John Travis Beaufoy Birch DSO, DSC, RN

Born  14 Jul 1910


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Ranks

1 Nov 1931 S.Lt.
1 Nov 1933 Lt.
1 Nov 1941 Lt.Cdr.

Retired: 2 Aug 1954


Decorations

1 Jul 1941 Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
8 Sep 1942 DSO
29 Sep 1942 DSC

Warship Commands listed for John Travis Beaufoy Birch, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Hurworth (L 28)Lt.Escort destroyer18 Aug 194124 Mar 1943
HMS Kelvin (F 37)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer24 Mar 1943mid 1943
HMS Urchin (ii) (R 99)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer9 Aug 194328 Jun 1944
HMS St. Kitts (R 18)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer31 Jul 1945

Career information

John Travis Beaufoy Birch was born on 14 July 1910 to John Kenneth Beaufoy Birch and Janet Elizabeth Clay

Events related to this officer

Escort destroyer HMS Hurworth (L 28)


30 Oct 1942 (position 32.30, 33.00)
German U-boat U-559 was sunk in the Mediterranean north-east of Port Said, in position 32°30'N, 33°00'E, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Lt. W. Scott, DSC, RN) and the British escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), after being located by a British Vickers Wellesley aircraft (47 Sqn RAF/F).


Destroyer HMS Kelvin (F 37)


24 Mar 1943

Convoy XT 8.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 24 March 1943 and arrived at Tripoli on 28 March 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following ships; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Isis (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Mitchell, RN).

28 Mar 1943

Convoy TX 5.

This convoy departed Tripoli on 28 March 1943 and arrived at Malta on 29 March 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following ships; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Isis (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Mitchell, RN).

[These ships had arrived at Tripoli earlier this day as convoy XT 8, they must have discharged their cargo, or part of their cargo, rather quickly ?!.]

30 Mar 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Convoy ME 21.

This convoy departed Malta on 30 March 1943 and arrived at Alexandria on 3 April 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following ships; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

The convoy was escorted on depature from Malta by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Isis (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Mitchell, RN).

During the passage the destroyers HMS Nubian and HMS Kelvin were detached to Benghazi where they arrived on April, 1st.

1 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Benghazi. They embarked troops and departed for Tripoli later the same day.

2 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Tripoli. After disembarking the troops they departed for Malta.

3 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta.

4 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, RN) departed Malta to lay a minefield in the Sicilian Channel during the night of 4/5 April 1943.

During this minelaying operation cover was provided by the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

5 Apr 1943
Having completed laying the minefield HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, RN) returned to Malta at 0830/5.

The two destroyers that provided cover during her minelay; HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) remained at sea.

In the afternoon the light cruiser HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) proceeded to sea with the destroyer HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN). At sea they were joined by the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Paladin and Kelvin. They then carried out exercises during the night. All ships returned to harbour shortly after mindnight on the 5th. (1)

6 Apr 1943
The fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, RN) departed Malta to lay a minefield in the Sicilian Channel during the night of 6/7 April 1943.

During this minelaying operation cover was provided by the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

7 Apr 1943
The fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) returned to Malta.

HMS Kelvin then commenced a period of repairs, boiler cleaning and a docking at Malta.

20 Apr 1943
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Alexandria. She is no longer fit for operations in the front line and in need for a long refit.

[We have been unable to find out when he arrived at Alexandria, most likely is on 23 April.] (2)

24 Apr 1943
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said [presumably on escort duty]. (3)

25 Apr 1943
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Port Said. She departed again for Alexandria later the same day [presumably on escort duty]. (3)

26 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (3)

29 Apr 1943

Convoy MW 27 (+ convoy XT 12)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 29 April 1943 and arrived at Malta on 4 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 3 May 1943 forming convoy XT 12 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Algorab (Dutch, 4938 GRT, built 1921), British Trust (British (tanker), 8466 GRT, built 1939), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Ensis (British, 6207 GRT, built 1937), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Fort Cataraqui (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort Chambly (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort St.James (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Macuba (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1931), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (Norwegian, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Samuel Parker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Saparoea (Dutch, 6668 GRT, built 1920), Safola (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937), Stirlingville (British, 1995 GRT, built 1937), Suiyang (British, 2590 GRT, built 1917) and Toronto (British, 5018 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas), escort destroyers HMS Easton (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), RHS Adrias, RHS Kanaris, Corvette RHS Sakhtouris and the auxiliary MS whalers HMS Sahra (T/A/Skr.Lt. E.G. Gurney, RNR) and HMS Santa (T/A/Skr.Lt. G. Noble, RNR). [The last three ships apparently returned to Alexandria rather soon.]

On 1 May 1943 the British Trust and Indrapoera were sunk by enemy aircraft in position 32°40'N, 19°53'E. On board the Indrapoera 657 persons lost their lives.

On 3 May the convoy was split up, Convoy XT 12 proceeded to Tripoli and arrived there later the same day. It was made up of the; City of Rangoon, Destro, Ensis, Fort Chambly, Fort St.James, Karoa, Pronto, Samuel Parker, Saparoea, Sofala, Stirlingville, Suiyang and Toronto. They were escorted by HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin.

