Allied Warships

HMS Jonquil (K 68)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 68 
Built byFleming & Ferguson Ltd. (Paisley, Scotland) 
Ordered31 Aug 1939 
Laid down27 Dec 1939 
Launched9 Jul 1940 
Commissioned21 Oct 1940 
End service 
History

Order no j1039 taking 9 months and 24 days to complete.

Sold in may 1946.
Became the merchantile Lemnos in 1947.
Renamed Olympic Rider in 1951.
Sunk on 1 December 1955.

 

Commands listed for HMS Jonquil (K 68)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Edward Heap Partington, RNR12 Sep 1940late 1942
2T/Lt. Ronald William Tretheway, RNRlate 1942Dec 1944
3T/Lt. Valdemer Jens Andersen, RNZNVRDec 1944Jun 1945
4T/Lt. James Stuart Morton Swift, RNVRJun 1945late 1945

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Notable events involving Jonquil include:


12 Nov 1940
HMS H 34 (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Star of India (Cdr.(Retd.) S.F. Russell, RN) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR). (1)

14 Nov 1940
HMS H 34 (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Snapdragon (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Hulton, RN) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR). (1)

18 Dec 1940

Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper

This convoy departed U.K. ports on 18/19 December 1940. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Suez where the convoy arrived on 16 February 1941.

On 17 December 1940 the transport Rangitiki (British, 16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Avonmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) towards the rendez-vous position.

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A slow;
Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Atreus (British, 6547 GRT, built 1911), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Delane (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Elizabethville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922), Menelaus (British, 10307 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Settler (British, 6202 GRT, built 1939) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Costa Rica (Dutch, 8055 GRT, built 1910), Ernebank (British, 5388 GRT, built 1937), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912). Ernebank was however forced to return around 1800 hours on the 21st escorted by HMS Witch and HMS St. Mary’s. On the 22nd, HMS Wellington, was detached to take over the escort of the Ernebank. They were escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN), HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from Lough Foyle (Belfast); City of Derby (British, 6616 GRT, built 1921) and Stentor (British, 6148 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN).

The slow part of the convoy was met around dawn on the 19th by the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN).

Around 2300/21 all destroyers parted company with the slow part of the convoy.

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A fast;
Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Essex (British, 13655 GRT, built 1936) and Northern Prince (British, 10917 GRT, built 1929).

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Adviser (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Arabistan (British, 5874 GRT, built 1929), Barrister (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Benrinnes (5410 GRT, built 1921), Clan Cumming (British, 7264 GRT, built 1938), Empire Song (British, 9228 GRT, built 1940) and Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922).

Escort for the fast section of convoy WS 5A joined around dawn on the 20th and was provided by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RNRN), destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) which came from the Clyde. And also by the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Harvester and FSS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) which came from Londonderry. The first two of these destroyers had fuelled there after escorting the slow part of the convoy for a while. Also the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) (with fighters embarked for Takoradi) and the destroyers HMS Beverley (Cdr.(Retd.) E.F. Fitzgerald, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling joined from Liverpool.

The destroyers of the fast portion of the convoy were detached during the night of 21/22 December 1940.

At dawn on 23 December 1940 the slow and fast part of the convoy made rendez-vous and proceeded in company.

On the 24th, HMS Naiad parted company to return to the U.K. The heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) both joined the escort of the convoy.

At dawn on the 25th the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. She had made contact with the convoy with radar the previous day and had already made a torpedo attack shortly before 0400/25 but no hits had been obtained nor had the attack been noticed by the British.

Then shortly after 0800/25 she made visual contact with the convoy and it came as a surprise to the Germans to sight HMS Berwick.

Around 0830 hours the Germans opened fire on HMS Berwick but due to the bad visibility she soon shifted target to the troopship Empire Trooper which was not in her assigned station. The troopship was slightly damaged as was the merchant vessel Arabistan.

The convoy was ordered to scatter and HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure both engaged the German cruiser as did the corvette Cyclamen briefly.

Meanwhile HMS Dunedin laid a smokescreen to cover the ships of the convoy. HMS Furious flew off a few aircraft but these failed to find the German cruiser in the bad visibility.

HMS Berwick was damaged by gunfire from the German cruiser but she forced, together with HMS Bonaventure, the enemy to break off the action around 0915 hours.

In the evening HMS Boneventure was detached to search for the damaged Empire Trooper.

On the 28th the convoy was reassembled at sea (minus Empire Trooper which was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar via the Azores) and continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 5 January 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown for South Africa on 8 January.

The convoy was now made up of the (troop) transports; Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability (British, 7603 GRT, built 1931), Menelaus, Neuralia, Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor and Tamaroa.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.La T. Bisset, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), destroyers HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN), sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN), HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) and the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR).

At 0700N/9, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined the convoy. She had also departed Freetown around the same time as the convoy but apparently acted independently until the time she joined the convoy.

At 0600N/10, HMS Formidable, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Norfolk, HMS Velox and HMS Vidette parted company with the convoy. At the same time the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) joined.

It appears that HMS Bridgewater, HMS Milford, HMS Asphodel and HMS Calendula parted company on 12 January.

At 1000B/21, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN) joined the convoy and HMS Devonshire parted company.

At 1600B/22, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy taking the transports Anselm and City of Canterbury to Capetown where they arrived on 23 January.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Durban on 25 January 1941 escorted by HMS Shropshire.

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The convoy departed Durban for Suez on 29 January 1941. It was now made up of the transports, Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability, Menelaus, Neuralia, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor, Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Tamaroa.

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire and the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN).

Around 0800B/30, HMS Shropshire was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN).

In the morning of 31 January the transport Delane parted company with the convoy to return to Durban due to engine defects.

At 1000CD(-3.5)/4, HMS Ceres parted company taking the transports Nieuw Holland and Orbita with her to Kilindini / Mombasa where they arrived on 5 February.

At 1440CD/5, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) joined.

At 1500CD/5, the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) joined.

At 0430CD/6, HMS Capetown parted company with the convoy having been ordered to do so.

At 1730CD/10, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy to fuel at Aden. She rejoined the convoy around 2130C/11.

Around 0630C/11, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) and the sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN). HMS Hector then parted company with the convoy.

At 2300C/11, HMIS Indus parted company with the convoy upon being relieved by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

At 1830C/13, HMS Flamingo parted company with the convoy to return to Aden and HMS Grimsby parted company with the convoy taking the transport Neuralia with her to Port Sudan.

At 0400C/14, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy.

The convoy escorted by HMS Caledon arrived at Suez on 16 February 1941. (2)

25 Dec 1940

Operations by 'Force H' following the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on convoy WS 5A.

[For more info on convoy WS 5A on the first leg of her passage, it's composition, and the attack by the German cruiser Admiral Hipper see the event ' Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper ' for 18 December 1940 on for instance the page of HMS Berwick.]

25 December 1940.

At 1020/25 an enemy report of a pocket battleships (later corrected to an 8" cruiser), in position 43°59'N, 25°08'W, was received from HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN). Vice-Admiral Somerville immediately ordered 'Force H' (less HMS Malaya) to come to one hour's notice for full speed. Twenty minutes later, instructions were received from the Admiralty for 'Force H' to raise steam with all despatch, and shortly afterwards for the force to proceed to sea.

Ships commenced to leave Gibraltar at 1315 hours and by 1430 hours; battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Duncan (A/Capt. A.D.B. James, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN), were clear of the harbour and on a Westerly course.

Course was set to position 37°00'N, 16°00'W as this was considered to be the best position to either cover the convoy or assist in the hunt for the enemy. Vice-Admiral Somerville reported to the Admiralty that 'Force H' was proceeding to this position at high speed with eight destroyers, who would remain in company or follow, depending on the weather.

At 1500/25 a signal was received from the Admiralty ordering the convoy and escort to proceed to Gibraltar. At this time Vice-Admiral Somerville was not aware - nor apparently were the Admiralty - that the convoy had scattered. As there now appeared little chance to bringing the raider to action. Vice-Admiral Somerville decided to join the convoy and reported accordingly to the Admiralty. Weather conditions enabled the destroyers to remain in company at 27 knots.

An hour later a further signal was received from the Admiralty directing the convoy to pass through positions 41°00'N, 19°00'W and 37°00'N, 16°00'W. These instructions were only passed to HM Ships, all of whom, it was subsequently learnt, were out of touch with the scattered convoy.

In view of the low endurance of HMS Wishart, she was detached at 1845/25 with instructions to follow at economical speed and join the convoy during daylight on December, 27th in position 37°00'N, 16°00'W.

The first indication that the convoy had scattered was received at 2000/25 when HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) reported that she had met the City of Canterbury who was proceeding to the convoy Commodore's Noon/26 rendez-vous.

Shortly after this reported a report was received from the corvette HMS Clematis confirming that the Commodore had ordered to convoy to scatter, it also stated that the troopship Empire Trooper was damaged, believed slightly.

At 2200/25, general instructions to all units were received from the Admiralty, still acting on the assumption that escort and convoy were in company. 'Force H' was directed to rendez-vous with HMS Berwick and escort the convoy until 'Force K' (aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.La T. Bisset, RN) and heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined. 'Force K' was then to escort the main body of the convoy to Freetown, whilst 'Force H', with aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and HMS Dunedin escorted the 'Operation Excess' section to Gibraltar. The damaged heavy cruiser HMS Berwick was to proceed to the U.K. if fit for passage. It also directed that if needed the upcoming 'Operation Excess' could be postponed for 24 hours.

26 December 1940.

At 0200/26 a signal was received from the Admiralty stating that the convoy had scattered and that the ships were most likely proceeding to one of the following positions; the Commodore's noon/26 rendezvous; position 41°00'N, 19°00'W; or direct to Gibraltar. Vice-Admiral Somerville was ordered to take charge.

As he was unaware of the position of 'Force K' he ordered the Senior Officer 'Force K' to report his position, course, speed and intention. Later the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) was also ordered to report similarly. All units were informed of the position, course and speed of 'Force H'.

No further news had been received regarding the damaged troopship Empire Trooper. At 0801/26, Vice-Admiral Somerville, ordered the armed merchant cruiser HMS Derbyshire (Capt.(Retd.) E.A.B. Stanley, DSO, MVO, RN) to proceed to her assistance.

At 1100/26, the situation was still obscure. No reply had been received from 'Force K' and HMS Furious. HMS Bonaventure had just reported that she was proceeding to the assistance of the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR). Ships of the convoy were apparently scattered over a wide area, each making for one of three different positions. Visibility to the westward was apparently very low. Vice-Admiral Somerville therefore requested the Admiralty to broadcast instructions on commercial wave to ships of the convoy to proceed to position 37°00'N, 16°00'W. He also informed the Admiralty that it was his intention to have HMS Derbyshire to take over from HMS Bonaventure to enable Bonaventure to proceed to Gibraltar for 'Operation Excess'.

'Force K' and HMS Furious reported between 1200 and 1300/26. 'Force K' was intending to collect the convoy at the Commodor's noon/26 rendez-vous and escort them to 37°00'N, 16°00'W. HMS Furious reported that she was in company with HMS Argus so as to reach position 37°00'N, 16°00'W at 1300/27. Also it was reported that she needed to refuel at Gibraltar before she could proceed to Freetown.

A reconnaissance of nine aircraft was flow off by HMS Ark Royal at 1300 hours in position 38°23'N, 15°45'W but nothing was sighted by these aircraft.

A report from HMS Bonaventure was received at 1630/26. She had intercepted the German merchant ship Baden (8204 GRT, built 1922) in position 44°00'N, 25°07'W. The German ship could not be boarded in the foul weather and the Germans had also set it on fire. HMS Bonaventure sank the German ship with a torpedo. She also stated that she had not yet sighted the Empire Trooper.

The situation at 1700/26 was as follows; the approximate position of all H.M. Ships in the area was known (except for the corvettes). HMS Cyclamen, with her W/T out of action, was believed to be standing by the Empire Trooper, and it appeared probable that the three remaining corvettes (HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR)) had proceeded to Ponta Delgada to fuel. Only one merchant ship had been located. The City of Canterbury, in company with HMS Dunedin. Whilst the situation of the Empire Trooper caused some anxiety priority was given to assist in rounding up and covering the remainder of the convoy which might be making for position 37°00'N, 16°00'W.

At 1720/26, all units were instructed to act as follows; 'Force H' was to maintain position between the northern and southern appoaches to position 37°00'N, 16°00'W. 'Force K' was to continue to search for ships passing through position 39°08'N, 21°38'W. HMS Furious was to arrive in position 37°00'N, 16°00'W at 1400/27, searching to the north and east for ships proceeding direct to Gibraltar. HMS Berwick was to search to the north and west of position 37°00'N, 16°00'W, during the forenoon of December, 27th. She was to make rendez-vous with 'Force H' at 1400/27. HMS Dunedin was also to make rendez-vous with 'Force H' at 1400/27. All ships were directed to report at 2200/26 and 1200/27 the number of merchant ships in company.

The 2200 reports received indicated that only three merchant ships had been located, two by 'Force K' and one by HMS Dunedin. Both HMS Norfolk and HMS Dunedin reported to be getting low on fuel. At the same time HMS Berwick reported to the Admiralty that she had to proceed to Gibraltar to make good underwater damage, to free 'X' turret and to fuel.

27 December 1940.

At 0145/27 the Admiralty informed Vice-Admiral Somerville that further steps were required to locate the Empire Trooper who had 2500 troops on board. In view of the existing fuel situation and the necessity for providing air reconnaissance to locate the damaged ship and as there were no further indications of the precense of the enemy cruiser Vice-Admiral Somerville decided to proceed with HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal to locate the Empire Trooper, whose last known position was some 600 nautical miles to the north-west. This nescessitated dropping the screening destroyers. Vice-Admiral Somerville therefore informed the Admiralty accordingly and directed 'Force K' to take charge of operations in connection to the convoy. At the same time Vice-Admiral Somerville instructed HMS Derbyshire to report her position, course and speed, and ordered HMS Clematis to report the position of the corvettes and to provide any further information regarding the condition of the Empire Trooper.

HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal proceeded at 22 knots, later increasing to 24 knots, to the north-westward, with the intention of locating the Empire Trooper by air after daylight the following morning.

At 0800/27, Vice-Admiral Somerville ordered HMS Cyclamen, if still in touch with the Empire Trooper, to report her position, course and speed and also requested the Admiralty to order the Empire Trooper herself to report her position.

Two hours later, HMS Clematis reported that she had sighted the Empire Trooper through the mist half an hour after the latter had been hit in No.1 hold. The transport was then steaming 13 knots and damage was not believed to be serious. Owning to low visibility the other corvettes had not been located. Shortly after this HMS Derbyshire reported her position, course and speed at 1000/27 and added that visibility was half a mile.

In view of the low visibility prevailing, which would preelude air reconnaissance, and of the encourageing report from HMS Clematis of Empire Trooper's condition, it appeared to Vice-Admiral Somerville doubtful wheter the presence of HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal would serve any useful purpose. Whilst so far to the northward they were unable to afford any protection to the remaining ships of the convoy, whose escorts in some cases were running short of fuel. Furtherm to remain in this position would inevitably result in delay in carrying out the upcoming 'Operation Excess'. Vice-Admiral Somerville there proposed to the Admiralty that HMS Derbyshire should remain in the vicinity of the Empire Trooper's last reported position and that HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal should return to Gibraltar, covering the convoy.

Pending the Admiralty reply to this signal, HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal proceeded to a suitable position to carry out a dawn reconnaissance with aircraft to locate the Empire Trooper should this be required whilst at the same time enabling Renown and Ark Royal to return to Gibraltar at high speed in time to carry out 'Operation Excess'.

Reports received from all units indicated that a total of four merchant ships had been located by 1200/27. The Senior Officer 'Force K', at this time ordered HMS Furious, HMS Argus, HMS Dunedin and the five transports which were to participate in 'Operation Excess', when collected, to proceed to Gibraltar with the nescessary destroyers. HMS Berwick, HMS Sheffield and the remaining destroyers to remain at the rendez-vous position until 'Force K' arrived there.

The Admiralty reply to Vice-Admiral Somerville's proposal was received at 1500/27 and directed the Vice-Admiral to remain in the area with HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal until the situation regarding the Empire Trooper had been cleared up or as long as endurance of the screen allowed.

As Vice-Admiral Somerville had previously reported that HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal had proceeded unscreened at 0200/27, he was uncerain how to interpret this signal. He assumed that it was intended that he should rejoin his destroyers in the vicinity of 37°00'N, 16°00'W and this was reported to the Admiralty accordingly.

At 1700/27 a report was intercepted from HMS Cyclamen that she was standing by the Empire Trooper who had been holed in No.1 and No.4 hatches and whose situation was serious. Her position at 0800/27 was given as 41°00'N, 22°09'W, course 138°, speed 4 knots. Shortly afterwards a report in Merchant Navy Code was intercepted from the Empire Trooper, in which she suggested that assistance should be sent to disembark the troops if necessary. The position given by the Empire Trooper differed considerably from that reported by HMS Cyclamen, whilst first class D/F bearing obtained at this time was also at variance with both positions. From all the evidence available it appeared that the Empire Trooper was in approximate position 40°40'N, 21°16'W at 1730/27.

in view of these less satisfactory reports, Vice-Admiral Somerville at once ordered HMS Bonaventure to proceed to the Empire Trooper estimated position. As it appeared possible that transfer of troops at sea might be necessary, the Vice-Admiral ordered HMS Sheffield to detach the two destroyers with the most fuel remaining to proceed at 16 knots towards the Empire Trooper. It was doubtful wheter these had enough endurance to return to Gibraltar, but in emergency they could proceed to the Azores if refuelling at sea was impracticable. In the meantime HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal proceeded westwards to reach the most favourable position for flying off a dawn reconnaissance should weather conditions enable this to be done.

At 2030/27, Admiralty instructions were received for Empire Trooper to steer for Ponta Delgada as soon as weather permitted. Twenty-five minutes later a signal from the Admiralty was received the the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), who had previously had been ordered to join convoy SL 59, was ordered to join the Empire Trooper instead.

At 2300/27 Admiralty instructions to all concerned regarding the Empire Trooper were received. HMS Kenya, HMS Berwick, HMS Cyclamen, HMS Clematis, HMS Jonquil and HMS Geranium were ordered to join the Empire Trooper and escort her to Punta Delgada. If it was found that HMS Berwick could remain with the Empire Trooper, HMS Bonaventure was to be released for 'Operation Excess' as soon as HMS Berwick relieved her, otherwise HMS Bonaventure was to remain with the Empire Trooper.

HMS Berwick reported she expected to join the Empire Trooper by 1700/28. As Bonaventure's shortage of fuel would prelude her joining the Empire Trooper before the latter had been joined by HMS Berwick, Vice-Admiral Somerville ordered HMS Bonaventure to proceed to Gibraltar.

At midnight, Vice-Admiral Somerville received a signal from 'Force K' containing proposals for the future movements of the convoy and escort.

28 December 1940.

A report was received from HMS Cyclamen at 0330/28 giving the position of the Empire Trooper at 2000/27 as 40°12'N, 21°13'W, speed 6 knots. The damaged ship had thus made good some 250 nautical miles since being attacked. As it now appeared that sufficient ships would be available to stand by her and in view of the critical fuel situation in the two destroyer that had been ordered to join her (these were HMS Duncan and HMS Hero) they were ordered to proceed to Gibraltar.

The fore end of HMS Renown's starboard bulge, which had started to tear away some time previously, now became more serious, rendering it inadvisable for the ship to exceed 20 knots. As weather conditions still precluded flying, and as HMS Kenya, HMS Berwick, HMS Derbyshire and the four corvettes were all in the vicinity of or approaching the Empire Trooper, it dit not appear that any useful purpose would be served by HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal remaining unscreened in submarine infested waters and risking further damage to Renown's bulge.

The Admiralty was then informed that HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal were returning to Gibraltar. Also a signal was sent to prepare No.1 dock at Gibraltar for HMS Renown with all despatch.

As the docking of HMS Renown would involve some delay in 'Operation Excess', Vice-Admiral Somerville informed the Admiralty and the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, that the earliest possible D.1 for would be January, 1st, and that even this date was dependent on it being possible for Renown to be made seaworthy within 24 hours of docking.

By 1500/28 the weather had improved sufficiently for an A/S patrol to be flown off. This was maintained till dusk.

During the afternoon further damage was caused to the bulge. By this time about 30 feet of the top strake had been town away and a large number of rivets were leaking. Shores and cofferdams were placed.

In order to provide a screen for HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal, Vice-Admiral Somerville ordered HMS Duncan and HMS Hero, now on passage to Gibraltar, to rendez-vous with the capital ships at 1000/29, and also the Admiral Commanding, North Atlantic Station was asked to sail additional destroyers if pacticable. HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) were sailed from Gibraltar to rendez-vous with the capital ships at 1100/29.

Air reconnaissance sighted nothing of interest during the day. At dusk couse was altered to pass north of convoy HG 49 which had left Gibraltar at 1800/28 and speed was reduced to 18 knots to increase the efficiency of the Asdic operating.

29 December 1940.

HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Hasty and HMS Jaguar indeed joined 'Force H' at 1100/29.

30 December 1940.

HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Duncan, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero and HMS Jaguar arrived at Gibraltar at 0830 hours when HMS Renown immediately entered No.1 Dock. (3)

30 Dec 1940
The corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) departed Ponta Delgada, P.M. on 30 December followed by the damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) around 2300Z/30. At sea they joined the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN). In the meantime the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) had also arrived to escort the damaged troopship. Course was then set for Gibraltar. (4)

4 Jan 1941
At 0920A/4, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) parted company with the damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

HMS Kenya arrived at Gibraltar around 1645A/4. (5)

5 Jan 1941
The damaged troopship Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and her escorts, the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) arrived at Gibraltar. (6)

26 Jan 1941

Convoy SLG 1.

