Allied Warships

HMS Hilary (F 22)

Ocean boarding vessel

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeOcean boarding vessel
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 22 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Laid down 
Launched17 Apr 1931 
Commissioned25 Jan 1941 
End service 

Passenger / cargo vessel completed in August 1931.
Requisitioned by the Admiralty in October 1940.
Displacement: 7403 GRT.
Dimensions: 129.3 x 17.1.
Armament: 2 6" guns (2x1), 1 12pdr AA gun, 4 .303" MG AA (4x1).
Speed: 14 knots.

Became a headquarters ship in 1943.

Returned to her owner in March 1946.


Commands listed for HMS Hilary (F 22)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Cdr. Trevor Lewis Owen, RD, RNR14 Oct 1940mid 1942

2Capt. (retired) Sir James Francis Paget, RN1 May 19431 Mar 1945
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. E C Turner, RNR1 Mar 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Hilary include:

25 Mar 1941

Convoy HG 57.

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

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

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

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

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

On 27 March, HMS Wrestler was detached.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27 Apr 1941

Convoy SL 73.

This convoy departed Freetown on 27 April 1941 for the U.K.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Agios Georgios (Greek, 4248 GRT, built 1911), Alcyone (Dutch, 4534 GRT, built 1921), Atland (Swedish, 5203 GRT, built 1910), British Chemist (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1925), Brynymor (British, 4771 GRT, built 1936), Celtic Star (British, 5575 GRT, built 1918), City of Florence (British, 6862 GRT, built 1918), Clan Skene (British, 5214 GRT, built 1919), Daronia (British (tanker), 8139 GRT, built 1939), Defoe (British, 6245 GRT, built 1940), Elg (British, 4014 GRT, built 1930), Empire Gunner (British, 4492 GRT, built 1906), Fana (Norwegian, 1375 GRT, built 1939), Guelma (British, 4402 GRT, built 1928), Hardanger (Norwegian, 4000 GRT, built 1924), Harpalion (British, 5486 GRT, built 1932), Hartington (British, 5496 GRT, built 1932), Hartismere (British, 5498 GRT, built 1933), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), Katanga (Belgian, 5183 GRT, built 1917), Laplace (British, 7327 GRT, built 1919), Llancarvan (British, 4910 GRT, built 1937), Lysaker V (Norwegian, 1571 GRT, built 1936), Novasli (Norwegian, 3204 GRT, built 1920), Penolver (British, 3721 GRT, built 1912), Robert L. Holt (British, 2918 GRT, built 1926), Rod-el-Farag (Egyptian, 6369 GRT, built 1910), Rupert de Larrinaga (British, 5358 GRT, built 1930), Sabor (British, 5212 GRT, built 1920), Sagaing (British, 7958 GRT, built 1925), Solon II (British, 4561 GRT, built 1925), Starcross (British, 4662 GRT, built 1936), Suva (British, 4873 GRT, built 1938), Svend Foyn (British, 14795 GRT, built 1931), Tanafjord (Norwegian, 5922 GRT, built 1921), Thomas Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929) and Titus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930). (British, GRT, built ).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Esperance Bay (Capt.(ret) G.S. Holden, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Crocus (Lt.Cdr. E. Wheeler, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR).

On 29 April 1941 the destroyer HMS Duncan (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN) joined coming from Bathurst. She parted company with the convoy on 1 May 1941 to proceed to Gibraltar.

Around 1540N/3, the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) joined the convoy coming from Freetown. She remained with the convoy until 1820N/4 when she parted company to return to Freetown.

On 19 May 1941, the destroyers HMS Boadicea (A/Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN), HMCS Columbia (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) S.W. Davis, RN), HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN) and the armed boarding vessels HMS Hilary (Cdr. T.L. Owen, RD, RNR) and HMS Registan (A/Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) joined the convoy. Around this time HMS Esperance Bay most likely parted company with the convoy.

