Allied Warships

HMS Verbena (K 85)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 85 
Built bySmiths Dock Co., Ltd. (South Bank-on-Tees, U.K.) 
Ordered31 Aug 1939 
Laid down29 Jun 1940 
Launched1 Oct 1940 
Commissioned19 Dec 1940 
End service 
History

HMS Verbena is not listed as active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Sold on 17 May 1947.
Scrapped at Blyth on 1 October 1951.

 

Commands listed for HMS Verbena (K 85)

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. Denys Arthur Rayner, DSC, RNVR14 Nov 1940Sep 1942
2Lt. James Robert Freeman, RNROct 194214 Jul 1943
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. Harry Gordon George Greatorex Riches, RNVR14 Jul 194319 Jan 1944
4Lt. John Dudley Edward Lewis, RNR19 Jan 1944Mar 1945
5Lt. James Johnson, DSC, RNRMar 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Verbena include:


31 Dec 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR) or HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR). (1)

15 Jan 1941

Convoy HX 103.

This convoy departed Halifax on 15 January 1941 for Liverpool where it arrived on 1 February 1941.

Upon departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant ships: Botusk (British, 3091 GRT, built 1919), Emmaplein (Dutch, 5436 GRT, built 1926), Gandia (Belgian, 9629 GRT, built 1907), Gard (Norwegian (tanker), 8259 GRT, built 1938), Jean Jadot (Belgian, 5859 GRT, built 1929), King William (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928) and Trehata (British, 4817 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN), the destroyer HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN) and the corvette HMCS Arrowhead (T/Lt. V.H. Torraville, RCNR).

The destroyer and the corvette parted company with the convoy on the 16th and returned to Halifax.

On 18 January convoy BHX 103 coming from Bermuda merged with convoy HX 103. Convoy BHX 103 had been made up of the merchant vessels Athelfoam (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1931), Dolabella (British (tanker), 8142 GRT, built 1939), Empire Shearwater (British, 4970 GRT, built 1920), Mamura (Dutch (tanker), 8245 GRT, built 1932) and Mijdrecht (Dutch (tanker), 7493 GRT, built 1931). It had departed Bermuda on 13 January 1941 and had been escorted to the rendez-vous position by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Montclare (Capt.(Retd.) H.M. Spreckley, RN) which was then detached.

The battleship parted company with the convoy on 26 January and then returned to Halifax.

On 27 January 1941 the destroyer HMS Vanquisher (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN) and corvettes HMS Gentian (Lt.Cdr. R.O. Yeomans, RD, RNR) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) joined the convoy but they were detached later the same day. On 28 January 1941 the destroyers HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) joined the convoy. They were detached on 31 January 1941.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 1 February 1941, apparently unescorted.

Two merchant vessels were lost when the convoy ran into the British minefield SN 2 (north-west of Rona Island, in approximate position 59°08'N, 05°52'W) on 31 January 1941. These were the Botusk and Emmaplein.

11 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.G. Rankin, RNR). (2)

15 Mar 1941

Convoy HG 56.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 Mar 1941

Convoy HG 57.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 25 March 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 11 April 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aghios Spyridon (Greek, 3338 GRT, built 1905), Aldergrove (British, 1974 GRT, built 1918), Anneberg (Finnish, 2537 GRT, built 1902), Ardeola (British, 2609 GRT, built 1912), Baltallinn (British, 1303 GRT, built 1920), Baron Newlands (British, 3386 GRT, built 1928), Bollsta (Norwegian, 1832 GRT, built 1934), Caledonia (British, 1268 GRT, built 1913), Cantal (British, 3178 GRT, built 1916), Cervantes (British, 1810 GRT, built 1916), Chantilly (British, 9986 GRT, built 1923), Egyptian (British, 2868 GRT, built 1920), Empire Strait (British, 2841 GRT, built 1940), Gothland (British, 1286 GRT, built 1932), Marvia (British, 1989 GRT, built 1914), Mimosa (Greek, 3071 GRT, built 1905), Moscha D. Kydoniefs (British, 3874 GRT, built 1915), Newton Pine (British, 4212 GRT, built 1925), Octane (British, 2034 GRT, built 1939), Polo (British, 1950 GRT, built 1919), Runa (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930), Scania (Swedish, 1980 GRT, built 1901), Scottish Monarch (British, 4719 GRT, built 1938) and Trio (Swedish, 1482 GRT, built 1922).

