Allied Warships

HMAS Hobart (D 63)

Light cruiser of the Modified Leander class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassModified Leander 
PennantD 63 
Built byDevonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.) 
Ordered1 Mar 1933 
Laid down15 Aug 1933 
Launched9 Oct 1934 
Commissioned28 Sep 1938 
End service 
History

Commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Apollo on 13 January 1936.

From 1936 until 1938 HMS Apollo served on the America and West Indies Station. On 28 September 1938 Apollo was acquired from the Royal Navy by the Royal Australian Navy, she was commissioned by the crew of the HMAS Albatross (which had been transferred to the RN in part payment of Apollo) earlier than intended because of the Munich crisis. She was renamed Hobart and sailed for Australia towards the end of the year.

In October 1939 HMAS Hobart was in the East Indies and thereafter was employed in the escorting of troop convoys across the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. During November – December 1939 she was patrolling south of the Arabian sea in search for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee and her attendant replenishment ship Altmark.

In January 1940 Hobart in company with the carrier HMS Eagle were on troop convoy escort duties. On February 8th the convoy passed Aden and reached Suez four days later, where the first New Zealand and Australian troops were disembarked. In August, in the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, she assisted in the evacuation from British Somali of troops and civilians to Aden. By December she was in the Mediterranean, while undertaking escort duties from Malta back to Alexandria, she was called to assist the last supply convoy to Tobruk as the escort vessels were in trouble due to heavy air attacks.

Late 1941, with the entry of Japan into the war, Hobart was required in the East again, and sailed for Singapore, escorting troop convoy BM-9A . The early part of this year was spent on escort duties for troop transports from Colombo to Singapore. She was also involved in escorting the evacuation convoys from Singapore. On February 25th, while being a member of the Allied strike force under Dutch Admiral Doorman, she put out from Batavia to attack the Japanese forces, however they were spotted by enemy reconnaissance aircraft and came under heavy attack. Hobart suffered only splinter damage which prevented the completion of refuelling. As a result she missed the fatal Battle of the Java Sea on the 27th, when her sister ship HMAS Perth was destroyed. In May she became a member of Task Force 44, in company with HMAS Australia and USS Chicago. During July - August she was involved in the successful landings on Guadalcanal and later the same month she was transferred to Task Force 61, under the command of Vice Admiral Fletcher (USN) and involved in sea and air battles east of the Solomons. Unfortunately on August 9th, disaster struck the Naval Forces, a Japanese Cruiser Squadron attacked, causing the loss of the Australian HMAS Canberra and the American cruisers USS Astoria, USS Quincy and USS Vincennes. Although operations in the Solomons were to continue, further RAN involvement was limited. October 1942 was spent at Sydney refitting and after this she rejoined Task Force 44 on Coral Sea patrols.

In March 1943 Hobart became part of the newly formed US 7th Fleet. During June – July while a unit of Task Force 74 under Vice Admiral Crutchley (RAN) and in company with HMAS Australia, she operated in the area of the Coral Sea and the Eastern Australian Sea in order to cover the landings on New Georgia (Central Solomons) On July 20th, Hobart was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine I-11 (offsite link). Escorted by HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta the cruiser reached Sydney. On August 26th the repairs were begun.

In November 1944 the repairs from the torpedo damage were completed. In March – April 1945 Hobart in company with two American cruisers were deployed as fire support for the amphibious landings of US troops near Cebu (Philippines). On April 27th the shelling began on the assault area in the south of Tarkan. (Borneo). On May 9th Hobart with the British cruiser HMS Newfoundland began shelling Wewak (New Guinea) in support of the 6th Australian Division. In June she took part in shelling of the assault areas off Brunei Bay (Borneo) prior to the arrival of the Australian 9th Infantry Division. On August 31st in company with the Australian cruiser HMAS Shropshire she arrived in Sagami Bay Japan, to witness the peace ceremony.

Post war Hobart remained in service making three deployments to Japanese waters. On December 20th 1947 Hobart was decommissioned at Sydney. During 1953 - 1956 Hobart was extensively refitted and partly converted and modernised as a training ship at New Castle, New South Wales. For this role she was given a lattice foremast, but had all torpedo tubes and secondary guns removed. During this period, the plans regarding her being brought back into service as a fleet training ship were dropped. In 1959 Hobart was placed into reserve and later during that year it was decided that she was surplus to requirements and placed on the disposal list. On 2 February 1962 she was sold for scrap. In March 1962 Hobart left Sydney to be towed to Osaka in Japan for breaking up by Mitsue & Co at the Miyachi shipyard where she arrived on 2 April 1962.

Her badge can be seen displayed on the Selborne dry dock wall at Simonstown, South Africa.

 
Former nameHMS Apollo

Commands listed for HMAS Hobart (D 63)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Harry Leslie Howden, RAN28 Aug 19397 Jun 1942
2Capt. Henry Arthur Showers, RAN8 Jun 19428 Oct 1943
3Cdr. Frederick Norton Cook, RAN18 Oct 19438 Nov 1944
4Capt. Roy Russell Dowling, RAN8 Nov 194413 Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Hobart include:


3 Sep 1939
The light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN) departed Sydney for patrol.

They parted company the following day but both ships patrolled the shipping lanes near Cape Howe. (1)

6 Sep 1939
The light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN) both arrived at Williamstown, Melbourne from patrol. (1)

8 Sep 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises in Port Phillip. (2)

11 Sep 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Williamstown for to make rendezvous with HMA Squadron. (2)

12 Sep 1939
HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Cape Howe. On completion of the exercises, HMAS Canberra set course for Sydney, HMAS Hobart set course for Melbourne. (3)

14 Sep 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted HA gunnery exercises in Port Phillip. (2)

18 Sep 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises in Port Phillip.

She departed later the same day for Sydney via Burnie, Tasmania. (2)

19 Sep 1939
From 1020K/19 to 1630K/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) anchored in Emu Bay off Burnie, Tasmania.

On departure course was set for Sydney. (2)

20 Sep 1939
On 19 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) departed Jervis Bay for night exercises and then to return to Sydney.

One of the exercises they were to perform was intercepting the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which was en-route from Melbourne to Sydney via Tasmania. She joined the exercises on 21 September.

Before entering harbour on 21 September exercises were carried out off Sydney by HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Stuart, HMAS Waterhen, HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN). (4)

26 Sep 1939
From 26 to 28 September 1939, HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted exercises off Sydney. These included night exercises. (3)

30 Sep 1939
Around 1230K/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Sydney for operation OY 1.

[For more info see the event ' Operation OY 1 ' for 1 October 1939.] (2)

1 Oct 1939

Operation OY 1.

The object of this operation was to test the air reconnaissance capabilities of the RAAF.

By 0600K/1, HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN) had taken up positions of the coasts of New South Wales and Victoria.

Aircraft took off from Laverton, Richmond and Archerfield to search to a depth of 80 miles. Aircraft also took off from Canberra to search to a depth of 160 miles.

The exercises were completed around 1900K/1.

On completion of the exercises HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart and HMAS Adelaide set course for Sydney. HMAS Australia set course for Melbourne. (5)

2 Oct 1939
Around 0100K/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Sydney from operation OY 1. (6)

5 Oct 1939
From 5 to 7 October 1939, HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN) conducted exercises off Sydney. (5)

13 Oct 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Sydney for Singapore via Darwin. (6)

20 Oct 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Darwin to fuel. (6)

21 Oct 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Darwin for Singapore. (6)

26 Oct 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Singapore from Darwin. (6)

28 Oct 1939
HMS Birmingham (Capt. E.J.P. Brind, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Singapore for a patrol around Sumatra. (7)

1 Nov 1939
HMS Birmingham (Capt. E.J.P. Brind, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) parted company with each other. HMS Birmingham proceeded south to the Sunda Strait while HMAS Hobart proceeded north to return to Singapore via the Malacca Strait. (8)

4 Nov 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Singapore from patrol. (6)

8 Nov 1939
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Singapore for Colombo. (9)

12 Nov 1939
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo from Singapore. (9)

15 Nov 1939
The light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo for Bombay.

Later this day a signal was received from the sloop HMS Leith (Cdr. G.R. Waymouth, RN) that starshell had been sighted in position 09°00'N, 68°10'E. HMAS Hobart then raised steam for full speed and set course for the Eight Degree Channel to proceed to this position.

The following day, HMS Leith reported that she had searched the area but had found nothing. HMAS Hobart was then ordered to continue her passage to Bombay via a route west of the Laccadive Islands. (6)

18 Nov 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Bombay from Colombo. (6)

28 Nov 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Bombay for patrol in the Arabian Sea. (6)

1 Dec 1939
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Bombay from patrol. Before entering harbour gunnery exercises were carried out. (6)

2 Dec 1939
Around 1100Z/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Bombay escorting the transport Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924) towards the Gulf of Aden.

Around 1200Z/6, in position 15°31'N, 56°04'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Akbar and then set course to make rendezvous with the transport Ettrick (British, 11229 GRT, built 1938).

Rendezvous was effected around 0520Z/7, in position 13°00'N, 58°45'E.

Around 1300Z/8, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Ettrick and set course for Bombay at 25 knots.

HMAS Hobart returned to Bombay around 0945Z/9. (6)

10 Dec 1939

Convoy K 6.

This convoy departed Bombay on 10 December 1939.

It was made up of the transports; Cap Tourane (French, 8009 GRT, built 1923), D'Artagnan (French, 15105 GRT, built 1925), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Tairea (British, 7934 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

These ships were carrying Indian and French troops and mules.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) H.C. Legge, DSC, RN) and HMS Maloja (Capt.(Retd.) C.R. Dane, RN).

Cover for he convoy was proviced by the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) which had departed Colombo on 9 December. They turned back at midnight during the night of 11/12 December 1939.

On 15 December 1939, on entering the Gulf of Aden the escorts parted company with the convoy which then proceeded unescorted to Suez where it arrived on 20 December.

After passing the Suez Canal the convoy departed Port Said on 21 December escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN).

The destroyers were relieved on 24 December by their sister ships HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN).

The convoy arrived at Marseilles on 26 December.

20 Dec 1939
Around 0900Z/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo after convoy escort duty. (6)

23 Dec 1939
Around 0250Z/23, the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard).

On departure from Colombo HMAS Hobart conducted gunnery exercises on a target that was being towed by the minesweeper HMS Widnes (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Chandler, RN).

Rendezvous with the Suffren was effected around 1015Z/24 in position 07°06'N, 85°48'E.

The cruisers made rendezvous with a convoy escorted by the French sloop Savorgnan de Brazza (Cdr. A.R.D. De Badens) around 2336Z/25 (dawn on 26 December in local time). The convoy was made up of the transports; Bougainville (French, 7293 GRT, built 1914), Yalou (French, 6783 GRT, built 1915) and Si-Kiang (French, 6738 GRT, built 1915).

HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy around 1200Z/27 and set course for Colombo where she arrived around 1235Z/28 and then completed with oil fuel.

HMAS Hobart departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN). They later joined the French convoy as additional escorts.

Around 0235Z/6, near Socotra, in position 12°00'N, 52°05'E, HMAS Hobart parted company and set course to return to Colombo where she arrived around 0325Z on 10 January 1940. (6)

6 Jan 1940

Convoy US 1.

Troop convoy from New Zealand and Australia to Suez.

The convoy departed Wellington, New Zealand on 6 January 1940 and on departure was made up out of the following troopships: Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Wellington the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. W.R. Patterson, RN) and the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN).

Two more troopships joined the convoy in New Zealand waters, these were: Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937) and Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy then set course for Australia.

On 9 January the troopships: Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925) and Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) departed Sydney to join the convoy which they did the next day. They were being escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN).

HMNZS Leander was then detached while HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN) joined the convoy on the 11th but already left again the day after.

On the 12th the troopship Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930) joined the convoy coming from Melbourne.

On 18 January the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) briefly joined the convoy escort but she parted company again later the same day.

On 20 January, near Fremantle the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) joined the convoy after which the Australian cruisers parted company and proceeded to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 30 January and entered the harbour as did HMS Ramillies. HMS Kent and Suffren kept patrolling off the harbour until the convoy set sail again on 1 February but now escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies the aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). HMS Ramillies and HMS Sussex had sailed with the convoy from Colombo, the other two escorts came from Trincomalee. HMS Kent and Suffren then entered Colombo. At Colombo the convoy had been joined by the French troopship Athos II (French, 15276 GRT, built 1927).

On 6 February 1940 the destroyer HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) joined the convoy coming from Colombo. On joinig the convoy she was oiled by HMS Sussex.

Early on the 7th, HMAS Hobart proceeded ahead to Aden with three of the troopships.

At dawn of the 8th the convoy arrived off Aden and three more of the troop transports entered the harbour. The remainder proceeded towards the Red Sea now escorted by HMS Sussex and HMAS Hobart. Aircraft from HMS Eagle patrolled in the area while HMS Ramillies fuelled in the outer anchorage.

The transports that had entered Aden left there on 9 February escorted by HMS Sussex as this cruiser had turned back when off the Perim Strait. HMS Sussex and HMS Westcott now escorted these ships until they met HMAS Hobart which had now dispersed the first group of transports in 22°30'N.

HMS Sussex then turned back to proceed to Aden leaving the transports of the second group to HMAS Hobart which then escorted the transports to 22°30'N when they were dispersed. HMS Westcott went on to Suez with the Rangitata. HMAS Hobart then also set sourse to return to Aden. (10)

15 Jan 1940
The aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to patrol off Ceylon. (11)

18 Jan 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Colombo from patrol. (11)

25 Jan 1940
The aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (11)

26 Jan 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee. (11)

29 Jan 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. (6)

31 Jan 1940
Around 0145Z/31, HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) departed Trincomalee to make rendezvous with convoy US 1.

She was followed around 0400Z/31 by HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which was to overtake and join HMS Eagle and then join the convoy with her.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 1 ' for 6 January 1940.] (6)

13 Feb 1940
Around 0405Z/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (6)

17 Feb 1940
Around 1900Z/17, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to overtake the troop transport Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939) and then escort her to Colombo.

The Andes had departed Aden just a few hours previously. HMAS Hobart joined her the following day. (6)

22 Feb 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the troop transport Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939) arrived at Colombo from Aden. (6)

22 Feb 1940
HMS Olympus (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN) conducted exercises off Colombo. These included a practice attack on the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) on her return from escort duties. (12)

25 Feb 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is docked at Colombo. (6)

1 Mar 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is undocked. (6)

3 Mar 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with HMS Durban (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN), HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) near Nancowry Island and then take over the escort of the gunboats from HMS Durban. (6)

6 Mar 1940
HMS Durban (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN), HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) departed Nancowry Island. Shorty after deparuture they made rendezvous with HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which then took over the escort of the gunboats which were to proceed to the Mediterranean via Colombo and Aden. (13)

8 Mar 1940
Around 1730Z/8, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) parted company with HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) to proceed to Trincomalee. (6)

9 Mar 1940
Around 1030Z/9, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee. (6)

11 Mar 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. (6)

12 Mar 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Trincomalee. HMAS Eagle was to proceed to Singapore for refit.

HMAS Hobart parted company around 0400FG/14, in position 07°55'N, 85°37'E, and set course to proceed to Colombo.

At 1403FG/14, an explosion occured in the bomb room of HMS Eagle, damage was sustained and one officer and twelve ratings were killed in the incident. (14)

16 Mar 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo. Before entering harbour gunnery exercises were carried out on a target that was being towed by HMS Widnes (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Chandler, RN). (6)

18 Mar 1940
The Commander-in-Chief East Indies, Vice-Admiral R. Leatham, CB, RN, hoisted his flag in HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). (6)

20 Mar 1940
The Commander-in-Chief East Indies, Vice-Admiral R. Leatham, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) to HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN). (6)

20 Mar 1940
Around 1223Z/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the 2nd Minesweeper Flotilla coming from Singapore. HMAS Hobart was to escort them to Colombo. The 2nd Minesweeper Flottila was made up of the following ships; HMS Abingdon (Capt. (Retd.) A.R. Farquhar, DSC, RN), HMS Bagshot (Lt.Cdr. J.F.B. Gage, RNVR), HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN), HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) and HMS Stoke (Cdr.(Retd.) C.J.P. Hill, RN).

Rendezvous was effected around 0721Z/22.

They arrived at Colombo around 1330Z/23. (6)

27 Mar 1940
HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) departed Colombo for exercises.

Later in the day HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) also sailed and she joined HMS Kent for the exercises.

Later HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral R. Leatham, CB, RN, C-in-C East Indies) also joined.

Exercises were then carried out with HMS Kent and HMAS Hobart operating together against an enemy raider which was portrayed by HMS Gloucester

Also flying boats were involved.

Exercises continued during the night. On completion of the exercises HMS Gloucester proceeded to Colombo while HMS Kent and HMAS Hobart set course for Trincomalee. (15)

29 Mar 1940
' Force I ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee. (16)

3 Apr 1940
' Force I ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (17)

4 Apr 1940
' Force I ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Trincomalee to intercept the Dutch merchant vessel Alcinous (6189 GRT, built 1925) which was reported to be carrying goods of German origin (contraband). This order was later cancelled and both ships proceeded to Colombo arriving there on the 5th. (18)

8 Apr 1940
During 8/9 April 1940, several sections of HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) are fumigated. (19)

13 Apr 1940
Around 0345Z/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo for Aden. (19)

14 Apr 1940
At 0245Z/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) intercepted the Danish merchant vessel Afrika (8597 GRT, built 1920) in position 07°52'N, 73°55'E. She was boarded and sent to Colombo under an armed guard of one Petty Officer and four ratings. (19)

15 Apr 1940
When in position 09°40'N, 63°07'E, the loom of a searchlight was sighted bearing 263°, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) then increased to full speed to intercept. It was considered probable that the searchlight was from the Dutch destroyer HrMS Van Galen (Cdr. A.S. Pinke, RNN) which was en-route from Colombo to Aden. This was subsequently fount to be the case and at 2106Z/15, signals were exchanged. It was estimated the loom of the searchlight had been sighted from a distance of over forty miles. (19)

15 Apr 1940

Convoy US 2.

This convoy departed Melbourne on 15 April 1940.

It was being made up of the following troop transports; Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937, 1476 troops), Ettrick (British, 11229 GRT, built 1938, 1476 troops), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912, 1257 troops), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913, 1400 troops) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932, 1564 troops).

On departure the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN).

The convoy arrived at Fremantle on 21 April 1940.

The convoy departed Fremantle on 22 April 1940 now escorted by HMS Ramillies and the light cruiser HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN).

At 1100G/28, the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) joined west of the Cocos Islands in position 12°19'S, 93°50'E.

