Allied Warships

HMS Carthage (F 99)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 99 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched18 Aug 1931 
Commissioned26 Dec 1939 
End service30 Dec 1943 
History

laid down as Canton, completed as Carthage.
On 7 September 1939 the passenger ship Carthage 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 26 December 1939.

Displacement: 14182 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 17 knots

Career:
January 40 - February 42: East Indies Station
March 42 - April 42: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
June 42 - August 42: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
September 42 - November 42: South Atlantic Station
December 42 - February 43: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
March 43 - April 43: South Atlantic Station
May 43 - November 43: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)

On 30 December 1943 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 1948 returned to owner.

 

Commands listed for HMS Carthage (F 99)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (retired) Basil Owen Bell-Salter, RN28 Aug 1939Dec 1940
2Capt. (retired) Henry Leonard Ivers Kirkpatrick, OBE, RNDec 194019 Feb 1942
3Capt. (retired) Basil Owen Bell-Salter, RN19 Feb 19421 May 1942
4A/Capt. Cyril William Archie Gooding Hamley, RN1 May 194210 Jun 1942
5A/Cdr. John Wyndham Cookson, RN10 Jun 194223 Jun 1942
6A/Capt. (retired) William Vesey Hamilton Harris, DSC, RN23 Jun 194228 Jul 1943
7A/Capt. Ughtred Henry Ramsden James, RN28 Jul 1943

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Notable events involving Carthage include:


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

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

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

At 0900/3, rendez-vous was made in position 23°20'N, 37°42'E with convoy BS 3A which came down from Suez. Escorts were then exchanged and both convoy's proceeded to their destinations. (1)

10 Sep 1940

Convoy AP 3.

This convoy departed Liverpool on 10 September 1940 for Suez where it arrived on 22 October 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Brisbane Star (British, 12791 GRT, built 1937), Brittanic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Clan Campbell (British, 7255 GRT, built 1937), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Imperial Star (British, 12427 GRT, built 1935) and Ulster Prince (British, 3791 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from the U.K. the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Havelock (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN), HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) and HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN). They remained with the convoy until 12 September.

In the morning of 11 September the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) joined the convoy until 0745/12.

Ocean escort joined around the time the destroyers left and was made up of the armed merchant cruisers HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) V.B. Cardwell, OBE, RN) and HMS Wolfe (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.G.A. Shuttleworth, RN). They remained with the convoy until it arrived at Freetown on 23 September 1940.

From 25 September 1940 to 4 October 1940, when the convoy arrived at Capetown, it was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) H.N.M. Hardy, DSO, RN).

On departure from Capetown on 6 October, the convoy was escorted by HMS Canton until 9 October when she was relieved by HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN). This armed merchant cruiser remained with the convoy until 15 October when she was relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN) which remained with the convoy until 20 October.

On 18 October the convoy was near Aden and the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) joined.

The escort parted company with the convoy on 20 October except HMS Kandahar which remained with the convoy until it's arrival at Suez two days later. On arrival at Suez two more ships were escorting the convoy, these were the sloop HMIS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) and the minesweeper HMS Stoke (Cdr.(Retd.) C.J.P. Hill, RN). Presumably these had joined on 20 October.

8 Oct 1940

Convoy SW 2.

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

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

On departed from Suez the convoy was apparently not escorted.

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

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

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

This heavy cruiser escorted the convoy until 04.50'N, 30.00'E where the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN) took over.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 22 October 1940 minus three merchant vessels which had proceeded to other destinations; Amra and Waiotira proceeded to Bombay and Colombo respectively while Ormonde arrived at Mombasa on 18 October. (1)

3 Nov 1940
In the morning convoy WS 3A (slower part) and Convoy WS 3B (faster part) merged together west of Madagascar.

Convoy WS 3A was at that moment made up of the British transports Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Erinpura (5143 GRT, built 1911), Highland Brigade (14134 GRT, built 1929), Khedive Ismael (7290 GRT, built 1922), Oropesa (14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (10496 GRT, built 1936) and Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933). These were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

Convoy WS 3B was at that moment made up of the British troop transports Duchess of York (20021 GRT, built 1929), Georgic (27759 GRT, built 1932), Monarch of Bermuda (22424 GRT, built 1931) and Orontes (20097 GRT, built 1925). These were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

Shortly before noon the Erinpure and Khedive Ismael split off from the convoy and set course for Mombasa escorted by HMS Carthage. HMS Dorsetshire then continued on towards Suez with the remainder of the convoy. (2)

19 Apr 1941
In the morning, near East London, South Africa, HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), made rendez-vous with HMS Illustrious (Cdr. G.S. Tuck, RN) and took over the escort of the damaged aircraft carrier from the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN). Course was then set for Capetown. (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/383
  2. ADM 53/112041
  3. ADM 53/114132

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


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