Allied Warships

HMS Berkeley Castle (K 387)

Corvette of the Castle class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassCastle 
PennantK 387 
Built byBarclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered2 Feb 1943 
Laid down23 Mar 1943 
Launched19 Aug 1943 
Commissioned18 Nov 1943 
End service 
History

In reserve at Harwich during 1947-1948.
Completed a refit at London for the Harwich Reserve on 27 August 1949.
Badly damaged when she capsized whilst in dock at Sheerness during the East Coast floods during February 1953, later refloated.
In reserve at Sheerness during 1953-1956.
Arrived at Grays, Essex on 29 February 1956 to be broken up by T.W. Ward Ltd.

 

Commands listed for HMS Berkeley Castle (K 387)

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
1T/Lt. Frank Arnold Darrah, RNVR1 Sep 194311 Sep 1944
2Cdr. Norman Winder Duck, DSC, RD, RNR11 Sep 19448 Mar 1945
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. Arthur Charles Palmer, DSC, RNR8 Mar 194511 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Berkeley Castle include:


7 Jan 1944
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. A. van Altena, RNN(R)) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Ettrick (T/A/Lt.Cdr. N.J.T. Monsarrat, RNVR), HMCS Galt (T/Lt. A.M. Kirkpatrick, RCNVR), HMS Kenilworth Castle (Lt. J.J.Allon, RNR), HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). (1)

8 Jan 1944
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). (2)

20 Jan 1944
In company with HMS Carisbrooke Castle en route to Newfoundland. The latter broke down and was towed for several days by Berkeley Castle and arrived off Argentia in bad weather. Authorities stated that conditions too bad for the ships to enter harbour or for the tug to operate. However the Commanding Officer of Berkeley Castle would have none of it and successfully towed Carisbrooke Castle into harbour and to her berth. (3)

1 Feb 1944
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR) and HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. G.H.D. Williams, RN). (4)

5 Feb 1944

Convoy HX 278.

This convoy departed New York on 5 February 1944.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; A Frank Lever (American, 7198 GRT, built 1943), Alan-A-Dale (Panamanian, 4646 GRT, built 1938), Andrea Gritti (Italian, 6404 GRT, built 1943), Andrew A. Humphreys (American, 7218 GRT, built 1943), Athelduke (British (tanker), 8966 GRT, built 1929), Avristan (British, 7266 GRT, built 1942), Belgian Gulf (Panamanian (tanker), 8237 GRT, 1929), Brimanger (Norwegian, 4883 GRT, built 1929), Cornwall (British, 10605 GRT, built 1920), Cymbula (British (tanker), 8082 GRT, built 1938), Edward D. White (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), El Oceano (Panamanian, 6767 GRT, built 1925), Empire Strength (British, 7355 GRT, built 1942), Fernwood (Norwegian, 4695 GRT, built 1930), Fjordass (Norwegian (tanker), 7361 GRT, built 1931), Florence Crittenton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Fort St.Croix (British, 7160 GRT, built 1943), George G. Crawford (American, 7198 GRT, built 1944), George T. Angell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Grant Wood (American, 7240 GRT, built 1943), Harvey Cushing (American, 7240 GRT, built 1943), Henry S. Lane (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Henry Watterson (American, 7225 GRT, built 1943), Irwin Russell (American, 7218 GRT, built 1943), James J. Maguire (British (tanker), 10525 GRT, built 1939), John Davenport (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Merrick (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John N. Maffitt (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joseph Jefferson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Julius Rosenwald (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Longwood (British (tanker), 9463 GRT, built 1930), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Mobile City (American, 6157 GRT, built 1920), Omar E. Chapman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Orari (British, 10350 GRT, built 1931), Ovula (Dutch (tanker), 6256 GRT, built 1938), Robert Toombs (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Samuel Colt (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), San Vito (British (tanker), 8163 GRT, built 1943), Socony-Vacuum (American (tanker), 9511 GRT, built 1935), Sovac (British (tanker), 6724 GRT, 1938), Trojan Star (British, 9037 GRT, built 1936), Vacport (British (tanker), 6774 GRT, built 1930), W.R. Keever (American, 5350 GRT, built 1920), William McKinley (American, 7200 GRT, built 1920) and William Pepperell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from New York the convoy was escorted by the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.A. Judges, RCNVR), HMCS Timmins (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.S. Maxwell, RCNVR), HMCS Trail (T/Lt. G.M. Hope, RCNVR) and the minesweeper HMCS Winnipeg (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.D.F. Johnston, RCNR).

