Allied Warships

HMAS Yarra (L 77 / U 77)

Sloop of the Grimsby class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeSloop
ClassGrimsby 
PennantL 77 / U 77 
Built byCockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) 
Ordered22 Dec 1933 
Laid down24 May 1934 
Launched28 Mar 1935 
Commissioned21 Jan 1936 
Lost4 Mar 1942 
History

HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. Robert William Rankin, RAN) was sunk south off Java in a gun battle with by the Japanese heavy cruisers Atago, Maya and Takao.

 

Commands listed for HMAS Yarra (L 77 / U 77)

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
1Lt.Cdr. Wilfred Hastings Harrington, RAN30 Aug 193914 Nov 1939
2Lt.Cdr. Wilfred Hastings Harrington, RAN7 Dec 193911 Feb 1942
3Lt.Cdr. Robert William Rankin, RAN11 Feb 19424 Mar 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Yarra include:


8 Sep 1939
The heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN) and the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Sydney. (1)

14 Sep 1939
On 14 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) all conducted gunnery exercises off Sydney.

On completion of the exercises all ships entered harbour. (2)

19 Sep 1939
On 19 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) all conducted exercises off Sydney.

HMAS Canberra, HMAS Stuart and HMAS Waterhen continued their exercises during the night of 19/20 September and entered Jervis Bay on the morning of the 20th.

HMAS Vendetta briefly returned to harbour on completion of the exercises. She departed later the same day for Melbourne together with the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN). (3)

20 Sep 1939
On 19 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) departed Jervis Bay for night exercises and then to return to Sydney.

One of the exercises they were to perform was intercepting the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which was en-route from Melbourne to Sydney via Tasmania. She joined the exercises on 21 September.

Before entering harbour on 21 September exercises were carried out off Sydney by HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Stuart, HMAS Waterhen, HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN). (4)

23 Sep 1940

Convoy BN 6.

The Karachi section of this convoy departed that place on 23 September 1940.

It was made up of the transports; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911) and Pundit (British, 5305 GRT, built 1919).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).

On 26 September 1940, the ' Kararchi section ' was joined by the ' Bombay section ' which had departed that place on 25 September 1940.

It was made up of the following transports (one one tanker); Borgestad (Norwegian, 3924 GRT, built 1924), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marisa (Dutch (tanker), 8029 GRT, built 1937), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nizam (British, 5322 GRT, built 1914), President Doumer (British, 11898, built 1935), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ranee (British, 5060 GRT, built 1928), Rhona (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Shirala (British, 7841 GRT, built 1925), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).

Around 1230C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) took over from the armed merchant cruisers which then parted company to proceed to Bombay.

Around 0800C/3, the sloops HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined.

Around 0830C/4, the ' Bombay / Karachi section ' merged with the ' Aden section '. On doing so, HMAS Hobart parted company and proceeded to Aden.

The ' Aden section ' was made up of the following transports / tankers; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Bencruachan (British, 5920 GRT, built 1928), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), City of Singapore (British, 1988 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ross (British, GRT, built ), Cyprian Prince (British, GRT, built ), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), El Amin (British, 746 GRT, built 1926), El Segundo (Panamanian (tanker), 3664 GRT, built 1912), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helka (British (tanker), 3471 GRT, built 1912), Hilda Moller (British, 4622 GRT, built 1912), Jalaputra (British, 4856 GRT, built 1906), Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Jhelum (British, 4038 GRT, built 1936), Liss (British (tanker), 5932 GRT, built 1921), Lurigethan (British, 3564 GRT, built 1916), Quiloa (British, 7765 GRT, built 1925), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Robert L. Holt (British, 2918 GRT, built 1926), Soli (Norwegian (tanker), 5834 GRT, built 1915), Star of Alexander (Egyptian, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Strix (Norwegian (tanker), 6219 GRT, built 1930), Therese Moller (British, 3930 GRT, built 1905) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

The convoy now proceeded northwards up the Red Sea.

