Allied Warships

HMS Asturias (F 71)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 71 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Island) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched7 Jul 1925 
Commissioned4 Sep 1939 
End service22 May 1944 
History

On 28 August 1939 the passenger ship Asturias of the Royal Mail Lines Ltd., London was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. The ship was commissioned as warship on 4 September 1939. Conversion was reported to have been completed on 28 September 1939.

Displacement: 22048 GRT
Armament: 8x6" (8x1), 2x3"AA (2x1)
Speed: 19 knots

On 24 July 1943, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) was torpedoed and badly damaged by the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni in position 06°52'N, 20°45'W. The badly damaged ship towed to Freetown and after repairs on the West Africa Station proved to be not possible she was eventually decommissioned on 22 May 1944 and handed over to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). She was towed to Belfast in mid 1945 to be repaired. Arrived at Faslane to be scrapped on 14 September 1957. 

Commands listed for HMS Asturias (F 71)

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.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (Retd.) Claud Finlinson Allsup, DSO, RN4 Sep 193925 Nov 1939
2Capt. John Robert Sutherland Haines, RN25 Nov 193913 Dec 1940
3Capt. (Retd) Hubert Ardill, RN13 Dec 19402 Mar 1943
4Capt. Richard Meuric Southern, RN2 Mar 194329 Apr 1943
5Capt. (Retd.) Sir John Meynell Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN29 Apr 194310 Sep 1943
6A/Cdr. (Retd.) Arthur Kenneth Baxendell, RAN10 Sep 194323 Jan 1944
7Lt.Cdr. Jack Nowell Richards, RD, RNR23 Jan 194422 May 1944

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Notable events involving Asturias include:


This page, displaying the wartime history of HMS Asturias, was created in June 2024.

4 Sep 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) is commissioned at Belfast where she is under conversion to armed merchant cruiser. (1)

24 Sep 1939
With her conversion almost completed, HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) departed Belfast for the Clyde where she arrived later the same day. She was escorted by HMS Kingfisher (Lt.Cdr. G.A.M.V. Harrison, RN) and HMS Widgeon (Lt.Cdr. R. Frederick, RN).

Some gunnery control instruments had to be fitted but were not yet available. (2)

25 Sep 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow. (3)

26 Sep 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from the Clyde. At Scapa Flow she is to undergo a short work-up programme. (3)

14 Oct 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Northern Patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Denmark Strait. (3)

27 Oct 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) arrived at Halifax from patrol in the Denmark Strait. She now joined the America and West Indies station for escort duties. (4)

31 Oct 1939

Convoy HXF 7.

This convoy departed Halifax on 31 October 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Bradford City (British, 4953 GRT, built 1936), Craftsman (British, 7896 GRT, built 1922), Fort Richepanse (French, 3485 GRT, built 1935), Gregalia (British, 5802 GRT, built 1929), Inverilen (British (tanker), 9456 GRT, built 1938), J.H. Senior (Panamanian (tanker), 12185 GRT, built 1931), Matra (British, 7911 GRT, built 1926), Pacific Pioneer (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Rangitane (British, 16733 GRT, built 1929) (ship of the convoy Commodore), Remuera (British, 11445 GRT, built 1911), San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935), San Antonio (French, 6013 GRT, built 1930) and San Pedro (French, 5947 GRT, built 1931).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN).

The convoy departed Halifax in thick fog which continued until daylight the next morning. It was then found that only three merchant vessels and HMCS St. Laurent were in sight of the Commodore's ship.

At 1100Z/1, HMS St. Laurent parted company with the convoy in position 44°42'N, 59°40'W to return to Halifax. HMCS Fraser was no longer in company with the convoy having probably lost contact in the thick for earlier.

By 1300Z/1, for had lifted and a total of 9 merchant vessels were now in company (out of the total of 13 merchant vessels). HMS Asturias was not in sight though.

By 1100Z/2, the whole convoy had now formed up.

During the night of 4/5 November 1939 the convoy Commodore's ship, the Rangitane lost touch with the convoy in the heavy weather. During her absence more ships had lost tough with the convoy.

Around 1800Z/10, the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN) and HMS Viscount (Lt. M.S. Townsend, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 50°18'N, 17°05'W.

During the night of 10/11 November 1939, the destroyers HMS Winchelsea (Cdr. C.T. Jellicoe, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. G.C. Fryer, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0030Z/11, the destroyer HMS Winchelsea (Cdr. C.T. Jellicoe, RN) joined the convoy Commodore's ship Rangitane. Around 0630Z/11, the destroyer HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. G.C. Fryer, RN) also joined these ships.

Around 0730Z/11, the convoy Commodore's ship, the Rangitane and her two escorting destroyers rejoined the convoy in position 49°51'N, 13°23'W. It was found that at that moment the following ships were not in company with the convoy; Bradford City, Craftsman and Gregalia.

Around 1000Z/11, HMS Winchelsea were detached to proceed to Liverpool taking the San Ambrosio with her.

Around 1200Z/11, HMS Witherington left the convoy to proceed to Liverpool.

Around 1740Z/12, HMS Asturias left the convoy to proceed to Greenock.

Around 1600Z/12, HMS Antelope and HMS Viscount were relieved to the south of the Lizard by the destroyers HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN).

