 GRT, built 1937), Lake Lucerne (Estonian, 2317 GRT, built 1909), Log (Norwegian, 1560 GRT, built 1931), Narvik (Swedish, 4251 GRT, built 1914), Ophir (Norwegian, 1005 GRT, built 1906), Otterpool (British, 4876 GRT, built 1926), Peet (Estonian, 2111 GRT, built 1913), Porsanger (Norwegian, 4267 GRT, built 1918), Royal (Norwegian, 759 GRT, built 1918), Spica (Norwegian, 500 GRT, built 1915), Stig Gorthon (Swedish, 2241 GRT, built 1924), Svinta (Norwegian, 1267 GRT, built 1916), Thistlebrae (British, 4747 GRT, built 1928), Tora Elise (Norwegian, 721 GRT, built 1919), Ursa (Norwegian, 958 GRT, built 1911), Utklippan (Swedish, 1599 GRT, built 1883), Varegg (Norwegian, 943 GRT, built 1910), Varmido (Swedish, 2956 GRT, built 1901), Wanda (Finnish, 1902 GRT, built 1897) and Wiides (Finnish, 2324 GRT, built 1904).

Some of these ships sailed from Kirkwall and joined the convoy at sea.

Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and the submarine HMS Porpoise (Cdr. P.Q. Roberts, RN). The destoyer HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) joined at sea coming with the Kirkwall section.

On 20 March the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined the convoy.

On 21 the destroyer HMS Jupiter was relieved by the destroyer HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) which had departed from Scapa Flow. HMS Jupiter then proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving later on 21 March. She had to be relieved due to defects.

22 Mar 1940

Convoy HN 21.

This convoy was formed near Bergen, Norway on 22 March 1940. It arrived at Methill on 25 March 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Asgerd (Norwegian, 1308 GRT, built 1924), Becheville (British, 4228 GRT, built 1924), Bjorkhaug (Norwegian, 2094 GRT, built 1919), Bradburn (British, 4736 GRT, built 1930), Burgos (Norwegian, 3220 GRT, built 1920), Diana (Norwegian, 1154 GRT, built 1904), Eos (Estonian, 1513 GRT, built 1890), Erica (Norwegian, 1592 GRT, built 1919), Fintra (British, 2089 GRT, built 1918), Galatea (Norwegian, 1151 GRT, built 1912), Garm (Swedish, 1231 GRT, built 1912), Grangesberg (Swedish, 4575 GRT, built 1921), Gwalia (Swedish, 1258 GRT, built 1907), Hague (British, 974 GRT, built 1919), Hjalmar Wessel (Norwegian, 1742 GRT, built 1935), Johanna (Swedish, 1230 GRT, built 1881), Karen (Danish, 1194 GRT, built 1917), King Alfred (British, 5272 GRT, built 1919), Kongshavn (Norwegian, 751 GRT, built 1906), Lily (Danish, 1281 GRT, built 1920), Maud Thorden (Finnish, 1335 GRT, built 1920), Mira (Norwegian, 1152 GRT, built 1891), Navarra (Norwegian, 2118 GRT, built 1920), Nurgis (Norwegian, 700 GRT, built 1919), Pluto (Finnish, 3496 GRT, built 1907), Rigmor (Danish, 1278 GRT, built 1920), Rosenborg (Finnish, 1512 GRT, built 1919), Rosten (Norwegian, 737 GRT, built 1920), Roy (Norwegian, 1768 GRT, built 1921), Sarmatia (Finnish, 2417 GRT, built 1901), Scania (Swedish, 1980 GRT, built 1901), Sollund (Norwegian, 941 GRT, built 1908), Sophie (Danish, 945 GRT, built 1920), Trolla (Norwegian, 1598 GRT, built 1923), Vard (Norwegian, 681 GRT, built 1917), Vestland (Norwegian, 1934 GRT, built 1916), Vestmanrod (Norwegian, 691 GRT, built 1919), Vestria (British, 1141 GRT, built 1921) and Wentworth (British, 5212 GRT, built 1919).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and the submarine HMS Porpoise (Cdr. P.Q. Roberts, RN).

The AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) later also joined to provide AA cover.

Distant cover for the convoy was provided by the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN).

Nine merchant vessels later split off to proceed to the west coast. To escort these ships the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN) and HMS Gurkha (Cdr. A.W. Buzzard, RN) came out from Scapa Flow.

The bulk of the convoy arrived off Methil on 25 March 1940 after which the escorts proceeded to Rosyth.

27 Mar 1940

Convoy ON 23.

This convoy was formed off Methil on 27 March 1940. It arrived in Norwegian waters near Bergen on 31 March 1940.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Blythmoor (British, 6582 GRT, built 1922), Bothnia (Swedish, 1343 GRT, built 1918), Elie (Danish, 1873 GRT, built 1921), Ferm (Swedish, 1026 GRT, built 1936), Grana (Norwegian, 1297 GRT, built 1920), Hagfors (Swedish, 654 GRT, built 1917), Leena (Finnish, 1133 GRT, built 1905), Lise (Danish, 1247 GRT, built 1920), Marvi (Estonian, 1429 GRT, built 1883), Mersington Courst (British, 5141 GRT, built 1920), Motto (Norwegian, 1171 GRT, built 1903), North Cornwall (British, 4303 GRT, built 1924), Rapid II (Norwegian, 714 GRT, built 1916), Salerno (British, 870 GRT, built 1924), Salmonpool (British, 4803 GRT, built 1924), Stensaas (Norwegian, 1359 GRT, built 1918), Svanefjell (Norwegian, 1371 GRT, built 1936), Svanholm (Danish, 1321 GRT, built 1922), Themis (Norwegian, 706 GRT, built 1919), Transport (Norwegian, 1998 GRT, built 1921), Vesla (Norwegian, 1107 GRT, built 1913), Vim (Norwegian, 1114 GRT, built 1913) and Walborg (Swedish, 1488 GRT, built 1896).

On the 29th they were joined at sea by four merchant ships which came from Kirkwall, these were; Astrid (Danish, 1733 GRT, built 1924), Erling Lindoe (Norwegian, 1281 GRT, built 1917), Graziella (Norwegian, 2137 GRT, built 1917) and Gudrid (Norwegian, 1305 GRT, built 1922).

Escort was provided by destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and the submarine HMS Porpoise (Cdr. P.Q. Roberts, RN).

They were joined on the 29th by the AA cruisers HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) which came from Sullom Voe.

Also on the 29th the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) departed Kirkwall with the four merchant ships which sailed from there. When they joined the convoy the destroyer HMS Janus parted company and proceeded to Scapa for repairs and boiler cleaning.

Distant cover for the convoy was provided by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) and HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN) which had departed Rosyth on 28 March.

31 Mar 1940

Convoy HN 23B.

This convoy was formed near Bergen, Norway on 31 March 1940. It arrived at Methill on 4 April 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alida Gorthon (Swedish, 2373 GRT, built 1902), Becheville (British, 4228 GRT, built 1924), Belgia (Swedish, 2023 GRT, built 1930), Belgien (British, 1979 GRT, built 1922), Bifrost (Swedish, 1781 GRT, built 1923), Cathrine (Estonian, 1885 GRT, built 1904), Ceres (Finnish, 996 GRT, built 1889), Convallaria (Swedish, 1996 GRT, built 1921), Dago (Danish, 1757 GRT, built 1902), Eikhaug (Norwegian, 1436 GRT, built 1903), Embla (Swedish, 1040 GRT, built 1908), Falkvik (Swedish, 1216 GRT, built 1899), Fano (Danish, 1889 GRT, built 1922), Foss Beck (British, 4876 GRT, built 1930), Harmonic (British, 4558 GRT, built 1930), Hirondelle (British, 893 GRT, built 1925), Kejserinde Dagmar (Danish, 1597 GRT, built 1905), Knud (British, 1944 GRT, built 1900), Knut (British, 1274 GRT, built 1924), Lab (Norwegian, 1118 GRT, built 1912), Leola (Estonian, 499 GRT, built 1884), Leonardia (Swedish, 1583 GRT, built 1906), Majorca (British, 1126 GRT, built 1921), Maria Toft (Danish, 1911 GRT, built 1928), N.C. Monberg (Danish, 2301 GRT, built 1928), Ophir (Norwegian, 1005 GRT, built 1906), Parnu (Estonian, 1578 GRT, built 1909), Pollux (Estonian, 931 GRT, built 1890), Ringholn (Norwegian, 1298 GRT, built 1919), Royksund (Norwegian, 695 GRT, built 1919), Saimaa (Finnish, 2001 GRT, built 1922), Tordenskjold (Norwegian, 921 GRT, built 1906), Vega I (Swedish, 1073 GRT, built 1913) and Veronica (Swedish, 1316 GRT, built 1919).

Apparently not all these ships sailed though.

Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and the submarine HMS Porpoise (Cdr. P.Q. Roberts, RN).

The AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) was also providing support for the convoy.

Distant cover was provided by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) and HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN) until 1 April 1940 when they were relieved by HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN). These cruisers had departed Rosyth earlier that day.

HMS Javelin, HMS Juno and HMS Eclipse parted company with the convoy shortly after dusk on 3 April and proceeded directly to Rosyth arriving there on the 4th.

The convoy and it's remaining escorts arrived of Methil on 4 April 1940 after which the destroyers went to Rosyth as did HMS Porpoise. HMS Penelope and HMS Sheffield arrived at Scapa Flow on 5 April 1940.

5 Apr 1940

Convoy ON 25.

This convoy was formed off Methil on 5 April 1940. It was recalled on 8 April 1940.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ascania (Finnish, 838 GRT, built 1901), Begonia (Estonian, 1591 GRT, built 1890), Bertha (Danish, 966 GRT, built 1915), Bullaren (Swedish, 5722 GRT, built 1918), Caledonia (Swedish, 1268 GRT, built 1913), Cree (British, 4791 GRT, built 1920), Dalveen (British, 5193 GRT, built 1927), Delaware (Finnish, 2441 GRT, built 1902), Diana (Norwegian, 1154 GRT, built 1904), Einvik (Norwegian, 2000 GRT, built 1918), Eros (Norwegian, 974 GRT, built 1922), Forsvik (Norwegian, 1248 GRT, built 1919), Frey (Swedish, 1090 GRT, built 1911), Haga (Swedish, 1296 GRT, built 1918), Helder (Dutch, 3629 GRT, built 1920), Hjalmar Wessel (Norwegian, 1742 GRT, built 1935), Ibis (Norwegian, 1367 GRT, built 1918), Inger (Norwegian, 1409 GRT, built 1930), Lotte (Danish, 1420 GRT, built 1906), Magdalena (Swedish, 1265 GRT, built 1882), Magrix (British, 454 GRT, built 1938), Mette (Danish, 1909 GRT, built 1926), Nordost (Swedish, 1035 GRT, built 1918), Nyanza (British, 4974 GRT, built 1928), Orangemoor (British, 5775 GRT, built 1923), Roy (Norwegian, 1768 GRT, built 1921), Sjofna (Norwegian, 619 GRT, built 1918), Sophie (Danish, 945 GRT, built 1920), Swainby (British, 4935 GRT, built 1935), Vard (Norwegian, 681 GRT, built 1917), Veli Ragnar (Finnish, 2158 GRT, built 1914) and Vestland (Norwegian, 1934 GRT, built 1916).

On departure from Methil the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and the submarine HMS Thistle (Lt.Cdr. W.F. Haselfoot, RN). The light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN), HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) and the AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, RN) provided close cover.

On 6 April the following ships departed Kirkwall to join convoy ON 25 at sea;
Bullaren (Swedish, 5722 GRT, built 1918), C.F. Liljevalch (Swedish, 5492 GRT, built 1920), Elna E. (British, 1174 GRT, built 1925), Imperial Valley (British, 4573 GRT, built 1924), North Devon (British, 3658 GRT, built 1924), Ringulv (Norwegian, 5153 GRT, built 1903), Sarpfoss (Norwegian, 1493 GRT, built 1919), Solhavn (Norwegian, 1630 GRT, built 1918), Stanja (Norwegian, 1845 GRT, built 1915), Star (Norwegian, 1531 GRT, built 1922), Topdalsfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921) and Wappu (Finnish, 1513 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Kirkwall this part of the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) which had come from Scapa Flow.

On joining the main convoy, HMS Janus joined the escort but HMS Jupiter was detached to search for the drifter HMS Seabreeze which was in trouble due to heavy weather and had made an SOS. This was later cancelled when a trawler met the Seabreeze and HMS Jupiter proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving there on the 7th.