At 1230G/28, HMAS Sydney parted company to return to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 3 May 1940. In the approaches distant cover was provided by the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) which also patrolled near the harbour until 4 May while the convoy was in harbour.

The convoy departed Colombo for Aden on 5 May now escorted by HMS Ramillies, HMS Kent and the Suffren.

The convoy arrived at Aden on 12 May.

The convoy departed Aden again later the same day now escorted by battleship HMS Ramillies, heavy cruiser Suffren, light cruiser HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN) and HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN). Light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) was briefly with the convoy taking the place of the Suffren which was delayed in leaving harbour. The sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) apparently joined the escort at sea the next day.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 17 May 1940. (10)

18 Apr 1940
Around 0600Z/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Colombo. (6)

25 Apr 1940
Around 0815Z/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for courtesy visits to Kamaran, Hoheida and Mocca.

She arrived at Kamaran around 0500Z/26.

She departed Kamaran around 1500Z/26 and arrived at Hoheida around 0500Z/27.

She departed Hoheida around 1645Z/27 and arrived at Mocca around 0315Z/28.

She departed Mocca around 1645Z/28.

HMAS Hobart returned to Aden around 0600Z/29. (19)

1 May 1940
Around 1630 hours (zone -3), HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN), departed Aden for Port Sudan. At the same time HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for Djibouti.

The cruisers then first conducted exercises before going their own way. (20)

2 May 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Djibouti. She departed for Berbera later the same day. (21)

3 May 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Berbera. She departed for Aden later the same day. (21)

4 May 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Berbera. (21)

12 May 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) briefly escorted convoy US 2.

For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 2 ' for 15 April 1940. (21)

14 May 1940
Around 1245Z/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to proceed to Berbera to provide cover for the disembarkment of Rhodesian troops from the transport Karanja (British, 9891 GRT, built 1931).

Around 0308Z/15, HMAS Hobart anchored off Berbera.

Around 0545Z/15, HMAS Hobart launched her aircraft for A/S patrol and to locate the Karanja.

Around 1000Z/15, the Karanja arrived from Mombasa / Kilindini. Disermarkation of the troops and stores commenced at 1130Z/15, boats from HMAS Hobart were assisting.

Disembarkation was halted for the night around 1800Z/15.

Around 0100Z/16, unloading the troops and stores recommenced. This was completed at 2359Z/16. A total of forty-two motor vehicles, four motor ambulances, 150 tons of general stores and 1164 troops had been landed.

Around 0400Z/17, the Karanja sailed for Aden followed 50 minutes later by HMAS Hobart.

HMAS Hobart arrived at Aden around 1400Z/17.

(21)

20 May 1940
Around 0400Z/20, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the A/S trawler HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN) departed Aden to reinforce the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) on the Perim patrol. HMAS Hobart was to provide cover for the two other ships.

21 May 1940
At 1439Z/21, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) received a signal ordering to proceed up the Red Sea to provide cover of British and Allied shipping. (21)

23 May 1940
At 0920Z/23, when in position 16°38'N, 41°02'E, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) turned south to make rendezvous with HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN).

HMAS Hobart joined them at 1336Z/23, in position 15°58'N, 41°32'E.

HMAS Hobart parted company with them around 2130Z/23 and then set course for Port Sudan. (21)

24 May 1940
Around 1230Z/24, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Port Sudan from patrol. (21)

26 May 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Port Sudan to relieve HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN) on the Perim patrol.

They made rendezvous around 1030C/27 and then briefly conducted exercises before HMS Liverpool departed for Aden about an hour later. (21)

28 May 1940
Around 1330C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) anchored in Perim Harbour.

Earlier that day, around 1030C/28, the destroyers HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) had taken over the Perim patrol from the sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) and A/S trawler HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN) which then set course to proceed to Djibouti. (21)

29 May 1940
At 1811C/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) left Perim Harbour for patrol. She returned at 1027C/30. (21)

29 May 1940
At 0956C/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) left Perim Harbour for patrol.

Around 1000C/1, she proceeded northwards to provide cover for fourteen British ships proceeding southwards through the Red Sea.

At 1420C/2, HMAS Hobart turned southwards when in position 17°50'N, 40°10'E.

Around 0800C/3, in position 15°09'N, 41°49'E, an Italian destroyer was sighted, which turned out to be the torpedo boat Vincenco Giordano Orsini apparently proceeding towards Massawa.

At 1125C/4, HMAS Hobart arrived at Aden. Before entering harbour gunnery exercises were carried out. (21)

11 Jun 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) departed Aden to conduct a raid in the Red Sea along the coast of Italian Somaliland.

12 Jun 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) returned to Aden after their a raid in the Red Sea along the coast of Italian Somaliland. They had sighted no enemy shipping.

13 Jun 1940
Around 1100C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to provide cover for ships on the Perim patrol. (22)

14 Jun 1940
Around 1300C/14, the transport Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923) departed Aden for Suez. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

They were joined around 1730C/14, in position 12°21'N, 44°10'E, by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN).

Around 1835C/15, HMS Flamingo was detached in position 16°48'N, 41°03'E to proceed to Kamaran.

Around 0130C/17, HMS Kingston was detached in position 22°40'N, 37°27'E

Around 0800C/17, HMAS Hobart detached the Khandalla in position 24°00'N, 37°00'E to continue her passage to Suez unescorted. She then joined the transport Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938) to escort her southwards through the Red Sea.

Around 0520C/18, HMS Kingston joined in position 20°26'N, 38°32'E.

Around 0818C/18, HMS Flamingo joined in position 19°55'N, 38°51'E.

At 0804C/19, HMAS Hobart launched her Walrus aircraft to attack the Italian W/T station on Centre Peak Island which was done successfully exactly an hour later. The aircraft then proceeded to Kamaran to refuel and from there flew to Aden.

Around 1200C/20, HMS Kingston was detached to Aden to fuel where sdhe arrived around 1430C/20.

Around 1350C/20, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Shahristan and HMS Flamingo and set course for Aden arriving around 1520C/20. (22)

20 Jun 1940
Around 2018C/20, having completed with fuel, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for the Perim patrol. (22)

21 Jun 1940
At 0438 hours, an A/S search was commenced over Arab shoal to search for an Italian submarine reported to be in the area. The ships that participated in this search were; HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN), HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN).

At 1115 hours, HMS Khartoum and HMS Kingston, obtained an A/S contact and a submarine hull was seen under water.

At 1130 hours HMS Khartoum fired a depth charge pattern followed 15 minutes later by a second depth charge pattern. Contact was lost after this attack.

At 1421 hours the search sheme had been completed without regaining contact. The destroyers were then ordered to seach the shallow water to the south-east of Marsha Island while the sloops were ordered to search the shallow water to the west of Ras Bir. It was believed that the depth charge attacks by HMS Khartoum had damaged the enemy submarine. The sloops were unable to conduct a search of their assigned area due to a sandstorm which reduced visibility to two cables.

At 1843 hours the destroyers lost touch with HMS Shoreham due to this sandstorm. All ships then proceeded towards the Brothers Islands keeping well clear of the coast. (23)

22 Jun 1940
Continuation of events of 21 June 1940.

At 0015 hours a search was commenced into a southerly direction from the Brothers Islands by HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN) and HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN).

At 0300 hours this search was completed and a new search in a northerly direction was then commenced. After this had been completed another search to the southward was commenced a bit further to the east.

At 0825 hours this search was completed and the destroyers then proceeded to a rendez-vous position with HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN).

At 0850 hours the destroyers were in company with Hobart and Shoreham.

At 1223 hours, HMAS Hobart catapulted her aircraft to search the area for the enemy submarine. It returned at 1428 hours having sighted nothing. (23)

23 Jun 1940
Around 1300C/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from operations. (22)

23 Jun 1940
Continuation of events of 22 June 1940.

At 0210 hours HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) parted company with HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) after a sweep up the Straits of Bab-el-Mandep had revealed no sign of the ememy submarine nor of enemy surface vessels that were thought to might have come to the submarines aid. HMS Kandahar and HMS Kingston were then joined by HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) to search in the Large Perim Strait. HMS Khartoum was detached to search the Small Perim Strait.

At 0410 hours HMS Kingston sighted a submarine on the surface proceeding up the strait and illuminated it with a searchlight. The submarine immediately dived and a search sheme to the eastwards was organised as it was thought that the submarine, knowing it had been sighted, might try to reach the deeper water of the open sea rather then the shallow water of the strait.

At 0530 hours, HMS Kingston sighted the submarine on the surface to the west-north-west. She turned and opened fire with her 4.7" guns soon followed by HMS Kandahar and HMS Kharthoum, the last one meanwhile had rejoined her sister ships. A gun battle then followed. HMS Shoreham meanwhile also closed the submarine and was engaged by the enemy with her deck gun. Two shells fell close ahead of Shoreham.

0553 hours, HMS Kandahar hit the enemy submarine on the forward casing. The enemy then stopped, ceased fire and started to settle in the water. The submarine crew abandoned ship and took to the water. The British ships then closed the submarine and started to pick up survivors at 0606 hours. A total of 53 survivors were picked up, four Italians were dead and two missing presumed killed.

At 0619 hours the enemy submarine sank beneath the waves. She had been scuttled by her crew to prevent capture. The submarine turned out to be the Evangelista Torricelli (Capitano di Corvetta (Lt.Cdr.) Salvatore Pelosi).

0647 hours - The destroyers then made off for the Gulf of Tajura as ordered to search for another enemy submarine but then the Italian Commanding Officer stated that it had been his submarine that had been attacked there the day before. HMS Kandahar and HMS Kingston then set course for Aden to land the survivors (They arrived later the same day) while HMS Kharthoum resumed the Perim patrol. She was lost later the same day.

30 Jun 1940
Around 1800C/30, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) departed Aden for Berbera. They were transporting Indian troops.

They arrived at Berbera around 0710C/1. HMAS Hobart and HMS Chantala anchored in the harbour. HMS Flamingo carried out an A/S patrol off the harbour entrance.

Around 1830C/1, HMAS Hobart and HMS Flamingo left Berbera to return to Aden where they arrived around 0630C/2. (24)

5 Jul 1940
Around 0515C/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to provide cover for HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) on the Perim patrol. (25)

7 Jul 1940
Around 0600C/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Aden from patrol. (25)

9 Jul 1940
Around 2220C/9, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) departed Aden to make rendezvous with the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) which was escorting the transports Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

Rendezvous was effected around 0630C/10. HMS Kimberley then took over the escort of the Takliwa with HMAS Hobart providing cover. They set course for Berbera.

HMS Colombo and the Talamba meanwhile continued on to Aden where they arrived early in the afternoon.

HMAS Hobart, HMS Kimberley and the Takliwa arrived off Berbera around 1320C/19 and disembarkation of troops and stores commenced. HMS Kimberley meanwhile conducting an A/S patrol off the area.

Around 1800C/11, disembarkation was completed and the ships left Berbera around 2210C/11.

Around 0030C/12, HMS Kimberley parted company to search for an enemy submarine reported earlier off Siyara (to the east of Berbera).

Around 0530C/12, HMAS Hobart and the Takliwa made rendezvous with HMS Colombo and the Talamba which had departed Aden around 0155C/12.

HMS Colombo then took over the escort of the Takliwa to Aden where they arrived around 1035C/12.

HMAS Hobart now escorting the Talamba proceeded to Berbera where they arrived around 1345C/12. They had been joined by HMS Kimberley around 0950C/12.

Unloading commenced with HMS Kimberley again conducted an A/S patrol off the area.

Unloading was completed around 1800C/14 and the ships left Berbera for Aden around an hour later.

Around 0045C/15, HMAS Hobart and HMS Kimberley parted company with the Talamba in position 11°32'N, 45°34'E.

The Talamba then set course for Bombay where she arrived on 19 July.

HMAS Hobart and HMS Kimberley arrived at Aden around 0730C/15. Before entering harbour exercises were carried out. (26)

20 Jul 1940
At 2013C/20, the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) and the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) departed Aden for an operation in the Red Sea to destroy the stranded Italian submarine Perla.

Around 0500C/21, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined company in position 148° Perim Light, 8 miles.

HMAS Hobart and HMS Ceres, screened by HMS Kingston and HMS Kimberley then proceeded up the Red Sea keeping close to the Yemen coast until south-west of Mocha (Mokka), when course was altered to the westward to pass between Harbi and Sayal Islands and thence up the Eritrean Coast.

At 1555C/21, when in position 14°23'N, 41°32'5"E with cruiser in line ahead screened by the two destroyers and steering 295°, sighted what appeared to be two destroyers ahead. Speed was increased to close when these 'destroyers' were identified as object inshore of Ras Cesar.

At 1605C/21, sighted a Dhow close inshore southward of the reported position of Perla and a dark object, which had all the appearanc of a submarine hull. This object was fist seen and pointed out to Captain Howden by the Navigating Officer. Captain Howden looked at it through binoculars and no doubt was raised in his mind tat it was other then the 'wreck' of the grounded Perla, The Observer Officer similarly examined it and also considered it to be the submarine, except that the size of the conning tower appeared reduced. Captain Howden later asked HMS Kingston if the conning tower had been hit during the gun action on 27 June. HMS Kingston replied that it had twice been hit but had not been demolished.

It was when the position of the suspected Perla was abaft the beam that the Navigating Officer raised some doubts as to the certainty of the object sighted being the Perla. By that time the distane away was considerable and as two enemy aircraft were in sight Captain Howden had not the opportunity for further observation. Later HMS Ceres was asked if she had sighted Perla and the response was 'No'. [Indeed the Italian submarine had arrived back at Massawa on 20 July after having been towed off the reef.]

At 1609C/21, HMS Kingston reported two aircraft to the northward and a few minutes later these was also seen onboard HMAS Hobart

At 1617C/21, course was altered to starboard to place them on the port beam and so gain sea room. By this time the ships were within 7.5 miles of the position of the suspected wreck of the Perla. At this stage the enemy aircraft were some nine or ten miles away and could only be recognised as large bombers in close formation.

At 1620C/21, the aircraft altered course towards and closes on the port beam, their height being about 8000 feet.

At 1623C/21, HMS Kingston opened fire rather prematurely as the bombers were well out of range and bursts were well short.

At 1625C/21, HMAS Hobart opened fire but the initial rounds were wide of the bombers, which however, opened up to about five spans. The bursts were getting closer and when one burst came below and between the bombers they altered course to starboard and the rear bomber jettisoned two large bombs while on a banked turn. These fell harmlessly into the sea 2-3 miles inshore of the port wing destroyer.

The rear aircraft, which appeared to be very nervous broke formation and banked steeply to port withdrawing to the north-west. The leader continued on an opposite course to the ships and withdrew out of range astern.

At 1637C/21, HMS Kimberley was detached to indentify the wreck of the Perla. In the meantime HMAS Hobart opened fire on the aircraft which was making up the coast towards Massawa, but her angle of sight was below the limit for which the control system was designed and shots burst wide and the aircraft withdrew outside gun range and disappeared to the north.

At 1650C/21, HMS Kimberley was closing the shore and was attacked by the leaders aircraft at 6000 feet. One bomb was dropped which fell some 1500 yards astern of HMS Kimberley which was then recalled. She reported seeing a dark shape on the beach near the dhow, but was not certain that it was the Perla.

The aircraft, which came under accurate fire from HMS Ceres, retired to the southward until out of range and then made off in a westerly direction, jettisoning a large bomb on the foreshore. The aircraft appeared to be attempting to attain a position right astern before attacking, but as they kept at long range there was no difficulty in keeping them on the beam.

The aircraft were identified as being SM 81's and the four bombs dropped by them were thought to be of 1250lbs in weight. Neither aircraft showed any desire to press home an attack and the rear aircraft appeared particularly uneasy. It is thought they had been sent out as a reconnaissance force and not a dedicated bombing force sent out for us.

When it became evident that no further air attacks were launched against us course was set to retire to the south-east.

At 1800C/21, HMS Kimberley was detached for the Perim patrol. HMAS Hobart and HMS Ceres set course to return to Aden screened by HMS Kingston. They arrived at Aden around 1200C/22. (25)

23 Jul 1940
Around 0015C/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for the Perim patrol. (25)

24 Jul 1940

Convoy RS 5.

This convoy departed Liverpool on 24 July 1940 for Suez.

It was made up of the troopship Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931) and the transport Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Liverpool the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H Layman, DSO, RN).

Also on the 24th the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Maloja (A/Capt. V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN) and the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, DSC, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN) departed Greenock. They made rendezvous with the ships coming from Liverpool around 0600A/25.

At 1000A/26, HMS Argus and the destroyers parted company to proceed direct to Gibraltar. They arrived at Gibraltar around 0700A/30.

The convoy, escorted by HMS Maloja, continued on towards Freetown where it arrived on 4 August 1940.

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The then convoy departed Freetown on 5 August 1940 for Capetown.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was now escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, MVO, RN).

Around 1200Z/11, the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Hermes then parted company to proceed independently on patrol and then on to Simonstown.

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 15 August 1940.

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The convoy, still in the same composition and still escorted by HMS Dragon departed Capetown for Durban on 16 August 1940.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 19 August 1940.

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The convoy departed Durban for Aden on 21 August 1940 now escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

The convoy arrived at Aden on 31 August 1940.

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The convoy departed Aden for Suez on 31 August 1940 now escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN). The armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) was also with the convoy for a while.

At 1830C/2, the Reina del Pacifico parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Suez where she arrived on 4 September 1940.

At 1920C/2, HMS Kandahar parted company with the convoy to proceed to Port Sudan to fuel.

At 0910C/3, the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) took over the escort of the Clan Ferguson from HMAS Hobart which in turn took over HMS Grimsby's southbound convoy.

HMS Grimsby and the Clan Ferguson arrived at Suez on 5 September 1940. (27)

26 Jul 1940
Around 0915C/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Aden from patrol. (25)

31 Jul 1940
Around 1800C/31, the transport Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914), with Indian troops on board, departed Aden for Berbera. She is escorted by the sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN).

Around 1820C/31, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to join them which she did around 2000C/31.

Around 1240C/1, the Varsova and HMAS Hobart arrived at Berbera. HMS Shoreham conducted an A/S patrol to seaward of them.

Around 1545C/1, the disembarkation of the Indian troops and their stores commenced.

At 0815C/2, HMAS Hobart commenced dragging her anchors due to the worsening weather conditions.

At 0815C/2, HMAS Hobart grounded.