These destroyers remained with the convoy until 1520Z/13 when they parted company upon its arrival in the Downs. (5)

12 Nov 1939
Around 2359A/12, HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) arrived at Greenock from convoy escort duty. (6)

15 Nov 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. Retd. C.F. Allsup, DSO, RN) proceeded up river to Glasgow where she was taken in hand for repairs to some weather damage she had sustained and some adjustments to her guns for which these had to be lifted. (6)

27 Nov 1939
With her repairs completed HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) proceeded from Glasgow to Greenock. (6)

30 Nov 1939
Around 1300Z/10, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Greenock for the Northern Patrol. She was ordered to patrol to the south of Iceland. (6)

10 Dec 1939
Around 1900Z/10, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Greenock from patrol. (7)

11 Dec 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) proceeded from Greenock to Glasgow. (7)

16 Dec 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) proceeded from Glasgow to Greenock. (7)

18 Dec 1939
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (7)

21 Dec 1939
Around 1900Z/21, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Greenock for the Northern Patrol. She is ordered to patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap. (7)

9 Jan 1940
Around 1530Z/9, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Greenock from patrol. (8)

15 Jan 1940
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) proceeded from Greenock to Glasgow. (8)

18 Jan 1940
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) proceeded from Glasgow to Greenock. (8)

19 Jan 1940
Around 0001Z/19, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Greenock for the Northern Patrol. She is ordered to patrol to the south of Iceland and later in the Iceland - Faeroer passage. (8)

4 Feb 1940
Around 1500Z/4, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Greenock from patrol. (9)

11 Feb 1940
Around 1500Z/4, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Greenock for the Northern Patrol. She was ordered to patrol to the south of Iceland. (9)

18 Feb 1940
In the afternoon, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) picked up 13 survivors from the foundered merchant vessel Sea Rambler (British, 2327 GRT, built 1930) which had foundered in the North Atlantic on the 10th February 1940. (9)

1 Mar 1940
Around 0900A/1, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Greenock from patrol. (10)

6 Mar 1940
Around 0330A/6, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Greenock for Belfast where she arrived around 1200A/6. At Belfast she was taken in hand for refit and alterations by the Harland & Wolff shipyard. (10)

18 Apr 1940
Around 0900A/18, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Belfast for the Northern Patrol. She was ordered to patrol to the south of Iceland. On departure compass adjustment trials were carried out. (11)

7 May 1940
Around 1215A/7, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Greenock from patrol. (12)

11 May 1940
Around 1115A/11, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Greenock for the northern patrol. She is ordered to patrol to the south of Iceland. (12)

15 May 1940
At 0050A/15, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) left the area to the south of Iceland and she proceeded southwards as she had received orders to patrol off the coast of Portugal to the north-west of Lisbon to intercept Italian merchant vessels in case Italy would declare war which was expected to happen soon. (12)

22 May 1940
At 0900A/22, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Gibraltar from patrol. (12)

26 May 1940
Around 0200A/26, while moored at Gibraltar, a fire broke out on board HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) which took 30 hours to extinguish. (3)

1 Jun 1940
Around 2030A/1, the damaged HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Gibraltar for Liverpool where she is to be taken in hand for repairs to the fire damage she had sustained. (13)

6 Jun 1940
Around 0015A/6, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) anchored off Liverpool. She entered port (Bidston Dock, Birkenhead) the following morning. She then commenced de-ammunitioning on completion of which she was taken in hand for repairs. (14)

5 Jul 1940
Around 1100A/5, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Liverpool for Freetown. She is to join the South Atlantic station. (15)

14 Jul 1940
Around 1200N/14, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Freetown from Liverpool. (15)

16 Jul 1940

Convoy SL 40.

This convoy departed Freetown on 16 July 1940.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aldington Court (British, 4891 GRT, built 1929), Araby (British, 4936 GRT, built 1912), Castalia (British, 6601 GRT, built 1906), Celtic Star (British, 5575 GRT, built 1918), City of Wellington (British, 5732 GRT, built 1925), Dayrose (British, 4113 GRT, built 1928), Dolius (British, 5507 GRT, built 1924), Grangepark (British, 5132 GRT, built 1919), Jersey (British, 4986 GRT, built 1936), Kana (British, 2783 GRT, built 1929), Kirriemoor (Brititsh, 4970 GRT, built 1935), Nagpore (British, 5283 GRT, built 1920), Norman Monarch (British, 4718 GRT, built 1937), Peebles (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936), Pindos (Greek, 4360 GRT, built 1908), Port Adelaide (British, 8422 GRT, built 1919), Port Denison (British, 10334 GRT, built 1918), Richard de Larrinaga (British, 5358 GRT, built 1929), Rydboholm (Swedish, 3197 GRT, built 1933), Sitoebondo (Dutch, 7049 GRT, built 1916), St. Rosario (British, 4312 GRT, built 1937), Sylvia de Larrinaga (British, 5218 GRT, built 1925), Urbino (British, 5198 GRT, built 1918) and Winsum (Dutch, 3224 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN).

On 17 July, the Dayrose dropped astern being unable to keep up due to a foul bottom. She was last seen in position 10°39'N, 17°20'W.

The Pindos had great difficulty keeping up with the convoy since departure from Freetown. She complained of bad coal as being the reason of this. She was last seen on 18 July 12 miles astern of the convoy in position 09°25'N, 17°20'W. The Pindos was sunk on 4 August 1940 by the German submarine U-58 in position 55°22'N, 08°50'W.

P.M. on 20 July, the Kirriemoor parted company with the convoy in position 17°15'N, 20°19'W. She had been continuously dropping astern unable to keep up with the convoy due to a very foul bottom.

On 21 July, the Richard de Larrinaga and Sylvia de Larrinaga both parted company with the convoy due to being unable to keep up. Both due to faul bottoms. They were last seen in position 20°40'N, 20°20'W.

Around 0430Z/1, when the convoy was to the west of Ireland in position 53°28'N, 20°12'W, the City of Wellington and the Grangepark collided and dropped out of the convoy but they were able to rejoin later. The Grangepark was ordered to proceed to Belfast for repairs.

Around 1100Z/1, Convoy SLF 40, merged with convoy SL 40 in position 20°40'N, 20°20'W.

Convoy SLF 40 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Afric Star (British, 11900 GRT, built 1926), Anchises (British, 10000 GRT, built 1911), Bintang (British, 2825 GRT, built 1922), City of Simla (British, 10138 GRT, built 1921), Clan MacNeil (British, 6111 GRT, built 1922), Clytoneus (British, 6278 GRT, built 1930), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), Cortona (British, 7093 GRT, built 1921), Diomed (British, 10374 GRT, built 1922), Eskbank (British, 5137 GRT, built 1937), Glenfinlas (British, 7479 GRT, built 1917), Jonathan Holt (British, 3793 GRT, built 1938), Llanstephan Castle (British, 11340 GRT, built 1914), Marsdale (British, 4890 GRT, built 1940), Moena (Dutch, 9286 GRT, built 1923), Nanking (British, 5931 GRT, built 1924), Orestes (British, 7748 GRT, built 1926), Otaio (British, 10298 GRT, built 1930), Themistocles (British, 11231 GRT, built 1911), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938) and Zaanland (Dutch, 6813 GRT, built 1921).

