ORP Krakowiak (L 115)
Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class
|Navy||The Polish Navy|
|Class||Hunt (Type II)|
|Built by||J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.)|
|Ordered||4 Sep 1939|
|Laid down||5 Dec 1939|
|Launched||4 Dec 1940|
|Commissioned||28 May 1941|
Ordered as HMS Silverton, but transferred to the Polish Navy before completion.
|Former name||HMS Silverton|
Commands listed for ORP Krakowiak (L 115)
Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.
|1||Kpt. mar. Tadeusz Gorazdowski, ORP||28 May 1941||3 Apr 1942|
|2||Kpt. mar. Jan Tchorznicki, ORP||22 May 1942||14 Jun 1943|
|3||Kmdr ppor. Wszechwlad Maracewicz, ORP||14 Jun 1943||31 Oct 1944|
|4||Kpt. mar. Wlodzimierz Loskoczynski, ORP||21 Nov 1944||6 Jan 1946|
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Notable events involving Krakowiak include:
16 Jun 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with ORP Krakowiak (Cdr. T. Gorazdowski, ORP), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN). (1)
18 Dec 1942
ORP Krakowiak picks up 55 survivors from the British merchant Bretwalda that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-563 about 330 nautical miles west-north-west of Cape Finisterre in position 44°35'N, 16°28'W.
26 Feb 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.R. Pelly, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN), ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz) and later with HMS Cornelian (T/A/Lt.Cdr. S. Gorrell, RNR). (2)
16 Mar 1943
Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11.
This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 March 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 28 and KMS 11 at sea on 21 March 1943.
The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Brittanic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).
Also the naval auxiliaries HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) were part of the convoy.
On assembly off Oversay the following escorts were with the convoy; sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN, with the S.O. 2nd Escort Group on board, Capt. F.J. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz, ORP).
On 21 March the convoy split up into two sections, KMF 11, made up of Banfora, Cuba, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Ormonde, Orion, Nea Hellas, Rangitata, Windsor Castle and HMS Ulster Monarch proceeded to Algiers where it arrived on 23 March 1943 escorted by the original escort minus HMS Douglas which put into Gibraltar on 22 March with damage to her port propeller. After inspection it was apparent that she was able to continue but she was not to exceed 22 knots so it was decided that she could rejoin the convoy. All five escort destroyers also put into Gibraltar to fuel but departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy. HMS Ulster Monarch also put into Gibraltar.
At 0254/23, the Windsor Castle was torpedoed by a German He.111 from I/KG 26 in position 37°28'N, 01°10'E. The passengers (troops) were taken off by HMS Wren, HMS Eggesford and HMS Whaddon. The last two ships reported to be dangerously overloaded with survivors.
Also the destroyer HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), which were on A/S patrol off Algiers were ordered to proceed to the convoy. Also the destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) were ordered to do the same sailing from Oran.
At 1027/3, it was reported that Windsor Castle was abandoned and slowly sinking and the HMS Loyal had taken off the crew. HMS Whaddon and HMS Eggesford were proceeding to Algiers covered by HMS Douglas.
At 1621/3, Windsor Castle was still afloat and HMS Farndale was ettempting to take her in tow. The ship however sank suddenly at 1724/3. HMS Eskimo, HMS Loyal, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, Hengist and Restive then proceeded to Oran while HMS Lamerton and Salvestor proceeded to Algiers.
WS 28, made up of Brittanic, Duchess of Bedford, Empire Might, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Tegelberg, Waipawa, Winchester Castle, HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and HMS Largs.
To escort these ships the destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) and HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) sailed from Casablanca on 20 March and the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) sailed from Gibraltar also on 20 March. They joined the convoy in the morning of March 21st after which the convoy split up.
Another destroyer, HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), departed Gibraltar on 21 March and she joined the convoy later the same day.
On 22 March the transport Empire Might reported a fire in her stokehold rendering her immobile. She was then towed to Dakar by HMS Ashanti.
The remainder of convoy WS 28 arrived at Freetown on 27 March 1943.
Convoy WS 28 departed Freetown for South Africa on 30 March 1943.
The composition of the convoy was the same on departed as in which it had arrived at Freetown three days earlier.
Escort was provided on departure from Freetown by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), destroyers HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Quadrant, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine.