This convoy departed Freetown on 26 January 1941.

It was made up of the following transports; Kenya (British, 9890 GRT, built 1930) and Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) and the destroyers HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN).

At 1400A/3, the corvettes HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) joined.

The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 5 February 1941.

13 Jul 1941
At 2145 hours, HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. O. de Booy, RNN), left convoy HG 67 escorted by the British corvettes HMS Joinquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR). They joined convoy OG 67 early the next morning. (7)

30 Jul 1941

Convoy OG 70.

This convoy departed U.K. waters on 30 July 1941 and was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Atlantic Coast (British, 890 GRT, built 1934), Berakit (Dutch, 6608 GRT, built 1924), City of Christchurch (British, 6009 GRT, built 1915), Cliftonhall (British, 5063 GRT, built 1918), Edencrag (British, 1592 GRT, built 1940), Elmdale (British, 4872 GRT, built 1941), Empire Comet (British, 6914 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ness (British, 2922 GRT, built 1941), Empire Strait (British, 2841 GRT, built 1940), Innesmore (British, 4392 GRT, built 1928), Lowther Castle (British, 5171 GRT, built 1937), Lublin (Polish, 1409 GRT, built 1932), Melrose Abbey II (British, 2473 GRT, built 1936), Mount Kassion (Greek, 7914 GRT, built 1918), Ottinge (British, 2870 GRT, built 1940), Panos (British, 4914 GRT, built 1920), Reedpool (British, 4848 GRT, built 1924), Shuna (British, 1575 GRT, built 1937), Tintern Abbey (British, 2471 GRT, built 1939) and Trevalgan (British, 5299 GRT, built 1937).

On departure from U.K. waters the convoy was escorted by the captapult ship HMS Maplin (A/Cdr. J.O. Davies, RNR), destroyers St. Albans (Lt.Cdr. S. Storheill), HrMs Campbeltown (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN), HMS Wanderer (Cdr. A.F.St.G. Orpen, RN), sloop HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), corvettes HMS Auricula (T/Lt. W.W. White, RNR), HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.C. Connell, RNR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR) and HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR).

On 1 August the catapult ship HMS Maplin and the destroyers St. Albans, Campbeltown and Wanderer parted company with the convoy.

On 6 August 1941, the corvettes HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and the auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Stella Carina (Lt. J.V. Lobb, RANVR) joined the convoy coming from convoy HG 69.

On 8 August 1941, the destroyers HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) were to join having departed Gibraltar on 6 August. They however could not find the convoy and only joined early on the 9th.

Also on the 8th the destroyer the destroyer HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN) joined the convoy coming from convoy HG 34FA.

Around 2000B/20, HMAS Nestor, HMS Encounter, HMS Deptford, HMS Auricula, HMS Convolvulus, HMS Jonquil, HMS Marigild and HMS Samphire parted company to join northbound convoy HG 70 which they did soon afterwards as the convoy had only been a few miles to the south of convoy OG 70.

Convoy OG 70 meanwhile continued on escorted by HMS Foresight, HMS Coreopsis and HMS Spiraea. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 12 August 1941.

25 Sep 1941

Operation Halberd
Supply convoy to Malta.

Continuation of the events of 17 September 1941, convoy WS 11X.

Situation at 1800 hours on 24 September 1941.

At 1800B/24 the situation was as follows;
Convoy WS 11X was to the west of Gibraltar escorted at that moment by the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN), the British destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), the British escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN).

At Gibraltar were the British battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), the British light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN), the British destroyers HMS Duncan (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN with Capt. D.(13) Capt. H.W. Williams, RN, on board), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), the Polish destroyers ORP Piorun (Kmdr.por. (Cdr.) E.J.S. Plawski), ORP Garland (Kmdr.por. (Cdr.) K.F. Namiesniowski) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNethN). Also at Gibraltar was the RFA oiler Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and the British corvette HMS Fleur de Lys (Lt.(Retd.) A. Collins, RNR).

Approaching Gibraltar from the west were the British destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN).

Movement of forces on the night of 24/25 September.

At 1815 hours, HMS Nelson departed Gibraltar and after passing farewell messages to HMS Rodney she proceeded westwards screened by HrMs Isaac Sweers, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland. These ships reversed course at 2130 hours and proceeded eastwards.

Shortly after HMS Nelson and her three escorting destroyers had departed Gibraltar harbour HMS Gurkha, HMS Zulu and HMS Lance, wich had been sent ahead to fuel aft Gibraltar, entered harbour.

At 2030B/24 RFA Brown Ranger and her escort, corvette HMS Fleur de Lys departed Gibraltar to take up a position eastwards to fuel the destroyers that were to protect the Halberd convoy.

At 2300B/24 HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermione escorted by HMS Duncan, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Lively, HMS Zulu, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion and HMS Lance departed from Gibraltar eastwards to simulate a normal sortie by 'Force H' and to rendezvous with the convoy to the eastward of Gibraltar at 0800B/25.

'Force Z', consisting of, HMS Princess Beatrix (4136 GRT, built 1939) (Cdr.(ret.) T.B. Brunton, RN), HMS Queen Emma (4136 GRT, built 1939) (Capt.(ret.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (3288 GRT, built 1936) (T/Cdr. J.W. Peters, RNR) (whose ultimate destination was Freetown), HMS Ulster Monarch (3791 GRT, built 1929) (T/Cdr. J. Wilson, RNR) and Leinster (4302 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the British corvettes HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) had been stationed behind the main convoy at dusk was ordered to proceed into Gibraltar Bay. It was hoped that the presence of these ships in the Bay would lay suspicion in the event of the convoy having been sighted and reported while passing through the Straits.

The remainder of convoy WS 11X, made up of transport ships Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931), City of Calcutta (8063 GRT, built 1940), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Clan Macdonald (9653 GRT, built 1939), Dunedin Star (11168 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (12427 GRT, built 1934), Rowallan Castle (7801 GRT, built 1939) and HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) (Capt.(ret.) C.A.G. Hutchison, RN), with the escort, organised in two groups one mile apart, and led by the Vice Admiral, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet in HMS Prince of Wales, and the Rear Admiral commanding 18th Cruiser Squadron in HMS Edinburgh respectively, passed south of Europa Point at 0130B/25. This disposition was adopted to reduce the frontage of the convoy during its passage through the Straits.

At 0730B/25 HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal and their screening destroyers were sighted from HMS Nelson at a range of about 10 nautical miles. Half an hour later the convoy and its escort was sighted.

The escorting force was now reorganised into two groups;
Group 1: HMS Nelson, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermione, HMS Cossack, HMS Zulu, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Laforey and HMS Lightning.

Group 2: HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney, HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Sheffield, HMS Euryalus, HMS Duncan, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion, HMS Lance, HMS Lively, HMS Oribi, HrMs Iscaac Sweers, ORP Piorun, ORP Garland, HMS Fury, HMS Farndale and HMS Heytrop and the entire convoy.

Events of group 1 and group 2 during 25 September

At 1700B/25 (time zone -2) HMS Duncan obtained an Asdic contact in position 36°36'N, 01°58'W and attacked with a pattern of four depth charges (more were intended but the starboard thrower failed to fire. Another depth charge attack was carried out by HMS Grukha at 1716 hours. She dropped a pattern of fourteen depth charges. HMS Duncan attacked again at 1750 hours with a second depth charge pattern. Both destroyers then proceeded to rejoin the screen at 1758 hours. Both ships sighted bubbles rising to the surface possibly from a damaged submarine.

Meanwhile on the 25th all destroyers of group 2 were fuelled by RFA Brown Ranger but not without delay as Brown Rangers speed was slower then anticipated and she was therefore further to the west then anticipated. This resulted in that not all destroyers were back in position at dusk. HMS Oribi was unable to find group 2 during the night and joined up with group 1 until daylight of the 26th when she rejoined group 1.

Events of group 1 and group 2 during 26 September

At 0932B/26 lookouts on HMS Nelson spotted an Italian aircraft shadowing group 1 at a range of 10 miles. The aircraft was flying very low and had not been picked up by RDF. The fighters from HMS Ark Royal that were in the air failed to intercept this aircraft due to failure of the R/T equipment in the flight leaders aircraft. An enemy report from the aircraft was intercepted at 0935 hours. A re-broadcast of this signal by an Italian shore station was picked up 20 minutes later.

At 1300 hours Group 1 reversed course to close the distance to group 2 and HMS Hermione was stationed astern of HMS Ark Royal for RDF purposes and to give additional AA protection to the carrier.

At 1537 hours two aircraft were sighted low down to the eastward by HMS Zulu, HMS Nelson and HMS Hermione. These aircraft were at first thought to be Hudsons but turned out to be enemy when a signal they made was intercepted. By now it was too late to vector fighters towards them.

Movements of group 1 and group 2 and enemy air attacks during 27 September.

Around 0730B/27 group 1 and 2 joined. HMS Ark Royal was now protected by HMS Euryalus (ahead) and HMS Hermione (astern) as close escort. Four Fulmar fighters were flown off at 0800 hours. This number was increased to ten at 1000 hours and twelve at 1100 hours and finally to sixteen at 1200 hours when it was though most likely air attacks might develop due to the fact the the forcehad been shadowed and reported by enemy aircraft from at least 0810 hours.

At 1255 hours RDF picked up enemy aircraft formations closing in on the convoy, one from the north and one from the east, both 30 miles distant. Position was 37°48'N, 08°50'E. Fighters were vertored towards these formations and one enemy aircraft was shot down at 1300 hours. Six enemy torpedo bombers approached from the port bow and beam of the convoy. Two were shot down at 1302 hours, most likely by AA fire from HMS Rodney and HMS Prince of Wales. An unknown number of torpedoes were dropped by the other aircraft. No hits were obtained but HMS Lance was narrowly missed by two of these torpedoes. HrMs Isaac Sweers was missed with one torpedo by 30 yards and HMS Rodney by one torpedo by 100 yards. One of the attacking aircraft was shot down by the destroyers while another torpedo bomber meanwhile was shot down by the Fulmars from the Ark Royal. Finally at 1310 hours a Fulmar was accidentaly shot down by HMS Prince of Wales. The first attack was was now over.

At 1327B/27 RDF reported a group of aircraft splitting into two formations and approaching from the east. Destroyers on the starboard wing of the screen opened fire at 1329 hours when six or seven torpedo bombers (BR 20's) were seen approaching very low from the starboard bow and beam. Position was 37°49'N, 08°58'E.

Three of these aircraft pressed on through the barrage put up by the destroyers and made a most determined attack on HMS Nelson who was swinging to starboard to comb the tracks. On aircraft dropped its torpedo out 450 yards 20° on Nelson's starboard bow passing over the ship at a height of 200 feet. This aircraft was almost certainly shot down astern of HMS Nelson by HMS Sheffield and HMS Prince of Wales. The track of the torpedo was not seen until about 150 yards ahead of the ship and no avoiding action was possible and the torpedo hit HMS Nelson on the port bow 10 feet below the waterline. The speed of HMS Nelson was reduced to 18 knots.

The second aircraft of this formation missed HMS Nelson with its torpedo by about 100 yards while the third aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by HMS Laforey. It's W/T operator, the only one of the crew alive but wounded, was picked up by HMS Forester.

Three or four aircraft from this group attacked from the starboard quarted but without result.

One torpedo bomber was shot down by the Fulmars at 1336 hours. One of the Fulmars was now shot down by mistake by pompom fire from HMS Rodney but the crew was rescued by HMS Duncan.

At 1345 hours the third attack started. RDF reported a group coming in from the south-west. Ten or eleven S.79's split into two groups and were seen coming in low over the water and were taken under fire from the escorting ships on the starboard side of the convoy. Seven or eight of the attackers then retired to the south-west and disappeared but three others tried to work round the starboard bow of the convoy which then turned ay 60° to port. The three attackers were then driven off by gunfire from the destroyer screen and dropped their torpedoes at long range but one torpedo narrowly missed HMS Lightning. One of these aircraft was shot down by a Fulmar as it retired. Position of this attack was 37°50'N, 09°06'E.

At 1354 hours three of the aircraft that had initialy turned away returned from astern. Two of these retired again on being fired at but the third pressed on to attack HMS Ark Royal but it was shot down by AA fire from that ship and HMS Nelson before it had dropped it's torpedo.

At 1358 hours one aircraft, seen right ahead of HMS Nelson, dropped a torpedo outside the screen. HMS Cossack was able to avoid this torpedo by the HE of this torpedo being picked up by her Asdic set.

Attempt to intercept the Italian battlefleet

While the third air attack was still in progress at 1404 hours an emergency report was received from an aircraft operating from Malta that it had sighted two Italian battleships and eight destroyers in position 38°20'N, 10°40'E steering a course of 190° at 20 knots at 1340 hours. The position of HMS Nelson when this report was received was 37°46'N, 09°04'E so the enemy was only 70-75 miles away. At this time HMS Nelson, with it's gun armament unimpaired was thought to be capable of 18 knots or more. Admiral Somerville decided to proceed towards the enemy at best speed with HMS Nelson, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney and the destroyers HMS Duncan, HMS Gurkha, HMS Lance, HMS Lively, HrMs Isaac Sweers and ORP Garland, leaving HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Sheffield and ten destroyers with the convoy. HMS Euryalus, HMS Hermione and the destoyers HMS Piorun and HMS Legion remained with the Ark Royal.

It was also decided to fly off two Swordfish aircraft from the Ark Royal to take over shadowing duties from the aircraft operating out of Malta and to arm and fly off air striking force as soon as possible.

Ark Royal launched the two Swordfish at 1448 hours. It was intended to have launched them earlier but the launch was delayed due to the main armamant of HMS Ark Royal being in action and the recovery of two Fulmar fighters which were short on fuel.

In the meantime, at 1425 hours, the aircraft that was in contact with the Italians now also reported four cruisers and eight destroyers 15 nautical miles west-south-west of the enemy battlefleet. They were steering the same course and speed.

Meanwhile, at 1417 hours, the battleships had been ordered to form on HMS Nelson who had increased speed and proceeded ahead of the convoy. However at 1433 hours it became necessary for HMS Nelson to reduce speed to avoid further flooding due to the damage sustained. The Vice Admiral, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet in HMS Prince of Wales was now ordered to proceed with his flagship, HMS Rodney, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Sheffield and six destroyers to close the enemy at best speed. HMS Nelson meanwhile took station astern of the convoy.

While these instructions were carried out a report was received that the enemy had reversed course to 360°. This was followed by a further report that the enemy was steering 060°. Also a report was received that the battleships were of the Littorio class and not Cavour's as was previously believed. It was now clear that the enemy tried to avoid contact. It was still hoped that a striking force from HMS Ark Royal would be able to inflict damage to the enemy and reduced his speed allowing our battleships to overtake him before dark.

At 1530 hours a Fulmar fighter which was short of fuel force landed on the water astern of the Ark Royal. The crew was picked up by ORP Piorun.

At 1540 hours, HMS Ark Royal launched her stiking force of twelve Swordfish and four Fulmars. These aircraft did not find the enemy force and all aircraft returned to HMS Ark Royal around 1900 hours.

Between 1620 and 1645 hours, Fulmars from the CAP drove off an air attack threatening from the port side of the convoy. Later a shadowing enemy aircraft was shot down by Fulmars.

At 1658 hours, the Vice Admiral, second in Command Home Fleet, was ordered to reverse course and rejoin the convoy which was done at 1851 hours. No further reports of the enemy had been received for almost two hours and even if the striking force from HMS Ark Royal was able to inflict damage on the enemy these could not be intercepted before dark.

Detachment of Force X and the convoy.

At 1855 hours, on reaching the Skerki Channel, the escort of the convoy was split up into two forces, Force A, made up of HMS Nelson, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Duncan, HMS Gurkha, HMS Legion, HMS Lively, HMS Lance, HMS Fury, HrMs Isaac Sweers, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland split off from the convoy while Force X, made up of HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburg, HMS Sheffield, HMS Hermione, HMS Euryalus, HMS Cossack, HMS Zulu, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Oribi, HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop remained with the convoy.

Between 1915 and 1930 hours enemy aircraft twice approached the convoy but turned away after fire had been opened on them. They were probably CR.42 fighters.

Night T/B attack on Force X and the convoy and loss of the Imperial Star.

Between 2000 and 2040 hours four torpedo bomber attacks were made on the convoy and Force X from the port beam, two or three aircraft taking part in each attack. The first two attacks had no result for the Italians.

During the third attack the two rear ships in the port column of the convoy collided with each other, these were the Rowallan Castle and the City of Calcutta. No serious damage was sustained and both were able to proceed on their way.

During the fourth attack, at 2032 hours, in position 37°31'N, 10°46'E the Imperial Star was struck by a torpedo on her port side aft. HMS Oribi was also attacked and narrowly missed by a torpedo four minutes later. She was able to shoot down the aircraft that had dropped this torpedo with her pompom and oerlikons.

When the Imperial Star was torpedoed it is probable that the explosion blew away both propellers and her rudder. In addition no.6 hold and the after engine room were both flooded.

HMS Heythrop, the rear ship of the port screen, proceeded alongside, but did not attempt to take Imperial Star in tow as she did not consider she was a suitable vessel to do so.

About 2045 hours HMS Oribi was ordered by HMS Euryalus to go to the assistance of the Imperial Star. When Oribi closed Heythrop was already standing by, and while Heythtop took off the passengers of the Imperial Star, HMS Oribi proceeded alongside to receive a report of the damage. It was decided to attempt to tow her to Malta.

For two hours the most determined attemps were made by HMS Oribi to tow the Imperial Star to Malta and although a speed of 8 knots was obtained nothing could be done to prevent her steering in circles. At is thought that her damaged stern was now acting as rudder.

Eventually, at 0120B/28, HMS Oribi found herself being dragged stern first by her tow sheering off and she was forced to slip the tow. Oribi went alongside to consult again and it was reluctantly decided that there was no other choice then to scuttle the ship. Three depth charges were placed lashed together abreast a bulkhead and these were fired by a safety fuse.

HMS Oribi cast off 0340B/28 and the depth charges were fired eleven minutes later, starting a large fire aft. As this did not spread quickly, Oribi shelled Imperial Star with 4.7" S.A.P. shells. Oribi finally left her at 0452 hours. Imperial Star was by that time heavily on fire fore and aft and listing badly. Aircraft from Malta could not find the wreck of the Imperial Star so there is no doubt that she sank.

HMS Oribi then made off from the scene along the convoy route at 32 knots and came with them near Malta 1215B/28 having passed unmolested within 7 nautical miles from the Sicilian coast in daylight.

Passage of the convoy and Force X through the narrows.

In the meantime the convoy and Force X had proceeded through the narrows along the south coast of Sicily.

In the meantime. at 2030B/27, HMS Hermione had departed the convoy to carry out a bombardment of Pantellaria harbour. Having completed the bombardment HMS Hermione rejoined Force X at 0615B/28. At daylight HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop were detached to fuel at Malta.

Although several formations of enemy aircraft were detected between dawn and the arrival of the convoy at Malta, the excellent protection given by shore based fighters from Malta prevented any attack from developing.

At 0800B/28 a report was received that no enemy surface forces were reported near the convoy. The cruisers HMS Kenya, HMS Sheffield, HMS Euryalus and HMS Hermione then proceeded ahead to Malta to fuel where they arrived at 1130 hours. The remainder of Force X and the entire convoy, with the exception of the Imperial Star, arrived later in the afternoon.

Movements of Force A during 28 September.

While Force X and the convoy continued on to Malta, Force A proceeded to the west at 14 knots, which was the best speed of HMS Nelson at that time.

At 0725B/28 HMS Ark Royal flew off one A/S patrol and three fighters. At 0812 hours one enemy shadower was seen but it escaped into a cloud.

At 1025 hours HMS Nelson sighted a Cant. 506 aircraft very low down and fighters were vectored in. After a chase to the south-east this aircraft was shot down near Cape de Fer, Algeria.

Shadowers were again reported at 1640 hours and again one hour later but due to a failure of the R/T transmitter in Ark Royal it was not possible to vector fighters in time to intercept. An enemy report made by Italian aircraft was intercepted at 1720 hours.

At 1942B/28 one of the destroyers of the screen, HMS Duncan, obtained an Asdic contact in position 37°30'N, 03°45'E. She carried out two depth charge attacks but with no apparent result. HMS Legion closed to co-operate but did not gain contact. Both ships left the area at 2012 hours to rejoin the screen.

At 2020 hours speed was reduced to 12 knots to reduce the strain on bulkheads and decks of HMS Nelson. At this time Nelson was about 8 feet down by the bows and it was estimated that 3500 tons of water had entered the ship.

At 2100B/28, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Rodney, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Gurkha, HMS Lance, HMS Legion, HMS Lively, HMS Fury and HrMs Isaac Sweers were detached to proceed to the eastward and rendezvous with Force X. HMS Nelson, escorted by HMS Duncan, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland, continued on to Gibraltar.