Convoy SLF 40, had been escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Canton (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, RN) which also joined convoy SL 40.

Around 0445Z2, in position 54°40'N, 16°30'W, the sloop HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN), HMS Aberdeen (Cdr. H.P. Currey, RN) and the corvette HMS Periwinkle (Lt.Cdr. H. Row, RNR) joined the now combined convoy. The sloop HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN) was also to join but she never did.

On HMS Aberdeen and HMS Periwinkle joining, HMS Asturias and HMS Canton parted company with the convoy and both proceeded independently to Greenock.

At 1500Z/3, the destroyer HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN) joined in position 55°41'N, 08°35'W.

On the 4th, the corvettes HMS Godetia (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RNR) and HMS Primrose (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Sanders, RNVR), which came direct from the A/S training facility at Tobermory, also joined.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 4 August 1940. (16)

3 Aug 1940
Around 1445A/3, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Greenock from convoy escort duty. (17)

10 Aug 1940

Convoy ZA.

The troopships Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914) and Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921) departed Liverpool on 10 August. They were being escorted by the destroyers HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN) and HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN).

On 11 August the troopships Antonia (British, 13867 GRT, built 1921), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932) and Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925). They were escorted by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN) and HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN).

The troopships were evacuating children from the U.K. to Canada. HMS Revenge had £ 14.5 million in gold bullion on board.

On the 12th, HMS Hurricane lost touch with the convoy in the bad visibility. She was not seen again by the convoy.

The troopship Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935) and armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) also were with the convoy, having sailed with it from the Clyde, until 0800A/13, when they parted company on reaching 20°W and set course for Freetown. The remaining destroyers were also detached around this time.

The convoy arrived at Halifax on 19 August 1940. (18)

20 Aug 1940
Around 0205N/20, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) parted company with the troop transport Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935).

They then proceeded independently to Freetown. (17)

21 Aug 1940
Around 1300N/21, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Freetown. (17)

24 Aug 1940
Around 1200N/24, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Freetown for patrol in the South Atlantic. She is to join the South American Division. On departure gunnery exercises were carried out. (17)

30 Aug 1940
Around 1000P/30, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Alcantara (Capt.(Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) made rendezvous in approximate position 21°49'S, 31°57'W. A draft coming from the U.K. was then transferred from HMS Asturias to HMS Alcantara before both armed merchant cruisers resumed their patrols. (19)

20 Sep 1940
Around 0830P/20, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Rio de Janeiro from patrol in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (20)

21 Sep 1940
Around 0800P/21, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Rio de Janeiro for patrol in the South Atlantic in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (20)

11 Oct 1940
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) left the Rio de Janeiro focal area to patrol in the River Plate focal area. (21)

18 Oct 1940
Around 1630P/18, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Buenos Aires from patrol. (21)

20 Oct 1940
Around 1400P/20, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Buenos Aires for patrol in the South Atlantic. She is ordered to patrol in the River Plate focal area. (21)

10 Nov 1940
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) left patrol in the River Plate focal area to proceed to Simonstown. (22)

20 Nov 1940
Around 0730B/20, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) arrived at Simonstown from patrol. At Simonstown she is then taken in hand repairs which were to include a docking. (22)

21 Nov 1940
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) is docked in the Selborne graving dock at the Simonstown Dockyard. (22)

6 Dec 1940
HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) is undocked. (23)

9 Dec 1940
Around 1430B/9, HMS Asturias (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) departed Simonstown for gunnery exercises and subsequent passage to Capetown where she arrived around 1900B/10. (23)

13 Dec 1940
Around 1430B/13, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Simontown to patrol in the South Atlantic. She is ordered to patrol in the River Plate focal area. (23)

3 Jan 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) makes rendezvous with the chartered transport Baltavia (2461 GRT, built 1924) in Samborombón Bay, River Plate area to take on board supplies. HMS Asturias also transferred mails and stores she had brought with her from the Cape.

HMS Asturias resumed her patrol later the same day. (24)

7 Jan 1941
Around 0915P/7, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Montevideo from patrol. (24)

8 Jan 1941
Around 0930P/8, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Montevideo to resume patrol in the River Plate focal area. (24)

13 Jan 1941

Prelude to and finally the capture of the Vichy French passenger / cargo ship Mendoza on 18 January 1941.

At 0215P/13, when in position 082° - Lobos Island - 11.7 nautical miles, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) sighted the Vichy French passenger/cargo ship Mendoza (8199 GRT, built 1920) just inside Lobos Island. HMS Asturias closed, tried to head Mendoza off from the shore, and ordered her to stop her engines and then to head east. No notice was taken of these orders and a collision was narrowly avoided.

When Mendoza was 3.6 nautical miles from the shore, thus outside territorial waters, she appeared to stop. HMS Asturias then lowered a boat with a boarding party. However the Mendoza drifted to leeward, probably assisted by her engines, and by the time the boarding party got alongside, the Mendoza had anchored 2 nautical miles from the shore. The boarding officer tried to persuade the master to weigh anchor but this attempt was ignored and the boarding party was then withdrawn. HMS Asturias was ordered to keep in touch with the Mendoza in case she would weigh anchor.

Mendoza later weighed anchor but she proceeded to Montevideo roads where she anchored about midnight during the night of 13/14 January 1941.

At 1315P/14, the Mendoza weighed anchor and got underway. She anchored off Goriti around 1700P/14 after she had sighted HMS Asturias patrolling to the east of Lobos Island.

Around 1300P/15, the Mendoza weighed anchor and proceeded northwards inside territorial waters. HMS Asturias followed and shadowed her.