At dawn on the 5th, the Ayamonte was detached to proceed to Kamaran escorted by HMAS Parramatta.

On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October convoy BN 6 was attacked by high level Italian bombers but no damage was done.

The following ships were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on 7 or 8 October 1940; Borgestad, Devonshire, El Amin, Garmula, Jehangir, Khandalla, Pundit, Rajput, Ranee, Rohna, Strix, Takliwa and Talamba.

From the escort HMIS Hindustan arrived and left Port Sudan on 7 October 1940, HMAS Auckland arrived and left on 8 October and HMAS Yarra arrived and left on 9 October. HMS Kingston also called at Port Sudan [date currently unknown to us].

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Suez on 11 October 1940. on 9 October 1940, HMS Leander had been replaced as escort by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN). (5)

5 Oct 1940

Convoy BS 6.

This convoy departed Suez on 5 October 1940.

It was made up of the transports / tanker; Bahadur (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929), Baron Erskine (British, 3657 GRT, built 1930), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Charlbury (British, 4836 GRT, built 1940), Duffield (British (tanker), 8516 GRT, built 1938), Hydroussa (Greek, 2038 GRT , built 1922), Jalapadma (British, 3935 GRT, built 1929), Jessmore (British, 4099 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Phenix (British (tanker), 5920 GRT, built 1920, former French), Raby Castle (British, 4996 GRT, built 1925), Star of Mex (Egyptian, 1116 GRT, built 1911) and Trevarrack (British, 5270 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 8 October 1940 the transport Karoa was detached to Port Sudan.

On 9 October 1940 the two sloops were relieved by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division) and the sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN).

Also on 9 October 1940 the convoy was joined by the transport Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923) and sloop HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) coming from Port Sudan.

Around 1030C/13, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which relieved HMS Leander. The transports Baron Erskine, Hydroussa, Phenix and Star of Mex were detached to Aden escorted by HMIS Hindustan. They arrived around 2000C/13.

At dusk, HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy and set course for Colombo.

The convoy was dispersed later the same day and HMS Auckland and HMAS Yarra proceeded to Aden arriving around 0700C/14. (6)

28 Oct 1940

Convoy SW 2A.

This convoy departed Suez on 28 August 1940.

It was made up of the following troop transports; Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the damaged heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN).

Around 1530B/30, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) and sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy escort.

The convoy was dispersed off Aden on 1 November. (6)

1 Nov 1940

Convoy WS 4A.

This convoy departed Liverpool / the Clyde on 1 / 2 November 1940 for the far east.

The Liverpool section of the convoy departed Liverpool on 1 November and was made up of the following troopships / transports; Abosso (British, 11330 GRT, built 1935), Akaroa (British, 15130 GRT, built 1914), City of Manchester (British, 8917 GRT, built 1935), Duchess of Richmond (British, 22022 GRT, built 1928), Dunedin Star (British, 11168 GRT, built 1936), Malancha (British, 8124 GRT, built 1937), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

From the Bristol Channel three ships joined this convoy, these were; Delius (British, 6065 GRT, built 1937), Martand (British, 7967 GRT, built 1939) and Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1937).

It was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski). This last destroyer had been escorting the three ships that came from the Bristol Channel.

The Clyde section of the convoy departed the Clyde on 2 November was made up of the following troopships / transports;

Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Clan Chattan (British, 7262 GRT, built 1937), Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928) and Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

They were escort by the heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hammill, RN), AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN), HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, RN).

The convoy merged around 1000/2 in position 55°45'N, 07°21'W.

HMS Bulldog and ORP Garland left the convoy around 1200/3 in position 54°25'N, 14°39'W to go to the aid of the troopship Windsor Castle which had been damaged by German aircraft bombs in position 54°12'N, 13°18'W.

HMS Cairo left the convoy at 1830/3 in position 54°12'N, 16°13'W.

HMS Hesperus and HMS Hurricane left the convoy around 1900/3 to go to the aid of the torpedoed armed merchant cruiser HMS Laurentic.

HMS Beagle, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena parted company with the convoy at 0300/4 in position 52°30'N, 19°00'W.

HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester parted company with the convoy at 1600/4 in position 52°30'N, 22°25'W.

At 0310/5 the Duchess of Richmond parted company with the convoy in position 52°10'N, 26°05'E to proceed to her destination independently.

At 0630/9 the Akaroa parted company with the convoy in position 32°44'N, 22°58'W to proceed to Trinidad.

At 0855/11 the Almanzora, Abosso, City of Manchester, Darius, Malancha and Martland were detached ('slow' group) were detached in position 23°47'N, 22°15'W under the escort of the armed merchant cruiser HMS Pretoria Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.J. Shelly, RN) which had just joined the convoy.

The 'fast' section of the convoy arrived at Freetown on 14 November escorted by HMS Cornwall.

The 'slow' section of the convoy arrived at Freetown on 15 November escorted by HMS Pretoria Castle.

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

The convoy, now made up of troopships / transports Almanzora, City of Manchester, Clan Chattan, Clan Lamont, Delius, Dunedin Star, Highland Monarch, Malancha, Martand, Port Wyndham, Scythia, Stirling Castle and Warwick Castle, departed Freetown for South Africa around 1630 hours on 17 November 1940.

They were escorted by HMS Cornwall and HMS Pretoria Castle.

At 0805 hours on 26 November the Scythia and Warwick Castle parted company with the convoy in position 22°55'S, 09°03'E to proceed to Capetown. They were escorted by HMS Pretoria Castle.

These ships arrived off Capetown on 29 October. The troopships both entered the harbour but Scythia only briefly to take on board water.

HMS Pretoria Castle rejoined to convoy around 1200 hours on 29 November. Scythia rejoined about 45 minutes later.

At 1500 hours on 2 December, while in position 32°15'S, 29°35'E, the Almanzora, City of Manchester, Delius, Malancha and Martand were left astern to enable to other ships to arrive at Durban early the next day. HMS Pretoria Castle remained with these five ships while HMS Cornwall went ahead with the others.

Pretoria Castle arrived with the five ships that had split off at Durban some hours after the others. The convoy then entered harbour while HMS Pretoria Castle set course for Capetown.

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

The convoy, now made up of troopships / transports City of Manchester, Clan Chattan, Clan Lamont, Delius, Dunedin Star, Highland Monarch, Malancha, Martand, Port Wyndham and Stirling Castle, departed Durban for Aden around 1030 hours on 5 December 1940.

There was one more ships in the convoy, this was the troopship Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937) who had taken over the troops of the Scythia and took her place in the convoy.

Escort was once again HMS Cornwall but she was now with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN).

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

In the morning of 18 December 1940 the convoy arrived near Aden and was transferred to the Red Sea escort. HMS Cornwall and HMS Kanimbla parted company with the convoy at 0925/18 in position 11°53'N, 45°08'E. The then proceeded to Aden where they arrived around 1300/18.

The Red Sea escort joined the convoy as follows; sloops HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy at 0730/18 in position 11°53'N, 45°34'E.

Light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN) and AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined at 0945/18 in position 11°55'N, 45°03'E.

And the last ship to join, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined at 1023/18 in position 11°57'N, 44°56'E.

Two more troopships / transports joined the convoy at 1130/18 in position 12°02'N, 44°45'E. These were the City of Agra (British, 6361 GRT, built 1936) and Melbourne Star (British, 11076 GRT, built 1936).

HMS Carlisle parted company with the convoy at 1650/20 in position 20°33'N, 38°45'E.

HMIS Indus and HMAS Yarra parted company with the convoy at 1730/20 in position 20°42'N, 38°41'E.

At 1200/21, the Dunedin Star, Melbourne Star and Stirling Castle, escorted by HMS Kingston proceeded ahead. They arrived at Suez at 1500/22.

The remaineder of the convoy arrived at Suez at 0700/23 escorted by HMAS Perth. (7)

16 Jan 1941

Convoy US 8A.

