Allied Warships

HMS Pathfinder (G 10)

Destroyer of the P class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassP 
PennantG 10 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered20 Oct 1939 
Laid down5 Mar 1940 
Launched10 Apr 1941 
Commissioned13 Apr 1942 
End service 
History

HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. Thomas Frederick Hallifax, RN) was declared a constructive total loss on 11 February 1945 after being damaged by bombs from Japanese aircraft off Ramree Island, Burma. Finally scrapped in November 1948 at Milford Haven.

 
Former nameHMS Onslaught

Commands listed for HMS Pathfinder (G 10)

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
1Cdr. Edward Albert Gibbs, DSO, RN6 Jan 1942Nov 1943
2Lt.Cdr. Charles Wickham Malins, DSC, RNNov 1943Nov 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Frederick William Hawkins, RNNov 19431 Dec 1943
4Lt. Thomas Frederick Hallifax, RN1 Dec 1943ca mid 45

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Pathfinder include:


23 Apr 1942
HMS L 23 (Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSC, RN) participated in A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN). (1)

5 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) and HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN). (2)

7 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN) and HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN). (2)

9 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Bleasdale (Lt. P.B.N. Lewis, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). (2)

12 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN). (2)

14 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN). Also practice attacs were made on HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) which was also exercising. (3)

23 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN). (2)

26 May 1942
During 26/27 May 1942 HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These included night exercises. She was being escorted by the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Bleasdale (Lt. P.B.N. Lewis, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN). (4)

27 May 1942
At Scapa Flow, Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) to HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN).

HMS Nelson then left Scapa Flow around 0830B/27 for Greenock where she arrived around 1730B/28. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). (5)

1 Jun 1942

Convoy WS 19P.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 1 June 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914) Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Cathay (British, 15225 GRT, built 1925), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), Java (Dutch, 9250 GRT, built 1939), Laconia (British, 19695 GRT, built 1922), Mexico (American, 5236 GRT, built 1932), New Zealand Star (British, 12436 GRT, built 1935), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Poelau Roebiah (Dutch, 9251 GRT, built 1928), Santa Elena (American, 9135 GRT, built 1933), Santa Rosa (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938), Talisse (Dutch, 8169 GRT, built 1930), Viceroy of India (British, 19627 GRT, built 1929) and Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN) [Check if this destroyer was indeed with this convoy], HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. L’Anson, RN), HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN).

The destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) W.A. Moens, RN), HMS Mansfield (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Hill, OBE, RNR), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. H.M.R. Crichton, RN) had escorted portions of the convoy to the rendezvous and on assembly of the convoy they proceeded to Londonderry / Moville to fuel on completion of which they were to join the convoy. Only HMS Buxton managed to do so around 0200A/3. The other two destroyers failed to overtake the convoy as they were unable to make sufficient speed due to the bad weather conditions.

Around 0800Z/4, HMS Wells parted company with the convoy.

Around 1815Z/4, HMS Keppel and HMS Leamington parted company with the convoy.

Around 0520Z/5, HMS Argus parted company with the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar. She took the destroyers HMS Beagle and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) as escorts with her. HMS Wild Swan had joined the convoy just before.

Around 0930Z/5, HMS Derwent was detached to fuel at the Azores. She rejoined the convoy around 1515Z/6.

Around 1215Z/6, the destroyer HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) joined the convoy coming from Ponta Delgada.

Around 1300Z/6, HMS Douglas parted company with the convoy.

Around 2200Z/6, HMS Buxton parted company with the convoy.

Around 1200Z/7, the Aquitania parted company with the convoy to proceed independently to Freetown where she arrived on the 11th.

In the late morning of the 10th, HMS Wivern fuelled from HMS Nelson. 90 Tons was transferred which enabled the destroyer to remain with the convoy until its arrival at Freetown.

Around 0800Z/11, the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) joined the convoy coming from Bathurst.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 13 June 1942.

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

The convoy departed Freetown on 19 June 1942.

The composition of the convoy was the same as in which it had arrived but there were three additional ships present in the convoy, these were the following; Chateau Thierry (American, 7555 GRT, built 1920), Mariposa (American, 18152 GRT, built 1931) and Santa Paula (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the battleships Nelson, HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN), HMS Velox and the escort destroyer HMS Derwent.

Around 1030A/21, HMS Velox was detached to return to Freetown.

At 1645A/24, HMS Derwent was detached to fuel at Pointe Noirse.

On the 25th, HMS Nelson fuelled HMS Pathfinder while HMS Rodney fuelled HMS Penn and HMS Quentin.

At 1100A/26, the escort of the convoy was turned over to the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) in approximate position 12°00'S, 08°00'E. The Admiralty had decided to cancel the deployment of HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney with the Eastern Fleet as they would be required in August for a supply mission to Malta that was being planned.

So the battleships and their escorting destroyers parted company with the convoy to return to Freetown. HMS Derwent was ordered to join them after completion of her fuelling at Pointe Noire.

The convoy meanwhile continued its passage to South Africa.

Around 1000A/30, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire (A/Capt. H.G. Hopper, RN) joined the convoy in position 31°50'S, 15°43'E.

Around 1700A/30, when in position 33°30'S, 16°47'E, HMS Cheshire took the Capetown section of the convoy with her. This section was made up of the Cathay, J.W. McAndrew, Java, Laconia, Mariposa, Mexico, New Zealand Star, Orontes, Santa Elena, Santa Rosa, Staffordshire and Strathallan. These ships arrived at Capetown on 1 July 1942.

HMS Shropshire continued on with the remaining 13 ships towards Durban where they arrived on 4 July 1942.

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

The fast ships of this convoy departed from South Africa in a separate convoy, WS 19L and will not be dealt with here.

On 4 July 1942 the Capetown section of convoy WS 19P departed from Capetown. It was made up of the transports Cathay, Java, Mariposa, New Zealand Star and Staffordshire. The convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN).

They were joined off Durban on the 8th by the Durban section of the convoy which was made up of the transports; Chateau Thierry, Christiaan Huygens, Otranto, Poelau Roebiah, Santa Paula, Talisse.

Around 1230B/9, in position 28°44'S, 37°05'E, the convoy was joined by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN). HMS Carnarvon Castle was then detached. In the afternoon the AA cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Cdr. E.J. van Holte, RNethN) also joined the convoy.

In the morning of the 12th, around dawn, the transport Laconia joined the convoy. She had been detached the day before by the faster convoy (WS 19L) as she had been unable to keep up with this convoy.

Around 1500D/16, in position 02°04'S, 48°11'E, the light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0700D/17, HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck left the convoy to proceed to Kilindini / Mombasa.

Around 1835D/17, the convoy was split into two sections; Convoy WS 19PA was to proceed to the Gulf of Aden and was made up of the transports; Chateau Thierry, Christiaan Huygens, Poelau Roebiah, New Zealand Star and Talisse. They were escorted by HMS Chitral. This convoy was dispersed in the Gulf of Aden on 20 July 1942.

The remaining ships made up convoy WS 19PB and proceeded to Bombay escorted by HMS Enterprise. This convoy arrived at Bombay on 23 July 1942 but on 21 July 1942 the transports Mariposa and Santa Paula had been detached to proceed independently to Karachi. (6)

5 Jun 1942
Around 1730B/5, the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) departed the Clyde for Freetown.

Off the gate she was joined by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN). At 2130B/5, the destroyer HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) also joined.

At 1900Z/8, HMS Quentin parted company to proceed to fuel at Ponta Delgada. The rejoined around 1300N/9. That afternoon HMS Rodney refuelled HMS Pathfinder following which HMS Penn detached at 1820Z/9, to fuel at Ponta Delgada. She returned around 0900N/11 but reported that her Asdic was out of action. (7)

15 Jun 1942
HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) arrived at Freetown around 1200Z/15. (7)

26 Jun 1942
At 1100A/26, the escort of convoy WS 19P was turned over to the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) in approximate position 12°00'S, 08°00'E. The Admiralty had decided to cancel the deployment of HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) with the Eastern Fleet as they would be required in August for a supply mission to Malta that was being planned. So the battleships set course to return to Freetown escorted by HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN).

At 1715A/27, the escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) joined after having fuelled at Pointe Noire. She was topped up by HMS Nelson in the morning of the 28th.

All ships arrived at Freetown in the afternoon of July 1st. On the passage back to Freetown HMS Rodney had experienced problems with her steering mechanism. (6)

16 Jul 1942
Having completed repairs to her steering mechanism, HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), conducted steering trials off Freetown. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN). (8)

17 Jul 1942
Around 0715Z/17, the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) departed Freetown for Scapa Flow. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN).

Around 1230Z/17, the destroyer HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) joined.

Around 0730Z/18, the destroyers HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) joined coming from Freetown.

Around 2300Z/18, HMS Vimy parted company.

At 0155Z/19, HMS Pathfinder reported sighting a surfaced submarine. She turned to ram and claimed to have done so at 0202 hours. The enemy submarine crash dived and was then depth charged and believed to have been sunk. No survivors were seen. The submarine in question was the German U-201 which in fact escaped without damage.

In the afternoon of the 19th, HMS Quentin fuelled from HMS Rodney.

In the late morning / early afternoon of the 20th, HMS Rodney fuelled HMS Penn while HMS Nelson fuelled HMS Derwent around the same time. HMS Pathfinder was fuelled in the late afternoon / early evening by HMS Nelson.

At 0900Z/21, HMS Pathfinder picked up 23 survivors from the merchant vessel Cortona that had been sunk by U-201 on 12 July 1942 after having been damaged shortly before by U-116.

In the morning of 22 July, HMS Nelson fuelled HMS Derwent.

Around 1700A/23, the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined.

At 1800A/24, HMS Derwent was detached to Londonderry.

At 2300B/25, HMS Pathfinder parted company to land the survivors she had picked up on the 21st at Londonderry.

Around 2300B/26, HMS Nelson, HMS Rodney, HMS Quentin, HMS Penn, HMS Somali, HMS Icarus and HMS Forester arrived at Scapa Flow. (9)

22 Jul 1942
HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) picks up 23 survivors from the British merchant Cortona that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-201 south of the Azores in position 32°45'N, 24°45'W.

2 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 21S and Operation Pedestal.

Convoy WS 21S and the concentration of the escort forces

Convoy WS 21S departed the Clyde on 2 August 1942. The convoy was made up of the following ships;
American freighters;
Almeria Lykes (7773 GRT, built 1940), Santa Elisa (8379 GRT, built 1941), British freighters;
Brisbane Star (12791 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (7516 GRT, built 1930), Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Empire Hope (12688 GRT, built 1941), Glenorchy (8982 GRT, built 1939), Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933), Rochester Castle (7795 GRT, built 1937), Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938), Wairangi (12436 GRT, built 1935), and the American tanker;
Ohio (9264 GRT, built 1940).

These ships were escorted by light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. P.W. Gretton, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).

A cover force made up of departed Scapa Flow on the same day. This force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Somali (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). They were to rendez-vous with convoy WS 21S at sea on 3 August. HMS Penn was delayed by a defect and after topping off with fuel at Moville, Northern Ireland overtook the force and joined at sea.

The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) meanwhile had already left Scapa Flow on 31 July 1941 to rendez-vous with the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). These ships were joined at sea on 1 August 1942 by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), loaded with spare fighter aircraft for the operation, and her two escorts the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RD, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). HMS Argus and her two escorting destroyers had departed the Clyde on 31 July. HMS Buxton later split off and proceeded towards Canada and HMS Sardonyx proceeded to Londonderry.

The last ships to take part in the operation to depart the U.K. (Clyde around midnight during the night of 4/5 August) were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), loaded with Hurricane fighters for Malta, and her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and the Polish destroyer ORP Blyscawica (Kpt.mar. (Lt.Cdr.) L. Lichodziejewski). They were joined at sea, around dawn, by HMS Sardonyx coming from Londonderry. The destroyers parted company around midnight during the night of 5/6 August. They arrived at Londonderry on 7 August. HMS Furious and HMS Manchester then joined convoy WS 21S around midnight of the next night but HMS Manchester parted company shortly afterwards to proceed ahead of the convoy and fuel at Gibraltar.

On 1 August 1942 the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Freetown to proceed to a rendez-vous position off the Azores.

On 5 August 1942, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the the destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) departed Gibraltar also to the rendezvous position off the Azores.

The convoy conducted maneuvering and AA exercises with the escorts between the Azores and Gibraltar during the period of 6 to 9 August. (Operation Berserk). Also dummy air attacks were carried out by aircraft from the carriers.

Passage of the Straits of Gibraltar and organization of escort forces.

The convoy then passed the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of 9/10 August 1942 in dense fog but despite this the convoy was detected by German and Italian spies and reported.

After passing the Straits of Gibraltar the convoy was organized as follows;
The actual convoy was protected a large force of warships until the whole force would split up before entering the Sicilian narrows after which ‘Force X’ under command of Rear-Admiral Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN was to accompany the convoy to the approaches to Malta where they would be met by the Malta Minesweeping Flotilla, which was then to sweep the convoy into the harbour. Force X was made up of the following ships:
Licht cruisers: HMS Nigeria (flagship), HMS Kenya,, HMS Manchester.
AA cruiser: HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN).
Destroyers: HMS Ashanti, HMS Fury, HMS Foresight, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn.
Escort destroyers: HMS Derwent, HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, RN). Also the rescue tug HMRT Jaunty was to be part of this force.

After the escort was to be split up cover was provided by ‘Force Z’ under Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN. This force was made up of the following ships:
Battleships: HMS Nelson (flagship) and HMS Rodney.
Aircraft carriers: HMS Victorious, HMS Indomitable and HMS Eagle.
Light cruisers: HMS Phoebe, HMS Sirius and HMS Charybdis.
Destroyers: HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Quentin, HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair), HMS Wishart and HMS Vansittart. Escort destroyer: HMS Zetland. Also attached were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (for Operation Bellows, the launching of Hurricane fighters for Malta. HMS Furious only carried four Albacore aircraft for A/S searches after the Hurricanes had been launched) and the ‘spare’ destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Venomous, HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott, HMS Wolverine, HMS Wrestler and HMS Amazon. These ‘spare’ destroyers were to take the place of destroyers in the screen ‘Force Z’ if needed, escort HMS Furious during her return passage to Gibraltar after she had completed Operation Bellows and / or strengthen the escort of ‘Force R’.