In the evening of the 7th the convoy was disbanded an the ships were ordered to return to the U.K. due to enemy activity in the North Sea. The escorts were detailed for other duty.

9 Apr 1940
The aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN) departed the Clyde shortly after midnight during the night of 8/9 April 1940. She was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Delight (Cdr. M. Fogg-Elliott, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN).

HMS Delight however had to turn back for repairs due to weather damage. She arrived back in the Clyde later on the 9th. She was then taken in hand for repairs at the Barclay Curle shipyard in Scotstoun.

HMS Furious then flew on 18 Swordfish aircraft.

At 0500/10, the 'Furious' group made rendez-vous, just north of Muckle Fluga with HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN) and her escorting destroyers; HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN). These ships had departed Scapa Flow in the evening of the 9th around 2130 hours.

9 Apr 1940
HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow very early in the evening for refueling.

11 Apr 1940

Convoy NP 1.

This troop convoy departed the Clyde on 11 April 1940 for Harstad, Norway. In the end the convoy was split up and one part arrived at Harstad on 15 April. The other part arrived off Namsos on 16 April.

It was made up of the troopships Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931).

They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN).

Early in the afternoon of 12 April the troopships Batory (Polish, 14387 GRT, built 1936) and Chrobry (Polish, 11442 GRT, built 1939) departed Scapa Flow to join convoy NP 1 at sea.

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN), HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN). The netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN) also departed Scapa Flow with these ships.

Around 1600/12, the light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy at sea which they did around 1945/12.

Shortly afterwards the convoy was also joined by the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. M. Culme-Seymour, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) which had sailed from Sullom Voe around 1130/12.

Late in the evening of 12 April repair ship HMS Vindictive (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Codrington (Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy which they did late in the afternoon of the 13th.

Coming south from a patrol off the Vestfjord area were the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN). These ships made rendez-vous with the convoy in the afternoon of the 13th after which HMS Repulse with the three J-class destroyers continued on towards Scapa Flow while HMS Valiant joined the convoy.

On April 14th it was decided that some of the troops were to be sent to Namsos and the convoy split up;

Troopships Chrobry and Empress of Australia escorted by the light cruisers HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham, AA cruiser HMS Cairo and the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Vanoc and HMS Whirlwind split off late in the afternoon. This convoy arrived off Namsos early in the morning of the 16th.

The remainder of the ships; troopships Batory, Monarch of Bermuda, Reina del Pacifico, repair ship HMS Vindictive and netlayer HMS Protector with their escort made up of the battleship HMS Valiant and the destroyers HMS Codrington, HMS Amazon, HMS Acasta, HMS Ardent, HMS Brazen, HMS Fearless, HMS Griffin, HMS Volunteer and HMS Witherington arrived at Vaagsfjord late in the morning of the 15th. They had been escorted in by the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN).

12 Apr 1940
After having patrolled off the Lofoton on the 11th and part of the 12th, around 0730/12, HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) made rendezvous with the Home Fleet that comprised, at that moment, battleships HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Cossack (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN).

Around 1300/12, HMS Valiant, HMS Repulse, HMS Janus, HMS Javelin and HMS Juno parted company with the Fleet.

At 2300/12, Vice-Admiral Whitworth transferred his flag from HMS Renown to HMS Warspite.

HMS Rodney, HMS Renown and HMS Furious continued to operate off the Vestfiord / Lofoten until 15 April when HMS Rodney and HMS Renown set course for Scapa Flow. HMS Furious remained in the area.

[During their patrol they were escorted by several destroyers but it is unknown to us which destroyers were with them during which time as there are no logs of destroyers available for this period and the logs of the capital ships don't give the names of the escorting destroyers.]

14 Apr 1940
Around noon, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), arrived at Scapa Flow.

16 Apr 1940

Operation Duck.


Bombardment of the Sola airfield off Stavanger.

Timespan: 16 to 18 April 1940.

The heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 1700/16 for this operation.

Early on the 17th this force contacted the submarine HMS Seal (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Lonsdale, RN) which was to act as a beacon to home in the ships.

Between 0513 and 0602 hours, HMS Suffolk bombarded the airfield. Following this she and the destroyers were ordered to proceeded northwards to intercept a reported group of enemy destroyers, the result was that their air cover that was provided during their retirement did not sight the ships which then came under heavy air attack from the German Luftwaffe for about seven hours from 0825 hours onwards.

The result was that HMS Suffolk was heavily damaged. She suffered 32 dead and 41 wounded. HMS Kipling was also damaged by two near misses.

Air cover finally arrived at 1415 hours but even then the Germans continued to attack.

The battlecruisers HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. S.M. Nahorski, ORP) and ORP Grom (Lt.Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) rushed towards to give support. The destroyer HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN) joined later.

HMS Suffolk limped towards Scapa Flow where she arrived with a heavy list at 0545/18. She arrived at Scapa Flow escorted by HMS Renown, HMS Forester, HMS Fury, HMS Hereward, HMS Hyperion, HMS Janus, HMS Juno, HMS Kimberley and HMS Kipling (also damaged). Upon arrival HMS Suffolk was beached to prevent her from sinking.

19 Apr 1940
At 0430/19, HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), departed Aberdeen escorting the transports St. Sunniva (1368 GRT, built 1931) and St. Magnus (1312 GRT, built 1924) which were to proceed to Aandalsnes loaded with troops.

At sea they were joined by the transport Cedarbank (British, 5159 GRT, built 1924) which was being escorted by HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow at 1100/19. After they joined HMS Hesperus parted company and proceeded to Scapa Flow.

The convoy arrived at Aandalsnes in the evening of the 21st. By that time they had been joined by the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) for extra protection against enemy air attacks. However Cedarbank had been sunk by the German submarine U-26 in the morning before she could disembark her stores. (12)

21 Apr 1940
At 07.49 hours on 21 April 1940 the British merchant Cedarbank was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-26 north-west of Bergen in position 62°49'N, 04°10'E. 30 - survivors were picked up by the British destroyer HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and landed at Aalesund, Norway.

28 Apr 1940
HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 2030/28 for Molde. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN).

They arrived at Molde at 2130/29 where they were to take aboard the King of Norway, his government, almost 800 cases of gold. The passenger and gold were to be taken to Tromso. In addition, 117 survivors from several sunken British A/S trawlers were embarked for transport back to the U.K. (12)

1 May 1940
HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) arrived in the Malangen Fjord near Tromso early in the evening. (13)

2 May 1940
At 0115/2, HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN), HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), departed the Malangen Fjord near Tromso for Greenock.

At 1735/2, HMS Jackal was detached to Sullom Voe where she was to fuel and make repairs to her Asdic installation.

She rejoined HMS Glasgow and HMS Javelin at 1530/3.

They arrived at Greenock around 1700/4. (13)

6 May 1940

Convoy NS 2.

This convoy departed Greenock on 6 May 1940 and arrived in the Narvik area on 11 May 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following ships; Balzac (British, 5372 GRT, built 1920), Calumet (British, 7268 GRT, built 1923), Coxwold (British, 1124 GRT, built 1938) and Mashroba (British, 8324 GRT, built 1920).

Escort was provided by the British destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the French destroyers Boulonnais (Capitaine de Corvette (Lt.Cdr.) J.C.F. Champion) and Brestois (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) J.L.C. Kraft).

In the early hours of the 7th the transports Balzac and Coxwold ran aground south of Neist Light in the Little Minch. The Balzac was escorted by destroyer Brestois to Stornoway, arriving at 1330/7. Brestois then proceeded to Scapa Flow.

Coxwold proceeded to Scapa Flow escorted by Boulonnais and later also by Brestois. They arrived at 0630/8th, having being delayed by thick fog in the Pentland Firth.

At 0500/7 the transport Meta (British, 1578 GRT, built 1931) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy at 1500/7. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN).

On joining the convoy HMS Witherington was sent to Stornoway to provide A/S protection for the damaged transport Balzac. HMS Witherington arrived at Scapa Flow at 1300/9.

The important fuel stores shipped in the transport Coxwold were embarked on the British transport Ulster Monarch British, 3791 GRT, built 1929) which departed Scapa Flow at 2130/10 for Narvik. She was not escorted.

When the convoy arrived in the Narvik area HMS Jackal and HMS Javelin were ordered to return to Scapa Flow immediately. They departed the Narvik area for Scapa Flow at 0700/11. (12)

11 May 1940
Having departed the Narvik area at 0700/11 for Scapa Flow, the British destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) were ordered to go to the assistance of British troops which were at Mosjoen and were cut off German troops.

The troops embarked on a Norwegian coastal steamer and headed down Vefsenfjord to Sandessjoen where the destroyers met them.

The army commander Colonel Gubbins and 100 troops were embarked on HMS Jackal while the rest of the troops remained on the steamer which was escorted to Bodo by both destroyers.

En-route, HMS Jackal bombarded a German headquarters.

The troops, stores and ammunition were landed at Bodo at 1000/12.

The destroyers then continued their passage to Scapa Flow arriving there at 1750/13. (12)

14 May 1940
HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 1830/14 for Harwich.

They both ran over the D/G range at Inchkeith (Firth of Forth) the following day before continueing their passage to Harwich.

HMS Javelin arrived at Harwich on the 16th while HMS Jackal arrived on the 17th. Having joined HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) on the 16th for a patrol during the night. (12)

18 May 1940

Operation Quixote.

Cutting of underwater telephone lines between Scandinavia and the U.K.

On 18 May 1940 the auxiliary M/S trawlers HMS Cape Melville (Ch.Skr. A. Flaws, RNR), HMS Grampian (Lt.Cdr. A. Longmuir, RNR), HMS James Lay (Skr. W.H. Makings, RNR), HMS Milford Princess (T/Skr. J.W. Cook, RNR), HMS Milford Queen (T/Skr. F.J. Burgess, RNR) and HMS Pelton (Skr. J.A. Sutherland, RNR) departed Harwich to cut underwater telephone cables. They were escorted by the patrol vessel HMS Puffin (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) D.F. Beattie, RN). Cover for the operation was provided by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN).

21 May 1940
HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) returned to Harwich from operations. (10)

27 May 1940
HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) departed Harwich shortly after midnight. They returned later the same day.

[No further details available.]

28 May 1940
Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) made two trips to Dunkirk to evacuate British troops. (14)

28 May 1940
HMS Codrington (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) departed Harwich for patrol. Later they were ordered to proceed to Dunkirk to pick up troops.

En-route HMS Codrington, HMS Jaguar and HMS Javelin picked up thirty-three survivors from the British merchant vessel Abukir which had been sunk with troops on board she had taken off at Ostend, Belgium.

Apparently these three destroyers then proceeded to Dunkirk.

21 Jun 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Immingham for patrol. (15)

23 Jun 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol. (15)

27 Jun 1940
HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol. They had been relieved by HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) which had departed Immingham earlier that day. (15)

29 Jun 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol. (15)

1 Jul 1940
HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol. They had been relieved by HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) which had departed Immingham earlier that day. (16)

3 Jul 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol. (15)

5 Jul 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Immingham for patrol. (15)

7 Jul 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol. (15)

9 Jul 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Immingham for patrol and east coast convoy (FN 218) duty. (15)

11 Jul 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) returned to Immingham from patrol.

[Due to two pages being missed while photographing file ADM 199/375 some details for the month of July are currently missing. These missing pages will be photographed during the next trip to the National Archives at Kew by the editor of the Allied Warships Section. Unfortunately due to the 2020/2021 Corona Crisis it is currently not known when this trip can take place.] (15)

29 Jul 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) departed Immingham for patrol.

HMS Kelvin was sailed to patrol only during the night, she returned to Immingham the following day. (15)

30 Jul 1940
HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Immingham to reinforce HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) which were already on patrol. (15)

31 Jul 1940
HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) departed Immingham for patrol. She was to relieve HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN).

HMS Kelvin was joined for the night by HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN). (15)

17 Aug 1940
The auxiliary minelayers Menestheus (Capt. W.H.D. Friedberger, RN), Port Napier (Capt.(Retd.) J.N. Tait, CBE, DSC, RN), Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN), Southern Prince (A/Capt. E.M.C. Barraclough, RN) departed Port ZA (Loch Alsh) for minelaying mission SN 12.

They were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN).

HMS Firedrake was relieved by HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) on the 18th (she had sailed from Scapa Flow at 1030/18) after which HMS Firedrake proceeded to Scapa Flow.

