HMS Grove (L 77)
Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Class||Hunt (Type II)|
|Built by||Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend|
|Ordered||20 Dec 1939|
|Laid down||28 Aug 1940|
|Launched||29 May 1941|
|Commissioned||5 Feb 1942|
|Lost||12 Jun 1942|
|Loss position||32° 05'N, 25° 30'E|
At 0537hours on 12 June 1942 HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. James Wolferstan Rylands, RN) was hit by two torpedoes from U-77 and sunk north of Sollum, Egypt in position 32º05'N, 25º30'E. Two officers and 108 ratings were lost, there were 60 survivors. The destroyer had been part of the eastern convoy MW-11 under Rear Admiral P.J. Vian during Operation Vigorous, a supply convoy to Malta.
Hit by U-boat
|U-boat Attack||See our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Grove|
Commands listed for HMS Grove (L 77)
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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.
|1||Lt.Cdr. James Wolferstan Rylands, RN||12 Dec 1941||12 Jun 1942|
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Notable events involving Grove include:
14 Feb 1942
The battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow during which she was escorted by the destroyer HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. J.M. Palmer, RN). (1)
19 Feb 1942
Object: destruction of enemy shipping off Tromso, Norway.
Around 0600N/19, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, 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 Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Hvalfjord.
Around 0845Z/20, they were joined by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) which came from Seidisfjord.
The destroyers HMS Ashanti, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo and HMS Icarus were then detached to Seidisfjord to fuel. They returned around 1630Z/20.
HMS Inglefield, HMS Fury and HMS Echo were then detached to Seidisfjord while the other ships proceeded on the operation.
At noon on 21 February a reconnaissance aircraft reported an enemy force of two battleships and three cruisers (this were actually the heavy cruisers Prinz Eugen, Admiral Scheer and the destroyers Z 4 / Richard Beitzen, Z 5 / Paul Jacobi, Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann, Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn, Z 25) off the south coast of Norway steering north. The Force assigned to operation EO then immediately changed course to the southward in the hope of reaching a position from which HMS Victorious could launch a night torpedo bomber attack. Operation EO was thus abandoned. Coastal and Bomber command aircraft set out to attack and submarines patrolling of the Norwegian coast (HMS Trident, HMS Tuna, HMS P 37 and FFS Minerve) concentrated in the southern approaches to Trondheim.
No further enemy reports were received, but the Fleet continued on a southerly course so that aircraft from HMS Victorious could be launched around 0300 hours on 22 February and sweep down the coast in the vicinity of Stadtlandet in the hope of sighting the enemy force.
Later that day an aircraft report was received showing that the enemy had retired and the operation was therefore postponed. The battlefleet then retired to the north-westward.
On 22 February a further report of the enemy proceeding northwards was received. The battlefleet then steamed south again and after dark closed the Norwegian coast. At 1800A/22, HMS Victorious, HMS Berwick, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi and HMS Icarus were detached to proceed ahead.
The escort destroyers HMS Chiddingfold (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 1900A/22 for air sea rescue duties for RAF aircraft operating against the German force.
At 0100A/23, ten torpedo aircraft were flown off from HMS Victorious followed by seven more around 0145A/23. All aircraft swept down the Norwegian coast in weather which was rapidly deteriorating. The enemy was not sighted, mainly to due to the very bad visibility. Following the sortie fourteen aircraft landed safely at Sumburgh, Shetland Islands. Three aircraft were lost.
Around 0600A/23, the enemy was spotted again when the submarine HMS Trident attacked them and heavily damaged the Prinz Eugen.
HMS Victorious, HMS Berwick and their four escorting destroyers rejoined HMS King George V and her three escorting destroyers around 0900A/23. Course was then set to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1630A/23. (2)
19 Feb 1942
HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter CB, CVO, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap. Shortly after departed it was thought that an enemy submarine was sighted and even later some depth charges were dropped. No enemy submarine was in the area though. The escort destroyers HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. J.M. Palmer, RN) were sent from Scapa Flow to conduct an A/S sweep in the area but they found nothing and they returned to Scapa Flow early the following day. (3)
1 Mar 1942
Convoys PQ 12 and QP 8.