Then there was also ‘Force R’, the fuelling force. This force was made up of the following ships:
Corvettes: HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR).
Rescue tug: HMS Salvonia.
RFA tankers: RFA Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, Master D.B.C. Ralph) and RFA Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, Master R.T. Duthie).

Before we give an account of the passage of the main convoy we will now first describe the operations taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean (Operations MG 3 and MG 4), the launching of the Hurricane fighters for Malta by HMS Furious (Operation Bellows) and the return convoy from Malta (Operation Ascendant) as well as on submarine operations / dispositions.

Diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As part of the plan for Operation Pedestal the Mediterranean Fleet had to carry out a diversion in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean. Before we go to the operations in the Western Mediterranean we will first give an account of the events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It was at this time not possible to sent any supplies from Egypt to Malta as all supplies and forces were much needed for the upcoming land battle at El Alamein it was agreed that ‘a dummy convoy’ would be sent towards Malta with the object of preventing the enemy to direct the full weight of their air and naval power towards the Western Mediterranean.

In the evening of 10 August 1942 a ‘convoy’ (MG 3) of three merchant ships departed Port Said escorted by three cruisers and ten destroyers. Next morning one more merchant ship departed Haifa escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers. The two forces joined that day (the 11th) and then turned back dispersing during the night. The Italian fleet however did not go to sea to attack ‘the bait’.

The forces taking part in this operation were:
From Port Said:
Merchant vessels City of Edinburgh (8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral I.G. Glennie, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton(Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN).

From Haifa:
Merchant vessel Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), the destroyers HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J. A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Tetcott (Lt. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

After dark on 11 August 1942 the force turned back and the City of Pretoria returned to Port Said escorted by HMS Eridge and HMS Hursley. The City of Edinburgh, escorted by HMS Beaufort and HMS Belvoir proceeded to Haifa. The City of Lincoln escorted by HMS Dulverton and HMS Hurworth proceeded to Beirut and finally the Ajax, escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Croome returned to Haifa. HMS Dido had to return to Port Said with hull defects. She was escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin and HMS Jervis.

HMS Cleopatra, HMS Arethusa, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to carry out another diversion (Operation MG 4). They bombarded Rhodes harbour and the Alliotti Flour Mills during the night of 12/13 August but did little damage. On the way back HMS Javelin attacked a submarine contact in position 34°45’N, 31°04’E between 0654 and 0804 hours. She reported that there was no doubt that the submarine was sunk but no Axis submarines were operating in this area so the attack must have been bogus. This force returned to Haifa at 1900B/13.

Operation Bellows.

During operation Bellows, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, started 37 Spitfire which were to proceed to Malta, when south of the Balearic Islands. The Admiralty had decided to carry out this operation at the same time as Operation Pedestal.

HMS Furious remained with the convoy until 1200B/11. She then launched the Spitfires for Malta in 5 batches between 1230 and 1515 hours. During these flying off operations she acted independently with the destroyers HMS Lookout and HMS Lightning. After having launched the last batch of Spitfires she briefly re-joined to convoy until around 1700 hours when she split off and set course for Gibraltar escorted by the destroyers HMS Malcolm, HMS Wolverine and HMS Wrestler. These were joined shortly afterwards by HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous.

Around 0100B/12, HMS Wolverine, rammed and sank the Italian submarine Dagabur which was trying to attack HMS Furious. Around 0200 hours, HMS Wolverine reported that she was stopped due to the damage she had sustained in the ramming. HMS Malcolm was detached to assist her.

At 1530B/12, the destroyer HMS Vidette joined the screen. The force then entered Gibraltar Bay around 1930B/12. The damaged HMS Wolverine arrived at Gibraltar at 1230B/13 followed by HMS Malcolm around 1530B/13.

Operation Ascendant

On 10 August 1942 the empty transports Troilus (7648 GRT, built 1921) and Orari (10107 GRT, built 1931) departed Malta after dark for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN). They first proceeded to the south of Lampedusa, then hugged the Tunisian coast as far as Galita Island. Near Cape Bon they encountered the Italian destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello that was laying a minefield. They had a brief gunfight but this was soon ended as both sides were thinking the enemy was Vichy-French. The remained of the passage to Gibraltar was uneventful and the convoy arrived at Gibraltar shortly before noon on 14 August 1942.

Submarine operations / dispositions.
Eight submarines took part in the operation; these were HMS Utmost (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN), HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, DSO, RN), HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 44 (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN), HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN). Two of these were to carry out normal dived patrol to the north of Sicily, one off Palermo, the other off Milazzo which is futher to the east. The other six submarines were given alternative patrol lines south of Pantelleria, one od which they were to take up at dawn on 13 August 1942, according to the movements of enemy surface ships that might threathen the convoy from the westward. When the convoy had passed the patrol line, which it should have done by that time, the submarines were to proceed on the surface parallel to the convoy as a screen and to dive away clear of the convoy at noon. It was expressly intended that they should be seen on the surface and reported by enemy aircraft in order to deter enemy warships from attacking the convoy.

Enemy warships did go to sea but as soon as it was clear that the enemy ships could not reach the convoy the sunmarines were ordered to dive and retire. These six sumarines had no contact with the enemy. One of the the two submarines off the north coast of Sicily, HMS P 42, managed to torpedo two Italian cruisers near Stromboli on the morning of 13 August 1942.

Now we return to the main convoy to Malta.

Passage eastwards after passing the Straits of Gibraltar.

10 and 11 August 1942.

After passing through the Straits of Gibraltar in the early hours of 10 August 1942, in dense fog, the convoy was first sighted by an Italian passenger aircraft, which sighted the convoy in the afternoon of the same day. German reconnaissance aircraft started shadowing the convoy from dawn on the 11th, and thereafter they or Italian aircraft kept the convoy under continuous observation, despite the effort of the fighters from the carriers to shoot them down or drive them off. At 1315 hours, HMS Eagle, was hit an sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-73 which had penetrated the destroyer screen. At that moment there were thirteen destroyers in the screen, the remainder was away from the main convoy, escorting HMS Furious during the flying off operations of the Hurricane fighters for Malta or oiling from and screening ‘Force R’ which was several miles away. Between 1430B/10 and and 2030B/11 no less then three cruisers and twenty-four destroyers fuelled from the two oilers of ‘Force R’.

At the time of the torpedoing of HMS Eagle the convoy was in four columns, zigzagging at 13 knots, with the heavy ships stationed close round it and a destroyer screen ahead. HMS Eagle was on the starboard quarter of the convoy. She was hit on her starboard side by four torpedoes which had dived through the destroyer screen and the convoy columns undetected and then torpedoed and sank the Eagle in position 38°05’N, 03°02’E (Another source gives 03°12’E but this might be a typo). The carrier sank quickly in about 8 minutes, 926 of her crew, including the Commanding Officer, were rescued by the destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout and the rescue tug HMS Jaunty. At the time of her sinking, HMS Eagle had four aircraft on patrol. These landed on the other carriers. All other aircraft were lost with the ship. The survivors picked up were later transferred to the destroyers HMS Keppel, HMS Malcolm and HMS Venomous that were to escort HMS Furious back to Gibraltar. The tug HMS Jaunty that had been involved in picking up survivors was never able to rejoin the convoy due to her slow speed.

Late in the afternoon air attacks were expected so Vice-Admiral Syfret ordered the destroyer to form an all-round screen. Indeed the air attacks started around sunset, 2045 hours. The last destroyers had just returned from oiling from ‘Force R’. The enemy aircraft that were attacking were 36 German bombers and torpedo aircraft, Ju 88’s and He 111’s, most of which attacked the convoy but a few attacked ‘Force R’ to the southward. The Junkers arrived first, diving down from 8000 feet to 2000 / 3000 feet to drop their bombs. They claimed to have hit an aircraft carrier and one of the merchant ships. Then the Heinkels attacked, they claimed to have torpedoed a cruiser but during the attacks no ship was hit. The British fighter cover was unable to attack / find the enemy in the failing light. Four enemy aircraft were claimed shot down by the ships AA fire but it appears only two JU 88’s were in fact shot down.

12 August 1942

At 0915B/12 another wave of German aircraft attacked the convoy. Some twenty or more JU 88’s approached the convoy out of the sun ahead. They were intercepted by fighters about 25 miles from the convoy. About a dozen got through to the convoy, making high-level or shallow dive-bombing attacks individually but without any result. Eight German aircraft were claimed to be shot down by the fighters and two more by AA guns from the ships. The fighters meanwhile were also busy dealng with shadowers, three of which are claimed to have been shot down before the morning attack. Around this time destroyers were also busy with numerous submarine contact which were attacked by depth charges.

Around noon the enemy launched heavy air attacks from the Sardinian airfields. Seventy aircraft approached which were heavily escorted by fighters. They attacked in stages and employed new methods.

First ten Italian torpedo-bombers were each to drop some sort of circling torpedo or mine a few hundred yards ahead of the British force, while eight fighter bombers made dive-bombing and machine-gun attacks. The object at this stage was clearly to dislocate the formation of the force and to draw anti-aircraft fire, making the ships more vulnerable to a torpedo attack which soon followed with over forty aircraft. They attacked in two groups, one on either bow of the convoy. The next stage was a shallow dive-bombing attack by German aircraft, after which two Italian Reggiane 2001 fighters, each with a single heavy armour-piercing bomb were to dive bomb on one of the aircraft carriers, whilst yet another new form of attack was to be employed against the other carrier, but defects in the weapon prevented this attack from taking place.

The enemy attack went according to plan besides that the torpedo attack was only made half an our after the ‘mines’ were dropped instead of five minutes. British fighters met the minelaying aircraft, they shot down one of them as they approached. The remaining nine aircraft dropped their ‘mines’ at 1215 hours in the path of the force, which turned to avoid the danger. The mines were heard to explode several minutes later. Only three of the fighter-bombers of this stage of the attack appear to have reached as far the screen, but HMS Lightning had a narrow escape from their bombs.

The torpedo-aircraft appeared at 1245 hours. Their number were brought down a bit due to British fighters. The remaining aircraft, estimated at 25 to 30 machines, attacked from the port bow, port beam and starboard quarter. They dropped their torpedoes well outside the screen some 8000 yards from the merchant ships which they had been ordered to attack. The force turned 45° to port and then back to starboard to avoid the attack.

In the next stage, around 1318 hours, the German bombing attack, the enemy scored their one success. These aircraft were also intercepted on their way in but about a dozen of about twenty aircraft came through. They crossed the convoy from starboard to port and then dived to 3000 feet. They managed to damage the transport Deucalion which was leading the port wing column. More bombs fell close to several other ships.

Finally, at 1345 hours, the two Reggiane fighters approached HMS Victorious as if to land on. They looked like Hurricanes and HMS Victorious was at that time engaged in landing her own fighters. They managed to drop their bombs and one hit the flight deck amidships. Fortunately the bomb broke up without exploding. By the time HMS Victorious could open fire both fighters were out of range.

The Deucalion could no longer keep up with the convoy and was ordered to follow the inshore route along the Tunisian coast escorted by HMS Bramham. Two bombers found these ships late in the afternoon, but their bombs missed. At 1940 hours, however, near the Cani Rocks, two torpedo aircraft attacked and a torpedo hit the Deucalion. She caught fire and eventually blew up.

The convoy passed some 20 miles north of Galita Island and spent the afternoon avoiding enemy submarines which were known to be concentrated in these waters. There were innumerable reports of sightings and Asdic contacts and at least two submarines proved dangerous. At 1616 hours, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Zetland attacked one on the port bow of the convoy and hunted her until the convoy was out of reach. HMS Ithuriel, stationed on the quarter, then attacked, forced the enemy to surface and finally rammed her. She proved to be the Italian submarine Cobalto. Meanwhile HMS Tartar, on the starboard quarter, saw six torpedoes fired at close range at 1640 hours, and the next destroyer in the screen, HMS Lookout sighted a periscope. Together they attacked the submarine, continuing until it was no longer dangerous. There was no evidence this submarine was sunk.

At 1750 hours, HMS Ithuriel, which was on her way back to the convoy after sinking the Italian submarine Cobalto was attacked by a few dive-bombers, when still a dozen miles astern of the convoy. At this time the convoy came under attack by aircraft stationed on Sicily. This force numbered nearly 100 aircraft. Ju.87 dive-bombers as well as Ju.88’s and SM-79’s all with a strong escort of fighters. The enemy started attacking at 1835 hours, the bombers attacking from both ahead and astern which last was the direction of the sun. The torpedo aircraft came from ahead to attack on the starboard bow and beam of the convoy.

The Italian SM-79’s torpedo bombers dropped their torpedoes from ranges of about 3000 yards outside the destroyer screen, and once again the convoy turned away to avoid them. However the destroyer HMS Foresight was hit by a torpedo and disabled. The bombers chose HMS Indomitable as their main target. She was astern of HMS Rodney at the time on the port quarter of the convoy. Four Ju.88’s and eight Ju.87’s came suddenly out of the sun and dived steeply towards HMS Indomitable from astern. Some of the Ju.87 came down to 1000 feet and the carrier received three hits and her flight deck was put out of action. Her airborne fighters eventually had to land on HMS Victorious. HMS Rodney meanwhile had a narrow escape when a bomber attacked from ahead. One enemy aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by AA fire from the ships while the fighters claimed nine more although there were about twice as much enemy fighters in the air then British.

HMS Tartar took the damaged HMS Foresight in tow and proceeded westward for Gibraltar. Next day, as they were shadowed by enemy aircraft, and enemy submarines were known to be in the area, it was decided to scuttle the cripple before both ships might be lost. HMS Tartar then torpedoed HMS Foresight a few miles from Galita Island.

Passage through the narrows, 12-13 August 1942, and the loss off HMS Manchester.

These last air attacks took place about 20 nautical miles west of the Skerki Channel and at 1900 hours, when the attacks were clearly over, Vice-Admiral Syfret turned away with ‘Force Z’. It was now up to Rear-Admiral Burrough with ‘Force X’ to take the convoy to Malta.

At 2000 hours, when the convoy was changing it’s formation from four to two columns, the convoy was attacked by Italian submarines. The submarine Dessiè attacked a freighter with four torpedoes and claimed three hits. The sound of the torpedo hits was however not caused by her attack but by an attack by the Axum which hit three ships, HMS Nigeria, HMS Cairo and the tanker Ohio.