Around 1600C/2, HMAS Hobart got off with assitance from the Varsova and HMS Shoreham. HMAS Hobart then proceeded to sea and carried out a short trials, manoeuvering under full rudder. The trial proved satisfactory and HMAS Hobart returned to Berbera, anchoring around 1715C/2. (28)

3 Aug 1940
At 1224C/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), departed Berbera to patrol off Cape Guardafui as it was thought that an Italian merchant vessel or even raider had departed Massawa and had evaded the Perim patrol during the night of 1 / 2 August. It was thought the enemy was posing as the Greek merchant vessel (tanker) Petrakis Nomikos (7020 GRT, built 1914).

The ship was not sighted an HMAS Hobart returned to Berbera around 1840C/5. On her arrival back at Berbara it was found that the Varsova and HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) had departed for Aden while the transport Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), sloop HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) and A/S trawler HMS Amber (A/S.Lt P.le M. Andrew, RNR) had arrived from Aden.

HMAS Hobart was to remain at Berbera to provide cover for landing and evactuation operations. (29)

6 Aug 1940

Convoy WS 2.

This convoy departed Liverpool / the Clyde on 6 August 1940 for the far east.

The Liverpool section of the convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Aska (British, 8323 GRT, built 1939), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Clan Macaulay (British, 10492 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937) and Waiwera (British, 12435 GRT, built 1934).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hammill, RN), HMS Havelock (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN), HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) and HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN).

The Clyde section of the convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Lanarkshire (British, 9816 GRT, built 1940), Memnon (British, 7506 GRT, built 1931) and Suffolk (British, 11063 GRT, built 1939).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN) and HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN).

Both sections made rendez-vous around 1200/6 and then the convoy was formed in position 55°30'N, 06°00'W.

Around 1430/6 (zone -1), the troopship Orion, was ordered to proceed to the Clyde as she had developed engine defects.

At 2118/7, the destroyers HMS Vortigern and HMS Watchman were detached in response to an SOS signal. [This was from the torpedoed Mohamed Ali El-Kebir.]

At 2359/7, HMS Emerald and the remaining destroyers parted company with the convoy.

Around dawn on the 8th the convoy split up in a 'fast' and a 'slow' section. The fast section was made up of the Andes, Batory, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Monarch of Bermuda, Strathaird and Stratheden. They were escorted by HMS Cornwall. The other ships formed the 'slow' section escorted by HMS Shropshire.

The 'fast' section arrived at Freetown on 15 August 1940. The 'slow' section arrived at Freetown on 16 August 1940.

----------------------------------------------------

On 16 August 1940 the 'fast' section departed Freetown for Capetown. It was now made up of the troopships / transports Andes, Batory, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Strathaird and Stratheden under the escort of HMS Cornwall.

The 'slow' section, now made up of the troopships / transports Clan Macaulay, Franconia, Lanarkshire, Memnon, Ormonde, Otranto, Suffolk and Waiwera under the escort of HMS Shropshire.

The fast sections arrived at Capetown on 25 August 1940, the slow section on 28 August 1940.

Both cruisers proceeded to Simonstown after delivering the convoy at Capetown, HMS Cornwall arriving there on 25 August and HMS Shropshire on 28 August.

----------------------------------------------------

On 30 August 1940 the troopships / transports Andes, Clan Macaulay, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Lanarkshire, Memnon, Otranto, Strathaird, Suffolk and Waiwera departed Capetown for Aden / Suez. They were escorted by HMS Shropshire. This convoy was now known as WS 2A.

On 2 September 1940, while off Durban, this convoy was joined by the troopships / transport Franconia and Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929) which had been escorted out of Durban by the HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN). These ships had departed Durban the day before.

The Llangibby Castle was detached from the convoy around noon on 7 September for Mombasa where she arrived on 8 September being escorted from them moment she had been detached by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN).

The convoy arrived near Aden on 12 September 1940 where it split into two sections around 2145C/12. The 'fast' section was escorted by light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN). HMS Shropshire remained with the 'slow' section but was reinforced by the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

Around 2310C/13, HMS Kandahar parted company with the fast section to proceed to Port Sudan to fuel.

Around 0130C/14, HMS Coventry and HMS Kingston were detached from the fast section, they were also to proceed to Port Sudan to fuel.

Around 0600C/14, HMAS Hobart parted company with the fast section which then continued its passage to Suez unescorted.

Around 1300C/14, HMS Kimberley parted company with the slow section.

Around 1930C/14, HMS Shropshire and HMS Flamingo parted company with the slow section which then continued its passage to Suez unescorted.

----------------------------------------------------

One day later, 31 August 1940, the troopships / transports Batory, Orion (which by now had also arrived at Capetown, Ormonde and Stratheden departed Capetown for Bombay. They were escorted by HMS Cornwall. This convoy was now known as WS 2B.

The escort of convoy WS 2B was taken over by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN) in position 35°08'S, 34°27'E at 1200/3. Half an hour later HMS Cornwall parted company with the convoy.

Convoy WS 2B arrived at Bombay in the morning of September 15th. (30)

11 Aug 1940
Around 0245C/11, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Berbera for Aden where she arrived around 1030C/11. (29)

14 Aug 1940
Around 0800C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for Berbera. (29)

16 Aug 1940
From 16 to 19 August 1940, Allied troops from Berbera, Italian Somaliland, were evacuated to Aden.

The troops were evacatuated by the transports Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (6491 GRT, built 1912), the hospital ship Vita (4691 GRT, built 1914) as well as the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).

Cover for the evacuation was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), AA -cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN), HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), minesweeper HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and the netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN).

On 17 August, HMS Ceres bombarded Italian Army targets which temporarily halted the Italian advance.

On 18 August, HMS Caledon and HMS Kandahar bombarded enemy units on the Bulhar-Berbera road.

The evacuation was completed on the 18th. Over 7000 men had been evacuated.

The last men were taken off by HMAS Hobart at Berbera early on the 19th. She left around 0845C/19 for Aden with the last of the Army personnel and the demolition parties which had demolished the harbour facilities. HMS Indus proceeded along the coast to pick up stragglers. (31)

19 Aug 1940
Around 1500C/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Berbera. (29)

22 Aug 1940

Convoy's AP 1 and AP 2.

This combined convoy sailed from the U.K. on 22 August 1940 and was made up of the following ships; Denbighshire (British, 8983 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Sydney Star (British, 12696 GRT, built 1936) and Waiotira (British, 11090 GRT, built 1939).

The aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) was also part of this convoy serving in the role as aircraft transport.

The convoy was heavily escorted, mostly by warships proceeding from home waters to join other stations.

The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CVO, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN) and HMS Tartar (Capt. C. Caslon, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 1045/22.

From Liverpool the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) sailed around 1430/22.

From the Clyde the AA cruisers HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyer HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN) sailed around 2030/22.

HMS Ashanti, HMS Bedouin and HMS Tartar had detached on 24 August.

HMS Valiant, HMS Illustrious, HMS Sheffield, HMS Calcutta, HMS Coventry, HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Fortune and HMS Fury proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 29 August.

Convoy AP 1 arrived at Freetown on 1 September escorted by HMS York. It departed for Capetown later the same day.

Convoy AP 2 (Sydney Star and HMS Argus arrived at Freetown on 2 September 1940 escorted by HMS Ajax. It departed for Durban later the same day. HMS Argus parted company with the convoy on 4 September and proceeded to Takoradi.

Convoy AP 1 arrived at Capetown on 9 September. HMS York proceeed to Simonstown arriving later the same day. The convoy departed again on 10 September still escorted by HMS York.

Convoy AP 2 arrived at Durban on 13 September and sailed again later the same day still escorted by HMS Ajax.

Around 1650C/20, HMS York turned over the escort of convoy AP 1 to the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN). After turning over the convoy HMS York proceeded to Aden arriving in the evening of September, 20th.

Around 1800C/21, HMS Coventry parted company.

Around 0900C/22, HMS Kandahar parted company to proceed to Port Sudan to fuel.

Convoy AP 1, escorted by HMAS Hobart and HMS Diamond arrived at Suez around midnight during the night of 23/24 September 1940.

Convoy AP 2 arrived off Aden on 22 September, still escorted by HMS Ajax. There it was joined by the transport Amra (British, 8314 GRT, built 1938), heavy cruiser HMS York and the destroyers HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN). HMS Ajax was then detached to Aden. The AA cruiser HMS Coventry also joined later on 22 September, parting company again at 1300/23.

Convoy AP 2 arrived at Suez on 25 September 1940.

23 Aug 1940
Around 1140C/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden with troops for Suez. (29)

26 Aug 1940
Around 0745C/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Suez where the troops were disembarked. (29)

28 Aug 1940
Around 0900C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Suez for Aden. (29)

29 Aug 1940
Around 1830C/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived off Jeddah, having been ordered to show herself of that port. Half an hour later she continued her passage to Aden. (29)

30 Aug 1940
At 0850C/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is attacked by an Italian SM.81 bomber in position 17°13'N, 40°29'E. No damage was done.

At 1025C/30, HMAS Hobart was attacked by three Italian SM.81 bombers in position 16°39'N, 40°41'E. Again no damage was done. (29)

31 Aug 1940
At 0900C/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Suez. (29)

31 Aug 1940
around 1700C/31, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) departed Aden to rendez-vous at sea with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN) and take over the escort of the two ships she is escorting (Convoy RS 5). These were the merchant vessels Clan Ferguson (British, 7347 GRT, built 1938) and Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931). They were to proceed to Suez. The armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) was also part of the escort.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy RS 5 ' for 24 July 1940.]

In the early evening of September 2nd, the Reina del Pacifico parted company and proceeded ahead to Suez where she arrived on the 4th.

Shortly afterwards, HMS Kandahar set course for Port Sudan to refuel.

At 0900/3, rendez-vous was made in position 23°20'N, 37°42'E with convoy BS 3A which came down from Suez. Escorts were then exchanged and both convoy's proceeded to their destinations.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BS 3A ' for 1 September 1940.] (31)

1 Sep 1940

Convoy BS 3A.

This convoy departed Suez on 1 September 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was to be dispersed on 6 September 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Khedive Ismael (Egyptian, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

At 0910C/3, the escort was passed to the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN).

The following moring the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) joined the convoy as escorts.

On the 5th the convoy was attacked by Italian aircraft but no damage was inflicted by the enemy.

Also on the 5th, in the afternoon, the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) joined. She was fuelled by HMAS Hobart between 1830C/5 and 2011C/5. 53 tons of FFO being supplied.

The convoy was dispersed around 1830C/6 in position 12°34'N, 47°07'E after which HMAS Hobart and HMS Kandahar proceeded to Aden where they arrived around 0700C/7. (31)

7 Sep 1940
Around 0700C/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) arrived at Aden after convoy escort duty. (32)

12 Sep 1940
Around 0545C/12, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden for escort duty with convoy WS 2A.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy WS 2 ' for 6 August 1940.] (33)

14 Sep 1940
Around 0900C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) made rendezvous with the southbound troopship Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931) which had departed Suez unescorted on the 12th.

Around 1600C/14, HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) joined coming from Port Sudan.

They arrived at Aden around 1600C/16. (33)

14 Sep 1940

Convoy US 5.

This convoy departed Sydney on 14 September 1940.

It was made up of the troopships; Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).

They were escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN).

In the afternoon of 16 September in Bass Strait the troopships Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927) and Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) joined coming from Melbourne.

At dawn on 21 September the sloop HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined in the approaches to Fremantle. The convoy arrived at Fremantle later the same day.

The convoy departed Fremantle on 22 September escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) and the sloop HMAS Warrego.

HMAS Warrego parted company around 0615H/23 and returned to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 1 October 1940.

The convoy departed Colombo for Aden on 2 October 1940 escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN).

The convoy arrived off Aden on 8 October 1940 where HMS Shropshire parted company after the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) had joined.

The escort parted company with the convoy around 0800C/10 to join southbound convoy SW 2.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 12 October 1940.

16 Sep 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) arrived at Aden after convoy escort duty. (31)

18 Sep 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Aden on a target that was being towed by HMS Huntley (Lt.Cdr. H.R.A. King, RNR).

She also fired a practice torpedo at HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) which acted as ' target '. (33)

20 Sep 1940
Between 1300C/20 and 1345C/20, the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) departed Aden to join convoy AP 1.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy's AP 1 and AP 2 ' for 22 August 1940.] (34)

23 Sep 1940

Convoy BN 6.

The Karachi section of this convoy departed that place on 23 September 1940.

It was made up of the transports; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911) and Pundit (British, 5305 GRT, built 1919).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

On 26 September 1940, the ' Kararchi section ' was joined by the ' Bombay section ' which had departed that place on 25 September 1940.

It was made up of the following transports (one one tanker); Borgestad (Norwegian, 3924 GRT, built 1924), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marisa (Dutch (tanker), 8029 GRT, built 1937), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nizam (British, 5322 GRT, built 1914), President Doumer (British, 11898, built 1935), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ranee (British, 5060 GRT, built 1928), Rhona (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Shirala (British, 7841 GRT, built 1925), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).

Around 1230C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) took over from the armed merchant cruisers which then parted company to proceed to Bombay.

Around 0800C/3, the sloops HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined.

Around 0830C/4, the ' Bombay / Karachi section ' merged with the ' Aden section '. On doing so, HMAS Hobart parted company and proceeded to Aden.

The ' Aden section ' was made up of the following transports / tankers; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Bencruachan (British, 5920 GRT, built 1928), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), City of Singapore (British, 1988 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ross (British, GRT, built ), Cyprian Prince (British, GRT, built ), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), El Amin (British, 746 GRT, built 1926), El Segundo (Panamanian (tanker), 3664 GRT, built 1912), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helka (British (tanker), 3471 GRT, built 1912), Hilda Moller (British, 4622 GRT, built 1912), Jalaputra (British, 4856 GRT, built 1906), Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Jhelum (British, 4038 GRT, built 1936), Liss (British (tanker), 5932 GRT, built 1921), Lurigethan (British, 3564 GRT, built 1916), Quiloa (British, 7765 GRT, built 1925), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Robert L. Holt (British, 2918 GRT, built 1926), Soli (Norwegian (tanker), 5834 GRT, built 1915), Star of Alexander (Egyptian, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Strix (Norwegian (tanker), 6219 GRT, built 1930), Therese Moller (British, 3930 GRT, built 1905) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

The convoy now proceeded northwards up the Red Sea.

At dawn on the 5th, the Ayamonte was detached to proceed to Kamaran escorted by HMAS Parramatta.

On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October convoy BN 6 was attacked by high level Italian bombers but no damage was done.

The following ships were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on 7 or 8 October 1940; Borgestad, Devonshire, El Amin, Garmula, Jehangir, Khandalla, Pundit, Rajput, Ranee, Rohna, Strix, Takliwa and Talamba.

From the escort HMIS Hindustan arrived and left Port Sudan on 7 October 1940, HMAS Auckland arrived and left on 8 October and HMAS Yarra arrived and left on 9 October. HMS Kingston also called at Port Sudan [date currently unknown to us].

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Suez on 11 October 1940. on 9 October 1940, HMS Leander had been replaced as escort by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN). (35)

24 Sep 1940
Around 0015C/24, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived off Suez. She anchored and repairs to her main and auxiliary engines were immediately taken in hand. She had also developed condenser trouble on 22 September. (33)

24 Sep 1940

Convoy SW 1.

This convoy departed Suez on 24 September 1940 for Durban where it arrived on 8 October 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Suffolk (British, 11145 GRT, built 1939).

Around 1200C/25, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) as escort. She had departed Suez around 0200C/25 to overtake the convoy.

Around 0720C/26, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined the escort. She came from Port Sudan.

Around 0715C/27, the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) joined the convoy having just parted company with the northbound convoy BN 5A.

The convoy arrived off Aden around 1715C/28, where the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN) took over the escort.

Also the merchant vessel California Star left the convoy and proceeded to Aden.

The transport Otranto proceeded to Mombasa, arriving there on 4 October.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 8 October 1940. (31)

28 Sep 1940
Around 2240C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (33)

4 Oct 1940
Around 1430C/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (36)

5 Oct 1940

Convoy BS 6.

This convoy departed Suez on 5 October 1940.

It was made up of the transports / tanker; Bahadur (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929), Baron Erskine (British, 3657 GRT, built 1930), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Charlbury (British, 4836 GRT, built 1940), Duffield (British (tanker), 8516 GRT, built 1938), Hydroussa (Greek, 2038 GRT , built 1922), Jalapadma (British, 3935 GRT, built 1929), Jessmore (British, 4099 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Phenix (British (tanker), 5920 GRT, built 1920, former French), Raby Castle (British, 4996 GRT, built 1925), Star of Mex (Egyptian, 1116 GRT, built 1911) and Trevarrack (British, 5270 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 8 October 1940 the transport Karoa was detached to Port Sudan.

On 9 October 1940 the two sloops were relieved by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division) and the sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN).

Also on 9 October 1940 the convoy was joined by the transport Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923) and sloop HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) coming from Port Sudan.

Around 1030C/13, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which relieved HMS Leander. The transports Baron Erskine, Hydroussa, Phenix and Star of Mex were detached to Aden escorted by HMIS Hindustan. They arrived around 2000C/13.

At dusk, HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy and set course for Colombo.

The convoy was dispersed later the same day and HMS Auckland and HMAS Yarra proceeded to Aden arriving around 0700C/14. (31)

8 Oct 1940
Between 0645C/8 and 1015C/8, HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) departed Aden for escort duty with convoy US 5.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 5 ' for 14 September 1940.] (36)

8 Oct 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) all departed Aden to join convoy US 5 as escort through the southern part of the Red Sea.

See the event ' Convoy US 5 ' for 14 September 1940 for more info on this convoy. (37)

8 Oct 1940

Convoy SW 2.

This convoy departed Suez on 8 October 1940 for Durban where it arrived on 22 October 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Amra (British, 8314 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Sydney Star (British, 12696 GRT, built 1936) and Waiotira (British, 11090 GRT, built 1939).

On departed from Suez the convoy was apparently not escorted.

On 9 October 1940 two more ships joined the convoy. These came from Port Sudan. They were the merchant vessels Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

Around 0800C/10, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) joined for onward escort until off Aden.

These ships parted company around 0900C/12 when the convoy was joined by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN).

This heavy cruiser escorted the convoy until 04°50'N, 30°00'E where the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN) took over.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 22 October 1940 minus three merchant vessels which had proceeded to other destinations; Amra and Waiotira proceeded to Bombay and Colombo respectively while Ormonde arrived at Mombasa on 18 October. (31)

10 Oct 1940
Around 0800C/10, northbound convoy US 5 and southbound convoy SW 2 met in the Red Sea and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) parted company with US 5 and joined SW 2.