At 0555B/29, in position 37°30'N, 06°25'E, HMS Prince of Wales obtained an RDF surface echo ahead, and an emergency turn of 40° to port was carried out with all ships at 0609 hours. Three minutes after this turn HMS Gurkha sighted a torpedo track approaching. It was too late to alter course to avoid. A second torpedo track followed a few seconds later. Both torpedoes appeared to pass underneath the ship. HMS Gurkha then turned to port in the direction from which the torpedoes had approached and HrMs Isaac Sweers also joined to hunt the submarine. No A/S contacts were obtained and no depth charges were dropped. HMS Gurkha and HrMs Isaac Sweers rejoined the screen at 0700B/29. The attacker was the Italian submarine Diaspro which managed to escape unharmed.

At 0810B/29 HMS Gurkha obtained an A/S contact in position 37°26'N, 07°14'E. At 0815 hours a pattern of fourteen depth charges was dropped. Six minutes later a heavy underwater explosion was heard. At 0841 hours HMS Gurkha was ordered to rejoin screen and the hunt was abandoned.

Movements of Force X during 28/29 September on the return trip from Malta.

In the meantime the ships that are part of Force X had all fuelled at Malta and at 1500B/28 the escort destroyers HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop were sailed followed at 1615 hours by HMS Kenya, HMS Edinburgh and HMS Oribi. The remainder of Force X sailed at 1830 hours. HMS Farndale and HMS Heythrop joined Force A at 0835B/29. The remainder of Force X joined Force A at 1030B/29.

Movements of HMS Nelson and passage to Gibraltar.

In the meantime HMS Nelson and her three escorting destroyers were still proceeding to the west. They were joined by aircraft to provide additional A/S protection from 0730B/29 onwards.

At 1110B/29, ORP Piorun obtained a doubtful A/S contact and dropped one depth charge.

At 1909B/29, HMS Duncan also obtained A/S contact and dropped one depth charge.

At 1945B/29 the A/S screen was reinforced by the destroyer HMS Rockingham (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN) coming from Gibraltar. Later in the evening four corvettes also joined for additional A/S protection of the damaged battleship, HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) joined at 2120B/29, HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) at 2140B/29, HMS Fleur de Lys at 2150B/29 and finally HMS Arbutus (T/Lt. A.L.W. Warren, DSC, RNR) at 2340B/29. Nelson's screen now consisted of four destroyers and four corvettes.

At 0130B/30 HMS Samphire and HMS Arbutus obtained an A/S contact and dropped depth charges without result, the contact was probably non-sub.

At 1200B/30 HMS Nelson entered Gibraltar Harbour.

Movements of Force A and Force X as of 1030 hours on 29 September.

Meanwhile after all ships of Force X had joined up with force A at 1030B/29 course was shaped to the westward, keeping 40 nautical miles clear of the African coast.

At 1645B/29, in position 37°26'N, 04°37'E, HMS Lively, sighted an object resembling a ship's lifeboat with mast at a range of 1000 yards. This was soon identified as the conning tower and periscope of a submarine momentarily breaking surface. Two torpedo tracks were sighted shortly afterwards. Lively immediately attacked with a pattern of fourteen depth charges at 1650 hours. HMS Legion, which was next to Lively in the destroyer screen, had already dropped a pattern of five depth charges about a minute and a half earlier. HMS Legion then joined up with HMS Lively to hunt this submarine.

At 1700 hours HMS Lively obtained a definate A/S contact and attacked with another pattern of fourteen depth charges five minutes later. After having dropped this pattern contact was regained at 1715 hours. Contact was however soon lost at and not regained. The hunt was abandoned at 1745 hours.

At 1930B/29, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Kenya, HMS Sheffield, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Oribi, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester and HMS Fury parted company with the rest of the force and proceeded ahead to arrive at Gibraltar p.m. 30 September 1941. They arrived at Gibraltar at 1800B/30.

At 0928B/30, in position 37°10'N, 00°56'E, HMS Gurkha, obtained Asdic contact wich was confirmed as a submarine. She immediately attacked and fired a pattern if fourteen depth charges at 0935 hours. A black circular buoy with electric cable attached to it came to the surface after this attack. At 0945 hours a loud underwater explosion was heard and felt and oil started to come to the surface. Gurkha was unable to gain contact on the submarine from now on. HMS Legion who was by now assisting Gurkha in the hunt obtained contact and attacked with a fourteen depth charge pattern at 0955 hours. A second fourteen depth charge pattern was fired at 1009 hours. During Legion's second attack wreckage and oil came to the surface. Among the wreckage picked up was an Italian dictionary, a mattess, a pillow, numerous pieces of wood, some with bright screws and a piece of human scalp attached to a piece of wood by a splinter of metal. The interiors of the dictionary, the mattress and the pillow were dry. There was now no doubt that an Italian submarine was sunk by HMS Gurkha and HMS Legion.

All ships in this force entered Gibraltar harbour between 0700 and 0900 hours on 1 October.

Convoy MG 2, passage of three merchant vessels from Malta to Gibraltar.

At noon on the 26th the first out of three empty transports, the Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), departed Malta for Gibraltar. At 1030B/27 the other two ships Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937). These last two ships were escorted by the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR) until 1930B/27. After an uneventful passage the Melbourne Star arrived at Gibraltar at 0700B/29. The Port Chalmers and City of Pretoria were spotted and reported by Italian aircraft at 1200B/27, shortly after leaving Malta. No enemy surface craft were seen until 2320B/27 when it was believed that an E-boat was sighted by the Port Chalmers which was following in the wake of the City of Pretoria. The Port Chalmers opened fire on the E-boats bow wave with it's 4" gun. The enemy then returned fire with a machine gun. After six rounds of 4" the enemy crossed the stern of the Port Chalmers and was not seen again. The City of Pretoria had not seen the enemy at all. The action had taken place about 15 nautical miles south-south-west of Pantelleria.

At 0535B/28 the Commodore of the convoy ordered he Port Chalmers to part company. Port Chalmers then proceeded at full speed, wearing French colours.

At 0915B/28 an Italian Cant. 506 seaplane approached from the direction of the French north African coast and circled the City of Pretoria. This aircraft then made off to the westward and gave the Port Chalmers the same attention. Both ships were wearing French colours and had taken care to keep all service personnel out of sight. Both ships were fully ready for action, but did not open fire as the aircraft took no offensive action.

At 1015B/28 the City of Pretoria was circled several times by a large three-engine seaplane, with distinct French markings, which approached from the direction of Bizerta.

At 1145B/28 the City of Pretoria sighted a twin-engined Italian seaplane stopped on the water, five nautical miles to the north. She lost sight of this aircraft at 1215 hours.

The Port Chalmers was circled by an Italian aircraft at 1555B/28. The aircraft did not attack.

At 1725B/28 the City of Pretoria was attacked by three Italian torpedo bombers. As the aircraft approached with obviously hostile intentions the British colours were hoised and fire was opened as soon as the leader came in range. By skilful handling all three torpedoes were avoided. A submarine periscope was then reported on the starboard quarter by two independent lookouts. Three smoke floats and a depth charge set to 150 feet were dropped and under the cover of the smoke the City of Pretoria turned away.

When the City of Pretoria was approaching Cape de Gata at 0200B/30 an unidentified vessel, possibly a submarine, was seen to be following. Two or three rapid shots, followed by a dull explosion, were heard. City of Pretoria made smoke and dropped smoke floats and then made close in Almeira Bay, into territorial waters, thus shaking off her pursuer.

The Port Chalmers arrived at Gibraltar at 0900B/30. City of Pretoria followed during the afternoon. (8)

5 Nov 1941
HMS Clyde (Cdr. D.C. Ingram, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR). Also night A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Wishart and aircraft. (9)

7 Nov 1941
HMS Clyde (Cdr. D.C. Ingram, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 21st war patrol. She is ordered to accompany the oiler RFA Dingledale and her escorts, the corvettes HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) and HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) into the Atlantic.

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

(9)

20 Nov 1941
Around 1800 hours, HMS Clyde (Cdr. D.C. Ingram, DSC, RN), RFA Dingledale, HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) and HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR), set course to return to Gibraltar. (9)

21 Nov 1941
Around 1800 hours, HMS Clyde (Cdr. D.C. Ingram, DSC, RN) parted company with RFA Dingledale, HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) and HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR), and proceeded to Gibraltar independently. (9)

31 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. These exercises included A/S exercises with HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (10)

12 Jun 1942

Operation Harpoon. Supply convoy to Malta from Gibraltar.


Timespan: 12 to 18 June 1942.

During March and April 1942 Malta had been attacked very heavily by the German and Italian air forces and was in much need of supplies. It was therefore decided that two convoy’s were to be sent, one from the west (Harpoon) and one from the east (Vigorous). This was to increase the chance of success as the enemy would have to split force if they want to attack both convoys. Also a group of minesweepers were to be sent to Malta.

Below we will give the events regarding the Harpoon convoy in chronological order.

12 June 1942.

Western Mediterranean (Harpoon convoy)

During the night convoy WS 19 Z passed the Straits of Gibraltar. This convoy had departed the Clyde on June 6th. It was made up of five merchant vessels; Burwan (British , 6069 GRT, built 1928), Chant (American, 5601 GRT, built 1938), Orari (British, 10350 GRT, built 1931), Tanimbar (Dutch, 8169 GRT, built 1930) and Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921).

Off Gibraltar the tanker Kentucky (American , 9308 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy.

Close escort was provided by ‘Force X’ which was made up of the AA-cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), ORP Kujawiak (Kpt.mar. (Lt.Cdr.) L. Lichodziejewski), minesweepers HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RN), HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, RN), HMS Rye (Lt. J.A. Pearson, DSC, RN), HMS Hythe (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Miller, RN) and the motor launches (ML’s) ML 121 (group commander Lt.Cdr. E.J. Strowlger, RNVR), ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462.

Also operating with ‘Force X’ was the fast minelayer HMS Welshman (Capt. W.H.D. Friedberger, RN) which was to carry stores and personnel to Malta.

Distant cover was provided by ‘Force W’ which was made up of the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), AA-cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN). This force was to cover the convoy until off the Skerki Channel, the entrance to the Sicily-Tunis Narrows. The cover forces for this convoy were however rather weak. For instance the aircraft carriers were rather old and had hardly enough fighters available to provide a decent air patrol.

Then there was also a tanker force to fuel the escorts ‘Force Y’. It was made up of the RFA oiler Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941), escorted by two corvettes; HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR).

Besides these forces four submarines were on patrol in the western Mediterranean. They were stationed between Sardinia and Sicily. These were HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 43 (Lt. A.C. Halliday, RN) and HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN).

By 0800B/12 the force was in full strength and proceeded eastwards at 12 to 13 knots.

The remainder of the day was uneventful except for the sighting of a Spanish merchant vessel in the evening.

13 June 1942.

On this day the convoy was shadowed continuously by German and Italian aircraft. Also it was thought an Italian submarine might have spotted the convoy but was not the case as of yet.

HMS Cairo and almost all the destroyers and escort destroyers oiled from Brown Ranger and HMS Liverpool. This was completed late in the evening.

Italian warships reported to be at sea.

Two Italian cruisers and five destroyers had been reported at daybreak (actually six detroyers were present). These were the light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia, Raimondo Montecuccoli and the destroyers Alfredo Oriani, Vincenzo Gioberti, Ascari, Ugolino Vivaldi, Nicolò Zeno and Premuda. They had sailed on the 13th from Cagliari, Sardinia. The most western British submarine on patrol HMS P 43 had attacked them at 1931 hours on the 13th. She claimed to have hit a cruiser but this was obviously not the case. Two hours later the next submarine on the patrol line HMS P 211 also sighted this Italian force but was too far off to attack.

14 June 1942.

During the night the force was spotted and reported by an Italian submarine. In fact two Italian submarines made attacks on the convoy during the night. These were the Uarsciek at 0152B/14 which fired two torpedoes at a destroyer in position 38°02'N, 05°06'E. Both torpedoes missed. Then at 0505B/14, the Giada fired four torpedoes at an aircraft carrier (probably HMS Eagle although this carrier did not report hearing torpedo explosions and HMS Argus did) and a cruiser or battleship in position 37°55'N, 06°12'E. She claimed two hits but in fact all torpedoes missed.

At dawn enemy shadowing aircraft appeared once more. The convoy was approaching the danger area for air attacks coming from Sardinia. At 1000B/12 the first radar warning came and at about the same time fighters from Eagle shot down an Italian torpedo aircraft. More of these aircraft were seen gathering about 20 miles from the convoy and form up for attack.

It was a bright and clear morning with hardly a cloud in the sky. There was little wind but such as there was came from the west and this made it difficult for the British fighter crews, especially for those from the 25-year old Argus with her small margin of speed, unless she would turn into the wind and leave the destroyer screen.

The convoy was steering east in two columns in line ahead. HMS Kenya was leading the port column while HMS Liverpool was leading the starboard one. Astern of the convoy was HMS Malaya with HMS Welshman astern of her. The aircraft carriers were operating independently to port of the convoy. Each carrier had an AA cruiser and a destroyer as escort. HMS Eagle was with HMS Cairo and HMS Wishart while HMS Argus was with HMS Charybdis and HMS Vidette.

The remaining fifteen destroyers and four minesweepers formed an all-round screen spread from three to three and a half miles from the convoy. This was done on purpose so that all ships could fire outward but also inward with a freedom that would have been impossible with a closer screen.

The air attacks began at 1030B/14. The first was a shallow dive-bombing attack by two groups, each of four or five Italian fighter-bombers (CR. 42). One group approached from astern at 12000 feet and diving to 6000 feet. The other group came from ahead at 6000 feet and dropped their bombs from 3000 to 4000 feet. Their target was HMS Argus and her consorts on the port beam of HMS Malaya. No damage was done, only one bomb fell close to HMS Charybdis. Two of the enemy planes were shot down after their attack by Fulmar’s from Eagle which were controlled by the Argus and afterwards landed aboard her. It was the policy to employ the Hurricanes from Eagle as high fighter force and the Fulmar’s from Argus as low fighter force.

A much more serious attack followed half an hour later when 28 Savoia torpedo aircraft escorted by 20 Macchi fighters conducted a combined attack with 10 Cant. high level bombers. The Savoia approached from the northward in two waves of equal strength. The first wave came in at 1110B/14 and the second soon afterwards. The first wave passed through the destroyer screen at 500 feet above the water, rounded the rear of the convoy, and attacked from the starboard side, splitting into groups before firing. They dropped their torpedoes from a height of 100 feet at a range of 2000 yards. They hit HMS Liverpool, which was leading the starboard column, when she was turning to meet the attack. Also the Dutch merchant Tanimbar was hit in the rear and she sank within a few minutes in position 36°58’N, 07°30’E.

The second wave attacked the port column dropped their torpedoes at longer range. All torpedoes missed. The Cant. bombers also came in two formations, coming from ahead out of the sun at a height of about 10000 feet. Their targets seemed to be Eagle and Argus but none of their bombs hit.

A little before 1200B/14 several torpedo planes made harmless attacks from long range. They were probably stragglers turned back by gunfire during the earlier attacks and anxious to get rid of their torpedoes before turning back to base.

Upon the whole the Italians seem to have attacked gallantly. The British fighters claimed to have shot down three enemy fighters and three torpedo aircraft. Three British fighters were lost ofwhich one was shot down in error by a ship in the screen. The convoy and escort claim to have shot down seven enemy aircraft, all Savoia SM 79’s.

HMS Liverpool was hit in the engine room and badly damaged. She could only make 3 to 4 knots on one shaft. She was ordered to return to Gibraltar being towed by HMS Antelope and screened by HMS Westcott. A long voyage during which the first 24 hours she was attacked from the air. At 1640B/14, five CR. 42 fighter-bombers attacked from astern out of the sun, luckily without hitting, though one or two bombs fell close enough to increase the ships list. At 1800B/14, the tow having parted, there was a harmless attempt by eleven high-level bombers followed by an equally harmless attempt by seven torpedo aircraft which were heavily escorted by fighters. The Liverpool and Westcott each claimed to have destroyed a torpedo plane.

At 2015B/14, now once more in tow, fife high-level bombers attacked but their bombs fell wide.

At 2230B/14, six torpedo bombers made a twilight attack from very long range only to loose one of their number to the barrage HMS Liverpool put up.

The fruitless attacks on the damaged Liverpool in the afternoon and evening of the 14th evidently occupied the remaining aircraft available to the enemy in Sardinia for as the convoy was able to continue without being attacked. It was however still being shadowed and came within range of the Sicilian air bases in the evening.

HMS Welshman had replaced HMS Liverpool at the head of the starboard column of the convoy. She however parted company with the convoy around 2000B/14 to continue the passage to Malta on her own at high speed.

At 1820B/14 German bombers appeared, about ten Ju. 88’s approached the convoy from astern at 10000 feet and then dived to 6000 feet to make the attack. Both carriers had narrow escapes, Argus in particular. A bomb pitched fine on her port bow, dived under the ship and exploded on the starboard bow. No ship was damaged however. No enemy aircraft were shot down. Six British fighters however harassed the enemy and forced several of them to release their bombs prematurely. One Fulmar was lost.

As in the morning the shallow dive-bombing attack preluded a heavy combined torpedo and bombing attack but in the evening the lapse of time was greater and dive-bombers as well as high level-bombers took part in the massed attack. It was a combination of Italians and Germans. 16 Savoia 79 bombers heavily escorted by Macchi fighters with 10 Ju 88’s and 15 Ju 87’s. The first to appear were the Savoia’s which approached from the north-east to port at about 2000B/14. They were flying well above the water. Worked their way around the stern of the convoy outside gun range to glide down and attack on the starboard side. In the meantime, a few minutes after the Savoia’s had been sighted, two groups of Ju 88’s came in from ahead at 12000 feet and dropped their bombs without effect as they flew across the screen and along the columns of the convoy. Next the Ju 87’s arrived on the port bow and attacked the port wing of the screen, diving from 7000 to 1000 feet. They narrowly missed HMS Icarus and HMS Wrestler, though they had probably hoped to reach HMS Eagle. These dive bombers took most of the attention of the screen but then at 2020B/14 the Italian torpedo-bombers came in. Most of them concentrated onHMS Malaya, HMS Argus, HMS Charybdis and HMS Vidette. They managed to drop three torpedoes within 300 yards from the carrier but she still managed to avoid them.

Around the time of these attacks HMS Middleton sighted a periscope and dropped a depth charge. Two other destroyers then hauled out of the screen and dropped depth charges. The periscope was next sighted by HMS Malaya after which HMS Speedy obtained an Asdic contact and attacked with depth charges in position 37°39’N, 09°35’E, claiming to have destroyed the enemy submarine.

This was the last encounter with the enemy before ‘Force W’ would separate from the convoy which was then to continue on to Malta only escorted by ‘Force X’.

As the convoy reached the entrance of the Narrows at 2100B/14, four Beaufighters arrived from Malta to relieve the hard worked naval aviators of the carriers. Around this time the Italian submarine Alagi attacked an aircraft carrier with two stern torpedoes in position 37°36'N, 09°53'E which both missed. The attack was not reported by either of the carriers and was probably not observed. Half an hour later ‘Force W’ turned westwards. The convoy continued eastwards with A/Capt. Hardy of HMS Cairo in command. For the passage of the Tunisian coast the five remaining merchant vessels formed a single line ahead with ‘Force X’ screening them.

At 2205B/14, as it was getting dark, eight Ju 88’s made a shallow dive-bombing attack dropping down from 6000 to 3000 feet to release their bombs. No hits were obtained. They lost two aircraft, one was shot down by a Beaufighter and the ther by gunfire from the ships. This was the end of this day’s fighting.

The Italian ships that had been reported to be at sea the previous day.

On receiving the submarines reports Vice-Admiral Leatham at Malta arranged for a striking force of Wellington aircraft to attack the enemy. Aircraft again sighted the enemy north-west of Cape San Vito, Sicily at 0255/14. At 0525/14 the enemy was sighted off Palermo. At 1800/14 two cruisers were reported to be in the harbour there. At dusk, at 2125B/14, two cruisers and four destroyers were reported to be leaving Palermo harbour but their course was not reported. Vice-Admiral Leatham judged that they were proceeding to the east to join the main Italian battlefleet that had left Taranto that same evening to operate against the ‘Vigorous-convoy’ in the eastern Mediterranean. Accordingly he stationed a naval air patrol over the Strait of Messina, with a naval air striking force at Malta standing by to attack.

‘Force W’

Vice-Admiral Curteis, who was taking ‘Force W’ westwards, also received the report of the enemy leaving Palermo and had to decide whether to strengthen ‘Force X’ with either one or both his cruisers, HMS Kenya and HMS Charybdis. He was then, at 2315/24, in position 37°30’N, 09°30’E, over 50 nautical miles from the convoy, which would be a further 100 nautical miles further on to the east by dawn on the 15th. He also judged that the Italian ships would be unlikely to be danger to the convoy and that the escort would be strong enough ‘to deter them from doing any harm’ escpecially as it would be expected that the Italians would be attacked from the air by aircraft from Malta. Apart from this he was anxious for the safety of his aircraft carriers, which would need the cruisers support while within striking distance from the enemy air bases in Sardinia. Furthermore there was barely time to overtake the convoy before by the morning. With the force available a decision either way was a gamble this might have been different had Liverpool not been torpedoed. He therefore decided against sending any reinforcement to the convoy.

