Allied Warships

HMS Relentless (H 85)

Destroyer of the R class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassR 
PennantH 85 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
OrderedMay 1940 
Laid down20 Jun 1941 
Launched15 Jul 1942 
Commissioned30 Nov 1942 
End service 
History

Reconstructed as Type 15 frigate during 1949-1951.

Scrapped in 1971.

 

Commands listed for HMS Relentless (H 85)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Augustus Fell, RN19 Oct 194218 Sep 1944
2Lt.Cdr. George Baillie Barstow, RN18 Sep 194428 Nov 1945

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Notable events involving Relentless include:


24 Nov 1942
Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) conducted D/G trials on the D/G range at Holy Loch. (1)

16 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). (2)

17 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). (2)

19 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) (2)

22 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN). (2)

23 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and RHS Adrias. (2)

24 Jan 1943

Combined convoy WS 26 / KMF 8.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 24 January 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 26 and KMF 8 at sea on 29 January 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Chyebassa (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Dempo (British, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empire Pride (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Rembrandt (Dutch, 8126 GRT, built 1941), Ruys (British, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Sibajak (British, 12226 GRT, built 1927), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tiwali (British, 8178 GRT, built 1931) and Volendam (British, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, RN) was also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN), HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Scott, RN), destroyers HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR), escort destroyers RHS Adrias, RHS Miaoulis, sloops HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN), Savorgnan de Brazza, cutters HMS Banff (Lt. P. Brett, RNR), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and the frigate HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RN).

On 25 January 1943 the destroyer HMS Clare parted company to return to Londonderry. The escort destroyer RHS Miaoulis had lost touch with the convoy during the night of 24/25 January 1943. She was unable to regain touch and was also ordered to return to Londonderry. Her sister ship RHS Adrias had also lost touch but apparently was able to regain contact.

Around 1730A/26, the Antenor parted company with defects to return to the Clyde. It appears that she was escorted back to the Clyde by the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza.

Around 1630A/29, the convoy split into two parts.

Convoy KMF 8 continued on towards the Mediterranean and was made up of the transports Circassia, Duchess of York, Dunnottar Castle, Empire Pride, Letitia, Samaria, Strathnaver, Tawali and the aircraft carrier HMS Argus. They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Banff, HMS Fishguard and HMS Test.

Around 1630A/30, HMS Argus and the transport Letitia parted company with convoy KMF 8 to proceed to Gibraltar. They entered Gibraltar Bay around 0330A/31. Presumably they were escorted by the frigate HMS Test which also arrived at Gibraltar on this day.

On 31 January the destroyer HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) and sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN) joined convoy KMF 8 having departed Gibraltar on 30 January.

Later on 31 January the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Alberni (Lt. I.H. Bell, RCNVR), HMCS Baddeck (T/Lt. J. Brock, RCNVR), HMCS Lunenburg (T/Lt. W.E. Harrison, RCNVR), HMCS Port Arthur (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.T. Simmons, DSC, RCNVR) and HMCS Summerside (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F.O. Gerity, RCNR) joined the escort of convoy KMF 8. They had departed Mers-el-Kebir earlier on 31 January. On the joining of HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout, HMS Verity was detached to join convoy GUF 4 as was the corvette HMCS Port Arthur.

The transport Strathnaver was detached to proceed to Oran escorted by HMCS Alberni, HMCS Baddeck, HMCS Luneburg and HMCS Summerside.

The remainder of convoy KMF 8 arrived at Algiers on 1 February escorted by HMS Laforey, HMS Lookout, HMS Egret, HMS Enchantress, HMS Banff and HMS Fishguard.

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When the convoys split up, WS 26 continued on to Freetown. It was made up of the transports . They were escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, destroyers HMS Quadrant, HMS Relentless and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

On 31 January, the repair ship HMS Wayland (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.S. Carson, RN) and the transport Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) escorted by the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) joined. They had departed Gibraltar on 29 January. Also on 31 January the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) joined. They had departed Gibraltar on 30 January.

The destroyers HMS Quadrant, HMS Relentless and escort destroyer RHS Adrias parted company on 31 January to fuel at Casablanca from where they departed again on 1 February to rejoin the convoy.

On 4 February the transport Leopoldville parted company with the convoy escorted by the destroyer HMS Redoubt. They arrived at Bathurst on 5 February.

Convoy WS 26 arrived at Freetown on 6 February 1943 escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, destroyers HMS Quality, HMS Quadrant HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch, HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

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Convoy WS 26 departed Freetown on 9 February for South Africa. It was made up of the transports Arundel Castle, California, Chyebassa, Dempo, Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Dominion Monarch, Duchess of Richmond, Empress of Canada, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Mooltan, Orduna, Rembrandt, Ruys, Sibajak, Stratheden, Volendam and the repair ship HMS Wayland.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, armed boarding vessel Corinthian, destroyers HMS Quality, HMS Quiberon, HMS Quickmatch, HMS Racehorse and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

On 12 February HMS Corinthian and RHS Adrias parted company with the convoy.

At 1145AB(-1.5)/13, the destroyer HMS Relentless joined the convoy coming from Lagos having departed there on 12 February immediately after being undocked.

Also on the 13th the corvette FFS Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves joined the convoy escort.

In the morning and early afternoon of the 14th, HMS Racehorse and HMAS Quickmatch fuelled from HMS Canton.

On the 15th the destroyers HMS Quality and HMAS Quiberon arrived at Porte Noire to fuel. After doing so they departed again to rejoin the convoy. Also on the 15th the Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves fuelled from HMS Canton.

Around 2215O/20, the escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) joined the convoy coming from Saldanha Bay.

On 22 February the Capetown section of the convoy, made up of Arundel Castle, California, Cheyebassa, Duchess of Richmond, Highland Chieftain, Orduna, Ruys, Sibajak and HMS Wayland arrived there with part of the escort, some of which then went to Simonstown.

The light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) joined the Durban section as did the corvette HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR). This corvette was later detached and arrived at Port Elizabeth on 24 February.

The remaining ships proceeded to Durban arriving there on 25 February escorted by HMS Ceres, HMS Cicilia, HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch and HMS Racehorse.

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On 26 February 1943 the Capetown section departed there to proceed towards Durban. It was now made up of the transports Arundel Castle, California, Cheybassa, Highland Chieftain, Orduna and HMS Wayland. The convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Canton, destroyer HMS Relentless and the escort destroyers HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Blackmore.