[For more info on the southbound convoy see the event ' Convoy SW 2 ' for 8 October 1940.] (36)

12 Oct 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty.

[See the events ' convoy US 5 ' and ' convoy WS 2 ' for 22 September 1940 and 8 October 1940 respectively for more information on the convoy's they had been escorting.]

13 Oct 1940
Around 0600C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to join convoy BS 6 which she did around 1030C/13.

She parted company with the convoy at dusk and then set course for Colombo.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BS 5 ' for 5 October 1940.] (36)

17 Oct 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Colombo from Aden. At Colombo she is to undergo a short refit and docking. (36)

19 Oct 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is docked at Colombo. (36)

16 Nov 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) is undocked. (38)

19 Nov 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Colombo. (38)

19 Nov 1940

Convoy BS 9.

This convoy departed Suez on 19 November 1940.

It was made up of the transports; Arundo (Dutch, 5163 GRT, built 1930), Askot (Norwegian, 1323 GRT, built 1938), Australind (British, 5020 GRT, built 1929), Bahadur (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929), Clan Campbell (British, 7255 GRT, built 1937), Daisy Moller (British, 4078 GRT, built 1911), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Erica (South African, 5112 GRT, built 1926), Inviken (Norwegian, 4131 GRT, built 1925), Jalakrishna (British, 4991 GRT, built 1937), Katie Moller (British, 3100 GRT, built 1919), King Arthur (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Konistra (Greek, 3539 GRT, built 1907), Marion Moller (British, 3287 GRT, built 1909), Myrtlebank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Nyco (Norwegian, 1345 GRT, built 1938), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Serbino (British, 4099 GRT, built 1919), Subadar (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 22 or 23 November the transport Empire Defender (British, 5649 GRT, built 1910) joined coming from Port Sudan while the Marion Moller and Umberleigh, which had straggled from the convoy, were ordered to proceed to Port Sudan where they arrived on 23 November.

The two escorting sloops were replaced A.M. on 23 November by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN).

Around 1330C/26, the transports Clan Campbell, Inviken, Katie Moller, Konistra and Subadar parted company to proceed to Aden as did HMS Leander, HMS Carlisle and HMS Auckland.

At the same time, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) joined coming from Aden.

Around 0900C/27, HMIS Hindustan was detached to Aden.

Around 1200C/27, the convoy was dispersed in position 12°08'N, 46°53'E. HMAS Hobart and HMS Kingston setting course for Aden. (31)

20 Nov 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Colombo.

On completion of the exercises she set course for Aden. (38)

23 Nov 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Aden from Colombo. (38)

26 Nov 1940
Around 0945C/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to join convoy BS 9 which she did around 1330C/26.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BS 9 ' for 19 November 1940.] (38)

27 Nov 1940
Around 1830C/27, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (38)

27 Nov 1940

Convoy BN 10.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was made up of the following transports; El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

Around 1310C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) relieved HMS Hector in position 14°11'N, 53°03'E.

At 0700C/3, the sloop HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined in position 12°22'N, 45°30'E.

At 1630C/3, the convoy joined the ' Aden section ' of the convoy in position 12°25'N, 43°40'E.

The Aden section was made up of the following transports / tankers; Alcides (British, 7634 GRT, built 1930), Aldington Court (British, 4891 GRT, built 1929), Alpherat (Dutch, 5759 GRT, built 1928), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Dunkirk (British, 5861 GRT, built 1912), Doris (Greek, 4604 GRT, built 1917), Elizabeth Moller (British, 4353 GRT, built 1906), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Gazana (British, 5284 GRT, built 1920), Hatasu (British, 3198 GRT, built 1921), Islami (British, 5879 GRT, built 1934), Macoma (Dutch (tanker), 8069 GRT, built 1936), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nyholm (Norwegian (tanker), 5843 GRT, built 1927), Pontfield (British (tanker), 8319 GRT, built 1940), Riley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1936), Silvermaple (British, 5313 GRT, built 1937), Star of Suez (Egyptian, 4999 GRT, built 1926), Sygna (Norwegian, 3881 GRT, built 1907), Tanafjord (Norwegian, 5922 GRT, built 1921) and Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929).

The captured Italian submarine HMS X 2 (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) P.E. Heathfield, RN) was also part of the convoy.

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN).

Around 1750C/5, in position 18°08'N, 40°08'E the transport Talma parted company to proceed to Port Sudan. She was escorted by HMS Calcutta and HMS Kimberley.

Around 0530C/5, the Alcides, Sygna and parted company to proceed to Port Sudan escorted by HMIS Indus.

The transport Islami also parted company to proceed to Jeddah.

Around 1600C/6, HMS Kimberley rejoined having fuelled at Port Sudan.

Around 1200C/7, convoy BN 10 and convoy BS 10 met in position 21°50'N, 37°50'E. HMAS Hobart, HMS Kimberley and HMS Auckland joined convoy BS 10 and the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) took over the escort of convoy BN 10.

One hour later HMS Kimberley was ordered to escort the transport Talma to convoy BN 10. This ship had been escorted to the rendezvous position from Port Sudan by HMIS Indus. HMIS Indus then joined convoy BS 10. After the Talma had rejoined convoy BN 10, HMS Kimberely proceeded south again to rejoin convoy BS 10.

Convoy BN 10, escorted by HMS Grimsby and HMIS Clive arrived at Suez on 10 December 1940. (31)

30 Nov 1940
Around 0630C/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Aden to make rendezvous with convoy BN 10 which was effected around 1310C/1 in position 14°11'N, 53°03'E.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BN 10 ' for 27 November 1940.] (39)

4 Dec 1940

Convoy BS 10.

This convoy departed Suez on 4 December 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 11 December 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alice Moller (British, 4986 GRT, built 1914), Arena (Norwegian (tanker), 6362 GRT, built 1927), British Endurance (British (tanker), 8406 GRT, built 1936), British Hope (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Renown (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1928), British Sailor (British (tanker), 5576 GRT, built 1918), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (British, 12427 GRT, built 1935), Ioannis P. Goulandris (Greek, 3750 GRT, built 1910), Katingo Hadjipatara (Greek, 3661 GRT, built 1913), Katy (Norwegian, 6825 GRT, built 1931), Khosrou (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marcella (British, 4592 GRT, built 1928), Margot (British, 4545 GRT, built 1926), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rosalie Moller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1910), Roxane (British, 7813 GRT, built 1929), Speybank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT (tanker), built 1930).

They were escorted on departure from Suez by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 7 December 1940 five ships joined coming from Port Sudan. These were; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helen Moller (British, 5259 GRT, built 1918), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Wayfarer (British, 5068 GRT, built 1925).

They had left Port Sudan on the 6th.

Around 1200C/7 the convoy escort was taken over by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN). Around 1300C/7, HMS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined. She had come with the transport Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) from Port Sudan. On HMIS Indus joining, HMS Kimberley parted company with the convoy to escort the Talma to convoy BN 10 which she was to join. After doing so HMS Kimberley rejoined convoy BS 10 around 0700C/8.

At 0630C/8, the patrol yacht HMS Sagitta (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.H. Straight, RNR) joined the convoy.

The destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) also joined convoy BS 10, apparently on the 8th.

Around 0635C/9, the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined convoy BS 10.

Around 1830C/10, HMS Carlisle and HMS Kandahar parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden.

Around 1800C/11, HMS Auckland and HMS Sagitta were detached with the ' Aden portion ' of the convoy which was made up of the following ships Ayamonte, Elpis and Khosrou, Roxane.

Around 2030C/11, the transport Vacport was detached to Aden due to a reported case of smallpox.

Around 0400C/12, HMAS Hobart and HMIS Indus parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden. The convoy went on to it's dispersal point escorted by HMS Kimberley.

The convoy was dispersed later on the 12th. (40)

12 Dec 1940
Around 0735C/12, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) anchored in the outer harbour at Aden. She entered the inner harbour around 1110C/12.

Around 1800C/12, she left for Colombo.

HMAS Hobart was to return to Australia. (41)

19 Dec 1940
Around 1150EF/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Addu Attoll to fuel from the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917). During her passage to Colombo she had been diverted to search for an enemy raider reported east of the Maldive Islands.

She left around 1730EF/19, to patrol south-south-east of Ceylon in the area near 00°01'N, 83°00'E and then to proceed to Fremantle. (41)

28 Dec 1940
Around 1030H/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Fremantle.

Around 1800H/28, she departed for Sydney. (41)

3 Jan 1941
Around 1105K/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Sydney (Garden Island) from Fremantle. (42)

4 Jan 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) commenced a short refit at Sydney. She was to remain at 48 hours notice for sea though. (42)

21 Jan 1941
At 0800K/21, the Rear-Admiral Commanding HMA Squadron, Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, hoised his flag on board HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). (42)

22 Jan 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) conducted D/G trials at Sydney. (42)

23 Jan 1941
Around 1400K/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Sydney to join HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) at sea. HA gunnery exercises were then carried out on a sleeve towed by an aircraft.

On completion of the exercises HMAS Adelaide proceeded to Sydney.

HMAS Hobart was then joined by the troop transports Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) which she was to escort to New Zealand. (42)

26 Jan 1941
Around 0115LM/26, in position 36.22'S, 169.00'E, the Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) was detached to proceed independently to Wellington.

HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, XBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) then continued with the Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924) towards Auckland.

At 0300M/27, when off the entrance of the swept channel near Cape Brett thick for was encountered. The ships then proceeded independently to Auckland.

Around 1250M/27, arrived at Auckland. Rear-Admiral Grace then left the ship with most of his staff to proceed to Wellington by train. (42)

29 Jan 1941
Around 0500M/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Auckland for Wellington. (42)

30 Jan 1941
Around 1445M/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Wellington from Hobart. Here Rear-Admiral Grace re-boarded the ship. (42)

1 Feb 1941
Around 1545M/1, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Wellington to escort the troopship Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) to Sydney where they arrived around 0620K/4.

On arrival at Sydney, Rear-Admiral Crace transferred his flag to shore establishment HMAS Rushcutter. (43)

4 Feb 1941

Convoy US 9.

This convoy departed Sydney on 4 February 1941 and arrived at Bombay on 22 February 1941.

The convoy was made up of the troopships; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914), Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Sydney, around 1420K/4, the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN).

Off Melbourne, at 1650K/6, the convoy was joined by the troopship Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy arrived at Fremantle around 0800H/10 and departed again on 12 February 1941 but now escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN).

In the afternoon of the 16th the convoy made rendezvous with the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) which took the Queen Mary with her to Singapore where they arrived on the 18th.

On the 20th, HMAS Canberra was relieved by the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN).

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 22 February 1941.

11 Feb 1941
Around 0815H/11, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle to return to Sydney. (44)

16 Feb 1941
Around 1315K/16, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Sydney from Fremantle. (44)

17 Feb 1941
Around 1500K/17, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Achilles (from the New Zealand Division) (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) departed Sydney for exercises. They returned around 2330K/17. (44)

18 Feb 1941
Around 0840K/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Achilles (from the New Zealand Division) (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) departed Sydney for exercises. They parted company around 1610K/18. HMAS Hobart returning to harbour while HMS Achilles set course for New Zealand escorting the transport California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938). (44)

19 Feb 1941
Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, hoisted his flag in HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). (44)

22 Feb 1941
At 1100K/22, Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, struck his flag on board HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and transferred it to shore establishment HMAS Rushcutter. His Office and Staff remained on board HMAS Hobart though.

Around 1145K/22, HMAS Hobart departed Sydney to escort the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) to Auckland. (44)

25 Feb 1941
Around 1305M/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) arrived at Auckland from Sydney.

Around 1745/25, HMAS Hobart departed Auckland to patrol in the Tasman Sea but shortly afterwards her orders were cancelled and she was ordered to proceed to Melbourne instead. (44)

1 Mar 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Melboune from Auckland.

She departed later the same day in company with her sister ship HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN). They were to proceed to Fremantle. (44)

5 Mar 1941
Around 0700H/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Melbourne.

At 1100H/5, Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, hoisted his flag on board HMAS Hobart. (44)

6 Mar 1941

Convoy CF 1.

This convoy departed Colombo on 6 March 1941.

It was made up of the troopships; Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN).

Around 1730FG/11, HMAS Australia was reinforced by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) coming from Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle in the early afternoon of March 15th, (45)

7 Mar 1941
Around 1600H/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) departed Fremantle for exercises which lasted until 2100H/7, they then set course to make rendezvous with convoy CF 1.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy CF 1 ' for 8 March 1941.] (46)

15 Mar 1941
HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) arrived at Fremantle with convoy CF 1. (46)

17 Mar 1941
Around 0830H/17, HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) departed Fremantle. They were escorting the troopships Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) until 0700H/18 when the cruisers left the troopships in position 36°11'S, 116°25'E.

The troopships then proceeded independently, HMAS Australia set course for Albany while HMAS Hobart and HMAS Sydney set course for Melbourne. (46)

22 Mar 1941
Around 0900K/22, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) entered Port Philip. HMAS Hobart then proceeded to Melbourne while HMAS Sydney proceeded to Williamstown. (46)

23 Mar 1941
Around 0915K/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) departed Melbourne and Williamstown respectively.

They then met HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) in position 38°41'S, 144°29'E around 1500K/23.

The three cruisers then set course for Sydney. (46)

24 Mar 1941
Around 1540K/24, HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) arrived at Sydney.

HMAS Hobart then went to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard where she was docked in the Sutherland Dock. (46)

27 Mar 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) is undocked. (46)

4 Apr 1941
Around 0930K/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) departed Sydney for Wellington. (47)

6 Apr 1941
Around 1800M/6, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) arrived at Wellington from Sydney.

At 1336K/6, while in Cook Strait, the Walrus aircraft of HMAS Australia crashed on being launched. The pilot was killed, the other crewmembers were picked up. (47)

7 Apr 1941

Convoy US 10.

This convoy departed Wellington, New Zealand on 7 April 1941. It arrived at Colombo / Trincomalee on 26 April 1941.

On departure from Wellington, around 1620M/7, the convoy was made up of the troopships; Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN).

Around 0430K/10, HMNZS Achilles parted company in position 35°15'S, 152°45'E and proceeded to Jervis Bay where the troopship Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936) is anchored under the protection of the light cruiser HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN). When HMNZS Achilles arrived HMAS Sydney departed Jervis Bay for Sydney.

The remainder of the convoy meanwhile went to Sydney where they arrived around 1000K/10.

Around 0830K/11, the convoy departed Sydney with two more troopships in it, these were the Ile de France (British, 43450 GRT, built 1926) and Queen Elizabeth (British, 83673 GRT, built 1939). Escort was HMAS Australia.

In the afternoon of the 11th they were joined in position 35°24'S, 152°05'E by the Queen Mary and HMNZS Achilles. HMNZS Achilles then parted company to proceed to Sydney.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle on 16 April and departed from there in the same composition on 19 April.

In the afternoon of 22 April the convoy made rendezvous in position 08°30'S, 104°45'E with the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) which then took the Nieuw Amsterdam with her to Singapore. They arrived at Singapore on 24 April.

In the afteroon of the 25 April the convoy made rendezvous in position 03°00'N, 84°45'E with the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) which then took the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary with her to Trincomalee where they arrived on 26 April.

HMS Australia with the Ile de France and Mauretania proceeded to Colombo where they arrived on 26 April. (48)

18 Apr 1941
Around 1200K/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) departed Sydney for gunnery exercises.

On completion of these exercises, HMAS Hobart returned to Sydney around 1645K/18.

HMAS Adelaide then joined the transport Zealandia (Australian, 6660 GRT, built 1910) which she was to escort to Rabaul. (49)

22 Apr 1941
Around 1155K/22, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) to Auckland. (47)

25 Apr 1941
Around 0625M/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and the troop transport Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936) arrived at Auckland from Sydney. (47)

27 Apr 1941
Around 0830M/27, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Auckland for Sydney. (47)

30 Apr 1941
Around 1500K/30, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) arrived at Sydney from Auckland. (47)

5 May 1941
From 5 May to 13 May 1941, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) was at the Garden Island naval base for some modifications and repairs. (50)

19 May 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Sydney for Melbourne. (50)

22 May 1941
Around 1300K/22, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) arrived at Melbourne from Sydney. (50)

23 May 1941
Around 1830K/23, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Melbourne escorting the transport Zealandia (Australian, 6660 GRT, built 1910) part of the way to Fremantle.

The escort duties of the transport were handed over to HMAS Sydney (Capt. J. Burnett, RAN) around 1200K/26. (50)

28 May 1941
Around 1130K/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) returned to Melbourne from escort duty. (50)

2 Jun 1941
Around 1315K/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Melbourne for Sydney. On departure she conducted torpedo firing exercises in Port Phillip. (51)

4 Jun 1941
Around 1015K/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) arrived at Sydney from Melbourne. (51)

7 Jun 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) is docked in the Sutherland Dock at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. She is to undergo a short refit before being sent to the Mediterranean. (51)

15 Jun 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) is undocked at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. She then proceeded to the Garden Island naval base to complete her refit which also included the removal of her catapult and other aircraft facilities as these were to be substituted for more close range AA armament. (51)

19 Jun 1941
Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN, struck his flag on board HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and then hoisted it in HMAS Rushcutter. (51)

20 Jun 1941
Around 2000K/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Sydney for Fremantle. (51)

25 Jun 1941
Around 2100H/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Sydney. (51)

26 Jun 1941
Around 1145H/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle for Port Victoria, Seychelles. On leaving harbour gunnery exercises were carried out. (51)

5 Jul 1941
Around 0915D/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Port Victoria, Seychelles from Fremantle.

She departed around 1715D/5 for Aden. On leaving gunnery exercises were carried out on a smoke float. (52)

9 Jul 1941
Around 0945C/9, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, cBE, RAN) arrived at Aden from Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Around 1620C/9, she departed Aden for Suez. (52)

12 Jul 1941
Around 1600C/12, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Suez from Aden. (52)

13 Jul 1941
Around 1835C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) weighted anchor off Suez and entered the Suez Canal for northward passage together with HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN).

Shortly after entering the Suez Canal their passage was cancelled and they returned, stern first, to the inner anchorage where they anchored around 2000C/13. (52)

14 Jul 1941
In the early hours of the 14th, Port Tewfik and the anchorages were attacked by German aircraft. Among the ships damaged were the troopship Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932) and the landing ship HMS Glenearn (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, OBE, RN).

HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) went to the assistance of both ships. (52)

15 Jul 1941
Around 1000C/15, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Port Tewfik to start the northward passage of the Suez Canal. As 13 mines had been reported to have been dropped in the southern part of the Suez Canal the ships had to drift over mined positions with all main and auxiliary machinery stopped. They were also preceeded by acoustic and magnetic sweeping craft.