On 7 February 1944, the following merchant vessels departed Halifax to join the convoy; Ariguani (British, 6746 GRT, built 1926), Bayano (British, 6815 GRT, built 1917), Benjamin H. Grierson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Cairnesk (British, 5007 GRT, built 1926), David F. Houston (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Edward Everett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Egbert Benson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Empire MacMahon (British (tanker and MAC ship), 8856 GRT, built 1943), Fort Amherst (British, 3489 GRT, built 1936), Henry George (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James I. McKay (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Jeremiah O'Brien (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Chandler (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John G. Whittier (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Montgemery City (American, 5686 GRT, built 1920), Stephen B. Elkins (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), Victor Herbert (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and Walter A. Luckenbach (American, 6024 GRT, built 1918).

The rescue ship Fastnet (British, 1415 GRT, built 1928) was also part of this group.

They were escorted by the corvettes HMCS Arrowhead (Skr.Lt. L.A. Hickey, RCNR), HMCS Port Arthur (T/Lt.Cdr. E.T. Simmons, DSO, DSC, RCNVR) and the minesweeper HMCS Sault Ste Marie (Lt.Cdr. R. Jackson, RCNVR). HMCS Arrowhead however returned the following day.

On these merchant ships joining the convoy the Harvey Cushing and Socony-Vacuum were detached to Halifax escorted by HMCS Port Arthur and HMCS Sault Ste Marie. They all arrived around Halifax on 9 February 1944.

Also on 9 February 1944, the Vacport arrived back at New York after having been forced to return.

On 10 February 1944, the original escort was replaced by a new escort made up of the frigates HMS Mourne (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Holland, RD, RNR), corvettes HMS Clematis (T/Lt. R.H. Farrands, DSC, RNR), HMS Gentian (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.W.C. Dempster, RNVR), HMS Heather (T/Lt. W.L. Turner, RNR) and the minesweeper HMS Tattoo (T/Lt. A. Twiss, RNVR). The came from Argentia and St. Johns which they had departed between 7 and 9 February 1944.

On 11 February 1944, the Fort Amherst arrived at St. Johns after having been detached from the convoy. She was escorted by HMS Cobalt and HMCS Winnipeg.

On 13 February 1944, the Cairnesk arrived at St. Johns with defects after having been detached from the convoy. She was escorted by HMS Timmins and HMCS Trail.

On 14 February 1944, the corvette HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR) joined the convoy after having departed St. Johns on 11 February 1944.

On 14 February 1944, ships from the 2nd Escort Group joined the convoy, these were the sloops HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN), HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and HMS Wren (Cdr.(Retd.) L.B.A. Majendie, RN). They remained with the convoy until 17 February 1944.

On 15 February 1944, the escort carriers HMS Striker (Capt. F.M. Walton, RN), HMS Fencer (A/Capt. W.W.R. Bentinck, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

On 16 February 1944, ships from the 7th Escort Group joined the convoy, these were the sloops HMS Woodcock (Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, DSO, RN), HMS Whimbrel (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Moore, DSC, RNR), HMS Hart (Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Crane (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Jenkins, RN) and from the 10th Escort Group joined the convoy, these were the frigates HMS Spey (Cdr. G.A.G. Ormsby, RN), HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR), HMS Lossie (Lt.Cdr. A.F. MacFie, OBE, RNR), HMS Rother (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Wear (Lt.Cdr. Gerald MacClelland, DSC, RN). Both the 7th and 10th Escort Group parted company with the convoy on 17 February 1944.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 19 February 1944.

3 Mar 1944
HMS Terrapin (Lt.Cdr. D.S.R. Martin, DSO and 2 bars, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with with the 21st Escort Group and later only with HMS Exe (Cdr. C.E.E. Paterson, RN) and HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). (5)

4 Mar 1944

Combined convoy OS 70 / KMS 44.

This combined convoy was assembled off Oversay on 4 March 1944.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Angelo (British, 2199 GRT, built 1940), Archangelos (Greek, 5692 GRT, built 1918), Baron Forbes (British, 3061 GRT, built 1915), Baron Maclay (British, 6317 GRT, built 1924), Baron Stranraer (British, 3668 GRT, built 1929), Bruse Jarl (Norwegian, 1890 GRT, built 1923), Cap Cantin (British (former French), 3317 GRT, built 1933), Carslogie (British, 3786 GRT, built 1924), Empire Nile (British, 6318 GRT, built 1921), Empire Rosalind (British, 7290 GRT, built 1943), Empire Spartan (British, 7009 GRT, built 1942), Empire Spey (British, 4292 GRT, built 1929), Eurybates (British, 6276 GRT, built 1928), Fort Aklavik (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Gaspereau (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Liard (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Marin (British, 7159 GRT, built 1943), Fort Nakasley (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Richelieu (British, 7130 GRT, built 1943), Groix (British, 9975 GRT, built 1922), Helencrest (British, 5233 GRT, built 1941), Hermiston (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Hopestar (British, 5267 GRT, built 1936), Isipingo (British, 7069 GRT, built 1930), Janeta (British, 4312 GRT, built 1929), Jenny (Norwegian, 4706 GRT, built 1928), Kana (British, 2783 GRT, built 1929), Langleetarn (British, 4908 GRT, built 1929), Leonidas (Greek, 4573 GRT, built 1929), Lorca (British, 4875 GRT, built 1931), Matheran (British, 8007 GRT, built 1942), Monkleigh (British, 5203 GRT, built 1927), Nanceen (French, 2895 GRT, built 1929), Nurani (British, 5414 GRT, built 1941), Porjus (Swedish, 2965 GRT, built 1906), Radmanso (Swedish, 4280 GRT, built 1914), Radport (British, 5355 GRT, built 1925), Redgate (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Samoa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Slesvig (British, 3098 GRT, built 1938), Stal (British (former Danish), 2242 GRT, built 1921), Stanhope (British, 2337 GRT, built 1919), Thomas Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929), Topdalsfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921), Urbino (British, 5198 GRT, built 1918), Ville de Strasbourg (British, (former French), 7007 GRT, built 1920) and Wayfarer (British, 5068 GRT, built 1925).