Convoy MW 27 continued on to Malta with the; Algorab, Fort Cataraqui, Glaucus, Macuba and Ocean Vesper. They were escorted by HMS Isis, RHS Queen Olga, HMS Easton, HMS Hurworth, HMS Rockwood, RHS Adrias and RHS Kanaris.

3 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Tripoli from escort duty. They departed for Alexandria later the same day.

6 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Alexandria.

7 May 1943
The destroyer HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) departed Alexandria for Tobruk. [No further details available to us for the moment.]

8 May 1943
The destroyer HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) arrived at Tobruk. They departed again later the same day. HMS Kelvin to Alexandria and the 'Hunt'-class destroyers to Malta. [No further details available to us for the moment.]

9 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Alexandria. She departed again later the same day. [No further details available.]

12 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) returned to Alexandria, most likely after escort duty. [No further details available.]

15 May 1943

Convoy MW 28 (+ convoy XT 14)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 15 May 1943 and arrived at Malta on 21 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 20 May 1943 forming convoy XT 14 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Benreoch (British, 5818 GRT, built 1921), Benrinnes (British, 5410 GRT, built 1921), City of Keelung (British, 5186 GRT, built 1919), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), David Stone (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Dunkeld (British, 4944 GRT, built 1937), Empire Conrad (British, 7009 GRT, built 1942), Empire Patrol (British, 3334 GRT, built 1928), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Francis Drake (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), John Hart (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912), Ovula (Dutch (tanker), GRT, built ), Ozarda (British, 9685 GRT, built 1940), Princess Kathleen (Canadian, 5875 GRT, built 1925), Romney (British, 5840 GRT, built 1929) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT, built 1930). The Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Green Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), FFS Leopard and the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and RHS Adrias.

The sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR) departed Tobruk on the 15th and joined the escort.

HMS Rockwood arrived back at Alexandria on 19 May 1943 having been detached from the escort earlier.

On the 16th, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN) departed Tobruk to join the escort.

On the 18th, the escort destroyer HMS Easton (Lt. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Tripoli to join the convoy.

HMS Kelvin arrived at Tripoli on 19 May and departed again on the 20th to rejoin the convoy.

On 20 May 1943 the convoy split up and the following ships proceeded to Tripoli arriving later the same day; Benreoch, Benrinnes, City of Keelung, Darien II, Empire Patrol, Fort Tadoussac, Francis Drake, Hermelin, John Hart, Neuralia and Romney.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Malta arriving on 21 May 1943.

22 May 1943
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Bone.

Both destroyers were to proceed to the U.K. to refit. (4)

23 May 1943
HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Bone. (4)

24 May 1943

Convoy ET 21.

This convoy departed Bone / Philippeville on 24 May 1943 for Gibraltar where it arrived on 28 May 1943.

No full info on the composition of this convoy is currently known to us.

On departure from Bone / Philippeville the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR).

HMS Javelin and HM Kelvin were detached on the 26th to conduct an A/S hunt but rejoined later the same day.

The convoy made a short call at Algiers on 26 May and various ships were detached and other ships joined and the escort was reinforced with other vessels. On arrival at Gibraltar the following escorts had joined the convoy additional to the ones listed above; corvette HMS Pentstemon (T/Lt. D.C. Williams, RNVR), A/S trawlers HMS Gavotte (T/Lt. D. Bates, RNR), HMS Tango (T/Lt. J. Hunter, RNR) and the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS King Sol (Lt. P.A. Read, RNR) and HMS Reighton Wyke (Skr. G.M. Sutherland, RNR).

Also the rescue tug HMRT Restive had joined the convoy (5)

28 May 1943

Convoy MKF 15.

This convoy departed Algiers on 28 May 1943 for the U.K.

On departure from Algiers the convoy was made up of the following ships; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921) and Santa Rosa (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932).

The convoy was escorted by the British sloop HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Ness (Lt.Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

On 29 May, off Oran, the convoy was joined by the following ships; Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), Dartmouth (American, 9879 GRT, built 1943), Examiner (American, 6736 GRT, built 1942), General George W. Goethals (American, 12093 GRT, built 1942), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), John Ericson (American, 16552 GRT, built 1928), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Seafrain Lakehurst (American, 8108 GRT, built 1940), Staffordhire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

On 30 May the convoy was off Gibraltar. There two more ships joined the convoy, these were; Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923) and Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920). Also six ships were detached to Gibraltar, these were the; Arawa, Dartmouth, Examiner, Seafrain Lakehurst, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle.

The following warships joined the escort of the convoy off Gibraltar; aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

The sloop HMS Totland was detached to proceed to Gibraltar for repairs as she had defects.

On 1 June 1943, the Scythia was detached.

At 1200 hours on 4 June, HMS Unicorn, HMS Tracker, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin parted company with the convoy and proceeded ahead of it to the Clyde (HMS Tracker to Belfast).

30 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join the escort of convoy MKF 15. (5)

4 Jun 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) were detached at 1200 hours from the escort of convoy MKF 15. Around 1400 hours HMS Tracker was detached to Belfast. The other three ships arrived at Greenock early in the evening. (5)

8 Jun 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Sheerness from Greenock. [We have so far been unable to find out when she had left Greenock.]

She went to the Chatham dockyard shortly afterwards to commence a much needed refit. (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/117238
  2. ADM 199/638
  3. ADM 199/2558
  4. ADM 199/2557 + ADM 199/2558
  5. ADM 199/639

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


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