Around 1530C/15, they arrived in the Great Bitter Lakes.

HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) then conducted post-repair trials at Lake Timsah near Ismalia. (53)

16 Jul 1941
Around 0930C/16, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed the Great Bitter Lakes for Alexandria. During the passage of the northern part of the Suez Canal they were preceeded by acoustic and magnetic sweeping craft. (54)

17 Jul 1941
Around 1115C/17, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (53)

18 Jul 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is taken in hand at Alexandria for the fitting off additional close range anti-aircraft armament. (52)

22 Jul 1941
Around 2100C/22, the Mediterranean Fleet, made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), fast minelayers HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Latona (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) departed Alexandria to proceed to a position to the west of Crete.

Earlier that day the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Leander (New Zealand Division) (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) had departed Haifa to rendez-vous with the fleet at 0600C/23.

At daylight on 23 July the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (A/Cdr. W. Pope, RN) also joined the fleet.

After dark on 23 July the fleet turned eastwards. HMS Neptune, HMS Abdiel and HMS Kimberley were then detached with orders to proceed to Port Said where they arrived on 24 July.

HMS Latona, HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar and HMS Kandahar were detached on the 24th to make rendez-vous off Alexandria with the damaged aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) and escort her to Port Said. HMS Formidable arrived at Port Said on the 25th. HMS Latona and the destroyers then proceeded to Haifa.

On the 24th HMS Leander was also detached with orders to proceed to Port Said where she arrived on 25 July to embark troops together with HMS Latona and HMS Jaguar.

The bulk of the fleet returned to Alexandria around 1800C/24. (55)

25 Jul 1941
Work on fitting additional close range anti-aircraft armament to HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is resumed. (52)

28 Jul 1941
Around 1315C/28, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria for Haifa. (52)

28 Jul 1941
Around 0900C/29, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Haifa from Alexandria. (52)

4 Aug 1941
Around 1300C/4 HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) departed Haifa for gunnery and torpedo exercises. On completion of these they proceeded to Port Said.

The following morning, around 0600C/5, they were joined at sea by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN).

They arrived at Port Said around 1000C/5. (56)

5 Aug 1941
Around 1315C/5, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) departed Port Said with about 2000 troops for Famagusta. (57)

6 Aug 1941
Around 0035C/6, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Famagusta. After unloading the troops HMAS Hobart, HMS Kandahar and HMS Kimberley departed for Alexandria where they arrived around 1900C/6.

HMS Kipling proceeded to Haifa where she also arrived later the same day. (55)

13 Aug 1941
Around 1730C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said. (57)

14 Aug 1941
Around 0720C/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) arrived at Port Said. They had been delayed for about 1.5 hours due to minesweeping of the swept channel not being completed upon their arrival. (57)

15 Aug 1941
Around 1110C/15, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Pleydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) departed Port Said loaded with almost 2000 troops for Famagusta. (57)

16 Aug 1941
Around 0040C/16, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Pleydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) arrived at Famagusta.

After disembarking their troops they departed around 0330C/16 for Haifa where they arrived around 1130C/16. HMS Abdiel left Farmagusta around 0230C/16 with orders to proceed to Alexandria where she arrived around 1720C/16. (58)

31 Aug 1941
Around 1830C/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Haifa for Alexandria. (59)

1 Sep 1941
Around 1110C/1, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Alexandria from Haifa. (60)

3 Sep 1941
Around 1010C/3, the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) departed Alexandria for exercises.

HMS Valiant and HMAS Hobart returned to Alexandria around 1915C/3. The destroyers remained out for night exercises and only returned to Alexandria around 1430C/4 minus HMAS Vendetta which had set course for Port Said on HMS Valiant and HMAS Hobart's return to harbour. (61)

9 Sep 1941
HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Latona (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) conducted exerises off Alexandria.

Shorty after noon they were joined by the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN).

HMS Barham, HMS Neptune, HMS Ajax and HMAS Hobart returned to Alexandria early in the evening and HMS Napier returned to Alexandria late in the evening. The other ships remained at sea. (62)

15 Sep 1941
Around 0855C/15, the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria with supplies for Tobruk.

The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) had departed Alexandria around 0840C/15 for exercises.

The destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria around 1035C/15 to join the light cruisers on completion of their exercises and then to cover provide cover for the store carrying destroyers.

All ships returned to Alexandria on the 16th, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam and HMS Havock around 1345C/16 followed by HMS Kingston around 1405C/16. HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune and HMAS Hobart returned around 1445C/16 and finally HMS Kimberley entered harbour around 1610C/16. (63)

17 Sep 1941
Around 1850B/17, HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria to embark troops at Beirut or Haifa.

Around 0800B/18, HMS Neptune parted company with the other ships and proceeded to Haifa arriving there around 1110B/18.

HMS Ajax and HMAS Hobart arrived at Beirut around 1405B/18.

HMS Neptune departed Haifa around 0430B/19 and arrived at Beirut around 0815B/19.

All three cruisers departed Beirut for Alexandria around 1100B/19.

They were joined at sea around 1230B/19 by the destroyers HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN).

All five ships arrived at Alexandria around 0615B/20. (64)

22 Sep 1941
At 0800B/22, the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN) and the destroyers and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria with supplies for Tobruk.

Their return passage was covered by the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) which departed Alexandria around 2200B/22.

All ships returned to Alexandria around noon the following day. (65)

26 Sep 1941
Around 0900B/26, the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) departed Alexandria for a diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean during 'Operation Halberd' in the Western Mediterranean.

They returned to Alexandria in the afternoon of the 27th. (55)

2 Oct 1941
The destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) were sent out from Alexandria at 0615 hours for an A/S search after the A/S whaler HMS Klo had reported being attacked by an enemy submarine.

They sailed together with HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) but these two apparently did not go to the assistance of HMS Klo.

At 0947 hours, the destroyers HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) also departed Alexandria for exercises followed by the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN) and HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN) at 1015 hours. It had been intedend to sail earlier but the submarine-report from HMS Klo delayed the start of the exercises. Light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) sailed around noon to join the exercises.

The ships (minus HMAS Hobart) remained out for exercises during the night and they returned to Alexandria as follows;

0820B/3; HMS Kandahar, HMS Hero and HMS Decoy.

0855B/3; HMS Barham, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant, HMS Kipling, HMS Kimberley, HMS Jupiter, HMS Hotspur and HMS Griffin.

0925B/3; HMS Kingston and HMS Jaguar. These last two destroyers entered Alexandria with the submarine HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) which returned from patrol.

HMAS Hobart had already returned at 2345B/2. (66)

10 Oct 1941
Shortly after 0900 hours, the battleships HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria for a sweep to the westwards.

The destroyers HMS Jupiter, HMS Kandahar, HMS Griffin, HMS Decoy and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale, HMS Eridge were detached for a sweep towards Bardia. The destroyers HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) had sailed from Alexandria to join the fleet to take their place in the screen.

The fleet turned back to the east around 1800 hours. They returned to Alexandria in the morning of the 11th.

The destroyers that had been detached returned to Alexandria in the afternoon of the 11th. (55)

12 Oct 1941

Operation 'Cultivate'.

Replacement of Australian troops at Tobruk with 'fresh' troops.

At 0700B/12 the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) departed Alexandria with troops and stores for Tobruk.

A cover force also sailed from Alexandria. It was made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN).

The cruisers with three of the destroyers were detached during the night. They rejoined at daylight when the fleet set course to return to Alexandria.

Meanwhile Abdiel with her destroyers had landed the stores and troops at Tobruk and taken on board troops that were being relieved and set course to return to Alexandria.

Early in the afternoon a report was received of Italian cruisers and destroyers and the fleet was turned westwards again. Shortly afterwards the fleet was attacked by three enemy torpedo bombers but no damage was done. During the night the cruisers and three of the destroyers were again detached.

At daylight on the 14th the detached ships again rejoined and course was set to return to Alexandria. The fleet arrived at Alexandria around 1530B/14.

Operation 'Cultivate' continued for a while sending 'fresh' troops to Tobruk. (55)

20 Oct 1941
The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Alexandria at 0830B/20 to bombard an enemy gun battery near Tobruk during the night of 20/21 October.

The cruisers returned to Alexandria at 1330B/21. At 0610B/21 the destroyers had been detached to go to the assistance of the gunboat HMS Gnat (Lt.Cdr. S.R.H. Davenport, RN) which had been torpedoed and heavily damaged. Due to the air threat they remained near Mersa Matruh and were not allowed to proceed further to the west. HMS Griffin and HMS Jaguar were later joined by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN).

They contacted the damaged gunboat before sunset. HMS Griffin took HMS Gnat in tow escorted by HMS Jaguar and the A/S whalers HMSAS Southern Maid and HMS Klo.

Tow was later passed to the tug HMS St. Monance.

HMS Jaguar, HMS Avon Vale and HMS Eridge arrived at Alexandria at 0030B/23.

HMS Gnat and HMS Griffin arrived at Alexandria later on 23 October. (67)

23 Oct 1941
The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria around 0845B/23 on a bombardment operation.

During the night of 23/24 October the light cruisers and the escort destroyers bombarded the Bardia area. Petrol dumps and a building, thought to be the Army headquarters were the main targets.

The four fleet destroyers had been detached and bombarded the Sollum area.

All ships then returned to Alexandria. The cruisers arrived around 1145B/24. (55)

25 Oct 1941
The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria around 1400B/25 for further bombardment operations.

The light cruisers and the destroyers HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam and HMS Hasty bombarded the Bardia area during the night of 25/26 October.

The destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar, HMS Jupiter and HMS Kimberley were detached to go to the assistance of the fast minelayer HMS Latona (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) which had been bombed and later sank as result of the damage.

All ships returned to Alexandria in the first half of the afternoon of the 26th. (55)

12 Nov 1941
Around 0830B/12, the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for gunnery exercises. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN). They were joined around 1100B/12 by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN).

They returned to harbour around 0100B/13. (68)

16 Nov 1941

Operation Chieftan

Dummy convoy to Malta from Gibraltar to create a diversion for the enemy during army operations in Libya.

16 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

On 16 November a dummy convoy departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards, it was made up of the merchant vessels; Baron Newlands (British, 3386 GRT, built 1928), Blairatholl (British, 3319 GRT, built 1925), Cisneros (British, 1886 GRT, built 1926), Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940) and Shuna (British, 1575 GRT, built 1937).

The RFA tanker Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), sloop HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), and the corvettes HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.C. Connell, RNR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, DSO, RNR).

HMS Wild Swan got an A/S contact and was detached to hunt it reinforced by the corvette HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) from Gibraltar.

The corvette Marigold detected and depth charged the German submarine U-433. The submarine surfaced and was sunk at 2155/6 on 16 November 1941 in the Mediterranean east of Gibraltar, in position 36°13'N, 04°42'W.

17 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy turned back to the eastwards again on the 17th.

18 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy arrived back at Gibraltar in the evening of the 18th.

Eastern Mediterranean.

Around 0730/18 the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria to be at sea to support several operations in the Mediterranean.

Around 1105B/18, the fleet was joined by the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) which had already been at sea.

The fleet turned back towards Alexandria after dark.

On the 18th HMS Naiad and HMS Euryalus split off together with the destroyers HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling for a night bombardment of the Helfaya pass area upon which they also returned to Alexandria. They too arrived before noon on the 19th.

' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1845/18 to create a diversion during the night.

19 November 1941.

Eastern Mediterranean.

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0730/19.

The fleet arrived back in harbour before noon on the 19th followed shortly afterwards by HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling. (55)

17 Nov 1941
Around 1115B/17 the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to bombard the Sollum area during the night of 17/18 November 1941. The bombardment however had to be cancelled due to the bad weather conditions. The ships then joined the Mediterranean Fleet which had departed Alexandria in the morning of the 18th at noon on the 18th.

They returned to Alexandria with the Fleet on the 19th.

[For more info see the event ' Operation Chieftan ' for 16 November 1941.] (68)

20 Nov 1941
Around 1130B/20, the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria to conduct a bombardment of the Bardia area during the night of 20/21 November. They were joined off the gate by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) which had departed around 1000B/20.

Around 1400B/20, they were joined, about 40 miles east of Alexandria by the escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) which had departed Alexandria around 1315B/19 for an A/S hunt for a reported enemy submarine reported by an aircraft. (which in the end turned out to be HMSAS Southern Maid).

A bombardment was carried out around 0200B/21 and course was then set to join the fleet at sea which was done around noon. (69)

21 Nov 1941

Operations ME 7 and Landmark.

Diversionary attack on Tripoli to divert enemy air strenght away from the Bardia / Halfaya pass area during land operations.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Alexandria for operation ME 7.

At noon, the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) joined the fleet at sea having completed their bombardment. The four hunt-class destroyers were however detached to return to Alexandria where they arrived around 1500B/21.

After dark HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Galatea were detached after dark to make false W/T reports further to the west. The fleet then turned back towards Alexandria.

The fleet arrived back at Alexandria at daybreak on the 22nd. The detached cruisers arrived back later the same day.

To simulate a fake landing attempt on the coast near Tripoli (Operation Landmark) a convoy made up of the transports HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939), Ajax (7540 GRT, built 1931), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938) and Sydney Star (12696 GRT, built 1936) departed Malta. It was escorted by the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR) and cover was provided by ' Force K ', made up of HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN). These ships all departed Malta around 1415/21. [Both destroyers had actually departed around 1235/21, presumably to conduct an A/S sweep before the other ships departed the harbour.]

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0600/22 followed around 2 hours later by the convoy. It does not appear the convoy had been sighted by the enemy. (55)

25 Nov 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is docked in the floating dock (AFD 5) at Alexandria. (70)

27 Nov 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is undocked. (70)

6 Dec 1941
The destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria at 0630B/6 to patrol off Derna during the night of 6/7 December 1941 and then proceed to Malta where they arrived around 0915B/8.

Around 1315B/6, the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to make rendezvous with the transport HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) which was coming from Malta having departed there around 1700B/5 escorted by the destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN). To cover these ships the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O’Coner, RN) and destroyer HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) had departed Malta around 2000B/5 and joined with HMS Breconshire, HMS Kimberley and HMS Kingston around 0800B/6.

Around 0700B/7, HMAS Hobart, HMS Galatea, HMS Carlisle, HMS Griffin and HMS Hotspur joined HMS Kingston and HMS Kimberley to escort HMS Breconshire to Alexandria where they arrived around 0445B/8. HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune and HMS Lively then set course to return to Malta where they arrived around 0400B/8.

Later on the 7th both forces were attacked by enemy aircraft several times but no damage was caused. (71)

9 Dec 1941
Around 1800B/9, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria to return to Australia now that the Japanese had declared war. (72)

10 Dec 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) transited the Suez Canal southbound and on leaving the canal she immediately set course for Aden. (72)

13 Dec 1941
Around 0645C/13, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Aden.

She departed for Colombo around 1230C/13. (72)

17 Dec 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) made a short stop of Minikoi Attol, Laccadive Islands.

As no radio contact could be made with the island, HMAS Hobart was ordered to invistigate. There had indeed been some minor problems on the attol but all was fine now. HMAS Hobart then continued her passage to Colombo. (72)

18 Dec 1941
Around 0935EF/18, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Colombo. (72)

19 Dec 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is taken in hand by the Colombo Dockyard to mount a four barrelled pom-pom which she had taken with her (in a crate) from Alexandria. The work was completed on 22 December. (72)

21 Dec 1941

Convoy BM 9A.

This convoy departed Bombay on 21 December 1941 and arrived at Singapore on 3 January 1942.

It was was made up of the following ships; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Lancashire (British, 9445 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ethiopia (British 5575 GRT, built 1922) and Varsova (British, 4691 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Bombay it was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, DSO, RN) and the patrol vessel HMIS Sonavati (T/Lt. G.W. Barnes, RINR).

At 1340/22, in position 14°03'N, 73°02'E, HMIS Sonavati obtained a strong A/S contact and attacked with six depth charges but the contact appeared to be non-sub.

On 24 December the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) departed Colombo and they joined the convoy around 0800EF/25 in position 05°20'N, 80°00'E. HMS Glasgow then parted company with the convoy.

On 27 December HMS Falmouth and HMIS Sonavati parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Colombo.

Around 1200GH/30, in position 02°22'S, 98°00'E, the light cruisers HMS Durban (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Dragon (A/Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) joined the convoy.

Around 1530GH/31, in position 06°10'S, 101°52'E the destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) joined the convoy.

The Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) departed Batavia on 1 January 1942 to reinforce the convoy escort. The Dutch ships joined the convoy at 1345GH/1 and remained with the convoy until 2000GH/2.

The convoy arrived safely at Singapore on 3 January 1942. (48)

22 Dec 1941

Convoy BM 9B.

This convoy departed Bombay on 22 December 1941.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Jalarajan (British, 5076 GRT, built 1925), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Risaldar (British, 5407 GRT, built 1940) and Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923).

On departure from Bombay it was escorted by the Greek armoured cruiser RHS Georgios Averoff.

Around 1530EF/26, the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Cdr. J.W. Cuthbert, RN) departed Colombo with the transport Madura (British, 8975 GRT, built 1921). They joined the convoy around 0730EF/27 in position 04°38'N, 80°40'E. The Georgios Averoff then parted company to proceed to Colombo. The transport Talma had apparently parted company on the 26th to proceed to Colombo.

Around 1415G/31, HMS Glasgow was relieved in position 00°27'S, 94°51'E by the light cruisers HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN).

Around 1230GH/3, the destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) joined in approximate position 06°27'S, 103°00'E.

Around 0700GH/4, HrMs Java and the transport Madura parted company to proceed to Batavia.

Around 1200GH/4, the light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) joined in approximate position 05°15'S, 106°20'E. They had departed Banten Bay earlier in the day.

Around 0600GH/5, the minesweepers HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)) and HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) joined the convoy.

Around 1200GH/5, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) joined the convoy in Banka Strait in approximate position 02°40'S, 105°49'E.

After the passage of the Banka Strait had been completed the Dutch ships that had joined around 1200GH/4 parted company around 2000GH/5.

Around 1645GH/6, HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy to proceed to Batavia.

The convoy arrived at Singapore around 1930GH/6.

The convoy arrived at Singapore (73)

24 Dec 1941
Around 2000EF/24, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) departed Colombo to join convoy BM 9A.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BM 9A ' for 21 December 1941.] (72)

3 Jan 1942
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN), HMS Durban (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) arrived at Singapore with convoy BM 9A. (74)

4 Jan 1942
Around 1700GH/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Singapore to make rendezvous with convoy BM 9B in Banka Strait.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BM 9B ' for 22 December 1941.] (75)

7 Jan 1942
Around 1715GH/7, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Batavia after convoy escort duty. (75)

8 Jan 1942
Around 0600GH/8, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Batavia for Fremantle. (75)

10 Jan 1942

Convoy MS 1.