The rescue ship Fastnet (British, 1415 GRT, built 1928) was also with the convoy.

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN), frigates HMS Exe (Cdr. C.E.E. Paterson, RN), HMS Moyola (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lawson, RD, RNR), HMS Foley (A/Lt.Cdr. C.A.H. Bird, RNVR), corvettes HMS Armeria (T/Lt. M. Todd, RNR), HMS Burdock (Lt. H.M. Collier, RNR), HMS Clarkia (A/Lt.Cdr. J.O. Williams, RNR), HMS Dittany (T/Lt. S.W. Lock, RNVR), HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR) and the A/S trawler HMS Fusilier (T/Lt. F.M. Phillips, RNVR).

The following merchant vessels of the convoy returned to the U.K. after sailing; Angelo, Hopestar and Stal.

On 10 March 1944, the frigate HMS Foley parted company with the convoy to join the northbound combined convoy SL 150 / MKS 41 while the escort oiler San Tirso (British (tanker), 6266 GRT, built 1913) joined coming from this convoy.

On 16 March 1944, the convoy split into convoy OS 70 bound for Freetown and convoy KMS 44 bound for the Mediterranean.

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Convoy OS 70 was made up of the merchant vessels; Baron Stranraer, Cap Cantin, Fort Liard, Groix, Isipingo, Jenny, Porjus, Thomas Holt and Ville de Strasbourg.

On 15 March 1944, the merchant vessels Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch, 7086 GRT, built 1942), Empire Nerissa (British, 7086 GRT, built 1943), Fort Nashwaak (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Norman (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Govert Flinck (Dutch, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Langleebrook (British, 4246 GRT, built 1930), Romney (British, 5840 GRT, built 1929) and Vernon L. Kellogg (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) departed Gibraltar escorted by the sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN), frigate HMS Ness (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.H. Marchington, MBE, RNVR) and the corvette HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR). These ships joined the combined convoy when it split.

On 16 March 1944, the following transports departed Casablanca to join the convoy; Empire Cabot (British, 6715 GRT, built 1941), Finistere (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909), Fort Fairford (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Isaac Coles (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Parkhaven (Dutch, 4803 GRT, built 1920) and Tilsington Court (British, 6910 GRT, built 1928). They were escorted by the minesweeping sloops Chevreul, Gazelle and the patrol vessels USS PC-475 (Lt. W.W. Devine, Jr., USNR) and USS PC-480 (Lt.(jg) J.K. Miller, USNR).

On these ships joining on the 17th, the transports Empire Nerissa, Fort Liard, Langleebrook, Porjus and Romney were detached to Casablanca where they arrived later on the 17th. They were escorted by the two American patrol vessels as the two French minesweeping sloops had joined the convoy.

On 22 March 1944, the transports Finistere, Isaac Coles and Vernon L. Kellogg arrived at Dakar after having been detached from the convoy while the transport Hoggar (French, 5146 GRT, built 1923) joined the convoy coming from Dakar. The two French minesweeping sloops also proceeded to Dakar.

On 23 March 1944, the transports Cap Cantin and Fort Nashwaak arrived at Bathurst after having been detached from the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 25 March 1944. Some ships of the convoy did not enter Freetown but proceed directly to other destinations.

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Convoy KMS 44, made up of the remaining ships, proceeded towards the Mediterranean with the original escort of the combined convoy.

On 17 March 1944, the following transports arrived at Gibraltar; Archangelos, Lorca, Redgate, Slesvig, rescue ship Fastnet and the escort oiler San Tirso arrived at Gibraltar together with the original escort of the combined convoy minus HMS Dittany.