P.M. on the 17th, the Mendoza anchored in Porto Belo Bay, Brazil. She got underway the next morning and at 0600P/18, she was boarded by the boarding party of HMS Asturias in approximate position 26°41'S, 48°12'W. Her master refused to navigate the ship so HMS Asturias put a streaming party on board and HMS Asturias then stood out to sea with the Mendoza in company. (25)

21 Jan 1941
As ordered on 19 January, HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), made rendezvous around 1200P/21, in position 23°35'S, 34°19'W, with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and the captured Vichy-French passenger/cargo ship Mendoza (8199 GRT, built 1920) she had captured on the 18th. The boarding party of the Asturias was now replaced by one of the Dorsetshire. The Mendoza then proceeded to Freetown independently. (26)

12 Feb 1941
Around 0930P/12, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Rio de Janeiro from patrol. She had been patrolling in the Rio de Janeiro focal area since 21 January 1941. (27)

12 Feb 1941
Around 0815P/12, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Rio de Janeiro to resume patrol in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (27)

16 Mar 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left her patrol area in the Rio de Janeiro focal area to proceed to the River Plate focal area. (28)

17 Mar 1941
HMS Cumberland (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN) made rendezvous north-east of the River Plate with HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). HMS Cumberland and HMS Newcastle then transferred some personnel and mail to HMS Asturias. A tactical exercise was then carried out on completion of which HMS Asturias parted company to proceed to Beunos Aires. (25)

20 Mar 1941
Around 0900P/20, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Buenos Aires from patrol. She had been granted permission to stay for 48 hours to repair some machinery defects. (28)

22 Mar 1941
Around 1100P/22, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Buenos Aires for patrol in the South Atlantic. She had been ordered to patrol in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (28)

7 Apr 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left the Rio de Janeiro focal area to patrol in the River Plate focal area. (25)

23 Apr 1941
Around 1030PQ/23, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Montevideo from patrol. (28)

25 Apr 1941
Around 1000PQ/25, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Montevideo to resume patrol in the River Plate focal area. (28)

27 Apr 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left the River Plate focal area to patrol in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (25)

23 May 1941
Around 0930P/23, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Rio de Janeiro from patrol. (29)

24 May 1941
Around 0830P/24, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Rio de Janeiro for the River Plate focal area. (29)

27 May 1941
HMS Newcastle (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN) arrived at Samborombón Bay, River Plate area where she joined HMS Cumberland (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) and the RFA tanker Abbeydale (8299 GRT, built 1937). Shortly afterwards the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) also arrived from Rio de Janeiro.

HMS Newcastle fuelled from the Abbeydale and Rear-Admiral Pegram transferred his flag to her.

Around 2100P, HMS Newcastle and HMS Cumberland proceeded on patrol in company with each other.

One hours later, HMS Asturias also left for patrol in the river plate focal area. (30)

10 Jun 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) made rendezvous with the chartered transport Baltavia (2461 GRT, built 1924) in Samborombón Bay, River Plate area. HMS Asturias then took on board stores before she resumed patrol in the River Plate focal area. (31)

14 Jun 1941
Around 1945P/14, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived in Samborombón Bay from patrol. (31)

15 Jun 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) received 1000 tons of fuel from the RFA tanker Abbeydale (8299 GRT, built 1937) in Samborombón Bay. On completion of fuelling HMS Asturias left Samborombón Bay to resume patrol in the River Plate focal area. (31)

17 Jun 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) on patrol in the River Plate focal area is relieved by HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) H.N.M. Hardy, DSO, RN). HMS Asturias then left patrol to proceed to Newport News, Virginia, USA where she is to refit. (25)

3 Jul 1941
Around 0530R/3, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Newport News, Virginia, USA from the South America Station. (32)

12 Aug 1941
During her refit, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) is docked in No.2 graving dock at Newport News. (33)

17 Aug 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) is undocked. (33)

1 Oct 1941
With her refit completed, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) proceeded from Newport News to Hampton Roads. (34)

3 Oct 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in Chesapeake Bay. (34)

4 Oct 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted D/G trials in Chesapeake Bay. (34)

5 Oct 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted compass adjustment trials in Chesapeake Bay. (34)

6 Oct 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted compass adjustment and RDF calibration trials in Chesapeake Bay. On completion of these trials she proceeded to Newport News. (34)

7 Oct 1941
Around 1200R/7, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Newport News for Bermuda. (34)

10 Oct 1941
Around 1700Q/10, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Bermuda from Newport News. En-route exercises had been carried out. (34)

11 Oct 1941
During 11/12 October 1941, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted exercises off Bermuda. (34)

14 Oct 1941
During 14/15 October 1941, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted exercises off Bermuda. (34)

21 Oct 1941
Around 0915Q/21, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Trinidad from Bermuda. (34)

27 Oct 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Trinidad escorting the RFA tanker Derwentdale (8390 GRT, built 1941) towards the south.

They were to proceed through the following positions;
A) 06°30'N, 50°00'W.
B) 04°30'N, 34°30'W.
C) 08°00'S, 33°40'W.
D) 15°00'S, 36°00'W.
They were then to make rendezvous with HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) at 1000Z/9 in position 21°00'S, 36°00'W. (35)

7 Nov 1941
Around 1900O/7, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and the RFA tanker Derwentdale (8390 GRT, built 1941) made rendezvous in approximate position 18°30'S, 32°36'W with HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN).

They remained in company until 1100O/8 when HMS Bulolo parted company to resume patrol. HMS Asturias had transferred some personnel to HMS Bulolo. (36)

13 Nov 1941
Around 1600N/13, in position 28°37'S, 12°37'W, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) parted company with the RFA tanker Derwentdale (8390 GRT, built 1941).

HMS Asturias then set course to patrol near the Trinidade Islands.