The rescue ship Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), sloop HMS Rochester (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Allen, RN), corvettes HMS La Malouine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR)and the submarine HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN).

The Aghios Spyridon returned to Gibraltar the same day the convoy had sailed.

On 27 March, HMS Wrestler was detached.

On 3 April, HrMs O 23 was detached and the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN joined.

At 0920Z/4, HMS La Malouine was detached.

At 0845Z/5, the armed boarding vessel Hilary (Cdr. T.L. Owen, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

At 1930Z/5, the armed boaring vessel Cavina (Cdr. C.B. Osborne, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

On 8 April the destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN), HMS Douglas (Cdr. W.E. Banks, DSC, RN), HMS Roxborough (Lt. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. H.M.R. Crichton, RN), corvettes HMS Abelia (T/Lt. F. Ardern, RNR), HMS Clarkia (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Jones, RNR) and auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS St. Elstan (T/Lt. G. Butcher, RNVR), HMS St. Kenan (T/Lt. R.R. Simpson, RNR), HMS St. Zeno (T/Lt. J.K. Craig, RNVR) and HMS Vizalma (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR).

HMS Nigeria parted company with the convoy around 1900A/9.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 11 April 1941.

24 Apr 1941
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR). (3)

30 Apr 1941

Convoy HX 124.

This convoy departed Halifax on 30 April 1941 for Liverpool where it arrived on 20 May 1941.

Upon departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant ships: Aalsum (Dutch, 5418 GRT, built 1922), Alchiba (British, 4427 GRT, built 1920), Algenib (British, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Asbjorn (British, 4387 GRT, built 1935), Athelviscount (British (tanker), 8882 GRT, built 1929), Atlantian (British, 6549 GRT, built 1928), Auditor (British, 5444 GRT, built 1924), Baron Ogilvy (British, 3391 GRT, built 1926), Barrington Court (British, 4910 GRT, built 1924), Beaconstreet (British (tanker), 7467 GRT, built 1927), Botavon (British, 5848 GRT, built 1912), British Faith (British (tanker), 6955 GRT, built 1928), British Fortune (British (tanker), 4696 GRT, built 1930), British Industry (British (tanker), 4297 GRT, built 1927), British Resolution (British (tanker), 8408 GRT, built 1937), Charlton Hall (British, 5200 GRT, built 1940), Daytonian (British, 6434 GRT, built 1922), Delphinula (British (tanker), 8120 GRT, built 1939), Echodale (British (tanker), 8150 GRT, built 1941), Empire Hawk (British, 5033 GRT, built 1919), Empire Steel (British (tanker), 8138 GRT, built 1941), Gitano (British, 3956 GRT, built 1921), Harmala (British, 5730 GRT, built 1935), King Lud (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Korsholm (Swedish, 2647 GRT, built 1925), Madrono (Norwegian (tanker), 5894 GRT, built 1917), Morska Wola (Polish, 3208 GRT, built 1924), Pacific Enterprise (British, 6736 GRT, built 1927), Pomella (British (tanker), 6766 GRT, built 1937), Queen City (British, 4814 GRT, built 1924), Redgate (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Souliotis (Greek, 4299 GRT, built 1917), Varand (British (tanker), 6023 GRT, built 1927), Vera Radcliffe (British, 5587 GRT, built 1925), Vivi (Norwegian (tanker), 6546 GRT, built 1932) and Wearwood (British, 4597 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Circassia (A/Capt. E.V. Lees, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.B. Campbell, RCNR) and HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR). The corvettes were detached later the same day.