15 June 1942.

Action south of Pantellaria

A/Capt. Hardy, the convoy escort commander in HMS Cairo first knew of the presence of the enemy through the report of a Beaufighter which was on it’s way to patrol above the convoy and which at 0620B/15 reported two cruisers and four destroyers to be 15 nautical miles on the port beam of the convoy. The convoy at that time was stearing at 12 knots to the south-east. The merchantmen were formed in two columns again, with HMS Cairo ahead, the five ‘Fleet’ destroyers in the screen to starboard and the four ‘Hunt’s’ to port. The minesweepers and the ML’s were astern of the convoy. A few minutes later the Italian ships were sighted hull down against the brightening sky to the eastward. They were broad on the port bow and drawing ahead of the convoy at high speed. It was now also seen that there were five destroyers present instead of the reported four. Commander Scurfield (in HMS Bedouin led out the ‘Fleet’ destroyers to attack while HMS Cairo and the remainder of the convoy escort started making smoke to cover the merchant ships, which were ordered to turn to starboard and to seek shelter in Tunisian waters. It was A/Capt. Hardy’s intention to gain as much time as possible to enable an air striking force from Malta to attack the enemy.

At 0640B/15, the Italian cruisers opened fire at a range of over 20000 yards. Their second salvo straddled HMS Cairo and others fell near the convoy before the smoke screen could take effect. The British ships could not yet reply as the enemy was still out of range. As the ‘Fleet’ destroyers gathered way, they became strung out in a loose line of bearing, nearly line ahead, in the order HMS Bedouin, HMS Partridge, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Marne and HMS Matchless, though the last ship worked up to 32 knots in the endeavour to keep up. The first to destroyers opened fire on the enemy cruisers at 0645B/15 with their guns at maximum elevation but in a quarter of an hour both Bedouin and Partridge were badly hit and stopped and the fight passed them by. Ithuriel held her fire till she got within 15000 yards, then she engaged a cruiser, which she eventually hit at a range of 8000 yards. Marne also engaged a cruiser, opening fire at over 18000 yards. In the meantime the Italian destroyers had fallen astern of the cruisers, three of them, in fact, soon left the line and disappeared to the northward. The last two enemy destroyers opened fire on the Marne from her port beam at around 0700B/15 and she and Matchless, which was astern of her, replied. Both British destroyers soon found the range and hit one of the enemy (Ugolino Vivaldi) and drove them off. They then pressed on to engage the enemy cruisers which kept their distance and were zig-zagging and making smoke to upset the aim of the British ships.

As soon as the convoy was well behind the smoke screen and on it’s way to the westward. HMS Cairo and the four Hunt class escort destroyers were proceeding south and now also engaged the two enemy destroyers which had been engaged by Marne and Matchless. At about 0700B/15 HMS Cairo came under fire from the enemy cruisers again. They were using two turrets each to engage the Cairo and two turrets to engage the ‘Fleet’ destroyers. HMS Cairo was hit by a 6” shell. She herself fired her 4” guns occasionally, though without much hope of doing real damage to the enemy.

At 0715B/15, A/Capt. Hardy decided to concentrate the remaining three ‘Fleet’ destroyers on HMS Cairo and ordered HMS Ithuriel to join him. HMS Marne and HMS Matchless continued to engage the enemy for about half an hour. Though fire from both sides was accurate no hits were obtained on either side. At 0745B/15 the Italians turned to port on which A/Capt. Hardy turned north and ordered all destroyers to join him.

Meanwhile, the convoy, 15 nautical miles away to the north-west, steering westwards, now turned to the south-east again. At 0705B/15, now deprived of the support of HMS Cairo, all destroyers and escort destroyers, and without air support, the convoy was attacked by eight German JU 87 dive bombers. They sank the Chant and disabled the Kentucky. HMS Hebe took the Kentucky in tow. The convoy then went on until 0745B/15 when course was changed to rejoin the escorts. The Italians however meanwhile where following the British escorts and kept them under fire.

At 0834B/15, A/Capt. Hardy, ordered the convoy to reverse course while Cairo and the destroyers laid a smokescreen across it’s track. This seems to have baffled the Italians which first turned to the south-west and then at 0840B/15 hauled round to the north-eastward and stood away. A/Capt. Hardy then sent the ‘Hunt’-class escort destroyers to rejoin the convoy and then led the ‘Fleet’ destroyers after the enemy. At this time HMS Cairo was hit for the second time. For the present however the Italians had given up the game. By 0930B/15 they were out of sight and the British ships then turned to rejoin the convoy.

At 1030B/15 the merchant vessel were back on their proper course to Malta, with the escort at full strength except for HMS Bedouin and HMS Partridge. Long-range Spitfires from Malta were patrolling overhead.

At 1040B/15 a few German bombers appeared but these were driven off before they could drop their bombs. The fighters were able to shot one down. Unfortunately this exhausted fuel and ammunition of the Spitfires which were operating at their extreme range so when at 1120B/15 another attack started they were not able to repel it. Their relief had not yet arrived.

It was a combination of high-level and dive bombing by Ju. 88’s and Ju. 87’s. Gunfire destroyed one of the German’s. One or two were shot down afterwards by the relieving Spitfires which had arrived during the attack. By then however the merchant vessel Burdwan was disabled. There was still 150 nautical miles to go, with the likelihood of further attacks from the air and with Italian ships nearby. A/Capt. Hardy therefore decided that he had no other choice then to sacrifice the damaged Kentucky and Burdwan as the best way to save the rest of the convoy whose speed would otherwise be reduced to six knots. He ordered HMS Hebe and HMS Badsworth to sink the cripples which enabled the remaining two merchant ships to continue at their best speed.

At 1315B/15, dive-bombers attacked yet again. And again there was no fighter cover present over the convoy. This time however the German’s were unsuccessful. One bomber out of twelve was shot down by the ships AA fire while the relief flight of Spitfires came in time to shoot down two more as the enemy retired. This was the last time the convoy was attacked from the air before it arrived at Malta under the protection from short-range Spitfires. The next threat of attack came from the Italian warships which closed the convoy once more.

After the engagement in the morning the Italian cruisers had gone back to join up with their destroyers, one of wich had been badly damaged by HMS Marne and HMS Matchless. While preparing to take this destroyer in tow the Italians were disrupted by British aircraft. Malta had been able to sent a small torpedo aircraft force to attack them. Four Albacores followed by two Beauforts attacked them about 12 nautical miles south of Pantelleria at 1030B/15. Unfortunately without success.

The two cruisers with two destroyers then went south again hoping to find stagglers from the convoy. They found HMS Hebe, which was on her way back to rejoin the convoy, having left the tanker Kentucky in a sinking condition astern. HMS Hebe sighted the enemy a long way to the north at 1255B/15. In the next half an hour the enemy was able to close as to open fire on the small minesweeper and eventually she was hit.

On receiving Hebe’s enemy report, A/Capt. Hardy, left the convoy in HMS Cairo taking the three remaining ‘Fleet’ destroyers with him; HMS Ithuriel, HMS Marne and HMS Matchless. Besides the Hebe to protect there were other ships coming back from the scuttled merchantmen and also HMS Bedouin and HMS Partridge which, A/Capt. Hardy believed to be following the convoy.

At 1355B/15 the Italians gave up the chase, presumably on sighting HMS Cairo and turned to engage a target to the westward. This could only be HMS Bedouin and HMS Partridge but A/Capt. Hardy felt bound to return to the convoy, then nearly 15 nautical miles off, though it meant leaving the damaged destroyers to their fate.

These two ships had been had been striving to preserve themselves for the King’s service ever since they had been crippled in the morning. HMS Partridge was ready to steam again by 0745B/15, three-quarters of an hour after being put out of action. She prepared to take HMS Bedouin in tow as that ship was entirely disabled. These preparations were disrupted by two Italian destroyers which had to be driven away. By 1000B/15 however Bedouin was being towed by Partridge and the two ships were proceeding slowly towards the convoy which they had orders to join. They met it at 1145B/15. There was still hope to get one engine going in HMS Bedouin but later on it became evident that this hope had to be abandoned. It was then thought best to try to make it to Gibraltar.

At 1320B/15, the Italian Squadron came into sight again and two destroyers were apparently closing the two British destroyers while there were also enemy dive-bombers flying around. HMS Partridge therefore had no choice then to slip the tow and to lay smoke around HMS Bedouin. As the enemy cruisers approached, after their chase of HMS Hebe, HMS Partridge stood away to draw their fire and in this she succeeded. She was straddled from long range at 1400B/15. It was the intention the return to HMS Bedouin later but the latter ship was torpedoed by an Italian torpedo bomber at 1425B/15 and she sank within a few minutes but not before shooting down the attacker. The enemy surface ships also sank the derelict Kentucky and Burdwan around the same time. Kentucky was finished off by the Oriani while Burdwan was possibly sunk by the Ascari.

A/Capt. Hardy rejoined the convoy at 1530B/15 after the last encounter with the Italian squadron. At 1730B/15, HMS Welshman rejoined the convoy south of Linosa coming from Malta. She had arrived there in the morning and was sent out again by Vice-Admiral Leatham as soon as she had landed her cargo.

Then at 1910B/15, there was another air attack. Upon that time the enemy had been kept away by the strong fighter escort from Malta directed by the radar in HMS Cairo. Twelve German bombers managed to close and near misses were obtained on HMS Welshman, HMS Matchless and the merchant Troilus.

A last attempt was foiled at 2040B/15 by the fighters from Malta and the ships guns. There was now only one danger to be overcome, enemy mines.

HMS Liverpool

At 1420B/15, three torpedo aircraft made a final unsuccessful attempt to attack HMS Liverpool after which she, HMS Antelope and HMS Westcott were not again molested. That afternoon the tug HMRT Salvonia arrived from Gibraltar and they took over the tow. Antelope then joined Westcott as A/S screen. With Salvonia came also the A/S trawler HMS Lady Hogarth (T/Lt. S.G. Barnes, RNR).

'Force Y'.

At 2345B/15 the Italian submarine Bronzo sighted an enemy escort vessel of the 'Kingfisher-class' which opened fire on the submarine in position 36°50'N, 00°10'E. This was HMS Coltsfoot. The submarine was depth-charged and escaped by going down to 117 metres.

16 June 1942.

It had been intended that the minesweepers would be ahead of the convoy when approaching Malta but owning to mistakes the convoy arrived first. The result was that one of the two remaining merchant vessels, the Orari, the destroyer HMS Matchless, two escort destroyers HMS Badsworth, ORP Kujawiak and the minesweeper HMS Hebe hit mines. Fortunately damage was light except for ORP Kujawiak which unfortunately sank in three minutes.

After having taken on board ammunition at Malta, HMS Cairo, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Marne, HMS Middleton and HMS Blankney departed the island in the evening to return to Gibraltar.

HMS Liverpool

Shortly after 0800B/16, the destroyer HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) joined the A/S screen of the disabled HMS Liverpool. Two more vessels came out from Gibraltar to join the A/S screen, these were the corvette HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) which joined around 0940B/16. At 1530B/16, the motor launch ML 458 joined.

17 June 1942.

As HMS Cairo and the two destroyers and two escort destroyers were skirting along the African coast they were shadowed from sunrise onward. They were however not attacked until midday, when they were passed the Galita bank. From then until 2030B/17 that evening, German bombers pestered them continuously. The Germans came sometimes in flights of six, though generally in flights of two and three. Main target seems to have been HMS Ithuriel which had a tough time and sustained some minor damage due to leaks from near misses. During the attacks one enemy bomber was shot down by HMS Cairo.

At 2017B/17, they joined with Vice-Admiral Curteis with HMS Kenya and HMS Charybdis in position 37°30’N, 04°30’E. After leaving the convoy in the evening of the 14th, the Vice-Admiral had taken ‘Force W’ some 400 nautical miles to the west of Sardinia in order to avoid observation and attack while waiting for the return of ‘Force X’. His ships had however been shadowed on the 15th and was then attacked by two small groups of torpedo aircraft. Hurricanes from HMS Eagle forced them to drop their torpedoes from long range. They were also able to shoot down one of the attackers.

From the morning of the 16th to noon on the 17th, Vice-Admiral Curteis, cruised with HMS Kenya and HMS Charybdis near the rendez-vous position. HMS Malaya both aircraft carriers and the remaining destroyers had been sent to Gibraltar around 0800/16. They arrived at Gibraltar around 1030/17.

Around noon on the 17th, Vice-Admiral Curteis, with his two cruisers proceeded eastwards to meet up with A/Capt. Hardy’s force after which they proceeded in company to Gibraltar where they arrived in the early evening of the 18th.

HMS Liverpool

HMS Liverpool and her escorts safely arrived at Gibraltar late in the afternoon of the 17th. (11)

29 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon DSC, RN) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (12)

22 Jul 1942
HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR) picks up 52 survivors from the British merchant Siris that was torpedoed and sunk on 12 July 1942 south of the Azores in position 31°20'N, 24°48'W by German U-boat U-201.

2 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 21S and Operation Pedestal.

Convoy WS 21S and the concentration of the escort forces

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

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

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

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

The last ships to take part in the operation to depart the U.K. (Clyde around midnight during the night of 4/5 August) were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), loaded with Hurricane fighters for Malta, and her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and the Polish destroyer ORP Blyscawica (Kpt.mar. (Lt.Cdr.) L. Lichodziejewski). 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 rendezvous 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 HMRT Jaunty was to be part of this force.

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

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

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

Diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

HMS Cleopatra, HMS Arethusa, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to carry out another diversion (Operation MG 4). They bombarded Rhodes 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 1900B/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 1200B/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 0100B/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 1530B/12, the destroyer HMS Vidette joined the screen. The force then entered Gibraltar Bay around 1930B/12. The damaged HMS Wolverine arrived at Gibraltar at 1230B/13 followed by HMS Malcolm around 1530B/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 1430B/10 and and 2030B/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 0915B/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 0120B/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 0130B/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 0800B/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 0130B/14 and from that point until past Zembra Island they successful ran the gauntled of E-boats laying in wait.

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

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

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

Conclusion.

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

The spirit in which to operation was carried out appears in Vice-Admiral Syfret’s report: ‘ Tribute has been paid to the personnel of His Majesty’s Ships, both the officers and men will desire to give first place to the conduct, courage, and determination of the masters, officers, and men of the merchant ships. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on their way to Malta through all attacks, answering every maneuvering order like a well trained fleet unit, was a most inspiring sight. Many of these fine men and their ships were lost. But the memory of their conduct will remain an inspiration to all who were privileged to sail with them. ‘ (13)

5 Aug 1942
HMS P 37 (Lt. E.T. Stanley, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (14)

6 Aug 1942
HMS P 37 (Lt. E.T. Stanley, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (14)

25 Sep 1942
HMS P 48 (Lt. M.E. Faber, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (Lt.Cdr. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR). (15)

22 Oct 1942

Convoys KMS 1, KMF 1 for the landings at Algiers and Oran during Operation Torch.

Convoy KMS 1.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 23 October 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Alphard (Dutch, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Ardeola (British, 2609 GRT, built 1912), Benalbanach (British, 7153 GRT, built 1940), Charles H. Cramp (American, 6220 GRT, built 1920), Chattanooga City (American, 5687 GRT, built 1921), City of Worcester (British, 5469 GRT, built 1927), Clan MacTaggart (British, 7622 GRT, built 1920), Delilian (British, 6423 GRT, built 1923), Edward Ruthledge (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Empire Mordred (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Fort McLoughlin (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Glenfinlas (British, 7479 GRT, built 1917), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), Jean Jadot (Belgian, 5859 GRT, built 1929), Lalande (British, 7453 GRT, built 1920), Lochmonar (British, 9412 GRT, built 1924), Lycaon (British, 7350 GRT, built 1913), Macharda (British, 7998 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Maron (British, 6487 GRT, built 1930), Mary Slessor (British, 5027 GRT, built 1930), Ocean Rider (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Viceroy (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Volga (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Wanderer (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Pacific Exporter (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Salacia (British, 5495 GRT, built 1937), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), St. Essylt (British, 5634 GRT, built 1941), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Tadorna (British, 1947 GRT, built 1928), Theseus (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Urlana (British, 6852 GRT, built 1941), Walt Whitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William M. Floyd (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William Wirt (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

Also part of the convoy were the landing ships Derwentdale (8390 GRT, built 1941), Dewdale (8265 GRT, built 1941) and Ennerdale (8280 GRT, built 1941).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Avenger (Cdr. A.P. Colthurst, RN), AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN), destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), sloops HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), HMS Stork (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), corvettes HMS Convolvulus (A/Lt.Cdr. R.F.R. Yarde-Buller, RNVR), HMS Gardenia (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR), HMS Marigold (Lt. J.A.S. Halcrow, RD, RNR), HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J. Byron, DSC, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR), HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR) and the minesweepers HMS Acute (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, DSO, RN), HMS Alarm (T/Lt.Cdr. R. Patterson, SANF(V)), HMS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. J.D.L. Williams, RN) and HMS Cadmus (Lt.Cdr. J.B.G. Temple, DSC, RN).

Around 1000A/4, the convoy was split up into two sections KMS A1 and KMS O1. KMS A1 was destined for Algiers and KMS O1 was destined for Oran. KMS O1 then proceeded to the westwards so as to pass the Straits of Gibraltar later.

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Convoy KMS A 1.

Convoy KMS A 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 2345A/5; it was made up of the transports; City of Worcester, Glenfinlas, Jean Jadot, Lalande, Lochmonar, Macharda, Manchester Port, Maron, Ocean Rider, Ocean Viceroy, Ocean Volga, Ocean Wanderer, Sobo, Stanhill, Tiba and Urlana.

The landing ships Dewdale and Ennerdale were also part of the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Stork, corvettes HMS Convolvulus, HMS Marigold, HMS Pentstemon, HMS Samphire [this corvette might have already parted company though, see below] and the minesweepers HMS Acute, HMS Alarm, HMS Albacore and HMS Cadmus.

Around 0700A/5, the corvette HMS Samphire arrived at Gibraltar with defects from convoy KMS A1.

Around 0800A/5, the minesweepers HMS Algerine (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Williams, RNR) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

Around 1830A/5, the M/S trawlers HMS Cava (T/Lt. R.L. Petty-Major, RNVR), HMS Juliet (Lt. L.B. Moffatt, RNR), HMS Othello (T/Lt. S.C. Dickinson, RNVR), HMS Stroma (Skr. J.S. Harper, RNR), HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (Lt. J. Plomer, RCNVR), HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR) and the motor launches ML 238, ML 273, ML 283, ML 295, ML 307, ML 336, ML 338, ML 444 departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

Around 2230A/5, the monitor HMS Roberts (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN), escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN), HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and the corvette HMS Samphire (with her repairs completed) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

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Convoy KMS O 1.

Convoy KMS O 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 1630A/6; it was made up of the transports; Alcinous, Alphard, Benalbanach, Charles H. Cramp, Chattanooga City, Clan Mactaggart, Delinlian, Edward Rutledge, Empire Confidence, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Lycaon, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor, Pacific Exporter, Recorder, Salacia, St. Essylt, Thesues, Walt Whitman, William Floyd, William Wirt and Zebulon B. Vance.

The landing ship Derwentdale was also part of this convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the AA ship HMS Alynbank, sloop HMS Deptford, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Rhododendron, HMS Vetch and HMS Violet.

Around 1500A/6, the minesweepers HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR), HMS Bude (Lt. F.A.J. Andrew, RN), HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR) and HMS Felixstowe (T/Lt. C.G. Powney, RNVR) departed Gibraltar to join the convoy KMS O1.

After dark on the 6th, the M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus (T/Lt. N. Hunt, RNVR), HMS Eday (T/Lt. W.Y. Surtees, RNR), HMS Inchmarnock (T/Lt. C.G.V. Corneby, RNR), HMS Kerrera (Skr. R.W. Slater, RNR) and the motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139 departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1.

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Operation Crupper.

Two ships from Convoy KMS 1, the Ardeola and Tadorna formed part of Convoy KMS 1A after the convoy had split up. They were to proceed to Malta unescorted. The Admiralty had decided to make use of the expected confusion of the landings in North Africa to run two 'small' merchant ships with important cargo to Malta. These ships were considered expendable. They parted company with convoy KMS 1A on 8 November. They did not reach Malta however. When off Cape Bon on 9 November, they were taken under fire by Vichy French coastal batteries, despite the darkness, and then captured by motor torpedo boats. They were brought into Bizerta where their cargo was unloaded. The ships were later taken over by the Italians.

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Convoy KMF 1.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 26 October 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Cathay (British, 15225 GRT, built 1925), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Derbyshire (British, 11660 GRT, built 1935), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Ettrick (British, 11279 GRT, built 1938), Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941), Leinster (British, 4302 GRT, built 1937) Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (British, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937), Viceroy of India (British, 19627 GRT, built 1929), Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).

The headquarters ships HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR), the landing ships HMS Glengyle (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN), HMS Karanja (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) D.S. Hore-Lacy, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN), HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Royal Ulsterman (A/Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) and the attack transports USS Almaack (T/Capt. C.L. Nichols, USN), USS Leedstown (Cdr. D. Cook, USNR), USS Samuel Chase (Capt. R.C. Heimer, USCG) and USS Thomas Stone (Capt. O.R. Bennehoff, USN) were also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay on the 27th the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), escort carrier HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN), destroyer HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Landman, RN), sloops HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), HMS Ibis (Lt.Cdr. H.M. Darell-Brown, RN), cutters HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR), HMS Walney (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Meyrick, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Spey (Cdr. H.G. Boys-Smith, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR) and HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR).

Around 1120A/2, the destroyers HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined coming from the Azores.

Around 0200A/3, the AA ships HMS Palomares (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN), HMS Pozarica (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) departed Gibraltar to join the convoy. At 1045A/3, the destroyer HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) also departed to join the convoy. She had been unable to depart earlier due to defects.

Around 0800A/3, the destroyer HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) joined the convoy coming from the Azores.

Around 1300A/3, the light cruiser HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) also departed Gibraltar to join the convoy.