The transports Baron Forbes, Kana, Monkleigh, Radport and Stanhope proceeded directly to Lissabon after the convoy had split. They were possible escorted by HMS Dittany which did not arrive with the other escort at Gibraltar on the 17th but only arrived there on the 20th.

The following ships of the convoy meanwhile directly entered the Mediterranean; Baron Maclay, Bruse Jarl, Carslogie, Empire Nile, Empire Rosalind, Empire Spartan, Empire Spey, Eurybates, Fort Aklavik, Fort Gaspereau, Fort Marin, Fort Nakasley, Fort Richelieu, Helencrest, Hermiston, Janeta, Langleetarn, Leonidas, Matheran, Nanceen, Nurani, Radmanso, Samoa, Topsdalfjord, Urbino and Wyfarer.

On passing Gibraltar they were joined by the transports Joshua Hendy (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Maycrest (British, 5923 GRT, built 1913) and Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926). Also a new escort joined for the passage through the Mediterranean, this was made up of the following ships; AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN), frigate HMS Barle (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and the corvettes HMS Bergamot (A/Lt.Cdr. W. McInnes, RNR), HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR), HMS La Malouine (Lt. W.A. Ives, RNR) and (the Yugoslavian) Nada. The submarine HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) and the rescue tug HMRT Vagrant also joined the convoy.

On 18 February 1944, the transports Carslogie, Joshua Hendy and Maycrest arrived at Oran after having been detached from the convoy while the transports Benito Juarez (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Crawford W. Long (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Crosby S. Noyes (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joseph H. Hollister (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Joshua Seney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Mayo Brothers (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Spindletop (British, 1155 GRT, built 1943), William Kent (American, 7187 GRT, built 1942) and Zacapa (American, 5013 GRT, built 1909) joined the convoy coming from Oran.

On 19 February 1944, the transports Fort Gaspereau, Hermiston, Janeta, Leonidas and Zapaca arrived at Algiers after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Empire Gain (British (tanker), 3738 GRT, built 1943), Empire Southey (British, 7041 GRT, built 1942), Empire Wordsworth (British (tanker), 9891 GRT, built 1942), Esneh (British, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Fort Ash (British, 7131 GRT, built 1943), Fort Glenora (British, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Fort la Traite (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), Linge (Dutch, 2114 GRT, built 1928), Meonia (Danish, 5214 GRT, built 1927), Parame (French, 2337 GRT, built 1918), Samettrick (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samuel V. Shreve (British, 1813 GRT, built 1943) and Solarium (British, 6239 GRT, built 1936) joined the convoy coming from Algiers.

On 20 February 1944, the transports Brighton (British, 5359 GRT, built 1928), Fort Rae (British, 7132 GRT, built 1942) and Lightfoot (British, 1894 GRT, built 1922) joined the convoy coming from Philippeville.

On 20 February 1944, the transports Bruse Jarl, Empire Gain, Fort Rae and Radmanso arrived at Bone after having parted company with the convoy while the transports Empire Cameron (British, 7015 GRT, built 1941), Empire Copperfield (British, 6013 GRT, built 1943), Empire Viceroy (British, 7803 GRT, built 1943), Graiglas (British, 4312 GRT, built 1940), Ousel (British, 1533 GRT, built 1922), Sammex (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Samson (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy coming from Bone.

On 21 February 1944, the transports Empire Spartan, Empire Spey, Mayo Brothers, Nanceen, Parame and Solarium arrived at Bizerta as did HMS Colombo after having parted company with the convoy while the transport / tankers Asa Gray (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Elise (Norwegian (tanker), 7910 GRT, built 1931) and Meline (Norwegian (tanker), 6983 GRT, built 1918) joined the convoy coming from Bizerta.

On 22 February 1944, the transports Graiglas, Topsdalfjord arrived at Malta after having parted company with the convoy as did HMS Spiteful and the Yugoslavian corvette Nada while the tanker Egero (Norwegian (tanker), 7590 GRT, built 1929), transport Empire Noble (British, 7125 GRT, built 1944) and the bouy / lighthouse tender Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892) joined the convoy coming from Malta.

On 22 February 1944, the transports / tankers Beaconsfield (British, 4635 GRT, built 1938), Corfell (British, 1802 GRT, built 1934), Dallington Court (British, 6889 GRT, built 1929), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937), Ekaterini Coumantarou (Greek, 7777 GRT, built 1917), Empire Grange (British, 6981 GRT, built 1943), Empire Peak (British, 7045 GRT, built 1943), Fort Bourbon (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Glenlyon (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Senneville (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Liberty (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vulcan (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Riverton (British, 7307 GRT, built 1943), Samnebra (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), San Rafael (Panamanian, 5379 GRT, built 1919), Van der Capelle (Dutch, 7037 GRT, built 1942), Zaanstroom (Dutch, 1646 GRT, built 1920) departed Augusta to join the convoy while the following transports / tankers parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Augusta; Asa Gray, Benito Juarez, Brighton, City of Canterbury, Crawford W. Long, Crosby S. Noyes, Empire Addison, Empire Cameron, Empire Copperfield, Empire Rosalind, Empire Southey, Empire Wordsworth, Esneh, Fort Aklavik, Fort Ash, Fort Glenora, Fort la Traite, Fort Marin, Fort Richelieu, Helencrest, Hermelin, Joseph H. Hollister, Joshua Seney, Langleetarn, Lightfoot, Linge, Ousel, Samettick, Sammex, Samoa, Samson, Samuel V. Shreve, Southgate, Spindletop and William Kent.