The auxiliary minelayers returned to Port ZA shortly before 0100/19 escorted by HMS Inglefield and HMS Echo. HMS Javelin and HMS Jaguar proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived at 0630/19. (17)

24 Aug 1940
Having exchanged her 15" gun barrels, battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) departed the Rosyth Dockyard for Scapa Flow at 1900 hours. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN). (18)

25 Aug 1940
HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow around 0715 hours. (18)

26 Aug 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 0320 hours to reinfore the escort of convoy HX 65A from Cape Wrath to the Pentland Firth but apparently this was changed and they joined convoy OA 204 instead which came from Methil.

After their convoy escort duty the destroyers set course for Lerwick. (12)

27 Aug 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Lerwick at 1730 hours escorting the merchant vessel Lochnavar (British, 1523 GRT, built 1906) to Aberdeen following which the destroyers proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving on the 28th. (12)

28 Aug 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 1700/28 for an A/S hunt to a position 14 miles 360° from Sule Skerry. From there they carried out an anti-submarine sweep towards Sumburgh Head to search for a submarine sighted at 1200/28, ten nautical miles 270° from Sumburgh Head. Enemy course was reported as being 270°.

No A/S contact was obtained during the sweep and the destroyers returned to Scapa Flow at dawn on the 29th. (12)

31 Aug 1940

Convoy MP.


Convoy MP was part of the upcoming Dakar operation. The convoy departed Scapa Flow on 31 August 1940 for Freetown.

The convoy was made up of the troopships Ettrick (11279 GRT, built 1938), Kenya (9890 GRT, built 1930) and Sobieski (11030 GRT, built 1939). Escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Fiji (Capt. W.G. Benn, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ambuscade (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, DSC, RN). The next day the convoy was joined to the north of Ireland by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN), the destroyer HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and the Free French sloops (minesweepers) Commandant Dominé and Commandant Duboc which came from the Clyde.

At 1709/1 (zone -1), HMS Fiji was hit by a torpedo fired by the German submarine U-32 when about 40 nautical miles north-northeast of Rockall in position 58°10’N, 12°55’W. She then left the convoy 10 minutes later and set course for the Clyde. She was joined by the destroyer HMS Antelope soon afterwards. The forward boiler room and five adjacent were flooded and five ratings had been killed.

Around 2030 hours HMS Fiji and HMS Antelope were joined by the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN) and HMS Volunteer. Fiji and her escort arrived at the Clyde around 1700/3. After inspection it was estimated repairs would take three to four months.

At 1930 hours on 1 September 1940 the destroyers HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) to join HMS Fiji. Later they joined convoy's.

All destroyers that had been with the convoy parted company with the convoy on September 1st except for HMS Harvester which parted company with the convoy on the 3rd.

The place of HMS Fiji in the upcoming Dakar operation was taken by HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) which departed the Clyde for Freetown on 6 September.

The convoy, escorted by the two Free French sloops (minesweepers), arrived at Freetown on 14 September 1940.

4 Sep 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) arrived at the Cylde on the 4th together with HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN) and the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN). They had been escorting convoy TC 7.

HMS Javelin and HMS Jaguar both departed the Clyde again later the same day. HMS Javelin was to proceed to the Humber while HMS Jaguar was to proceed to Rosyth. (12)

10 Sep 1940
HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) conducted exercises off the Humber. (15)

12 Sep 1940
During the night of 12/13 September, HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN,) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) patrolled off the Humber. (15)

14 Sep 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off the Humber. (15)

15 Sep 1940
During the night of 15/16 September 1940, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), patrolled off the Humber. (15)

19 Sep 1940
During the night of 19/20 September 1940, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), patrolled off the Humber. (15)

20 Sep 1940
HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN) conducted exercises off the Humber. (15)

21 Sep 1940
During the night of 21/22 September 1940, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), patrolled off the Humber. (15)

24 Sep 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off the Humber. (15)

25 Sep 1940
During the night of 25/26 September 1940, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), patrolled off the Humber. (15)

28 Sep 1940
HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. W. Evershed, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off the Humber. (15)

30 Sep 1940
at 0800 hours, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), departed Immingham for Plymouth. (15)

1 Oct 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) arrived at Plymouth from Immingham. (16)

7 Oct 1940
Around 1530/7, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Plymouth. They returned around 0415/8. Presumably they had been on patrol in the Western Channel. (19)

10 Oct 1940

Operation Medium.


Bombardment of Cherbourg.

10 October 1940.

The battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Plymouth for a night bombardment of Cherbourg during the night of 10/11 October. She was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN).

A cover force was also sailed from Plymouth on the same day. This force was to provide cover to the east of the bombardment force and was made up of the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN), the British destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN), HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, DSC, RN and the Polish destroyers Garland (Cdr. K. Namiesniowski, ORP) and Burza (Cdr. A. Doroszkowski, ORP).

The light cruiser HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Portsmouth to provide cover for the operation to the west of the bombardment force.

A flotilla of MA/SB boats was sailed from Plymouth to provide anti E-boat protection. These were HMS MA/SB 40, HMS MA/SB 42, HMS MA/SB 43, HMS MA/SB 44, HMS MA/SB 45, HMS MA/SB 46 and HMS MA/SB 51.

During the bombardment HMS Revenge fired 120 rounds of 15” in eighteen minutes from range between 14000 and 16000 yards. Her escorting destroyers fired 801 rounds of 4.7” during the first four minutes of the bombardment and then formed a screen on the battleship.

Large fires were seen to erupt in the target area. Shore defences opened up as for being under air attack. The ships were fired on only after the bombardment had ceased. No ships were hit though despite the enemy fire being accurate.

The western cover group returned to Plymouth at 0800/11.

The bombardment force and the eastern cover group arrived at Portsmouth around the same time.

18 Nov 1940
With her refit completed, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), departed the Humber for Plymouth. (10)

20 Nov 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) arrived at Plymouth frm the Humber. (10)

22 Nov 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Plymouth [presumably for a patrol but we have been unable to find confirmation for this in documents].

They returned to Plymouth the next day. (20)

23 Nov 1940
HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN with Capt.(D.5) Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN on board), HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. W. Evershed, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) departed Plymouth at 2052.

They were to intercept a German convoy but nothing was sighted. Speed had been limited by defects in HMS Jackal. The destroyers returned to Plymouth at 1025/24. (20)

24 Nov 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN, with Capt.(D.5) Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN on board), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. W. Evershed, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Plymouth at 2150 to patrol between the Lizard and the Scillies Islands as three German destroyers had been reported to have left Brest and were thought to be operating off the South coast between 06'W and 01.30'W. They were intially ordered to return to Plymouth at 0930/25 but his order was cancelled at 1925/24.

Around midnight a group of three German destroyers (Z 4 / Richard Beitzen, Z 10 / Hans Lody and Z 20 / Karl Galster attacked a group of fishing trawlers near Wolf Rock. The Belgian trawler Marguetite Simonne was sunk and the British trawler Lent Lily was damaged.

Shortly afterwards they attacked a small convoy from which the Dutch merchant tanker Apollonia (2086 GRT, built 1931) was sunk and the Norwegian merchant vessel Stadion II (629 GRT, built 1914) was damaged.

The 5th destroyer flotilla however made no contact with the enemy despite that they swept towards Ushant to cut off the enemy when returning to Brest.

The destroyers were joined by HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) on the 25th. Jackal departed Plymouth at 1700/25. The Admiralty feared that German destroyers would carry out another raid during the night of 25/26 November.

During the night of 25/26 November Capt. D.5 swept with his 5 destroyers to a position to the west of Ushant.

The destroyers arrived back at Plymouth at 1030/26. (21)

27 Nov 1940
HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN, with Capt.(D.5) Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN on board), HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. W. Evershed, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Plymouth at 1750/27 for patrol.

28 Nov 1940
At 1556 hours, HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN, with Capt.(D.5) Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN on board), HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. W. Evershed, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), were ordered to patrol between Land's End and Start Point during the coming night. (21)

29 Nov 1940
At 0402 hours, Capt.(D.5) Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) was informed that gunfire had been reported off Prawle Point.

At 0553 hours, HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), who was operating together with HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN, with Capt.(D.5) Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN on board), reported sighting three unkown ships. One minute later another signal was received from HMS Jackal stating that HMS Javelin had been torpedoed.

At 0609 hours HMS Jackal engaged an enemy destroyer but she soon lost contact.

At 0637 hours HMS Jackal sent a signal asking for tugs and an air escort for her disabled sister-ship HMS Javelin

Three minutes before, at 0634 hours, HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), which was in company with HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. W. Evershed, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN), reported that they had a lost touch with the enemy after a short action.

At 0700 hours, HMS Kashmir reported that it was thought one of the enemy destroyers had been damaged.

At 0818 hours, HMS Jackal reported that HMS Javelin was still afloat but that her bow and stern had been blown off, two tugs were requested, one on either end.

At 0834 hours, HMS Kashmir, HMS Jersey and HMS Jupiter were ordered to screen HMS Javelin.

At 0850 hours the tug HMS Caroline Moller departed Falmouth followed at 0855 by HMS Retort which sailed from Plymouth.

Also at 0850 hours three Blenheim aircraft took off as air escort.

At 1010 hours the destroyer HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Dartmouth.

At 1039 hours HMS Jackal left for Plymouth with survivors from ships attacked by the German destroyers. She arrived at Plymouth at 1347 hours.

At 1419 hours HMS Kashmir reported that enemy aircraft had attacked them.

HMS Javelin in tow of two tugs arrived at Plymouth at 0425/30.

HMS Jersey had already arrived at 0150/30 followed by HMS Jupiter at 0239 hours.

HMS Kashmir and HMS Kipling arrived at 1340/30.

The German destroyers encountered were once again the Z 4 / Richard Beitzen, Z 10 / Hans Lody and Z 20 / Karl Galster. Before their encounter with the British destoyers they had sunk the British tug Aid (134 GRT, built 1914, five dead) and damaged the French tug Abeille XIV (126 GRT, built 1927. two dead). A barge that had been under tow by the Aid sank at 1145/29. Z 10 / Hans Lody was hit several times and all German destroyers had some splinter damage. (21)

9 Apr 1942

Convoy WS 17A.

This convoy departed Freetown on 9 April 1942 and arrived at Durban on 22 April 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), Domion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Duchess of Atholl (British, 20119 GRT, built 1928), Karanja (British, 9891 GRT, built 1931), Keren (British, 9890 GRT, built 1930), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1935), Rembrandt (British, 5559 GRT, built 1941), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. C. Coppinger, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), HMS Duncan (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN).

At 1800/12, the Dominion Monarch was detached. She proceeded to Capetown independently arriving there on 19 April.

At 1600/13, HMS Pakenham, HMS Duncan, HMS Active and HMS Anthony were detached to fuel at St.Helena from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Abbeydale.

At 0615/14, HMS Laforey and HMS Javelin were detached to fuel at St.Helena from the Abbeydale.

At 1515/14, HMS Pakenham, HMS Duncan, HMS Active and HMS Anthony rejoined the convoy. HMS Hermione, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout and HMS Inconstant were then detached to fuel at St.Helena from the Abbeydale.

At 1825/15, HMS Laforey and HMS Javelin rejoined the convoy.

At 1100/16, HMS Hermione, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout and HMS Inconstant rejoined the convoy.

At 1000/18, HMS Hermione discovered missing plating near her bow. She was to be docked to repair this damage.

At 0700/19, HMS Illustrious, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout and HMS Duncan were detached to Capetown where they arrived later the same day.

At 1000/19, HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) took over the escort of the convoy. HMS Malaya, HMS Pakenham, HMS Javelin, HMS Inconstant, HMS Active and HMS Anthony were then detached to Capetown where they arrived later the same day. The flag of Rear-Admiral Syfret was then transferred from HMS Malaya to HMS Illustrious.

At 0815/20, HMS Hermione arrived at Simonstown. She was then docked for repairs to her bow.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 22 April 1942 still escorted by HMS Devonshire.

28 Apr 1942

Operation Ironclad, the landing on Madagascar.

The main body of the assault forces sailed from South Africa in two convoys, these were;

Convoy Y, Slow convoy.

This convoy departed Durban on 25 April 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Empire Kingsley (British, 6996 GRT, built 1941), Mahout (British, 7921 GRT, built 1925), Martand (British, 7967 GRT, built 1925), Nairnbank (British, 5155 GRT, built 1925), Thalatta (Norwegian, 5671 GRT, built 1922) as well as the landing ship HMS Bachaquero (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, RNR) and the RFA tankers Derwentdale (8398 GRT, built 1941), Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942).