HMS Nigeria had to turn back to make for Gibraltar escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Derwent, HMS Wilton and HMS Bicester. Rear-Admiral Burrough transferred his flag to the destroyer HMS Ashanti. The stern of HMS Cairo had been blown off and she had to be sunk as she was beyond salvage with both engines also out of action. She was scuttled by HMS Pathfinder. The Ohio meanwhile managed to struggle on.

At this time the convoy was still trying to form up the the submarine attacks messed things up and right at thus time the convoy was once more attacked from the air in the growing dusk at 2030 hours. About 20 German aircraft, Ju-88’s made dive bombing and torpedo attacks, hitting the Empire Hope with a bomb and the Clan Ferguson and Brisbane Star with torpedoes. The first of these ships had to be sunk (by HMS Bramham, the second blew up but the last eventually reached Malta. Soon after this attack, at 2111 hours, HMS Kenya was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Alagi. She was able to evade three of the four torpedoes but was hit in the bow by the fouth. She was however able to remain with the convoy.

The situation was then as follows. HMS Kenya and HMS Manchester with two merchant ships, and with the minesweeping destroyers HMS Intrepid, HMS Icarus and HMS Fury sweeping ahead, had passed the Skerki Channel and were steering to pass Zembra Island on the way to Cape Bon. HMS Ashanti, with Rear-Admiral Burrough on board was fast overhauling these ships. The other two destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury, were rounding up the remaining nine merchant ships. The escort destroyer HMS Bramham was also catching up after having escorted the single Deucalion until she sank.

On learing about the fate of HMS Nigeria and HMS Cairo, Vice-Admiral Syfret detached HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali to reinforce Rear-Admiral Burrough. It would take these ships several hourse to catch up with the convoy.

The main body of the convoy passed Cape Bon around midnight. Fourty minutes later enemy Motor Torpedo Boats appeared and started to attack. Their first victim was HMS Manchester which was torpedoed at 0120B/13 by the Italian MS 16 or MS 22. She had to be scuttled by her own crew. Many of her ships company landed in Tunisia and were interned by the Vichy-French but about 300 were picked up by destroyers (first by HMS Pathfinder, and later by HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. These last two destoyers then set off towards Gibraltar.)

Four and possibly five of the merchant ships were also hit by the Motor Torpedo Boats. These were the Wairangi, Rochester Castle, Almeria Lykes, Santa Elisa and probably the Glenorchy. They were attacked between 0315 and 0430 hours about 15 nautical miles south-east of Kelibia whilst taking a short cut to overhaul the main body of the convoy. Four were lost, only the Rochester Castle survived and she managed to catch up with the main body of the convoy at 0530 hours. The Glenorchy was sunk by the Italian MS 31, the other four, of which the Rochester Castle survived as mentioned earlier, were hit by the German S 30 and S 36 as well as the Italian MAS 554 and MAS 557.

Shortly before 0530 hours HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali had joined the main body of the convoy making the force now two cruisers and seven destroyers with the transports Rochester Castle, Waimarama and Melbourne Star. The damaged tanker Ohio was slowly catching up. With her was the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury. Astern of the main body was the Port Chalmers escorted by the destroyer HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Bramham. The destroyers recued the crew of the Santa Elisa when the passed by the abandoned ship which was afterwards finished off by a German bomber. The Dorset was proceeding without escort and lastly the damaged Brisbane Star was still keeping close to the Tunisian coast independently, intending to steer towards Malta after nightfall.

At 0730 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, sent back HMS Tartar and HMS Somali to Kelibia to assist HMS Manchester and then go to Gibraltar. When they arrived they found out that the Manchester had been scuttled several hours earlier so they rescued those of her crew that had not reached the shore yet and then made off to Gibraltar as ordered. Besides crew of the Manchester they also picked up survivors from the Almeria Lykes and Wairangi.

The next encounter with the enemy was an air attack on the main body of the convoy at 0800 hours by German bombers. About 12 Ju.88’s made a shallow diving attack coming down from 6000 feet to 2000 feet to drop their bombs. Two dived on the Waimarama hitting her several times and she blew up immediately, one of the bombers was even destroyed in the explosion. HMS Ledbury saved some of her crew out of the blazing sea. At 0925 hours, when the Ohio, Port Chalmers and Dorset where with the main body again, a few Ju.87’s escorted by Italian fighters attacked. They dived down to 1500 to 1000 feet. HMS Kenya leading the port column, and the Ohio last ship but one in the starboard column, had narrow escapes. One of the enemy aircraft crashed on board the Ohio just after having released it’s bomb after being damaged by gunfire from the Ohio and HMS Ashanti. Another aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by fighters from Malta that had been patrolling overhead since daybreak.

Arrivals at Malta 13-15 August 1942.

At 1050 hours, about 20 bombers, mostly Ju.88’s with a few Ju.87’s, came in to attack. Target was the Ohio and she received four or five near misses and her engines were disabled. At the same time the Rochester Castle in the port column was near-missed and set on fire but she continued with the convoy. The Dorset which was astern of her was hit and stopped. The convoy went on leaving the Dorset behind with the Ohio and two destroyers.

At 1125 hours the last air attack on the main body took place. Five Italian SM.79’s attacked with torpedoes and almost hit the Port Chalmers as the torpedo got stuck in the paravane. Further attacks on the main body were held of by fighters from Malta. At 1430 hours, four minesweepers from Malta joined the main body of the convoy, these were HMS Speedy (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Doran, RN, with the group’s commander A/Cdr. H.J.A.S. Jerome, RN on board), HMS Hebe, HMS Rye and HMS Heyte. Also with them were seven Motor Launches; ML 121, ML 126, ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462. HMS Rye and two of the ML’s were sent towards the damaged Ohio which was ‘vital for Malta’, according to A/Cdr. Jerome.

At 1600 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, set course to the west with his two cruisers and with five destroyers. The Port Chalmers, Melbourne Star and Rochester Castle arrived in Grand Harbour around 1800 hours with the force of A/Cdr. Jerome. The Rochester Castle was by that time very low in the water, she had just made it into port on time.

Out were still the Ohio, Dorset and the Brisbane Star. The valuable Ohio had been helpless with HMS Penn and HMS Bramham. When HMS Rye arrived at 1730 hours, HMS Penn took the Ohio in tow. Meanwhile HMS Bramham was sent to the Dorset but soon afterwards German bombers came again and the ships were attacked repeatedly until dark. Both merchantman were hit around 1900 hours and the Dorset sank.

At daylight on the 14th HMS Ledbury arrived to help bringing the Ohio to Malta. HMS Speedy also soon arrived on the scene with two ML’s. The rest of his force he had sent to search for the Brisbane Star. At 1045 hours, enemy aircraft made their last attempt, causing the parting of the tow. Fighter from Malta shot down two of the attackers. The tow was passed again and the slow procession went on and in the morning of the 15th the vital tanker finally reached Malta.

The Brisbane Star had by then also arrived. She left the Tunisian coast at dusk on the 13th. Aircraft had attacked her unsuccessfully and one of the attackers was shot down by a Beaufighter escort that had been sent from Malta. She arrived at Malta in the afternoon of the 14th.

Italian surface ships to operate against the convoy ?

The convoy had experienced the violence of the enemy in every shape except that of an attack by large surface ships. Yet Italian cruisers and destroyers had been at sea to intercept and attack it. Two light cruiser had left Cagliari in the evening of 11 August 1942 and the heavy cruisers Gorizia and Bolzano from Messina, and a light cruiser from Naples had sailed on the morning of the 12th. That evening reconnaissance aircraft reported one heavy and two light cruisers with eight destroyers about 80 nautical miles to the north of the western tip of Sicily and steering south. It would have been possible for this force to meet the convoy at dawn on the 13th so the shadowing aircraft was therefore ordered in plain language to illuminate and attack. This apparently influenced the Italians as they had limited air cover and they turned back at 0130B/13 when near Cape San Vito. At 0140 hours the aircraft reported that it had dropped its bombs but no hits had been obtained. Similar orders were signalled, in plain language, to relief shadowers and to report the position of the enemy force to the benefit of imaginary Liberator bombers in case the Italians would change their minds and turn back. They however held on to the eastward.

The submarine HMS P 42 sighted them around 0800B/13 off Stromboli and attacked with four torpedoes claiming two hits. She had in fact hit the heavy cruiser Bolzano which was able to proceed northwards and the light cruiser Muzio Attendolo which managed to reach Messina with her bows blown off. The other cruisers went to Naples. Following the attack P 42 was heavily depth charged by the destroyers but managed to escape.

In fact the following Italian ships had been at sea; heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trieste, Bolzano, light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia Raimondo Montecuccoli, Muzio Attendolo. They were escorted by eleven destroyers; Ascari, Aviere, Camicia Nera, Corsaro, Fuceliere, Geniere, Legionaro, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Grecale and Maestrale.

The return to Gibraltar.

The British ships returning to Gibraltar had better fortune. Having left the convoy off Malta in the afternoon of the 13th, they rounded Cape Bon around 0130B/14 and from that point until past Zembra Island they successful ran the gauntled of E-boats laying in wait.

at 0450B/14, near the Fratelli Rocks, a submarine fired torpedoes at HMS Ashanti from the surface. She was nearly rammed by HMS Kenya, which was next astern of the ‘flagship’ (Rear-Admiral Burrough was still in HMS Ashanti). The inevitable shadowers arrived soon after daylight to herald their air attacks that began at 0730 hours. They lasted until around 1315 hours. German bombers came in first with three attemps by a few Ju.88’s. This was followed by a more severe attack with about 30 bombers, Ju-88’s and Ju-87’s between 1030 and 1050 hours. An hour later 15 Savoia high-level bombers attacked followed until 1315 hours by torpedo-carrying Savoia’s. Around 20 aircraft attacking single or in pairs. Also aircraft are though to be laying mines ahead. Several ships were near missed, but no further damage was sustained. After these attacks the British were left alone and in the evening they joined ‘Force Z’.

Vice-Admiral Syfret had gone as far west as 01’E where he ordered the damaged carrier HMS Indomitable to proceed to Malta with HMS Rodney and a destroyer screen made up of HMS Ithuriel, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Zetland. He then turned back to the east to make rendez-vous with Rear-Admiral Burrough. HMS Rodney, HMS Indomitable, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Zetland arrived at Gibraltar in the evening of the 14th.

A few hours before they arrived the damaged HMS Nigeria and her escort had also entered port, as had HMS Tartar, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. On her way back HMS Nigeria had been attacked by torpedo-bombers and a submarine but she had not been hit.

Conclusion.

Out of the fourteen ships that had sailed only five arrived ‘safe’ at Malta. This was not a very high score also given the very heavy escort that had been provided also taken in mind that an aircraft carrier, a light cruiser, an AA cruiser an a destroyer had been lost and two heavy cruiser had been damaged. But the convoy had to meet very heavy air attacks by over 150 bombers and 80 torpedo aircraft, all in the space of two days. Also these aircraft were protected by fighter in much greater strength that the carriers and Malta could provide. And there were also the enemy submarines and E-boats.

The spirit in which to operation was carried out appears in Vice-Admiral Syfret’s report: ‘ Tribute has been paid to the personnel of His Majesty’s Ships, both the officers and men will desire to give first place to the conduct, courage, and determination of the masters, officers, and men of the merchant ships. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on their way to Malta through all attacks, answering every maneuvering order like a well trained fleet unit, was a most inspiring sight. Many of these fine men and their ships were lost. But the memory of their conduct will remain an inspiration to all who were privileged to sail with them. ‘ (10)

12 Aug 1942
The Italian submarine Cobalto was rammed and sunk off Bizerta, Tunisia after being forced to surface after being depth charged by the British destroyers HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN). It was HMS Ithuriel that rammed the submarine.

16 Aug 1942
Around 1130B/16, the light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyer HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Freetown.

Two hours later the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) also departed Gibraltar to overtake and join the other ships. (11)

22 Aug 1942
Around 1045Z/22, HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) arrived at Freetown from Gibraltar.

HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) had meanwhile been detached to Bathurst where she had arrived on 21 August. (12)

25 Aug 1942
HMS Queen Elizabeth (A/Capt. R. Gotto, DSO, RN) departed Freetown for Norfolk, Virginia, USA. She is escorted by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) and HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN).

HMS Caledon (A/Capt. H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN) was also in company until 0945Z/26, when she parted company to proceed to Gibraltar.

Also with them were the troop transports Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923) and Viceroy of India (British, 19627 GRT, built 1929).

At 0830N/28, the Viceroy of India parted company to proceed independently to the U.K.

At 1950N/29, the Mooltan parted company to proceed independently to New York.

On 29 / 30 August, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Quentin and HMS Vimy fuelled from the RFA tanker Abbeydale (8299 GRT, built 1937) which had departed Gibraltar on 25 August 1942 escorted by the corvettes HMS Burdock (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Lynes, RD, RNR) and HMS Armeria (Lt. M. Todd, RNR).

Around 0500O/31, the US destroyers USS Trippe (Lt.Cdr. C.M. Dalton, USN), USS Rhind (T/Cdr. H.T. Read, USN) and USS Wainwright (T/Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN) joined and shortly afterwards HMS Pathfinder, HMS Quentin and HMS Vimy parted company to proceed to Trinidad.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Trippe, USS Rhind and USS Wainwright arrived in Hampton Roads on 5 September 1942. (13)

3 Sep 1942
German U-boat U-162 was sunk in the mid-Atlantic north-east of Trinidad, in position 12°21'N, 59°29'W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN).

30 Sep 1942
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) departed Gibraltar for the Clyde. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN).

They were joined by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) around 1030 hours on October, 5th.

The force arrived in the Clyde around 1800 hours on October, 5th. (14)

30 Oct 1942
' Force H ' departed Scapa Flow around 1630A/30 to participate in the landings in North Africa (Operation Torch). This force was made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN).

Around 1000A/31, they made rendezvous with the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and their escort of the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). These ships had departed the Clyde around 2300A/30.

