Allied Warships

HMS Comorin (F 49)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

Comorin at Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on 25 March 1926.

Photograph with thanks to Mick Hickson, Australia.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 49 
Built byBarclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched31 Oct 1924 
Commissioned30 Dec 1939 
Lost6 Apr 1941 
Loss position54° 34'N, 21° 20'W

On 5 September 1939 the passenger ship Comorin of the P. & O. Steam Navigation Co Ltd, London was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 30 December 1939.

Displacement: 15116 BRT
Armament: 7x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 17 knots

January, 40 - April 40: South Atlantic Station
May 40: Bermuda Convoy Escort Force
February 41: South Atlantic Station
March 41 - April 41: Freetown Escort Force

On 6 April 1941 HMS Comorin (Capt. John Ignatius Hallett, DSO, RN (retired)) caught fire in heavy weather in the North Atlantic and had to be abandoned. 20 dead and 455 survivors. The wreck was shelled and sunk in position 54º34'N, 21º20'W the next day by the British destroyer HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN). 

Commands listed for HMS Comorin (F 49)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Capt. (retired) John Ignatius Hallett, DSO, RN14 Sep 19396 Apr 1941
2A/Capt. (retired) Christopher Henry Petrie, RN30 Sep 1939Oct 1939

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Notable events involving Comorin include:

18 Feb 1941

Convoy SL 66.

This convoy departed Freetown on 18 February 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 14 March 1941.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Amberton (British, 5377 GRT, built 1928), Ardenvohr (British, 5025 GRT, built 1940), Benlomond (British, 6630 GRT, built 1922), Benvenue (British, 5920 GRT, built 1927), Berbery (British, 5248 GRT, built 1919), Berhala (Dutch, 6622 GRT, built 1927), Bothnia (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928), Bradglen (British, 4741 GRT, built 1930), British Colony (British (tanker), 6917 GRT, built 1927), British Desteny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Power (British (tanker), 8451 GRT, built 1936), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), British Resolution (British (tanker), 8408 GRT, built 1937), Cape Wrath (British, 4512 GRT, built 1914), Darlington Court (British, 4974 GRT, built 1936), Egba (British, 4989 GRT, built 1914), Esneh (British, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Etrib (British, 1943GRT, built 1919), Glendene (British, 4412 GRT, built 1929), Glenpark (British, 5136 GRT, built 1939), Gold Shell (British (tanker), 8208 GRT, built 1931), Harpasa (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Hjalmar Wessel (British, 1742 GRT, built 1935), Hoogkerk (British, 5132 GRT, built 1911), Kerma (British, 4333 GRT, built 1928), Kingbury (British, 4898 GRT, built 1937), Lord Cochrane (British, 4157 GRT, built 1934), Lynton Grange (British, 5029 GRT, built 1937), Marita (Norwegian, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Meropi (Greek, 4181 GRT, built 1911), Norman Monarch (British, 4718 GRT, built 1937), O.A. Kundsen (Norwegian (tanker), 11007 GRT, built 1938), Ornefjell (British, 1334 GRT, built 1937), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925), Petter (Norwegian (tanker), 9109 GRT, built 1935), River Afton (British, 5479 GRT, built 1935), Salamis (Norwegian (tanker), 8286 GRT, built 1939), Salvus (British, 4815 GRT, built 1928), Serbino (British, 4099 GRT, built 1919), Sir Ernest Cassel (British, 7739 GRT, built 1910), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), Somme (British, 5265 GRT, built 1919), South Wales (British, 5619 GRT, built 1929), Temple Yard (British, 5205 GRT, built 1937), Toward (British (rescue ship), 1571 GRT, built 1923), Trevorian (British, 4599 GRT, built 1920), Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930) and Warfield (British, 6070 GRT, built 1917).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Comorin (Capt.(Retd.) J.I. Hallett, DSO, RN).

Around 1345N/3, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar.

Around 0700N/8, the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski) joined.

Around 1800N/9, the destroyers HMS Wanderer (Cdr. A.F.St.G. Orpen, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), escort destroyer HMS Vivien (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Beattie, RN) and the corvettes HMS Nasturtium (Lt.Cdr. J.F.C. Bartley, DSC, RNR), HMS Periwinkle (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR) and HMS Primrose (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A. Ayre, RNR).

At 1915Z/9, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy but she rejoined it at 2000A/10 after having been ordered to do so. While absent from the convoy HMS Kenya sighted and engaged a German Focke Wulf aircraft but it was not damaged and disappeared to the east.

At 2000A/11, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy to proceed to Plymouth.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 14 March 1941.

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