On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Duncan ( Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), corvettes HMS Auricula (fitted for mineweeping) (Lt.Cdr. S.L.B. Maybury, RN), HMS Freesia (T/Lt. R.A. Cherry, RNR), HMS Fritillary (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Barker, RD, RNR), HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR), HMS Nigella (fitted for minesweeping) (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR), HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) and the minesweepers HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR), HMS Cromer (Cdr. R.H. Stephenson, DSC, RN), HMS Poole (Lt. W.L.G. Dutton, RNR) and HMS Romney (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN).

The transport City of Hong Kong (British, 9678 GRT, built 1924) had been delayed and sailed on 26 April 1942 escorted by the corvettes HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) and HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR).

Convoy Z, Fast convoy.

This convoy departed Durban on 28 April 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Duchess of Atholl (British, 20119 GRT, built 1928), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), HMS Karanja (British, 9891 GRT, built 1931), HMS Keren (British, 9890 GRT, built 1930), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), HMS Royal Ulsterman (British, 3244 GRT, built 1936), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939) and Winchester Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

Upon departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN).

The convoys met around noon on 3 May. Earlier that day the aircaft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral D.W. Boyd, CBE, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) had joined the 'Z' convoy.

Both convoys had a good passage so far thanks also to the favourable weather conditions. From the 'Y' convoy all escorts had been able to fuel from the RFA tanker Easedale. Also HMS Hermione and the destroyers from the 'Z'-convoy were now able to fuel.

By dusk on 3 May the fast convoy had closed to within about 4 miles from the slow convoy and it maintained this position until the final approach on the following afternoon.

At noon on the 4th of May, the flagship was some 95 mils west of Courrier Bay and at 1430/4, Group I, made of of HMS Ramillies, HMS Indomitable, HMS Illustrious, HMS Hermione and seven destroyers parted company with the convoys and steered for the covering position near Cape Amber. At 1500/4 the signal was made to proceed in execution with the orders and Groups II to V formed up for the final approach.

The composition of these groups was as follows;
II; HMS Laforey, one corvette, two minesweeping corvettes and the four minesweepers.

III; HMS Devonshire, Winchester Castle, HMS Royal Ulsterman and one destroyer.

IV; HMS Keren, HMS Karanja Sobieski, Derwentdale, HMS Bachaquero and three corvettes.

V; HMS Pakenham, two corvettes, 10 transports, store ships and auxliaries.

Final approach.

Capt. Oliver of HMS Devonshire was the senior officer. It was his task of bringing the convoy of 34 ships safely to its anchorage. It had 88 miles to go, most of it in the dark.

At 1800/4, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning and HMS Anthony were detached to make landfall of Nosi Amambo, and proceeded to the south-east. At 1950/4 a suspicious vessel was reported and the division was about to attack with torpeoes at 2021/4 when it was seen to be a distant island (sic !). Twenty minutes later shallow sounding raised doubts as to their position, but at 2100/4 a white light was seen on Noi Anambo and at 2122 the moon rose silhouetting a tower on the island. Half an hour later the first buoy was laid (ZA) and course was shaped for Nosi Fati shoal, which was found without difficulty, both land and beakers showing up well in the moonlight.

At 2310/4 No.1 main channel buoy was laid and HMS Lightning anchored off it. At 2340/4, she swithched on the prearranged lights (green, white, red) to seaward. HMS Anthony then went to inform the convoy that these buoy were in place, and the Laforey went on laying the remainder in the 15-mile channel to Nosi Hara.

This was an easy task, as the channel between Nosi Hari and Nosi Anjombavola could be seen clearly in the moonlight, and after dropping the last buoy, she turned back at 0003/5. The convoy could be seen just entering the channel. Its ships were clearly visible to the naked eye. HMS Laforey then stood to the westward. At 0026/5, HMS Laforey reported ' Channel OK, no corss set ' to the Devonshire and Keren, then turning, took station astern of the minesweepers.

HMS Devonshire, meanwhile, with group IV and V astern, had been groping her way in. It was quite dark at 184/4, but star sights showed that the north-easterly set allowed for had in effect been running the other way during the afternoon carrying her some 5 miles to the south-westward of her intended position. She altered coursev without signal at 1900/4 to correct this and her screen not immediately observing the alteration, got a long way out of station. At 2100/4 the high land on Cape Sebastian was sighted, and a reasonably good fix was obtained by visual bearing and RDF range. More land was sighted after moonrise, and at 2150/4 the jaged peak of Windsor Castle was identified 40 miles away and an accurate fix placed the Devonshire 298°, 18 miles from position ZB. Course was altered to 118° at 2200/4 and speed was reduced to 8.5 knots.

At 2312/4 another good fix showed that she had been set 2.5 miles to the northward, placing her 360°, 6 miles from position ZB, and course was altered to 138° at 2318/4. Twenty minutes later the lights displayed by HMS Lightning were sighted so navigation was no longer difficult. At 2342/4 HMS Anthony passed close alongside and reported there was no set though the outer dan buoy had drifted to the south-westward. Course was altered to follow the minesweepers which could be seen clearly ahead and HMS Lightning was passed 6 cables abeam to starboard at 0008/5. This showed that HMS Devonshire had passed position ZB 33 minutes ahead of time. The right hand edge of Nosi Hara selected as a leading mark was clearly visible, bearing 114°, but it was not easy to follow the passage as several of the dan buoys had broken adrift and it wa difficult to ee which minesweepers were sweeping. Actually their work had come to a sudden halt. Owing to the out dan buoy being to the south-west of it intended position, the mineweepers had gone too close to Nosi Fati shoal and all four had parted their sweepers. Nothing was known of this at the time, and it was supposed that the channel was being swept according to plan, though in fact it was not being swept at all. Fortunately no mines had been laid so far to seaward.

At 0130/5, the ships in group III passed between Nosi Hari and Nosi Anjombavola. Before them lay Ambararata Bay. At 0154/5 the Winchester Castle came noiselessly to an anchor, the Royal Ulsterman and HMS Lightning standing by to the north-eastward of her. The troops were all drawn up and her assault craft were lowered and manned. HMS Devonshire anchored some 3.5 cables to the eastward of Nosi Hara, ready to open fire on the enemy's batteries under Windsor Castle. She lay invisible against the background of the island. Through unlit and tortuous channels studded with rocks and shoals the ships had been brought safely to their anchorage. Silently, Groups IV and V entered and took up their berths, anchoring some 10 minutes earlier than planned.

Assault landing, 5 May 1942.

While the assault craft were being manned, HMS Romney and HMS Cromarty accurately and steadfastly led by HMS Freesia commened to sweep the 8-mile channel from the Winchester Castle's berth to position JJ. They were closely followed by HMS Laforey leading the Winchester Castle's flotilla with HMS Lightning and HMS Royal Ulsterman some distance astern. During this passage about 17 mines were cut. At 0300/5 one detonated in the Romney's sweep, but no sign of life came from the French garrison ashore. A quarter of an hour later another mine exploded. All waited for the expected fusillade, but to their surprise the quiet of the summer night remained undisturbed. The garrison was evidently sleeping soundly, and at 0330/5 the dispersal point (JJ) was reached and the flotilla moved off towards the 'Red' beaches, while HMS Royal Ulsterman silently anchored and commenced landing her cobles. Meanwhile the flotillas from the Keren and Karanja had left at 0253/5 and 0319/5 for the 'Green' and 'White' beaches respectively.

The navigation of the landing craft was as good as that of their parent ships. All made accurate landings and the assault was carried out exactly as planned. Despite the explosions of the mines, complete surprise was achieved, and all three beaches and No.7 battery were carried without loss. 'Blue' beach was then assaulted. Here opposition was experienced, but it was overcome by troops which had landed at 'White' beach, who crossed the peninsula and took the defenders in the rear.

Simultaneously with these landings, HMS Hermione was carrying out her diversion on the east coast, consisting of a demonstration with delay action smoke floats, rockets, and the firing of star shell to burst over the beach at the head of Ambodi Vahibe Bay. She then established a patrol of the entrance to Diego Saurez Bay which she maintained for the rest of the day without incident, except for a short engagement (0643 to 0655/5) with No.1 coast defence batterey, Oranjiia, which she outranged at 18000 yards.

Half an hour after the initial landing, air attacks by the FAA developed on the Vichy-French shipping in Diego Saurez harbour and on Antsirane aerodrome. The former, carried out by 18 Swordfish from HMS Illustrious armed with torpedoes, bombs and depth charges, proved very effective. The armed merchant cruiser Bougainville was hit by a torpedo, the submarine Beveziers was sunk by depth charges and the sloop D'Entrecasteaux, another submarine and AA batteries were narrowly missed by bombs. Fighter protection was provided by 8 Martlets, which demonstrated ovr the town during the attack. One Swordfish was shot down during the attack.

At the same time six Albacores from HMS Indomitable carried out a low level bombing attack on Antsirane airport. Here, again, the surprise was complete and the hangars, which were full of aircraft, were left burning. This was followed by an attack with incendiary bullets by eight sea Hurricanes.

After these main air attacks, three Swordfish dropped dummy parachutists in a valley 6 mines west-south-west of Ambodi Vahibe Bay, to strengthen the effect of the diversion by HMS Hermione. Fighter patrols were then established over the town, beaches and transports, and an A/S patol off the entrance to Diego Saurez harbour.

At 0545/5 the ' success ' signal from No.7 battery was received and Keren, Karanja, Sobieski, Winchester Castle and Bachaquero proceeded to shift to the main anchorage off Ambararata Bay. The three former were still loading their second flight of landing craft but Winchester Castle and Bachaquero at once got under way. By that time it was broad daylight and they were seen by HMS Devonshire advancing up the swept channel. Just at that moment Capt. Oliver received a signal from HMS Romney that she had exploded two mines just north of the anchorage. Capt. Oliver therefore ordered the two ships to stop and the ordered to move was then cancelled until the new anchorage was swept.

By 0620/5, about 2000 troops had been landed but the turn round for the landing craft was very long. Reports of a successful advance and the capture of prisoners began to come in.

At 0750/5, group IV, followed by the remainder of the convoy, shifted berth to the main anchoragem which by that time had been swept by HMS Cromer, HMS Poole, HMS Auricula and HMS Nigella. No mines had been found in the actual anchorage, but about a mile to the north-west, HMS Cromer and HMS Auricula cut seven in quick succession and cut six more and detonated one in the same position shortly afterwards.

Conditions in the anchorage by this time were far from pleasant. The south-easterly wind had increased to force 8 and was raising a heavy sea. Ships were dropping second anchors and the handling and loading of landing craft was difficult but non the less disembarkation continued at full speed.

Sweeping was still continuing in the vicinity of position HH, when at 1138/5, HMS Auricula struck a mine and broke her back. As she had no casualties and was in no immediate danger of sinking, she remained where she was, anchored by her sweep. By this time the minesweepers had swept up no less than 35 mines but half of them were now out of action with defects to their gear. As it was imperative to have sufficient minesweepers with the fleet to proceed into Diego Saurez after its capture it was decided to cease further minesweeping for the moment.

Landing continued throughout the day. Two or three machine-gun attacks were made on the beaches by enemy fighter aircraft, but FAA patrols provided effective protection and, thanks to the initial blow to the aerodrome no attacks were made on the transports.

At 1354/5, an enemy post on Windsor Castle, becoming a nuisance was engaged by HMS Laforey. Shortly afterwards a white flag and signals of surrender were observed and fire was ceased. However, on advancing, the British troop wee bombed by the French with hand granades.

Considerable difficulty was experienced in finding a suitable beach for the Bachaquero but a spot close to 'Red' beach was eventually found. She had to approach it through the minefield but was swept in by HMS Cromarty who cut two mines adrift, and she landed her cargo in 14 minutes.

At sunset landing operations were suspended till sunrise, in order to avoid damage to the landing craft. Before dark destroyers and corvettes took up their stations as A/S patrols of the entrances to the harbour, and orders were given to abandon HMS Auricula for the night.

Operations of Group I, 4 to 6 May 1942.

Meanwhile, outside the harbour the night had passed without incident. Group I, made up of HMS Ramillies, HMS Indomitable, HMS Illustrious, HMS Hermione, HMS Paladin, HMS Panther, HMS Lookout, HMS Javelin, HMS Inconstant, HMS Duncan and HMS Active, after the assault landing force parted company (4th May), had continued to the north-eastwar, HMS Hermione being detached at 1700/4 to the east coast to carry out her diversion next morning. The remainder patrolled up and down in the vicinity of position 'AA' till 2200/4, when course was shaped towards Nosi Fati and towards midnight the ships in Group V could be seen bearing 070°, distant 11 miles, steering for position 'ZC'. At 0015/5, land loomed up ahead and it was clear that the force was further to the south-eastward than had been aniticipated, course was altered the the north-east under the stern of the convoy at 0020/5.