Convoy PQ 12 from Iceland to Northern Russia and Convoy QP 8 from Northern Russia to Iceland.
On 1 March 1942 convoy PQ 12 departed Reykjavik for ports in Northern Russia.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Artigas (Panamanian, 5613 GRT, built 1920), Bateau (Panamanian, 4687 GRT, built 1926), Beaconstreet (British (tanker), 7467 GRT, built 1927), Belomorcanal (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Capulin (Panamanian, 4977 GRT, built 1920), Dneprostroi (Russian, 4756 GRT, built 1919), Earlston (British, 7195 GRT, built 1941), El Coston (Panamanian, 7286 GRT, built 1924), El Occidente (Panamanian, 6008 GRT, built 1910), Empire Byron (British, 6645 GRT, built 1941), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Navarino (British, 4841 GRT, built 1937), Sevzaples (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1932), Stone Street (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922) and Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940).
Close escort on departure from Reykjavik was provided by the A/S trawlers HMS Angle (T/Lt. E. Playne, RNVR), Chiltern (Ch.Skr.(Retd.) B. Bevans, RNR), HMS Notts County (T/Lt. R.H. Hampton, RNR) and HMS Stella Capella (Lt. W.L. Sadgrove, RANVR). These trawlers parted company with the convoy early on 5 March. the minesweeper HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN) and the A/S whaler Sulla (T/Skr. T. Meadows, RNR) were to join the convoy coming from Reykjavik as well as the destroyers HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and the A/S whalers HMS Shera (T/Lt. W.E. Bulmer, RNR), Shusa (S.Lt. J.B. Powell, RNR), Stefa (T/Lt. T. Costley, RNVR) and Svega (T/Lt. F.P. Maitland, RNVR) which came from Seidisfjord.
Of the whalers Sulla later had to turn back.Shusa and Stefa were able to join the convoy while Svega made the passage to Murmansk independently with Shera until that ship sank on 9 March, presumably as a result of stability problems as she suddenly capsized. The Svega was able to pick up three survivors from the freezing water.
HMS Offa and HMS Oribi joined the convoy early on the 5th 100 miles south of Jan Mayen Island while HMS Gossamer could not find the convoy and proceeded to Murmansk independently.
The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) also joined on the 5th. She had departed Hvalfiord with the cover force at 0600/3. She parted company again on the 6th. She was however ordered to rejoin the convoy and she did so in the evening of the 6th.
The same evening the escorts were informed that a German heavy ship, thought to be the Tirpitz had left Trondheim and was proceeding northwards. The same evening the convoy encountered ice and course had to be changed from north-east to south-east. One of the merchant ships, the Bateau and the whaler Sulla had to turn back. The destroyer HMS Oribi sustained ice damage.
On the 7th the convoy was able to resume its original course. At noon on the 7th it passed convoy QP 8 in position 72°09'N, 10°34'E, some 200 miles south-west of Bear Island.
Around 1400/7, HMS Kenya sighted smoke on the horizon to the northward so she set off to investigate. Visibility was now at the maximum. It soon became apparent that it was a staggler from convoy QP 8 so Kenya then rejoined convoy PQ 12 at 1515/7.
Then around 1600/7 HMS Kenya received Admiralty signal 1519A/7 stating that enemy surface forces might be nearby. The convoy was ordered to steer north so at 1640/7 course was altered to 360°. Shortly afterwards a signal timed 1632/7 was received from the Russian merchant vessel Izhora, a staggler from convoy QP 8, that she was being gunned by an enemy warship in position 72°35'N, 10°50'E although the position was doubtful and the signal was garbled. It was thought this was the merchant vessel we sighted a few hours earlier. This ship was now thought to be 35 to 40 miles to the eastward of convoy PQ 12 and its northerly course might drive the convoy straight into the arms of the enemy.