At 1600Z/2 the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, DSO, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to make rendezvous with ' Force H '. They joined around 0730Z/4 after which HMS Argonaut, HMS Milne, HMS Martin, HMS Meteor, HMS Quality, HMS Quentin, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Partridge, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo and HMS Tartar, parted company to proceed to Gibraltar to fuel. These ships arrived at Gibraltar around 1430Z/5. Of the original screen only HMS Porcupine remained with ' Force H ' at this moment.

Around 1730Z/4, the light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) joined.

Around 0830Z/5, the destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) joined from convoy KMF 1.

Around 1400Z/5, the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) joined. They had sailed from Gibraltar at 0700Z/5.

Around 1740Z/5, HMS Duke of York and HMS Renown parted company to fuel in the Bay of Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Panther, HMS Penn, HMS Opportune, HMS Lookout, HMS Beagle and HMS Bulldog. The remaining ships remained to the west of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Around 2200Z/5, the remaining ships; HMS Nelson, HMS Victorious, HMS Formidable, HMS Bermuda, HMS Porcupine, HMS Boadicea, HMS Brilliant, HrMs Isaac Sweers, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge set course to the west to the Straits of Gibraltar.

On passing the Straits, HMS Nelson and the destroyer and escort destroyers parted company around 0420Z/6 and proceeded to Gibraltar. They passed through the gate around one hour later.

6 Nov 1942
On 6 November 1942, ' Force H ' was (re)assambled at sea to the east of Gibraltar to provide cover during the landings in North-Africa.

Around 0430Z/6, the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), destroyers HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) entered the Mediterranean.

They were then joined by ships coming from Gibraltar (Bay), these were the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, DSO, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN).

HMS Boadicea, HMS Brilliant, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge were then detached to Gibraltar where they arrived around 0615Z/6.

Around 0900Z/6, the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) joined.

The orders for ' Force H ' were to support the Eastern (Algiers) and Centre Task Forces (Oran) and their follow-up convoys (TE and TF) agains seaborne attack by Vichy-French or Italian Mediterranean Fleets. ' Force H ' was not to proceed eastwards of 04°30'E except to engage the enemy. Unless strong enemy forces were reported to be at sea, HMS Rodney, escorted by HMS Beagle, HMS Boreas, HMS Bulldog were to join the Centre Task Force at 0600Z/8. HMS Bermuda might also be detached but to join the Eastern Task Force. ' Force H ' was to refuel from ' Force R ' at sea if necessary, but if the military situation permitted, it would withdraw to the westward to refuel, possibly at Oran about 13 November, in immediate readiness for further operations. Force R ' was made up of the RFA tankers Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, master R.T. Duthie) and Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, master D.B.C. Ralph). Escort was provided by the corvette HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and four A/S trawlers, HMS Arctic Ranger (Skr. J.F. Banks, RNR), HMS Imperialist (T/Lt. A.R.F. Pelling, RNR), HMS Loch Oskaig (T/Lt. G.T.S. Clampitt, RNR) and HMS St. Nectan (Lt. J.B. Osborne, RANVR).

Around 1730Z/7, ' Force H ' was attacked by enemy aircraft in position 37°46'N, 02°52'E. HMS Panther was near missed and sustained damage. She had to return to Gibraltar, first steaming only 6 knots but later this could be increased to 14 knots. En-route she sighted an enemy submarine in position 37°46'N, 02°12'E and forced it to dive. This was U-458 which fired two torpedoes but apparently these were not sighted by the British. HMS Panther arrived at Gibraltar in the afternoon of November 8th.

At 1810Z/7, HMS Rodney, HMS Beagle, HMS Boreas and HMS Bulldog parted company with ' Force H ' to join the Centre Task Force. HMS Bermuda appeared to also have parted company around this time.

' Force H ' and the fuelling force, ' Force R ', cruised in the area of Algiers until 1830Z/8 when ' Force H ' turned north. It turned back at midnight when in position 39°00'N, 02°29'E and patrolled off Algiers again during the 9th. During the night of 9/10 November it steamed eastwards at 60 miles from the North-African coast, turning back 30 miles to the east of Bougie at midnight.

Shortly before 0300Z/10 (0252Z/10 according to German sources and 0258Z/10 according to British sources) the destroyer HMS Martin was torpedoed and sunk in position 37°53'N, 03°57'E by the German submarine U-431. 161 officers and ratings lost their lives. 4 Officers and 59 ratings were picked up by HMS Quentin.

By noon on 10 November ' Force H ' was in position 37°08'N, 01°36'E, between Algiers and Tenez, with ' Force R ' close at hand. From then onwards ' Force H ' patrolled 60 miles from the coast between Algiers and Cape Tenez.

' Force H ' was joined around 0630Z/12 by HMS Rodney and her destroyer screen now made of of the escort destroyers HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge.

Late in the evening of the 11th the destroyers HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Gibaltar to join ' Force H '. Before joining they fuelled from ' Force R ' in the evening of the 12th. They had been ordered to remain with ' Force R ' during the night to reinforce its escort and then join ' Force H ' after dawn on the 13th. However before the joined, HrMs Isaac Sweers was torpedoed and sunk by U-431, so only HMS Porcupine joined ' Force H ' early on the 13th.

At 0615Z/14 ' Force H ' split up to return to Gibraltar; HMS Duke of York, HMS Formidable, HMS Bermuda, HMS Argonaut, HMS Sirius, HMS Eskimo, HMS Ashanti, HMS Tartar, HMS Opportune, HMS Partridge, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and HMS Porcupine arrived at Gibraltar around 0130Z/15.

HMS Rodney, HMS Renown, HMS Victorious, HMS Milne, HMS Meteor, HMS Quality, HMS Quentin, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Lookout, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge formed the other group. They were joined at 0630Z/15 by HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN) and HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN). They returned to Gibraltar around 1800Z/15 but HMS Rodney was not able to berth and had to steam up and down in Gibraltar Bay until late in the evening when she anchorded there. The destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn, HMS Opportune and HMS Tartar were sent out to patrol to the seaward of the Bay.

16 Nov 1942
Around 1030Z/16, ' Force H ' departed Gibraltar for a patrol off the Balearic Islands to provide cover for the ongoing operations off the North-African Coast. ' Force H ' was now made up of the battleships Nelson HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), light cruisers HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN).

At 1730Z/16, the destroyers HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join ' Force H ' which they did at 1113Z/17.

HMS Bulldog and HMS Opportune then parted company to return to Gibratar.

At 1215Z/17, HMS Ashanti parted company to proceed to Mers-el-Kebir to arrange the berthing of ' Force H ' for the following day. HMS Ashanti rejoined at 0655Z/18.

' Force H ' arrived at Mers-el-Kebir around 1100Z/18. (15)

21 Nov 1942
Around 0900Z/21, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) and the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), departed Mers-el-Kebir for Gibraltar. ' Force H ' arrived at Gibraltar around 1800Z/22. (15)

24 Nov 1942
Around 1700A/24, ' Force H ' made up of the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and the escort destroyer HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) sailed from Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir.

Weather conditions were unfavourable to enter the harbour and ' Force H ' had to remain at sea as it was not possible to enter the harbour without rist of damage to the bigger ships.

By 1345A/25 weather had improved considerably and HMS Formidable was detached to Mers-el-Kebir with two of the desroyers.

At 1440A/25, HMS Furious was detached to Mers-el-Kebir, also taking two destroyers with her.

At 1500A/25, HMS Lookout and HMS Partridge were detached with orders to make rendezvous with the light cruisers HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN) and HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN).

The remainder of ' Force H ' arrived at Mers-el-Kebir around 1700A/25. (16)

26 Nov 1942
The Allied intelligence services had decrypted German signals stating that the French Fleet was going to be seized by German forces. The Allies were unsure of what the Vichy-French reaction would and were afraid the Vichy-French fleet would be captured intact by the Germans. In response ' Force H ' was ordered to sea as a precaution. However when the Germans moved against the Vichy-French fleet at Toulon in the early hours of the 27th the Vichy-French scuttled almost all their ships that were present at Toulon.

Around 1600A/26, ' Force H ' made up of the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir to patrol south of the Balearics / north of Algiers.

[Very little information is found on this sailing and the names of the destroyers present are unknown to us for the moment but these appeared to have been the following:]
HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and the escort destroyer HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN).

They were joined at sea at 1700A/27 by the light cruisers HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN) and HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the destroyer HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) that had sailed from Algiers at 1300A/27.

All ships arrived at Mers-el-Kebir in the morning of the 30th.

1 Dec 1942
The fast minelayer HMS Manxman (Capt. R.K. Dickson, DSO, RN) departed Algiers for Gibraltar.

At 1705A/1, (time in the German report) in position 36°39'N, 00°15'E German U-boat U-375 fired a spread of four torpedoes at HMS Manxman, which was identified as a London class cruiser, and heard two hits after 51 seconds despite the fact that the British ship was zig-zagging at 21 knots. Two coups de grace fired at 1741A/1 and 1842A/1 missed.

At the time of the torpedoing HMS Manxman was steaming at 21 knots on a mean course of 284°, carrying out a zig-zag and with Asdic watch set. At 1702A/1, (time in the British report) a lookout sighted a torpedo approaching and it was seen to pass close astern from port to starboard, running shallow. About three seconds later another torpedo struck the ship on the port side abreast the engine room and she stopped with a heavy list to starboard, both engine and gear rooms being flooded. A further attack was expected at any moment and everything possible was done to discourage the enemy submarine. The whole armament was fired into the water whenever anything was heard on the Asdic and at dusk the fast motorboat was lowered to drop depth charges round the ship to simulate the arrival of escorts.

At 2315A/1, the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived which took the ship in tow. An hour later course was set for Oran. By that time the destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) had also joined. At 0520A/2 the tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR) had joined to assist. HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) also joined for A/S protection and at 1300A/2 HMS Manxman arrived at Oran still in tow. (17)

4 Dec 1942
' Force H ', made up of the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) sailed from Mers-el-Kebir and proceeded to the north-east for a patrol during the night of 4/5 December and then to proceed to Gibraltar.

On departure from Mers-el-Kebir they were joined at sea around 0945A/4 by the destroyer HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) which came from Algiers having sailed from there around 2000A/3.

They arrived at Gibraltar around 1130A/6.

12 Dec 1942

Convoy KMF 5.

This convoy departed the U.K. (Clyde) on 12 December 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports;
Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Empire Tide (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), Irénée du Pont (American, 6125 GRT, built 1941), Manchester Trader (British, 5671 GRT, built 1941), Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938) and Zoella Lykes (American, 6829 GRT, built 1940).

On departure the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walter, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt. L.G. Toone, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigate HMS Waveney (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Willmott, DSC, RNR).

HMS Wellington parted company on 13 December 1942 and proceeded to Londonderry due to weather damage she had sustained.

On the 17th it was reported that the Irénée du Pont was returning to the Clyde due to weather damage.

The convoy passed through the straits of Gibraltar during the morning of 20 December 1942. The convoy had been delayed due to adverse weather conditions being encountered on passage from the U.K.

The Gibraltar section of the convoy of seven transports then joined the convoy.
These were the following transports;
Ajax (British, 7540 GRT, built 1931), Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1939), Elisabeth Bakke (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Gloucester (British, 8532 GRT, built 1941), Pardo (British, 5400 GRT, built 1940) and Silverlaurel (British, 6142 GRT, built 1939).
This section had been escorted to the rendezvous by the destroyer HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), minesweeper HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSO, DSC, RN) and corvette HMS Nasturtium (Lt. C.D. Smith, DSC, RNR) which also joined the convoy. On these ships joining HMS Totland and HMS Waveney then parted company with the convoy and entered Gibraltar. Both had defects due to weather damage.

HMS Laforey and HMS Lightning also made a call at Gibraltar before rejoining the convoy. Both fuelled, discharged stores brought out from the U.K., and made a few small repairs to weather damage, before proceeding to rejoin the convoy.

HMS Argus left the convoy and proceeded to Gibraltar. Escorted by the destroyers HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) which had gone out to make rendezvous with convoy to escort the carrier into harbour.

The transports Manchester Citizen and Zoella Lykes, which had lost contact with the convoy due to the weather conditions, arrived at Gibraltar on 20 December 1942.

On 20 December 1942, the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir to make rendezvous with the convoy and then take the Oran section of the convoy with them to Oran the following day. They made rendezvous with the convoy around 1700A/20. The Oran section made up of the Duchess of Richmond, Duchess of York, Empress of Canada, Elisabeth Bakke, Exiria, Pardo and Silverlaurel parted company with the convoy around 0200A/21.

Around 0230A/21, the German submarine U-562 managed to torpedo and damage the troop transport Strathallan in position 36°52'N, 00°34'W. The destroyers HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Verity and sloop HMS Folkestone remained with the damaged ship. The destroyers HMAS Quiberon, HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder and HMS Meteor later jouned them. Also the tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR), salvage vessel King Salvor and two trawlers came out to render assistance.

On 21 December 1942, the Algiers section of 8 (troop) transports parted company. The destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) had come out from Algiers to escort this section. The Algiers section arrived at Algiers later the same day escorted by HMS Eskimo, HMS Lamerton, HMS Weston, HMS Gorleston, HMS Hussar and HMS Nasturtium.

Also on 21 December 1942, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyer HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R. de L. Brooke, DSC, RN) joined the convoy as escorts.

Around 0630A/22, the troop transport Cameronia, which was to proceed to Bone, had been hit by an aircraft torpedo in position 37°03'N, 05°24'E. An hour later it was reported that she was making for Bougie escorted by HMS Scylla and HMS Wheatland which later parted company to rejoin the convoy. From Bougie the tug Hengist and the M/S trawlers HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (Lt. J. Plomer, RCNVR) and HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR) were sent to her assitance.

On 22 December 1942, the Bone section arrived there escorted by HMS Aurora, HMS Scylla, HMS Quality, HMS Lamerton and HMS Wheatland.

[Further research regarding this convoy is required.]

18 Dec 1942
After some temporary repairs, the damaged fast minelayer HMS Manxman (Capt. R.K. Dickson, DSO, RN) departed Oran for Gibraltar. She is being towed by the tugs HMS Nimble and HMRT Salvonia. Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN).

HMS Pathfinder and HMS Puckeridge were later detached and returned to Oran.

The tow arrived at Gibraltar around 1300A/20. At Gibraltar HMS Manxman was taken in hand for further temporary repairs to make her fit to proceed to the UK for permanent repairs. (15)

20 Dec 1942
HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir to make rendezvous with convoy KMF 5 coming from the U.K. / Gibraltar and then take the Oran section of the convoy with them.