At 0115C/1, HMS Relentless was detached to proceed ahead to Durban to fuel.

On completion of fuelling she returned from Durban together with the corvette HMS Freesia (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.A. Cherry, RNR), and the minesweepers HMIS Carnatic (Lt. H.J.D. Hamilton, RIN) and Commandant Duboc.

Meanwhile the corvette HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR) had also joined the convoy escort.

HMS Blackmore and HMS Catterick also went to Durban to fuel. They returned later together with the light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN) and HMS Ceres.

HMS Canton parted company with the convoy and entered Durban.

Transports that joined coming from Durban were the City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922), Dempo, Dilwara, Dominion Monarch, Lancashire (British, 9445 GRT, built 1917), Maloja, Mooltan, Rembrandt, Selandia (South African, 8482 GRT, built 1938) and Stratheden. The repair ship HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN) also joined the convoy. The Dilwara however returned to Durban with defects shortly after sailing.

Around 1830C/3, HMS Jasmine and HMS Freesia parted company.

Around 0530C/4, HMS Relentless, HMS Blackmore and HMS Catterick parted company.

Around 1500D/6, the Lancashire was detached to Tamatave escorted by the Commandant Duboc.

Around 0300C/8, HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy to proceed to Diego Suarez.

Around 0800CD(-3.5)/9, HMS Resource was detached from the convoy to proceed to Kilindini escorted by HMS Birmingham. The heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) had joined just before.

Around 1200D/10, the heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0700D/11, the convoy split up into the Aden section and the Bombay section.

The Aden section was made up of the Arundel Castle, City of Paris, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Orduna, Rembrandt and Selandia. They were escorted by HMS Frobisher. They arrived off Aden on 15 March 1943 where the convoy was dispersed.

The Bombay section was made up of the California, Chyebassa, Dempo, Dominion Monarch, Mooltan and Stratheden. They were escorted by HMS Hawkins. They arrived at Bombay on 17 March 1943.

16 Mar 1943

Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 March 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 28 and KMS 11 at sea on 21 March 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Brittanic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

Also the naval auxiliaries HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) were part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the following escorts were with the convoy; sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN, with the S.O. 2nd Escort Group on board, Capt. F.J. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz, ORP).

On 21 March the convoy split up into two sections, KMF 11, made up of Banfora, Cuba, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Ormonde, Orion, Nea Hellas, Rangitata, Windsor Castle and HMS Ulster Monarch proceeded to Algiers where it arrived on 23 March 1943 escorted by the original escort minus HMS Douglas which put into Gibraltar on 22 March with damage to her port propeller. After inspection it was apparent that she was able to continue but she was not to exceed 22 knots so it was decided that she could rejoin the convoy. All five escort destroyers also put into Gibraltar to fuel but departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy. HMS Ulster Monarch also put into Gibraltar.

At 0254/23, the Windsor Castle was torpedoed by a German He.111 from I/KG 26 in position 37°28'N, 01°10'E. The passengers (troops) were taken off by HMS Wren, HMS Eggesford and HMS Whaddon. The last two ships reported to be dangerously overloaded with survivors.

Three tugs were sailed to go to the damaged ship assistance, Salvestor from Algiers, Hengist from Gibraltar and Restive from Oran.

Also the destroyer HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), which were on A/S patrol off Algiers were ordered to proceed to the convoy. Also the destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) were ordered to do the same sailing from Oran.

At 1027/3, it was reported that Windsor Castle was abandoned and slowly sinking and the HMS Loyal had taken off the crew. HMS Whaddon and HMS Eggesford were proceeding to Algiers covered by HMS Douglas.

At 1621/3, Windsor Castle was still afloat and HMS Farndale was ettempting to take her in tow. The ship however sank suddenly at 1724/3. HMS Eskimo, HMS Loyal, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, Hengist and Restive then proceeded to Oran while HMS Lamerton and Salvestor proceeded to Algiers.

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WS 28, made up of Brittanic, Duchess of Bedford, Empire Might, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Tegelberg, Waipawa, Winchester Castle, HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and HMS Largs.

To escort these ships the destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) and HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) sailed from Casablanca on 20 March and the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) sailed from Gibraltar also on 20 March. They joined the convoy in the morning of March 21st after which the convoy split up.

Another destroyer, HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), departed Gibraltar on 21 March and she joined the convoy later the same day.

On 22 March the transport Empire Might reported a fire in her stokehold rendering her immobile. She was then towed to Dakar by HMS Ashanti.

The remainder of convoy WS 28 arrived at Freetown on 27 March 1943.

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Convoy WS 28 departed Freetown for South Africa on 30 March 1943.

The composition of the convoy was the same on departed as in which it had arrived at Freetown three days earlier.

Escort was provided on departure from Freetown by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), destroyers HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Quadrant, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine.

At 2359Z/30, HMS Ulster Monarch overtook and joined the convoy coming from Freetown.

At 0600A/4, HMS Redoubt and HMS Quadrant parted company with the convoy to refuel at Pointe Noire. They rejoined the convoy at 1212B/5.

At 1300B/5, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine were detached.

At 1420B/5, HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined the escort.

On the 11th the convoy split up, Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Monarch of Bermuda, Tegelberg, Waipawa and Winchester Castle went to Capetown apparently escorted by HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Largs and HMS Ulster Monarch went to Simonstown, as did HMS Kenya and HMS Quadrant and HMS Racehorce.

The destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the remainder of the convoy (Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, HMS Bulolo and HMS Keren) which arrived at Durban on 14 April 1943.

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On 15 April the 'Capetown section' of the convoy departed from there, it was made up of the same ships as that had arrived at Capetown but apparently without the Britannic. HMS Largs joined the convoy off Simonstown. Escort was provided by HMS Kenya, HMS Quadrant, HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless.

Around noon on the 18th the 'Capetown section' joined up with the 'Durban section' which had departed from there escorted by HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) which also joined the convoy as escorts. HMS Quadrant parted company and proceeded to Durban.

At 2000C/20, the destroyers parted company to return to Aden.

At 1015D/24, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) and HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. They had sailed from Kilindini on 22 April. HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy at noon and set course for Kilindini where she arrived on 25 April to join the Eastern Fleet.

At 2300D/27, HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy following which she proceeded to Bombay where she arrived on 1 May 1943.