Capt. Denny then decided to change course to 60°. Kenya's Walrus aircraft was launched at 1720/7 to search between 270° and 210°. The Walrus returned soon after 1800/7 having sighted nothing after searching to a depth of 45 miles. Course was therefore altered to 040° to bring the convoy closer to its original track.
No more news was heard from the Izhora or the enemy but soon after midnight another signal from the Admiralty was received telling the convoy to steer north of Bear Island, if ice permitted, a very considerable diversion from the original route. At daylight therefore the convoy altered further to the northward. Capt. Denny warning the convoy Commodore not to take the destroyers through the ice. The weather and information about the icefield, soon determined Capt. Denny and the convoy Commodore to disregard the Admiralty signal and they altered course to the south-east a little after mid-day, intending to cross the miridian of Bear Island to the southward after dark that evening. About 1530/8, between snowstorms, they sighted the island 40 miles off to the north-east, and the icefield at the same time. At dusk, 1700/8, they ran into the fringe of the ice.
it took the convoy three hours to work clear and reform, whereupon, to avoid further damage to HMS Oribi, Captain Denny detached her to make her own way to Murmansk, which she reached on March 10th.
The convoy went on, keeping as far north as the ice allowed. On the 9th, HMS Offa detected a patrolling aircraft by her radar, but thick and persistent sea smoke rising many feet into the air, combined with a change of course for two hours, prevented discovery, while intercepted signals showed that the Tirpitz was no longer likely to be a threat, for which she had been attacked off the Lofoten Islands by aircraft from HMS Victorious.
The convoy arrived at Murmansk on 12 March 1942.
On 1 March 1942 convoy QP 8 departed Murmansk for Iceland.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), British Workman (British (tanker), 6994 GRT, built 1922), Cold Harbor (Panamanian, 5105 GRT, built 1921), El Lago (Panamanian, 4219 GRT, built 1920), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1936), Empire Selwyn (British, 7167 GRT, built 1941), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Fridrikh Engels (Russian, 3972 GRT, built 1930), Izhora (Russian, 2815 GRT, built 1921), Larranga (American, 3892 GRT, built 1917), Noreg (Norwegian (tanker), 7605 GRT, built 1931), Revolutsioner (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Tbilisi (Russian, 7169 GRT, built 1912) and West Nohno (American, 6186 GRT, built 1919).
Close escort on departure from Murmansk was provided by the destroyers Gremyashchiy, Gromkiy, corvettes HMS Oxlip (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Sweetbriar (Lt.(Retd.) J.W. Cooper, RNR) and the HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN) and HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN).
The two Soviet destroyers, HMS Harrier and HMS Sharpshooter parted company with the convoy on 3 March. The other escorts remained with the convoy until it arrived in Iceland.
Close cover for the convoy was provided from 3 to 7 March by the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN) which had departed the Kola Inlet on 2 March and arrived at Scapa Flow on 8 March.
On 4 March the convoy scattered due to the bad weather conditions but was later reformed. On 9 March the convoy was disbanded after wich most ships arrived in Icelandic ports on 11 March 1942 minus a staggler from the convoy, the Soviet Izhora, which had been found and sunk around 1630/7 by the German destroyer Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn.
Distant cover for these convoys was provided by battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet), light cruiser HMS Kenya and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN). These ships had departed Hvalfjord, Iceland at 0600/3.
At 0600/4 the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN) departed Scapa Flow.
At 0700/4, the destoyers HMS Faulknor and HMS Eskimo were detached from the Renown group to refuel at Seidisfjord.
At 1600/4, HMS Berwick was detached from the King George V'-group to return to Scapa escorted by HMS Bedouin. She had developed engine trouble. The cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) was ordered to take over her place after refuelling at Seidisfjord.