Rendezvous with the convoy was made around 1700A/20 and the destroyers joined the convoy for the moment.

The Oran section parted company with the convoy around 0200A/21.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy KMF 5 ' for 12 December 1942.] (18)

21 Dec 1942
At 02.23 hours on 21 December 1942 German U-boat U-562 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy KMF-5 about 40 miles north of Oran and heard two detonations after 65 seconds and another after 5 minutes 50 seconds. However, only the ship of the convoy commodore, the British troop transport Strathallan was hit by one torpedo which struck on port side in the engine room. The explosion killed two engineer officers and two Indian crewmen on watch below, damaged the bulkhead separating the engine and boiler rooms and fractured a tank causing oil to enter the boiler room. The ship immediately developed a 15° list to port and the master ordered the nurses and troops to abandon ship in calm seas in the four motor boats, 16 lifeboats and rafts. All got away, except one lifeboat that had been damaged by the explosion and another that could not be launched due to the list. After it became clear that the ship would not sink fast, the evacuation was stopped and the troops ordered to the starboard side to help the stability. The about 1300 survivors in the boats and on rafts were picked up in the morning by the British destroyer HMS Verity (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and taken to Oran.

After two hours of work, at about 06.00 hours the British destroyer HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) took the Strathallan in tow for Oran at a speed of 5-6 knots. Shortly after midday about 2000 survivors were transferred to the British destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and taken to Oran. It appeared as though the ship could be saved as the British rescue tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR) went alongside to assist the pumping, but at 13.15 hours oil came in contact with the hot boilers and the fumes exploded, sending flames up through the funnel. The ship was soon ablaze amidships so the master ordered the ship to be abandoned. All men went aboard the tug except a skeleton crew and were then transferred to HMS Laforey because HMS Restive continued to tow the burning ship slowly towards Oran for 14 hours, but she capsized to port and sank 12 miles off Oran in position 36°01'N, 00°33'W at about 04.00 hours on 22 December.

The Strathallan had 440 crew members, 26 gunners, 248 Queen Alexandra nurses and 4408 British and American troops (among them 296 officers, some possibly of the Headquarter staff of the 1st US Army) on board. Of this number, only 6 crew members and five troops were lost.

21 Dec 1942
Around 0600A/21, HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) are ordered to proceed to the assistance of the damaged troopship Strathallan.

They arrived at Mers-el-Kebir later the same day after the troopship sank. (19)

22 Dec 1942
Around 1600A/22, HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir / Oran escorting the troopship Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928) which had on board the survivors from the troopship Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938) that had been sunk the day before.

They arrived at Algiers around 0830A/23. They detroyers however did not enter the harbour and set course to return to Mers-el-Kebir where they arrived around 1600A/23. (19)

24 Dec 1942
Around 1515A/24, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walter, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski) and the escort destroyer HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for a sweep towards Algiers after which they were to proceed to Gibraltar.

Around 1700A/24, HMS Milne and Meteor were detached to join convoy MKF 5 and return with this convoy to the U.K.

Around 1800A/24, HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) joined.

Around 1800A/25, HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) joined for passage to Gibraltar.

Around 0815A/26, HMS Laforey and HMS Lightning parted company to proceed to Algiers.

' Force H ' arrived at Gibraltar around 2000A/26. (15)

28 Dec 1942

Convoy TM 1.

This convoy of tankers departed Trinidad on 28 December 1942.

It was made up of the following tankers;
Albert L. Ellsworth (Norwegian, 8309 GRT, built 1937), British Dominion (British, 6983 GRT, built 1928), British Vigilance (British, 8093 GRT, built 1942), Cliona (British, 8375 GRT, built 1931), Empire Lytton (British, 9807 GRT, built 1942), Minister Wedel (Norwegian, 6833 GRT, built 1930), Norvik (Panamanian, 9555 GRT, built 1938), Oltenia II (British, 6394 GRT, built 1928) and Vanja (Norwegian, 6198 GRT, built 1929).

On departure from Trinidad the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Havelock (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMS Godetia (Lt. A.H. Pierce, OBE, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Thornton, RNR) and HMS Saxifrage (Lt. N.L. Knight, RNR).

The convoy was sighted on 3 January 1943 by the German submarine U-514.

It was quickly recognised as an important convoy from the Carribean to North Africa so the BDU decided to go ' all in ' and a patrol line of u-boats was deployed to intercept and destroy this important convoy.

A wolfpack (Delphin) was deployed, made up of the following u-boats; U-134, U-181, U-381, U-436, U-442, U-511, U-522, U-571, U-575 and U-620.

On 3 January 1943, U-514, sighted and reported the convoy which she later attacked damaging the the British Vigilance. Following this attack HMS Havelock engaged the u-boat with gunfire which then evaded and started a new attack but the lone torpedo fired missed. Following this attack she lost contact with the convoy. The British Vigilance was abandoned and the floating wreck was only sunk on 24 January 1943 by the U-105.

On 5 January 1943, the escorts fuelled from the Cliona.

The convoy was again sighted on around 1320A/8 by U-381 which brings on three more boats from the patrol line which were the closest. These were U-571, U-436 and U-575.

At 1810A/8, U-571 also made contact with the convoy.

At 2037A/8, U-436 also made contact with the convoy.

U-436 was the first to attack, at 2137A/8 she managed to torpedo and damage the Albert L. Elsworth and torpedo and sink the Oltenia II.

Following the attack HMS Havelock closed to investigate and spotted the attacker which quickly submerged and was subsequently depth charged sustaining damage.

The Albert L. Elsworth is finally sunk by gunfire from U-436 at 1943A/9.

Shortly after her depth charge attack on U-436, HMS Havelock obtained a radar contact on what was thought to be another enemy submarine. Starshell was fired and when it lit up the sky another surfaced submarine was sighted only about 1000 yards away. The enemy crash dived and was depth charged. This was U-381 which was not damaged.

At 2229A/8, U-575 also made contact with the convoy.

One minute later U-571, which was about to attack, was spotted by HMS Pimpernel and attack with gunfire. The submarine then dived and was attacked with depth charges sustaining no damage.

At 2303A/8, U-575 attacked with five torpedoes claiming three hits but in fact none were obtained.

At 0345A/9, U-442 made contact with the convoy.

At 0519A/9, having made contact with the convoy U-522 attacked with four torpedoes. The Minister Wedel and Norvik were both damaged in this attack.

Around 0530A/9, U-522 was depth charged by HMS Saxifrage and HMS Havelock but she sustained no damage.

At 0535A/9, U-575 attacked again with five torpedoes claiming four hits but in fact again none were obtained.

At 0606A/9, U-571 regained contact on the convoy.

At 0627A/9, U-442 attacked and torpedoed and damaged the Empire Lytton.

At 0709A/9, U-571 was attacked with depth charged by HMS Havelock. She sustained some damage. HMS Havelock had been standing by the crippled Minister Wedel and Norvik when she got an RDF contact at a range of 5000 yards. When she closed to investigate the target disappeared and was almost immediately picked up on Asdic.

At 0738A/9, U-381 attack a stationary damaged tanker but obtained no hits.

Later on the 9th, the damaged Norvik and Minister Wendel were finished off by the U-522 and the Empire Lytton by the U-442.

Two more u-boats had sighted the convoy on this day, U-181 (at 1206A/9) and U-620 (time not known) but were unable to attack.

Meanwhile, at 1143A/9, U-134 had also obtained contact on the convoy and later started a submerged daylight attack.

At 1430A/9, U-134 attacked the Vanja with torpedoes but the tanker was able to evade.

Following this attack HMS Godetia and HMS Pimpernel attacked with depth charges causing considerable damage to the attacker which had to abandon her patrol due to this damage.

At 1154A/10, U-620 obtained contact with the convoy.

At 1200A/10, U-571 regained contact with the convoy but was unable to attack and lost contact again.

At 1830A/10, U-620 attacked with four torpedoes but obtained no hits. She was subsequently depth charged by HMS Saxifrage.

At 2112A/10, U-522 attacked with four torpedoes but no hits were obtained.

At 2318A/10, U-571 again made contact with the convoy and started an attack.

At 2340A/10, U-522 attack with two torpedoes. The British Dominion was damaged.

At 2341A/10, U-522 was spotted and fired up by the Vanja. The u-boat submerged and was then depth charged by HMS Havelock but she sustained no damage.

At 2345A/10, U-571 fired a torpedo at an escort vessel but no hit was obtained.

At 2353A/10, U-571 fired three torpedoes at the Cliona but again no hits were obtained. Following this attack she was depth charged by HMS Havelock but sustained no damage.

At 0232A/11, U-620 fired one torpedo at an escort vessel but it missed. Another torpedo was fired at the damaged British Dominion and the tanker sank soon afterwards.

At 0450A/11, U-511 had obtained contact on the convoy.

At 0630A/11, U-511 attacked with four torpedoes but no hits were obtained.

Around 0700A/11, the destroyer HMAS Quiberon (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) joined coming from Gibraltar and soon afterwards a Catalina flying boat was also sighted.

Around 1200A/11, the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) also joined.

At 1230A/11, U-511 regained contact with the convoy but was driven off and then lost contact.

Around 0930A/14, what was left of convoy TM 1 arrived at Gibraltar.

2 Jan 1943
Around 0300A/2, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) and ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski) departed Gibraltar to provide cover for the troop convoy KMS 6 during its passage in the Mediterranean to Algiers. Some of the destroyers, if not all, apparently first conducted an A/S sweep of the bay before ' Force H ' departed.

Around 0930A/2, the destroyer HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) joined. [She apparently parted company with ' Force H ' before it arrived at Algiers.]

Around 1215A/2, the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) joined.

Around 0430A/3, HMS Dido parted company to proceed ahead to Algiers where she arrived around 0745A/3.

Around 1200A/3, ' Force H ' arrived at Algiers. (20)

3 Jan 1943
Around 2000A/3, ' Force H ', now made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for a sweep towards the Balearic Islands and passage to Gibraltar.

' Force H ' arrived at Gibraltar around 1000A/5. (20)

9 Jan 1943
Around 1430A/9, the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) departed Gibraltar to make rendezvous with the heavily attacked convoy TM 1 en-route from Trinidad to Gibraltar.

Around 2230A/9, the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) also departed Gibraltar to join the escort of this convoy.

On this day the corvettes HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J. Byron, DSC, RNR), HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RD, RNR) and the rescue tug HMS Nimble also departed to join the escort of this convoy / search for casualties.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy TM 1 ' for 28 December 1942.] (19)

19 Jan 1943
HMS Sturgeon (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Mers el Kebir with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN). (21)

31 Jan 1943
The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN) and aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) departed Gibraltar for the UK. On departure they were escorted by the destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. John Henry Wallace, DSC, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN).

At 1230A/31, they were joined by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN) which was en-route from the Far East to the UK. She was at that moment escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN).

These two escort destroyers were detached to Gibraltar at 1930A/31 after Illustrious original destroyer screen, HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), returned at 1900A/31 from fuelling in Casablanca.

At 1900A/2, HMS Velox, HMS Wishart and HMS Wivern were detached to Plymouth.

At 1500A/3, HMS Brilliant was detached to Plymouth.

At 1615A/3, the destroyer HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Peake, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN) joined from Falmouth.

Around 1930A/3, HMS Boreas and HMS Anthony parted company for Plymouth.

In the afternoon of 4 February 1943, HMS Renown, HMS Furious, HMS Illustrious, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Panther, HMS Penn, HMS Escapade, HMS Melbreak and HMS Tanatside, arrived in the Clyde after which they proceeded to Greenock. (22)

18 Mar 1943
HMS Usurper (Lt. D.R.O. Mott, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Brissenden (Lt. D.C. Beatty, RN). (23)

19 Mar 1943
HMS Usurper (Lt. D.R.O. Mott, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN). (23)

25 Mar 1943
The battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN) conducted exercises near Scapa Flow during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN). (24)

26 Mar 1943
HMS Usurper (Lt. D.R.O. Mott, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. John Henry Wallace, DSC, RN) and HMS Lewes (Lt.Cdr. M.V. Thorburn, DSC, RNVR). (23)

27 Mar 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN) conducted a RIX (range and inclination) exercise with HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet) which is screened by the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) and HMS Brissenden (Lt. D.C. Beatty, RN).

Later HMS Newcastle conducted independent AA gunnery exercises. HMS King George V also conducted gunnery exercises. (25)

2 Apr 1943
The battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN) conducted gunnery exercises to the west of Scapa Flow during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN). (26)

6 Apr 1943
Around 0630B/6, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. On leaving the gate she was joined by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Brissenden (Lt. D.C. Beatty, RN).

They arrived at Scapa Flow around 1630B/7. (27)

25 Apr 1943
German U-boat U-203 was sunk south of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position 55°05'N, 42°25'W, by depth charges from a Swordfish aircraft (811 Sqn FAA/L) of the British escort carrier HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN) and by the British destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN).

15 Jun 1943
During 15/16 June, a large exercise was carried out off Scapa Flow by ships that were to participate in the upcoming landings on Sicily. The ships that participated were; the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN). They were escorted by destroyers the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) (these last four remained with the Home Fleet) and escort destroyers HMS Viceroy (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Woolston (Lt. F.W. Hawkins, RN). [It is likely that even more destroyers / escort destroyers participated in these exercises.

The Home Fleet cruisers HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.T. Addis, RN), screened by the Home Fleet destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN) simulated an enemy fleet.

The exercises included night encounter exercises. (28)

17 Jun 1943
Around 1400B/17, the battleships the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz).

They were joined on the 18th by the destroyer HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) which came from Londonderry where she had been boiler cleaning.

Around 1330B/21, they were joined by the aircraft HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) and her escort made up of the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN). These ships had departed Gibraltar around 2015B/19. [Actually the destroyers departed two hours previously, presumably to conduct an A/S sweep before the carrier left the harbour.]