Shortly before 0300/5, HMS Anthony was sighted. She reported that the channel had been buoyed without difficulty, that at 0015/15 Winchester Castle was approaching position 'ZC' with the remainder of the ships closed up, and that conditions for landing were very good.

The time had come for the carriers to get to work, and at 0300/5 they, with HMS Paladin, HMS Panther, HMS Javelin and HMS Inconstant were detached to operate independently under Rear-Admiral Boyd, some 35 miles were of Cape Amber, while HMS Ramilles with HMS Lookout, HMS Duncan and HMS Active kept within visual supporting distance.

THe carrier had barely moved off when the first news was received by the Admiral from the ships inshore. It was a signal time 0318/5 from HMS Laforey reporting that mines had been cut near position 'JJ'. A long pause then followed. About 0440/5 star shell was seen, which were taken to be from HMS Hermione.

At 0540/5 another signal came in from HMS Laforey reported no sign of oppostion on the shore. Further signals from her reported No.7 battery captured with negligible opposition, native troops surrendering, and the advance continuing. No.8 battery could not be found and was apparently non-existent, and the situation was under complete control. Later it was reported that mines were delaying the move to the main anchorage.

Signals were also received from HMS Hermione and the carriers, reporting the progress of their activities. At 0836/5, HMS Illustrious reported that there were no submarines remaining in Diego Saurez harbour and all ships were then warned that most likely two of them would be at sea in the area.

At 0719/5, a reply on the ultimatum was received from the French stain that they would defend to the last.

By 0720/5, the Combined Commander-in-Chief felt that the assault had made a very good start. Troops were advancing, prisoners taken, HMS Hermione diversion had proceeded satisfacorily, air attacks had been successful both on the aerodrome and on ship. On the debit side it was clear that unswept mines in Courrier Bay were causing delays in disembarkation, and the rejection of the ultimatum showed that opposition might be expected to stiffen.

During the forenoon, though news was somewhat scanty it seemed that the disembarkation was proceeding steadily, and the assault was advancing to their objectives it was evident that resistance was increasing. Rear-Admiral Boyd, confirmed that there were no submarines in harbour and that a sloop was seen undeway. She was later attacked by Swordfish aircraft from HMS Illustrious. She was hit forward and was beached but she remained in action.

At noon on the 5th, Major-General Sturges, who was on board HMS Ramillies expressed a wish to disembark, so the flagship shaped course for position 'ZB'. At 1420/5 the General and hi staff were transferred to HMS Anthony for passage ashore. The information on board HMS Ramillies at that time was that Headquarter, No.5 Commando was east of Andrakaka village and that they were advancing with very little resistance.

HMS Ramillies then proceeded towards a position some 88 miles to the westward of Cape Amber, being joined by the carriers at sunset. A message was received that the attack on the Antsirane position was held up but that a fresh assault would be made at daylight. Air support was asked for and this was arranged.

During the night of 5/6 May 1942, Group I cruiser in the vicinity of position 12°S up to 100 miles from Cape Amber. At 0148/6, a situation report timed 2200/5 was received. It stated that the advance of troops had been delayed but that new attacks had been planned for the following day.

On receipt of this signal, HMS Devonshire was ordered to join HMS Hermione to the eastward of Diego Saurez to give supporting fire to upcoming assaults.

At 0400/6, the carriers and their escort were detached to carry out flying operations, and the bombing of enemy positions south of Antsirane started at 0500/6, followed up by machine-gun attacks by Martlets at 0530/6. A bombing attack was also launched on the aerodrome at first light. Enemy Potez 63 bombers were engaged over the town by fighters from HMS Illustrious, which shot down two for certain, and probably a third. Fighters from HMS Indomitable attacked the sloop D'Entrecasteaux, which was firing on out troops. The sloop was set on fire.

As it was uncertain when entry into the harbour of Diego Saurez would be possible, Rear-Admiral Syfret decided to refuel HMS Ramillies and her destroyer screen after detaching the carriers. The destroyers were then to swap places with the ones escorting the carriers so that these could also refuel. They accordingly proceeded to Ambararata Baym anchoring near position ZD at 0722/6. Twenty minutes later HMS Auricula broke in two and sank, while attempts were being made by HMS Freesia to tow her to shallow water. No life was lost.

The general situation at 0900/6 was as follows; HMS Devonshire and HMS Hermione were concentrated east of Diego Saurez, and the minesweepers HMS Cromer, HMS Cromarty, HMS Romney, HMS Nigella had also proceeded to this area. No report had been received of the progress of the land assault on Antsirane. At 0600/6, HMS Lightning had bombarded an enemy machine-gun nest which had been re-estalished on Windsor Castle. HMS Pakenham also fired a few rounds on this target. HMS Laforey from position 'JJ' was just opening fire on the D'Entrecasteaux, which had extinguished the fire caused by the air attack and was still flying her battle ensign.

At 1009/6, HMS Laforey reported the sloop again on fire with ammunition exploding. She then joined HMS Lightning near 'Red' beach and with her bombarded a position south of Antsirane.

During the forenoon, 6th May, no information was forthcoming as to the progress of the assault, and it was not until 1250/6 that the Admiral learnt that it had failed. Of the situation as it appeared that afternoon the Admiral says: At about 1400/6 the General arrived on board. He was hot, begrimed and unhappy. Things were not going well, he said. French resistance was heavier then expected and they appeared to be well organized and equipped.

The Admiral offered the General " any and all assistance " the fleet could give. The enemy's position was outside the range of the Ramillies and cruisers guns, but aircraft bombing was promised. Then came a suggestion which had a substantial effect. The General asked if it would be possible to put 20 or 30 seamen ashore on the Antsirane Peninsula to create a diversion in the enemy's rear. It was decided to try to land 50 marines there from a destroyer. Assistance might be forthcoming from No.5 Commano which was in control of Andrakaka Peninsula, but this would depend on their finding boats to cross Port Nievre.

At was then 1430/6and the party had to be collected, a destroyer told off and a passage of 100 miles to be accomplished. The Admiral recommended that the hour for the attack should be put off till 2030 hours. HMS Anthony was called alongside and instructions were given to her Commanding Officer, Lt.Cdr. Hodges and to Captain Price, Royal Marines who was to lead the landing party. The General then left the flagship in order to organise the night attack by the 17th Brigade. The 50 marines were embarked in HMS Anthony by 1530/6, one hour ater the decision to make the ettempt - and at 1545/6 she cast off. The Admiral then proceeded to sea in HMS Ramillies, keeping within 45 miles of position 'ZB' in order to facilitate wireless communication with the Army.

The impression left on Rear-Admiral Syfret after the General's visit was that the intended quick capture of Diego Saurez was a 90 per cent failure. The night attack, planned in a hurry, to be carried out by tired troops against very strong positions, had only a small chance of success. Prolonged operations, which we so much wished to avoil, was the unpleasant alternative. The Anthony' chance of success the Rear-Admiral assessed at about 50 per cent though his advisers thought only 15 per cent. They thought that the Royal Marines would not survive the night. The next few hours were not going to be happy ones they thought.

Meanwhile the landing on the beaches had continued throughout the day. By 1700/6, 10000 men were ashore.

The capture of Antsirane, 6 May 1942.

After leaving Ambararata Bay at high speed, HMS Anthony ran into a heavy sea. Most of the marines were sick - a sorry start for the task before them.

Cape Amber was abeam at 1805/6, course was altered to 170° a quarter of an hour later and speed was reduced to 13 knots. Thanks to echo sounding and RDF little difficulty was experienced in making the entrance to Diego Saurez Harbour, and speed was increased to 22 knots at 2001/6 when 1 mile from the entrance. The ship was apparently unobserved till she was through Oranjia Pass and half a mile to the westward, when fire was opened by Nos. 2, 4 and 5 batteries and later by No. 1 battery. About 25 rounds were fired. HMS Anthony replied briskly with her after 4.7" guns (the two foremost would not bear), the port pom-pom and Oerlikon, and the enemy ceased fire at 2018/6, when course was altered to 212° short of Nosi Langor.

It had been intended to go alongside the deep water quay, port side to, where it was hoped men from No.5 Commando would be waiting ti help berth the ship. They had failed, however, to find any boats to bring them across from Andrakaka, and in the darkness the jetty was overshot. HMS Anthony turned round and an attempt was made to go alongside starboard side to, but a strong off-shore wind prevented this so with supreme skill Lt.Cdr. Hodges held his stern against the jetty long enough for Captain Price to get his men ashore. Snipers were firing from the jetty and the wooded slopes from the eastward, but a constant stream of bright tracer from pom-pom, Oerlikon, Lewis and Bren guns evidently disconcerted them, and by the time the Marines disembarked the majority had ceased fire. HMS Anthony, having done her part, left at high speed. The barreries at Oronjia opened fire on her, but she was not hit, though some of the rounds fell rather close. She replied with rapid salvos from the whole gun armament. No.1 battery continued to fire till she was about 3 miles from the harbour entrance, when course was shaped to the northward to return to Ambararata Bay.

Meanwhile, Captain Price and his Marines - left entirely to their own devices, with no means of retreat - were groping their way south through the dockyard. In spite of fires still burning after the raids by FAA aircraft, it was very dark and they missed the turning to the eastward by which they had meant to enter the town. Progress was delayd by having to spread to avoid heavy casualties from rifle and machine-gun fire. For some time a high wall on their left forced them to parallel the town, but eventually they found a gap in it and Captain Price led them over a very high bank. It was a rough scramble which brought them to a wall and through a stiff wire fence into the compund of the artillery General's house. Captain Price occupied it with No.1 platoon while Lieutenant Powell, with the other platoon formed another strong point a few hundred yards down the road. Attempts to advertise the diversion by fires had little success as the houses seemed to be under construction and had nothing in them to burn.

Lieutenant Powell soon reached what proved to be the naval depot. A feeble fire was opened on his party, they replied with hand grenades, on which the defenders, headed by the Commandant of the barracks, proceeded to surrender. Lieutenant Powell had barely accepted the surrender when the drummer sounded off a call and was immediately 'overwhelmed' for his treachery by a posse of marines. The Commandant then explained that the call was the 'cease fire'. Apologies were made and accepted.

In the barracks were found three British Army officers with 50 other ranks, three FAA personnel, and a British agent who was awaiting execution next morning. Two or three thousand rifles and some heavy machine-guns were found in the artillery headquarters.

to Captain Price's astonishment crowds then appeared who wished to surrender, both from the naval headquarters as from the artillery depot. Rifle and machine-gun fire was opened on his party periodically from the right flank but this caused no appreciable inconvenience.

Meanwhile, the attack from the south by the 17th and 29th Brigades had commenced at 2030/6. The General had finally decided to use both brigades. Firing as sporadic until the success signal from the town showed that the Marines had landed. Then the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers pressed home their attac and by 0300/7, Brigadier Festing was able to report that he was in complete possession of the town and its defences, and had received the personal surrender of the naval and military commanders and staffs. Rear-Admiral Syfret was of opinion that, on hearing the firing in the town, the men in the trenches made for the town to look after their homes and belongings, thus simplifying the task of our troops. Be that as it may, the town was in British hands that night, a result largely due to the success of the hazardous enterprise launched suddenly at the enemy's back door, and to the splendid leadership of both Captain Price and Lieutenant Powell as well as the fine qualities displayed by the whole landing party.

By 0800/7, the work of sorting out the prisoners was in full swing.

Occupation of Diego Saurez, 7 May 1942.

Whilst affairs in Antsirane were taking this happy turn, Rear-Admiral Syfret was cruising to the south-west of a line 300° from Nosi Fati, while the aircraft carrier to the north-eastward were carrying out flying operations in support of the night attack. The first indication or a possible success reached the Admiral at 2129/6, a signal from HMS Anthony reporting that she had accomplished her task successfully.

No news from the Army came in until 0103/7, when a requist came in for ship and air support at 0900/7 for an attack on Oronjia Peninsula by the 29th Brigade. From this it was clear that the night attack had succeeded. HMS Ramillies then shaped course to join HMS Devonshire and HMS Hermione to the eastward of te Oronjia Peninsula, in readiness to bombard.

During the night these were two submarine alarms. At 2345/6, HMS Genista reported a contact, 285°, 4 miles from Nosi Hara, She attacked with a pattern of 10 depth-charges before losing it at 0111/7. A search by HMS Pakenham, HMS Laforey and corvettes failed to regain contact.

At early dawn, 0504/7, a Swordfish from HMS Illustrious sighted a submarine, which proved to be the Le Heros, on the surface off Voailava Point, the northern entrance to Courrier Bay and immediately sank her with depth charges. 6 Officers and 44 ratings were picked up by HMS Pakenham and HMS Jasmine three hours later some 4 miles west of the position of the attack.