At 2300/4, HMS Kenya was detached from the Renown group to provide close cover for convoy PQ 12. Around the same time HMS Bedouin was ordered to part company with HMS Berwick and go to the aid of HMS Sheffield which had been mined near the Seidisfjord. HMS Faulknor and HMS Eskimo were also ordered to assist the damaged cruiser.
At 1200/5 the 'Renown'-group was in position 66°45'N, 06°30'W steering a northerly course. This was about 100 miles south of convoy PQ 12.
At the same time the 'King George V'-group was about 100 miles bearing 154° from the 'Renown'-group and was also steering a northerly course.
At 1900/5 HMS Kenya joined the close escort of convoy PQ 12.
At 2000/5, the 'Renown'-group altered course easterly to affect a rendezvous with the 'King George V'-group the next morning. Admiral Tovey had decided to concentrate his forces.
At 1030/6, both groups made rendezvous in position 71°00'N, 04°30'E amd the two forces joined together. They continued to steer a northerly course. The entire force was now made up of the battleships HMS King George V, HMS Duke of York, battlecruiser HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Lookout, HMS Ashanti, HMS Punjabi, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Fury, HMS Echo and HMS Elcipse.
At 1100/6, the German battleship Tirpitz escorted by the destroyers Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann, Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn and Z 25 departed Trondheim and steered north to intercept a convoy (PQ 12) reported by Focke Wulf reconnaissance aircraft.
At 1400/6, the Home Fleet altered course to the south.
In a signal timed 1801/6 the submarine HMS Seawolf (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN) reported sighting the Tirpitz off Kya. At 0010/7, Admiral Tovey received the news of Seawolf's sighting. Tovey now knew that Tirpitz was out but he was unsure if the German battleships was out to attack the convoy or to break out into the Atlantic. It had been intended to fly off search aircraft from HMS Victorious but the weather conditions prevented any flying from taking place.
At 1750/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the east and the destroyers HMS Icarus and HMS Intrepid detached to refuel in Iceland.
At 2000/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the north. At the same time the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Ashanti, HMS Punjabi, HMS Fury, HMS Echo and HMS Eclipse were detached to sweep north between the Home Fleet and the Lofoten Islands along what Admiral Tovey thought to be the enemy’s most likely route to return to Trondheim. After this sweep the destroyers were to proceed to Seidisfjord to refuel. Apparently only HMS Lookout remained with the Fleet.
At 2400/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the south so that the Fleet could be in position off the Lofoten Islands to launch a strike force at dawn in case the Tirpitz would be sighted by the destroyers. At 0400/8 Admiral Tovey concluded that he had missed the German battleships and since he was without destroyers except for HMS Lookout and in submarine infected waters, he turned south-west towards Iceland to collect some destroyers that had already refuelled.
At 1820/8 the Home Fleet altered course to the north-east despite that no destroyer had joined so far. Admiral Tovey then broke radio silence sending a signal to the Admiralty requesting destroyers to be sent out and refuelling facilities at sea for his destroyers. The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Iceland with orders to rendezvous with the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) coming from the Denmark patrol and the light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) and HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) departed Scapa Flow on 7 March. These cruisers were ordered to refuel destroyers at sea.
The heavy cruisers apparently did not fuel any destroyers. The light cruisers fuelled HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury on the 9th. HMS Echo was unable to fuel from them due to the bad weather conditions. She went to Seidisfjord to fuel as did HMS Onslow HMS Ashanti and HMS Eclipse.
Around 2000/8 the Tirpitz, having been unable to find the convoy, set course to return to Trondheim.
At 0240/9, the Admiralty informed Admiral Tovey that the Tirpitz was heading south so the Home Fleet altered course to the south-east to close the Lofoten Islands.