The Derwentdale proceeded to proceed to Simonstown. She was joined around 1630Z/13 in position 29°50'S, 08°30'W by HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) H.N.M. Hardy, DSO, RN). (37)

29 Nov 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left patrol to proceed to Montevideo. (38)

5 Dec 1941
Around 1000P/5, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Montevideo from patrol. (39)

7 Dec 1941
Around 1030P/7, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Montevideo for patrol in the South Atlantic. She is ordered to patrol north of the Trinidade Islands. (40)

31 Dec 1941
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left patrol to proceed to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. (40)

7 Jan 1942
Around 1700O/7, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Port Stanley, Falkland Islands from patrol. (41)

9 Jan 1942
Around 0530O/9, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Port Stanley for patrol. She is ordered to patrol to the south / south-west of the Falkland Islands. (41)

19 Jan 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left patrol to proceed to Rio de Janeiro. (41)

25 Jan 1942
Around 1100P/25, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Rio de Janeiro from patrol. She arrived with some engine defects and was granted an additional 24 hours in port. (41)

28 Jan 1942
Around 0815P/28, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Rio de Janeiro for patrol. She is ordered to patrol off the Trinidade Islands for which she was to make rendezvous with HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN). (41)

31 Jan 1942
Around 0900O/31, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) made rendezvous in approximate position 22°20'S, 33°54'W. The two armed merchant cruiser then commenced to patrol in the Trinidade area keeping in close proximity. (42)

5 Feb 1942
Around 1200O/5, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) parted company. Both were to patrol independently in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (43)

11 Feb 1942
Around 0700O/11, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) made rendezvous near Cape Frio, Brazil in approximate position 23°10'S, 41°30'W.

About two hours later they were joined by the merchant vessel Avila Star (British, 14443 GRT, built 1927) which came from Trinidad with a draft for both ships which were then taken on board by the armed merchant cruisers.

On completion of the transfer both armed merchant cruisers resumed their patrol in the Rio de Janeiro focal area. (44)

16 Feb 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left her patrol in the Rio de Janeiro focal area to proceed to the River Plate focal area. (45)

21 Feb 1942
Around 0745O/21, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) anchored in Samborombón Bay where she then fuelled from the RFA tanker Broomdale (8334 GRT, built 1937). (45)

22 Feb 1942
Around 1115O/22, the light cruiser, HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN), departed Samborombón Bay for Simonstown, South Africa via Tristan da Cunha.

Shortly before departure, Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN, had transferred his flag to the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN).

Around 1615O/22, HMS Asturias departed Samborombón Bay for Montevideo. (46)

23 Feb 1942
Around 0945P/23, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) arrived at Montevideo. (45)

25 Feb 1942
Around 2200P/25, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) departed Montevideo to patrol in the River Plate focal area. (45)

28 Feb 1942
Around 0900P/28, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) made rendezvous with the RFA tanker Broomdale (8334 GRT, built 1937) in approximate position 35°07'S, 52°19'W. Mails and correspondence were then transferred by the armed merchant cruiser to the tanker.

HMS Asturias then resumed patrol while the Broomdale proceeded to Montevideo. (45)

1 Mar 1942
Around 1130P/1, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) made rendezvous with HMS Cilicia (Capt.(Retd.) V.B. Cardwell, OBE, RN) in approximate position 33°25'S, 45°41'W.

Correspondence was then transferred and on these ships parting company rangefinding and inclination (RIX) exercises were carried out.

HMS Asturias then set course for Freetown while HMS Cilicia commenced to patrol in the River Plate focal area. (47)

9 Mar 1942
Around 0930Z/9, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) arrived at Freetown.

Later that day, Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN, struck his flag as Rear-Admiral South America Division and left the ship to take up his new position as Flag Officer in Charge, Freetown. (48)

16 Mar 1942
At Freetown, the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlanic Station, Vice-Admiral W.E.C. Tait, CB, MVO, RN, hoisted his flag in HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN).

The armed merchant cruiser then left Freetown for South Africa around 1615Z/16. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) until 1030Z/18 when she parted company in position 00°35'S, 15°19'W. (49)

19 Mar 1942
In the afternoon, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of the C-in-C, South Atlantic, Vice-Admiral W.E.C. Tait, CB, MVO, RN) made a brief stop at Ascension to land four W/T personnel there. Also two ratings boarded the ship to take passage to South Africa. The Vice-Admiral also briefly went ashore for an inspection.

After about four hours HMS Asturias continued her passage. (50)

21 Mar 1942
In the afternoon, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of the C-in-C, South Atlantic, Vice-Admiral W.E.C. Tait, CB, MVO, RN) made a brief stop at St. Helena to land 2 ratings for HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR). The Vice-Admiral also briefly went ashore for an inspection. During the time HMS Asturias was anchored, HMS Nigella conducted an A/S patrol to the seaward of the armed merchant cruiser.

After about four hours HMS Asturias continued her passage to South Africa. (50)

26 Mar 1942
Around 1130B/26, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN, flying the flag of the C-in-C, South Atlantic, Vice-Admiral W.E.C. Tait, CB, MVO, RN) arrived at Simonstown.

At 1345B/26, Vice-Admiral Tait struck his flag and he and his staff theen left the armed merchant cruiser. (50)

31 Mar 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) is docked in the Selborne graving dock at the Simonstown Dockyard. (50)

10 Apr 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) is undocked at the Simonstown Dockyard following which she conducted gunnery exercises in False Bay. (51)

11 Apr 1942
Around 0700B/11, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Simonstown for Capetown where she arrived around 1700B/11. On entering Capetown D/G trials were carried out. (51)

12 Apr 1942
Around 0915B/12, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Capetown for Port Elizabeth. (52)

14 Apr 1942
Around 1100B/14, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Port Elizabeth from Capetown. At Port Elizabeth she was taken in hand for engine repairs which were expected to take over a month. (52)

13 May 1942
Around 1100B/13, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Port Elizabeth for Simonstown. (53)

15 May 1942
Around 1000B/15, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Simonstown from Port Elizabeth. (54)

19 May 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in False Bay. (54)

20 May 1942
Around 2345B/20, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Simonstown for Capetown. (54)

21 May 1942
Around 0830B/21, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Capetown from Simonstown. (54)

25 May 1942
Around 0930B/25, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Capetown for Simonstown where she arrived around 1600B/25. (54)

26 May 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted catapult test at Simonstown. During her stay in South Africa the ship had been fitted with equipment to operate a scout aircraft. (54)

27 May 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovering exercises in False Bay. (54)

28 May 1942
Around 0845B/28, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) left Simonstown for patrol. She is ordered to patrol in the South Atlantic. During this patrol she was to provide cover for the troop transports Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936) (Convoy WS 19W) which was to be expeted to cross 20°S around 2/3 June and Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914) (Convoy WS 19Q) which was expected to cross the equator around 12 June. (54)

19 Jun 1942
Around 0830Z/19, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Freetown from patrol. (55)

21 Jun 1942
Around 1745Z/21, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Freetown for patrol in the Mid- and South Atlantic.