Meanwhile HMS Ramillies had joined HMS Devonshire and HMS Hermione at 0625/7. The squadron formed line ahead in the order Ramillies, Devonshire and Hermione. They were screened by HMS Paladin, HMS Panther, HMS Lightning and HMS Active. They were ready to open fire at 0900/7.

Then a message came in from the Army stating that the reorganisation of units in Antsirande had necessitated a revised plan, and the 17th Brigade would commence the attack on Oranjia Peninsula at noon/7. Bombardment was requisted as soon as possible after 1000/7, unless and ultimatum to surrender was accepted by the French. Orders were therefore given to open fire at 1030/7m but at 1003/7 came a signal that the chances of surrender seemed good and requesting a further postponement of action. The Admiral, however, was averse to keeping the Fleet steaming up and down in dangerous waters, and decided to commence a 15 minute bombardment ' to encourage the enemy to surrender'.

At 1040/7, fire was opened accordingly from a range of 20000 to 21000 yards, in order to keep outside the maximum range (18000 yards) of the 6.6" guns of No.1 battery, which was engaged by HMS Ramillies and HMS Lightning. Spotting aircraft failed to arrive and firing was carried out under very difficult condition, against targets seen only as the crests of a gently sloping ridge of hills, but despite this hanicap out of 23 15" shells fired, six fell in the immediate vicinity of the battery and quarters.

Great difficulty was experienced in spotting te fall of HMS Lightning's shot at this long range, and she fired only a few rounds. HMS Hermione fired half a dozen rounds at a battery which she had reported the previous day, but it was in thickly wooded country, and she was unable to identify it with certainty. HMS Devonshire did not fire at all, partly owing to the interpretation placed on signals received from the Army, and partly on accoint of the Admiral's instructions to conserve ammunition during the preliminary bombardment. Ten minutes after fire was opened, a message that Oronjia Peninsula had surrendered was reeived, and the bombardment ceased.

This ended the fighting. By 1620/7 the four minesweepers which had been standing by since the day before had swept the channel and harbour. At 1700/7, HMS Ramillies, HMS Hermione, HMS Paladin and HMS Lightning, entered Diego Saurez harbour. A bare 60 hours had elapsed since the initial landing in Courrier Bay.

The slow convoy had already sailed from Ambararata Bay at 1600/7 and the fast convoy followed the next morning. Both anchoring in Baie des Francais in the afternoon of the 8th. Rear-Admiral Boyd in HMS Indomitable also arrived on the morning of the 8th. When 7 miles to the eastward of Oranjia Pass she was attacked by a submarine - subsequently identified as the Monge - whose torpedo passed 50 yards ahead of the ship. HMS Active, joined later by HMS Panther, carried out two counter-attacks, which the wreckage and oil brought ti the surface proved to have been successful.

HMS Illustrious and HMS Devonshire remained at sea for a further 24 hours to provide fighter and A/S protection till 0800/9 when the joined the remainer of the force in Diego Saurez Bay.

(22)

5 May 1942
Took part in the landings at Madagascar. (14)

19 May 1942
The following vessels departed Diego Saurez for Kilindini; aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral D.W. Boyd, CBE, DSC, RN), HMS Illustrious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and the minesweepers HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR), HMS Cromer (Cdr. R.H. Stephenson, DSC, RN), HMS Poole (Lt. W.L.G. Dutton, RNR) and HMS Romney (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN).

22 May 1942
HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral D.W. Boyd, CBE, DSC, RN), HMS Illustrious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR), HMS Cromer (Cdr. R.H. Stephenson, DSC, RN), HMS Poole (Lt. W.L.G. Dutton, RNR) and HMS Romney (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN) all arrived at Kilindini from Diego Saurez.

11 Jun 1942

Operation Vigorous.

Convoy MW 11 from ports in the Eastern Mediterranean to Malta.

Operation Vigorous in the Eastern Mediterranean took place at the same time of Operation Harpoon in the Western Mediterranean.

11 June 1942.

On 11 June 1942, a diversionary convoy, MW 11C, departed Port Said for Malta. It was made up of the following transports; Aagtekerk (Dutch, 6811 GRT, built 1934), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Calcutta (British, 8063 GRT, built 1940) and Rembrandt (Dutch, 8126 GRT, built 1941).

The convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Airedale (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN), HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN) and HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN).

The four transports all had an MTB in tow. These were HMS MTB 259, HMS MTB 261, HMS MTB 262 and HMS MTB 264.

The convoy proceeded eastwards and on 12 June the convoy was joined while near Alexandria by the escort destroyer HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN).

12 June 1942.

On 12 June 1942, convoy MW 11A departed Haifa for Malta. It was made up of the following transports; Ajax (British, 7540 GRT, built 1931), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), City of Pretoria (British, 8049 GRT, built 1937), Elizabeth Bakke (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937) and Princess Marguerite (Canadian, 5875 GRT, built 1925).

On depature from Haifa this part of the convoy was escorted by the detroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO and Bar, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC and Bar, RN).

Also on 12 June 1942, convoy MW 11B departed Port Said to join up with convoy MW 11A. It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Bulkoil (American (tanker), 8071 GRT, built 1942) and Potaro (British, 5410, built 1940).

It was escorted by the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN).

13 June 1942.

Convoy MW 11C turned back eastward after dark on the 12th and joined convoys MW 11A and MW 11B near Alexandria on the 13th. The Hunt-class escort destroyers escorting convoy MW 11C were sent to Alexandria to fuel.

The transport City of Calcutta had been damaged by a near miss at 2100/12 while the convoy was still proceeding to the west. She had been detached and was now escorted to Tobruk by HMS Croome and HMS Exmoor. The four MTB's that were in tow of the four merchant ships of convoy MW 11C, were slipped and also sent to Tobruk due to the bad weather conditions. MTB 259 however was damaged and sunk.

The transport Elizabeth Bakke was unable to keep up with the convoy and was therefore detached from convoy MW 11A to return to Alexandria. The decoy ship Centurion joined the convoy from Alexandria. This ship was disguised as a battleship.

The destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, DSO, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. N.H.G. Austen, RN) and HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, RN) departed Alexandria in the afternoon to relieve all the fleet destroyers which were with the convoy at that time. The rescue ships Antwerp (British, 2957 GRT, built 1920) and Malines (British, 2969 GRT, built 1921) took passage to the convoy with these destroyers. The destroyers they were to relieve were then to proceed to Alexandria to fuel. The corvettes HMS Delphinium (Cdr.(Retd.) R.L. Spalding, RN), HMS Erica (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Riley, RNR), HMS Primula (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.H. Fuller, RNR) and HMS Snapdragon (T/Lt. P.H. Potter, RNR) also joined the convoy escort from Alexandria.

At 1730/13 the Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron, which was in overal command, sailed from Alexandria in HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) with HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, DSO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, fling the flag of Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers: HMAS Napier, HMAS Nestor, HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin, HMS Inconstant, HMS Fortune, HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Hotspur and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton, HMS Airedale, HMS Aldenham, HMS Beaufort, HMS Eridge, HMS Hurworth and HMS Tetcott (Lt. R.H. Rycroft, RN).

14 June 1942.

HMS Erica had to be detached to Mersa Matruh during night of 13th/14th due to defects.

The escort destroyers HMS Croome and HMS Exmoor rejoined the convoy at daylight coming from Tobruk.

The transport Aagtekerk was unable to keep up with the convoy and was ordered to proceed to Tobruk escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Primula. She was later attacked by aircraft, set on fire and had to be grounded near Tobruk. She was later declared a total loss.

The minesweepers HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR) and HMS Seaham (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Brett, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Tobruk.

During the afternoon and evening the convoy and escort were heavily bombed. The transport Bhutan was hit and sank while the transport Potaro was damaged but she was able to remain with the convoy. The rescue ships picked up crew and passengers from the Bhutan following which they parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Tobruk.

In the early evening it was reported that Italian warships had left Taranto.

15 June 1942.

Rear-Admiral Vian ordered the convoy to turn back at 0145/15 so that an air attack could launched on the enemy fleet before contact could be made. During the night of the 14th/15th the convoy was constantly illuminated by aircraft flares and was also attacked by E-Boats and submarines. HMS Newcastle was hit forward by an E boat (S 56) torpedo around 0300/15, her speed being reduced to 24 knots and her forward turret was put out of action. HMS Hasty was torpedoed and damaged also byan E boat (S 55) at 0525/15 and later had to be scuttled by HMS Hotspur which also rescued her crew, only 12 of the crew of HMS Hasty were lost.

At 0630/15 the convoy turned west again, but had to turn back to the east at 0930/15 when the enemy was only 100 miles to the west and air attacks had not developed. At 1115/6 a Beaufort torpedo bomber striking force reported hits on the two Littorio battleships, and the Commander in Chief Mediterranean ordered the convoy to turn westward once again. However the enemy continued to proceed to the south-east, apparently not reduced in speed. Rear-Admiral Vian, therefore, maintained his course to the eastward.

There were heavy air attacks with mainly Ju-88's and Ju-87's throughout the day and torpedo bombers attacked at dusk. Both Centurion and HMS Birmingham were damaged, but were able to continue. HMS Airedale was hit and she was later scuttled by HMS Aldenham and HMS Hurworth, casualties were fortunately once again slight. HMAS Nestor was also hit and immobilized but she did not sink and taken in tow by HMS Javelin with HMS Beaufort and HMS Eridge escorting the tow.

By 1630/5 it had been reported that the enemy fleet had turned northward and the Commander in Chief Mediterranean again ordered the convoy to turn to the westward if in any way possible. Shortage of fuel and ammunition, however, did not permit this, and Rear-Admiral Vian was instructed to return to Alexandria with his whole force.

Submarines then intercepted the enemy fleet, but a simultaneous air attack caused the enemy to alter course and unfortunately the attacks could not be pressed home. The heavy cruiser Trento was damaged by the air attack and later sunk by HMS P 35 (Lt. S.L.C. Maydon, RN) while making her way back to Italy. HMS P 35 also reported one torpedo hit on a Littorio-class battleship but this was not the cast, she had missed the Vittorio Veneto.

16 June 1942.

At 0126/16 HMS Hermione was torpedoed by the German submarine U-205 and sank shortly afterwards taking 88 of her crew with her. HMS Aldenham, HMS Beaufort and HMS Exmoorrescued 498 of her crew.

The efforts to tow the damaged HMAS Nestor had to be abandoned at 0530/16 and she was scuttled by HMS Javelin who then proceeded to rejoin the 15th Cruiser Squadron and its escort.

During the day several attacks on A/S contacts were carried out by the convoy escort, but there was no evidence of damage or a submarine sunk.

In the early evening ships started to arrive back at Alexandria and all the remaining ships arrived there during the evening except the merchant vessels Bulkoil and Ajax which went on to Port Said escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Inconstant, HMS Griffin and HMS Fortune. (23)

10 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 21S, 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., Sir 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), 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 (which). He then turned back to the east to make rendez-vous with Rear-Admiral Burrough. They arrived at Gibraltar on the 15th.

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. ‘ (24)

12 Aug 1942
With East Med Fleet bombarded the Island of Rhodes. (14)

25 Aug 1942
HMS Thrasher (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO, RN) conducted exercises and trials off Port Said during which she was escorted by HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN).

At 1315 hours an enemy submarine was reported in position 32°03'N, 31°40'E. HMS Jervis and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to that area to hunt the sumarine reincorced the next day by HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN). They did not made contact with the enemy which was the German submarine U-205.

The destroyers returned to Alexandria on the 26th. (25)

2 Sep 1942
At 2000/2 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) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) departed Port Said. The were escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN).

From Haifa the light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN) sailed escorted by the destroyer HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN).

Both forces then conducted night exercises on completion of which HMS Dido and HMS Euryalus swiched forces.

Both forces then returned to Port Said / Haifa arriving at their destinations on September, 3rd. (26)

7 Sep 1942
An enemy submarine was sighted in position 31°46'N, 32°03'E. The destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) were sent out from Port Said to search the area. (27)

8 Sep 1942
On 7 September 1942 an enemy submarine was sighted in position 31°46'N, 32°03'E. The destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) had been sent out from Port Said to search the area. On 8 September these destroyers were relieved by HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN). (26)

9 Sep 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) and HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), destroyers from the 14th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and destroyers from the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J. A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) conducted exercises off Port Said.