On 26 March 1944, the transports Beaconsfield, Corfell, Elise, Empire Noble, Empire Peak, Fort Glenlyon, Ocean Vulcan, Riverton, Samnebra and Van der Capelle arrived at Alexandria after having parted company with the convoy. Also HMS Barle and HMS La Malouine arrived at Alexandria.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Port Said on 27 March 1944.

11 Apr 1944
HMS United (Lt. N.R. Wood, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Havelock (Lt.Cdr. R. Hart, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Tyler (Lt. C.H. Ranking, RN), HMS Dumbarton Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.F. Broadhead, RNR) and HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). (6)

23 May 1944

Combined convoy OS 78 / KMS 52.

This combined convoy was assembled off Oversay on 23 May 1944.

It was made up of the following transports; Adviser (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Alex (British, 3932 GRT, built 1914), Baron Elgin (British, 3942 GRT, built 1933), Carslogie (British, 3786 GRT, built 1924), Clunepark (British, 3491 GRT, built 1928), Dago (British, 1993 GRT, built 1917), Empire Falcon (British, 4970 GRT, built 1918), Empire Wolfe (British, 2888 GRT, built 1941), Fort Churchill (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Godfrey B. Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929), Historian (British, 5074 GRT, built 1924), Hopecrest (British, 5099 GRT, built 1935), Inverbank (British, 5149 GRT, built 1924), Lago (Norwegian, 2552 GRT, built 1929), Mathilda (Norwegian, 3650 GRT, built 1920), Nailsea Moor (British, 4926 GRT, built 1937), Northleigh (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Redgate (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Robert Morris (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Stanhope (British, 2337 GRT, built 1919), Stuyvesant (Dutch, 4249 GRT, built 1918), Thistleford (British, 4781 GRT, built 1928), Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921) and Yearby (British, 5666 GRT, built 1929).

The rescue ship Pinto (British, 1346 GRT, built 1928) was also with the combined convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Activity (Capt. C. Wauchope, DSC, RN), frigates HMS Ascension (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR), HMS Evenlode (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Medlycott, RNR), HMS Exe (Cdr. C.E.E. Paterson, RN) and the corvettes HMNZS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Seelye, RNZNVR), HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR), HMS Carisbrooke Castle (T/Lt. W.H. Forster, RNR), HMS Dumbarton Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.F. Broadhead, RNR) and HMS Hadleigh Castle (Lt. C. Sandeman, RN).

The transport Stanhope had to return to the U.K. arriving in the Clyde on 25 May 1944.

The tanker Scottish American (British (tanker), 6999 GRT, built 1920) later joined at sea having parted company with convoy MKS 49. This ship was to refuel the escorts.

Around 1030Z/27, HMS Activity, HMS Ascension, HMS Carisbroke Castle and HMS Hadleigh Castle parted company with the convoy to temporary join northbound combined convoy SL 158 / MKS 49 which they did around 1540Z/28.

Around 1505Z/29, HMS Activity, HMS Ascension, HMS Carisbroke Castle and HMS Hadleigh Castle parted company with combined convoy SL 158 / MKS 49 taking the escort oiler Scottish American (British (tanker), 6999 GRT, built 1920) with them. They rejoined combined convoy OS 78 / KMS 52 around 1650Z/30.

On 30 May 1944, HMNZS Arabis parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Bermuda arriving there on 6 June 1944.

Around 0300Z/3, HMS Activity, HMS Ascension and HMS Berkeley Castle parted company with combined convoy OS 78 / KMS 52 to join northbound combined convoy SL 159 / MKS 50 which they did around 0600Z/3. HMS Ascension and HMS Berkeley Castle then immediately parted company again to rejoin combined convoy OS 78 / KMS 52.

On 4 June 1944, the convoy split into convoy OS 78 and KMS 52.

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Convoy OS 78, towards Freetown, was made up of the following transports; Clunepark, Godfrey B. Holt, Northleigh and Stuyvesant.

They were joined by the following transports coming from Gibraltar; Appledore (British, 5218 GRT, built 1929), Fort Glenyon (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Fort Thompson (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Ittersum (Dutch, 5199 GRT, built 1938) and Ocean Vanity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942).