On 2 May the convoy was joined by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN). She detached from the convoy on 9 May.

On 11 May the destroyer HMS Broadway (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, RN) and corvettes HMS Aubretia (Lt.Cdr. V.F. Smith, RNR), HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Nigella (T/Lt. T.W. Coyne, RNR) joined the convoy

On 12 May the destroyers HMS Burwell (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), HMS Malcolm (Cdr. C.D. Howard-Johnston, DSC, RN), HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN), corvettes HMS Heliotrope (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR), HMS Mallow (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Piggott, RNR), HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR), and A/S trawlers HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RNR), HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR), HMS Notts County (T/S.Lt. R.H. Hampton, RNR) and HMS Vizalma (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR) joined the convoy.

On 14 May the corvettes HMS Anemone (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Boys-Smith, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Clarkia (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Jones, RNR), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Veronica (Lt.Cdr. (retired) D.F. White, RNR) joined the convoy.

The destroyers HMS Burwell, HMS Scimitar, HMS Malcolm, corvettes HMS Aubretia, HMS Heliotrope, HMS Hollyhock, HMS Mallow, HMS Nigella, HMS Vervena, HMS Veronica and all the A/S trawlers were detached on 14 May.

HMS Circassia and HMS Watchman were detached on 15 May while on the same day the destroyers HMS Burnham (Cdr. J. Bostock, DSC, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. H.M.R. Crichton, RN), escort destroyer HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN), minesweepers HMS Hussar ( Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, RN), HMS Niger ( Lt.Cdr. J.M. Bayley, DSC, RN), and catapult ship Ariguani joined the escort.

On 18 May the destroyer HMS Roxborough (Lt. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) joined the convoy. Also on this day HMS Leamington and HMS Anemone were detached.

On 19 May the destroyer Saladin joined the escort.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 20 May.

27 Jul 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. B.G. Heslop, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN). (4)

26 Oct 1941

Convoy OS 10.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 26 October 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aldermarin (Dutch, 7886 GRT, built 1920), Anglo Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Bennekom (Dutch, 5998 GRT, built 1917), Berwickshire (British, 7464 GRT, built 1912), Blommersdijk (British, 6855 GRT, built 1922), Clan Alpine (British, 5442 GRT, built 1918), Clan Chattan (British, 7262 GRT, built 1937), Custodian (British, 5881 GRT, built 1928), Derrymore (British, 4799 GRT, built 1938), Dundrum Castle (British, 5259 GRT, built 1919), Dunelmia (British, 5207 GRT, built 1929), Egyptian (British, 2868 GRT, built 1920), Elysia (British, 6757 GRT, built 1908), Empire Moonbeam (British, 6849 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ortolan (British, 4970 GRT, built 1919), Fana (Norwegian, 1375 GRT, built 1939), Gleniffer (British, 9559 GRT, built 1919), Halizones (British, 3298 GRT, built 1920), Henri Jaspar (Belgian, 5760 GRT, built 1929), Holmpark (British, 5780 GRT, built 1927), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Lagosian (British, 5412 GRT, built 1930), Lindenhall (British, 5248 GRT, built 1937), Lulworth Hill (British, 7628 GRT, built 1940), Mariso (British, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Marklyn (British, 3090 GRT, built 1918), Marsa (British, 4405 GRT, built 1928), Mary Kingsley (British, 5021 GRT, built 1930), New Brooklyn (British, 6546 GRT, built 1920), Rio Verde (Norwegian, 3223 GRT, built 1924), San Andres (Norwegian, 1975 GRT, built 1921), Silverteak (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Somerville (Norwegian, 4265 GRT, built 1929), Starstone (British, 5702 GRT, built 1938), Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940), Trefusis (British, 5299 GRT, built 1918) and Twickenham (British, 4762 GRT, built 1940).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Bideford (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Moore, RNR), cutters HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN), HMS Landguard (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, RN), HMS Lulworth (Lt.Cdr. C. Gwinner, RN) and the corvettes HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR).