This convoy departed Colombo on 16 January 1941 for Suez where it arrived on 28 January 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships / merchant vessels; Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan de Witt (Dutch, 10474 GRT, built 1920), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Nevassa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN). The heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) provided cover to the south of the convoy until the 18th after which she returned to Colombo on 19 January 1941. While berthing there she hit a pier and sustained some damage.

On 22 January the convoy escort was taken over by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN).

On 23 January two more merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Aden, these were the City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938) and the Thurland Castle (British, 6372 GRT, built 1929). They were escorted by the sloop HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

On the 24th HMS Capetown rejoined the convoy.

Early in the evening of 26 January HMS Carlisle and HMAS Yarra parted company with the convoy to proceed to Port Sudan where they arrived the following day. HMS Capetown and HMS Kimberley also parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden where they arrived on the 27th.

On the 27th the sole remaining escort, HMS Kandahar was relieved by HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN). HMS Kandahar then proceeded to Port Sudanwhere she arrived on the 28th.

The convoy arrived at Suez also on 28 January 1941. (8)

25 Jan 1941

Convoy BS 13A.

This convoy departed Suez on 25 January 1941 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 1 February 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; British Sovereign (British (tanker), 3657 GRT, built 1917), City of Christchurch (British, 6009 GRT, built 1915), City of Florence (British, 6862 GRT, built 1918), Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Delius (British, 6065 GRT, built 1937), Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937), Harpalycus (British, 5629 GRT, built 1935), Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1935) and Waiwera (British, 12435 GRT, built 1934).

Another merchant vessel later joined the convoy, this was the Rahmani (British, 5463 GRT, built 1928) which came from Jeddah.

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) until 28 January 1941 when HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) took over.

Also three of the merchant vessels were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on the 28th, these were; City of Florence, Delius and Dunera.

The convoy was dispersed in the Gulf of Aden on 1 February 1941. (8)

28 Jan 1941
HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) arrived at Port Sudan from escort duty.

She departed Port Sudan again later the same day with HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) to take over the escort of the southbound convoy BS 13A.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BS 13A ' for 25 January 1941.] (8)

8 Jan 1942

Convoy BM 10.

Convoy from Bombay to Singapore.
Departure date: 8 January 1942.
Arrival date: 25 January 1942.

This convoy was initially made up of the following ships;
British passenger / cargo ships Talthybius (10224 GRT, built 1912), Rohna (8602 GRT, built 1926), Cap St. Jaques (8009 GRT, built 1922), Takliwa (7936 GRT, built 1924), Islami (5879 GRT, built 1934), Ekma (5128 GRT, built 1911), British cargo ships Subadar (5424 GRT, built 1929), Jalavihar (5330 GRT, built 1911), Ekma (5128 GRT, built 1911), Jalakrishna (4991 GRT, built 1937), Loch Ranza (4958 GRT, built 1934) and Brittany (4772 GRT, built 1928)

Escort was initially provided from 8 January to 13 January 1942 by the British light cruiser HMS Caledon (A/Capt. H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN).

On 13 January 1942, the British light cruisers HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN) and HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, DSO, RN) took over from HMS Caledon in position 05°41'N, 80°00'E. They had come from Colombo escorting the British transports Jalaratna (3865 GRT, built 1930) and Silverlarch (5122 GRT, built 1924) which joined the convoy.

On 14 January 1942, the Indian sloop HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) joined the convoy in position 03°52'N, 83°20'E coming from Trincomalee.

On 18 January 1942, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) and the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) joined the convoy in position 00°41'S, 95°14'E. HMS Glasgow was detached and returned to Colombo.

On 20 January 1942, the British destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and the Australian sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy in position 05°00'S, 100°57'E.

On 22 January 1942, the convoy passed through the Sunda Strait. Early in the morning of that day the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) departed Batavia (Jakarta), Java, Netherlands East Indies, escorting the US cargo ship Collingsworth (5101 GRT, built 1920) and the Dutch passenger / cargo ship Rochussen (2680 GRT, built 1904). These ships joined the convoy around 1100 hours. When the Dutch escorts joined the destroyers HMS Electra and HMS Stronghold left the convoy and proceeded to Batavia. Two more merchant ships joined the convoy on this day, these were the British Yuen Sang (3229 GRT, built 1923) and the Norwegian Hermelin (1683 GRT, built 1940).

