Allied Warships

HMS Ascension (K 502)

Frigate of the Colony class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantK 502 
Built byWalsch-Kaiser Co., Inc. (Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.) 
Ordered10 Jun 1943 
Laid down30 Apr 1943 
Launched6 Aug 1943 
Commissioned24 Nov 1943 
End service 

Returned to the USN on 31 May, 1946.

HMS Ascension is not listed as active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Former nameUSS Hargood PF-74

Commands listed for HMS Ascension (K 502)

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.

1Lt.Cdr. Archibald Wilkinson, RNR26 Jul 1943Sep 1944
2Cdr. William Josselyn Moore, DSC, RNRSep 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Ascension include:

23 May 1944

Combined convoy OS 78 / KMS 52.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On 8 June 1944, the following transports joined the convoy coming from Algiers; Chateau Latour (French, 1912 GRT, built 1914), Corfell (British, 1802 GRT, built 1934), Elise (Greek, 1986 GRT, built 1919), Empire Gain (British (tanker), 3738 GRT, built 1943), Empire Strength (British, 7355 GRT, built 1942), Empire Valour (British, 1906 GRT, built 1943), Gezina (Norwegian, 1828 GRT, built 1917), Hardingham (British, 7269 GRT, built 1942), Ingertre (Norwegian, 2462 GRT, built 1921), Jennings (British, 1148 GRT, built 1943), Lucia C. (Italian, 6123 GRT, built 1922), Ocean Vulcan (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942.0), Odysseus (Dutch, 1057 GRT, 1922), Oregon (French, 7705 GRT, built 1929), Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938), Samaye (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samuel V. Shreve (British, 1813 GRT, built 1943), Thistledale (British, 7241 GRT, built 1942) and Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930). With these ships was also the salvage vessel USS Tackle (Lt. D.V. van Sand, USNR) which also joined the convoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 Aug 1944
HMS Tiptoe (Lt.Cdr. P.R.H. Harrison, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Larne. These included practice attacks on HMS Ascension (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and HMS Philante (Cdr. M.J. Evans, OBE, RN). (1)

10 Aug 1944
HMS Tiptoe (Lt.Cdr. P.R.H. Harrison, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Ascension (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and HMS Hadleigh Castle (Lt. C. Sandeman, RN). (1)

25 Nov 1944
German U-boat U-482 was sunk in the North Atlantic west of the Shetlands, in position 60°18'N, 04°52'W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Ascension (Cdr. W.J. Moore. DSC, RNR).

26 Jan 1945

Convoy CU 56.

This convoy departed New York on 26 January 1945.

It was made up of the following ships (New York Section);
Alcoa Pointer (American, 6711 GRT, built 1943), Aztec (Hunduran, 5511 GRT, built 1929), Black Warrior (American, 8271 GRT, built 1944), Brandywine (American (tanker), 11401 GRT, built 1943), Chantilly (American (tanker), 10195 GRT, built 1943), Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), Cross Keys (American (tanker), 10195 GRT, built 1943), Elisabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Empire Law (British (tanker), 8128 GRT, built 1944), Empire Protector (British (tanker), 8148 GRT, built 1944), Exhibitor (American, 6736 GRT, built 1940), Exminster (American, 6683 GRT, built 1944), Explorer (American, 6736 GRT, built 1939), Fair Wind (American, 8258 GRT, built 1944), General G.O. Squier (American, 9943 GRT, built 1942), General J.R. Brooke (American, 9943 GRT, built 1943), General T.H. Bliss (American, 9943 GRT, built 1942), George Washington (American, 23788 GRT, built 1908), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), Lone Jack (American (tanker), 10296 GRT, built 1944), Marine Robin (American, 11757 GRT, built 1944), Nordahl Grieg (Norwegian (tanker), 10172 GRT, built 1944), Quaker Hill (American (tanker), 10172 GRT, built 1944), Robin Sherwood (American, 7101 GRT, built 1941), Rogue River (American (tanker), 10172 GRT, built 1944), Valdosta Victory (American, 7607 GRT, built 1945), Warrior (American, 6165 GRT, built 1943), Washita (American (tanker), 10172 GRT, built 1943), Wauhatchie (American (tanker), 10172 GRT, built 1944), White Bird Canyon (American (tanker), 10172 GRT, built 1944) and White Falcon (American, 8258 GRT, built 1944).

On departure from New York the convoy was escorted by the destroyer USS Clark (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Hopkins, USNR, with COMTASKUNIT 61.4, T/Capt. H.T. Chase, USN on board) and the destroyer escorts USS Price (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Higgins, Jr., USNR, with COMCORTDIV 58, T/Cdr. E.E. Garcia, USN on board), USS Strickland (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Hopkins, USNR), Forster (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Clayton, USNR), Stockdale (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Luther, USNR) and Hissem (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Low, USNR).