On 4 November 1941, HMS Verbena was detached.

On 13 November 1941, the destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and the corvettes HMS Burdock (T/Lt. H.J. Fellows, SANF(V)), HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR) and HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) and the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917) joined the convoy.

On 14 November 1941, HMS Bideford, cutters HMS Culver, HMS Landguard, HMS Lulworth, corvettes Freesia and the Rapidol were detached.

During 14/15 November 1941, cover for the convoy was provided by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN).

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 18 November 1941.

28 Nov 1941

Convoy WS 12Z.

[Part from the Freetown to Durban.]

This convoy departed Freetown on 28 November 1941 and arrived at Durban on 18 December 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Abbekerk (Dutch, 7906 GRT, built 1939), Adrastus (British, 7905 GRT, built 1923), Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (British, 7516 GRT, built 1930), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empire Star (British, 13479 GRT, built 1935), Empress of Asia (British, 16909 GRT, built 1913), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Narkunda (British, 16632 GRT, built 1920), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Rimutaka (British, 16576 GRT, built 1923) and Sussex (British, 11062 GRT, built 1937).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN) and HMS Southwold (Cdr. C.T. Jellicoe, DSC, RN), sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) and the corvettes HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR).

The convoy was to proceed to Durban via Porte Noire.

In the afternoon of 2 December 1941, HMS Royal Sovereign, HMS Dulverton and HMS Southwold left the convoy to proceed ahead to Porte Noire where they arrived in the morning of 5 December and then took on board fuel. They departed again in the evening to rejoin the convoy which they did at 0600/6.

HMS Falmouth, HMS Hollyhock and HMS Verbena then proceeded to Porte Noire to fuel. They rejoined the convoy at 0630/7.

At 0700/14, while in approximate position 36°00'S, 17°00'E, HMS Dulverton and HMS Southwold detached to refuel at Simonstown. At 1400/15, while in approximate position 37°00'S, 23°00'E, the convoy was joined by the corvettes HMS Aster (Lt. W.L. Smith, RNR) and HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR) from Simonstown. Half an hour later HMS Hollyhock and HMS Verbena were then detached to Simonstown.

At 0001/18 HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Milford were detached and proceeded ahead of the convoy to Durban where they arrived at 0600 hours the same day.

The remainder of the convoy arrived later the same day.

9 Dec 1941

Convoy WS 14.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 9 December 1941.

On forming up the convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Abosso (British, 11330 GRT, built 1935), Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), City of Pretoria (British, 8049 GRT, built 1937), Clan Cameron (British, 7243 GRT, built 1937), Duchess of Atholl (British, 20119 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empire Condor (British, 7773 GRT, built 1940), Empire Curlew (British, 7101 GRT, built 1941), Empire Egret (British, 7169 GRT, built 1939), Empire Oriole (British, 6535 GRT, built 1941), Empire Peregrine (British, 6440 GRT, built 1941), Empire Pintail (British, 7773 GRT, built 1940), Empire Widgeon (British, 6737 GRT, built 1940), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Esperance Bay (British, 14204 GRT, built 1921), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orestes (British, 7748 GRT, built 1926), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920), Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938), Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921) and Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

The aircraft transport HMS Engadine (Cdr. W.T. Fitzgerald, RD, RNR) was also part of the convoy.

On forming up the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Cilicia, AA ship HMS Ulster Queen (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO, RAN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN), HMS Newark (Lt.Cdr. R.H.W. Atkins, RN), HMS Sherwood (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, DSO, RN).

In the afternoon of the 11th, HMS Newark parted company with the convoy due to damaged fuel tanks.

Bad weather was experienced on the 11th, and late in the evening, the Empire Oriole had to heave to in order to secure tanks that were carried as deck cargo. She did not rejoin the convoy and proceeded independently to Freetown arriving there on 23 December.

At 0415N/12, HMS Ulster Queen parted company with the convoy in approximate position 49°08'N, 19°08'W.