On 30 April 1943 the convoy was dispersed off Aden. HMS Canton arrived at Aden later on the same day.

16 Apr 1943

Combined convoy WS 29 / KMS 13.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 April 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 29 and KMS 13 at sea on 20 April 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Empira Kamal (British, 7862 GRT, built 1938), Empire Prime (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Gloucester (British, 8532 GRT, built 1941), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Índrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Pardo (British, 5400 GRT, built 1940), Silverwalnut (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Straat Malakka (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939) and Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921).

When the convoy was formed up off Oversay the escort for the combined convoy was made up of the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN), escort destroyer HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), cutters HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

Around 1530B/18, the light (AA) cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined the convoy having sailed from Plymouth around 1415B/17. She parted company with the convoy after dark on the 20th.

Around 1600A/20, HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to fuel at Casablanca.

Around 2100A/20, the Nea Hellas parted company to proceed to New York unescorted. Also around the same time HMS Charybdis parted company to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived the following day.

Around 1030A/21, the destroyer HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) and HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) joined coming from Casablanca. The combined convoy then split up.

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Convoy KMF 13, made up of the Banfora, Boissevai, Cuba, Duchess of York, Dunnottar Castle, Empire Pride, Franconia, Indrapoera, Nieuw Holland, Ormonde and Staffordshire escorted by HMS Weston, HMS Wellington, HMS Gorleston, HMS Totland, HMS Exe and HMS Ness set course to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar. All the merchant vessels were to proceed to Algiers, except the Dunnottar Castle which was to proceed to Gibraltar and the Boissevain and Nieuw Holland which were to proceed to Oran.

On 22 April the escort destroyer HMS Atherstone (Lt. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) joined the convoy off Gibraltar.

Also the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Algiers on 23 April 1943.

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Convoy WS 29, made up of the Athlone Castle, City of Edinburgh, Empire Kamal, Gloucester, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Highland Princess, Orion, Pardo, Silverwalnut, Straat Malakka and Troilus escorted by HMS Newcastle, HMS Venomous, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Lauderdale.

At 2020A/21, HMS Rapid rejoined from fuelling at Casablanca. HMS Venomous and HMS Lauderdale were then detached to proceed to Gibraltar.

On 24 April the Gloucester was detached.

On 26 April the transport China Mail (American, 8616 GRT, built 1942) joined coming from Dakar.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 28 April 1943.

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Convoy WS 29 departed Freetown for South Africa on 5 May 1943, it was now made up of the transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Athlone Castle, City of Edinburgh, Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Empire Kamal, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Highland Princess, Orion, Pardo, Silverwalnut, Straat Malakka and Troilus.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Newcastle, destroyers HMS Rapid, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Lewes (Lt.Cdr. M.V. Thorburn, DSC, RNVR) and the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza.

At 0930Z/6, Savorgnan de Brazza was detached.

At 1800Z/7, the City of Edinburgh, Highland Princess and Troilus split off from the convoy to proceed to Takoradi. The destroyers HMS Boreas and HMS Witch were their escorts.

At 2359B/11, HMS Rapid, HMS Malcolm and HMS Wolverine, were detached at 2359B/11 to Pointe Noire.

At 0700B/12, the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) joined coming from Pointe Noire.

In the afternoon of the 12th HMS Lewes fuelled from HMS Newcastle.

HMS Lewes was again fuelled by HMS Newcastle in the afternoon of the 14th.

In the afternoon of the 15th, HMS Relentless fuelled from HMS Newcastle.

On the 16th the Capetown section of the convoy split off, it was made up of the Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Empire Kamal, Pardo and Silverwalnut. They were escorted by HMS Newcastle, HMS Rotherham and HMS Lewes. They arrived at Capetown on the 17th. HMS Lewes then proceeded to Simonstown arriving there on the 18th.

The remaining ships, Aorangi, Clan Lamont, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Orion and Straat Malakka made up the Durban section. They were escorted by HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN). This last destroyer having joined on the 16th coming from Salanha Bay. HMS Racehorse and HMS Relentless were relieved on the 18th by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) which had departed Simonstown at 0815B/18. HMS Racehorse and HMS Relentless then proceeded to Capetown arriving later on the 18th. The Durban section of the convoy arrived there on 21 May 1943.

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On 22 May 1943, the Capetown section of convoy WS 29 departed there, it was now made up of the following transports; Alcoa Pioneer, (American, 6761 GRT, built 1941), Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Empire Kamal, Llanstephan Castle (British, 11348 GRT, built 1914), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Pardo and Silverwalnut. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and HMS Rotherham.

On 25 May 1943, HMS Racehorse arrived at Durban to fuel.

On 25 May 1943, the Durban section of the convoy departed there, it was now made up of the following transports; Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Clan Lamont, Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Selandia (South African, 8482 GRT, built 1938), Straat Malakka, Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935). They were escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman, Quadrant, HMS Racehorse and Redoubt. The Silverwalnut had to return to Durban due to defects.

The Capetown and the Durban section made rendezvous on 26 May and then merged minus the transports Empire Kamal and Llanstephan Castle which proceeded to Durban escorted by HMS Relentless and HMS Rotherham. They arrived at Durban on 26 May 1943. HMS Racehorse joined the three destroyers that came with the Durban section.

Around 1700C/27, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) which had departed Durban at 1645C/26 to overtake the convoy.

At 1650C/28, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy.

At 2359C/28, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt parted company.

At 1100C/29, HMS Racehorse parted company.

At 0810D/2, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy.

At 1300D/2, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini where she arrived around 1700C/4.

At 0800D/3, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy.

At 1230D/5, the convoy was split up in the Aden section and the Bombay section.

The Aden section was made up of; Alcoa Pioneer, Bergensfjord, Clan Lamond, Leopoldville, Pardo, Ruys and Selandia. It was escorted by HMS Chitral and arrived at Aden on 8 June 1943.

The Bombay section was made up of; Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Orbita, Straat Malakka, Strathaird and Strathmore. It was escorted by HMS Alaunia and arrived at Bombay on 10 June 1943, minus the Straat Malakka which had been detached on 9 June 1943 for Karachi where she also arrived on 10 June 1943.

18 Jun 1943
Around 1040C/18, the battleships HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), on passage from Kilindini to Durban, and HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), on passage from Durban to Kilindini, made rendezvous.

HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) then joined HMS Resolution and HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) while HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined HMS Revenge and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN). (3)

20 Jun 1943
The battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) arrived at Durban.

HMS Revenge was then taken in hand for a short refit at the Durban Dockyard. (4)

24 Jun 1943

Operation Player.

Attempt to intercept the German supply tanker Charlotte Schliemann.

On 24 June 1943, the Admiralty suspected that a German surface ship was in position 31°00'S, 45°00'E to supply German submarines. A cruiser was to search the area.

HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) was ordered to leave Durban which she did at 1151Z/24. She had been preceeded by the destroyers HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) which had sailed at 0920Z/24.

An continuous air search was arranged near position 'A' (31°00'S, 45°00'E) with Catalina aircraft from first light on 25 June until dark on 26 June with instructions to locate and shadow the suspected supply ship, but not to attack it. Submarines were to be attacked though.

HMS Suffolk and the destroyers were instructed to adjust speed to pass through position 'A' at 2200Z/25 and to arrive in position 'R' (30°40'S, 47°18'E) at 0400Z/26 and to carry out a daylight search of an area to the northward of a line drawn 081° from position 'R' for a distance of 140 nautical miles, returning through the area to the southward of this line.

Two Catalina aircraft were to rendezvous with HMS Suffolk in position 'R' to search during daylight an area 60 miles on either side of the line for a distance of 160 nautical miles from position 'R'.

It was considered that should the search on the 26th prove unfruitful the enemy might be to the southward or westward of the area already searched (near position 'A') so the following course of action was determined.

On completion of the search HMS Suffolk, HMS Relentless and HMAS Nizam were to carry out a sweep to the southward as far as position 'B' (40°00'S, 49°00'E) and then back again. HMS Suffolk was to fuel both destroyers. HMAS Nizam, whose endurance was much less then the one of HMS Relentless was to be detached after the daylight search on the 28th.

It was assumed that Suffolk's endurance would allow her to remain at sea until 2 July 1943 and it was decided therefore that the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) should sail from Kilindini on 27 June to relieve HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless. In order to have fuel as near as possible to the scene of operations the chartered tanker British Ambassador (6940 GRT, built 1924) was ordered to proceed from Diego Suarez to Tulear at best speed.

On the search near position 'A' by surface forces and Catalina aircraft during daylight hours of the 26th having drawn blank, HMS Suffolk, HMS Relentless and HMAS Nizam proceeded to the southward. HMS Suffolk fuelled both destroyers during the afternoon.

At 0715Z/27, HMS Suffolk hit a whale damaging her Asdic dome.

The lack of success in searches carried out by air and surface forces to the southward of Madagascar as far as 40°S, and the improbability of a fuelling operation taking place further to the westward, closer to the African coast, made it possible that an area further to the eastward was being used by the enemy if such an operation was in progress. Air searches of area 'A' could be maintained from Tulear and as it was important that the area to the eastward should be searched with the least possible delay it was decided that HMS Suffolk, HMS Relentless and HMAS Nizam should continue their daylight sweep in the vicinity of position 'B', but should this be unsuccessful, HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless should carry out a sweep to the northeastward through position 'C' (30°00'S, 60°00'E) to prudent limit of endurance, refueling HMS Relentless at sea by HMS Suffolk if this was possible, otherwise detaching her to fuel at Mauritius. This course of action would keep HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless within reasonable distance of area 'A' on the 28th until a.m. on the 30th should enemy forces by sighted by the air reconnaissance Catalina's from Tulear.

At 1800C/27, HMS Newcastle and HMS Racehorse were sailed from Kilindini to arrive at Tulear at 1400C/30 to fuel and thence to arrive in area 'A' at daylight on 2 July. The intention being that they should search area 'A' during daylight on 2 July and act as a striking force should the enemy be sighted by our aircraft. During the night of 2/3 July withdraw to the eastward to be clear of submarine making the area from the African coast and to allow speed to be reduced to conserve fuel.

On the 28th, the daylight sweep in area 'B' proved fruitless and after dark HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless proceeded towards position 'C'. HMAS Nizam was ordered to return to Durban where she arrived at 0737Z on 1 July.

An air search by Catalina aircraft in area 'A' again produced no results and the weather in the area showed signs of deteriorating.

On the 29th it was decided that, in view of the continued lack of sighting reports from Catalina aircraft in area 'A' and of success from surface search near position 'B', to amend the previous intentions as follows: HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless were ordered to continue searching the vicinity of position 'C' until the limit of their endurance which was anticipated to be on 2 or 3 July and then proceed to Mauritius to fuel.

HMS Newcastle and HMS Relentless were ordered to search near position 'B' until the limit of their endurance and then proceed to Tulear to fuel.

Two Catalina's to continue daylight searches of area 'A'. This disposition of forces ensured that all three suspected enemy fuelling points were covered.

Late on the 29th a signal was received from HMS Suffolk that she and HMS Relentless had to leave patrol area 'C' on 30 June in order to arrive at Mauritius with 18% fuel remaining.

In order to access the likelihood of an enemy supply ship operating in the vicinity of position 'B', HMAS Nizam, who was now approaching Durban, was ordered to sent a weather report of the conditions she had experienced. From the reply that she sent it could be made up that the conditions in that area were unfavourable to refuel submarines.

At 0300Z/30, a signal was received from the C-in-C, South Atlantic that a reliable D/F fix of a German submarine had been obtained in position 29°00'S, 50°00'E.

In view of the unfavourable weather conditions reported by HMAS Nizam and the D/F fix of this German submarine, it was considered that fuelling was inlikely to be in progress in the southern area. The continued lack of sighting reports from area 'A' made this area also improbable.

It was decided therefore that HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless should continue to search near position 'C' until p.m. 1 july in order to intercept an emeny supply ship which might be returning to the eastward, and that HMS Newcastle and HMS Racehorse after fuelling at Tulear should proceed towards position 'C' to arrive at daylight on 3 July. This would allow ships to proceed at moderate speed to conserve fuel for future operations.

Two long range Catalina's were ordered to leave Mombasa for Mauritius on the 1st and 3rd respectively, and two Catalina's from Tulear should carry out a daylight search in the vicinity of position 'C' on 2 July on which date HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless would be on passage to Mauritius and HMS Newcastle and HMS Racehorse still some 300 nautical miles to the westward of position 'C'.

It was also decided to maintain a reduced daylight search in area 'A' with only one Catalina.