On 20 May 1941, the destroyer HMCS St. Clair (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Wallace, RCNR), sloop HMS Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Arrowhead (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Skinner, RCNR), HMCS Hepatica (T/Lt. C. Copelin, RCNR), HMCS Snowberry (T/Lt. R.S. Kelley, RCNR) and HMCS Spikenard (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Shadforth, RCNR) joined the convoy.

The rescue ship Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1930) also joined the convoy around the 19/20th.

On 21 May 1941, the destroyers St. Francis and St. Clair parted company with the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 25 May 1941.

8 Jun 1941

Convoy SL 77.

This convoy departed Freetown for the U.K. on 8 June 1941.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aliakmon (Greek, 4521 GRT, built 1913), Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Blackheath (British, 4637 GRT, built 1936), Boskoop (Dutch, 5620 GRT, built 1927), Chulmleigh (British, 5445 GRT, built 1938), Ile de Batz (British, 5755 GRT, built 1918), John Holt (British, 4975 GRT, built 1938), Kindat (British, 4358 GRT, built 1938), Macuba (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1931), Mahsud (British, 7540 GRT, built 1917), Peebles (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936), Spar (Dutch, 3616 GRT, built 1924) and Storaas (Norwegian (tanker), 7886 GRT, built 1929).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by armed merchant cruiser HMS Arawa (A/Capt. G.R. Deverell, RN) and the corvettes HMS Gardenia (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR) and the auxiliary A/S yacht HMS Surprise (Capt.(Retd.) E. Stubbs, RN).

The merchant vessels Aliakmon and Blackheath however soon returned to Freetown due to engine defects.

At 1015N/10, the convoy was joined by the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR). She parted company around 0800N/11.

HMS Gardenia and HMS Marguerite and HMS Surprise parted company in the afternoon of 13 June.

Around 1130N/15, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined the convoy as did the merchant vessels Anglo-Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), Gascony (British, 4716 GRT, built 1925), and Stornest (British, 4265 GRT, built 1921) which had been brought out from St. Vincent by the corvette HMS Cyclamen.

At 1810N/15, HMS Surprise parted company with the convoy.

Around noon on 21 June, the merchant vessel Peebles was detached to the Azores due to engine defects.

Around 1100Z/27, HMS Norfolk was detached to proceed to Scapa Flow.

Around 0700A/28, the armed boarding vessel HMS Hilary (Cdr. T.L. Owen, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0100B/28, the armed boarding vessel Cavina (Cdr. C.B. Osborne, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0800B/28, the corvette HMS Wallflower (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1140B/28, the destroyer HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1210B/28, the destroyers HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HNoMS Bath (Lt.Cdr. C.F.T. Melsom) and the corvette HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1300B/28, the rescue ship Toward (British, 1571 GRT, built 1923) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 2 July 1941.

28 Jun 1943

Convoy KMF 18

This convoy departed U.K. waters on 28 June 1943.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Ascania (British, 14013 GRT, built 1925), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Derbyshire (British, 11660 GRT, built 1935), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929) and Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930).

The headquarters ship HMS Hilary (Capt.(Retd.) J.F. Paget, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), fighter direction ship HMS Ulster Queen (A/Capt. M.H.J. Bennett, RD, RNR) and landing ships HMS Glengyle (A/Capt. E.C.L. Turner, RN), HMS Boxer (Lt.Cdr. G.B Herbert-Jones, RNR), HMS Bruiser (Lt.Cdr. J. Stretch, RD, RNR) and HMS Thruster (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, DSC, RNR).

The convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN), sloops HMS Pheasant (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Chanticleer (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Bristowe, DSO, RN), HMS Crane (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Jenkins, RN), HMS Cygnet (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Proudfoot, RN), HMS Whimbrel (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Moore, DSC, RNR) and the frigates HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR) and HMS Trent (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Rankin, DSC, RNR).

Around 2300B/1, HMS Colombo parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Gibraltar to fuel and rejoin the convoy. She arrived at Gibraltar around 1535B/3. After fuelling she departed Gibraltar around 2200B/3 for Algiers where she arrived around 1950B/4. On entering harbour her port engine failed.