On completion of the exercises HMS Orion proceeded to Haifa escorted by HMS Sikh and HMS Zulu. (26)

12 Sep 1942
With East Med Fleet bombarded El-Darba. (14)

13 Sep 1942
In the afteroon, the light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) departed Port Said for a bombardment of the Daba area (west of Tobruk) in support of the Operation Agreement. (26)

14 Sep 1942
Shortly after midnight HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN) bombarded the Daba area for 30 minutes. A total of 350 rounds were fired. HMS Dido and her escorting destroyers; HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), returned to Port Said in the afternoon. (26)

19 Sep 1942
Light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Alexandria for Haifa. Light cruiser HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Haifa for Alexandria.

When the two forces met they carrier out execises after which the 'Euryalus group' proceeded to Haifa and the 'Orion-group' proceeded to Port Said. (26)

24 Sep 1942
At 2109/23 the radar station at Paphos, Cyprus reported surface craft moving at high speed about 30 nautical miles to the south-west of Paphos.

In response, light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN) sailed from Haifa early on the 24th, and light cruisers HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), escorted by HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) were sailed from Port Said. Nothing was found and all forces returned to Haifa / Port Said without incident. (28)

25 Sep 1942
HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, 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 HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Port Said. (29)

7 Oct 1942
The light cruisers HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) carried out exercises off Port Said.

On completion of the exercises all ships returned to Port Said except HMS Cleopatra which proceeded to Alexandria escorted by HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin. (26)

8 Oct 1942
HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) arrived at Alexandria.

HMS Cleopatra was immediately docked. She was undocked after inspection later the same day after which the ships departed Alexandria again to proceed to Port Said. (26)

9 Oct 1942
HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) arrived at Port Said. (26)

14 Oct 1942
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) arrived at Port Said where she is docked.

Before entering Port Said A/S exercises were carried out with the British destroyer HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO, DSC, RN) and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga. (30)

22 Oct 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Janus (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) departed Port Said for exercises.

The light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) had departed Haifa very late on 21 October.

The forces joined for the exercises.

On completion of the exercises HMS Orion, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin proceeded to Haifa. All the other ships proceeded to Port Said. (26)

24 Oct 1942
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Haifa at 2100 hours for an A/S hunt north of Tripoli, Syria. (31)

26 Oct 1942
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) returned to Haifa at 0600 hours having discontinued their A/S hunt at 0200 hours having found nothing. (32)

27 Oct 1942
HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) shifted from Haifa to Port Said. (32)

5 Nov 1942
An enemy submarine was reported in position 31°43'N, 32°30'E. The destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, DSC, RN) we sent out from Port Said in the afternoon to conduct an A/S sweep in the area.

They returned to Port Said around 0800 hours on 7 November. (26)

7 Nov 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, DSC, RN) departed Port Said for exercises. At sea they were joined by the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN). (33)

8 Nov 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, DSC, RN) and the escort HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) returned to Port Said from exercises. (33)

16 Nov 1942

Convoy MW 13.

This convoy departed Port Said on 16 November 1942 and arrived at Malta on 20 November 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following transports; Bantan (Dutch, 9312 GRT, built 1939), Denbighshire (British, 8983 GRT, built 1938), Mormacmoon (American, 7939 GRT, built 1940) and Robin Locksley (British, 7101 GRT, built 1941).

The convoy was escorted on departure from Port Said by the light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN).

At 0700/17, while off Alexandria all destroyers parted company and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and Pindos joined the convoy.

The seven fleet destroyers arrived at Alexanrdria at 0745/17.

Shortly after 1300/17 the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) and HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) departed Alexandria to join the convoy at dawn the following morning. The were escorted by the seven fleet destroyers that had arrived at Alexandria a few hours before.

At 1110/18, air attacks commenced on the convoy but no damage was done.

At 1700/18, the cruisers (minus HMS Euryalus) and the fleet destroyers parted company with the convoy to take up a position to the north of the convoy during the night.

At 1805/18, in a dusk torpedo attack, when in position 33°36'N, 20°44'E, HMS Arethusa was hit abreast 'B' turret and took on heavy list to port. HMS Jervis, HMS Javelin and HMS Petard stood by the damaged cruiser. HMS Jervis and HMS Javelin however soon rejoined the cruiser force. HMS Arethusa and HMS Petard were to try to make it back to Alexandria.

Around 1400/19, HMS Cleopatra, HMS Dido, HMS Orion, HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin, HMS Nubian, HMS Jervis, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin set course to return to Alexandria.

At 2045/19, the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) joined HMS Arethusa and HMS Petard.

The convoy and the ramaining escort arrived safely at Malta in the early hours of November, 20th.

Around 0800/20, the destroyer HMS Janus (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) joined HMS Arethusa and her escorts.

At 1340/20, HMS Arethusa was taken in tow, stern first, by HMS Petard. Shorty after 1805/20 the tugs HMS Brigand and HMS Roysterer took over the tow.

Around 0600/21, HMS Cleopatra, HMS Dido, HMS Orion, HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin, HMS Nubian, HMS Jervis, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin arrived at Alexandria.

HMS Arethusa, her escorts and the two tugs arrived at Alexandria in the late afteroon of 21 November. (34)

25 Nov 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN). (26)

27 Nov 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN or Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. (26)

2 Dec 1942
An Italian convoy is reported. This was (Convoy 'C') from Napels (departed on 30 November) to Tripoli and made up of the transports Chisone (6168 GRT, built 1922), Veloce (5437 GRT, built 1911) and the tanker Devoli (3006 GRT, built 1939, former Yugoslavian Perun) . It was escorted by the torpedo boats Lupo, Ardente Aretusa and Sagittario. The convoy was attacked by torpedo-bombers and the Veloce was sunk near Kerkennah on 2 December.

The destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN or Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) departed Malta at 1400/2 to intercept this convoy.

They were able to surprise the Italian torpedo-boat Lupo which is engaged in picking up survivors from the Veloce.

The Chisone and Devoli escorted by the Aretusa and Sagittario managed to reach Tripoli. The torpedo-boat Ardente managed to pick up the survivors from the Veloce and Lupo.

The British destroyers returned to Malta on 3 December. (26)

29 Dec 1942
HMS P 43 (Lt. A.R. Daniell, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Malta together with HMS Jervis (Capt. Albert Lawrence Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN).

15 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Pakenham and HMS Javelin intercept and sink the Italian Agosto Bertani (8328 GRT) south of Lampedusa.

19 Jan 1943
Javelin and HMS Kelvin on patrol from Malta intercept and sink (13) enemy ships in a night action lasting three hours. (14)

20 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Kelvin and HMS Javelin intercept a small Italian convoy off Tripoli, Libya and completely destroy it. Some 11 ships were sunk among them the small Italian minesweepers RD 31, RD 36, RD 37 and RD 39.

20 Jan 1943
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) departed Malta for exercises. At sea they were joined by the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) which just returned from patrol.

All ships returned to Malta in the afternoon except HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian which proceeded on patrol.

22 Jan 1943
With units of the East Med Fleet in a night action Bombarded the port of ZUARA. (14)

22 Jan 1943
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) departed Malta early in the afternoon. They carried out a bombardment of Zuara between 0130 and 0230/23 after which they returned to Malta arriving around 1000/23. (35)

27 Jan 1943

Convoy ME 16.

This convoy departed Malta on 27 January 1943 and arrived at Alexandria on 1 February 1943.

The convoy was made up of the transports; Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), O' Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Pierre S. DuPont (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Malta the convoy was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt. D.T. McBarnet, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), RHS Kanaris and Pindos.

At 0200/28, HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Malta to overtake the convoy and join the escort at dawn.

At 1000/28, HMS Croome and HMS Hursley parted company and set course for Tobruk where they were required for escort duty.

Shortly after dark on the 29th, HMS Cleopatra, HMS Jervis, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin parted company with the convoy and set course to proceed to Alexandria.

At 1600/31, HMS Aldenham and HMS Beaufort were detached from the convoy and proceeded to Alexandria. The convoy itself proceed a bit further to the eastward and then turned back and entered Alexandria at daylight on 1 February. (35)

28 Jan 1943
HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Malta at 0200 hours to join convoy ME 16 at daylight.

[For more info on convoy ME 16 see the event ' Convoy ME 16 ' for 27 January 1943.] (35)

30 Jan 1943
HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) arrived at Alexandria around 1800 hours. (35)

6 Feb 1943

Convoy's MW 20 / XT 2.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 6 February 1943 and was to split up into two on 9 February. Convoy MW 20 was to proceed to Malta where it arrived on 10 February. Convoy XT 2 was to proceed to Tripoli where it also arrived on 10 February.

The combined convoy was made of the following ships; American Packer (American, 6802 GRT, built 1941), Clan Macindoe (British, 4635 GRT, built 1920), Daniel H. Lownsdale (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Manaar (British, 8007 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Voyager (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Phemius (British, 7406 GRT, built 1921), Robert Maersk (British, 2290 GRT, built 1937), Tureby (British, 4372 GRT, built 1936) and Yorba Linda (Panamanian (tanker), 6900 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Kondouriotis and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt. D.T. McBarnet, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN), RHS Kanaris and Pindos.

On 7 February the Greek destroyer Kondouriotis detached to Tobruk to fuel and rejoin the convoy on completion.

Around 1800/8, the light cuiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destoyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) departed Malta to join the convoy at dawn the following day.

Around 0745/9, HMS Euryalus, HMS Nubian and HMS Paladin joined the convoy.

At 2000/9, the convoy split up into two sections, the Malta section (MW 20) was made up of the; Egra, Erinna, Glaucus, Manaar, Phemius and Yorba Linda and escorted by HMS Euryalus, HMS Jervis, HMS Javelin, HMS Kelvin, HMS Nubian, HMS Paladin, RHS Kondouriotis, HMS Aldenhan, HMS Beaufort, HMS Belvoir, HMS Exmoor, HMS Hurworth and RHS Kanaris.

The other ships proceeded to Tripoli escorted by HMS Tetcott and RHS Pindos. At Tripoli the convoy was swept in the the minesweepers HMS Boston (Lt. D.H.G. Coughlan, RNR), HMS Cromarty (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Palmer, DSC, RNZNVR) and HMS Whitehaven (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.W.A.T. Irvine, RNR).

HMS Tetcott and RHS Pindos then proceeded to Malta. (35)

10 Mar 1943

Convoys ME 19 and TX 3.

Convoy ME 19 departed Malta on 10 March 1943 and arrived at Alexandria on 15 March 1943 / Port Said on 16 March 1943.

It had merged as sea on 12 March with convoy TX 3 coming from Tripoli.

On departure from Malta convoy ME 19 was made up of the following ships; Dromus (British (tanker), 8036, built 1938), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Indochinois (British, 6966 GRT, built 1939), Kaikoura (British, 5852 GRT, built 1937), Orna (British, 6779 GRT, built 1938), Panama (British, 6650 GRT, built 1915) and Yorba Linda (Panamanian (tanker), 6900 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Malta convoy ME 19 was escorted by the destroyer HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Easton (Lt. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN), Miaoulis.

Convoy TX 3 departed Tripoli on 11 March 1943 and merged with convoy ME 19 at sea on 12 March 1943.

It was made up of following ships; Benrinnes (British, 5410 GRT, built 1921), British Sovereign (British, 3657 GRT, built 1917), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Florence (British, 6862 GRT, built 1918), City of Guildford (British, 5157 GRT, built 1919), Daltonhall (British, 7250 GRT, built 1941), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

On departure from Tripoli convoy TX 3 was escorted by the destroyer HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and Pindos. HMS Tetcott apparently returned to Tripoli later on the 11th.

The following ships arrived at Alexandria on 15 March 1943; Benrinnes, British Sovereign, City of Evansville, City of Florence, City of Guildford, Darien II, Erinna, , Indochinois, Kaikoura, Karoa and Neuralia.

They were escorted by; HMS Kelvin, HMS Javelin, HMS Dulverton and HMS Rockwood.

The following ships arrived at Port Said on 16 March 1943; Daltonhall, Dromus, Orna, Panama and Yorba Linda. They were escorted by; HMS Belvoir, RHS Miaoulis and RHS Pindos.

19 Mar 1943
HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) arrived at Alexandria.

HMS Orion departed Alexandria for Malta later the same day. She was escorted by HMS Kelvin and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN). (36)

21 Mar 1943
HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. (36)

21 Mar 1943
HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Alexandria. (37)

23 Mar 1943
HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (37)

24 Mar 1943

Convoy XT 8.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 24 March 1943 and arrived at Tripoli on 28 March 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following ships; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Isis (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Mitchell, RN).

28 Mar 1943

Convoy TX 5.

This convoy departed Tripoli on 28 March 1943 and arrived at Malta on 29 March 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following ships; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Isis (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Mitchell, RN).

