Allied Warships

HMS Wolfe (F 37)

Armed Merchant Cruiser


Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 37 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched3 Jul 1920 
Commissioned10 Jan 1940 
End serviceNov 1941 
History

On 25 August 1939 the passenger ship Montcalm of the Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd, Montreal was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser being renamed HMS Wolfe. Conversion was completed on 10 January 1940.

Displacement: 16418 BRT
Armament: 7x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 17 knots

Career:
January 40 - October 40: Northern Patrol
November 40 - February 41: Northern and Western Patrol
March 41 - April 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
May 41 - October 41: North Atlantic Escort Force

In November 1941 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). In January 1942 sold to the Admiralty and converted to a submarine depot ship until 22 May 1942. In January 1943 converted to a destroyer depot ship. 1946-47 flagship of the 1st Submarine flotilla. 1949 decommissioned and scrapped in 1952.

 

Commands listed for HMS Wolfe (F 37)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (retired) Charles Geoffrey Coleridge Sumner, OBE, RN10 Nov 19391 Jul 1940
2A/Capt. (retired) William Gabbett Ashton Shuttleworth, RN1 Jul 1940Nov 1941

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Notable events involving Wolfe include:


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.

17 Feb 1941

Convoy TC 9.

This troop convoy departed Halifax on 17 February 1941 and arrived in the Clyde on 27 February 1941.

Is was made up of the troopships: Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Johan van Oldenbarneveld (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925) and Warwick Castle (British, British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Halifax it was escorted by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Wolfe (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.G.A. Shuttleworth, RN).

HMS Wolfe was detached on 18 February 1941.

On 20 February the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy, She relieved HMS Royal Sovereign on 23 February which then returned to Halifax arriving on 28 February. On 24 February the destroyers HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN) and HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Havelock was detached on 25 February. The three Canadian destroyers remained with the convoy until 26 February.

On the 25 February, light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and Léopard (Lt.Cdr. J. Evenou) joined the convoy; Léopard already being detached later on the 25th. Destroyer HMS Mistral (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) joined the convoy on the 26th. Destroyer HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN) also escorted the convoy in the Western Approaches. The convoy reached the Minches in the evening of 26 February. Light cruiser HMS Edinburg with the destroyers HMS Inglefield, HMS Echo and HMS Eclipse then proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving at 0100/27.

Light cruiser HMS Aurora with the destroyers Mistral and HMS Churchill took the convoy into the Clyde and arrived at Greenock on the 27th.

28 Feb 1941

Convoy SC 24.

This convoy departed Halifax for the U.K. on 28 February 1941.

On departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Annavore (Norwegian, 3324 GRT, built 1921), Asiatic (British, 3741 GRT, built 1923), Atlanticos (Greek, 5446 GRT, built 1919), Berkel (Dutch, 2130 GRT, built 1930), Bernhard (Norwegian, 3563 GRT, built 1924), Borgfred (British, 2183 GRT, built 1920), Brave Coeur (British, 6458 GRT, built 1919), Brisk (Norwegian, 1594 GRT, built 1923), Bruxelles (Belgium, 5085 GRT, built 1919), Emmy (Greek, 3895 GRT, built 1914), Flynderborg (Norwegian, 2022 GRT, built 1930), Framlington Court (British, 4888 GRT, built 1924), Inga I (Norwegian, 1304 GRT, built 1921), Kalypso Vergotti (Greek, 5686 GRT, built 1918), Kyma (Greek, 3959 GRT, built 1911), Ledaal (Norwegian, 3076 GRT, built 1899), Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Photinia (British, 4010 GRT, built 1929), Sheaf Crown (British, 4868 GRT, built 1929), Star (Norwegian, 1531 GRT, built 1922), Start Point (British, 5293 GRT, built 1919), Swiftpool (British, 5205 GRT, built 1929), Thistleglen (British, 4748 GRT, built 1929), Tilsington Court (British, 6910 GRT, built 1928), Treworlas (British, 4692 GRT, built 1922), Victo (Norwegian, 3655 GRT, built 1906), Western Chief (British, 5759 GRT, built 1918) and Winterswijk (Dutch, 3205 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Wolfe (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.G.A. Shuttleworth, RN) and the corvette HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR). The corvette however soon returned to harbour.

The merchant vessel Bernhard turned back during the night of 28 February / 1 March due to engine defects.

At 1100Q/1, the merchant vessel Kalypso Vergotti turned back to Halifax due to a leak.

From 5 March the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN) was nearby to provide cover for the convoy (and convoy HX 112 as well).

On 14 March, the merchant vessel Western Chief, which had straggled from the convoy, was torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Emo.

At 1200A/15, HMS Wolfe parted company with the convoy.

Later on the 15th the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) joined the convoy followed by the corvettes HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) and HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) the following day.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 19 March 1941.


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