Later that morning, HMS Lancaster parted company with the convoy in approximate position 47°50'N, 20°42'W.

Around midnight during the night of 12/13 December, Westcott, HMS Witherington, HMS Beverley, HMS Newark and HMS Sherwood parted company with the convoy in approximate position 41°46'N, 22°51'W.

Around 0940Z/13, the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Holmes, RN) and HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 44°00'N, 22°16'W coming from Milford Haven (HMS Gurkha came from Plymouth).

At the time of joining HMAS Nestor, HMS Foxhound, HMS Badsworth, HMS Beaufort and HMS Croome were supposed to be with the convoy but they had lost touch with the convoy in the heavy weather conditions. All were in touch trough V/S except for HMS Croome. HMAS Nestor, HMS Foxhound and HMS Gurkha were then ordered to proceed to Gibraltar. HMS Croome was ordered to join them the next day. Vanquisher, Volunteer, Witch, HMS Badsworth and HMS Beaufort remained with the convoy.

At 1800Z/13, in approximate position 42°38'N, 22°40'W HMS Badsworth and HMS Beaufort were detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Also on 13 December (around 0500 hours) the Scythia left the convoy due to ' not being under control '. She did not rejoin the convoy and arrived independently at Freetown on 23 December.

At 2200Z/14, in approximate position, 36°07'N, 23°24'W, HMS Vanquisher was detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores. She was detached earlier then intended due to condenser trouble.

At 0400Z/15, in approximate position 35°02'N, 23°23'W, HMS Volunteer and HMS Witch were detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

At 1030Z/15, HMS Badsworth and HMS Beaufort rejoined the convoy in approximate position 34°03'N, 23°24'W.

At 0930Z/18, the destroyer HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 18°50'N, 21°52'W.

At 0910Z/19, the destroyers HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 14°30'N, 19°17'W.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 21 December 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 25 December 1941 for South Africa.

The convoy sailed with the same ships as with it had arrived except for HMS Engadine

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies, destroyers HMS Brilliant, HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN), escort destroyers HMS Beaufort, HMS Hurworth and the sloop HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr.(Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN).

At 1100Z/26, HMS Vimy developed engine trouble and fell behind. She rejoined the convoy at 0600Z/27.

At 1800Z/26, in approximate position 03°02'N, 12°25'W, HMS Brilliant parted company with the convoy, taking the troopship Abosso with her. They were to proceed to Takoradi.

At 0400Z/27, the Orestes fell out of line with engine trouble. As by noon she was not in sight HMS Vimy was ordered to search for her. She reported at 1800Z/27 that she had found the Orestes which was now able to proceed at 14 knots. HMS Vimy was then ordered to return to Freetown. The Orestes then proceeded to Capetown unescorted.

At 1900Z/27, HMS Bridgewater was detached to proceed ahead to fuel from the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917).

At 0600Z/29, HMS Beaufort was detached to fuel from the Rapidol.

At 1100Z/30, HMS Hurworth was detached to fuel from the Rapidol but she could not find the tanker and rejoined the convoy at 1930Z/29. Fortunately the tanker was then sighted on the convoy's beam and she was able to fuel after all. On completion of fuelling she started a search for an unidentified ship that had been sighted earlier by the Rapidol.

At 1320/30, HMS Beaufort rejoined the convoy.

At 1700/30, HMS Bridgewater rejoined the convoy.

At 1845A/31, HMS Hurworth rejoined the convoy. The ship reported by the Rapidol had not been sighted.

At 0100Z/3, the Andes was detached to proceed ahead of the convoy to Capetown where politicians were to be landed. She later joined the Durban section of the convoy.

In the morning of the 4th, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Derbyshire (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, DSO, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 31°45'S, 14°00'E.

At 1600Z/4, in approximate position, 33°12'S, 15°45'E, HMS Derbyshire parted company with the convoy taking the Durban section of the convoy with her. The Durban section was made up of the Andes, Athlone Castle, Cameronia, Duchess of Atholl, Durban Castle, Esperance Bay, Highland Princess, Oronsay, Reina del Pacifico, Scythia and Strathallan.