She was also to provide cover for the troop transport Queen Elizabeth (British, 83673 GRT, built 1939) (Convoy WS 19Y) passing through the area. (55)

30 Jun 1942
Around 1200Z/30, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) made rendezvous in position 00°30'S, 08°30'W with the ocean boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) which was escorting the cable vessel Lady Denison-Pender (British, 1984 GRT, built 1920). The cable laying vessel is to repair the St. Helena - Capetown cable. (55)

4 Jul 1942
Around 0720Z/4, in position 11°31'S, 02°13'W, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and the cable vessel Lady Denison-Pender (British, 1984 GRT, built 1920) were joined by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN).

HMS Asturias and HMS Largs then parted company to proceed to Freetown while HMS Alcantara was to escort the cable laying vessel to Capetown. (56)

8 Jul 1942
Around 1530Z/8, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) arrived at Freetown. (57)

12 Jul 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted underway refuelling exercises off Freetown with HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) and HMS Tamarisk (Lt. S. Ayles, RNR). (57)

13 Jul 1942
Around 1630Z/13, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) departed Freetown to patrol in the mid-Atlantic and then onwards to St. Thomas in the West Indies. (58)

27 Jul 1942
Around 1200Q/27, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) arrived at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands from patrol. (57)

2 Aug 1942
Around 1600Q/7, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) departed St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. They then joined the floating dock AFD 25 in tow of the tugs HMS Aimwell and HMS Favourite and escorted by the corvettes HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR) and HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR).

The floating dock was on passage to Freetown. (59)

10 Aug 1942
HMS Aimwell was fuelled and watered while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (60)

11 Aug 1942
HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) and HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR) were both fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (60)

15 Aug 1942
In the early morning hours floating dock AFD 25 broke its back in the swell. Salvage attempts were undertaken but late in the afternoon there was no other choice then to scuttle the dock which eventually sank in position 12°01'N, 40°50'W early in the evening.

The escort and tugs; the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN), armed boarding vessel HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR), corvettes HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR), HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) and tugs HMS Aimwell and HMS Favourite continued the passage to Freetown. (59)

16 Aug 1942
HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) was topped off with fuel fuel while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN).

At 2055O/16, the corvette was detached from the group made up of HMS Asturias, HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR), HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR), HMS Aimwell and HMS Favourite. (60)

17 Aug 1942
HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) was topped off with fuel fuel while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). At dawn on the 17th, it became apparent that HMS Aimwell had lost contact during the night with HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR), HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR) and HMS Favourite.

A seach by the aircraft from HMS Asturias failed to find the missing tug. It was hoped she would proceed to Freetown independently.

During the day, HMS Cowslip was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias. (60)

20 Aug 1942
Around 2015N/19, in position 09°54'N, 26°00'W, HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR) and HMS Favourite were detached as ordered by the Rear-Admiral West Africa station. They were to proceed to Freetown independently from HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR). (60)

22 Aug 1942
Around 0930Z/22, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) arrived at Freetown.

The missing tug (since 16 August 1942) HMS Aimwell was seen by them to enter harbour around 1050Z/22.

Around 1545Z/22, HMS Cowslip (Lt. F. Granger, RNR) and HMS Favourite also entered harbour. (60)

26 Aug 1942
Around 1545Z/26, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Freetown for patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South Atlantic. On departure D/G trials were carried out. (61)

1 Sep 1942
Around 1200Z/1, HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN) and HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) made rendezvous in position 03°35'S, 17°27'W. They then continued their patrol but now in company.

They remained in company until around 1900Z/9. (62)

11 Sep 1942
Around 1130Z/11, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Freetown from patrol. (63)

2 Oct 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) for patrol in the mid-Atlantic. They were to intercept the Spanish merchant vessel Monte Guguru (3551 GRT, built 1921) which is en-route to Spain from Rosario, Argentina possibly carrying contraband. (64)

5 Oct 1942
Around 1600Z/5, in approximate position 08°00'N, 24°50'W, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) were joined by HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN).

After some gunnery exercises they parted company about two hours later with HMS Carnarvon Castle setting course for Freetown escorted by HMS Brilliant. (65)

24 Oct 1942
Around 1315Z/24, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Freetown from patrol. (64)

30 Oct 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Freetown on a target that was being towed by HMS Aimwell. (66)

2 Nov 1942
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) conducted exercises off Freetown. She was escorted by the A/S whaler HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR) which had just arrived with convoy CF 7. (67)

9 Nov 1942
Around 0800Z/9, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) departed Freetown for an anti-blockade runner patrol in the mid-Atlantic. The merchant vessel Manchester Progress (British, 5620 GRT, built 1938) was in company until midnight during the night of 10/11 November when she was detached in position 07°10'N, 20°00'W to proceed to Hampton Roads. (68)

13 Nov 1942
HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (67)

16 Nov 1942
HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (67)

20 Nov 1942
HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (67)

21 Nov 1942
Around 2300ZN/21, HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) parted company with HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). The corvette was to proceed to Freetown. (67)

27 Nov 1942
Around 1200Z/27, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Freetown from patrol. (67)

2 Dec 1942
Around 1800Z/2, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Freetown for an anti-blockade runner patrol in the mid-Atlantic around the equator. (69)

6 Dec 1942
Around 0900Z/6, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) was joined by the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) in approximate position 04°39'N, 21°24'W. (69)

7 Dec 1942
HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (70)

11 Dec 1942
HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (70)

15 Dec 1942
HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (70)

19 Dec 1942
HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) was fuelled while underway by HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). (70)

19 Dec 1942

Convoy CF 10.

