Allied Warships

HMS St. Monance (W 63)

Rescue Tug of the Saint class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeRescue Tug
ClassSaint 
PennantW 63 
Built byHongkong & Whampoa (Hongkong) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched11 Sep 1919 
CommissionedDec 1919 
End service 
History

 

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Notable events involving St. Monance include:


23 Dec 1941

Convoy AT 6.

This convoy departed Alexandria for Tobruk on 23 December 1941.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alisa (Palestinian, 1072 GRT, built 1901), Varvara (Greek, 1354 GRT, built 1910) and Warszawa (Polish, 2487 GRT, built 1916). The boom defence vessel HMS Burgonet was also part of this convoy.

Escort was provided by escort destroyer HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and the corvette HMS Peony (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, DSO and Bar, RN).

Cover for this convoy was provided by the destroyers HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN) and HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN).

Varvara reported her engine room flooding during the night of 23/24 December and was escorted back to Alexandria by the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN). The tug HMS St. Monance came also out from Alexandria to assist.

At 1429/26, the Warszawa was torpedoed by the German submarine U-559 in position 32°11’N, 24°44’E. The ship remained afloat and was first thought to have hit a mine. She was taken in tow by HMS Peony with HMS Avon Vale escorting. The bulk of the passengers and crew meanwhile had been taken off by HMS Burgonet as well as HMS Peony and HMS Avon Vale.

At 1930 hours (2015 hours in British sources) the ship was hit by another torpedo from U-559 which had remained in the area undected. She sank in about 10 minutes in position 32°10’N, 24°32’E. HMS Peony quickly cut the towline and picked up the skeleton crew that had remained on board. In all 23 passengers and crew lost their lives on board Warszawa.

All survivors were landed at Tobruk in the early morning hours of the 27th. (1)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/415

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


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