With these ships came also the new escort for this convoy which was made up of the sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN), frigate HMS Ness (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.H. Marchington, MBE, RNVR) and the patrol vessel HMS Kilbirnie (T/Lt. E.R.H. Seddon, RNVR).

Also from Casablanca the the following transports joined on the 4th or the 5th; Gabriel Guist'Hau (French, 2325 GRT, built 1918), Lodestone (British, 4877 GRT, built 1938), Samdart (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944) and Samderwent (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944).

These ships had departed Casablanca on the 4th , escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-473 (Lt. A.W. Silverstein, USNR), USS PC-475 (Lt. W.W. Devine, Jr., USNR) and USS PC-482 (Lt. D.W. Hunter, USNR) which did not join the convoy and returned to Casablanca on the 5th.

On 11 June 1944, the transport Slesvig (British, 3098 GRT, built 1938) departed Dakar to join the convoy.

On 11 June 1944, the Clunepark, Gabriel Guist'Hau and Northleigh arrived at Dakar after having been detached from the convoy.

Convoy OS 78 arrived at Freetown on 14 June 1944. Actually only the Slesvig and Stuyvesant arrived at Freetown with the escort. The other ships proceeded to other destinations independently.

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Convoy KMS 52 proceeded towards the Straits of Gibraltar. This convoy was made up of the transports / tanker; Adviser, Alex, Baron Elgin, Carslogie, Dago, Empire Falcon, Empire Wolfe, Fort Churchill, Historian, Hopecrest, Inverbank, Lago, Mathilda, Nailsea Moor, Pinto, Redgate, Robert Morris, Scottish American, Thistleford, Troilus and Yearby.

On 6 June 1944, the Carslogie, Empire Wolfe, Pinto, Scottish American and Thistleford arrived at Gibraltar together with the original escort of the convoy; HMS Exe, HMS Ascension, HMS Berkeley Castle, HMS Carisbrooke Castle, HMS Dumbarton Castle and HMS Hadleigh Castle.

From Gibraltar / Casablanca the transports / tanker; Benjamin Tay (British, 1814 GRT, built 1943), British Governor (British (tanker), 6840 GRT, built 1926), David Holmes (American (tanker), 7218 GRT, built 1943), Empire Dickens (British (tanker), 9819 GRT, built 1942) and Sheaf Crown (British, 4868 GRT, built 1929) joined the convoy.

Escort was now provided by the escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), AA cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. R.F. Nichols, RN), escort destroyer RHS Kriti, frigates HMS Evenlode (which had remained with the convoy), HMS Dart (Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Shiel (Lt. H.P. Crail, DSC, RNR), HMS Gloxinia (Lt. D. Perry, DSC, RNR), HMS Primula (T/Lt. E.N. Wilding, RNVR), HMS Smilax (Lt. A. Branson, RNR) and A/S trawler HMS Wolborough (T/Lt. G.A. Hartnell, RNR).

On 7 June 1944, the following ships arrived at Oran Bay after having been detached from the convoy; HMS Attacker, HMS Hunter, Benjamin Tay and Sheaf Crown.

On 7 June 1944, the following transports / tanker joined coming from Oran Bay; Anglo-African (British, 5601 GRT, built 1929), Bourgogne (French (tanker), 9357 GRT, built 1937), Bret Harte (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Corchester (British, 2374 GRT, built 1927), Daniel H. Hill (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Empire Gareth (British, 2847 GRT, built 1942), Empire Wyclif (British, 6966 GRT, built 1941), Felix Grundy (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), George G. Meade (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), James Rumsey (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Josiah Bartlett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Louisa M. Alcott (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Luther Martin (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Norbryn (Norwegian, 5089 GRT, built 1922), Roger Williams (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Sarah Orne Jewett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Tobruk (Polish, 7048 GRT, built 1942), Tristram Dalton (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Zacapa (American, 5013 GRT, built 1909).

Also joining from Oran Bay were the LST's USS LST-602 (Lt. J.H. Mehus, USNR) and USS LST-603 (Lt. W.B. Sweet, USN).

On 8 June 1944, the following transports were detached to Algiers; Alex, David Holmes, Empire Gareth, Hopecrest, Mathilda and Norbryn.