Around 1830Z/3, HMS Sheffield parted company with the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived at 0815A/3, she was to fuel and then join ' Force O '.

Around noon on 4 November 1942, the convoy was split up into two sections KMF A1 and KMF O1. KMF A1 was destined for Algiers and KMF O1 was destined for Oran. KMF O1 then proceeded to the westwards so as to pass the Straits of Gibraltar later.

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Convoy KMF A 1.

Convoy KMF A 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 0100A/6; it was made up of the (troop) transports; Almaack, Awatea, Cathay, Dempo, Ettrick, Exceller, Leedstown, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Otranto, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Viceroy of India and Winchester Castle.

The headquarters ship HMS Bulolo and the landing ships HMS Karanja, HMS Keren, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and Ulster Monarch and the attack transports USS Samuel Chase and USS Thomas Stone were also part of the convoy.

[exactly which ships of the escort went on with this part of the convoy will have to be researched further.]

In the morning of 5 November, HrMs Isaac Sweers parted company with the convoy to join ' Force H '. HMS Escapade and HMS Marne were apparently detached to Gibraltar on the convoy passing the Strait of Gibraltar.

Also on 5 November, the corvettes HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF A1.

Around 0200A/6, the destroyers HMS Broke (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF A1 and relieve HMS Achates, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon and HMS Wivern. After having been relieved these destroyers arrived at Gibraltar around 0545A/6. Also arriving at Gibraltar were the Leinster, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and Ulster Monarch.

Around 1000A/6, HMS Broke, HMS Malcolm, HMS Vanoc and HMS Wrestler joined ' Force O ' while the screen on ' Force O ' joined the convoy, the destroyers / escort destroyers involved were ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R. de L. Brooke, DSC, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN). The AA ship HMS Tynwald (Capt.(Retd.) P.G. Wodehouse, DSO, RN) also joined the convoy from ' Force O ' at the same time.

Around 0535A/7, in position 37°34'N, 00°01'W, the attack transport USS Thomas Stone was torpedoed and damaged by an enemy aircraft. HMS Spey remained with the damaged ship. At 2040A/7, the destroyers HMS Wishart and HMS Velox joined and the ship was taken in tow by HMS Wishart. HMS Spey by that time had departed with the ships 24 landing craft in which the ships troops had embarked. She was to escort them to Algiers but all had to be scuttled and the troops were taken on board HMS Spey. At 0535A/8 the tug St. Day joined which also passed a tow. The damaged ship anchored off Algiers around 1030A/11 being towed there by HMS Wishart and HMS St. Day.

Around 0725Z/7, HMS Clare parted company to join ' Force O ' which she did around 0913Z/7.

Around 1815A/7, the section destined for ' C Sector ' (Charlie Sector) parted company with the convoy. It was made up of the USS Almaack, USS Leedstown, USS Samuel Chase, Exceller and Dempo. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Tynwald, escort destroyers HMS Cowdray, HMS Zetland, sloop HMS Enchantress, minesweepers HMS Algerine, HMS Hussar, HMS Speedwell, corvettes HMS Pentstemon, HMS Samphire, MS trawlers HMS Cava, HMS Othello and the motor launches HMS ML 273 and HMS ML 295. At 2135A/7, the beacon submarine HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) made contact with the force and the ships were guided to their positions for the landings. From convoy KMS A1 the transports Macharda and Maron were destined for Charlie sector. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Stork and the corvettes HMS Pentstemon and HMS Samphire.

Around 1900A/7, The remainder of convoy KMF A1 split into two sections, one for ' A Sector ' (Apple Sector) and one for ' B Sector ' (Beer Sector).

The force for ' A Sector ' was made up of HMS Karanja and the Marnix van St. Aldegonde and Viceroy of India. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Pozarica, escort destroyers HMS Bicester, HMS Bramham, frigate HMS Rother, minesweeper HMS Cadmus, MS trawlers HMS Juliet, HMS Rysa, HMS Stroma and the motor launches HMS ML 283, HMS ML 336 and HMS ML 338. At 2214A/7, the made contact with their beacon submarine HMS P 221 (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSC, RN). A few minutes later they stopped and the landings commenced. From convoy KMS A1 the following ships were assigned to ' A Sector '; Dewdale, Lalande, Manchester Port, Ocean Viceroy and Ocean Wanderer. They were escorted by the corvettes HMS Convolvulus and HMS Marigold.

The force for ' B Sector ' was made up of HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and the Awatea, Cathay, Otranto, Sobieski, Strathnaver and Winchester Castle. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Palomeres, destroyer ORP Blyskawica, escort destroyers HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland, HMS Wilton, minesweepers HMS Acute, HMS Alarm, HMS Albacore, MS trawlers HMS Hoy, HMS Incholm, HMS Mull and the motor launches HMS ML 238, HMS ML 307 and HMS ML 444. They made contact with their beacon submarine HMS P 48 (Lt. M.E. Faber, RN) around 2220A/7 hours and landing operation commenced shortly afterwards. From convoy KMS A1 the following ships were assigned to ' A Sector '; City of Worcester, Ennerdale, Glenfinlas, Jean Jadot, Lochmonar, Ocean Rider, Ocean Volga, Sobo, Stanhill, Tiba and Urlana. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Stork and the corvettes HMS Pentstemon and HMS Samphire which then went on with the ships for the ' Charlie sector '.

On 9 November the ships involved in the landings anchored in Algiers Bay.

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Convoy KMF O 1.

Convoy KMF O 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 2230A/6; it was made up of the (troop) transports; Batory, Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Letitia, Llangibby Castle, Monarch of Bermuda, Mooltan, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Reina del Pacifico, Tegelberg and Warwick Castle.

The headquarters ship HMS Largs and the landing ships HMS Glengyle, HMS Princess Beatrix and HMS Queen Emma were also part of the convoy.

Around 1950A/4, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF O1.

For the landings at Oran three main beaches were selected. ' X ', ' Y ' and ' Z ' beach. There was also one subsidiary beach, ' R '.

The fast convoy, KMF O1, would, after passing through the Straits of Gibraltar make rendezvous with the slow convoy, KMS O1 in position 36°26'N, 01°15'W.

The convoys would then be diverted into nine groups, these were;
For ' X ' beach
Group I, 1st Division; Batory, HMS Princess Beatrix, Queen Emma, 2nd Division; Benalbenach, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor and Walt Whitman. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, destroyer HMS Wivern, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Vetch and the motor launch HMS HDML 1139.
Group VIII, LST HMS Bachaquero (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, RNR) escorted by the M/S trawler HMS Horatio (T/Lt. C.A. Lemkey, RNR).

For ' Y ' beach
Group II; HMS Glengyle, Monarch of Bermuda, Llangibby Castle, Clan Mactaggart and Salacia. They were escorted by the destroyers Brilliant, HMS Verity, M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera and the motor launches HMS ML 458, HMS ML 463, HMS ML 469, HMS ML 471 and HMS HDML 1128.

For ' Z ' beach
Group III, 1st Division; Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Ettrick, Warwick Castle. 2nd Division; Derwentdale, Reina del Pacifico and Tegelberg. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Jamaica, escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), minesweepers HMS Brixham, HMS Bude, HMS Clacton, HMS Felixtowe, HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR), HMS Rothesay (Cdr. A.A. Martin, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the motor launches HMS ML 280, HMS HDML 1127.

Group V; Alcinous, Alphard, Charles H. Cramp, Chatanooga City, Delilian, Recorder and Zebulon B. Vance. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, corvettes HMS Rhododendron, HMS Violet and the motor launches HMS ML 480 and HMS ML 483.

Group VI, 1st division; Derbyshire, Letitia, Mooltan and Nieuw Zeeland. 2nd division, Empire Confidence, Lycaon and Theseus.

Group VII, 1st division, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Pacific Exporter and St. Essylt. 2nd division; Edward Rutledge, William Floyd and William Wirt. Groups VI and VII were escorted by the light (AA) cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN), destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloop HMS Aberdeen and the frigates HMS Exe and HMS Swale.

Group IX; LST's HMS Misoa (T/Lt. K.G. Graham, RNR) and HMS Tasajera (Lt.Cdr. W.E. Gelling, DSC, RD, RNR). They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen (T/Lt. B.J. Hampson, RNR), HMS Ronaldsay (T/Lt. A. Stirling, RNR) and HMS Shiant (T/Lt. A.C. Elton, RNR).

For ' R ' beach
Group IV; HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and HMS Ulster Monarch. They had the same escort as Group III.

Two submarines were stationed off the beaches as beacons, these were HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN) and HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN).

8 Nov 1942

Convoy KMS 3.

This convoy departed the U.K. (Clyde) on 8 November 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports;
Alexander Hamilton (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Baltonia (British, 2013 GRT, built 1925), Begum (British, 5843 GRT, built 1922), Belgian Seaman (Belgian, 7023 GRT, built 1941), Benedict (British, 4949 GRT, built 1930), Benledi (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), Bretwalda (British, 4906 GRT, built 1939), Caithness (British, 4970 GRT, built 1935), Cardium (British (tanker), 8236 GRT, built 1931), Carlton (British, 7210 GRT, built 1942), City of Venice (British, 8762 GRT, built 1924), Coombe Hill (British, 7268 GRT, built 1942), Dahomain (British, 5277 GRT, built 1929), Eastern City (British, 5185 GRT, built 1941), Empire Banner (British, 6699 GRT, built 1942), Empire Centaur (British, 7041 GRT, built 1942), Empire Flamingo (British, 4994 GRT, built 1920), Empire Foam (British, 7047 GRT, built 1941), Empire Prince (British, 7030 GRT, built 1942), Empire Shearwater (British, 4970 GRT, built 1920), Empire Summer (British, 6949 GRT, built 1941), Empire Webster (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), Empire Wyclif (British, 6966 GRT, built 1941), English Monarch (British, 4557 GRT, built 1924), Forest (British, 4998 GRT, built 1937), Fort Babine (British, 7135 GRT, built 1942), Fort Bourbon (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Chilcotin (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Lac la Ronge (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Fort McLeod (British, 7127 GRT, built 1942), Francis Scott Key (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Grangepark (British, 5132 GRT, built 1919), Hindustan (British, 5245 GRT, built 1940), Inventor (British, 6210 GRT, built 1935), James Monroe (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Marshall (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Kong Sverre (Norwegian, 7238 GRT, built 1941) Luther Martin (British, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Manchester Citizen (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Mobile City (British, 6157 GRT, built 1920), Ocean Coast (British, 1173 GRT, built 1935), Ocean Pelgrim (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Valentine (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Victory (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Wayfarer (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Orient City (British, 5095 GRT, built 1940), Prins Harald (Norwegian, 7244 GRT, built 1942), Rajput (British, 5497 GRT, built 1925), Tawali (Dutch, 8178 GRT, built 1931), Thistledale (British, 7241 GRT, built 1942), Thomas Pinckney (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Thomas Stone (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Troubadour (British, 5808 GRT, built 1920) and William M. Stewart (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

The tanker British Chivaldry (British, 7118 GRT, built 1929) was also with the convoy as escort oiler.

The boom carrier HMS Leonian (5424 GRT, built 1936) (A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Lundy, OBE, RNR) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from the U.K. the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Fowey (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN), HMS Black Swan (Cdr. T.A.C. Pakenham, RN) and the corvettes HMS Campion (Lt.Cdr. H.D. Horwood, RD, RNR), HMS Carnation (Lt. A. Branson, RNR), HMS La Malouine (T/Lt. V.D.H. Bidwell, RNR), HMS Mallow (Lt. W.R.B. Noall, DSO, RNR), HMS Myosotis (Lt. G.P.S. Lowe, RNVR), HMS Nasturtium (Lt. C.D. Smith, DSC, RNR), HMS Stonecrop (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Smythe, RNR), HMCS Lunenburg (T/Lt. W.E. Harrison, RCNVR) and HMCS Weyburn (T/A/Lt.Cdr. T.M.W. Golby, RCNR).

On 20 November 1942, to the West of Gibraltar, the convoy was attacked by the German submarine U-263 which managed to torpedo and sink the Grangepark and Prins Harald.

On 21 November 1942, the Gibraltar section of the convoy of five transports [identity to follow] parted company as did HMS Fowey, HMS Black Swan, HMS Carnation, HMS La Malouine, HMS Mallow and HMS Myosotis. HMCS Lunenburg also proceeded to Gribraltar with defects to her Asdic installation. After repairs she departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy. The transport Hindustan also made a short stop at Gibraltar before rejoining the convoy.

On 21 November the RFA tankers Dingledale and Brown Ranger departed Gibraltar to join the convoy as did the destroyers HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), sloops HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. W.B. Piggott, OBE, RD, RNR), HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN) and the corvettes HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR).

On 23 November the convoy was joined by the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) coming from Oran. They had conducted an A/S sweep while en-route to join the convoy.

The AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN) joined the convoy on 23 November 1942 coming from Oran / Mers-el-Kebir. The minesweepers HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) and HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR) also joined the convoy at some time.

The convoy was later split up into several sections, for Oran, Algiers, Bougie and Bone.

The Oran Section of 11 ships and HMS Leonian arrived there (around 1030A) on 23 November 1942 escorted by HMS Quality, HMS Quentin and HMAS Quiberon.

On 24 November German aircraft torpedoed and sank the Trentbank (which was to proceed to Bougie) in position 36°40'N, 01°11'E.

The Algiers Section arrived there on 24 November 1942 escorted by HMS Alynbank, HMS Enchantress, HMS Coreopsis, HMS Jonquil, HMS Brixham and HMS Polruan.

The convoy was joined on 24 November by some escorts coming from Algiers. These were the escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R. de L. Brooke, DSC, RN), HMS Blean (Lt. N.J. Parker, RN) and the corvettes HMS Convolvulus (A/Lt.Cdr. R.F.R. Yarde-Buller, RNVR) and HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSO, DSC, RNR). Also the motor minesweepers HM MMS 9, HM MMS 47, HM MMS 80, HM MMS 81, HM MMS 135 and HM MMS 184 joined the convoy for passage to Bone.

The Bougie section of KMS 3 arrived there on 25 November 1942. [Details to follow.]

The Bone section of KMS 3 was attacked by enemy aircraft near Cap de Fer around 1400A/25. No damage was reported.

The Bone section of KMS 3 arrived there on 26 November 1942. [Details to follow.]

29 Jan 1943
HMS H 33 (Lt. M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Loosestrife (T/Lt. A.A. Campbell, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, DSC, RNR) and HMS Alisma (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR). (16)

30 Jan 1943
HMS H 44 (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), HMS Alisma (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR) and HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR). (17)

31 Jan 1943
HMS H 44 (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, DSC, RNR), HMS Loosestrife (T/Lt. A.A. Campbell, RNR) and HMS Alisma (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR). (17)

14 Apr 1943
HMS H 50 (Lt. G.S.C Clarabut, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Whimbrel (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Moore, DSC, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMCS Kenogami (T/Lt. J.L. Percy, RCNVR) and HMS Ilfracombe (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Clark, DSC, RN). (18)

13 Jul 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSO, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR) and HMS Saxifage (T/Lt. J. Renwick, DSO, RNR). (19)

16 Jul 1943
HMS H 34 (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS Kitchener (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W. Evans, RCNVR), HMCS Wetaskiwin (T/Lt.Cdr. J.R. Kidston, RCNVR) and HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR). (20)

19 Jul 1943

Combined convoy OS 52 / KMS 21G.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 19 July 1943.

On assembly it was made up of the transports; Amberton (British, 5377 GRT, built 1928), Antilochus (British, 9082 GRT, built 1906), Avristan (British, 7266 GRT, built 1942), Baron Haig (British, 3391 GRT, built 1926), Barrgrove (British, 5222 GRT, built 1918), Borgholm (Norwegian, 1557 GRT, built 1922), Bothnia (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928), City of Lyons (British, 7063 GRT, built 1926), Clan MacBrayne (British, 4818 GRT, built 1916), Contractor (British, 6004 GRT, built 1930), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), Deido (British, 3894 GRT, built 1928), El Argentino (British, 9501 GRT, built 1928), Empire Brutus (British, 7233 GRT, built 1943), Empire Carpenter (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Empire Celia (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Empire Glen (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Empire Heath (British, 6643 GRT, built 1941), Empire Highway (British, 7166 GRT, built 1942), Empire Kingsley (British, 6996 GRT, built 1941), Empire Mountain (British, 2906 GRT, built 1943), Empire Samson (British (tug), 261 GRT, built 1943), Empire Voice (British, 6828 GRT, built 1940), Fernhill (British, 4116 GRT, built 1926), Finland (British, 1375 GRT, built 1939), Flimston (British, 4674 GRT, built 1925), Forresbank (British, 5155 GRT, built 1925), Fort Brule (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Buffalo (British, 7100 GRT, built 1943), Fort Chesterfield (British, 7100 GRT, built 1943), Fort Enterprise (British, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Fort Longueuil (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Fort Nakasley (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Wringley (British, 7128 GRT, built 1943), Glaisdale (British, 3777 GRT, built 1929), Governor (British, 5571 GRT, built 1918), Grodno (British, 2458 GRT, built 1919), Halizones (British, 3298 GRT, built 1920), Hallfried (Norwegian, 2968 GRT, built 1918), Henri Jaspar (Belgian, 5760 GRT, built 1929), Highwear (British, 1173 GRT, built 1936), Hopecrest (British, 5099 GRT, built 1935), Hughli (British, 6589 GRT, built 1943), Jenny (Norwegian, 4706 GRT, built 1928), Kana (British, 2783 GRT, built 1929), Kofresi (British, 4934 GRT, built 1920), Kyklades (Greek, 7157 GRT, built 1941), Levernbank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Lwow (Polish, 1409 GRT, built 1932), Magician (British, 5105 GRT, built 1925), Madalay (British, 5529 GRT, built 1911), Mary Kingsley (British, 5021 GRT, built 1930), Masirah (British, 6578 GRT, built 1919), Nurani (British, 5414 GRT, built 1941), Nurjehan (British, 5424 GRT, built 1923), Ocean Vigour (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ottinge (British, 2870 GRT, built 1940), Parklaan (Dutch, 3807 GRT, built 1911), Pegu (British, 7838 GRT, built 1943), Recorder (British, 2276 GRT, built 1902), Silvermaple (British, 5313 GRT, built 1937), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), Spero (British, 1589 GRT, built 1922), Spurt (Norwegian, 2061 GRT, built 1918), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Themistocles (British, 11231 GRT, built 1911), Thomas Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929) and Wellington Court (British, 4979 GRT, built 1930).

The convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Fowey (Cdr.(Retd.) L.B.A. Majendie, RN), frigate HMS Berry (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RD, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Campion (Lt.Cdr. A. Brown, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMS Mallow (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.T.S. Clouston, RNVR), HMS Myosotis (T/Lt. R. Lugg, RNR) and HrMs Friso (Lt.Cdr. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN).

Later the escort was reinforced with the corvette HMS Stonecrop (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Smythe, RNR) which departed Liverpool on 24 July 1942 to overtake the convoy. She proceeded via the south of Ireland.

The merchant vessels Antilochus and Highwear were forced to return due to defects.

On 26 July 1943, the convoy was attack by German Focke-Wulf reconnaissance aircraft which managed to sink the El Argentino in position 39°50'N, 13°36'W. The Empire Brutus was damaged shortly afterwards and was taken in tow by the tug Empire Samson towards Lisbon. They were escorted by HMS Jonquil. They arrived at Lisbon on 30 July.

On 27 July 1943, the convoy was again attacked by German aircraft and the Halizone was damaged in position 38°04'N, 12°59'W. She finally sank on 30 July in position 37°22'N, 13°03'W. HMS Berry had been standing by her for a short period but as she could not be spared from the A/S screen she was soon ordered to rejoin the convoy. From Gibraltar the destroyer HMS Wanderer (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Whinney, RN) and tug Prosperous was sent out. She found the ship on 30 July but she sank soon afterwards.

On 26 July 1943, the Gibraltar section of convoy OS 52 [see below for the ships in this section] had departed Gibraltar to make rendezvous with the combined convoy. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR), minesweepers Shippigan (Cdr. M.H. Brown, DSC, RN), Tadoussac (T/Lt. J.P. Davies, RNR), A/S trawlers HMS Haarlem (T/Lt. J.R.T. Broom, RNVR), HMS Lady Hogarth (T/Lt. S.G. Barnes, RNR), HMS St. Nectan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. T.F. Broadhead, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. G.B. Angus, DSC, RNVR).

They made rendezvous with the combined convoy on 27 July which then split up. The ships coming from Gibraltar then joined the ships continuing on towards West Africa. They were escorted by the ships of the original escort. HMS Southern Pride joined them as she was to join the West Africa Command.

The ships making up convoy KMS 21G set course for Gibraltar.

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Convoy KMS 21G was now made up of the following transports; Avristan, City of Lyons, Clan MacBrayne, Contractor, Empire Carpenter, Empire Celia, Empire Glen, Empire Heath, Empire Kingsley, Empire Mountain, Empire Voice, Finland, Forresbank, Fort Brule, Fort Buffalo, Fort Enterprise, Fort Longueuil, Fort Wringley, Glaisdale, Grondo, Hallfried, Highwear, Hughli, Kana, Kofresi, Levernbank, Lwow, Magician, Mandalay, Masirah, Nurani, Nurjehan, Ocean Valour, Ottinge, Parklaan, Pegu, Recorder, Spero and Temple Arch.