This convoy departed Capetown on 19 December 1942.

The convoy was made up of the (troop) transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921) and Straat Soenda (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939).

On departure from Capetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN) and the destroyer HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN).

Around 0655B/21, HMS Fortune parted company with the convoy to proceed to Simonstown.

Around 1400A/27, the corvette HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1615Z/28, the escort destroyer HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and corvette Commandant Drogou joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 29 December 1942.

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

The convoy departed Freetown on 1 January 1943 but now escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN), destroyer HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), escort destroyer HMS Holcombe and corvette HMS Woodruff (A/Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR).

Around 1940Z/1, HMS Ilex was detached to participate in an A/S hunt off Dakar.

Around 1120Z/2, the corvette HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR) joined, having departed Bathurst on 1 January.

Around 1930Z/3, HMS Ilex rejoined the convoy having first fuelled at Bathurst. At the same time the Largs Bay escorted by HMS Woodruff parted company. The Largs Bay was to proceed to New York escorted part of the way by the corvette. HMS Woodruff arrived at Bathurst on 10 January.

Around 1800Z/4, HMS Holcombe parted company to proceed to Bathurst where she arrived on 6 January.

Around 0800Z/5, the sloops HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Hulton, RN) and HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, RN) joined.

Around 0840Z/5, HMS Ilex and HMS Bellwort parted company to proceed to Bathurst where HMS Ilex arrived on the 6th and HMS Bellwort on the 7th.

Around 1200A/8, the convoy merged with convoy MKF 6. The three sloops did not join convoy MKF 6 but proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived later on the 8th. (71)

24 Dec 1942
Around 1330Z/24, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) and HMS Cyclamen (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR) arrived at Freetown from patrol. They both conducted D/G trials on arrival. (70)

1 Jan 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and HMS Woodruff (A/Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR) departed Freetown escorting convoy CF 10.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy CF 10 ' for 19 December 1942.] (70)

6 Jan 1943

Convoy MKF 6

This convoy departed Algiers on 6 January 1943.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Derbyshire (British, 11660 GRT, built 1935), Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), Gloucester (British, 8532 GRT, built 1941), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922) and Zoella Lykes (American, 6829 GRT, built 1940).

On departure from Algiers the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RD, RNR), escort destroyer HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), sloops HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN, Senior Officer), HMS Banff (Lt. P. Brett, RNR), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and the frigate HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RN).

Around 0630A/8, off Gibraltar in position 35°59'N, 05°21'W, HMS Haydon parted company as did the Exiria, Ormonde, Orontes and Zoella Lykes. These ships then entered Gibraltar.

Around 1100A/8, convoy CF 10 merged with convoy KMF 6. The following (troop) transports joined the convoy; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930) and Straat Soenda (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939) as did their escort, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN). The A/S escort of convoy CF 10 did not join convoy MKF 6 but proceeded to Gibraltar.

At 1620A/10, in position 42°28'N, 15°52'W, the Straat Soenda parted company with the convoy as she had to hove to due to weather damage she had sustained.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 14 January 1943. (72)

14 Jan 1943
Around 1000A/14, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) arrived at Greenock from convoy escort duty. (73)

15 Jan 1943
Around 0815A/15, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) H. Ardill, RN) departed Greenock for Belfast where she arrived at 1520A/15.

At Belfast she was taken in hand for refit by the Harland & Wolff shipyard. (74)

18 Mar 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt. R.M. Southern, RN) is docked in the Thompson graving dock at Belfast. (75)

2 Apr 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt. R.M. Southern, RN) is undocked. (76)

11 May 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted post refit trials off Belfast. (77)

12 May 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted D/G and compass adjustment trials off Belfast. (77)

13 May 1943
Around 0930B/13, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Belfast for Greenock where she arrived around 2130B/13. En-route some trials had been carried out. (77)

17 May 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (77)

19 May 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (77)

21 May 1943
HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovering exercises and gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (77)

25 May 1943
During the night of 25/26 May 1943, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (77)

31 May 1943
Around 2000B/31, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Greenock for Casablanca. (77)

5 Jun 1943
Around 1745Z/5, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Casablanca from Greenock. (78)

6 Jun 1943
Around 1915Z/6, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Casablanca for Freetown. (78)

12 Jun 1943
Around 1000Z/12, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Freetown from Casablanca. (78)

14 Jun 1943
Around 1200Z/14, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Freetown for Bahia. (78)

14 Jun 1943
Around 1900P/19, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Bahia from Freetown. (78)

5 Jul 1943

Passage fo the Regusci & Voulminot floating dock from Bahia to Dakar and the torpedoing of HMS Asturias.

In the early afternoon, the former floating dock of Regusci & Voulminot from Montevideo, Uruguay, left Bahia in two parts for Dakar. The tugs Thames and Roode Zee each towed a part of the dock.

The tow was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN), sloop HMS Milford (Lt.Cdr. G. MacClelland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clarkia (Lt.Cdr. S. Darling, RANVR), HMS Cowslip (Lt.Cdr. F. Granger, RNR) and HMS Woodruff (T/Lt. T. Muir, RNVR).

They were to proceed through positions;
A) 13°16'S, 38°33'W.
B) 13°16'S, 33°20'W.
C) 04°00'S, 29°00'W.
D) 00°00'S, 25°00'W.
E) 08°35'N, 20°00'W.

They were expected to arrive at Freetown at 1000Z/28 and it had been estimated they could make 100 nautical miles a day.

At 0930O/10, HMS Clarkia was detached to go to the assistance of HMS Buttermere (Lt. J.D.E. Lewis, RNR) and HMS Wastwater (T/Lt. W.J.L. Storey, RNVR) which were to have joined the convoy the following day but both had suffered engine failure.

At 0020O/12, HMS Clarkia rejoined the convoy.