They arrived at Gibraltar in the afternoon of the 23rd minus HMS Tumult and HMS Tyrian which had been detached. These destroyers only arrived on June 26th. (29)

2 Jul 1943
The battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Gibraltar. (30)

3 Jul 1943
The battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) arrived at Gibraltar from Mers-el-Kebir. (30)

5 Jul 1943
The battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN) departed Gibraltar for Algiers. (30)

6 Jul 1943
The battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN) arrived at Algiers from Gibraltar. (30)

9 Jul 1943
Around 2030B/9, ' Force H, 3rd Division ' (also known as ' Force Z '), made up the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, Senior Officer) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, DSO, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN) departed Algiers for operations.

Around 1315B/10, off Bone, they were joined by the light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and the destroyer HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN) which had departed Bone around 1200B/10. Shortly after these ships joined, HMS Isis obtained an A/S contact and ' Force Z ' made an emergency turn.

Shortly after 1700B/10, ' Force Z ' entered the Tunisian War Channel (this started near Galita Island and then to the East of Cape Bon).

Around 1910B/10, ' Force Z ' turned back and set course for Algiers.

Around 0230B/11, HMS Sirius and HMS Dido were detached to proceed ahead to Bone where they arrived around 0615B/11.

Then at 1100B/11 a signal was received from the Commander-in-Chief that ' Operation Fracture ' was to be carried out. Course was then altered to 080° and the detached cruisers were recalled. They departed Bone again around 1335B/11 and rejoined ' Force Z ' around 1615B/11.

HMS Isis, which was unable to keep up at high speed, was detached to Bone. (31)

12 Jul 1943

Operation Fracture.

Bombardment of Levanzo Island, Trapani and Marsala.

In the evening of 11 July 1943, ' Force H, 3rd Division ' (also known as ' Force Z '), made up the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, Senior Officer), light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, DSO, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN) were at sea proceeding towards the west coast of Sicily.

At 2200B/11, HMS Sirius and HMS Dido were detached to bombard Marsala.

The battleships approach course ran through two positions; A) 37°45'N, 09°46'E and B) 38°12'N, 12°10'E. Position B was reached at 0123B/12. The destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Paladin and HMS Arrow were placed ahead of the battleships. They were to close within 9000 yards from Levanzo Island. The other three destroyers (HMS Pathfinder, HMS Panther and HMS Penn) formed an A/S screen for the battleships.

Bombardment of Levanzo Island.

At 0139B/12, speed was reduced to 16 knots, and HMS Howe opened fire at 13500 yards with starshell at 0145B/12. HMS King George V opened fire a minute later. The targets selected were three batteries and hutments in the north-east corner of Levanzo Island, which was fringed with steep cliffs. The target area was 1500 yards in depth, height allowed 300 feet, the three batteries being calculated to be in transit when Cape Grosso bore 165°. Nine rounds per 5.25" gun with flashless propellant and HE shell were fired by the battleships. The destroyers opened direct fire very shortly after 0146B/12, with ranges based on radar information. Their salvoes were seen to burst on the cliff face and top of the hill close to the northern HA/LA battery. The ammunition expended by the destroyers was; HMS Jervis 59 rouds, HMS Paladin 40 rounds and HMS Arrow 29 rounds.

The majority of the battleships salvos appeared to burst on the left side of the hill behind Cape Grosso, probably below the battery sites. The bombardment ended at 0149B/12, when course was altered to 055°. After the destroyers had turned away, the batteries on Levanzo Island opened a spasmodic fire. Some shells fell close, but none of the ships were hit.

Bombardment of Trapani.

The second phase of the operation was the bombardment of Trapani. The target selected for the 14" guns of the battleships was Trapani town to the eastward of the harbour, an area of 3000 yards from east to west with a depth of 1000 yards. For the 5.25" guns the target was Trapani harbour including Colombaia Island. HMS Howe opened fire at 0153B/12 with 14" HE shell, followed by HMS King George V within one minute. The initial range being 23000 yards, bearing 122° for both ships. The 5.25" guns opened fire shortly after the 14" when their target range was 21000 yards bearing 127°. HMS Howe fired 17 salvoes from her 14" guns. HMS King George V fired 39 rounds of 14". The majority of the salvos were estimated to have fallen in the target area, HMS Howe reported observing 'a few 14" shell bursts' and HMS King George V reported 'about a dozen'. Cordite smoke completely obscured the 5.25" target area and the blinding effect from all guns was most marked. When firing ceased at 0200B/12, course was altered to 290°.

During the approach and throughout the bombardments a large V-shaped illumination was visibly on the land near Punta Barone. This, it was conjectured may have been intended as some sort of decoy for the RAF.

After turning to the retirement course, the destroyers dropped a number of delay action devices consisting of depth chargesm smoke floats and snowflake rockets. These were intended to prolong the period of disturbance and attract the intention of any E-boats or aircraft. Apparently the first object was achieved, for both searchlights and guns continued to be active for a considerable time.

Bombardment of Marsala.

After parting company, HMS Sirius and HMS Dido proceeded towards Marsala. Flashes from an air attack in progress were observed during the approach. The bombardment course selected ran between the positions A) 37°46'N, 12°13'E and B) 37°42'N, 12°15'E, approximately on the 100 fathom line within effective range.

The zones of fires were centered as follows; HMS Sirius, 200 yards west of the railway station and HMS Dido, 400 yards north of the post office. The bombardment was carried out in indirect fire from 0148B/12 to 0207B/12, at a mean range of 21000 yards, the ships steering 157° at 18 knots. The only results observed were flashes, to tight of a large fire started by the preceding air attack, which appeared to coincide with the fall of shot.

A few enemy guns responded feebly during the latter half of the bombardment but no shells were seen to fall close to the cruisers.

At 0515B/12, the cruisers rejoined the other ships of ' Force Z ' in position 38°09'N, 10°45'E and the withdrawal was effected without incident. The destroyer HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN) joined the screen at 0620B/12 coming from Bone.

At 1115B/12, HMS Sirius and HMS Dido were detached to Bone to arrange for the immediate fuelling of the destroyers and for all available A/S craft to patrol off the harbour during the presence of the battleships. At 1430B/12, the battleships anchored off Bone while the destroyers fuelled.

Around 2015B/12, ' Force Z ', made up of the two battleships and the seven destroyers departed Bone for Algiers where it arrived around 0715B/13. (31)

14 Jul 1943
Around 1220B/14, ' Force Z ', made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, Senior Officer) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, DSO, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN) departed Algiers after a reconnaissance aircraft had reported that two Italian battleships had departed La Spezia.

At 0130B/15, they were joined by the light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) which came from Bone.

It then became apparent that the report of the aircraft had been false and all ships returned to Bone or Algiers later on the 15th. (32)

20 Jul 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Algiers with HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN). (33)

26 Jul 1943
Around 1415B/26, the damaged aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN) departed Malta for trials. After these were successfully completed she departed for Gibraltar around 1715B/26 escorted by the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Around 1800B/26, the battleships HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN) departed Algiers to make rendezvous with HMS Indomitable and her escort.

Around 0300B/27, the light cruisers HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) departed Bone to make rendezvous with the battleships and their escort. Rendezvous was effected around 0530B/27.

Around 1200B/27, HMS Indomitable and her escort made rendezvous with the battleships and the cruisers and their escort. HMS Intrepid and RHS Vasilissa Olga then parted company to return to Malta where they arrived on the 28th.

Around 0700B/28, HMS Dido and HMS Euryalus parted company to return to Bone where they arrived around 1430B/28.

Around 1100B/28, HMS Howe, HMS King George V, HMS Jervis, Paladin, Panther, Pathfinder, Penn and Arrow parted company to return to Algiers where they arrived around 1430B/28.

HMS Indomitable, HMS Antelope, HMS Boreas, HMS Wishart (Cdr. A.F. Campbell, OBE, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN) arrived at Gibraltar around 1830B/29. The last two destroyers had probably joined around the time the battleships and their escorts had parted company on the 28th. (34)

31 Jul 1943
Around 0730B/31 the light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Bone for the Sicilian Narrows.

Soon after departure HMS Penn developed engine trouble and returned to Bone.

HMS Euryalus parted company around 0830B/1 and proceeded to Malta where she arrived around 1930B/1.

The remainder of the ships returned to Bone arriving around 1830B/1. (35)

9 Aug 1943

Operation Annoyance.

Bombardment of Castellammare di Stabia, Naples, Italy and sweep towards Paola, Cosenza, Italy..

Around 1015/9, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Bizerta for operation Annoyance.

At 2100/9, HMS Dido, HMS Sirius, HMS Panther and HMS Pathfinder were detached for a sweep towards Paola while the other ships proceeded to the Gulf of Naples.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis and HMS Paladin bombarded Castellammare di Stabia from 0050/10 to 0115/10.

Around 0730/11, both groups made rendezvous and then proceeded to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1545/10. (36)

7 Sep 1943
Around 0715B/7, ' Force Z ' made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN) departed Algiers for, initially, Augusta but this was later changed to Malta where they arrived around 1100B/8.

At Malta, Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN, hoisted his flag in HMS Howe. (37)

8 Sep 1943

Operation Slapstick.

Landing of troops at Taranto following the Italian armistice.

Around 1545/8, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) and the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, DSO, RN) departed Bizerta for Taranto. These cruisers and the minelayer had troops on board as well as stores and vehicles.

Around 0630/9, they joined the battleships HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) and HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN) which had departed Malta around 2200/8 with the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN).

Around 1315/9, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and RHS Kanaris joined coming from Sousse (via Malta) from where they had sailed on the 8th. They had on board a port party for Taranto.

Around 1400B/9, the Italian battleships Caio Duilio (flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Da Zara), Andrea Doria, light cruisers Luigi Cadorna, Pompeo Magno and the destroyer Nicoloso da Recco were sighted proceeding towards Malta to surrender. HMS King George V with HMS Panther, Pathfinder, HMS Penn then parted company to escort these ships to Malta.

Around 1630/9, the minesweepers HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN), HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RNR), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. W.L. O'Mara, DSC, RN) and HMS BYMS 2012 (T/A/Skr.Lt. C.J. Watson, RNR) joined. These ships had also departed Malta on the 8th.

In the evening all the other ships entered the harbour of Taranto where the troops, port party, stores and vehicles were disembarked.

Troops were then to be disembarked, however, on 10 September, shortly after midnight, HMS Abdiel was mined and sunk with heavy loss of life inside the harbour before she had been able to disembark her troops.

10 Sep 1943
The battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) arrived at Malta escorting the Italian battleships Caio Duilio (flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Da Zara), Andrea Doria, light cruisers Luigi Cadorna, Pompeo Magno and the destroyer Nicoloso da Recco which came from Taranto to Malta after the Italian armestice. (38)

13 Sep 1943
Around 0545 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Taranto for Augusta where they arrived around 1600 hours.

HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope departed Augusta again around 2130 hours for the Salerno area for bombardment duties. (39)

14 Sep 1943
The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), battleships HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) and the destoyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar via Algiers.

Soon after leaving the harbour though they were ordered to return.

HMS Illustrious then entered harbour while the battleships were ordered to proceed to the Salerno area to give fire support during operation Avalanche as German resistance was much heavier then had been expected. The battleships were now escorted by HMS Jervis, HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn, HMS Petard and HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN). (40)

15 Sep 1943
HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) arrived in the southern anchorage in the Salerno area around 1100 hours.

As the battleships had not been part of the operations plan, the ships were not in the possession of the target lists and special bombardment maps. As a result of lenghty conferences it was arranged that each battleship was to land an F.O. (forward observer) party at 1400 hours and it was hoped to open fire by 1700 hours. HMS Valiant had 50 rounds HE of 15" available and HMS Warspite 88. It was agreed that hald should be fired at once and the remainder on the following day.

The battleships moved to their bombanding berths, one mile from the shore and at 1720 hours, HMS Warspite opened fire on an observation post on a ridge near Altavilla and on the town itself. The fire was extremely accurate, 19 hits being claimed out of 29 rounds fired and the American troops were much impressed by the accuracy. It ceased at 1720 hours. HMS Valiant, unfortunately, was unable to open fire as she could not make contact with her F.O. Arrangements were then made for the Warspite's F.O. to direct the Valiant's fire. But just as HMS Valiant was about to open fire a message was received that no further bombardment was required and the battleships proceeded to sea for the night during which they sustained about a dozen air attacks. No damage was done except to HMS Petard which was hit by an AA shell and suffered two casualties. (41)

16 Sep 1943
Around 0530 hours, HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), returned to the assault area.

HMS Valiant took up a bombarding position off the northern beaches while HMS Warspite went to the same position as on the previous day. Once again HMS Valiant had great difficulty in obtaining contact with her forward observer and it was not until 1648 hours that she was able to open fire on the Nocera area. She ceased fire at 1728 hours having fired 19 rounds. She retired from the area at dusk screened by the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN). They eventually went to Augusta arriving there on the 17th.

Meanwhile HMS Warpite had sustained a heavy air attack. She had difficulty owing to enemy jamming in communicating with her F.O. but eventually opened fire at 1309 hours on ammunition dumps and traffic concentration near Altaville. 32 rounds were fired of which half landed dead on the target and 8 within 100 yards of it.

At 1410 hours, HMS Warspite was proceeding towards the northern area for further bombardment when she was attacked by about 10 FW 190's one of which was shot down. Immediately afterwards, three remote-controlled bombs were sighted almost overhead at 6000 to 8000 feet, their parent aircraft being at 20000 feet. No radar report of their presence had been received. The bombs dived vertically on to the ship which could take no avoiding action in this congested area. Two of the bombs near missed the ship but one hit the ship penetrating into No.4 boiler room where it burst. The concussion was terrific, five of the ships boiler rooms were flooded almost at once, though the ship was able to proceed at slow speed on the starboard engines until about 1500 hours when the last boiler room filled with water and all steam failed.

The USN tugs USS Hopi and USS Moreno arrived quickly on the spot and had the ship in tow by 1700 hours. Speed was 4 knots. Escort was now provided by the AA cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther, HMS Pathfinder and escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Cleveland (Lt.Cdr. J.K. Hamilton, RN) and ORP Slazak (Kmdr.ppor. (Cdr.) R. Nalecz-Tyminski).