On 8 June 1944, the following transports joined the convoy coming from Algiers; Chateau Latour (French, 1912 GRT, built 1914), Corfell (British, 1802 GRT, built 1934), Elise (Greek, 1986 GRT, built 1919), Empire Gain (British (tanker), 3738 GRT, built 1943), Empire Strength (British, 7355 GRT, built 1942), Empire Valour (British, 1906 GRT, built 1943), Gezina (Norwegian, 1828 GRT, built 1917), Hardingham (British, 7269 GRT, built 1942), Ingertre (Norwegian, 2462 GRT, built 1921), Jennings (British, 1148 GRT, built 1943), Lucia C. (Italian, 6123 GRT, built 1922), Ocean Vulcan (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Odysseus (Dutch, 1057 GRT, 1922), Oregon (French, 7705 GRT, built 1929), Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938), Samaye (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samuel V. Shreve (British, 1813 GRT, built 1943), Thistledale (British, 7241 GRT, built 1942) and Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930). With these ships was also the salvage vessel USS Tackle (Lt. D.V. van Sand, USNR) which also joined the convoy.

On 9 June 1944, the transport Lago arrived at Philippeville after having been detached from the convoy.

On 9 June 1944, the transports Dago, Elise, Hardingham, Ingertre, Lucia C., Samaye and Samuel V. Shreve arrived at Bone after having been detached from the convoy.

On 9 June 1944, the following transports joined coming from Bone. Beaconsfield (British, 4635 GRT, built 1938), Empire Candida (British, 2908 GRT, built 1943), Nordnes (Norwegian, 4147 GRT, built 1932), Ousel (British, 1533 GRT, built 1922) and Skagerak (Norwegian, 4244 GRT, built 1936).

On 10 June 1944, the following transports arrived at Bizerta after having parted company with the convoy; Baron Elgin, Corchester, Empire Gain, Gezina, Jennings, Sarah Orne Jewett and Zacapa.

Also HMS Caledon, RHS Kriti, USS LST-602 and USS LST-603 arrived at Bizerta the same day after having been detached from the convoy.

On 10 June 1944, the following transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Bizerta; Andrew W. Moore (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), British Chemist (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1925), Edward Burleson (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), Egbert Benson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Empire Noble (British, 7125 GRT, built 1944), Empire Unicorn (British, 7067 GRT, built 1943), Fort Chesterfield (British, 7100 GRT, built 1943), Fort Cumberland (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frobisher (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), George Leonard (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John W. Brown (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Meline (Norwegian (tanker), 6983 GRT, built 1918) and Richard Rush (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943).

On 10 June 1944, the transport Oregon arrived at Tunis after having been detached from the convoy.

On 11 June 1944, the transports Empire Falcon, Empire Strength, Palermo and Yearby arrived at Malta after having been detached from the convoy. Also the escorts HMS Evenlode and HMS Smilax arrived at Malta.

On 11 June 1944, the transports / tanker; Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Empire Collins (British (tanker), 9796 GRT, built 1942), Fort Beausejour (British, 7151 GRT, built 1943), Fort Marin (British, 7159 GRT, built 1943), Fort Meductic (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Kyklades (Greek, 7157 GRT, built 1941), Marit Maersk (Greek (former Danish), 1894 GRT, built 1938), Ocean Gallant (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Port Melbourne (British, 9142 GRT, built 1914), Sambre (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Trajanus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930) departed Augusta to join the convoy.

On 12 June 1944, the following transports / tankers arrived at Augusta after having been detached from the convoy; Andrew Moore, Anglo-African, Beaconsfield, Bourgogne, Bret Harte, Chateau Latour, Cornfell, Daniel H. Hill, Edward Burleson, Egbert Benson, Empire Dickens, Empire Valour, Empire Wyclif, Felix Grundy, Fort Frobisher, George G. Meade, George Leonard, James Rumsey, John W. Brown, Josiah Barlett, Louisa M. Alcott, Luther Martin, Nailsea Moor, Ocean Vulcan, Odysseus, Ousel, Redgate, Richard Rush, Roger Williams, Thistledale, Tobruk, Tristram Dalton and Ulla. With these ships also USS Tackle had proceeded to Augusta.

On 15 June 1944, the following transports arrived at Alexandria; Fort Beausejour, Fort Chesterfield, Fort Marin, Fort Meductic and Trajanus. With them also HMS Gloxinia, HMS Primula and HMS Wolborough arrived at Alexandria.

On 16 June 1944, the following transports / tankers arrived at Port Said; Adviser, British Chemist, British Governor, Destro, Empire Collins, Empire Noble, Empire Unicorn, Fort Churchill, Fort Cumberland, Historian, Inverbank, Kyklades, Marit Maersk, Meline, Nordnes, Ocean Gallant, Port Melbourne, Robert Morris, Sambre, Skagerak and Troilus. With them HMS Dart and HMS Shiel arrived at Port Said.

30 Jun 1944
HMS Upshot (Lt. H.W. Wilkinson, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Hadleigh Castle (Lt. C. Sandeman, RN) and HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). (7)

10 Jul 1944

Convoy SL 164.