They were escorted by HMS Isis, HMS Bergamot, HMS Bryony, HMS Shippigan, HMS Tadoussac, HMS Haarlem, HMS Lady Hogarth and HMS St.Nectan.

The AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined them late in the evening of the 27th.

The convoy arrived at/ off Gibraltar on 29 July 1943.

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Convoy OS 52 continued on towards the south. It was made up of the following transports; Amberton, Barrgrove, Bothnia, Cordillera, Deido, Empire Highway, Flimston, Fort Chesterfield, Fort Nakasley, Governor, Henri Jaspar, Hopecrest, Jenny, Kyklades, Mary Kingsley, Silvermaple, Sobo, Themistocles, Thomas Holt and Wellington Court.

They were escorted by the sloop HMS Fowey, frigate HMS Berry, corvettes HMS Campion, HMS Mallow, HMS Myosotis, HMS Stonecrop, HMS Friso and the A/S whaler HMS Southern Pride.

As the convoy split they were joined by the Gibraltar section made up of the following transports; Anglo-Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Beaconsfield (British, 4635 GRT, built 1938), Belgian Airmen (Belgian, 6959 GRT, built 1942), Charlton Hall (British, 5200 GRT, built 1940), Cromarty (British, 4974 GRT, built 1936), Empire Stalwart (British, 7045 GRT, built 1943), Fort Abitibi (British, 7122 GRT, built 1942), Iddesleigh (British, 5205 GRT, built 1927), Kristianiafjord (British, 6759 GRT, built 1921), Nyanza (British, 4974 GRT, built 1928) and Ocean Gallant (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942).

Later the following transport joined coming from Casablanca; Alsace (French, 2000 GRT, built 1939), Canada (French, 9684 GRT, built 1912), Fort Vercheres (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), La Pampa (British, 4149 GRT, built 1938), Nivose (British, 9200 GRT, built 1932) and Silverteak (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930).

These ships were escorted out by the patrol vessels USS PC-471 (Lt. G. Washburn, USNR), USS PC-474 (Lt. A.D. Weekes, Jr., USNR) and USS PC-480 (Lt.(jg) F.W. Meyers, Jr., USNR).

The following ships were detached to Casablanca; Fort Chesterfield and Fort Nakasley. They were escorted by the three USN patrol vessels listed above.

HMS Berry, HMS Mallow and HMS Stonecrop from the escort fuelled at Casablanca before rejoining the convoy. HMS Berry departed Casablanca at 1500A/29, HMS Mallow at 1700A/29 and HMS Stonecrop at 0500A/30.

Later the following transport joined coming from Dakar; Agen (French, 4186 GRT, built 1921), Fort Lac La Ronge (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942) and Schiaffino Freres (French, 3314 GRT, built 1910).

The following ships were detached to Dakar; Alsace, Canada, Fort Vercheres, Henri Jaspar, Nivose and Thomas Holt.

Detached to Bathurst was the Bothnia.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 7 August 1943.

29 Jul 1943

Combined convoy OG 91 / KMS 22.

This convoy assembled off Oversay on 29 July 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ashbury (British, 3901 GRT, built 1924), Belnor (Norwegian, 2871 GRT, built 1926), Blairdevon (British, 3282 GRT, built 1925), Cape Sable (British, 4398 GRT, built 1936), Charles R. McCormick (American, 6027 GRT, built 1920), Cydonia (British, 3517 GRT, built 1927), Dalemoor (British, 5835 GRT, built 1922), Edam (Dutch, 8871 GRT, built 1921), Empire Foam (British, 7047 GRT, built 1941), Empire Heywood (British, 7030 GRT, built 1942), Empire Mallory (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Eskbank (British, 5137 GRT, built 1937), Fort Grouard (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Rupert (British, 7142 GRT, built 1942), Fort Slave (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Flyingdale (British, 3918 GRT, built 1924), Gorjistan (British, 5888 GRT, built 1929), Gudvin (Norwegian, 1824 GRT, built 1918), Harpalycus (British, 5629 GRT, built 1935), Kingsborough (British, 3368 GRT, built 1928), Lossiebank (British, 5627 GRT, built 1930), Lublin (Polish, 1409 GRT, built 1932), Marrakech (French, 6179 GRT, built 1914), Martand (British, 7967 GRT, built 1939), Mont Everest (French, 5210 GRT, built 1918), Nordeflinge (British, 2873 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Courier (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Stranger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), P.L.M. 13 (British (former French), 3754 GRT, built 1921), Pencarrow (British, 4841 GRT, built 1921), Porjus (Swedish, 2965 GRT, built 1906), Suncrest (Britih, 5117 GRT, built 1940) and Tanafjord (Norwegian, 5922 GRT, built 1921).

Also part of the convoy was the boom defence vessel HMS Barbette (Skr.Lt. F. Parsons, RNR).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Gregorie, RD, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Abelia (Lt. R.I. Floris, RNZNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Carse, DSC, RNVR), HMS Clover (Lt. P.H. Grieves, RNR) and HMS Pennywort (Lt. O.G. Stuart, RCNVR).

P.L.M. 13 soon parted company and proceeded to Belfast with engine trouble.

Around 1200Z/2, in position 46°05'N, 16°49'W, the rescue ship Goodwin (British, 1570 GRT, built 1917) escorted by the destroyer HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN) joined.

Around 0800Z/5, in position 38°15'N, 18°57'W, the light (AA) cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) joined.

Around 1200B/8, in position 35°07'N, 09°23'W, HMS Scylla parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead of it to Gibraltar.

Around 0400B/9, in position 35°17'N, 10°27'W, the Marrakech and Martand parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Gibraltar at 12.5 knots. HMS Walker went with them as escort.

At 1830B/9, the convoy was south of Europa Point. The remaining escort then parted company and entered Gibraltar as did the ships of Convoy OG 91, the Copeland and HMS Barbette. The ships that parted company (OG 91) were the following; Ashbury, Blairdevon, Cydonia, Fort Rupert, Fylingdale, Pencarrow and Porjus.

The remaining ships made up convoy KMS 22 and entered the Mediterranean now escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Holcombe (Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN), HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Hyderabad (T/Lt. T. Cooper, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (T/Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR), HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. G.W. Rayner, RNVR) and HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR).

Also the Marrakech and Martand rejoined the convoy. There was also the merchant vessels Grand Quevilly (French, 2844 GRT, built 1914), Ravens Point (British, 1708 GRT, built 1918) and Tivives (American, 5017 GRT, built 1911) which joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar.

Around 1900B/10, in position 35°56'N, 00°50'W, the Charles R. McCormick and Grand Quevilly parted company to enter Oran. From Oran the merchant vessel La Drome (French, ????, GRT, built ????) joined the convoy.

Around 2000B/11, in position 36°56'N, 03°11'E, the Cape Sable, Dalemoor, Empire Foam, Empire Mallory, Fort Grouard, Kingborough, Lublin, Marrakech, Ravens Point and Suncrest were detached to enter Algiers. From Algiers the merchant vessels Blairesk (British, 3300 GRT, built 1925)), Charles Goodyear (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Paine Wingate (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy as did the cable laying vessel HMS Retriever.

In the evening of the 12th the merchant vessels Lysaker V (Norwegian, 1571 GRT, built 1936), Roman (????, ???? GRT, built ????) and Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930) joined the convoy coming from Philippeville.

Around 2350B/12, in position 37°17'N, 07°32'E, the Fort Slave, Gudvin, Lysaker V, Ocean Couries, Ocean Stranger and Roman were detached to enter Bone. Around the same time the merchant vessels Empire Candida (British, 2908 GRT, built 1943) and ???? (French, ???? GRT, built ????) joined the convoy coming from Bone.

Around 1330B/13, in position 37°20'N, 09°59'E, the Charles Goodyear, La Drone, Mont Everest, Nordeflinge, Paine Wingate, Tivives and the unidentified French vessel which had joined from Bone left the convoy to enter Bizerta. Around the same time the merchant vessels Empire Newton (British, 7037 GRT, built 1942), Fort Grahame (British, 7133 GRT, built 1943), Fort Meductic (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Good Gulf (Panamanian (tanker), 7805 GRT, built 1938) joined the convoy coming from Bizerta as did three LST's; LST 303 (Lt.Cdr. G.F. Parker, RD, RNR), LST LST 323 (T/Lt. F.H.W. Graybrook, RNR) and LST 366 (A/Lt.Cdr. N. Hall, RNR).

Around 1615B/13, in position 37°14'N, 10°26'E, the Empire Candida, Ulla left the convoy to enter Tunis.

Around 1800B/14, in position 35°35'N, 14°00'E, the Good Gulf and Harpalycus as well as HMS Retriever and the three LST's were detached from the convoy to proceed to Malta. Also detached to Malta was HMS Jonquil from the escort. Around the same time the merchant vessels Crista (British, 2590 GRT, built 1938), Empire Austen (British, 7057 GRT, built 1942), Gulfdisc (American (tanker), 7140 GRT, built 1938), Lewant (Polish, 1942 GRT, built 1930), Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) and the RFA tanker War Krishna (5760 GRT, built 1919) joined the convoy coming from Malta. Also the merchant vessel Rodsley (British, 5000 GRT, built 1939) joined coming from Tripoli.

Around 0600B/19, in position 31°16'N, 29°34'E, the Crista, Edam, Empire Austen, Empire Heywood, Empire Newton, Fort Grahame, Fort Meductic and Talma were detached to Alexandria as were HMS Holcombe, HMS Atherstone, HMS Liddesdale, HMS Coltsfoot and HMS Hyderabad while the merchant vessels Belpareil (Norwegian, 7203 GRT, built 1926) and Marit Maersk (Greek (former Danish), 1894 GRT, built 1938) joined coming from Alexandria.

The convoy arrived at Port Said on 20 August 1943 escorted by HMS Rhododendron. (21)

24 Sep 1943

Convoy MKS 26.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 24 September 1943.

It was made up of the following ships; Badarpur (British, 8079 GRT, built 1922), Clan Murdoch (British, 5950 GRT, built 1919), Delane (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Diplodon (British (tanker), 8149 GRT, built 1941), Drammensfjord (Norwegian, 5339 GRT, built 1920), Empire Capulet (British, 7044 GRT, built 1943), Fort Cadotte (British, 7128 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frederick (British, 7135 GRT, built 1942), Fort George (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Fort Glenlyon (British, 7132 GRT, built 194), Fort Lawrence (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), George Gipp (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Glenogle (British, 9513 GRT, built 1920), Highland Prince (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), R.C. Brennan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) and Thistlemuir (British, 7237 GRT, built 1942).

The convoy was escorted by the corvettes HMS Hyderabad (T/Lt. T. Cooper, RNR), HMS Spiraea (Lt. A.H. Pierce, OBE, RNR), HMS Delphinium (Cdr. V.F. Smith, DSO, RD, RNR) and the minesweeper HMAS Gawler (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) W.J. Seymour, RAN). The corvettes HMS Oxlip (Lt. C.W. Leadbetter, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. G.W. Rayner, RNVR) were unable to depart on time due to defects. HMS Delphinium and HMAS Gawler were sailed in their place. Both corvettes were able to proceed after repairs to overtake and join the convoy relieving their substitutes which then returned to Alexandria.

On 28 September 1943, the following ships departed Malta to join the convoy; African Prince (British, 4653 GRT, built 1939), Benreoch (British, 5818 GRT, built 1921), Coxwold (British, 1124 GRT, built 1938), Derwenthall (British, 4934 GRT, built 1940), Duke of Athens (British, 5217 GRT, built 1940), Empire Nerissa (British, 7086 GRT, built 1943), Empire Rosalind (British, 7290 GRT, built 1943), Fort Augustus (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Charnisay (British, 7133 GRT, built 1943), Fort Howe (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Poplar (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort St. James (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Fort Stager (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Walsh (British, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Gudrun Maersk (British, 2294 GRT, built 1937), Harpagus (British, 7172 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Valley (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930) and Vittorino Zanibon (Italian (tanker), 1622 GRT, built 1943).

With them was also the damaged light cruiser HMS Uganda (Capt. W.G. Andrewes, RN).

The Malta section was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. T.M. Dorrien-Smith, RN) and the corvettes HMS Alisma (Lt. G. Lanning, RANVR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR) and HMS Vetch (Lt. K.M.B. Menzies, RNR).

On these ships joining the convoy both escort destroyers returned to Malta taking the following ships of the convoy with them; Badarpur, Clan Murdoch, Diplodon, Empire Capulet, Fort Cadotte, Fort Frederick, Fort George, Fort Glenlyon, Fort Lawrence, Glenogle, Highland Prince and Talma.

HMS Jonquil and HMS Vetch proceeded to Tripoli taking the Thistlemuir with them.

HMS Alisma joined the main body of the convoy as additional escort towards Gibraltar.

On 29 September 1943, the Fanad Head (British, 5038 GRT, built 1941) joined the convoy coming from Tunis.

On 29 September 1943, the following ships parted company with the convoy and arrived at Bizerta; Empire Rosalind, Fort Walsh, Gudrun Maersk, John Howland and Ulla while the following ships joined the convoy coming from Bizerta; Charles Goodyear (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Crista (British, 2590 GRT, built 1938), Empire Perdita (British, 7028 GRT, built 1943), Marigot (French, 4047 GRT, built 1932), Miriam (British, 1903 GRT, built 1912) and Richard Henry Lee (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941).

On 30 September 1943, the Empire Commerce (British, 3722 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy from Bone.

On 30 September 1943, the following ships were detached to Philippeville; Crista, Derwenthall, Empire Perdita and Fort Charnisay while the Henry Wynkoop (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy coming from Philippeville.

Around midnight during the night of 30 September / 1 October 1943, the German submarine U-410 attacked the convoy sinking the Fort Howe and heavily damaging the Empire Commerce. The aft part of the latter ship sank while the front part was towed to Bone.

On 2 October 1943, the following ships of the convoy were detached to Algiers; Coxwold, Fort Stager, Marigot, Miriam, Vittorino Zanibon and HMS Alisma while the following ships joined the convoy coming from Algiers; Abangarez (American, 4538 GRT, built 1909), Franka (Yugoslavian, 5273 GRT, built 1918) and Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934). Also joining were the motor minesweepers HMS MMS 13 (T/Lt. A.E. Durham, RNVR) and HMS MMS 118 (A/Skr.Lt. J. Smith, DSC, RNR).

On 3 October 1943, the following ships of the convoy were detached to Oran; Abangarez, Charles Goodyear, George Gipp, Henry Wynkoop, John Howland, R.C. Brennan and Richard Henry Lee while the following ships joined the convoy coming from Oran; Dalemoor (British, 5835 GRT, built 1922), Empire Spey (British, 4292 GRT, built 1929), Kingsborough (British, 3368 GRT, built 1928) and Van Ostade (Dutch, 2890 GRT, built 1942).

The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 4 October 1943.

15 Jan 1944

Convoy GUS 28.

This convoy departed Port Said on 15 January 1944.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was made up of the transports / tankers; Aedanus Burke (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), African Sun (American, 6507 GRT, built 1942), Banff Park (Canadian, 7133 GRT, built 1943), Benjamin Chew (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Britannia (Norwegian (tanker), 9977 GRT, built 1939), Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Fort Caribou (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Joyce Kilmer (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Knute Nelson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Kronprinsessen (Norwegian, 7244 GRT, built 1941), Kwai Sang (British, 2320 GRT, built 1917), Ocean Liberty (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Rideau Park (Canadian, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Samarinda (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samaye (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samflora (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samois (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samsette (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Samuta (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the corvette HMS Primula (Lt. G.H. Taylor, RNR).

On 16 January 1944, the following transports arrived at Alexandria after having been detached from the convoy Fort Caribou and Kwai Sang while the following transports departed Alexandria to join the convoy; Cape Hawke (American, 5081 GRT, built 1941), Empire Falcon (British, 4970 GRT, built 1918), Empire Path (British, 6140 GRT, built 1943), Gatineau Park (Canadian, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Samarina (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Sampa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samshire (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samwater (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Valldemosa (British, 7222 GRT, built 1935) and William H. Wilmer (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943). They were escorted by the frigate HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RD, RNR), corvettes HMS Jonquil (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMS Vetch (Lt. K.M.B. Menzies, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMSAS Southern Isles (?) which all also joined the convoy. On these escorts joining the convoy HMS Primula was detached to Alexandria arriving later on the 16th.

On 20 January 1944, the following transports / tankers departed Augusta to join the convoy; British Tradition (British (tanker), 8443 GRT, built 1942), Conrad Weiser (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), David Caldwell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Gale (British, 7089 GRT, built 1941), F. Marion Crawford (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), George Bancroft (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), George M. Bibb (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), George W. Campbell (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), Hebe II (British, 957 GRT, built 1912), Helmwood (British, 2156 GRT, built 1923), Indiana (Panamanian, 5617 GRT, built 1917), Jade (British, 930 GRT, built 1938), James Hoban (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Harvard (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Walker (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Joseph E. Johnston (American, 7196 GRT, built 1942), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Lincoln Steffens (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Lucretia Mott (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Luther Martin (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Mariposa (British, 3702 GRT, built 1914), Moray Coast (British, 687 GRT, built 1940), O' Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Stranger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938), Samuel F. Miller (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Scorton (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Tarleton Brown (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943) and Theodoric Bland (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942). The Largs Bay however returned the following day.

On 21 January 1944, the following transports / tankers arrived at Augusta after having parted company with the convoy; Britannia, Empire Path, Ocean Liberty, Samarina, Samaye, Sampa, Samshire, Samwater and Valldemosa.

On 21 January 1944, the Cape Hawke arrived at Malta after having been detached from the convoy while the tanker Empire Traveller (British (tanker), 8201 GRT, built 1943) departed Malta to join the convoy as did the submarine HMS Sickle (Lt. J.R. Drummond, DSO, DSC, RN).

On 22 January 1944, the John Harvard arrived at Tunis after having been detached from the convoy while the transport Skeldergate (British, 4251 GRT, built 1930) departed Tunis to join the convoy.

On 22 January 1944, the Hebe II, Indiana and Jade arrived at Bizerta after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Agatha (Dutch (tanker), 3369 GRT, built 1927), Benito Juarez (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), British Vigour (British (tanker), 5844 GRT, built 1943), Chertsey (British, 6001 GRT, built 1943), Cliona (British (tanker), 8375 GRT, built 1931), D.L. Harper (British (tanker), 12223 GRT, built 1933), Empire Tana (British, 6275 GRT, built 1922), Empire Wordsworth (British (tanker), 9891 GRT, built 1942), Espiguette (French, 1095 GRT, built 1921), Fort Jasper (British, 7125 GRT, built 1943), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Hjalmar Wessel (Norwegian, 1742 GRT, built 1935), John Drake Sloat (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Howland (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Milledge, (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Juan de Fuca (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Madras City (British, 5080 GRT, built 1940), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Robert Morris (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Robert Trimble (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Swiftarrow (American (tanker), 8207 GRT, built 1921) and Zacapa (American, 5013 GRT, built 1909) departed Bizerta to join the convoy. Also joining the convoy was the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) and the rescue tug HMRT Hengist.

On 23 January 1944, the Chersey, Conrad Weiser, Espiguette, Joseph E. Johnston, Ocean Stranger and Skeldergate, as well as HMRT Hengist arrived at Bone after having been detached from the convoy as did HMRT Hengist while the transports / tankers Elisha Mitchell (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943), Empire Spey (British, 4292 GRT, built 1929) and Polarsol (Norwegian (tanker), 10022 GRT, built 1939) departed Bone to join the convoy.

On 23 January 1944, the Hjalmar Wessel arrived at Philippeville after having been detached from the convoy.

On 24 January 1944, the Benito Juarez, British Vigour, David Caldwell, Empire Addison, Fort Jasper and Ocean Vesper arrived at Algiers after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Andrew Carnegie (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Baxtergate (British, 5531 GRT, built 1925), Chantilly (British, 9986 GRT, built 1923), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Empire Flame (British, 7069 GRT, built 1941), Finistere (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909), Fort Chipewyan (British, 7136 GRT, built 1942), George Vickers (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Jonathan Grout (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Lambrook (British, 7038 GRT, built 1942), Louis Marshall (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Marion McKinley Bovard (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912) and Scottish Heather (British (tanker), 7087 GRT, built 1928) joined the convoy coming from Algiers.

On 25 January 1944, the Agatha, Chantilly, City of Canterbury, F. Marion Crawford, George W. Campbell, Helmwood, James Hoban, John Walker, Lincoln Steffens, Luther Martin, Moray Coast, Neuralia, O'Henry and Theodoric Bland arrived at Oran after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Benjamin R. Milam (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), Chief Joseph (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Duke (British, 7140 GRT, built 1943), Gard (Norwegian (tanker), 8259 GRT, built 1938), Gulfwing (American (tanker), 10217 GRT, built 1928), James G. Birney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Madagascar (British, 4861 GRT, built 1912), Norfjell (Norwegian (tanker), 8129 GRT, built 1942), Petter (Norwegian (tanker), 9109 GRT, built 1935), Sirehei (Norwegian, 3888 GRT, built 1907), William D. Moseley (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943) and William F. Cody (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy coming from Oran.