By this time the search over a wide area to the south and east of Madagascar having drawn blank ot was appreciated that fuelling of the German submarines might have been concluded and the supply ship withdrawn from the area.

The discontinuation of Operation Player was ordered by the Admiralty during the night of 30 June / 1 July and HMS Newcastle and HMS Racehorse were ordered to return to Kilindini. HMS Suffolk and HMS Relentless were ordered to continue their passage to Mauritius to fuel after which HMS Suffolk was to proceed to Kilindini and HMS Relentless was to return to Durban. (5)

19 Jul 1943

Combined convoy WS 32 / KMF 20.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 19 July 1943.

On assembly the convoy was made up of the following transports; Chyebassa (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), City of Bristol (British, 8424 GRT, built 1943), Copacabana (Belgian, 7340 GRT, built 1938), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Esperance Bay (British, 14204 GRT, built 1922), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Rangitata (British,16737 GRT, built 1929), Rembrandt (British, 5559 GRT, built 1941), Rochester Castle (British, 7795 GRT, built 1937), Rowallan Castle (British, 7798 GRT, built 1939) and Volendam (Dutch, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), sloops HMS Egret (Lt. G.H. Cook, RN), HMS Pelican (Capt. G.N. Brewer, RN) and the frigates HMS Derg (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.W. Cooper, RNR), HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO, RD, RNR), Kale (HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSO, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR) and HMS Wear (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR).

On 21 July 1943 the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) departed Plymouth to join the convoy which she did early in the evening off 22 July.

The convoy split up at 2000B/25.

Convoy KMF 20, continued on to the Mediterranean. It was made up of the following transports; Cheyebassa, City of Bristol, Dempo, Highland Princess, Mooltan, Orion, Rembrandt and Volendam.

They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Pelican, HMS Jed, HMS Rother and HMS Wear.

At 1000B/26, HMS Charybdis parted company and proceeded ahead to Gibraltar arriving there around 2000B/26.

The convoy passed the straits of Gibraltar during the night of 27/28 July. HMS Pelican was detached and arrived at Gibraltar on 27 July.

The transports Dempo, Highland Princess, Mooltan, Orion and Volendam arrived at Algiers on 28 July 1943 escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Jed, HMS Rother and HMS Wear.

Cheyebassa, City of Bristol and Rembrandt continued on the the eastwards towards Malta as convoy KMF 20A. They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Jed and HMS Rother which, most likely, had fuelled at Algiers.

On 30 July 1943, HMS Egret, HMS Jed and HMS Rother arrived at Malta. Their escort duties taking over by the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) which had departed Malta earlier on 30 July.

The three ships of the convoy joined convoy GTX 4 on 31 July following which HMS Ilex and HMS Intrepid returned to Malta arriving on 1 August.

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Convoy WS 32 continued on towards Freetown. It was made up of the following transports; Copacabana, Esperance Bay, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Moreton Bay, Rangitata, Rochester Castle and Rowallan Castle.

They were escorted by the destroyer Beagle and the frigates HMS Derg, HMS Kale and HMS Tay. These were joined by the destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the frigate HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 28 July 1943.

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Convoy WS 32 departed Freetown for South Africa on 5 August 1943.

It was now made up of the transports; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Esperance Bay, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Moreton Bay, Rangitata and Rochester Castle.

On 8 August 1943 the transport Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922) joined the convoy coming from Takoradi. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Wolverine (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) which also joined the convoy.

On 9 August 1943, the transports Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922) joined the convoy coming from Lagos.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Beagle, HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN), HMS Douglas and the frigates HMS Derg, HMS Kale and HMS Tay.

On 12 August 1943, HMS Beagle, HMS Bulldog, HMS Douglas and HMS Wolverine parted company after having been relieved by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

The convoy arrived at Capetown in 18 August 1943.

It sailed again the following day, minus the Rochester Castle for Durban where it arrived on 22 August 1943. They had been escorted by HMAS Norman, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Rapid and HMS Relentless.

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On 28 August 1943 convoy WS 32 departed Durban for Bombay. It was now made up of the transports Britannic, Largs Bay, Maloja, Strothmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935) and Tamaroa.

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Norman, HMAS Quiberon and HMS Rapid.

On 3 September 1943, the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN) took over from HMS Hawkins and the three destroyers which then proceeded to Kilindini where they arrived the following fdat after having participated in night exercises.

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 10 September minus the Strathmore which had been detached to Aden on 6 September.

28 Jul 1943
The battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN) departed Durban for Capetown. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN).

Both battleships had been ordered to return to the U.K. to be decommissioned from active service and serve as training ships. (6)

31 Jul 1943
HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) arrived at Capetown from Durban. (7)

4 Aug 1943
The battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN) and the transports Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924) and Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939) departed Capetown for the Congo River estuary. They were escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN).

They were to pass through the following positions;
A) 33°13'S, 17°37'E,
B) 28°30'S, 14°30'E,
C) 17°15'S, 10°30'E,
D) 10°00'S, 11°00'E.
(8)

11 Aug 1943
The battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), transports Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939) and the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) arrived in the Congo River Estuary. (9)

22 Sep 1943
HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) picks up 34 survivors of the American merchant Cornelia P. Spencer that was torpedoed and sunk the previous day by German U-boat U-188 about 300 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia in position 02°08'N, 50°10'E.

8 Feb 1944

Operation Canned.

Attempt to intercept the German supply tanker Charlotte Schliemann.

At 0200Z/8, the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) departed from Mauritius to attempt to intercept a German supply vessel to the east / east-south-east of Madagascar.

It had been decided to concentrate the search in three likely areas;
Area A, near position 23°00'S, 73°00'E.
Area B, near position 23°00'S, 65°00'E.
Area C, near position 31°00'S, 63°00'E.

HMS Relentless was ordered to patrol in area 'A' and HMS Newfoundland in area 'C'. Area 'B' which was the closest to Mauritius and therefore the least likely to be used by the enemy, was covered by aircraft. Areas A and C were also searched by aircraft.

Bad weather conditions hampered the operation. At the time of the surface ships departure from Mauritius a cyclone of moderate intensity was to the north-north-west of Mauritius and was moving slowly south-east.

Both ships arrived in their patrol areas on 10 February 1944 and then conducted sweeps across their areas. No air searches were flown on 9 and 10 February due to the weather conditions. HMS Relentless encountered better weather conditions the further she proceeded to the eastward. HMS Newcastle experienced fairly heavy weather until late on the 11th.