The Capetown section of the convoy, made up of the City of Pretoria, Clan Cameron, Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Egret, Empire Oriole, Empire Peregrine, Empire Pintail, Empire Widgeon, Empress of Australia, Highland Monarch, Orcades, Troilus and Warwick Castle arrived at Capetown early in the morning escorted by HMS Ramillies, HMS Beaufort and HMS Hurworth. The escort destroyers then proceeded to Simonstown. The Orestes arrived later in the morning.

The Durban section was joined in the morning of the 6th by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H.W.V. Stephenson, RN) in approximate position 35°18'S, 23°32'E.

In the morning of the 8th the convoy arrived at Durban in three sections in order to avoid congestion in the swept channel. Each of the escorts, HMS Ceres, HMS Bridgewater and HMS Derbyshire took one section under their orders.

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On 9 January 1942, the Capetown section, made up of the City of Pretoria, Clan Cameron, Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Egret, Empire Oriole, Empire Peregrine, Empire Pintail, Empire Widgeon, Empress of Australia, Highland Monarch, Orcades, Troilus and Warwick Castle. An additional transport, the Malancha (British, 8124 GRT, built 1937), joined the convoy.

The Orestes was also to have joined the convoy but she was delayed, probably due to repairs, and she sailed later with orders to overtake the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies and the corvettes HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR).

In the early morning of the 10th both corvettes parted company to return to Capetown.

On the 13th the convoy was joined by the Durban section made up of the transports City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Duchess of Atholl, Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937), Esperance Bay, Nova Scotia (British, 6796 GRT, built 1926) and Thysville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) J.P. Landon, RN).

Also the Orestes caught up with the convoy off Durban and joined.

The Orcades of the Capetown section parted company with the convoy and entered Durban.

The Duchess of Athol soon developed engine trouble and returned to Durban. Her troops were transferred to the Andes and this ship then departed Durban on 14 January 1942, escorted by HMS Ceres to overtake the convoy which Andes did early on the 16th. HMS Ceres then set course to return to Durban where she arrived on the 18th.

Early on the 19th, rendezvous was made with the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) which then took the ships of Singapore with her forming convoy DM 2. These were the City of Canterbury, City of Pretoria, Dunera, Empress of Australia, Malancha, Troilus and Warwick Castle. They then set course for Port T (Addu Atoll).

At 1000C/20, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) which had the transports Mendoza (British (former French), 8233 GRT, built 1919) and Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937) with her. HMS Ramillies then parted company and proceeded to Mombasa arriving there on 21 January 1942.

The convoy then split into two more sections; convoy WS 14A was to proceed to the Gulf of Aden where it was to disperse. It was made up of the Empire Egret, Empire Oriole, Empire Pintail, Highland Morarch, Mendoza, Orestes and Salween. HMS Colombo was escorting these ships. The convoy was dispersed on 26 January 1942 in the Gulf of Aden. The Thysville proceeded independently to Aden as she had straddled from the convoy not long after it had departed Durban due to bad coal having been supplied.

HMS Corfu took the remainder of the ships with her towards Bombay. This convoy was then known as convoy WS 14B and was made up of the Andes, Clan Cameron, Dilwara, Empire Condor, Empire Curlew, Empire Peregrine, Empire Widgeon, Esperance Bay and Nova Scotia.

At 1930E/25, the Clan Cameron, Empire Curlew, Empire Peregrine, Empire Widgeon parted company with the convoy to proceed to Basra independently.

The remainder of Convoy WS 14B arrived at Bombay on 28 January 1942. (5)

15 Mar 1943
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN) conducted exercises off Colombo with HMS Overdale Wyke and HMS Verbena (Lt. J.R. Freeman, RNR). (6)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6366 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 173/16780
  3. File 2.12.03.6376 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 173/16741
  5. ADM 199/1138
  6. File 2.12.03.6427 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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


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