At 0640/9, Admiral Tovey ordered HMS Victorious to fly off a reconnaissance force of 6 Albacores on a diverging search between 105° and 155° to a depth of 150 miles to search for the German battleship.
At 0730/9, a strike force of 12 torpedo-carrying Albacores were flown off.
At 0802/9, one of the reconnaissance aircraft the Tirpitz and a destroyer (Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn) sailing south and made a report. Shortly after being sighted the Germans however altered course towards the Vestfjord and Narvik.
At 0917/9, the Tirpitz was attacked by the strike force. No hits were obtained though one torpedo only missed the battleships stern by 30 feet. Two of the attacking Albacores were shot down by AA fire.
At 0940/9, the Home Fleet turned west and then south-west.
At 1545/9, the Home Fleet was attacked by 3 Ju-88 bombers, one bomb landed close astern of HMS Victorious but no damaged was caused.
At 1620/9, The Tirpitz and Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn arrived at Narvik.
At 1840/9 the destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo and HMS Tartar (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) joined the Home Fleet coming from Iceland. The Home Fleet now set course to return to Scapa Flow.
Around 0800/10 the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and the escorted destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) joined coming from Iceland.
Around 0920/10 the destroyers Verdun (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN), HMS Woolston (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN) joined after they had fuelled at Scapa Flow coming from Rosyth (first two) and Port ZA (last two) respetively.
Around 1200/10 the destroyers HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus joined.
Around 2300/10 the Home Fleet arrived at Scapa Flow. Shortly before arriving the destroyers HMS Verdun and HMS Woolston were detached to return to Rosyth and HMS Lancaster and HMS Wells were detached to return to Port ZA.
HMS Liverpool, HMS Trinidad, HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury arrived at Scapa Flow at 0930/11. (4)
10 Mar 1942
Around 2330A/10, the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from operations. The destroyers HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN) as well as the escort destroyers HMS Woolston (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and Verdun (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN) were detached from the force in the Pentland Firth. The destroyers then proceeded to Port ZA while the escort destroyers proceeded to Rosyth. (5)
24 Mar 1942
Convoy WS 17.
This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 24 March 1942.
It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Abosso (British, 11330 GRT, built 1935), Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Duchess of Athol (British, 20119 GRT, built 1928), Dunedin Star (British, 11168 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Russia (British, 16810 GRT, built 1913), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Kina II (British, 9823 GRT, built 1939), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1935), Rembrandt (British, 5559 GRT, built 1941), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922), Winchester Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).
The submarine depot ship HMS Adamant (Capt. R.S. Warne, RN) and the landing ships HMS Karanja (British, 9891 GRT, built 1931, Cdr.(Retd.) C. Naylor, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Keren (British, 9890 GRT, built 1930, Lt.Cdr. E.G. Welchman, RN) were also part of the convoy.
On assembly the convoy was being escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN), destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, 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 Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN), HNoMS Newport (?), HMS Rockingham (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN).
Around 0130A/25, HMS Beverley and HNomS Newport collided, the latter had to proceed to Liverpool for repairs.
Around 0333Z/27, HMS Keppel picked up a U-boat transmitting on her HF/DF. HMS Grove, HMS Aldenham and HMS Leamington were ordered to search for this U-boat. HMS Leamington sigted the U-boat which then dived. A hunt was then started on completion of which HMS Leamington set course to return to the U.K. while HMS Grove and HMS Aldenham set course for the Azores where they were to refuel before rejoining the convoy. The hunt was considered 'not succesfull' but in fact postwar, the German U-boat U-587 is credited to have been sunk in this attack.
Around 0910Z/27, HMS Badsworth parted company with the convoy to return to the U.K.
Around 1500Z/27, HMS Keppel, HMS Volunteer and HMS Beverley parted company with the convoy to return to the U.K. Both HMS Badsworth and HMS Volunteer reported after having parted company that U-boats were trailing the convoy.
Around 1545Z/27, HMS Lookout parted company with the convoy to proceed to Azores to refuel before she was to rejoin the convoy.