At 1930 hours the light cruisers HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) joined them with HMS Euryalus taking over the tow with the intention to leave the area at a higher speed. However the cable parted and the USN again took the damaged battleship in tow. To everyone's surprise, in spite of a night of full moonlight, no air attacks were made by the enemy. In the morning, Spitfires arrived to give fighter cover, followed by two more tugs, HMS Nimble, HMS Oriana and the salvage vessel HMS Salveda. Around 2300 hours, another tug, USS Narragansett joined just as HMS Warspite was to enter the straits of Messina. It took the Warspite five hours to negotiate the Straits due to the strong current. She finally arrived safely at Malta around 0800 hours on 19 September. HMS Euryalus, HMS Scylla had parted company around 1030B/18 and arrived at Bizerta around 0145B/19. (41)

30 Sep 1943
The battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN) departed Gibraltar for Algiers. She is escorted by the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN).

HMS Pathfinder parted company on 1 October and returned to Malta arriving on 2 October.

HMS Valiant, HMS Troubridge, HMS Ilex and HMS Inglefield arrived at Algiers on 2 October and departed again for Gibraltar later the same day.

They arrived at Gibraltar on 3 October. (42)

4 Oct 1943
On 4 October 1943, the four light cruisers of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) departed Malta. Also the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) and HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Malta. These ships were temporary loaned to the Levant Station.

HMS Echo and HMS Tumult departed Malta around 0630/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder departed Malta around 0830/4 and finally HMS Dido and HMS Sirius departed Malta around 1800/4 but appeared not to have proceeded in company.

At 1750/4, HMS Echo and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder.

Around 1100/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult parted company with HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo. The destroyers were to proceed to Tobruk to refuel.

Around 1245/5, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo parted company with HMS Aurora. HMS Penelope and HMS Echo were to proceed direct to Alexandria where they arrived around 2005/5.

Around 1830/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora. Around 2100/5, HMS Dido joined HMS Aurora, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult and course was set for a patrol in the Aegean. However at 2103/5, HMS Aurora and HMS Dido collided forcing the cruisers to abandon the patrol. The destroyers were detached at 2130/5 and proceeded on patrol by themselves. HMS Aurora and HMS Dido arrived at Alexandria around 1500/6. HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult arrived around the same time. During their anti-shipping sweep they had sighted nothing. It was estimated that it would take a week for temporary repairs on HMS Aurora to be completed. HMS Dido needed full repairs and these were estimated to take seven weeks.

HMS Sirius arrived at Alexandria around 0700/6. (43)

2 Nov 1943
Around 2330B/2, the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Limasol, Cyprus. On board were around 750 troops and 80 tons of stores for Leros. The light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) joined them.

They arrived at Limasol around 1100B/3. The destroyers then commenced to fuel from HMS Phoebe. (44)

3 Nov 1943
Around 1500B/3, the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), which had troops and stores for Leros on board, departed Limasol. They were first to proceed to the Gulf of Doris passing to the north of Rhodes. The destroyers spent the night of 3/4 November in the Gulf of Doris and landed the troops and stores at Leros during the early hours of the 5th.

On departure from Limasol the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) accompanied them until 1800B/3. HMS Phoebe then patrolled between Rhodes and Cyprus during the night of 3/4 November. (44)

6 Nov 1943
Around 0650/6, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Alexandria for trials and exercises. On completion of these she set course to proceed to a position about mid way between Alexandria and Rhodes so as to be in a position to proceed to the aid of light forces operating in the Aegean if called upon.

Around 0600/7, HMS Penelope was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (A/Lt.Cdr. J.I. Jones, DSO, DSC, RNR) and Miaoulis. These ships parted company around 1700/7.

Around 0600/8, HMS Penelope was joined by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN). These ships parted company around 0900/8.

Around 1200/9, HMS Penelope was joined by the destroyer HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and Pindos.

They arrived in Episkopi Bay, Cyprus around 1545/9 where they fuelled. (45)

7 Nov 1943
HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) sink German U-boat trap GA 45 with gunfire off Amorgos, Greece.

15 Nov 1943
Around 1530/15, the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) departed Alexandria for the Limmasol. They had on board some troops, ammunition and stores.

They arrived at Limmasol around 0630/16. (45)

18 Nov 1943
Around 2100/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Paphos to make rendezvous with the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) which were en-route to the Aegean. HMS Penelope was to escort them part of the way.

Rendezvous was effected around 1410/18. Cdr. Orbay, Turkish Navy was then transferred to HMS Pathfinder.

HMS Pathfinder, HMS Haydon and HMS Tetcott parted company around 1730/18 and then went on their way.

HMS Penelope then set course to proceed to Limmasol arriving there around 0300/19. (45)

30 Nov 1943
The damaged light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) arrived at Alexandria escorted by the destroyers HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Hawkins, RN).

At Alexandria HMS Birmingham was taken in hand for temporary repairs. (46)

9 Dec 1943
Around 1600/9, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis ( Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Hawkins, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Gibraltar or Malta.

Around 0915/10, the were joined by the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR). These ships parted company around 1545/10.

Around 0400/11, HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) joined.

Around 0415/11, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn parted company to proceed to Malta where they arrived around 0700/11.

HMS London, HMS Fury and HMS Inglefield then continued on to Gibraltar where they arrived around 0430/13. (47)

27 Dec 1943
Around 0630B/27, the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) departed Alexandria for a sweep to the south of the Kaso Strait during the night of 27/28 December 1943.

They returned to Alexandria around 1615B/28. (48)

29 Dec 1943
Around 0700B/29, the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) departed Alexandria for a sweep to the south of the Kaso Strait during the night of 29/30 December 1943.

However at 1400B/29, they were ordered to return to Alexandria as air reconnaissance had shown no sign of enemy shipping in the area.

They arrived back at Alexandria around 1945B/29. (48)

16 Jan 1944
Around 0200B/16, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), returned to harbour after their exercises.

Around 0900B/16, HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) and HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN) departed Suez to proceed southwards through the Red Sea. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

Around 1030B/16, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant and HMS Renown departed Suez and headed southwards to rendezvous with the carrier force on the following day. (49)

18 Jan 1944
Around 1700C/18, HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) and HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), parted company with HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

HMS Renown and HMS Illustrious were to proceed ahead of the other ships to Aden. (49)

19 Jan 1944
Around 1000C/19, HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) and HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) were joined by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

Shortly afterwards however, HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck parted company. Around 1130C/19, HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck joined HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN).

Around 1200C/19, HMS Unicorn, HMS Paladin, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Petard and HMS Rocket parted company with the other ships of their group to proceed to Aden to refuel.

Around 1515C/19, HMS Renown, HMS Illustrious and HMS Rotherham arrived at Aden to refuel.

Around 1630C/19, HMS Unicorn, HMS Paladin, HMS Pathfinder HMS Petard and HMS Rocket arrived at Aden to refuel.

In the evening HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant, HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck arrived off Aden. As they could not refuel yet they remained out and in the meantime conducted exercises. (49)

21 Jan 1944
Around 1700C/21, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) departed Aden.

Around 1930C/21, they joined HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) which had been exercising off Aden since the early afternoon of the 20th.

The fleet then proceeded eastwards minus HMS Racehorce, HMS Rapid, HMS Rocket and HMS Roebuck which proceeded to Aden to refuel after which they were to set sail again to overtake the fleet. (49)

22 Jan 1944
Around 1200C/22, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) were rejoined by HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) which had fuelled at Aden. (49)

24 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) were still proceeding eastwards to join the Eastern Fleet.

Some of the destroyers had to be fuelled as these did not had the endurance to reach their destination without doing so. Therefore HMS Queen Elizabeth refuelled HMAS Norman between 0815 and 1135 hours. HMS Valiant fuelled HMS Paladin between 0648 and 0905 hours and HMS Pathfinder between 1001 and 1148 hours. HMS Renown fuelled HMS Petard between 0935 and 1136 hours. (49)

26 Jan 1944
Around 1900FG/26, HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) parted company with HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN).

HMS Unicorn, HMS Rapid and HMS Roebuck then set course for Cochin, India where they arrived at 0900FG/27. (49)

27 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) were joined at dawn (around 0700FG/27) by HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN).

Around 0830FG/27, HMS Renown parted company to proceed to Colombo escorted by HMS Rotherham and HMAS Norman. They arrived at Colombo around 1500FG/27. HMAS Norman was then immediately docked in the Walker's Graving Dock to clear the fouled port propeller. On docking further damage was discovered and repairs were taken in hand. Eventually the port propeller was replaced. [undocking date not known].

Between 2100FG/27 and 2359FG/27, the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), which was on passage from Trincomalee to Colombo, conducted a shadowing exercises with the fleet.

Around 2300FG/27, HMAS Napier parted company to proceed ahead of the fleet to Trincomalee. (50)

28 Jan 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee around 1230FG/28.

HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) had arrived around dawn to embark the Commodore (D) S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN, who was to take charge of the destroyers entering the harbour. (51)

1 Feb 1944
HMS Stonehenge (Lt. D.S.M. Verschoyle-Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Trincomalee for her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Far East). She was ordered to patrol in the Malacca Strait. She was also to carry out a special operation.

Before proceeding on patrol A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). (52)

3 Feb 1944
During 3/4 February 1944, HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee together with the British destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). (53)

9 Feb 1944
Around 0800FG/9, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) departed Trincomalee for exercises. At sea they were joined by HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) which was already out exercising.

They returned to harbour between 0810FG/10 and 0920FG/10. (54)

10 Feb 1944
The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), light cruisers HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN).

These ships departed Trincomalee and then proceeded to the north-east to give the Japanese the impression that they were to preform a raid against the coast of Burma towards Ramree Island. A fake signal was sent to bolster this. Course was reversed the next day and exercises were then carried out during that day and the next days.

They returned to Trincomalee in the morning of the 14th. Various exercises had been carried out while at sea.

16 Feb 1944
HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNethN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (55)

17 Feb 1944
During 17/18 August 1944, the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNethN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (56)

19 Feb 1944
Around 0730FG/19, HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) departed Trincomalee to make rendezvous with HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Shah (A/Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN) coming from Fremantle. (57)

21 Feb 1944
HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Shah (A/Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN) made rendezvous with HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) which then took over the escort of HMS Shah. HMS Ceylon then set course for Trincomalee. (58)

23 Feb 1944
Around 1000FG/23, HMS Shah (A/Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) arrived at Cochin. (59)

24 Feb 1944

Convoy KR 9.

This convoy departed Kilindini on 24 February 1944.

It was made up of the following transports; Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Pulaski (Polish, 6345 GRT, built 1912) and Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926).

On departure from Kilindini the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN), destroyer HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), sloops HMS Landguard (Lt. B.M. Skinner, RN), HMS Lulworth (Lt.Cdr. R.C.S. Woolley, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Freesia (T/Lt.Cdr. G.M. Berlyn, SANF(V)) and HMS Snowflake (Lt. E.J. Powell, RNR).

Around 1700C/26, HMS Relentless parted company to fuel at Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Around 1730D/27, HMS Relentless rejoined.

Around 0930D/1, the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, NethN) joined the convoy coming from Addu Atoll. HrMs Tjerk Hiddes then received some fuel HMS Frobisher. HMS Landguard, HMS Lulworth and HMS Freesia were then detached to Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Around 0715FG/5, the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) joined coming from Colombo.

The convoy was then split into two sections;
The Colombo section was made up of the City of London, Egra and Pulaski, escorted by HMS Frobisher, HMS Petard, HrMs Tjerk Hiddes and HMS Snowflake. It arrived at Colombo on 5 March 1944.

The Trincomalee section was made up of the Banfora and Rajula and was escorted by HMS Rotherham, HMS Relentless, HMS Pathfinder and HMAS Norman. It arrived at Trincomalee on 6 March 1944.

24 Feb 1944
Around 0300FG/24, HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) departed Cochin for Colombo. (57)

25 Feb 1944
Around 0730FG/25, HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) arrived at Colombo from Cochin. (57)

27 Feb 1944
Around 1900FG/27, HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee.

At sea they joined the ammunition ships Shan Tung (British, 2549 GRT, built 1915) and Palestinian Prince (British, 1960 GRT, built 1936) that were being escorted by the armed yacht HMS Maid Marion (T/Lt. F.R. Crawford, RNVR) and the harbour defence motor launches HDML 1288 (T/Lt. H. Downes, RNVR) and HDML 1377 (T/S.Lt. P.P. Hubbard, RNVR).

The destroyers parted company with the convoy around 0725FG/28. (57)

28 Feb 1944
Around 1230FG/28, HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (57)

1 Mar 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) proceeded to sea for exercises. During the exercises a periscope was reported and the exercise was cancelled.

HMAS Norman and HMAS Pathfinder remained patrolling in the area until 3 March when they set course for Colombo. (60)

4 Mar 1944
HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) arrived at Colombo from an A/S search of Trincomalee.

After fuelling they departed to make rendezvous with convoy KR 9 coming from Kilindini.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy KR 9 ' for 24 February 1944.] (60)

6 Mar 1944
Around 1800FG/6, HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee with the Trincomalee Section of convoy KR 9. (61)

19 Mar 1944

Operation Diplomat

On 19 March the light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNethN) departed Trincomalee to escort the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942) and Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942).

These tankers were to refuel the ships from the Eastern Fleet that were to participate in operation Diplomat. During operation Diplomat the Eastern Fleet proceeded to the south-west of Cocos Island where the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (T/Commodore. J.H. Cassady, USN) and the destroyers USS Cummings (T/Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (T/Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (T/Cdr. R.M. MacKinnon, USN).

Ships from the Eastern Fleet departed Trincomalee on 21 March, these were the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNethN).

The battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) departed Colombo on the same day. They made rendezvous with the other ships the following day.

On 24 March 1944, the Eastern Fleet met HrMs Tromp and the tankers at 0930 hours in position 07°57'S, 82°14'E and during the next three days they experienced good weather. Ships were fuelled as follows;

24 March 1944
Easedale - HMS Renown
Arndale - HMS Valiant and HMS Ceylon
Eaglesdale - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMNZS Gambia

25 March 1944
Easedale - HMS Quilliam, HMS Queenborough, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Quality and HMS Pathfinder
Arndale - HMS Illustrious and HrMs Tromp
Eaglesdale - HMS London, HMS Cumberland, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nepal and HMAS Norman

26 March 1944
Easedale - HMS Pathfinder, HrMs Van Galen, HMAS Quiberon and HMAS Norman
Eaglesdale - HMAS Napier, HMS Quilliam, HMS Queensborough, HMS Quality and HMAS Nepal

Tanker Arndale had been detached after fuelling on the 25th escorted by HrMS Tjerk Hiddes which was suffering from defects. The other two oilers were detached after fuelling on the 26th still escorted by HrMs Tromp.