This convoy departed Freetown on 10 July 1944.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Calumet (British, 7268 GRT, built 1923), Chateauroux (British, 4765 GRT, built 1921), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), Empire Archer (British, 7031 GRT, built 1942), Empire Austen (British, 7057 GRT, built 1942), Empire Highway (British, 7166 GRT, built 1942), Fort Remy (British, 7127 GRT, built 1943), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), Jersey City (British, 6686 GRT, built 1942), MacGreggor Laird (British, 4992 GRT, built 1930), Princesa (British, 8731 GRT, built 1918), Settler (British, 6202 GRT, built 1939), Silverguava (British, 5305 GRT, built 1927), Tyndareus (British, 11361 GRT, built 1916), Ville de Strasbourg (British, (former French), 7007 GRT, built 1920), Vinriver (British, 3881 GRT, built 1917) and Waiotapu (British, 6035 GRT, built 1913).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the frigates HMS Ballinderry (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Aikman, RNR), HMS Inver (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR), corvettes HMS Snowdrop (T/Lt. C.A. Boardman, RNVR), HMS Willowherb (Lt. A. Hague, RNR) and the patrol vessel HMS Kilmelford (T/Lt. H. Brown, RNR).

On 13 July 1944, the merchant vessels Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930) and Finisterre (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909) departed Dakar to join the convoy.

On 15 July 1944, the merchant vessel Paul de Rousiers (French, 3548 GRT, built 1942) departed Port Etienne to join the convoy.

On 20 July 1944, the merchant vessels Dunav (Yugosalvian, 4369 GRT, built 1912) and Keilehaven (Dutch, 2968 GRT, built 1919) departed Casablanca to join the convoy. They were escorted by the minesweeping sloop La Boudeuse and the patrol vessel L'Eveille. On these ships joining the Finisterre and Paul de Rousiers parted company with the convoy to proceed to Casablanca escorted by the two French warships. HMS Kilmelford was also with them. They arrived at Casablanca on 22 July 1944.

On 21 July 1944, the convoy merged with convoy MKS 55(G) coming from the Mediterranean.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; English Prince (British, 7275 GRT, built 1943), Ernebank (British, 5388 GRT, built 1937), Hermiston (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Highland Prince (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), James J. Pettigrew (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Marpessa (Dutch (tanker / escort oiler), 7408 GRT, built 1927), Merchant Prince (British, 5229 GRT, built 1939), Middlesex Trader (British, 7421GRT, built 1942), Nicolaos Michalos (Greek, 4342 GRT, built 1913), Ocean Verity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940), Peribonka (British, 5673 GRT, built 1937), Samguadie (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samsette (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samuta (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Stad Arnhem (Dutch, 3819 GRT, built 1920), Strategist (British, 6255 GRT, built 1937) and Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930).

The rescue ship Fastnet (British, 1415 GRT, built 1928) was also with this convoy.

Convoy MKS 55(G) was escorted by the frigates HMS Exe (Cdr. C.E.E. Paterson, RN), HMS Ascension (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR), HMS Carisbrooke Castle (T/Lt. W.H. Forster, RNR), HMS Dumbarton Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.F. Broadhead, RNR) and HMS Hadleigh Castle (Lt. C. Sandeman, RN).

The original escort of convoy SL 164 and the merchant vessels Dunav, Empire Highway, Vinriver and Waiotapu then parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 23 July 1944. HMS Snowdrop did not part company with the convoy though as she was to return to the U.K. to refit.

Around 1945B/22, the escort carrier HMS Fencer (A/Capt. W.W.R. Bentinck, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

The escort oiler Marpessa later parted company with the convoy to join the southbound combined convoy OS 84 / KMS 58.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 31 July 1944. Some ships had parted company on 29 July 1944 to proceed ahead of the main convoy.

22 Oct 1944
HMS Torbay (Lt. C.P. Norman, DSO, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with ships from the 31st Escort Group. These were the corvettes HMS Berkeley Castle (Cdr. N.W. Duck, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Dumbarton Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.F. Broadhead, RNR), HMS Hadleigh Castle (Lt. C. Sandeman, RN) and HMS Lancaster Castle (T/Lt. W.S. Joliffe, RNR).

Also night convoy attacks were carried out during the night of 22/23 October 1944 which included a practice attack on HMS Philante (Cdr. M.J. Evans, OBE, RN). (8)

26 Nov 1944
HMS Vitality (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Berkeley Castle (Cdr. N.W. Duck, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR). (9)

28 Nov 1944
HMS Vitality (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Berkeley Castle (Cdr. N.W. Duck, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Lancaster Castle (T/Lt. W.S. Joliffe, RNR) and HMS Dumbarton Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.C. Heron, RNVR). (9)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6384 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 173/17812
  3. Personal communication
  4. ADM 173/18513
  5. ADM 173/18996
  6. ADM 173/19218
  7. ADM 173/19296
  8. ADM 173/19040
  9. ADM 173/19423

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


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