On 24 January 1942, HMS Exeter parted company and proceeded to Batavia. Later the Dutch ships also parted company.

On 25 January 1942, the convoy and escort arrived at Singapore at dawn. (9)

23 Jan 1942

Convoy BM 12.

Convoy from Bombay to Singapore.
Departure date: 23 January 1942.
Arrival date: 4 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British troop ships; Devonshire (11275 GRT, built 1939), Empress of Asia (16909 GRT, built 1913).

French troop ship (under British control) Felix Roussel (17083 GRT, built 1930)

and the Dutch transport Plancius (5955 GRT, built 1923).

The convoy initially proceeded unescorted.

On 26 January, the British sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) joined the convoy in position 07°53'N, 76°23'E.

On 27 January, the British light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) joined the convoy in position 04°30'N, 78°15'E. HMS Falmouth parted company with the convoy at dusk.

On 28 January, the convoy made rendez-vous with convoy DM 2 which was made up of the following ships;
British troopships Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937), Empress of Australia (21833 GRT, built 1914) and Warwick Castle (20107 GRT, built 1930) and the British transports City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937), Malancha (8124 GRT, built 1937) and Troilus (7422 GRT, built 1921). This convoy was escorted by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) which then parted company.

On 31 January, the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN) joined the convoy in position 05°05'S, 94°00'E after which HMS Emerald parted company with the convoy.

On 1 February, the Indian sloop HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and the Australian sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy.

On 2 February, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) joined around 0800 hours and a little over two hours later the British destroyer HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) also joined the convoy.

On the morning of 3 February the British destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) joined. Later the same day HMAS Vampire split off from the convoy with the part of the convoy that was to proceed to Batavia. These were all the ships that had been in convoy DM 2 except the City of Canterbury which went to Singapore. The Batavia section arrived there shortly after noon on 3 February.

Around 0200 hours on 4 February 1942, HrMs Java parted company with the convoy. Shortly before noon the convoy was attacked by Japanese aircraft and the Empress of Asia was straddled. Around 2130/4, HMS Exeter, HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter parted company to intercept Japanese warships that were reported to the north of Banka Strait. HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) was ordered to join them there. They did not find any Japanese ships and proceeded to Batavia where they arrived on 6 February.

The convoy arrived at Singapore shortly after noon on 5 February 1942 but not before a heavy enemy air attack was carried out. The Empress of Asia was set on fire, the Felix Roussel was also hit and the City of Canterbury had her steering gear damaged. (10)

28 Jan 1942

Convoy ULU.

This convoy departed Singapore for Bombay with evacuees.

In this convoy were the transports; Cap St. Jaques (British, 8009 GRT, built 1922), Ekma (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Islami (British, 5879 GRT, built 1934) and Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926).

Also with this convoy were the transports; Darvel (British, 1929 GRT, built 1924), Ipoh (British, 1279 GRT, built 1908) and Pankor (British, ? GRT, built ?). They had on board RAF personnel which they were to take to Palembang, Sumatra.

On departure from Singapore the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) and the sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

On the 29th the convoy was attacked by enemy aircraft but no hits were obtained.

Around 1615GH/30, HMAS Vampire was relieved by the sloop HMIS Sutlej. HMAS Vampire then proceeded to Batavia arriving there later the same day.

The convoy was dispersed around 0530Z/1. (11)

2 Feb 1942
At 0700GH/2, HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) slipped her moorings and departed Singapore in tow of HMS St. Just (Master R.W.H. Millen). Off the harbour they were joined by HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) which was to act as escort.

Around 1000GH/2, the tow was transferred to HMS Stronghold but it parted around 1130GH/2. Tow was resumed half an hour later. HMS St. Just had made fast on the stern to act as rudder.