Around 0300Q/27, the Warrior returned to New York due to damage to her hull. Around the same time the George Washington joined which apparently had sailed later to overtake and join the convoy. She was being escorted by the USS Stockdale.

Around 1000Q/27, the Boston Section of eight ships joined, these were the;
Cape Horn (American, 5124 GRT, built 1944), Chapel Hill Victory (American, 7607 GRT, built 1944), frederick Victory (American, 7607 GRT, built 1944), General George W. Goethals (American, 12093 GRT, built 1942), James Parker (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), Malden Victory (American, 7607 GRT, built 1944), Sweepstakes (American, 8258 GRT, built 1944) and Thomson Lykes (American, 6762 GRT, built 1940).

The Boston Section had departed there also on the 26th and was escorted by the destroyer escorts USS Edsall (Lt.Cdr. M. MacLean, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 59, T/Cdr. A.W. Slayden, USN on board), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Wilson, Jr., USNR), USS Daniel (Lt.Cdr. E.D. Boynton, USNR) and USS Clarence L. Evans (Cdr. W.C. Hughes, USNR).

Around 2210N/1, the Irish Sea Section parted company in approximate position 45°48'N, 26°00'W.

Irish Sea section

This section was made up of the following ships;
Aztec, Brandywine, Chantilly, Elisabeth Bakke, Empire Law, Nordahl Grieg, Quaker Hill and Washita.

This section was escorted by the USS Price, USS Strickland and USS Daniel.

Around 1650Z/4, the frigates (from the 15th Escort Group) HMS Louis (Cdr.(Retd.) L.B.A. Majendie, RN), HMS Inglis (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.P. Cobbold, RNVR), HMS Lawson (Lt. J.P. Somerville, RN), HMS Loring (Lt. J.A. Ogilvy, RN) and HMS Narborough (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Muttram, DSC, RN) joined.

Around 0330Z/5, the Landing Ship Infantry HMS Royal Ulsterman (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.T. Cook, DSC, RNR) joined.

Around 0735Z/5, the five British frigates of the 15th Escort Group, which had joined the previous day, were relieved by five frigates from the 5th Escort Group; these were HMS Bligh (Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), HMS Grindall (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D. Turquand-Young, RNVR), HMS Keats (T/A/Lt.Cdr. N.F. Israel, DSC, RNR), HMS Kempthorne (Lt. H.J.A. Wilson, RN) and HMS Tyler (A/Lt.Cdr. C.H. Ranking, RN).

Around 0945A/5, the Liverpool section of the convoy parted company escorted by USS Price. They arrived off / at Liverpool in the afternoon.

The remainder of the Irish Sea Section arrived in Barry Roads early on the 6th.

English Channel Section.

The other section proceeded towards the English Channel and was made up of the remaining ships and the remaining escorts.

Around 0800Z/4, ' Force 26 ' joined in approximate position 47°52'N, 06°51'W which was made up of the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HrMs Van Galen (Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) and the escort destroyer HMS Tanatside (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, DSC, RN).

Around 0820Z/4, the transports Canara (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Condesa (British, 10367 GRT, built 1944) and Straat Malakka (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939) joined coming from Gibraltar which they had departed on 1 February.

Around 1530Z/4, the frigate HMS Loch Fada (Cdr. B.A. Rogers, RD, RNR) joined.

Around 1930Z/4, the Straat Malakka parted company to proceed to Falmouth escorted by HMS Loch Fada.

Around 0020Z/5, HMS Faulknor, HrMs Van Galen and HMS Tanatside parted company fter the frigates HMS Garlies (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.M.M. Stamp, RNVR), HMS Gore (Lt. J.V. Reeves-Brown, DSC, RN) and HMS Hoste (Lt. P.J.H. Hoare, RN) had joined.

Around 0115Z/5, the frigates HMS Hargood (Cdr. P.G. MacIver, DSO, RD, RNR), HMS Holmes (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.S. Boyle, RNVR), HMS Ascension (Cdr. W.J. Moore, DSC, RNR) and the motor torpedo boats MTB 750 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.A.C. Findlay, RNVR) and MTB 760 (T/Lt. N.G. Kennedy, RNVR) joined.

Around 0415A/5, the Black Warrior was detached to proceed direct to Cherbourg escorted by HMS Garlies, HMS Gore and HMS Hoste.

Around 0645A/5, the convoy stopped off the Isle of Wight as it was unable to enter the Solent due to thick fog.

Around 1300A/5, the convoy commenced to enter the Solent after the visibility had improved. By 1700A/5, the entire convoy was at anchor in the Solent. Parts of the convoy departed for their respective destinations later the same day.


  1. ADM 173/19028

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

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