Around 0600B/5, the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN) and netlayer HMS Guardian (Capt.(Retd.) H.A.C. Lane, OBE, RN) joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar which they had departed around 0330B/5.

Around 1325B/6, the sloops HMS Cygnet and HMS Whimbrel attacked a submarine in position 36°46'N, 01°38'E. This was U-409 which escaped without damage.

Around 2115B/6, the AA cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN) joined the convoy coming from Algiers.

On 7 July, HMS Ledbury and HMS Ulster Queen rejoined the convoy after having fuelled at Algiers.

Also on 7 July the destroyer HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Wallace, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Wallace (Lt. D. Carson, RN), HMS Woolston (Lt. F.W. Hawkins, RN), HMS Hambledon (Lt.Cdr. G.W. McKendrick, RN), HMS Mendip (Capt. C.R.L. Parry, RN, Capt. D 21), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, RN), HMS Blencathra (Lt. E.G. Warren, RN) and HMS Brissenden (Lt. D.C. Beatty, RN) joined the convoy coming from Bone. HMS Pheasant, HMS Chanticleer, HMS Crane, HMS Cygnet, HMS Whimbrel, HMS Test and HMS Trent then parted company and arrived at Bone also on the 7th.

Around 1300B/9, the following transports joined the convoy from convoy KMS 18B; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Orestes (British, 7748 GRT, built 1926) and Prometeus (British, 6096 GRT, built 1925). Also joining was the landing ships Derwentdale (Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), 8390 GRT, built 1941) and the HMS LST 301 (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.F. Hoyle, RNR), HMS LST 305 (A/Lt.Cdr. R.M. Naylor, RNR), HMS LST 319 (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Sutton, RN), HMS LST 321 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.H. Metcalfe, RNR), HMS LST 365 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.F. Halliday, RNR), HMS LST 366 (A/Lt.Cdr. N. Hall, RNR) and HMS LST 424 (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Grandage, RNR).

Besides these transports the monitor HMS Roberts (A/Capt.(Retd.) R.E.C. Dunbar, RN) also joined the convoy.

Around 1815B/9, HMS Guardian parted company with the convoy to proceed independently to Malta where she arrived around 2100B/9.

The convoy arrived off Sicily in the early hours of 10 July 1943.

2 Dec 1943

Convoy SL 142.

This convoy departed Freetown on 22 November 1943.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Balfe (British, 5369 GRT, built 1920), Baron Elgin (British, 3942 GRT, built 1933), Cape Wrath (British, 4512 GRT, built 1940), Egton (British, 4363 GRT, built 1938), Empire Foam (British, 7047 GRT, built 1941), Empire Pibroch (British, 7046 GRT, built 1942), Empire Swale (British, 5452 GRT, built 1937), Fordsdale (British, 11023 GRT, built 1924), Gerard Dou (Dutch, 7242 GRT, built 1941), Janeta (British, 4312 GRT, built 1929), Katanga (Belgian, 5183 GRT, built 1917), Lycaon (British, 7552 GRT, built 1913), North Leigh (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Royal Star (British, 7900 GRT, built 1919), San Tirso (British (tanker), 6266 GRT, built 1913), Silverlarch (British, 5064 GRT, built 1924), Silverlaurel (British, 6142 GRT, built 1939), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921), Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927) and William Hawkins (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942).

The rescue tug Thames was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN), corvettes HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR), HMS Columbine (T/Lt. J.C. Grose, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR).

On 3 December 1943, the Umberleigh arrived back at Freetown after having been forced to return .

On 4 December 1943, HMS Southern Gem was detatched as was the William Hawkins which arrived at Bathurst later the same day.

On 5 December 1943, the Lycaon arrived at Dakar after having been detached from the convoy while the merchant vessels Djebel Aures (French, 2835 GRT, built 1929) and Rutenfjell (Norwegian, 1334 GRT, built 1935) departed Dakar to join the convoy as did the submarine tender Jules Verne.

Also on 5 December 1943, HMS Bellwort was detached and joined southbound convoy OS 59.