On 26 January 1944, the Empire Falcon, Empire Flame, Empire Gale, Empire Spey, Empire Tana, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Tadoussac, Gard, Gatineau Park, Madras City, Mariposa, Palermo, Rideau Park, Scorton and Stanhill arrived at Gibraltar, as did HMS Colombo and HMS Sickle after having been detached from the convoy while the transports Esso Providence (American (tanker), 9059 GRT, built 1921), Fort Fork (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Gleniffer (British, 9559 GRT, built 1919), Hardanger (Norwegian, 4000 GRT, built 1924), Mosli (Norwegian (tanker), 8291 GRT, built 1935), Pacific Shipper (British, 6290 GRT, built 1924), Taria (Dutch (tanker), 10354 GRT, built 1939) and Zypenberg (Dutch, 4973 GRT, built 1920) joined the convoy around 0845A/27 having departed Gibraltar in the afternoon of the 26th escorted by the destroyer escorts USS Pillsbury (Lt. G.W. Cassleman, USNR, with COMDESDIV 4 on board), USS Chatelain (T/Lt.Cdr. J.L. Foley, USN), USS Pope (T/Lt.Cdr. E.H. Headland, USN), USS Amick (James A Hetherington, 2nd, USNR, with COMDESDIV 15 on board), USS Atherton (Lt. M. Kelly, Jr., USN), USS Booth (T/Cdr. D.W. Todd, USN) and USS Carroll ( T/Lt.Cdr. F.W. Kuhn, USN).

Around 1415A/27, the Gibraltar section of the convoy was joined by the destroyer USS Benson (T/Cdr. R.J. Woodaman, USN, with, COMTASKFOR 62, T/Capt. C.L. Winecoff, USN, on board), destroyer escorts USS Cooner (T/Cdr. J.M. Stuart, USN), USS Eldridge (Lt. C.R. Hamilton, USNR) and USS Flaherty (Lt. M. Johnston, Jr., USN) and the naval tanker USS Niobrara (T/Cdr. J.W. Marts, Jr., USN).

Around 0845A/27, the Gibraltar section joined with the main convoy after which the British escort, HMS Usk, HMS Jonquil, HMS Vetch and HMSAS Southern Isles parted company to proceed to Gibraltar where they arrived later the same day.

Around 1400A/27, the Casablanca section of the convoy, which had departed Casablanca on the 26th and was made up of the transports Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925) and Thomas Lynch (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942). They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-471 (Lt. G. Washburn, USNR), USS PC-474 (Lt. H.C. Hummer, USNR) and USS PC-481 (Lt. N.W Roeder, USNR) which did not join the convoy but proceeded back to Casablanca taking the transports Baxtergate, Empire Duke, Finistere, Lambrook, Madagascar, Sirehei, Taria, Zypenberg and with them. They arrived at Casablanca on the 28th.

Around 0800Z/30, USS Eldridge was detached from the convoy to proceed to Horta, Azores to escort the Azores section of the convoy from there to a rendezvous position with the convoy. She arrived at Horta around 0630N/31 but the transport she was to escort had not completed unloading yet. Around 0200N/1, USS Eldridge departed Horta escorting the transport John Clarke (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943). They joined the convoy around 1150Z/2 in position 36°14'N, 33°53'W.

In the morning of 5 February 1944, USS Benson fuelled from USS Niobrara.

Around 0300Q/14, the convoy split into the ' Chesapeake Bay section ' and the ' New York section '.

The Chesapeake Bay section was made up of sixteen of the merchant vessels and the USS Niobrara. They were escorted by USS Amick, USS Atherton, USS Cooner and USS Eldridge. On the 15th the Delaware section of the convoy got scattered in heavy weather. Six ships managed to remain together with the escort. Straggles were later brought up to rejoin the convoy. In the early evening of the 15th the convoy entered Hampton Roads.

The New York section of the convoy was made up of the remaining ships of the convoy. Around 0830Q/14, the ' Delaware section ' split off. This was made up of three ships and was escorted by USS Carroll. The Delaware section arrived at its destination in the morning of 15 February 1944.

The ' New York section ' of the convoy arrived at its destination in the morning of 15 February 1944.

25 Mar 1944

Convoy GUS 35.

This convoy departed Port Said on 25 March 1944.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was made up of the transports; Bellerophon (British, 9019 GRT, built 1906), Chippewa Park (British, 7138 GRT, built 1943), Clan Cameron (British, 7243 GRT, built 1937), Empire Conrad (British, 7009 GRT, built 1942), Empire Daring (British, 7059 GRT, built 1943), Eridan (French, 9928 GRT, built 1928), Fort Cumberland (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), George Sharswood (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Joseph Reynolds (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Samcree (British, 7210 GRT, built 1943), Samnid (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Van Honthorst (Dutch, 6140 GRT, built 1943) and Wendell Phillips (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the corvette HMS Jonquil (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W. Tretheway, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMSAS HMSAS Southern Isles (Lt. J.K. Mallory, SANF).

On 26 March 1944, the following transports departed Alexandria to join the convoy; Anna Odland (Norwegian, 4980 GRT, built 1939), Atlantic City (British, 5133 GRT, built 1941), Belgian Sailor (Belgian, 7028 GRT, built 1942), Empire Beatrice (British, 7046 GRT, built 1943), Fort Erie (British, 7128 GRT, built 1943), Fort Souris (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Henry Gilbert Costin (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Henry H. Blood (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Ocean Glory (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Perak (British, 1188 GRT, built 1906), Samaritan (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samphire (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940).

They were escorted by the frigate HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RD, RNR), sloop HMS Fowey (A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Newey, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMSAS Protea (Lt. A. Thomas, DSC, SANF).

On 31 March 1944, the following transports / tankers departed Augusta to join the convoy; Alexander Graham Bell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Blairesk (British, 3300 GRT, built 1925), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Charlton Hall (British, 5200 GRT, built 1940), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Cyrus W. Field (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), David G. Farragut (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Djebel Aures (French, 2835 GRT, built 1929), Empire Austen (British, 7057 GRT, built 1942), Empire Capulet (British, 7044 GRT, built 1943), Empire Copperfield (British, 6013 GRT, built 1943), Empire Traveller (British (tanker), 8201 GRT, built 1943), Empire Trent (British, 5006 GRT, built 1927), Everleigh (British, 5222 GRT, built 1930), Far (Norwegian, 2475 GRT, built 1921), Frederick Banting (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Hugh Williamson (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Jacques Cartier (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James B. Richardson (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), James Guthrie (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Fairfield (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John H. Eaton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John P. Holland (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Joseph E. Brown (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joseph H. Hollister (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lewant (Polish, 1942 GRT, built 1930), Mary Wilkins Freeman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Novasli (Norwegian, 3204 GRT, built 1920), Robert Y. Hayne (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Sambay (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Sestriere (Italian, 7992 GRT, built 1942), Walter Forward (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), William Cushing (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), William Sturgis (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and William Thornton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

These ships have been escorted to the rendezvous with the convoy by the escort destroyer HMS Wilton (Lt. G.G. Marten, DSC, RN), the torpedo boat Indomito (C.C.(Lt.Cdr.) E.F. Perucca), and the corvettes Gabbiano and Cormorano.

On the Augusta section joining the following ships of the convoy were detached to Augusta where they arrived on 1 April 1944 escorted by the ships that had brought out the Augusta section; Belgian Sailor, Empire Beatrice, Empire Conrad, Empire Daring, Fort Cumberland, Fort Erie, Fort Souris, Ocean Glory, Perak, Samcree, Samphire, Temple Inn and Van Honthorst.

On 1 April the Eridan arrived at Tripoli after having been detached from the convoy.

On 1 April 1944, the landing ship HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.C. Gervers, RN) and the transport Samovar (British, 7219 grt, built 1943) departed Malta to join the convoy.

Around 1900B/2, the AA cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. R.F. Nichols, RN) joined the convoy near Bizerta. Also from Bizerta came the transport Solarium (British, 6239 GRT, built 1936).

at 0035A/3, the minesweeper USS Seer (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Walker, Jr. USNR) joined as additional escort.

On 3 April 1944, the following transports arrived at Bizerta after having been detached from the convoy; Blairesk, City of Canterbury, Cyrus W. Field, Djebel Aurus, Hugh Williamson, Joseph H. Hollister and Mary Wilkins Freeman.

On 2 April 1944, the following transports departed Tunis to join the convoy; Caudebec (French, 1471 GRT, built 1910), Christopher Gadsen (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Pilar de Larrinaga (British, 7352 GRT, built 1918), Thomas R. Marshall (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927) and Zacapa (American, 5013 GRT, built 1909). Also with them was the boom defence vessel HMS Barova (T/Lt. J.R. Radley, RNR) and the salvage vessel USS Extricate (Lt. C.H. Rooklidge, USNR).

The Empire Trent was detached to Tunis arriving there on 3 April 1944.

On 2 April 1944, the following transports departed Bone to join the convoy; Samforth (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Samothrace (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943).

On 3 April 1944, the following transports arrived at Bone after having been detached from the convoy; Alexander Graham Bell, Empire Copperfield, Everleigh, Far, Jacques Cartier, Lewant, Novasli and Robert Y. Hayne.

On 3 April 1944, the following transports departed Philippeville to join the convoy; Jeanne Schiaffino (French, 1032 GRT, built 1922) and William J. Bryan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

Also on 3 April the sloop HMS Black Swan (Cdr.(Retd.) R.C.V. Thomson, DSC, RN) joined the convoy coming from Algiers.

On 4 April 1944, the following transports / tankers departed Algiers to join the convoy; British Chancellor (British (tanker), 7085 GRT, built 1921), Empire Collins (British (tanker), 9796 GRT, built 1942), Jacinth (British, 650 GRT, built 1937), James Shields (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Hathorn (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Morton (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Norsol (Norwegian (tanker), 8236 GRT, built 1941), Nuculana (British (tanker), 8179 GRT, built 1942), Pan Aruba (Norwegian, 9231 GRT, built 1931), Pan Delaware (American, 8128 GRT, built 1918), Sagittaire (French, 7706 GRT, built 1929), Samchess (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944) and Star (Norwegian, 1531 GRT, built 1922).

The following transports / tankers parted company with the convoy and arrived at Algiers on 4 April 1944; Atlantic City, British Pride, Caudebec, Clan Cameron, Empire Capulet, James Guthrie, Jeanne Schiaffino, Samaritan and William J. Bryan. HMS Royal Scotsman and USS Extricate also proceeded to Algiers.

On 5 April 1944, the following transports departed Oran to join the convoy; A.P. Hill (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Daniel H. Hill (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), David L. Swain (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943), Edwin Markman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Egton (British, 4363 GRT, built 1938), Empire Damsel (British (tanker), 784 GRT, built 1942), Houston Volunteers (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John E. Schmeltzer (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joseph T. Robinson (American, 7196 GRT, built 1942), Joshua Hendy (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lambert Cadwalader (American, 7196 GRT, built 1942), Norfjell (Norwegian (tanker), 8129 GRT, built 1942), Richard Jordan Gatling (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Robert F. Stockton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Samclyde (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samdon (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samtweed (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Thomas Pinckney (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942) and William T. Barry (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

The following transports parted company with the convoy and arrived at Oran on 5 April 1944; Christopher Gadsen, Star and William Thornton.

Around 1400A/5, HMS Caledon parted company with the convoy to proceed to Oran.

Around 1555A/5, USS Seer parted company with the convoy to proceed to Oran.

Around 1030A/6, The USN Task Force 63 joined the convoy and took over the escort duties from the current escort which was then detached. Task Force 63 was made up of the destroyers USS Nelson (T/Cdr. T.D. McGrath, USN, with COMTASKFOR 63 also COMDESRON 17, T/Capt. A.C. Murdaugh, USN on board), USS Glennon (T/Cdr. C.A. Johnson, USN), USS Jeffers (T/Cdr. Leo William Nilon, USN), USS Butler (T/Cdr. M.D. Matthews, USN, with COMDESDIV 34, T/Capt. W.L. Benson, on board), USS Gherardi (T/Cdr. N.R. Curtin, USN), USS Herndon T/Cdr. G.A. Moore, USN), USS Shubrick (T/Cdr. W. Blenman, USN) and the escort destroyers USS Jordan (Cdr. F.C. Billing, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 52, T/Cdr. C.R. Simmers, USN), USS Newman (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Meyer, USNR), USS Liddle (T/Cdr. R.M. Hinckley, Jr., USN), USS Kephart (Cdr. I.H. Cammarn, USNR) and USS Cofer (Lt.Cdr. A.P. Chester, USNR).

On 6 April 1944, the following transports departed Gibraltar to join the convoy; John W. Mackay (British (cable laying ship, 4049 GRT, built 1922) and Largs Bay (British (damaged), 14182 GRT, built 1921).

The following transports / tanker parted company with the convoy and arrived at Gibraltar on 6 April 1944; British Chancellor, Charlton Hall, Chippewa Park, Empire Austen, Jacinth, Joshua Hendy, Pilar de Larrinaga, Solarium and Umberleigh. HMS Barova was also detached to Gibraltar.

On 6 April 1944, the following transports / tanker departed Casablanca to join the convoy. Linda (Danish, 962 GRT, built 1936) and Oregon (French, 7705 GRT, built 1929). The naval tanker USS Escalante (Cdr. C.L. Kiewert, USNR) was also with them. They joined the following day and had been escorted out of Casablanca by the patrol vessels; USS PC-471 (Lt. G.B. Calkins, USNR), USS PC-474 (Lt. H.C. Hummer, USNR), USS PC-480 (Lt.(jg) J.K. Miller, USNR) and USS PC-482 (Lt. D.W. Hunter, USNR).

The following transports were detached to Casablanca escorted by the four patrol vessel listed above; Egton, Empire Damsel, Frederick Banting, Sambay, Samchess and Samovar. They arrived at Casablanca on 8 April 1944.

On 11 April 1944, the transport James Schureman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy near Horta, Azores.

On 12 April 1944, USS Escalante fuelled all twelve escort vessels.

On 15 April 1944, the Richard Jordan Gatling straggled from the convoy. USS Jeffers was ordered to screen her. The Richard Jordan Gatling arrived at Bermuda on 21 April 1944. USS Jeffers had been relieved earlier that day by HMCS Q 090 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.C. Campbell, RCNVR). USS Jeffers then set course to rejoin the convoy which she did the following day shortly before the 'New York' section arrived at New York.

On 16 April 1944, USS Escalante fuelled USS Nelson and USS Newman.

On 17 April 1944, the Bellerophon and Samforth parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bermuda as the Bellerophon had engine (boiler) defects and the Samforth had uncontrollable leaks. they were escorted by USS Newman. They arrived at Bermuda on 20 April 1944. USS Newman had been relieved around dawn that day by HMCS Q 100 (T/Lt. D.A. Dobson, RCNVR). USS Newman then set course to rejoin the convoy which she did in the evening.

On 19 April 1944, USS Escalante parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bermuda. To escort her the destroyer escorts USS Dennis (Lt.Cdr. S. Hansen, USNR) and USS Eversole (T/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Marix, USN) had joined. They arrived at Bermuda on 20 April 1944.

On 21 April 1944, the convoy split into two sections. 14 ships with 4 escorts set course to proceed to Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. 35 ships with the remaining 7 escorts proceeded towards New York / Philadelphia.

The four escorts for this section were the following; USS Gherardi, USS Herndon, USS Liddle and USS Kephart.

The 'Chesapeake Bay' section arrived there on 22 April 1944.

The 'New York / Philadelphia ' section was escorted by USS Nelson, USS Glennon, USS Butler, USS Shubrick, USS Jordan, USS Newman and USS Cofer.

Around dusk the George Sharswood parted company to proceed to Philadelphia.

The remaining ships of this section arrived at New York on 22 April 1944.

23 May 1944

Convoy UGS 43.

This convoy departed Hampton Roads on 23 May 1944.

It was made up of the following transports / tankers; Arthur P. Davis (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Asa Gray (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Atlanta City (American, 5686 GRT, built 1921), Belgian Airman (Belgian, 6960 GRT, built 1942), Benjamin Goodhue (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Charles Carroll (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Christopher Gale (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943), Cistula (Dutch (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1939), City of Florence (British, 6862 GRT, built 1918), Clausina (British (tanker), 8083 GRT, built 1938), Edward N. Hurley (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Edward Richardson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Garrick (British (tanker), 8128 GRT, built 1942), Ezra Cornell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), F.A.C. Muhlenberg (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Felipe de Neve (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Ferdinand Westdahl (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Fernplant (British, 5274 GRT, built 1939), Fort George (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Francis L. Lee (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Frederick Banting (American, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Garonne (Norwegian (tanker), 7113 GRT, built 1931), George B. McClellan (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Gutzon Borglum (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Haym Salomon (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Heimvard (Norwegian, 4851 GRT, built 1930), Henry Gilbert Costin (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Hiram S. Maxim (American, 7194 GRT, built 1943), Isaac Sharpless (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), J.L. Luckenbach (American, 6369 GRT, built 1919), James Gunn (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Barton Payne (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Clarke (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John H. Eaton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John M. Harlan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joseph Alston (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Joseph Hewes (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Joshua Seney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Knute Nelson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lorraine (French (tanker), 9512 GRT, built 1937), M.M. Guhin (American, 7180 GRT, 1943), Mary Wilkins Freeman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Mirabeau B. Lamar (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Moses Rogers (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Nelson Dingley (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Nelson W. Aldrich (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Newton D. Baker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Ninella (British (tanker), 8134 GRT, built 1943), Norrisia (British (tanker), 8246 GRT, built 1944), Northia (British (tanker), 8211 GRT, built 1944), Pan-Maryland (American (tanker), 7701 GRT, built 1938), Pierre Laclede (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Regent Lion (British (tanker), 9551 GRT, built 1937), Renald Fernald (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Robert Treat Paine (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Samfeugh (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samglory (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samleyte (British, 7255 GRT, built 1944), Samothrace (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samovar (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samtay (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samtrust (British, 7209 GRT, built 1943), Samvigna (British, 7255 GRT, built 1944), Shickshinny (American, 5103 GRT, built 1919), Steel Inventor (American, 5686 GRT, built 1920), Sul Ross (American, 7247 GRT, built 1944), Sun (American (tanker), 9002 GRT, built 1928), Sverre Helmersen (Norwegian, 7209 GRT, built 1944), Tatra (Norwegian, 4766 GRT, built 1937), Thomas Pinckney (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Trondheim (Norwegian (tanker), 8258 GRT, 1939), Victor Herbert (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Walter E. Ranger (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Wiley Post (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), William Bradford (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William H. Wilmer (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), William Harper (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943) and William J. Bryan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

The naval tanker USS Kennebec (Cdr. M.D. Mullen, USNR) was also part of the convoy as were the following LCI(L)'s; USS LCI(L)-590 (Lt.(jg) T.E. Boland, USNR), USS LCI(L)-591 (Lt.(jg) W.A. Putnam, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-592 (Lt.(jg) A.H. Swanke), USS LCI(L)-593 (Lt.(jg) B.V. Wilson, USNR), USS LCI(L)-594 (Lt.(jg) W. Campbell, USNR), USS LCI(L)-595 (Lt.(jg) C. Ringle, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-596 (Lt.(jg) W.H. Crawford, USNR), USS LCI(L)-674 (Lt.(jg) W.P. Eckel, USNR), USS LCI(L)-675 (Lt.(jg) J.F. Tobin, USNR), USS LCI(L)-951 (Lt. N.A. Thompson, USNR), USS LCI(L)-952 (?), USS LCI(L)-953 (Lt.(jg) D.J. Stadfeld, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-954 (Lt.(jg) J.K. Ullrich, USNR).

On departure from Hampton Roads the convoy was escorted by Task Force 64 which was made up of the destroyer USS McCormick (T/Cdr. F.A. Brock, USN, with COMTASKFOR 64, Capt. H.S. Berdine, USCG, on board), USS Sellstrom (Cdr. W.L. Maloney, USCG, with COMCORTDIV 23, Cdr. F.P. Vetterick, USNR, on board), USS Ramsden (Lt.Cdr. S.T. Baketel, USCGR), USS Mills (Lt.Cdr. V. Pfeiffer, USCG), USS Rhodes (Cdr. E.A. Coffin, Jr., USCG), USS Richey (Cdr. P.DuP. Mills, USCG), USS Savage (Lt.Cdr. R. Ridgely, 3rd, USCG), USS Fowler (Lt.Cdr. G.S.J. Forde, USNR), USS Durik (T/Lt.Cdr. K.B. Smith, USN), USS Tomich (Lt. C.B. Brown, USNR), USS Earl V. Johnson (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Jordy, USNR).

Around 2200Z/25, the destroyer escort USS Wiseman (Lt.Cdr. W.B. McClaran, Jr., USNR) joined the convoy escort followed an hour later by her sister ship USS Solar (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Hull, USNR).

During 27 May 1944, USS Kennebec fuelled USS McCormick, USS Solar, USS Wiseman, USS Fowler, USS Durik and USS Earl V. Johnson.

During 31 May 1944, USS Kennebec fuelled USS McCormick, USS Solar, USS Wiseman, USS Earl V. Johnson, USS Fowler and USS Durik.

Around 0410Z/3, the auxiliary minelayer USS Planter (Lt.Cdr. T.T. Scudder, Jr., USNR) joined the convoy coming from the Azores. She had been escorted to the rendezvous by the auxilary A/S trawler HMS Kingston Amber (T/Lt. R. Adams, RNR) which did not join the convoy but set course to return to the Azores taking the transport Joseph Hewes with her.

Around 1335Z/5, USS Kennebec was detached from the convoy to proceed to position 25°00'N, 20°00'W to fuel other USN ships. She was escorted by USS Durik. Before the tanker parted company she fuelled USS McCormick, USS Solar, USS Wiseman, USS Fowler, USS Durik, USS Earl V. Johnson and USS Planter.

Around 2000Z/5, USS LCI(L)-952 staggled from thee convoy due to engine trouble. She rejoined the convoy around 1630Z/6.