Around 1800O/13, in approximate position 07°04'S, 30°48'W, USS Surprise (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Low, USNR) joined the convoy coming from Recife.

On 15 July 1943, HMS Woodruff and HMS Clarkia both fuelled while underway from HMS Asturias.

On 16 July 1943, HMS Milford and HMS Cowslip both fuelled while underway from HMS Asturias.

Around 0900O/20, in approximate position 00°08'S, 25°33'W, USS Surprise was detached to return to Recife.

Around 0800O/23, in position 04°02'N, 23°10'W, the A/S trawler HMS Inkpen (T/Lt. H. Vernon, RNR) and A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR) joined the convoy coming from Freetown.

Also on 23 July 1943, HMS Clarkia, HMS Woodruff and HMS Milford all fuelled while underway from HMS Asturias. HMS Cowslip was fuelled the following morning.

At 2352A/24, in position 06°52'N, 20°45'W, a torpedo was seen approaching HMS Asturias which was able to evade it but then a second torpedo was seen which struck the armed merchant cruiser amidships on the port side resulting in serious damage to the ships engines and boilers. HMS Clarkia and HMS Southern Gem were ordered to remain with the damaged ship while the remainder of the convoy continued. The attacker was the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni.

On receipt of the signal that HMS Asturias had been torpedoed, the sloop HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Moyola (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lawson, RD, RNR) and the tug Zwarte Zee were despatched from Freetown.

Around 1430A/26, HMS Exe joined followed around 1800A/26, by HMS Folkestone and the Zwarte Zee. HMS Clarkia was then detached to overtake and join the convoy with the floating dock. About an hour later the Zwarte Zee had HMS Asturias in tow.

Around 0700A/27, HMS Moloya also joined. She had brought portable pumps and other salvage equipment with her.

The damaged armed merchant cruiser arrived at Freetown still under tow around 1300Z/1.

The convoy with the dock had arrived at Dakar on 30 July 1943. (79)

24 Jul 1943
At 2352A/24, in position 06°52'N, 20°45'W, HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) was torpedoed and damaged by the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni.

[For more info see the event ' Passage fo the Regusci & Voulminot floating dock from Bahia to Dakar and the torpedoing of HMS Asturias ' for 5 July 1943.] (80)

1 Aug 1943
Around 1300Z/1, the damaged armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Freetown under tow by Zwarte Zee.

Their escort, HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Moyola (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lawson, RD, RNR) and HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR) was still with them until their arrival.

There were no facilities available at Freetown to repair HMS Asturias. The damaged ship was laid up at Freetown and was only towed to the U.K. for repairs in mid 1945. (81)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/2195
  2. ADM 53/109480 + ADM 53/111183 + ADM 199/2546
  3. ADM 199/2546
  4. ADM 199/367
  5. ADM 199/52
  6. ADM 173/107552
  7. ADM 173/107553
  8. ADM 173/111469
  9. ADM 173/111470
  10. ADM 173/111471
  11. ADM 173/111472
  12. ADM 173/111473
  13. ADM 173/111474
  14. ADM 173/111474 + ADM 199/2546
  15. ADM 53/111475
  16. ADM 199/219
  17. ADM 53/111476
  18. ADM 199/17
  19. ADM 53/111364 + ADM 53/111476
  20. ADM 53/111477
  21. ADM 53/111478
  22. ADM 53/111479
  23. ADM 53/111480
  24. ADM 53/113646
  25. ADM 199/384
  26. ADM 53/114129 + ADM 199/394
  27. ADM 173/113647
  28. ADM 53/113648
  29. ADM 173/113650
  30. ADM 53/113650 + ADM 53/113993 + ADM 53/114785 + ADM 199/384
  31. ADM 173/113651
  32. ADM 53/113652
  33. ADM 53/113653
  34. ADM 53/113655
  35. ADM 53/113655 + ADM 199/402
  36. ADM 53/113656 + ADM 53/113748 + ADM 199/384
  37. ADM 53/113656 + ADM 199/384
  38. ADM 53/113656
  39. ADM 53/113657
  40. ADM 53/113657 + ADM 199/384
  41. ADM 53/115374
  42. ADM 53/115374 + ADM 53/115458
  43. ADM 53/115374 + ADM 53/115458 + ADM 199/653
  44. ADM 53/115375 + ADM 53/115459 + ADM 199/653
  45. ADM 53/115375
  46. ADM 53/115375 + ADM 53/115430
  47. ADM 53/115376 + ADM 53/115607 + ADM 199/653
  48. ADM 53/115376 + ADM 199/653
  49. ADM 53/115376 + ADM 199/647
  50. ADM 53/115376
  51. ADM 53/115377
  52. ADM 53/115377 + ADM 199/2336
  53. ADM 53/115378 + ADM 199/2336
  54. ADM 53/115378
  55. ADM 53/115379
  56. ADM 53/115379 + ADM 199/2245
  57. ADM 53/115380
  58. ADM 53/115380 + ADM 199/647
  59. ADM 53/115381 + ADM 199/647 + ADM 199/2248
  60. ADM 53/115381
  61. ADM 53/115381 + ADM 199/647
  62. ADM 53/115382 + ADM 53/115539 + ADM 199/647
  63. ADM 53/115382 + ADM 199/647
  64. ADM 53/115383 + ADM 199/647
  65. ADM 53/115383 + ADM 53/115540 + ADM 199/647
  66. ADM 53/115383
  67. ADM 53/115384
  68. ADM 53/115384 + ADM 199/647
  69. ADM 53/115385 + ADM 199/647
  70. ADM 53/115385
  71. ADM 53/115299 + ADM 53/116962 + ADM 199/635 + ADM 199/1035
  72. ADM 199/720 + ADM 199/975
  73. ADM 53/116962
  74. ADM 53/116962 + ADM 199/2546
  75. ADM 53/116964
  76. ADM 53/116965
  77. ADM 53/116966
  78. ADM 53/116967
  79. ADM 53/116967 + ADM 199/2269 + ADM 199/2270
  80. ADM 53/116968
  81. ADM 53/116969

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


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