In the evening of the 10th the Commanding Officer of the Royal Air Force decided, as only two aircraft were servicable, to only search area 'C' and cancel the search area 'A' where the weather was still bad.

A Catalina reported a tanker with a surfaced submarine nearby in position 22°48'S, 73°05'E at 1055Z/11. The aircraft at first was not sighted but around 1115Z/11, the submarine, which was U-532, was now almost alongside the tanker was seen to dive.

At 1210Z/11, the aircraft reported the tankers new position, course 142° and speed 6 knots and then returned to base. HMS Relentless was meanwhile proceeding towards the first sighting position at 30 knots. Course was now adjusted according to the new position.

By 1720Z/11, the enemy's furthest on position on the reported course had been covered for speeds between 6 and 12 knots. A search was then started .

At 1925Z/11, a radar contact was obtained and three minutes later the tanker was sighted. She was recognised in the moonlight, it was the Charlotte Schliemann.

HMS Relentless kept on closing up moon and at 2015Z/11, fired eight torpedoes from 2000 yards. Two or three hits were obtained. Fire was then opened with the main armament. The enemy supply tanker sank at 2040Z/11 in position 23°23'S, 74°37'E. HMS Relentless then picked up 41 survivors.

At 0230Z/12, when 100 nautical miles clear from the sinking position of the enemy tanker, HMS Relentless reported that she had sunk the enemy.

Meanwhile, on receiving the first sighting reported HMS Newcastle altered course to the east and proceeded at best speed to close the reported position. She later set a course to intercept the enemy to the south if she tried to escape from HMS Relentless by proceeding that way.

HMS Newcastle arrived at Mauritius on 13 February 1944. HMS Relentless the following day. (10)

8 Mar 1944

Operation Initial.

Sweep into the Bay of Bengal to show force in that area and also to provide training for the Fleet.

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), battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) departed Trincomalee.

They were later followed by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN).

In the afternoon, a full programme of practices was carried out, including 15" and 6" full calibre firings at battle practice targets and also AA firing practices for all types of close range weapons.

HMS Illustrious flew off No.847 Squadron (9 Barracudas) to China Bay aerodrome and embarked No.1830 Fighter Squadron, making her complement No.810, 1830 and 1833 Squadrons, a total of 12 Barracudas and 27 Corsairs. At 1630/8 the fleet was formed as a unit, W/T silence enforced and course set for the northward.

Early on 11 March, during night exercises a serious accident on the flight deck of HMS Illustrious occured. A Corsair fighter crashed into the port barrier stanchion and almost immediately burst into flames. There was a serious petrol fire in which two officers and two ratings were killed and several others badly burned. The fire took an hour to extinguish and wrecked Port no.2 pom pom mount.

Five aircraft that were in the air at the time were ordered to land at Madras. HMAS Quickmatch picked up a badly burned officer from the sea and was sent to Madras with him.

During the day (11th), W/T silence was broken, in accordance with the Commander in Chief’s orders, in the hope that the transmissions might be picked up by the enemy, thus indicating that our units were operating in the Bay of Bengal.

In the evening (11th), HMS Ceylon was detached to the Palk Straits to carry out oiling trials by the double trough method with the RFA tanker Arndale. These trials were unsuccessful.

The Fleet returned to Trincomalee on March 12th. (11)

27 Mar 1944
At 0830 hours HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) and the US troopship USS Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) made rendez-vous with the destroyers HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) which then took over the escort of the troopship to Bombay. HMS Sussex then set course for Colombo. (12)

31 Mar 1944
The US troopship Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) arrived at Bombay with her escorts; the destroyers HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

10 Jun 1944

Operation Councillor.

Simulated raid towards the Sabang area to give the enemy the impression that an air attack on Sabang was to take place in the morning of June 12th.

This operation took place at the same time as US operations in the Marianas.

On 10 June 'Force 68' departed Trincomalee. For this occasion 'Force 68' was made up of the following warships: aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), escort carrier HMS Atheling (Capt. R.I. Agnew, OBE, RCN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

In order not to have to approach the coast to much the submarine Surf transmitted a signal by W/T in the evening of June 11th to simulate that the force was closing Sabang.

Flying practices were carried out throughout. On 11 June two aircraft from HMS Illustrious were lost due to accidents.

The whole force returned to Trincomalee in the afternoon of 13 June. (11)

19 Jun 1944

Operation Pedal.

Air strikes against Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

On 19 June 1944, ' Force 60 ' deaparted Trincomalee. It was made up of the following warships: battlecruiser 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), battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

The submarines HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO and Bar, RN) were deployed on air/sea rescue duties.

At dawn on 21 June, ' Force 60 ' was in the flying off position, about 95 miles to the west of Port Blair.

At 0530/21, an air striking force of 15 Barracudas escorted by 16 Corsairs was flown off followed by a separate fighter striking force of 8 Corsairs.

They were to attack the following targets near Port Blair;
Parked aircraft on the two enemy airfields were to be attacked by the fighter striking force.
Shipping in the harbour was to be attacked by the air striking force. Also targets on Ross Island, the Chatham Island saw mills, the seaplane base at Phoenix Bay and military installations in Aberdeen harbour.

Two Barracudas returned to HMS Illustrious with engine trouble before they could attack their targets.

Surprise appears to have been almost complete. Weather was poor though.

The total bomb load taken over the target area was 26 500lb bombs and 26 250lb bombs. 3 Bombs failed to release. Another 3 were released set at safe. 4 were jettisoned in the sea. The remaining 42 fell in the target area, of which 17 were seen to hit the selected targets.

The following results were reported:
2 - 500lb and 1 - 250lb bombs on the barracks and 1 - 500lb bomb on the power house on Ross Island.

2 - 250lb and 3 - 500lb bombs in the saw mills at Chatham Island.

1 - 500lb bomb on workshops and 4 more bombs in close proximity of the sea-plane base in Phoenix Bay.

2 - 500lb bombs on the barracks and 1 - 250lb bomb on the motor transport yard in the Aberdeen harbour area.

2 single engined enemy aircraft were set on fire at Port Blair main airfield. No enemy aircraft were see on the secondary landing strip.

Mount August radar station was completely destroyed and Mount Harriet radar station and tower were damaged by Corsairs.

4 aircraft had been hit by AA fire but were able to return to HMS Illustrious.