HrMs Ceylon and HMS Napier arrived at Colombo on 31 March. All the other ships arrived at Trincomalee on the same day except HrMs Tromp which arrived at Trincomalee with the tankers on 2 April. (62)

27 Jul 1944
During 27/28 July 1944, the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee.

HMS Pathfinder returned to harbour during the night of 27/28 August. She rejoined the other two destroyers in the morning of the 28th.

During the afternoon of the 28th, A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Stratagem (Lt. C.R. Pelly, DSC, RN). (63)

1 Aug 1944
HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. Escort was provided by HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN). (64)

10 Aug 1944
The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). (65)

11 Aug 1944
The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). (65)

21 Aug 1944
Around 1745FG/21, HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises.

They first carried out night A/S exercises with HMS Storm (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.P. Young, DSC, RNVR). These were followed by day A/S exercises until 1000FG/22.

On completion of the A/S exercises, the destroyers carried out torpedo firing exercises before returning to harbour around 1330FG/22. (66)

23 Aug 1944
Around 0815FG/23, the battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux) departed Trincomalee for exercises. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HrMs Van Galen (Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN).

During the exercises the Richelieu acted as target for the submarines HMS Tantivy (Lt. P.S. May, RN) and HMS Stygian (Lt. G.S.C. Clarabut, DSO, RN).

At 1115FG/23, the Richelieu was ordered to return to harbour as a surfaced enemy submarine had been reported the tanker Oregon Trail (American, 10448 GRT, built 1943). The destroyers then proceeded on an A/S sweep of the area. It was later found out the position given by the Oregon Trail had been in error and the submarine in question had been HMS Tantiviy.

The destroyers returned to Trincomalee around 0800FG/24. (67)

25 Aug 1944
On 25 August 1944, the troopship Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936) departed Colombo for Melbourne. She was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and the frigate HMS Helford (Cdr. C.G. Cuthbertson, DSC, RNR).

On the same day the submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone (Capt. L.M. Shadwell, RN) and the escort carrier HMS Atheling (A/Cdr. H.L. Oliver, RN) departed Trincomalee for Fremantle and Mauritius respectively. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN).

HMAS Norman however soon returned to harbour after the destroyers HrMs Van Galen (Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), which had already been at sea, had joined.

These two groups made rendezvous around 1845FG(-6.5)/26. HMAS Quickmatch was then detached to return to Colombo.

At 0030FG/29, HMAS Nizam, HrMS Van Galen and HMS Pathfinder parted company. HMAS Nizam and HMS Pathfinder returned to Trincomalee while HrMs Van Galen proceeded to Colombo. They all arrived on 31 August 1944.

At 0045FG/29, HMS Atheling and HMS Helford parted company.

This left the Dunnottar Castle and HMS Maidstone proceeding towards Australia escorted by HMS Nigeria.

At 1330H/4, the Dunnottar Castle parted company to proceed to Melbourne.

HMS Maidstone and HMS Nigeria arrived at Fremantle around noon on the 5th.

31 Aug 1944
Around 1540FG/31, HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) returned to Trincomalee from escort duty. (60)

7 Sep 1944
Around 1100FG/2, the battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux) departed Trincomalee for Aden.

On departure from Aden she was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC and Bar, RAN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Sluijter, RNethN).

Around 1230FG/8, HrMs Tjerk Hiddes parted company and arrived at Colombo around 1630FG/8. The destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) had just joined having departed Colombo around 0700FG/8.

Around 0800C/14, Richelieu, HMAS Norman, HMS Pathfinder and HMAS Quickmatch arrived at Aden. The destroyers had fuelled from the battleship on the 10th. (68)

15 Sep 1944

Convoy ABF 4.

This convoy departed Aden around 1500C on 15 September 1944.

This convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports;
City of Chester (British, 8520 GRT, built 1944), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Sarmiento (British, 8335 GRT, built 1943), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937), Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935) and Umtata (British, 8141 GRT, built 1935).

On departure from Aden the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC and Bar, RAN), sloop HMIS Kistna (A/Capt. S.J. Thomson, RIN) and the frigates HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR), HMS Plym (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A. Foxall, RNR), HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR) and HMS Trent (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Rankin, DSC, RNR).

At 1715EF/18, the Sarmiento and Umtata were detached for Cochin and Trincomalee. They were escorted by HMAS Quickmatch.

Around 0730FG/20, ,HMAS Norman and HMS Pathfinder were detached to proceed ahead of the convoy to Bombay where they arrived around 1000FG/20.

The convoy arrived at Bombay around 1200FG/20.

25 Sep 1944

Convoy BM 101.

This convoy departed Bombay on 25 September 1944.

It was made up of the transports; Clan Campbell (British, 9545 GRT, built 1943) and Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913).

Escort was provided by the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Sluijter, RNethN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN).

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 28 September 1944.

HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes continued on to Trincomalee arriving there on 29 September 1944. (60)

18 Oct 1944
Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) to HMS Woolwich (Capt.(Retd.) W.B. Hynes, DSO, RN).

HMS Nigeria then conducted exercises off Trincomalee. In the afternoon she conducted a RIX (rangefinding and inclination) excercise with the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. M.C. Morris, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN).

On return to harbour Rear-Admiral Read re-hoisted his flag in HMS Nigeria. (69)

23 Oct 1944
In the afternoon of 23 October 1944, the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. M.C. Morris, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) took over the escort of the troopship Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936) from HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) which then set course to proceed to Addu Atoll. (70)

20 Nov 1944
HMS Porpoise (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, OBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee together with HMS Stygian (Lt. G.S.C. Clarabut, DSO, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). (71)

30 Nov 1944
HMS Clyde (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) ended her 29th war patrol (2nd in the Far East) at Trincomalee. She was escorted in by HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). (72)

5 Dec 1944
The light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Swiftsure (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.J.P. Brind, CBE, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. M.C. Morris, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) conducted underway refuelling exercises with the RFA tanker Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941).

On completion of this exercise HMS Swiftsure fired two practice torpedoes at the destroyer HMS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. C.E.R. Sharp, RN). (73)

8 Dec 1944
Around 1030FG/8, HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) departed Trincomalee to proceed to Durban, South Africa via Addu Atoll and Diego Suarez. She is escorted by HMAS Norman (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN) and HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. M.C. Morris, RN).

HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) was also supposed to have sailed with them but she was recalled before the harbour was cleared. (74)

19 Dec 1944
Around 1845FG/19, the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises off Ceylon. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN).

Around 1535FG/20, the destroyers HMS Undine (Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Urania (Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, DSC, RN) joined coming from Trincomalee which they had left around 0715FG/20.

Around 1610FG/20, the destroyer HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN) replaced HMS Roebuck in the destroyer screen. HMS Rotherham had left Trincomalee around 1350FG/20.

Around 1700FG/20, HMS Relentless and HMS Pathfinder parted company.

Around 1905FG/20, HMS Relentless, HMS Roebuck and HMS Pathfinder returned to Trincomalee.

HMS Indefatigable, HMS Rotherham, HMS Undine and HMS Urania arrived at Colombo around 1600FG/22. (75)

30 Dec 1944
Task Force 61, made up of the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) departed Trincomalee for Chittagong.

They were to be deployed as a bombarding force during the upcoming assault on Akyab. HMS Phoebe was to be deployed as fighter direction ship.

They arrived at Chittagong on 1 January 1945. (76)

3 Jan 1945
HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN) departed Chittagong to give support during the landings at Akyab, Burma.

They were not required for bombardment duties as the enemy had retreated from the area and were ordered to return to Trincomalee later the same day except for HMS Phoebe which returned to Chittagong to remain behind in the area for fighter direction duty if required.

The other ships arrived at Trincomalee on 5 January 1945. (77)

18 Jan 1945

Operation Matador.

Operation Matador was the assault on Ramree Island.

On 18 January 1945, the escort carrier HMS Ameer (A/Capt. J.H. Lewes, OBE, RN) departed Trincomalee for Ramree Island. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN).

Later the same day (around 1515FG/18) the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN) also departed Trincomalee for the operation. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN) and HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN). They were first to proceed to Akyab where they arrived on the 20th (around 1530FG/20).

On the 18th the sloop HMS Redpole (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN) and frigate HMS Spey (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR) departed Vizagapatam for the operation.

On 20 January the frigate HMS Teviot (Cdr.(Retd.) T. Taylor, DSC, RN) departed Vizagapatam to relieve HMS Redpole.

The landing took place on 21 January. Naval support was provided by the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, escort carrier HMS Ameer, light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN), HMAS Norman, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Raider, HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), sloops HMS Flamingo (Lt.Cdr. T.H.B. Pounds, RN), HMS Redpole, HMIS Kistna (A/Cdr. S.G. Karmarkar, RINR) and the frigates HMS Spey and later also HMS Teviot. Some of these ships had already been operating off the coast of Burma.

During the morning of 21 January, bombardments were carried out by the warships and air strikes were carried out by aircraft of HMS Ameer.

With her job done, HMS Queen Elizabeth departed the area for Trincomalee in the afternoon of the 21st. She was escorted by HMAS Napier and HMS Redpole. The other ships remained in the area to support the army if called upon and also for upcoming operations.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMAS Napier arrived at Trincomalee on 24 January. HMS Redpole did not enter and went on to Colombo. HMAS Napier also left Trincomalee for Colombo later on the 24th.

The other ships had returned ot Akyab. (78)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17283
  2. File 2.12.03.6389 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. ADM 53/116350 + File 2.12.03.6389 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 53/116592
  5. ADM 53/116350 + ADM 53/116592 + ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429
  6. ADM 199/1211
  7. ADM 53/116593
  8. ADM 53/116594
  9. ADM 53/116352 + ADM 53/116594
  10. ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
  11. ADM 53/116451 + ADM 53/116660 + ADM 199/662
  12. ADM 53/116451 + ADM 53/116660
  13. ADM 53/116470 + ADM 53/116471
  14. ADM 199/662
  15. ADM 199/652
  16. ADM 199/904
  17. ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561 + War diary (KTB) of U-375 from 30 September 1942 to 23 December 1942 (NARA, T 1022, roll 2892, PG 30437)
  18. ADM 199/652 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for December 1942
  19. Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for December 1942
  20. ADM 199/637
  21. ADM 173/18142
  22. ADM 53/117549 + ADM 53/117550 + ADM 53/117652 + ADM 53/117653 + ADM 53/118426 + ADM 53/118427 + ADM 199/767
  23. ADM 173/18389
  24. ADM 53/117396
  25. ADM 53/118262
  26. ADM 53/117397
  27. ADM 53/117552
  28. ADM 53/117014 + ADM 53/117576 + ADM 53/117670 + ADM 53/117839 + ADM 53/118252 + ADM 53/118480 + ADM 53/118629 + ADM 53/118673 + ADM 53/118714
  29. ADM 53/117670 + ADM 53/118252 + ADM 118480 + ADM 118673 + ADM 118714
  30. ADM 53/117635 + ADM 53/117719 + ADM 199/640
  31. ADM 53/117635 + ADM 53/117719 + ADM 199/640 + ADM 234/356
  32. ADM 53/117653 + ADM 53/117719 + ADM 199/640
  33. ADM 173/18104
  34. ADM 53/117377 + ADM 53/117493 + ADM 53/117635 + ADM 53/117671 + ADM 53/117719 + ADM 199/641
  35. ADM 53/117377 + ADM 53/117378 + ADM 53/117493 + ADM 53/117494 + ADM 53/118557 + ADM 199/641
  36. ADM 53/116992 + ADM 53/117378 + ADM 53/118342 + ADM 234/356
  37. ADM 53/117637 + ADM 53/117721 + ADM 199/641
  38. ADM 53/117721 + ADM 199/641
  39. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 199/641
  40. ADM 53/118676 + ADM 53/118717 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 234/358
  41. ADM 234/358
  42. ADM 53/118677 + ADM 199/641
  43. ADM 53/116994 + ADM 53/117380 + ADM 53/118344 + ADM 53/118559 + ADM 199/774
  44. ADM 53/118370 + ADM 199/774
  45. ADM 53/118345
  46. ADM 53/117057
  47. ADM 53/117845 + ADM 53/118346 + ADM 199/774
  48. ADM 53/118371 + ADM 199/774
  49. ADM 53/119575 + ADM 53/120303 + ADM 53/120374 + ADM 53/120663 + ADM 53/120675
  50. ADM 53/119328 + ADM 53/119575 + ADM 53/120303 + ADM 53/120374 + ADM 53/120675
  51. ADM 53/119575 + ADM 53/120303 + ADM 53/120675
  52. ADM 199/1869
  53. File 2.12.03.6853 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  54. ADM 53/119576 + ADM 53/120764 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for January 1944
  55. Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for February 1944
  56. ADM 53/120304 + ADM 53/120676
  57. Report of proceedings of HMAS Norman for February 1944
  58. ADM 53/119111
  59. ADM 53/120471 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Norman for February 1944
  60. ADM 199/1388
  61. ADM 53/120765 + ADM 199/1388
  62. Files 2.12.03.6853, 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and ADM 199/1388
  63. Report of proceedings of HMAS Norman for July 1944
  64. ADM 53/119613
  65. ADM 53/120695 + ADM 53/120770
  66. Report of proceedings of HMAS Norman for August 1944
  67. Report of proceedings of HMAS Norman for August 1944 + File 2.12.03.1618 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  68. ADM 199/1388 + File 2.12.03.2101 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  69. ADM 53/120169
  70. ADM 53/119651
  71. ADM 173/18594
  72. ADM 199/1877
  73. ADM 53/120171 + ADM 53/120605
  74. ADM 53/120385
  75. ADM 53/119607 + ADM 53/120774
  76. ADM 53/120147 + ADM 53/120171 + ADM 53/120244 + ADM 53/121893 + ADM 53/121917 + ADM 53/121978 + ADM 199/1388
  77. ADM 53/121893 + ADM 53/121917 + ADM 53/121978 + ADM 199/1457
  78. ADM 53/120821 + ADM 53/121978 + ADM 53/122068 + ADM 199/1457

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


Return to the Allied Warships section



As an Amazon Associate uboat.net earns a commission from qualifying purchases.