This convoy departed Melbourne on 10 January 1942.

The ' Melbourne section ' of the convoy was made up of the following transports; City of Manchester (British, 8917 GRT, built 1935), Derrymore (British, 4799 GRT, built 1938), Java (Dutch, 9250 GRT, built 1939), Peisander (British, 6225 GRT, built 1925), Phrontis (Dutch, 6616 GRT, built 1926), Tjikandi (Dutch, 7979 GRT, built 1921) and Tjikarang (Dutch, 9505 GRT, built 1922).

On departure from Melbourne, around 1300K/10, the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. W.L.G. Adams, RN).

Around 0730I/20, the ' Fremantle section ' of the convoy departed Fremantle. It was made up of the following transport / tanker; Enggano (Dutch, 6364 GRT, built 1920) and Pan Europe (Norwegian (tanker), 9468 GRT, built 1931). The RFA tanker War Sirdar (5542 GRT, built 1920).

It was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). The ' Fremantle section ' made rendezvous with the ' Melbourne section ' around 1300I/21 and course was set for Singapore.

Around 0945I/22, the transport Gorgon (British, 3533 GRT, built 1933) joined coming from Geraldton.

Around 1100H/28, the destroyers HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) joined the convoy in position 08°31'S, 104°08'E.

Around 1400H/28, HMS Kanimbla was detached to return to Australia.

Around 0645H/29, the ships destined for Oosthaven / Batavia parted company, these were the Enggano and Java.

Around 1500H/29, the transport Anglo Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938) joined the convoy.

Around 0950H/30, the convoy entered the Banka Strait.

Around 2130H/30, HMS Tenedos was detached to go to the assitance of HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) which was towing HMS Isis (Lt. L.R.P. Lawford, DSC, RN) from Singapore to Batavia.

Also on 30 January the tanker Pan Europe was detached to Pladjoe (Palembang).

Around 0040H/31, HMS Tenedos rejoined the convoy as her assitance was no longer needs as HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) had been detailed to do so.

The convoy arrived at Singapore around 0500H/1. (76)

11 Jan 1942
Around 1115I/11, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Batavia. (75)

20 Jan 1942
Around 0730I/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle escorting the ' Fremantle section ' of convoy MS 1. They were to make rendezvous with the ' Melbourne section ' of the convoy.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy MS 1 ' for 10 January 1942.] (77)

23 Jan 1942

Convoy BM 12.

Convoy from Bombay to Singapore.
Departure date: 23 January 1942.
Arrival date: 4 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British troop ships; Devonshire (11275 GRT, built 1939), Empress of Asia (16909 GRT, built 1913).

French troop ship (under British control) Felix Roussel (17083 GRT, built 1930)

and the Dutch transport Plancius (5955 GRT, built 1923).

The convoy initially proceeded unescorted.

On 26 January, the British sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) joined the convoy in position 07°53'N, 76°23'E.

On 27 January, the British light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) joined the convoy in position 04°30'N, 78°15'E. HMS Falmouth parted company with the convoy at dusk.

On 28 January, the convoy made rendez-vous with convoy DM 2 which was made up of the following ships;
British troopships Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937), Empress of Australia (21833 GRT, built 1914) and Warwick Castle (20107 GRT, built 1930) and the British transports City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937), Malancha (8124 GRT, built 1937) and Troilus (7422 GRT, built 1921). This convoy was escorted by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) which then parted company.

On 31 January, the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN) joined the convoy in position 05°05'S, 94°00'E after which HMS Emerald parted company with the convoy.

On 1 February, the Indian sloop HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and the Australian sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy.

On 2 February, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) joined around 0800 hours and a little over two hours later the British destroyer HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) also joined the convoy.

On the morning of 3 February the British destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) joined. Later the same day HMAS Vampire split off from the convoy with the part of the convoy that was to proceed to Batavia. These were all the ships that had been in convoy DM 2 except the City of Canterbury which went to Singapore. The Batavia section arrived there shortly after noon on 3 February.

Around 0200 hours on 4 February 1942, HrMs Java parted company with the convoy. Shortly before noon the convoy was attacked by Japanese aircraft and the Empress of Asia was straddled. Around 2130/4, HMS Exeter, HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter parted company to intercept Japanese warships that were reported to the north of Banka Strait. HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) was ordered to join them there. They did not find any Japanese ships and proceeded to Batavia where they arrived on 6 February.

The convoy arrived at Singapore shortly after noon on 5 February 1942 but not before a heavy enemy air attack was carried out. The Empress of Asia was set on fire, the Felix Roussel was also hit and the City of Canterbury had her steering gear damaged. (78)

1 Feb 1942
Around 0500H/1, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) arrived at Singapore with convoy MS 1. (77)

2 Feb 1942
Around 1815GH/2, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Singapore for Batavia.

Around 1235GH/3, when in position 02°16'S, 105°24'E, HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos sighted three aircraft bombing a single merchant vessel bearing 106°, distance 19 nautical miles. Increased speed to close.

Around 1245GH/3, the aircraft approached HMAS Hobart in attack formation. Fire was opened and the aricraft turned away without releasing bombs.

At 1306GH/3, HMAS Hobart was bombed by Japanese aircraft which had returned and had not been spotted. Some bombs fell close to the starboard side between the stern and the bridge.

Around 1330GH/3, HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos arrived near the merchant vessel which was idenified as the Norah Moller (British, 4348 GRT, built 1915). HMS Tenedos went alongside and reported that the ship engines were out of action. The ship was also on fire. HMS Tenedos then assisted in putting out the fire while the ships wounded and passengers were transferred to HMAS Hobart.

By 1430GH/3, the fire seems to have been extinguished and the ship anchored of the West Nangka lighthouse. HMS Tenedos then casted off.

By 1445GH/3, the fire was observed to have broken out afresh and the ships superstructure was blazing fiercely. As there seems to be no hope of saving the ship, HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos continued their passage to Batavia where they arrived around 0815GH/4. (79)

3 Feb 1942

Convoy JS 1.

This convoy departed Colombo on 3 February 1942 and arrived at Batavia, Netherlands East Indies on 14 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British transports; Adastrus (7905 GRT, built 1923), Alice Moller (4986 GRT, built 1914), Filleigh (4856 GRT, built 1928), Lulworth Hill (7628 GRT, built 1940), Modasa (9070 GRT, built 1921), Prominent (2232 GRT, built 1918) and Yoma (8131 GRT, built 1928).

Norwegian transports Hai Lee (3616 GRT, built 1934) and Hermion (5202 GRT, built 1937).

The Alice Moller had to return to Colombo with defects.

The convoy sailed from Colombo on 3 February 1942 and was escorted initially by the British heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. P.C.W. Manwaring, RN) and the Australian minesweepers HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)) and HMAS Lismore (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Crawford, RANR(S)).

The Australian minesweepers parted company with the convoy on 5 February. HMS Cornwall was relieved by HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) around 1350GH/10 in position 05°40'S, 93°00'E.

Around 2000GH/11, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) joined the escort and remained with it until 13 February.

Around 1100GH/12, the British destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) joined the convoy followed around 1500GH/12 by the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna (Cdr. W.R. Shewring, RIN).

At 1530GH/13, the convoy was split up and the Filleigh Lulworth Hill, Yoma, Hai Lee and Hermion arrived at Oosthaven, Sumatra. They were escorted by HMAS Hobart and HMIS Jumna. HMIS Jumna remained at Oosthaven to provide A/S protection for that port together with the Australian minesweepers HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) and HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)).

The other ships of the convoy, the Adastrus, Modasa, and Prominent arrived at Batavia on 14 February 1942 escorted by HMS Electra.

HMAS Hobart later also went on to Batavia but while en-route she was ordered to return to Oosthaven. (80)

4 Feb 1942
Around 1815GH/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Batavia to make rendezvous with HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) which had been detached as a striking force from convoy BM 12. [For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BM 12 ' for 23 January 1942.]

Rendezvous was effected around 0745GH/5 and they then proceeded to sweep to the north and east of Banka Island to search for report Japanese warships.

They are sighted to the north-east of the Sunda Strait by the Japanese submarine RO-34 which fired four torpedoes at HMS Encounter but no hits were obtained.

Around 1155GH/5, HMAS Hobart was attacked by a single aircraft. Three bombs fell close ahead.

Around 1215GH/5, a single aircraft attacked HMS Jupiter, the bombs fell astern.

Around 1320GH/5, a single aircraft attacks HMAS Hobart, four bombs fell 100 yards on the starboard beam.

Around 1700GH/5, the force passed southwards through the Gaspar Straits on their return. Later they are sighted to the north-east of the Sunda Strait by the Japanese submarine RO-34 which fired four torpedoes at HMS Encounter but no hits were obtained.

They arrived at Batavia around 0700GH/6. (79)

6 Feb 1942

Convoy EMU

Shortly before midnight during the night of 6/7 February 1942 this convoy departed Singapore.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939) and Felix Roussell (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930, former French).

On board the City of Canterbury were mostly RAF personnel for Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies while on board the other two ships were evacuees with were to be taken to Bombay.

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the sloops HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

Around 1930GH/7, HMAS Yarra was detached to escort the damaged transport Hosang (British, 5698 GRT, built 1922) to Palembang. The transport however reported to be not in immediate danger and HMAS Yarra then joined the destroyer HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) which was towing the immobile destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) from Singapore to Batavia, instead.

Around 0830GH/8, the destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) joined.

Around 1300GH/8, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) joined south of Banka Strait.

Around 1500GH/8, HMS Danae, HMIS Sutley and the City of Canterbury were detached to Batavia.

Around 1000GH/9, HMS Electra was detached to Batavia.

Around 1100GH/9, the convoy was dispersed. HMAS Hobart then set course to make rendezvous with convoy JS 1 which she did around 1350GH/10. (81)

6 Feb 1942
Around 0700GH/6, HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) arrived at Batavia.

After fuelling HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter departed again to make rendez-vous in the Indian Ocean with convoy MS 3.

8 Feb 1942
Around 0615GH/8, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Batavia to make rendezvous south of Banka Strait with the EMU convoy.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy EMU ' for 6 February 1942.] (79)

9 Feb 1942
Around 1100GH/9, convoy EMU was dispersed. HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) then set course to make rendezvous with convoy JS 1 which she did around 1350GH/10.

[For more info on convoy JS 1 see the event ' Convoy JS 1 ' for 3 February 1942.] (79)

14 Feb 1942
Around 0355GH/14, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is ordered to proceed to Oosthaven instead of Batavia to join the Allied Striking Force.

She arrived there around 0900GH/14. (79)

14 Feb 1942
Around 1600 hours, an Allied task force, now made up of five cruisers; the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). They were escorted by a total of ten destroyers, four Dutch and six American; HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN), HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN), HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN), USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN) depared Oosthaven (Bandar Lampung), Sumatra for a hit and run raid to the north of the Gaspar Straits to attack a reported Japanese convoy. (82)

15 Feb 1942
Around 0315GH/15, the Allied Striking Force entered the Stolze Strait (to the east of Mendanau Island (Pulau Mendanau). The task force was clear of the strait around 0800GH/15 but not before the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) had hit a reef around 0500GH/15 resulting in the loss of this vessel. The Dutch destroyer HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) remained behind to render assistance to her stranded sister but it was soon apparent that the ship was beyond salvage. Several valuable items of the equipment were however taken off and by 1700 hours the wreck of HrMs Van Ghent was destroyed by HrMs Banckert. The Banckert now made off for Surabaya with the crew of the Van Ghent on board.

Meanwhile around 1150GH/15, the first Japanese air attack on the remainder of the Allied Striking Force started. The attacks, which came in five waves, lasted until about 1745GH/15. No major damage was done to the Allied ships which had reversed course shortly after 1300GH/15. The Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart reported some minor damage, mostly from splinters and the US destroyers USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN) required repairs to their badly shaken up machinery spaces due to near misses.

The task force was then split up with HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Hobart and the destroyers USS Barker and USS Bulmer proceeding to Batavia to refuel. HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN) and the remaining US destroyers (USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN)) proceeded to the Ratai Bay to refuel and the two remaining Dutch destroyers (HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN) and HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN)) to Oosthaven to do the same. (82)

16 Feb 1942
Around 1000GH/16, HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN) arrived off Tandjong Priok / Batavia.

earlier that morning, around 0625GH/16 and during a heavy rain squall, HrMs De Ruyter and HMAS Hobart had narrowly avoided grounding on Krawang Point, and subsequent colliding with each other. (79)

17 Feb 1942
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) commenced boiler cleaning at Tandjong Priok / Batavia. This was completed on 20 February. During boiler cleaning she remained at eight hours notice for sea. (79)

21 Feb 1942
Around 2355GH/21, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) departed Batavia escorting the troopship Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937, with around 3500 evacuees / personnel on board) through the Sunda Strait. [Some sources gives this as convoy SJ 6.]

Around 0815GH/22, the ships had cleared the western entrance of the Sunda Strait.

Around 1700GH/22, HMS Electra was detached in position 08°45'S, 103°22'E to return to Batavia.

Around 2200GH/23, in position 05°16'S, 95°03'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Orcades which then continued on to Colombo unescorted. HMAS Hobart set course to return to Batavia. (79)

25 Feb 1942
Around 0855GH/25, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Batavia from escort duty. (79)

25 Feb 1942
Around 1500GH/25, HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN) departed Batavia for Surabaya where they were to join Dutch Rear-Admiral Doorman's Eastern Striking Force.

HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) was also ordered to sail with these ships but she had not completed fuelling yet as the oiler RFA War Sirdar (5542 GRT, built 1920, (master) Cdr. M.W. Westlake, RNR) had been damaged by a bomb in a Japanese air attack that morning. She was to overtake and join the other ships later but this never materialised. (83)

26 Feb 1942

Operations by the Western Striking Force during 26/27 February 1942.

The object of the operations was to intercept and engage a reported Japanese invasion force.

Around 2115GH(-7.5)/26, the Western Striking Force, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Tandjong Priok (Batavia), in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1231Z/26, to intercept and engage, by night, an enemy force consisting of three cruisers, four destroyers and thirty transports which had been reported near Banka Island proceeding southwards. The Western Striking Force therefore proceeded northwards between Arnemuiden Beacon and North Watcher Island to position 04°45'S, 106°41'E where the Force turned to the southward at 0300GH/27 in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1529Z/26.

There was no sign of the enemy during the passage north when, except for a few heavy rain squalls, the visibility was very good. At 0345GH/27, Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1946Z/26 was received, stating that D/F bearings indicated that many Japanese units were in position 04°00'S, 106°30'E. This was 55 nautical miles north of the Western Striking Force's current position. It was decided to continue on southwards as it was not possible to engage the enemy before dawn and also to await the results of the dawn air reconnaissance. Two enemy reconnaissance aircraft were sighted at 0730GH/27. They commenced to shadow. This was reported to the Commodore Commanding China Force.

By 0800GH/27, the Force had reached the latitude of Babi Island, and as no further information had been received, it again turned north until 0900GH/27. Capt. Howden, the Senior Officer, decided that if air reconnaissance reported that the enemy was not overwhelmingly superior he should engage by daylight. If they were superior he would proceed eastwards to join the Eastern Striking Force in the Surabaya area which had been reported to be expected to proceed westwards to Batavia.

At 1000GH/27, the Force was back in the vicinity of Babi Island and in view of the danger of submarine attack Capt. Howden decided it was not wise to remain in the same area for too long, therefore the Force proceeded to the south-east and then northwards towards the South Watcher Island.

The Commodore Commanding China Force stated in his signal timed 0315Z/27 that air reconnaissance had failed to locate any enemy forces south of Banka therefore Capt. Howden decided to return to Batavia informing the Commodore of his intentions.

As the Force was approaching Edam Island around 1200GH/27 enemy aircraft were sighted but they did not attack. Fires were observed on shore so probably they had already expended their bombs.

At 1305GH/27, eight aircraft approached and dropped a large quantity of small calibre bombs. HMAS Hobart sustained some splinter damage and five ratings were wounded.

The Force entered Tandjong Priok around 1420GH/27. (79)

28 Feb 1942

Operations by the Western Striking Force from 28 February 1942 to 5 March 1942.

The initial object of the operations was to intercept and engage a reported Japanese invasion force.

Around 0045GH(-7.5)/28, the Western Striking Force, made up of the made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) and HrMs Evertsen (Lt.Cdr. W.M. de Vries, RNN) departed Tandjong Priok (Batavia), in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1021Z/27. An enemy landing force made up of thirty transports escorted by four cruisers and three destroyers had been reported at 1022GH/27 in position 04°20'S, 106°28'E. The Western Task Force had been unable so sail earlier due to delays in fuelling caused by Japanese air attacks. The destroyer HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN) which had departed earlier for Tjilatjap had been recalled and joined the Western Task Force three miles south of Edam Island.

Capt. Howden, the Senior Officer, decided to proceed direct to the vicinity of the northern entrance to the Sunda Strait and then to sweep northward to engage the enemy which he thought to be en-route to Bantam Bay, the most likely place to land.

The Western Task Force arrived in position 05°48'S, 105°56'E at 0420GH/28. Course was then altered to the northward. Except for intermittent rain squalls the visibility was good. As no enemy had been sighted by 0500GH/28, course was altered to the southward. The passage of Sunda Strait was made at the Force's maximum speed of 24 knots. HrMs Evertsen had been lost out of sight in the darkness. She had not been seen after around 0400GH/28.

At 0650GH/28, when in position 06°04'S, 105°48'E, HMS Scout dropped astern to rescue a men she sighted on a raft. A lot of wreckage was sighted during the passage of the Sunda Straits.

In order to conserve fuel, speed was reduced to 22 knots at 0850GH/28, to 19 knots at 1000GH/28 and 18 knots at 1600GH/28.

At 2340GH/28, a signal was received from HMAS Perth that she had sighted a destroyer, later amended to being a cruiser.

At 2359GH/28, when in position 04°30'S, 101°05'E, the destroyers were detached to proceed ahead to fuel at Padang. The cruisers reduced speed to 15 knots. The destroyers were sent ahead in order to reduce the time the cruisers had to wait for the destroyers to rejoin. During the passage of the Seaflower Channel [between Siberut and Sipura island] the cruisers inceased speed again.