On 12 December 1943, the merchant vessels Belgian Crew (Belgian, 7048 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frobisher (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Thistlemuir (British, 7237 GRT, built 1942) and Tilemachos (Greek, 3658 GRT, built 1921) departed Casablanca to join the convoy. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-480 (Lt. F.W. Meyers, Jr., USNR), USS PC-481 (Lt. N.W. Roeder, USNR) and USS PC-482 (Lt. D.W. Hunter, USNR).

On these ships joining the Djebel Aures and Jules Verne were detached to Casablanca where they arrived on 13 December 1943 escorted by the three above mentioned patrol vessels.

On 14 December 1943, the convoy merged with convoy MKS 33(G) coming from the Mediterranean.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anadyr (British, 5321 GRT, built 1930), Baron Forbes (British, 3061 GRT, built 1915), Blackheath (British, 4637 GRT, built 1936), Boltonhall (British, 4824 GRT, built 1935), Ceronia (British (tanker), 4955 GRT, built 1929), City of Lancaster (British, 3041 GRT, built 1924), Debrett (British, 6244 GRT, built 1940), Egholm (British, 1327 GRT, built 1924), Empire Faith (British, 7061 GRT, built 1941), Empire Gareth (British, 2847 GRT, built 1942), Empire Trent (British, 5006 GRT, built 1927), Errington Court (British, 4913 GRT, built 1925), Masirah (British, 6578 GRT, built 1919), Norman Monarch (British, 7005 GRT, built 1943), Rancher (British, 5882 GRT, built 1927), Rippingham Grange (British, 10365 GRT, built 1943), Robert Maersk (British, 2294 GRT, built 1937), Schiaffino (British, 3236 GRT, built 1920), Spurt (Norwegian, 2061 GRT, built 1918) and Tarantia (British, 7268 GRT, built 1942).

The rescue ship Fastnet (British, 1415 GRT, built 1928) and the headquarters ship HMS Hilary (Capt.(Retd.) J.F. Paget, RN) were also with the convoy.

Convoy MKS 33(G) was escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. C.W. McMullen, DSC, RN), HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), frigates HMS Avon (Lt.Cdr. P.G.A. King, RD, RNR), corvettes HMS Abelia (Lt. R.I. Floris, RNZNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Carse, DSC, RNVR), HMS Clover (Lt. P.H. Grieves, RNR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Northern Spray (Lt. F.A.J. Downer, RNR) and HMS Northern Sun (T/Lt. H. Meredith, RNVR).

The original escort of convoy SL 142 then parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 14 December 1943.

Around 1120Z/17, the escort carrier HMS Fencer (Capt. E.W. Anstice, RN) joined the convoy.

During 20/21 December 1943, the escort was reinforced by the destroyers Hurricane, Wanderer, Watchman and the frigate Glenarm.

On 22 December 1943, in bad weather conditions the Baron Forbes straggled from the convoy.

On 23 December 1943, HMS Hilary was detached to Milford Haven where she arrived on 26 December 1943.

Around 1700Z/24, HMS Fencer, HMS Walker and HMS Abelia were detached from the convoy to proceed ahead with three of the merchant vessels (the Troilus was one of them). HMS Fencer arrived at Greenock on 26 December 1943, HMS Walker and HMS Abelia arrived at Londonderry also on the 26th.

On 25 December 1943, the Tilemachos straggled from the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 27/28 December 1943.

12 Jun 1944
Around 0800B/12, HMS Glasgow (Capt. C.P. Clarke, DSO, RN) departed Spithead to return to the operations area (Omaha sector).

At 1200B/12, she anchored to transfer staff of the 2nd Army Headquarters to the headquarters ship HMS Hilary (Capt.(Retd.) J.F. Paget, RN) for further passage to the Juno sector.

At 1245B/12, she weighed anchor to continue her passage to Omaha sector where she anchored at 1515B/12.

At 2131B/12, HMS Glasgow weighed anchor. She anchored in another position 11 minutes later. (1)


  1. ADM 53/119492 + Chronological narrative of HMS Glasgow for the period of 3 to 17 June 1944

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

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