1 Barracuda was lost over the target area, the crew must be considered lost. 1 Corsair crahed into the sea on return. The pilot was picked up after having bailed out just in time.

A total of 57 aircraft had been embarked in HMS Illustrious for this operation. At one time 51 aircraft were in the air at the same time.

After landing on the aircraft, ' Force 60 ' withdrew to the westward at high speed during 21 June. No enemy aircraft approached the force throughout this operation.

' Force 60 ' returned to Trincomalee in the morning of 23 June 1944. (11)

4 Jul 1944
During 4/5 July 1944, HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN). Later the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) also joined.

The exercises included night exercises.

On completion of the exercises, HMS Kenya set course to proceed to Colombo. (13)

6 Jul 1944
During 6/7 July 1944, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Somerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. They were escorted by HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN). These exercises included night exercises. (14)

7 Jul 1944
During 7/8 July, Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux) and 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) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. They were escorted by HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN). These exercises included night exercises. (15)

14 Jul 1944
During 14/15 July, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Somerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), 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 Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (15)

17 Jul 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Somerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), 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) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included a bombardment exercises. During the exercises the capital ships were escorted by HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN). (15)

20 Jul 1944
HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Somerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), 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) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. During the exercises the capital ships were escorted by HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN). (15)

22 Jul 1944

Operation Crimson.

Carrier raid and surface bombardment against Sabang, Netherlands East Indies by the Eastern Fleet.

On 22 July 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. The ships that participated in this sortie were the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Somerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), battlecruiser 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), aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN).

The British submarines HMS Templar (Lt. T.G. Ridgeway, RN) and HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) were deployed for air/sea rescue duties.

In the early hours of the 25th the carriers, HMS Illustrious and HMS Victorious, separated from the fleet under the escort of HMS Phoebe, HMS Roebuck and HMS Raider, and launched a total of 34 fighter aircraft to attack airfields in the area (18 Corsairs from HMS Illustrious and 16 Corsairs from HMS Victorious). One Corsair fighter was damaged by AA fire from the enemy and crashed into the sea, the pilot was picked up by HMS Nigeria. Five other Corsairs were damaged by AA fire but managed to return to the carriers. Two of these could be repaired on board, the other three were too badly damaged for effective repairs.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant, Richelieu, battlecruiser HMS Renown, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, light cruisers HMS Nigeria, HMS Kenya, HMS Ceylon, HMNZS Gambia and the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HMS Relentless, HMS Racehorse, HMS Rocket and HMS Rapid then commenced a bombardment of the Sabang area. They fired a total of 294 - 15", 134 - 8", 324 - 6", ca. 500 - 4.7" and 123 - 4" shells.

Then the Dutch cruiser HrMs Tromp entered Sabang Bay, her rightful waters, with the destroyers HMS Quilliam, HMS Quality and HMAS Quickmatch. In all these four ships fired a total of 8 Torpedos and 208 - 6", 717 - 4.'7" and 668 x 4" shells. Japanese shore batteries obtained 4 hits on the Tromp while Quilliam and Quality were both hit once. The hit by what was thought to be a 3” shell on Quilliam caused minor structural damage but killed one petty officer and wounded four ratings. Quality was hit by what is thought to be a 5” shell which hit the tripod foremast and HA director. One war correspondent was killed and one officer and eight retings were wounded, some of them seriously. Tromp was hit by two 5” and two 3” shells but was lucky that none of these exploded !!!, she suffered only minor structural damage and no deaths or even wounded amongst her crew !

Later that day 13 fighters from the carriers intercepted a Japanese counter attack with 10 aircraft. 7 of these were shot down for no losses of their own.

The fleet arrived back at Trincomalee on 27 July. (16)

8 Sep 1944
During 8/9 September 1944, HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, DSM, RN, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) and 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), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. They were escorted by HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN). (17)

14 Sep 1944

Operation Light.

Carrier raid against the railway repair and maintenance centre at Sigli, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies by ships of the Eastern Fleet.

On 14 September 1944 ships from the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. ' Force 63 ' was made up of the following ships; battleship HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) departed Trincomalee for operation Light.

On the 18th the target area was attacked by aircraft from the carrier. Some hits were reported in the target area but the raid did not inflict much damage. One Barracuda aircraft was lost but the crew of three was picked up by the submarine HMS Spirit (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN).

' Force 63 ' returned to Trincomalee on 20 September 1944.

13 Oct 1944
HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) conducted underway refuelling exercises off Trincomalee with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN). (18)

15 Oct 1944

Operation Millet.

Attack on the Nicobar Islands which was also to serve as a diversion for the American landings at Leyte.

In the morning of the 15th of October Task Force 63 departed Trincomalee, it was made up of the following units;
Task Group 63.1: battlecruiser 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), destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN).

Task Group 63.2: heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), destroyers HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HrMs Van Galen (Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Group 63.3: aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wessex (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN).

During the morning of the 16th HMS Phoebe, HrMs Van Galen and HMAS Norman were topped off with fuel by HMS Renown. HMS Quilliam, HMS Queensborough and HMAS Quiberon were topped off by HMS London. HMS Wakeful, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp were topped off by HMS Cumberland. HMS Raider, HMS Wessex and HMS Relentless were topped off by HMS Suffolk.

In the morning of the 17th HMS Renown, HMS Cumberland, HMS London and HMS Suffolk bombarded Car Nicobar Island. Some of the destroyers also bombarded the Island. Air attacks on the island were made by the aircraft from the carriers which acted independently for flying operations.

During the night of 17/18 October HMS London, HMAS Norman and HrMs Van Galen conducted another bombardment of Car Nicobar Island. Upon completion of this bombardment these three ships proceeded to Trincomalee arriving around 1715FG(-6.5)/19.

Force 63 had retired to the south on the 18th and during the afternoon HMS Phoebe and the destroyers were once again refuelled by the capital ships.
HMS Renown refuelled HMS Phoebe, HMS Wessex and HMS Queenborough. HMS Cumberland refuelled HMS Whelp, HMS Wager, HMS Quilliam and HMS Raider. HMS Suffolk refuelled HMS Wakeful, HMS Relentless and HMS Raider.
[Note: HMS Raider is listed in the both the logs of HMS Cumberland and HMS Suffolk and HMAS Quiberon is not listed as having fuelled. most likely somebody made a mistake and listed the wrong destroyer as having been fuelled by either HMS Cumberland or HMS Suffolk.]