Around 1800Z/7, the following ships were detached to Casablanca; Charles Carroll, John Barton Payne, Joseph Alston, Lorraine and Samfeugh. To escort them there the patrol vessels 472, 473 and 482 had come out from Casablanca and had joined the convoy around 1630Z/7. The Casablanca section arrived at its destination the following day.

Around 1400Z/8, USS McCormick parted company with the convoy to pick up liason officers at Gibraltar. She rejoined around 1547Z/8.

Around 1830Z/8, the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.T. Jellicoe, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0805Z/9, the minesweeper USS Seer (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Walker, Jr. USNR) joined the convoy for jamming duties (against German radio guided bombs).

Around 1830Z/9, the Oran section of the convoy parted company. This was mad up of the following ships; Asa Gray, Belgian Airman, Ezra Cornell, Garonne, John Clarke, Newton D. Baker and Pan-Maryland. At the same time two ship joined the convoy coming from Oran, these were the following; Chloris (British, 1171 GRT, built 1910) and George Bancroft (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

Around 1930Z/9, the destroyer USS Madison (T/Cdr. D.A. Stuart, USN) and the minesweeper USS Sustain (Lt. J.E. Lindeman, Jr., USNR) joined the convoy for jammer duty (against German radio controlled bombs).

Around 1530Z/10, the Algiers section of the convoy parted company. This was mad up of the following ships; Christopher Gale and Clausina. At the same time two ship joined the convoy coming from Algiers, these were the following; Portsea (British, 1583 GRT, 1938) and Zaanstroom (Dutch, 1646 GRT, built 1920).

At 0318Z/11, USS Tomich was detached to proceed back towards Algiers to land an urgent hospital case there. She rejoined the convoy around 2350Z/11.

Around 2030Z/11, USS Madison and USS Sustain parted company with the convoy.

At 0353Z/12, USS Ramsden parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Bizerta to land the remains of a deceased crew member.

Around 0500Z/12, HMS Colombo parted company to proceed to Bizerta.

Between 0715Z/12 and 0800Z/12, the following ships parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bizerta; Hiram S. Maxim, J.L. Luckenbach, Norrisia and Portsea. Also USS Planter and all 13 LCI(L)'s entered Bizerta as did the following escort vessels; USS McCormick, USS Sellstrom, USS Mills, USS Rhodes, USS Richey, USS Savage, USS Fowler, USS Tomich and USS Earl V. Johnson.

The following ships joined the convoy off Bizerta; Auk (British, 1338 GRT, built 1921), Black Hawk (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943) and John C. Breckinridge (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

Also a new escort joined off Bizerta, this was made up of the frigate HMS Barle (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR), HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W. Tretheway, RNR) and HMS Myosotis (T/Lt. R. Lugg, RNR).

On 13 June 1944, the Chloris arrived at Malta after having been detached from the convoy while the transport Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938) joined the convoy coming from Malta.

On 13 June 1944, the following ships departed Augusta to join the convoy; British Confidence (British (tanker), 8494 GRT, built 1936), British Tradition (British (tanker), 8443 GRT, built 1942), Califonia (American (tanker), 10398 GRT, built 1921), Dilworth (American (tanker), 7045 GRT, built 1920), Empire Lionel (British, 7030 GRT, built 1942), Empire Peak (British, 7045 GRT, built 1943), Fort Aklavik (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frontenac (British, 7148 GRT, built 1943), Malvina (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1932), Norelg (Norwegian, 6103 GRT, built 1920), Nuculana (British (tanker), 8179 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Messenger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Traveller (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Samoa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Sampan (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samphire (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samwash (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Stancleeve (British, 5970 GRT, built 1942) and Tide Water Associated (American (tanker), 8906 GRT, built 1930).

On 14 June 1944 the following ships arrived at Augusta after having parted company with the convoy; Auk, Benjamin Goodhue, Black Hawk, Cistula, Edward N. Hurley, Edward Richardson, Empire Garrick, F.A.C. Muhlenberg, Felipe de Neve, Fort George, Francis L. Lee, George B. McClenllan, George Bancroft, Haym Salomon, Isaac Sharpless, John C. Breckinridge, John B. Eaton, Joshua Seney, M.M. Guhin, Mirabeau B. Lamar, Moses Rogers, Ninella, Northia, Regent Lion, Robert Treat Paine, Steel Inventor, Sun, Thomas Pinckney, Thomas Sumter, Trondheim, Walter E. Ranger, William H. Wilmer and Zaanstroom.

On 17 June 1944, the following ships arrived at Alexandria; Empire Lionel, Fernplant, Fort Aklavik, Fort Frontenac, Ocean Messenger, Ocean Vesper, Palermo, Samglory, Samleyte, Samphire and William Harper. Also the following escort ships arrived at Alexandria; HMS Barle and HMS Bryony.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Port Said on 19 June 1944.

3 Jun 1944

Convoy GUS 42.

This convoy departed Port Said on 3 June 1944.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was made up of the following transports / tankers; Bantria (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928), Dallington Court (British, 6889 GRT, built 1929), Empire Brook (British, 2852 GRT, built 1941), Esso Charleston (American (tanker), 7949 GRT, built 1938), Fort Rouille (British, 7131 GRT, built 1943), Fort St. Joseph (British, 7151 GRT, built 1943), Francis M. Smith (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Glacier Park (Canadian, 7137 GRT, built 1943), Jose Marti (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), K.I. Luckenbach (American, 7822 GRT, built 1918), L.H. McNelly (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), Louis A. Sengteller (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Nathan Clifford (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), R.M. Williamson (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), Susan V. Luckenbach (American, 7435 GRT, built 1918), Thorshavn (Norwegian (tanker), 6869 GRT, built 1930), Vasco (British, 2878 GRT, built 1939) and Waigstill Avery (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by frigate HMS Barle (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and the corvette HMS Myosotis (T/Lt. R. Lugg, RNR).

On 4 June 1944, the transports Empire Kinsman (British, 6744 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (Norwegian, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Samfairy (British, 7255 GRT, built 1944), Samsylvan (British, 7219 grt, built 1943) and William H. Moody (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy coming from Alexandria. With these ships were also the corvettes HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR) and HMS Jonquil (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W. Tretheway, RNR).

On 8 June 1944, the following transports / tankers departed Augusta to join the convoy; Athelvictor (British (tanker), 8320 GRT, built 1941), Ben H. Miller (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Carelia (British (tanker), 8062 GRT, built 1938), Daniel H. Lownsdale (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Daniel Huger (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Elbridge Gerry (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Empire Usk (British, 3229 GRT, built 1918), F. Marion Crawford (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), George W. Campbell (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), Hannis Taylor (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Harlesden (British, 7273 GRT, built 1943), Hart Crane (American, 7207 GRT, built 1944), Henry George (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James McCosh (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James Turner (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), John Lawson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Johns Hopkins (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Joseph Hooker (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), King James (British, 5122 GRT, built 1925), Levi Woodbury (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Mary Lyon (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Ocean Pride (Britsh, 7173 GRT, built 1942), Roger Sherman (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Samsteel (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samuel Johnston (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Sun Yat-Sen (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Thomas Cresap (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Thomas Nelson Page (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and Wellington Court (British, 4979 GRT, built 1930).

On 9 June 1944, the following transports / tankers arrived at Augusta after having parted company with the convoy; Bantria, Dallington Court, Empire Brook, Esso Charleston, Pronto, Samsylvan and Vasco.

On 9 June 1944, the transports Andrew Pickens (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and Hermes (Dutch, 2739 GRT, built 1920) joined the convoy coming from Malta. Also joining for passage to Gibraltar was the submarine HMS Taurus (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN).

On 10 June 1944, the transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Bizerta; Alexander J. Dallas (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), British Respect (British (tanker), 8479 GRT, built 1943), Empire Damsel (British (tanker), 784 GRT, built 1942), G.C. Brovig (Norwegian (tanker), 9718 GRT, built 1930), J.C. Osgood (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James W. Johnson (American, 7207 GRT, built 1943), Motia (Italian, 2336 GRT, built 1918), Nueva Granada (Norwegian (tanker), 9968 GRT, built 1937), Pierre Gibault (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Robert H. Harrison (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942). Also the current escort, which arrived at Bizerta on 10 June 1944, was relieved by a new escort which was made up of the AA cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. R.F. Nichols, RN), destroyer USS MacLeish (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Winkel, USNR, with COMTASKFOR 63, T/Capt. H.T. Read, USN on board), destroyer escorts USS Eisner (Lt.Cdr. D. McVickar, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 52, T/Cdr. R.P. Walker, USN on board), USS Wingfield (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Purdy, USNR), USS Thornhill (Lt. J.B. Shumway, USNR), USS Rinehart Lt. P.W. Crouch, Jr., USN), USS Roche (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Parker, USNR), USS Jordan (Lt.Cdr. D. Bontecou, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 55, T/Cdr. C.R. Simmers, USN on board), USS Liddle (T/Cdr. R.M. Hinckley, Jr., USN), USS Cofer (Lt.Cdr. A.P. Chester, USNR), USS Kephart (Cdr. I.H. Cammarn, USNR), USS Newman (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Meyer, USNR), USS Lloyd (Lt.Cdr. P.N. Gammelgard, USNR) and the minesweeper USS Pioneer (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Rogers, Jr., USNR).

On 11 June 1944, the Empire Usk and Hermes arrived at Bizerta after having been detached from the convoy.

On 11 June 1944, the Harlesden, Motia, Samsteel and Wellington Court arrived at Bone after having parted company with the convoy.

On 11 June 1944, the transports Bialystok (Polish, 7173 GRT, built 1942), Empire Harbour (British (tanker), 797 GRT, built 1943) and Sinnington Court (British, 6910 GRT, built 1928) joined the convoy coming from Bone.

On 12 June 1944, the Empire Harbour, Ocean Pride, Thorshaven and HMS Caledon arrived at Algiers after having parted company with the convoy.

On 12 June 1944, the following transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Algiers; Cornelius Harnett (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), David Bushnell (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Edward H. Crockett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Elijah White (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Empire Emerald (British (tanker), 8032 GRT, built 1941), Empire Foam (British, 7047 GRT, built 1941), Empire Nerissa (British, 7096 GRT, built 1942), Howell E. Jackson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joseph N. Teal (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Loch Dee (British, 5252 GRT, built 1937) Malplaquet (British, 499 GRT, built 1940), Noah Webster (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Prometheus (British, 6095 GRT, built 1925), Samuel Adams (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Vacport (British (tanker), 6774 GRT, built 1930), Walter Reed (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and William Blount (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

On 13 June 1944, the following transports parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Oran Bay; Alexander J. Dallas, Empire Damsel, Hart Crane, Howell E. Jackson, John Lawson, Malplaquet, Sinnington Court and William Blount. USS Pioneer proceed to Mers-el-Kebir.

On 13 June 1944, the following transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Oran / Mers-el-Kebir; David Lubin (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Stalwart (British, 7045 GRT, built 1943), G.S. Walden (British (tanker), 10627 GRT, built 1937), John Fairfield (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John P. Holland (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Lambert Cadwalader (American, 7196 GRT, built 1942), Samfield (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samgallion (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samkansa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Walt Whitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Walter Forward (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943).

The naval tanker (escort oiler), USS Cowanesque (Cdr. L.S. McKenzie, USNR) also joined the convoy coming from Oran / Mers-el-Kebir.

On 14 June 1944, the following transports / tankers arrived at Gibraltar; Bialystok Empire Foam, Fort Rouille, Fort St. Joseph and King James. HMS Taurus also parted company with the convoy and entered Gibraltar.

On 14 June 1944, the tankers British Commodore (British (tanker), 6865 GRT, built 1923) and British Energy (British (tanker), 7209 GRT, built 1931) joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar. The following day the British Commodore developed engine trouble and was ordered to proceed to Casablanca but she returned to Gibraltar instead where she arrived on 16 June 1944.

On 15 June the transports; Cape Hawke (British, 5081 GRT, built 1941), Charles Carroll (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Empire Alliance (British (tanker), 9909 GRT, built 1943), Fort Souris (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Hopepeak (British, 5179 GRT, built 1938), John Barton Payne (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and Samderry (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944) joined the convoy coming from Casablanca which they had departed on the 14th. They were escorted to the rendezvous by the minesweeping sloops La Gracieuse, Commandant Delage and the patrol vessel L'Indiscret.

On the above ships joining the convoy the transport Loch Dee parted company to proceed to Casablanca with the French escort vessels. They arrived at Casablanca later on the 15th.

Around 1730Z/16, the Pierre Gibault developed engine trouble and parted company with the convoy. USS Eisner was detached to escort her. They rejoined the convoy around 1200Z/17.

On 18 June 1944, USS Macleish, USS Liddle, USS Jordan, USS Kephart, USS Newman, USS Lloyd and USS Cofer fuelled from USS Cowanesque.

On 19 June 1944, the transport Joseph Hewes (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942) joined coming from Horta, Azores. She was escorted to the rendezvous by the A/S trawler HMS Cape Comorin (/Lt. F.K. Turner, RNVR) which did not join the convoy.

On 23 June, USS Cowanesque refuelled USS Macleish, USS Jordan, USS Kephart, USS Lloyd, USS Cofer and USS Newman.

Around 0630Q/26, USS Cowanesque was detached to Bermuda. To escort her to Bermuda the escort destroyers USS Hodges (Lt.Cdr. V.B. Staadecker, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 74, T/Cdr. C.F. Hooper, USN on board) and USS William Seiverling (Cdr. C.F. Adams, Jr., USNR) had just made rendezvous with the convoy. They arrived at Bermuda the following morning.

Around 1710Q/27, the Glacier Park was straggling and unable to regain her station was ordered to proceed to St. John, New Brunswick.

Around 1940Q/27, the ' New York ' section of the convoy of 41 ships was detached, they were escorted by USS Macleish, USS Eisner, USS Wingfield, USS Thornhill, USS Rinehart and USS Roche.

The ' Chesapeake Bay ' section of the convoy was made up of the following ships; Ben H. Miller, Cornelius Harnett, Daniel H. Lownsdale, Daniel Huger, David Bushnell, David Lubin, Elbridge Gerry, Empire Alliance, Empire Nerissa, Empire Stalwart, Fort Souris, Francis M. Smith, G.S. Walden, Hannis Taylor, Henry George, James McCosh, James Turner, James W. Johnson, John P. Holland, Joseph Hewes, Joseph Hooker, Joseph N. Teal, Levi Woodbury, Robert H. Harrison, Samuel Adams, Samuel Johnston, Thomas Cresap, Thomas Nelson Page, Walt Whitman, Walter Reed and William H. Moody. They were escorted by USS Jordan, USS Newman, USS Liddle, USS Kephart, USS Cofer and USS Lloyd.

The ' Chesapeake Bay ' section arrived at its destination on 28 June 1944. The ' New York ' section arrived at its destination on 29 June 1944.

28 Jun 1944

Convoy MKS 54.

This convoy departed Port Said on 28 June 1944.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was made up of the transports / tankers; Adolph S. Ochs (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Algorab (Dutch, 4938 GRT, built 1921), Baron Maclay (British, 6317 GRT, built 1924), British Chemist (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1925), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Empire Noble (British, 7125 GRT, built 1944), Empire Splendour (British, 7335 GRT, built 1942), Empire Torrent (British, 7076 GRT, built 1942), Empire Tweed (British, 5452 GRT, built 1937), Empire Unicorn (British, 7067 GRT, built 1943), Fort Cumberland (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Kootenay (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Inventor (British, 6210 GRT, built 1935), Kyklades (Greek, 7157 GRT, built 1941), Norelg (Norwegian, 6103 GRT, built 1920), Sambre (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samsurf (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Stancleeve (British, 5970 GRT, built 1942), Suderholm (Norwegian (tanker), 4908 GRT, built 1917), Tarantia (British, 7268 GRT, built 1942) and Tide Water Associated (American (tanker), 8906 GRT, built 1930).

The aircraft transport HMS Athene (T/A/Cdr. C.H. Moulton, RNR) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the frigate HMS Barle (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and the corvettes HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR) and HMS Myosotis (T/Lt. R. Lugg, RNR).

On 29 June 1944, the following transports / tankers departed Alexandria to join the convoy; Empire Rosalind (British, 7290 GRT, built 1943), Fort Aklavik (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Beausejour (British, 7151 GRT, built 1943), Fort Chesterfield (British, 7100 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frontenac (British, 7148 GRT, built 1943), Fort Marin (British, 7159 GRT, built 1943), Marit Maersk (Greek (former Danish), 1894 GRT, built 1938) and Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938).

They were escorted by the corvettes HMS Jonquil (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W. Tretheway, RNR) and HMS La Malouine (Lt. W.A. Ives, RNR).

On 29 Jun 1944, the Kyklades arrived at Alexandria after having been detached from the convoy.

On 3 July 1944, the following ships departed Augusta to join the convoy; Avon Coast (British, 1036 GRT, built 1923), Boltonhall (British, 4824 GRT, built 1935), Empire Spartan (British, 7009 GRT, built 1942), George Bancroft (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Grenville M. Dodge (American, 7194 GRT, built 1942), Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), John C. Breckinridge (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Nicolaos Michalos (Greek, 4342 GRT, built 1913), Ocean Vulcan (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Odysseus (Dutch, 1057 GRT, 1922), Pan-Maryland (American (tanker), 7701 GRT, built 1938), Samnebra (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Spindletop (British, 1155 GRT, built 1943), Thomas R. Marshall (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930), William F. Cody (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and William H. Wilmer (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943).

On 4 July 1944, the following ships arrived at Augusta after having parted company with the convoy; Algorab, Baron Maclay, British Chemist, Destro, Empire Noble, Empire Rosalind, Empire Splendour, Empire Torrent, Empire Unicorn, Fort Aklavik, Fort Beausejour, Fort Chesterfield, Fort Cumberland, Fort Frontnac, Fort Marin, Marit Maersk, Norelg, Palermo, Sambre, StancleeveTide Water Associated.

On 4 July 1944, the transport Yearby (British, 5666 GRT, built 1929) and rescue tug HMRT Behest joined the convoy coming from Malta.

On 5 July 1944, the following ships arrived at Bizerta after having parted company with the convoy; Fort Kootenay, Spindletop and Suderholm while the following ships joined the convoy coming from Bizerta; Empire Harbour (British (tanker), 797 GRT, built 1943), Hopestar (British, 5267 GRT, built 1936), Meonia (Danish, 5214 GRT, built 1927), Prosper Schiaffino (French, 1634 GRT, built 1931). Also the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.T. Jellicoe, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the convoy.

On 6 July 1944, the following ships arrived at Bone after having parted company with the convoy; Empire Harbour, Nicolaos Michalos, Odysseus and Samnebra while the following ships joined the convoy coming from Bone; Baron Elgin (British, 3942 GRT, built 1933), Fylingdale (British, 3918 GRT, built 1924) and Runswick (British, 3970 GRT, built 1930).

On 6 July 1944, the Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940) joined the convoy off Philippeville.

On 7 July 1944, the following ships arrived at Algiers after having parted company with the convoy; Avon Coast, Boltonhall, Empire Spartan, Meonia, Ocean Vulcan, Pan-Maryland and Prosper Schiaffino while the following ships joined the convoy coming from Algiers; Jan (Norwegain, 1946 GRT, built 1920), Keilehaven (Dutch, 2968 GRT, built 191), Newton D. Baker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Stad Arnhem (Dutch, 3819 GRT, built 1920), Stephen F. Austin (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Vigsnes (Norwegian, 1599 GRT, built 1930).

On 8 July 1944, the following ships arrived at Oran after having parted company with the convoy; George Bancroft, Grenville M. Dodge, John C. Breckinridge, Newton D. Baker, Thomas R. Marshall, William F. Cody and William H. Wilmer while the Benjamin Tay (British, 1814 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy coming from Oran.

Around 0530B/9, HMS Colombo and HMS Athene parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead of the convoy to Gibraltar where they arrived around 2000B/9.

The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 10 July 1944. Some ships probably did not enter but immediately joined convoy MKS 54G.

22 Jan 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. V.J. Andersen, RNZNVR) and HMS Kilmarnock (T/Lt. I.H. Bargrave-Deane, RNVR). (22)

23 Jan 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. V.J. Andersen, RNZNVR) and HMS Kilmarnock (T/Lt. I.H. Bargrave-Deane, RNVR). (22)

8 Mar 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. V.J. Andersen, RNZNVR), HMS Hyderabad (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.P. Hughes, DSC, RNR) and aircraft. (23)

12 Mar 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. V.J. Andersen, RNZNVR), HMS Kilmarnock (T/Lt. I.H. Bargrave-Deane, RNVR) and aircraft. (23)

23 Mar 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. V.J. Andersen, RNZNVR) and HMS Bergamot (A/Lt.Cdr. W. McInnes, RNR). (23)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16308
  2. ADM 199/1136
  3. ADM 199/392
  4. ADM 53/112537 + ADM 199/379
  5. ADM 53/114488 + ADM 199/409
  6. ADM 199/1810
  7. File 2.12.03.6438 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  8. ADM 199/831
  9. ADM 173/18711
  10. ADM 173/17434
  11. ADM 234/353
  12. ADM 173/17460
  13. ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
  14. ADM 173/17383
  15. ADM 173/17420
  16. ADM 173/17778
  17. ADM 173/17812
  18. ADM 173/17827
  19. ADM 173/17772
  20. ADM 173/17796
  21. ADM 199/585 + ADM 199/975 + ADM 199/2101
  22. ADM 173/20229
  23. ADM 173/20231

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


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