At 2359Z/30, HMS Ulster Monarch overtook and joined the convoy coming from Freetown.
At 0600A/4, HMS Redoubt and HMS Quadrant parted company with the convoy to refuel at Pointe Noire. They rejoined the convoy at 1212B/5.
At 1300B/5, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine were detached.
On the 11th the convoy split up, Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Monarch of Bermuda, Tegelberg, Waipawa and Winchester Castle went to Capetown apparently escorted by HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Largs and HMS Ulster Monarch went to Simonstown, as did HMS Kenya and HMS Quadrant and HMS Racehorce.
The destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the remainder of the convoy (Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, HMS Bulolo and HMS Keren) which arrived at Durban on 14 April 1943.
On 15 April the 'Capetown section' of the convoy departed from there, it was made up of the same ships as that had arrived at Capetown but apparently without the Britannic. HMS Largs joined the convoy off Simonstown. Escort was provided by HMS Kenya, HMS Quadrant, HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless.
Around noon on the 18th the 'Capetown section' joined up with the 'Durban section' which had departed from there escorted by HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) which also joined the convoy as escorts. HMS Quadrant parted company and proceeded to Durban.
At 2000C/20, the destroyers parted company to return to Aden.
At 1015D/24, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) and HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. They had sailed from Kilindini on 22 April. HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy at noon and set course for Kilindini where she arrived on 25 April to join the Eastern Fleet.
At 2300D/27, HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy following which she proceeded to Bombay where she arrived on 1 May 1943.
On 30 April 1943 the convoy was dispersed off Aden. HMS Canton arrived at Aden later on the same day.
21 May 1943
HMS Thrasher (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with The British escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Komandor Podporucznik (Lt.Cdr.) W. Maracewicz, ORP) in the morning and with HMS Wensleydale (Lt. W.P. Goodfellow, RNVR) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN) in the afternoon. Upon completion of the A/S exercise in the afternoon Thrasher made a pracice attack on HMS Wensleydale. (3)
4 Sep 1943
Around 1600B/4, the escort carrier HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Holcombe (Lt. F.M. Graves, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta.
They were joined around 0730B/5 by the escort carrier HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN) and ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) coming from Oran.
More ships joined around 1940B/5. These were the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz). These ships had departed Algiers around 1845B/5.
These ships were to join forces at Malta with a few more ships which had already left earlier escorting an eastbound convoy. These ships were to form ' Force V ' for the upcoming landings at Salerno.
All ships listed above arrived at Malta in the morning of September, 7th except for HMS Euryalus which proceeded ahead already arriving late on the 6th. (4)
8 Sep 1943
Operations of ' Force V ' during operation Avalanche.
Around 1100B/8, ' Force V ' departed Malta for the tyrrhenian sea. ' Force V ' was made up of the HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker ( Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt. F.M. Graves, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz).
They passed through the Messina Strait during the night of 8/9 September. At dawn on the 9th ' Force V ' arrived in the assault area. The first sortie was flown off at 0615B/9 and subsequently at hourly intervals. The aircraft maintained patrols of 80 minutes until 1930B/9 when the last aircraft landed on.
' Force V ' operated in an area 30 miles square, to the southward of the assault area, approaching the island of Capri from time to time in order to obtain accurate fixes. Three types of patrol were flown; a) A standing patrol south and east of Capri by seafires from the escort carriers. b) A high patrol over the beaches from about sunrise until 0745 hours and from 1810 hours until just before sunset by seafires from HMS Unicorn. This was during the period that fighter cover was not provided from Sicilian airfields. c) A standing high patrol over the low patrol in the Capri area during the remainder of the day by Seafires from HMS Unicorn.
A total of 265 sorties were flown on the first day. Cover over ' Force V ' was maintained by aircraft from the fleet carriers of ' Force H '. During the dark hours the force was withdrawn to the southward and operated to the east of a line joining Salerno and Palermo so as to keep clear of the convoy routes, returning to the flying-off area at dawn.
During 10 September the flying programme was repeated and 232 sorties were flown.
It had been hoped that ' Force V ' could be withdrawn on the 10th and that Montecorvino airfield could be used. The airfield had indeed been captured as planned but it remained under heavy enemy artillery fire and could only be used for forced landings. ' Force V ' therefore had to remain in the assault area, though its flying efficieny had decreased and the fuel situation of the escort destroyers was becoming difficult.