The cruisers arrived in position 260° Pandan Light 10 miles at 1740GH/1 and zigzagged between that position and Nyamuk Light. It had been hoped that the destroyers would be able to leave harbour around 1800 hours but this did not materialise. HMS Tenedos was seen passing Pandan Island at 2120GH/1 and at 2140GH/1 she secured alongside HMAS Hobart to transfer 512 evacuees. She reported that HMS Scout had previously left harbour with another load of evacuees but that she had to return due to contaminated oil fuel tanks.

In view of the long delay which would be entained in waiting for HMS Scout, Capt. Howden decided to proceed ahead with HMS Tenedos via Siberut Strait [to the north of Siberut Island] and then pass through position 00.32'S, 97.10'E at 15 knots towards the position where the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) should be. HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout were then to overtake. HMAS Hobart and HMS Tenedos therefore parted company with HMS Dragon and HMS Danae at 2207GH/1 by which time the evacuees had been transferred. HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout were able to proceed at 0530GH/2. They were ordered to rejoin during daylight on 3 March.

At 0150G/3, the Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet's signal 1635Z/2 was received by HMAS Hobart but it could not be decyphered owing to area tables for the East Indies Station not being held. Capt. Howden reduced speed to 8 knots to allow HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout to join around dawn and all ships were in company at 0751G/3.

HMS Dragon had been able to decypher the signal and it stated that auxiliary patrol ship HMS Kedah (Cdr.(Retd.) J.L. Sinclair, DSO, RD, RNR) was in trouble and that her speed had been reduced to three knots. Her position was 02°10'S, 90°40'E. HMS Dragon was then detached after transferring her 136 evacuees to HMAS Hobart at 1115G/3. She was to complete with fuel from the Appleleaf who was estimated to be 40 to 50 miles ahead and then to proceed to the assistance of HMS Kedah. HMS Danae and the destroyers were ordered to proceed ahead, made contact with the Appleleaf to inform her of the oil requirements of HMS Dragon.

A 1033FG/4, the Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet's signal 0305Z/4 was received instructing Capt. Howden to proceed with all his ships to Colombo if sufficient fuel remained. The Force therefore altered course for Colombo at 1100FG/4 when in position 05°32'N, 86°45'E.

At 1000F/5, when in position 05°47'N, 79°56'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with HMS Danae, HMS Scout and HMS Tenedos, to proceed ahead at 28 knots so as to arrive 2 hours and 20 minutes earlier then the other ships so as to avoid congestion in the harbour. En-route HMAS Hobart ran a full power trial for 40 minutes to see if any defects might have developed due to the recent near misses from bombing. The results of the trial very highly satisfactory.

HMAS Hobart arrived at Colombo at 1333F/5.

HMS Danae, HMS Scout and HMS Tenedos arrived at Colombo around 1730F/5.

Around 1030F/7, HMS Dragon arrived with HMS Kedah in tow. She had fuelled from the Appleleaf during the afternoon of the 3rd and then proceeded towards the reported position of HMS Kedah which she sighted at 0229G/5 and had her in tow around 0730G/5.

(84)

6 Mar 1942

Convoy SU 2.

This convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports / tankers; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), British Aviator (British (tanker), 6998 GRT, built 1924), California Standard (Panamanian (tanker), 11246 GRT, built 1929), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Querimba (British, 7769 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926) and Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) and corvette HMS Tulip (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR).

Around 2000F/8, when in position 00°37'S, 79°02'E, the British Aviator, California Standard and Querimba were detached to proceed independently. Also HMS Shoreham and HMS Tulip were detached to return to Colombo.

Around 1100H/18, in position 31°16'S, 105°04'E, the light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and destroyers USS Alden (Lt. E.E. Evans, USN) and USS John D. Ford (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Cooper, USN) joined the convoy as additional escorts.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle in the morning of February 20th.

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The convoy departed Fremantle in the early afternoon of 22 February 1942. It was made up of the same five transports that had arrived at Fremantle on the 20th with the addition of two more transports, these were the USS Gold Star (4871 GRT, built 1920) and Sea Witch (American, 6021 GRT, built 1940).

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart, destroyers USS Alden, USS John D. Ford and the minesweepers HMAS Burnie ( T/Lt. T. Christy, RANR(S)) and HMAS Toowoomba (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) P.H. Hirst, RAN).

Around 0430I/24, when in position 35°34'S, 118°00'E, the Aronda was detached to Albany.

Around 2030I/24 the convoy was dispersed in position 35°30'S, 121°26'E. (85)

26 Mar 1942
Around 0800I/26, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived in Gage Roads off Fremantle. She entered harbour early in the afternoon. (86)

27 Mar 1942
Around 1745I/27, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Fremantle escorting the troopship Monterey (American, 18017 GRT, built 1932) to Melbourne via Adelaide. (86)

31 Mar 1942
Around 1045IK/31, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the troopship Monterey (American, 18017 GRT, built 1932) arrived at Adelaide from Fremantle.

They departed for Melbourne around 1530IK/31.

Around 1630K/1, HMAS Hobart parted company with the Monterey.

HMAS Hobart arrived off Williamstown around 1900K/1.

She berthed at Williamstown around 0830K/2. (87)

3 Apr 1942
Around 0900K/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Williamstown for Sydney. (88)

4 Apr 1942
Around 1045K/4, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Sydney from Williamstown. (88)

6 Apr 1942
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is taken in hand for repairs / short refit at Sydney. (88)

9 Apr 1942
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) is docked at the Morts Dock Shipyard at Woolwich, Sydney. (88)

2 May 1942
Around 1545K/2, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) arrived at Hervey Bay.

Around 2100K/2, HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Hobart and USS Whipple (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN) departed Hervey Bay to make rendezvous with Task Force 11 which was effected around 0805KL/4. USS Whipple did not join Task Force 11 but was released and proceeded to Port Vila, New Hebrides. (88)

4 May 1942

Battle of the Coral Sea

Allies Forces in the area on 4 May 1942.

The Allied forces in the area were made up of the following units;
Task Force 11; aircraft carrier Lexington (R.Adm. A.W. Fitch, USN), heavy cruisers New Orleans, Minneapolis (R.Adm. T.C. Kinkaid) and the destroyers Phelps, Farragut, Dewey, Worden, Monaghan, Aylwin and the tanker Tippecanoe.

Task Force 17; aircraft carrier Yorktown (R.Adm. F.J. Fletcher, USN), heavy cruisers Chester, Portland, Astoria, and the destroyers Sims, Anderson, Hammann, Russell, Walke, Morris and the tanker Neosho. The heavy cruiser Chicago and the destroyer Perkins were also temporary attached to Task Force 17, these two ships were units of Task Force 44.

Early on the 4th (0805KL/4), Two more units of Task Force 44, the Australian heavy cruiser Australia (R.Adm. Crace, RN) and Australian light cruiser Hobart had made rendezvous with Task Force 11.

Prelude up to 4 May 1942.

Task Force 11 and Task Force 17 had met earlier, around 0615LM(-11.5) on 1 May 1942 in position 16°16'S, 162°20'E. Task Force 17 had just spent seven days of upkeep and provisioning at Tonga.

Task Force 11 was then ordered to join the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, destroyer USS Perkins and tanker USS Tippecanoe in position 16°00'S, 161°45'E and with those ships rejoin Task Force 17 the next morning which they did.

It was desirable to take as much fuel out of USS Tippecanoe as possible before she was to return to Port Vila, Efate in accordance with orders from the Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet and to hold as much fuel as possible in USS Neosho as a reserve.

Intelligence reports meanwhile indicated that the long awaited Japanese attack on Port Moresby, New Guinea, might start very soon. Task Force 17 completed fuelling on May 2, but Task Force 11 did not expected to complete fuelling until noon on the 4th. Rear-Admiral Fletcher therefore ordered Rear-Admiral Fitch to fuel his destroyers, if practicable, on northwesterly course at night and rejoin Task Force 17 at daylight May 4 in position 15°00'S, 157°00'E. This was the same rendezvous as had been arranged with Rear-Admiral Crace, RN, which was to join with the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and light cruiser HMAS Hobart.

At 1545LM/2, an air scout from USS Yorktown sighted an enemy submarine on the surface in position 16°04'S, 162°18'E, just 32 miles north of the Task Forces at that moment. The submarine dived but surfaced shortly afterwards as it was again sighted and depth charges by three planes sent out to locate it. Two destroyers were then ordered to search the area but no contact was made. It was thought possible that the Task Forces might have been reported by the enemy. [The enemy submarine in question was the Japanese I-21 (offsite link) en-route from Rabaul to Noumea. She reported the attack but did NOT report that the attacking aircraft were CARRIER BASED aircraft, so the Japanese were still unaware of the American carriers that were operating in the Coral Sea.]

Task Force 17 with USS Neosho continued to the northwestward during the night and topped off destroyers from Neosho on the third. It was intended to top off other ships requiring it after effecting rendezvous with Rear-Admirals Fitch and Crace the next morning. The former had been directed to sent USS Tippecanoe to Efate with a destroyer escort, this he did after his entire force had topped off with fuel. The destroyer USS Worden was ordered to escort the tanker to Efate.

Task Force 17 consistently kept in readiness for action on short notice by topping off destroyers from the tanker, cruiser and the carrier whenever they could receive as mich as 500 barrels of fuel. This condition of readiness paid dividends on the night of May 3 and 6.

At 1900LM/3, Rear-Admiral Fletcher received intelligence reports from the Commander Southwest Pacific Forces stating that five or six enemy vessels had been sighted at 1700 hours on 2 May, off the southern end of Santa Isabel Island possibly heading to Tulagi and that two transports were unloading into barges at Tulagi at an unspecified time. This was just the kind of report he was waiting for. It was regrettable that Task Force 11 was not available yet but it was fortunate that Task Force 17, fully fuelled, was able to stike at daylight on the 4th. USS Neosho, escorted by USS Russell was ordered to proceed to position 15°00'S, 157°00'E to meet Rear-Admirals Fitch and Crace at 0800 hours on 4 May and the combined force was then to proceed eastwards and join Task Force 17 in position 15°00'S, 160°00'E at daylight on 5 May.

Japanese landings at Tulagi on 3 May 1942 and the American response on 4 May 1942.

Tulagi had been evacuated by the Australians based there on 2 May 1942 and the Japanese landed there the following day. The Japanese force that had arrived there and had landed troops and supplies was made up of the minelayer Okinoshima, auxiliary minelayer Koei Maru, destroyers Kikuzuki, Yuzuki, auxiliary submarine chasers Toshi Maru No.3 and Tama Maru No.8, auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1, Wa-2, Hagoromo Maru, Noshiro Maru No.2 and Tama Maru. The transport Azumasan Maru (7623 GRT, built 1933) is also part of the force. (All links are offsite links).

At 2030LM/3, Task Force 17, currently made up of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, heavy cruisers USS Chicago, USS Chester, USS Portland, USS Astoria and the destroyers USS Perkins, USS Sims, USS Anderson, USS Hammann, USS Walke and USS Morris changed course to the north and increased speed to 24 knots and two hours later to 27 knots. At 0701LM/4, USS Yorktown launched a six plane combat air patrol and the first attack group. Combat air patrol was maintained throughout the day and cruisers maintained inner air patrol. The surface force maneuvered south of Guadacanal Island. Three air attacks were made on the Japanese at Tulagi. No enemy ships or aircraft were sighted from the ships of Task Force 17. The last attack group landed back on USS Yorktown at 1702LM/4.

One torpedo plane and two fighters failed to return due to being lost and running out of gasoline. The fighter pilots were recovered from Guadalcanal Island by USS Hammann that same evening. Six scout bombers and two torpedo planes were slightly damaged. USS Perkins was also detached to search for the missing torpedo plane but found no trace of it.

Enemy losses were reported by returning aircraft as two destroyers, one cargo ship and four gunboats sunk. One light cruiser beached and sunk, one destroyer, one heavy cruiser or aircraft tender severely damaged. One cargo ship damaged. Various small craft destroyed. Five single float planes shot down. [Actual damage inflicted on the enemy was as follows; During the first strike the destroyer Kikuzuki was sunk. During the second strike the auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1, Wa-2 were sunk. The Okinoshima , escorted by the Yuzuki were attacked but managed to dodge all torpedoes by radical maneuvering. She sustained some minor damage though, from near misses and strafing. Also the Yuzuki, Azumasan Maru, Koei Maru were damaged as was the Tama Maru which sank two days later as a result of the damage. Also five float planes were destroyed.]

Events between the action of Tulagi and the action of Misima.

During the night of May 4 - 5, Task Force 17, less USS Perkins and USS Hammann, proceeded southeast and south at 23 knots to rendezvous as previously arranged. The two detached destroyers rejoined Task Force 17 in the morning.

At 0825LM/5, USS Yorktown launched four fighters to investigate a radar contact bearing 252°, distance 30 miles. Interception was completed 15 minutes later and an enemy patrol plance was shot down. At this time the patrol plane was fifteen miles from USS Lexington and twenty-seven miles from USS Yorktown, so it might have been trailing Task Force 11 and not Task Force 17. Shortly before rejoining USS Hammann sighted the patrol plane. At 0845LM/5 Task Force 17 made rendezvous with Task Force 11 and HMAS Australia and HMAS Hobart.

Task Force 17 fuelled from USS Neosho on 5 and 6 May 1942. Task Force 11 and Task Force 44 now joined Task Force 17.

The heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis, USS Astoria, USS Portland, USS New Orleans, USS Chester and five of the destroyers were assigned as ' Attack Group ' in case enemy surface ships were to be attacked during a surface action.

HMAS Australia, USS Chicago, HMAS Hobart and two destroyers were assigned as ' Support Group '.

The carriers were assigned four destroyers as close escort.

The remaining two destroyers were assigned to escort the tankers, though one destroyer and one tanker were at Efate.

Intelligence reports were received on a large amount of various types of enemy vessels in the Salomon Sea between New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomon Islands. It was also reported that three enemy carriers were in the area.

It was decided to be in attack position at daylight on 7 May. Tanker USS Neosho was detached to the southwards escorted by USS Sims.

Action of Misima Island, 7 May 1942.

The morning air search was planned to locate the most suitable objective for attack and to obtain positive or negative information regarding enemy carriers of whose movements no information had been received since the previous afternoon. It was quite possible that three enemy carriers might be within striking distane. Unfortunately the search to the east-north-eastward was not completed due to bad weather. A scout searching to the north-westward reported two carriers and two cruisers north of Masima Island. After launching the attack groups, the scouts were recovered and it was learned that an error had been made in using the contact pad and that the pilot had not sighted any carriers. About the time this error was discovered, Army aircraft reported an enemy carrier group close to Misimi and the attack groups were diverted and made contact. The carrier and a light cruiser were claimed sunk in position 10°29'S, 152°53'E. The large number of torpedo and bomb gits and the rapidity of her sinking (within five minutes) must have resulted in the loss of practically all personnel and aircraft aboard the carrier. The light cruiser was reported to sink so quickly that there must have been great loss of life in her also. The attack groups returned to USS Yorktown and USS Lexington around 1338LM/7.

The Japanese carrier sunk was the Shoho, which had been part of the cover force for the Port Moresby landing group. The cover force had been made up of the already mentioned Shoho, the heavy cruisers Aoba, Furutaka, Kako, Kinugasa and the destroyer Sazanami.

The main assault force for the Port Moresby landings was made up of the light cruiser Yubari, minelayer Tsugaru, destroyers Oite, Asanagi, Mutsuki, Mochitsuki, Yayoi, minesweeper W-20, auxiliary minesweepers Hagoromo Maru, Noshiro Maru No.2 and Fumi Maru No.2, the fleet tanker Hoyo Maru (8692 GRT, built 1936) and ten transports with troops and supplies, these were the naval transport Shoka Maru (4467 GRT, built 1935), Mogamigawa Maru (7509 GRT, built 1934), Goyo Maru (8469 GRT, built 1939), Akibasan Maru (4670 GRT, built 1924), Chowa Maru (2719 GRT, built 1940) and the army transports Matsue Maru (7061 GRT, built 1921), Taifuku Maru (3520 GRT, built 1939), Mito Maru (7061 GRT, built 1921), China Maru (5870 GRT, built 1920) and Hibi Maru (5873 GRT, built 1921).

Thoughts were given to launching another strike or search but it was unlikely that another suitable objective was to be found near the location of the attack of this morning. The location of the Japanese 5th Carrier Division was still unknown but it was thought possible that these were within striking distance. Radar contacts and radio interceptions showed that our position was known to the enemy. One four engined enemy patrol bomber had been shot down by fighters from USS Yorktown.

It was decided to head westwards during the night to be in position if the enemy would pass through the Jomard Passage by morning heading for Port Moresby.

At 1659LM/7 an enemy seaplane was sighed but fighters failed to intercept.

At 1747L/7 (clocks had been set to zone -11 at 1700 hours), radar showed a group of planes to the south-eastward on a westerly course. Fighters were sent to intercept and between fifteen and twenty enemy planes were claimed to have been shot down. American losses were three fighters. When American aircraft were landing after dark, three enemy aircraft circled showing light and they made no sign of hostility probably having mistaken our forces for their own. It was realized that the enemy carriers must be in the area for such a mistake to happen. One of these enemy aircraft was shot down by AA gunfire.

Loss of USS Neosho and USS Sims.

While all of the above was going on, at 1051LM/7, a signal, repeated several times, was reveived from USS Neosho that she was being bombed by three enemy aircraft in position 16°50'S, 159°08'E. Later at 1600LM/7, USS Neosho reported that she was sinking in position 16°38'S, 158°28'E.

A subsequent signal from the Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet indicated that USS Sims had also been sunk. Unfortunately, nothing was received as to the type of aircraft which attacked them. It would have been extremely valuable information if it had been reported that they were carrier planes. The destroyer USS Monaghan was detached during the night of May 7-8 to search the next morning for survivors. While well clear of the Fleet, she was also to sent radio signals to the Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet and others. This left seven destroyers and five cruisers with the two carriers.

According to survivors of the USS Sims around 0910LM/7, a lone Japanese twin engined bomber had dropped a single bomb which hit the water rather close to port abreast the forward guns. On man at No.2 gun mount was injured by a fragment but no furher damage was done. The plane then kept shadowing USS Sims and USS Neosho. Weather was clear and the sea smooth.

USS Sims had numerous radar contacts and about 0930LM/7, sixteen high level bombers came in to attack USS Sims and USS Neosho. They dropped bombs but missed wide, causing no damage to either ship.

Survivors from the USS Sims reported that the ships 5" DP gunfire apparently disturbed them with the above result. During these fist two actions 328 rounds of 5" ammunition was expended.