[These ships had arrived at Tripoli earlier this day as convoy XT 8, they must have discharged their cargo, or part of their cargo, rather quickly ?!.]

30 Mar 1943

Convoy ME 21.

This convoy departed Malta on 30 March 1943 and arrived at Alexandria on 3 April 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following ships; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

The convoy was escorted on depature from Malta by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Isis (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Mitchell, RN).

During the passage the destroyers HMS Nubian and HMS Kelvin were detached to Benghazi where they arrived on April, 1st.

29 Apr 1943

Convoy MW 27 (+ convoy XT 12)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 29 April 1943 and arrived at Malta on 4 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 3 May 1943 forming convoy XT 12 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Algorab (Dutch, 4938 GRT, built 1921), British Trust (British (tanker), 8466 GRT, built 1939), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Ensis (British, 6207 GRT, built 1937), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Fort Cataraqui (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort Chambly (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort St.James (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Macuba (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1931), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (Norwegian, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Samuel Parker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Saparoea (Dutch, 6668 GRT, built 1920), Safola (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937), Stirlingville (British, 1995 GRT, built 1937), Suiyang (British, 2590 GRT, built 1917) and Toronto (British, 5018 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas), escort destroyers HMS Easton (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), RHS Adrias, RHS Kanaris, Corvette RHS Sakhtouris and the auxiliary MS whalers HMS Sahra (T/A/Skr.Lt. E.G. Gurney, RNR) and HMS Santa (T/A/Skr.Lt. G. Noble, RNR). [The last three ships apparently returned to Alexandria rather soon.]

On 1 May 1943 the British Trust and Indrapoera were sunk by enemy aircraft in position 32°40'N, 19°53'E. On board the Indrapoera 657 persons lost their lives.

On 3 May the convoy was split up, Convoy XT 12 proceeded to Tripoli and arrived there later the same day. It was made up of the; City of Rangoon, Destro, Ensis, Fort Chambly, Fort St.James, Karoa, Pronto, Samuel Parker, Saparoea, Sofala, Stirlingville, Suiyang and Toronto. They were escorted by HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin.

Convoy MW 27 continued on to Malta with the; Algorab, Fort Cataraqui, Glaucus, Macuba and Ocean Vesper. They were escorted by HMS Isis, RHS Queen Olga, HMS Easton, HMS Hurworth, HMS Rockwood, RHS Adrias and RHS Kanaris.

1 May 1943
Convoy escort from Alexandria to Tripoli, attacked by enemy dive bombers off Benghazi two merchant ships sunk and one damaged. (14)

3 May 1943
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Tripoli from escort duty. They departed for Alexandria later the same day.

6 May 1943
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Alexandria.

15 May 1943

Convoy MW 28 (+ convoy XT 14)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 15 May 1943 and arrived at Malta on 21 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 20 May 1943 forming convoy XT 14 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Benreoch (British, 5818 GRT, built 1921), Benrinnes (British, 5410 GRT, built 1921), City of Keelung (British, 5186 GRT, built 1919), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), David Stone (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Dunkeld (British, 4944 GRT, built 1937), Empire Conrad (British, 7009 GRT, built 1942), Empire Patrol (British, 3334 GRT, built 1928), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Francis Drake (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), John Hart (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912), Ovula (Dutch (tanker), GRT, built ), Ozarda (British, 9685 GRT, built 1940), Princess Kathleen (Canadian, 5875 GRT, built 1925), Romney (British, 5840 GRT, built 1929) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT, built 1930). The Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Green Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), FFS Leopard and the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and RHS Adrias.

The sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR) departed Tobruk on the 15th and joined the escort.

HMS Rockwood arrived back at Alexandria on 19 May 1943 having been detached from the escort earlier.

On the 16th, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN) departed Tobruk to join the escort.

On the 18th, the escort destroyer HMS Easton (Lt. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Tripoli to join the convoy.

HMS Kelvin arrived at Tripoli on 19 May and departed again on the 20th to rejoin the convoy.

On 20 May 1943 the convoy split up and the following ships proceeded to Tripoli arriving later the same day; Benreoch, Benrinnes, City of Keelung, Darien II, Empire Patrol, Fort Tadoussac, Francis Drake, Hermelin, John Hart, Neuralia and Romney.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Malta arriving on 21 May 1943.

22 May 1943
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Bone.

Both destroyers were to proceed to the U.K. to refit. (38)

23 May 1943
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Bone. (38)

24 May 1943

Convoy ET 21.

This convoy departed Bone / Philippeville on 24 May 1943 for Gibraltar where it arrived on 28 May 1943.

No full info on the composition of this convoy is currently known to us.

On departure from Bone / Philippeville the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR).

HMS Javelin and HM Kelvin were detached on the 26th to conduct an A/S hunt but rejoined later the same day.

The convoy made a short call at Algiers on 26 May and various ships were detached and other ships joined and the escort was reinforced with other vessels. On arrival at Gibraltar the following escorts had joined the convoy additional to the ones listed above; corvette HMS Pentstemon (T/Lt. D.C. Williams, RNVR), A/S trawlers HMS Gavotte (T/Lt. D. Bates, RNR), HMS Tango (T/Lt. J. Hunter, RNR) and the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS King Sol (Lt. P.A. Read, RNR) and HMS Reighton Wyke (Skr. G.M. Sutherland, RNR).

Also the rescue tug HMRT Restive had joined the convoy (39)

28 May 1943

Convoy MKF 15.

This convoy departed Algiers on 28 May 1943 for the U.K.

On departure from Algiers the convoy was made up of the following ships; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921) and Santa Rosa (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932).

The convoy was escorted by the British sloop HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), 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 (Lt.Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

On 29 May, off Oran, the convoy was joined by the following ships; Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), Dartmouth (American, 9879 GRT, built 1943), Examiner (American, 6736 GRT, built 1942), General George W. Goethals (American, 12093 GRT, built 1942), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), John Ericson (American, 16552 GRT, built 1928), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Seafrain Lakehurst (American, 8108 GRT, built 1940), Staffordhire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

On 30 May the convoy was off Gibraltar. There two more ships joined the convoy, these were; Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923) and Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920). Also six ships were detached to Gibraltar, these were the; Arawa, Dartmouth, Examiner, Seafrain Lakehurst, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle.

The following warships joined the escort of the convoy off Gibraltar; aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

The sloop HMS Totland was detached to proceed to Gibraltar for repairs as she had defects.

On 1 June 1943, the Scythia was detached.

At 1200 hours on 4 June, HMS Unicorn, HMS Tracker, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin parted company with the convoy and proceeded ahead of it to the Clyde (HMS Tracker to Belfast).

30 May 1943
HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join the escort of convoy MKF 15. (39)

4 Jun 1943
HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) were detached at 1200 hours from the escort of convoy MKF 15. Around 1400 hours HMS Tracker was detached to Belfast. The other three ships arrived at Greenock early in the evening. (39)

25 Mar 1944
HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. P.B.N. Lewis, DSC, RN) and HNoMS Svenner (Lt.Cdr. T. Holte). (40)

26 Mar 1944
HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. P.B.N. Lewis, DSC, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN). (40)

21 Apr 1944

Operations Planet, Ridge and Veritas.

On 21 April 1944, two forces departed Scapa Flow for operations off Norway, these were divided in two groups;

Force 7 was made up of the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSO, DSC, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN), HMS Swift (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN).

Force 8 was made up of the light cruisers HMS Royalist (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.la T. Bisset, RN), HMS Jamaica (Capt. J. Hugh-Hallett, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Emperor (A/Capt. T.J.N. Hilken, DSO, RN), HMS Pursuer (A/Capt. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Searcher (Capt. G.O.C. Davies, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN) and the destroyers HMS Serapis (Capt. P.G.L. Serapis, DSC, RN), HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN), HMS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RD, RNR), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. T. Gorazdowski) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. P.B.N. Lewis, DSC, RN).

Operation Planet

The target date for this operation was 24 April 1944. When the forces arrived in the operations area on 23 April the weather forecasts were unsuitable and they reversed course for 24 hours but the weather to following day was equally bad. Both forces proceeded to the flying off position but there was no improvement in the weather so Vice-Admiral Moore decided to cancel the operation. Both forces then proceeded as for Operation Ridge.

In the meantime the destroyers HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin had been detached to fuel at the Faroes where they arrived on the 24th. After fuelling they were instructed to wait there for further orders.

Operation Ridge.

Operation Ridge was originally intended to be carried out in two parts; 'Ridge Able' was to be an attack on shipping in the Bodo area by Force 7 and 'Ridge Baker' was to be an attack on shipping in the Rorvik area by Force 8.

In the event it was decided that both forces were to carry out 'Ridge Able' in two stikes, one attacking Bodo harbour and the other sweeping the leads to the southward.

The two forces arrived at the flying off position at dawn on 26 April 1944. Weather conditions were not ideal and were worse inshore and in the end both strikes attacked the same target - an escorted convoy of 4 or 5 merchant ships in approximate position 67.06'N, 13.57'E at about 0600 hours. The convoy was southbound, presumebly having left Bodo about one hour previously. Four merchant ships and one escort vessel were claimed to have been hit with bombs. The largest merchant ship was reported beached and burning. Two other were also seen to be on fire.

[The convoy attacked was en-route from Narvik to Germany with iron oreand was made up of four merchant vessels; Eugenio C. (4094 GRT, built 1928), Itauri (6838 GRT, built 1923), Leena (1079 GRT, built 1905) and Lotte Leonhardt (4167 GRT, built 1937). It was being escorted by the patrol vessels V 5905 / Varanger and V 5906 / Nordpol. The Eugenio C., Itauri and Lotte Leonhardt were sunk while the V 5905 was damaged.]

Besides the attack on the convoy two Barracudas and several fighters attacked Bodo harbour in spite of the weather. One hit was claimed on a large merchant ship. Two other Barracudas attacked a derelict merchant vessel that was ashore. They obtained at least one hit.

One Barracuda, two Corsairs, one Hellcat and one Wildcat were lost during the attacks. Another Hellcat crashed while landing on HMS Emperor.

At 0730/26, HMS Victorious, HMS Kent and two destroyers (HMS Venus and HMS Vigilant) parted company to conduct operation 'Veritas' (see below). The remainder of Forces 7 and 8 set course to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 28th. HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin also returned with them having joined Force 8 on the 27th having departed the Faroes on the 26th.

Operation Veritas.

On leaving Force 7, the 'Victorious'-Force proceeed to the flying off position (69°31'N, 12°50'E). Reconnaissance flights were to be carried out for a possible future amphibious assault on Narvik. The flying off position was reached at 1620/26 and six Corsairs with long range fuel tanks were launched for the operation.

The aircraft returned to HMS Victorious almost two hours later. One Corsair had machine gunned a tanker on the way back starting a small fire amidships. All aircraft landed safely despite the difficult conditions due to the weather. (41)

17 Jan 1945
HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN). (42)

22 Jan 1945
HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC and Bar, RN).H, MS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN) and HMS Cavalier (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, RN). (42)

25 Jan 1945
HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC and Bar, RN). (42)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/110663
  2. ADM 53/109404
  3. ADM 53/109397 + ADM 53/110663
  4. ADM 53/109417
  5. ADM 53/109397
  6. ADM 53/109418
  7. ADM 53/112505
  8. ADM 53/112487 + ADM 53/112493
  9. ADM 53/112491
  10. ADM 199/2557
  11. ADM 53/112487 + ADM 53/112491 + ADM 53/112493
  12. ADM 199/376
  13. ADM 53/112295
  14. Personal communication
  15. ADM 199/375
  16. ADM 199/2558
  17. ADM 199/376 + ADM 199/378
  18. ADM 53/112450
  19. ADM 53/112889
  20. ADM 187/10
  21. ADM 199/372
  22. ADM 234/331
  23. ADM 199/650 + ADM 234/353
  24. ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
  25. ADM 173/17604 + ADM 187/20 + ADM 199/651
  26. ADM 199/651
  27. ADM 187/21 + ADM 199/651
  28. ADM 53/115913 + ADM 199/651
  29. ADM 53/115351 + ADM 187/21
  30. ADM 173/17591
  31. ADM 53/116398 + ADM 199/651
  32. ADM 53/116398
  33. ADM 187/22
  34. ADM 53/ + ADM 187/22 + ADM 199/651
  35. ADM 199/773
  36. ADM 53/118310
  37. ADM 53/117489
  38. ADM 199/2557 + ADM 199/2558
  39. ADM 199/639
  40. ADM 173/19314
  41. ADM 199/1427
  42. ADM 173/20344

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


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