Around 1120GH/3, an air attack took place, a single plane dropped four bombs, two on either side of HMAS Vendetta.

Around 1145GH/3, a formation of five bombers attacked but no hits were obtained.

Around 1230GH/3, another formation of five bombers attacked but again no hits were obtained.

Between 1500GH/3 and 1730GH/3, a formation of eleven bombers made repeated attacks.

Around 1600GH, a burning tanker was sighted ahead and HMS St. Just was ordered to slip her tow and assist the tanker but her help was not required and she then rejoined the tow.

During the day a total of between 100 and 120 bombs had been dropped by Japanese aircraft. Only some minor damage due to near misses had been sustained by HMAS Vendetta.

On the 4th the tow arrived off the mouth of the Palembang river and HMAS Vendetta and HMS St. Just went up river to Palembang to await a faster tow for onward passage to Batavia.

On the 8th, HMAS Vendetta, which had come down again from Palembang with HMS St. Just, was taken in tow by HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN). HMS St. Just remained at Palembang where she was later scuttled to prevent her from falling into Japanese hands.

Around 1000GH/10, the tow arrived at Batavia (Tandjong Priok) without being attacked at all. (12)

6 Feb 1942

Convoy EMU

Shortly before midnight during the night of 6/7 February 1942 this convoy departed Singapore.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939) and Felix Roussell (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930, former French).

On board the City of Canterbury were mostly RAF personnel for Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies while on board the other two ships were evacuees with were to be taken to Bombay.

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the sloops HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

Around 1930GH/7, HMAS Yarra was detached to escort the damaged transport Hosang (British, 5698 GRT, built 1922) to Palembang. The transport however reported to be not in immediate danger and HMAS Yarra then joined the destroyer HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) which was towing the immobile destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) from Singapore to Batavia, instead.

Around 0830GH/8, the destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) joined.

Around 1300GH/8, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) joined south of Banka Strait.

Around 1500GH/8, HMS Danae, HMIS Sutley and the City of Canterbury were detached to Batavia.

Around 1000GH/9, HMS Electra was detached to Batavia.

Around 1100GH/9, the convoy was dispersed. HMAS Hobart then set course to make rendezvous with convoy JS 1 which she did around 1350GH/10. (13)

17 Feb 1942

Convoy SJ 3.

This convoy departed Batavia on 17 February 1942.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Darvel (British, 1929 GRT, built 1924), Giang Ann (British, 1265 GRT, built 1902), Krian (British, 845 GRT, built 1911), Oriskany (British, 1644 GRT, built 1924) and E Sang (British, 3370 GRT, built 1934).

The destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) was also part of the convoy. She was in tow of the naval auxiliary HMS Ping Wo (T/Lt. J. Fant, RNR).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and the sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

The convoy later split into two sections, one for Colombo made up of the Krian, Oriskany and . It is possible these ships proceeded independently. It seems likely that HMS Electra then parted company on the convoy splitting and then returned to Batavia.

The other section was for Fremantle, and was made up of the Darvel and Giang Ann. Also with this section was HMS Ping Wo towing HMAS Vendetta. HMAS Yarra remained with this section until she was relieved by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) around 1830I/22 in position 15°50'S, 105°07'E.

Around 1830I/27, the Darvel was sent ahead to Fremantle due to being short of water.

The Fremantle section arrived there during the night of 3/4 March 1942. (14)

Sources

  1. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for September 1939
  2. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron
  3. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for 15 September 1939 to 2 October 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Waterhen for September 1939
  4. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Waterhen for September 1939
  5. ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Parramatta for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for October 1940
  6. ADM 199/383
  7. ADM 199/1136
  8. ADM 199/408
  9. Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  10. ADM 199/426 + ADM 199/1185
  11. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for January 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for January 1942
  12. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta from 6 December 1941 to 15 April 1942
  13. ADM 199/426 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for February 1942
  14. Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for February 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for March 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta from 6 December 1941 to 15 April 1942

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


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