On the 19th the carriers launched an air strike against Nancowry Island while HMS Renown and HMS Suffolk bombarded Car Nicobar Island again.

The Japanese counter attacked with nine aircraftbut no damage was done except that three of the fighters that intercepted the Japanese aircraft were shot down. Seven of the Japanese aircraft were shot down.

Upon completion of the operations Force 63 set course to return to Trincomalee.

Force 63 arrived at Trincomalee in the morning of 21 October 1944 minus HMS Cumberland which had arrived on October 20th.

21 Nov 1944
Shortly after 1400 hours, HMS Thule (A/Lt.Cdr. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, DSC, RN), makes a rendezvous with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) in position 07°04'N, 91°00'E. A doctor as transferred to Thule. He concludes that there is no cholera on board but due to the large number of sick men aboard Thule it is decided to proceed to Trincomalee. (19)

11 Dec 1944
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) conducted D/G trials at Trincomalee. She then departed for a day of exercises which included a throw off shoot during which HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) acted as target. (20)

22 Dec 1944
HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Sea Scout (Lt. J.W. Kelly, RN) both conducted exercises off Trincomalee. A/S exercises and practice attacks were conducted with HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN). (21)

9 Jan 1945

Convoy HB 1.

This convoy departed Hobart, Tasmania on 9 January 1945 and was dispersed at sea on 21 January 1945.

The convoy was made up of the British troop transport Empress of Scotland (Former Empress of Japan, 26032 GRT, built 1930) and the US troopships USS General William Mitchell (17811 GRT, built 1944) and USS General George M. Randall (17811 GRT, built 1944). [The Empress of Scotland had departed Wellington on 5 January 1945 and arrived at Hobart on 8 January 1945, this movement was known as 'convoy' US 25.]

On departure from Hobart the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC and Bar, RAN).

Around 1105H/14, HMAS Quiberon and HMAS Quickmatch parted company with the convoy.

Around 1140H/14, HMNZS Achilles was relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN).

Around 1400F/20, HMS London was relieved as escort by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

At 0530F/21, the Empress of Scotland parted company with the US troopships and then proceeded to Aden escorted by HMS Roebuck. They arrived at Aden on 25 January 1945.

The US troopships, and their escort of HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless arrived at Bombay on 23 January. (22)

14 Jun 1945

Operation Balsam

Photographic reconnaissance of Southern Malaya and fighter strikes on airfields in Northern Sumatra.

On 14 June 1945, ' Task Force 63 ' departed Trincomalee. It was made up of the light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. W.G. Brittain, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Commodore N.G. Oliver, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), escort carriers HMS Ameer (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. L.C. Sinker, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. F.W.M. Carter, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN).

On the 16th, HMS Royalist and the destroyers were topped off with fuel. HMS Suffolk fuelling HMS Rotherham and HMS Racehorce. HMS Ameer fuelling HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Stalker fuelled HMS Royalist and HMS Redoubt. HMS Khedive did not fuel any of the other ships.

From flying off position in the northern approaches to the Malacca Straits, aircraft of 888 Squadron, from HMS Ameer made successful photographic reconnaissance flights over southern Malaya from 18 to 20 June.

On 20 June, fighter strikes against the airfields at Lhoksemawe, Medan, and Binjai (all in Northern Sumatra) were made by aircraft of 804, 808 and 809 Squadrons. The runways at Medan and Binjai were put out of action. Attacks on grounded enemy aircraft resulted in three being destroyed, seven left burning and probably destroyed and nine was claimed to have been damaged. Aerodrome buildings, locomotives, and rolling stock were also effectively strafed. Off Medan two junks, one of which was obviously carrying oil, were attacked and set on fire.

Own losses were only one Hellcat shot down by enemy AA fire.

It looked like that ' Force 63 ' had not been detected by the enemy throughout the operation.

In the morning/early afternoon of 21 June, HMS Rotherham fuelled from HMS Ameer, HMS Racehorce, HMS Roebuck and HMS Redoubt fuelled from HMS Khedive, HMS Royalist fuelled from HMS Stalker and HMS Relentless fuelled from HMS Suffolk

At 1340GH/21, HMS Ameer, HMS Stalker, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless parted company with the remainder of the force.

At 1510GH/21, HMS Royalist, HMS Roebuck and HMS Racehorce parted company with HMS Khedive, HMS Suffolk and HMS Redoubt.

At 2200GH/21, HMS Ameer parted company with HMS Stalker, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless.

At 1200GH/22, HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless parted company with HMS Stalker.

HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless arrived at Trincomalee at 0700FG/23.

HMS Royalist, HMS Roebuck and HMS Racehorce arrived at Vishakhapatnam around 1115FG/23.

HMS Ameer arrived at Madras around 1600FG/23.

HMS Khedive, HMS Suffolk and HMS Redoubt arrived at Trincomalee around 1700FG/23.

And finally HMS Stalker arrived at Cochin around 1915FG/25. (23)

12 Jul 1945
During 12/13 July 1945, HMS Ceylon (Capt. K.L. Harkness, DSC, RN), HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises.

HMS Cleopatra joined the exercises around 0500FG/13 coming from Colombo which she had departed around 1700FG/12. (24)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/115945
  2. File 2.12.03.6397 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. ADM 53/118443 + ADM 53/118465
  4. ADM 53/118465
  5. ADM 199/643
  6. ADM 53/118444 + ADM 53/118466 + ADM 199/2349
  7. ADM 53/118444 + ADM 53/118466
  8. ADM 53/118445 + ADM 53/118467 + ADM 199/2273
  9. ADM 53/118445 + ADM 118467
  10. ADM 1/29460 + ADM 223/332
  11. ADM 199/1388
  12. ADM 53/120589
  13. File 2.12.03.6854 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  14. ADM 53/120309 + ADM 53/120681
  15. ADM 53/120380
  16. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4622 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  17. ADM 53/120382
  18. ADM 53/120577
  19. ADM 199/1867
  20. ADM 53/119809
  21. ADM 173/18826
  22. ADM 53/120780 + ADM 53/121692 + ADM 199/1457 + logbook of USS General William Mitchell
  23. ADM 53/120826 + ADM 53/121593 + ADM 53/122171 + ADM 53/122303 + ADM 53/122326 + ADM 53/122529 + ADM 199/1457
  24. ADM 53/121091 + ADM 53/121110

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


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