Around 0800Z/29, HMS Grove and HMS Lookout rejoined from fuelling at the Azores. Shortly afterwards HMS Pakenham, HMS Javelin and HMS Inconstant parted company to proceed to the Azores to refuel. HMS Aldenham rejoined the convoy later in the day.
HMS Pakenham, HMS Javelin and HMS Inconstant arrived at Ponta Delgada around 1300Z/29. HMS Pakenham departed Ponta Delgada around 1910Z/29 followed by the other two destroyers shortly before midnight.
HMS Pakenham rejoined the convoy around 1330Z/30. During her absence HMS Antelope (around 1820Z/29) and HMS Boadicea (around 0915Z/30) had parted company with the convoy to return to the U.K. via the Azores.
Around 1730Z/30, in position 31°00'N, 22°42'W, HMS Illustrious parted company with the convoy to proceed direct to Freetown escorted by HMS Pakenham and HMS Rockingham. HMS Lookout, HMS Grove and HMS Aldenham were left with the convoy as A/S escorts.
At 2008Z/30, a message was received by HMS Illustrious from the Admiralty which stated that a large battleship or battlecruiser had been sighted at 0148Z/30 in position 24°48'N, 15°40'W proceeding on a course of 300°. As this course would have brought this vessel in close proximity of the convoy HMS Illustrious decided to remain in close proximity of the convoy. HMS Rockingham was sent back to the convoy to divert the convoy to the westwards. After having transferred the order she set course to return to the U.K. via the Azores. HMS Javelin and HMS Inconstant meanwhile joined HMS Illustrious and HMS Pakenham around 1945Z/30.
At 0348Z/31, a message was received that the reported battleships course had been 200° instead of 300°. The convoy was therefore altered course. HMS Illustrious and her escorting destroyers then swept astern of the convoy before setting course direct to Freetown around 0846Z/31. (Position was then 28°50'N, 24°20'W).
At 1430Z/2, HMS Javelin was detached from the screen of HMS Illustrious to proceed to Bathurst to refuel. She later proceeded to Freetown independently.
In the afternoon of 2 April, HMS Shropshire fuelled HMS Grove.
In the afternoon of 3 April, HMS Shropshire fuelled HMS Aldenham.
HMS Illustrious, HMS Pakenham and HMS Inconstant arrived at Freetown around 0830Z/4.
Around 0900Z/4, the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) joined the convoy escort.
The convoy arrived at Freetown in the morning of April 6th. (6)
27 Mar 1942
On 27 March 1942 German U-boat U-587 was sunk in position 47°21'N, 21°39'W by depth charges by the British escort destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN) and HMS Leamington (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN) of the 2nd Escort Group, escorting the troop convoy WS-17. The U-boat was found after a HF/DF fix by the British destroyer HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN).
7 Apr 1942
Convoy AS 2A.
This convoy departed Freetown on 7 April 1942.
It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Brazil (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Monterey (American, 148017 GRT, built 1932) and Mormactide (American, 7773 GRT, built 1941).
On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN).
Around 1800Z/9, the escort destroyers parted company with the convoy to fuel at St. Helena and then proceed to Capetown at best speed.
Around 1500B/17, the Largs Bay parted company with the convoy to continue on to Durban independently.
Around 1445B/18, the convoy arrived at Capetown escorted only by HMS Devonshire (7)
5 Jun 1942
HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) transited the Suez Canal northbound and departed Port Said for Alexandria together with the escort destroyer HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN). They arrived at Alexandria at 1045C/6. (8)
- ADM 53/115827
- ADM 53/115420 + ADM 53/116132 + ADM 53/116734 + ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429
- ADM 53/116623 + ADM 199/644
- ADM 234/340
- ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429
- ADM 199/1211
- ADM 53/115780 + ADM 199/647
- ADM 53/116783 + ADM 199/650
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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