The horizontal bombers disappeared from sight but USS Sims continued to pick up planes on her SC radar. None were sighted, however, until twenty-four dive bombers, appeared around 1130LM/7. As soon as these aircraft appeared, USS Sims went to flank speed and turned left to take position on the port quarter of the tanker. Fire was opened with the 5" guns in director control when the planes came within range. The attacks were directed promarily at the tanker and came in from various bearings astern in three waves. The planes approached at about 15000 feet and dove close to the ship in shallow dives of about 30°. Bombs were released quite close aboard. Survivors stated that some dive-bombers were destroyed by the blast of their own bombs. USS Sims obtained one direct hit on one of the dive bombers and the plane exploded in the air. The 20mm AA guns fired continuously at the dive bombers as they passed overhead and tracers were seen to pass through the planes, but the projectiles failed to burst and destroy the aircraft. One of the forward 20mm guns jammed early in the action and was not cleared during the remainder of the engagement.

Four aircraft broke off from one wave of Neosho attackers and directed their attack at USS Sims, diving on their succession from astern. All of these planes were single motored, had fixed landing gear, and had a silhoutte similar to that of Japanese dive bombers. The first released a bomb wihch landed in the water about amidships to port. The second released a bomb which landed on no.2 torpedo mount and exploded in the forward engine room. The third released a bomb which apparently hit the after upper deck house and went down through diagonally forward, exploding in the after engine room. The fourth plane is believed to have made a direct hit on No.4 gun but this can not be definitely established.

Numbers three and four gun mounts and the after 20mm guns were put out of commission by the bomb hits, but the forward mounts in local control and one 20mm gun forward continued firing at the planes untill all of them were out of range. The total of rounds fired by the Sims cannot be ascertained, but one survivor states that over 200 rounds were fired from number two mount alone. During this last attack, the paint on the barrel of number one mount blistered and caught fire. The crew, however, continued to fire with the complete length of the barrel in flames. Several planes were brought down by gun fire during this attack. It is believed that the bombs dropped were of about 500 pounds size. USS Sims broke in two and sank around noon.

Though there are only thirteen survivors of the Sims, these men are from widely separated battle stations and it was possible to reconstruct a fairly accurate account of her last moments. The survivors of the USS Sims then made for the USS Neosho was had been abandoned but was still afloat.

Operations by Task Force 17.3 / Task Force 44.

At daylight on the 7th (0645LM/7), Rear-Admiral Crace, Royal Navy, had been detached with the ' Support Force ' made up of HMAS Australia, USS Chicago, HMAS Hobart, USS Perkins and USS Walke and reinforced with the destroyer USS Farragut. They were to proceed to the Jomard passage to destroyer enemy transports and light cruisers heading towards there. The group was known as Task Force 17.3.

Around 1130LM/7, an enemy shadowing aircraft was sighted by this group.

At 1506LM/7, Task Force 17.3 was attacked by eleven enemy torpedo bombers. No hits were obtained and five of the attackers were shot down. One torpedo passed close down the Port side of HMAS Hobart.

At 1513LM/7, they were attacked by nineteen high level bombers. Bombs fell close to HMAS Australia but no hits were obtained.

At 1519LM/7, three high level bombers attacked but they did no damage. It was later found out that this had been Allied aircraft which had attacked in error.

At 1055LM/8, a single shadowing aircraft was sighted.

In the afternoon of the 18th, HMAS Hobart fuelled USS Perkins.

At 2013LM/8, HMAS Hobart and USS Walke were detached to proceed to the Grafton Passage and then onwards to Australia.

At 1235LM/9, HMAS Hobart and USS Walke entered the Grafton Passage.

At 0045KL/10, HMAS Hobart and USS Walke parted company with each other. HMAS Hobart set course for Brisbane while USS Walke proceeded to Townsville.

Meanwhile USS Farragut fuelled from HMAS Australia in the morning of the 8th.

At 1947LM/9, a signal was received that Task Force 17.3 was released from operations with Task Force 17 and reverted to being Task Force 44 under operational command of ComSoWesPacFor.

Around 0735LM/10, Task Force 44 set course for the Grafton Passage which they entered around 1745LM/10.

Task Force 44 arrived in Cid Harbour around 1145KL/11 where they fuelled. The cruisers from the Australian Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Karumba (3798 GRT, built 1916), and the destroyers from the cruisers. Around 1900KL/11, USS Chicago and USS Perkins departed for Sydney where they arrived in the morning of the 14th. HMAS Australia and USS Farragut proceeded to Brisbane where they arrived in the afternoon of the 13th.

15 Jan 1943
The light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Moreton Bay. On completion of the exercises HMAS Vendetta returned to Moreton Bay early on the 16th. The other two ships remained at sea. (89)

9 May 1945
Around 1430K/9 the destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) departed Manus followed around 1800K/9 by the light cruiser HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN).

Around 1700I/9, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) departed Hollandia.

Both forces made rendezvous off Cape Wom around 0800K/10 and the 'Wewak support force' arrived off Wewak around 1300K/10.

After a preliminary run along the coast to search for the targets the sheduled bombardment commenced.

Around 1600K/10, the force retired to seaward for the night.

At 0630K/11, the 'Wewak support force' made rendezvous with the 'Wewak force' made up of the sloop HMAS Swan (Lt. W.J. Dovers, RAN) and minesweepers/corvettes Colac (Lt. K.J. Hopper, RANR(S)) and HMAS Dubbo (T/Lt. F.W. Roberts, RANR(S)) and the assault forces proceeded to their fire support areas. From 0730K/11, targets were successfully engaged to cover the assault on Red Beach. The bombardment was completed at 0840K/11.

After the landing the 'Wewak support force' retired to seaward.

Around 1230K/11, HMS Newfoundland obtained an A/S contact which was subsequently depth charged by HMAS Arunta. Both destroyers then continued to search the area during the afternoon but no further contact was obtained.

Around 1700 hours, HMAS Hobart and HMS Newfoundland carried out another bombardment after which the force was released and proceeded to Hollandia arriving there at 0700I/9. (90)

27 Jun 1945
In the morning HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) bombarded Japanese shore guns off Balikpapan.

Later that day Tromp joined Task Force 74.1 which was made up of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN), the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), the Australian destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and the US destroyers USS Hart (Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN). (91)

12 Aug 1945
After fuelling, and with the bulk of Task Force 37 being sent to Manus, Vice-Admiral Rawlings had the following ships left; battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, KCB, OBE, RN, 2nd in command British Pacific Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.J.P. Brind, CBE, CB, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. R.A.B. Edwards, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. G.F. Burghard, RN, Capt. D 24), HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, DSC, RN), HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN), HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Terpsichore (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wrangler (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Warren, RN), HMS Barfleur (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSO, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN).

This force was now named Task Group 38.5 and was to operate as in integrated unit of the American Task Force 38. As the British Fleet Train had now been streched to the limit and the British had to depend on the Americans for fuel.

Also on this day the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, GCB, KBE, RN, C-in-C British Pacific Fleet) and the destroyers HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) departed Guam to join Task Group 38.5 off Japan.

At 0815/13, HMS Indefatigable launched her first strike aircraft to attack targets in the Tokyo area. A second strike was flow off at 1315/13 but the selected targets could not be attacked due to the unsuitable weather conditions.

On this day only 4 luggers were claimed sunk. Some buildings, locomotives and other rolling stock were claimed to have been damaged.

During the day a total of 21 enemy aircraft were shot down by the Combat Air Patrol while trying to approach the fleet.

At 1815/13 flying operations had ceased and course was set to position 31°45'N, 144°00'E to refuel.

During the 14th, Task Group 38.5 fuelled from American tankers. At 1710/14, they set course to return to the operations area. It was noted by Vice-Admiral Rawlings that the state of equipment and efficiency of American tankers was much higher then the British ones. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary had much to learn on this subject.

At 0400/15, HMS Indefatigable launched her first strike aircraft from position 34°00'N, 142°00'E to attack targets in the Tokyo area. They were unable to attack the selected target due to bad weather in that erea but they spotted a camouflaged factory so it was decided to attack this factory instead. It was successfully bombed. The strike aircraft were intercepted by 12 Japanese fighters but 4 of these were shot down by the escorting fighters while 4 more were probably shot down. One Seafire did not return and one Avenger had to ditch due to being heavily damaged.

At 0700/15, a signal was received that all further strikes were cancelled for the moment.

Four hours later news was received that the Japanese had accepted the Allied peace terms and that all offensive operations had to cease.

At 1120/15, two bombs fell close to HMS Indefatigable as a Japanese aircraft had penetrated the defences unnoticed.

Task Force 38 then set course to proceed to position 32°45'N, 143°20'E to await further instructions.

On the 16th HMS Duke of York, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp joined Task Group 38.5. Vice-Admiral Rawlings however remained in tactical command of the Task Force.

On the 17th, Task Group 38.5 set course to proceed to position ' British Drink ' (32°25'N, 143°30'E) for an underway replenishment by ships from the British Fleet Train.

At 0200/18, they made rendezvous with the tankers San Adolpho (7365 GRT, built 1935), San Ambrosio (7410 GRT, built 1935) and Wave Governor (8190 GRT, built 1945), stores ship Fort Wrangell (7213 GRT, built 1944), escort carrier HMS Ruler (Capt. H.P. Currey, OBE, RN) and their escorts, the sloop HMS Ruler (Capt. H.P. Currey, OBE, RN), frigates HMS Odzani (A/Lt.Cdr. J.N. Burgess, RANVR), HMS Usk (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Medlycott, RNR) and the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Ballarat (A/Cdr. N.R. Read, RAN) and HMAS Burnie (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Andrewartha, RANR).

Fuelling commenced at daylight and continued until 1700/18. The tankers San Adolpho (7365 GRT, built 1935) and San Ambrosio (7410 GRT, built 1935) were empty now and were ordered to proceed to Leyte to refil escorted by HMS Usk and HMAS Burnie.

At dawn on the 19th fuelling continued but now only from the Wave Governor.

Replenishment continued during the 20th. During the day the escort carrier HMS Speaker (A/Capt. U.H.R. James, RN) arrived with aircraft replenishments. She was being escorted by the destroyer HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN). The escort carrier was ordered to transfer all possible aircraft to HMS Indefatigable and HMS Ruler and then prepare to embark Allied POW's from when the Fleet was able to put into Tokyo Bay.

Also the tanker Carelia (8082 GRT, built 1938) joined the Logistics Group. She was being escorted by the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Cessnock (Lt. A.G. Chapman, RANR(S)) and HMAS Pirie (Lt. C.K. Mackenzie, RANVR). The tanker Wave Governor was then ordered to proceed to Ulithi for rapid refilling and return as soon as possible. She was being escorted by HMS Odzani.

In the afternoon Task Group 38.5 was disbanded and the ships were diveded over two American Task Forces; HMS Indefatigable, HMS Troubridge, HMS Teazer, HMS Tenacious, HMS Termagent, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Wakeful, HMS Wrangler and HMS Barfleur were ordered to join Task Group 38.3 while HMS Duke of York, HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp joined Task Group 38.4.

On 21 August, Task Force 38, proceeded to the south-west to position 30°30'N, 142°00'E to continue replenishment with typhoon warnings meanwhile coming in. The Logistics Group remained near area ' British Drink ' though. HMS Queenborough had collected mails and was ordered to proceed to Manus via Ulithi.

On 22 August, the destroyers were topped up with fuel and aerial photogaphs were taken off the fleet.

At daylight on 23 August, the British destroyers were topped up with fuel by HMS Duke of York and HMS King George V. At noon the fleet was now in position 33°35'N, 144°08'E. In the afternoon the plan to enter Japanese waters was received and as a consequence HMS Duke of York was detached with HMS Wager and HMS Whelp to form Task Group 30.2 and join the US flagship USS Missouri which formed Task Group 30.1 together with some destroyers.

HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia, HMAS Napier and HMAS Nepal formed Task Force 37 again. They were reinforced by two US destroyers, USS Uhlmann (T/Cdr. S.C. Small, USN) and USS Benham (T/Lt.Cdr. W.L. Poindexter, USN).

On August 24th, the ships upperworks were painted and some efforts were made to remove the signs that the ships had been at sea for a long time. The destroyers conducted some exercises.

At daylight on August 25th, the destroyers, including the two US destroyers, were topped up by HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland and HMNZS Gambia. In the late afternoon or early evening HMAS Quickmatch (Cdr. J.K. Walton, RAN) arrived from Manus with mail and fuelled from HMS King George V while transferring the mail. Later a signal was received to close the Japanese Coast.

On the 26th a signal was received to return to the previous area as weather was still unsuitable to enter Japanese waters. HMAS Quickmatch was ordered to join the Logistics Group and transfer and collect their mails and then return to the southwards. In the afternoon a signal was received to enter Japanese waters (Sagami Wan) on 27 August and Tokyo Bay on 30 August so course was set to get closer to the coast.

On the 27th Task Force 37 entered Sagami Wan and around 1450/27 anchored in their assigned berths. The two US destroyers were ordered to rejoin the US Fleet.

The 28th was spent painting and cleaning the ships. Also the hospital ship Tjitjalengka (10972 GRT, built 1939) arrived and anchored in Sagami Wan. She was being escorted by the sloop HMS Crane (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Jenkins, DSC, RN).

On the 29th Task Goups 30.1 and 30.2, the American and British flagship groups entered Tokyo Bay at daylight, so HMS Duke of York, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp were the first British ships to enter Tokyo Bay.

On 30 August, HMS Teazer and HMS Terpsichore, which both had minor defects, entered Sagami Wan and joined Task Force 37. Also the destroyer HMS Quality (Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) joined at daylight, coming from Manus. She was the first destroyer to arrive from the destroyers sent to relieve those still at sea with HMS Indefatigabele.

Later on the day, HMS King George V, HMS Quality, HMAS Napier and HMAS Nizam were ordered to enter Tokyo Bay. They anchored off Yokohama. HMS Teazer and HMS Terpsichore also entered Tokyo Bay and secured alongside the battleships to make good their defects. HMS Quality, after having fuelled was sent out to sea to join HMS Indefatigable while HMS Speaker, now fitted out to embark POW's, entered Tokyo Bay.

On 31 August 1945, more British and Commonwealth ships entered Tokyo Bay, these were HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia from Sagami Wan and HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) which came from Okinawa.

Also ships from the Logistics Group entered Tokyo Bay, these were the tankers Carelia, Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941), Wave King (8159 GRT, built 1944), stores ship Fort Wrangell, escort carrier HMS Ruler, sloop HMS Crane, HMS Pheasant (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Woodcock (A/Lt.Cdr. S.J. Parsons, DSC, RN), frigate HMS Derg (Lt.Cdr. N.B.J. Stapleton, RD, RNR) and the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Cessnock, HMAS Pirie and HMAS Ipswich (T/Lt. R.H. Creasey, RANR(S)).

On September 1st, HMS Tenacious entered Tokyo Bay having been relieved by HMS Quality. HMS Speaker reported that she had 35 officers and 340 other ranks of former POW's that had already arrived on board. Most of them were in bad shape.

At 0930 hours on 2 September the formal ceremony of surrender took place on board USS Missouri. The war had ended.

Sources

  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Voyager for September 1939
  2. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1939
  3. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1939
  4. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Waterhen for September 1939
  5. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron
  6. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  7. ADM 53/107769
  8. ADM 53/107770
  9. ADM 53/108443 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  10. ADM 199/382
  11. ADM 53/113286 + ADM 199/382
  12. ADM 173/16356
  13. ADM 53/112103
  14. ADM 53/112115 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  15. ADM 53/112342 + ADM 53/112523 + ADM 199/382 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart
  16. ADM 53/112523 + Report of proceedings from HMAS Hobart
  17. ADM 53/112524 + Report of proceedings for April 1940 of HMAS Hobart
  18. ADM 53/112524 + ADM 199/382 + Report of proceedings for April 1940 of HMAS Hobart
  19. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1940
  20. ADM 53/112609 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for May 1940
  21. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for May 1940
  22. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1940
  23. ADM 199/136
  24. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  25. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  26. ADM 53/111834 + ADM 53/112626 + ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  27. ADM 53/111423 + ADM 53/112051 + ADM 53/112436 + ADM 199/381 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August and September 1941
  28. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1940
  29. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1940
  30. ADM 199/1136 (+ ADM 199/381)
  31. ADM 199/383
  32. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1940
  33. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1940
  34. ADM 53/111875 + ADM 53/112628 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1940
  35. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Parramatta for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for October 1940
  36. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940
  37. ADM 53/111740 + ADM 53/112629 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940
  38. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1940
  39. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1940
  40. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1940
  41. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1940
  42. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for January 1941
  43. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for February 1941
  44. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1941
  45. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for March 1941
  46. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for March 1941
  47. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for April 1941
  48. ADM 199/408
  49. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for April 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for April 1941
  50. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for May 1941
  51. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1941
  52. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1941
  53. ADM 199/2558 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1941
  54. ADM 199/415 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1941
  55. ADM 199/415
  56. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1941
  57. ADM 199/415 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1941
  58. ADM 53/115213 + ADM 199/415 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1941
  59. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobert for August 1941
  60. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobert for September 1941
  61. ADM 53/115214 + ADM 199/415 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for September 1941
  62. ADM 199/415 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1941
  63. ADM 53/113533 + ADM 53/114778 + ADM 53/115214 + ADM 199/415 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1941
  64. ADM 53/113533 + ADM 53/114778 + ADM 199/415
  65. ADM 53/115213 + ADM 199/415
  66. ADM 53/115214 + ADM 199/415
  67. ADM 53/115215 + ADM 199/415
  68. ADM 53/115216 + ADM 199/415
  69. ADM 53/113535 + ADM 53/114780 + ADM 199/415
  70. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1941
  71. ADM 53/115217 + ADM 199/415
  72. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for December 1941
  73. ADM 53/114033 + ADM 53/114230 + ADM 53/115714 + ADM 199/408 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 9 December 1941 to 11 January 1942 + Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  74. ADM 199/1385
  75. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 9 December 1941 to 11 January 1942
  76. Report of proceedings of HMS Hobart for January 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMS Kanimbla for January 1942
  77. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for January 1942
  78. ADM 199/426 + ADM 199/1185
  79. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942
  80. ADM 199/426
  81. ADM 199/426 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for February 1942
  82. Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  83. ADM 199/1185 + ADM 234/346 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for February 1942
  84. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February/March 1942
  85. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 6 to 26 March 1942
  86. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for March 1942
  87. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for March 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1942
  88. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1942
  89. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for January 1943
  90. ADM 53/121909 + Report from HMAS Hobart
  91. Files 2.12.03.6855 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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


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