On 11 September the number of sorties flown decreased to 160. At 1900B/11, ' Force H ' on leaving for Malta flew 17 aircraft over to join ' Force V ', which now had to provide its own fighter cover. Montecorvino was still under fire and patrols were again flows off at dawn on 12 September. The total number of sorties flown on 12 September was 56.
A landing strip had been laid out at Paestrum and orders were received that all available fighters should land ashore and that ' Force V ' could then withdraw. This signal, though sent at 0909 hours was not received until 1230 hours. 26 Seafires were then flown off and ' Force V ' then withdrew arriving at Palermo around 1930B/12.
' Force V ' departed from Palermo around 0600B/13 for Bizerta arriving there around 1830B/13. (5)
17 Nov 1943
Around 2100/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Limmasol to make rendezvous with the destroyer HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz) which were coming through the Rhodes Channel from Mandelyah Gulf.
Rendezvous was effected around 0545/18 after which course was set for Paphos, Cyprus where they arrived around 1040/28. HMS Fury and ORP Krakowiak were then fuelled by HMS Penelope. HMS Penelope then embarked Cdr. Orbay, Turkish Navy, most likely from HMS Fury. (6)
28 Nov 1943
At 1117A/28, HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) was torpedoed and very seriously damaged by the German U-boat U-407 off the coast of Cyrenaica in position 33°05'N, 21°43'E. 29 lives were lost in this attack.
The destroyer HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz) and RHS Themistocles come to assist the damaged cruiser which in the end joined convoy UGS 23. The three destroyers / escort destroyers then proceeded on their previous duties.
17 Dec 1943
Combined Convoy MKF 27 / XIF 6.
This combined convoy sailed from Port Said on 17 December 1943.
On departure from Port Said the combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Volendam (British, 15434 GRT, built 1922).
Two more (troop) transports sailed from Alexandria and joined the convoy, these were the; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941) and Princess Kathleen (British, 5875 GRT, built 1925).
On 17 December 1943, the escort destroyers ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz), HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Cleveland (Lt.Cdr. J.K. Hamilton, RN) departed Tobruk to join the convoy which they did the following day. They later split off with convoy the ships for Taranto (Convoy XIF 6).
The ships that were in convoy XIF 6 were the following; Aronda, Bergensfjord, Highland Princess, Indrapoera, Princess Kathleen, Ruys, Takliwa and Volendam.
Convoy XIF 6 arrived at Taranto on 21 December 1943.
Meanwhile the Orion and Strathmore had continued on to Augusta where they arrived on 20 December 1943 escorted by HMS Antwerp, HMS Tetcott, Exmoor, HMS Croome, RHS Miaoules and RHS Themistocles.
The Orion and Strathnmore remained at Augusta until 24 December 1943 when they departed for the U.K. They had been joined by the ships from convoy XIF 6A which had arrived on 23 December 1943 after having departed Taranto on 22 December 1943. The ships in convoy XIF 6A were the same ships that had been in convoy XIF 6 except for the Aronda which remained at Taranto. Also the escort had been the same.
On the convoys departure from Augusta it was escorted by ORP Slazak, ORP Krakowiak, HMS Atherstone and HMS Cleveland.
Around 1415A/25, the light cruiser HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined off Bizerta.
Off Algiers, on the 26/27th, the escort destroyers were relieved by the frigates HMS Bentinck (Cdr. E.H. Chavasse, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Bazely (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Brock, RCNVR), HMS Burges (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Byard (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Calder (Lt.Cdr. A.D. White, RD, RNR) and HMS Drury (Lt. N.J. Parker, RN).
Also the (troop) transports Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923) and Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925) joined.
Off Oran on the 27th, more (troop) transports joined, these were the Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920) and Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917).
Off Gibraltar, HMS Spartan was detached which then entered harbour while the (troop) transport Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931) joined the convoy.
The convoy arrived in the U.K. on 4 January 1944.
- File 2.12.03.6387 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
- ADM 173/17921
- ADM 173/18225
- ADM 53/117495 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641
- ADM 53/117495 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 234/358
- ADM 53/118345
- ADM 173/19580
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.