Allied Warships

HMS Rockwood (L 39)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type III) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type III) 
PennantL 39 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered28 Jul 1940 
Laid down29 Aug 1941 
Launched13 Jun 1942 
Commissioned4 Nov 1942 
End serviceMay 1944 
History

HMS Rockwood (Lt. Samuel Richard le Hunte Lombard-Hobson, RN) was heavily damaged by a German glider bomb in the Aegean Sea on 11 November 1943 in position 36º25'N, 26º52'E.

Declared a constructive total loss and paid off in May 1944, placed in reserve until being scrapped at Gateshead in August 1946.

 

Commands listed for HMS Rockwood (L 39)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Samuel Richard le Hunte Lombard-Hobson, RN11 Aug 1942April 1944

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Notable events involving Rockwood include:


2 Nov 1942
During 2 and 3 November 1942, HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), conducted D/G trials on the D/G range at Holy Loch. (1)

18 Dec 1942

Convoy WS 25.

The convoy was assembled off Oversay on 18 December 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930, 4955 troops), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), Esperance Bay (British, 14204 GRT, built 1922, 1805 troops), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929, 1882 troops), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930, 1930 troops), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922, 1897 troops), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935, 5335 troops), Rangitiki (British, 16698 GRT, built 1928, 2598 troops) and Tarifa (Norwegian, 7229 GRT, built 1936).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), HMS Cheshire (A/Capt.(Retd.) R.D. King-Harman, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN), escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN).

Around 1700Z/24, HMS Wolverine, HMS Badsworth and HMS Haydon parted company with the convoy to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores. They were not to rejoin the convoy. HMS Quilliam and HMS Rockwood had returned from fuelling at Ponta Delgada in the afternoon of the 24th, These two ships were to continue with the convoy to Freetown.

At 1225Z/26, the destroyer HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 2005Z/28, HMS Rockwood parted company to fuel at Bathurst. She rejoined the convoy around 1100Z/30.

At 0900Z/29, HMS Ilex parted company with the convoy to proceed to Freetown. She rejoined around around 0900Z/31.

At 0545Z/30, the corvettes HMS Crocus (T/Lt. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) and HMS Woodruff (A/Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown in the afternoon of 31 December 1942.

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The convoy departed Freetown in the same composition on 3 January 1943.

The convoy was now escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN), HMS Cheshire destroyer HMS Quilliam, escort destroyer HMS Rockwood, corvette HMS Crocus and the minesweeper HMIS Baluchistan (Lt. D.A. McDonald, RIN).

Around 0715A/6, the corvette Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves joined the convoy coming from Takoradi.

Around 1900A/6, the Highland Brigade was detached to Takoradi escorted by the Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves and HMIS Baluchistan. they arrived at Takoradi on the 7th.

Between 0850A/9 and 1300A/9, HMS Quilliam was fuelled by HMS Alcantara.

At 1000A/9, HMS Crocus was detached to Pointe Noire.

Between 1330A/9 and 1915A/9, HMS Rockwood was fuelled by HMS Alcantara.

Around 1920A/9, HMS Alcantara parted company with the convoy to return to Freetown.

Around 1830C/14, the destroyer HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Quilliam then parted company to proceed to Simonstown.

Around 1600C/14, HMS Quilliam rejoined the convoy after having fuelled at Simonstown. By now HMS Rockwood had also parted company with the convoy to proceed to Simonstown after having been relieved by the corvette HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR). On HMS Quilliam rejoining the convoy HMS Genista was detached.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 18 January 1943. (2)

1 Mar 1943

Convoy MW 22 (+ convoy XT 4).

This convoy departed Alexandria on 1 March 1943 and arrived at Malta on 6 March 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 4 March 1943 forming convoy XT 4 destined for Tripoli where it arrived on 5 March 1943.

The convoy was made up of the following ships; Belray (British, 2888 GRT, built 1926), British Sovereign (British, 3657 GRT, built 1917), Charles Gordon Curtis (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Dafila (British, 1940 GRT, built 1927), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Edward Everett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), James Duncan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912), O'Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (British, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919) and Yorba Linda (Panamanian (tanker), 6900 GRT, built 1921). The RFA tanker Cherryleaf (5896 GRT, built 1917) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt. D.T. McBarnet, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and Pindos.

On 3 March the transport Belray arrived at Tobruk.

On 4 March the ships destined for Tripoli split off and formed convoy XT 4. This convoy arrived at Tripoli the following day. Convoy XT 4 was made up of the British Sovereign, Charles Gordon Curtis, Dafila, Darien II, Destro, Edward Everett, James Duncan, Neuralia and Pronto. They were escorted by HMS Beaufort, HMS Exmoor and HMS Tetcott.

The remainder of the ships; Erinna, Greystoke Castle, O'Henry, Tosari, Yorba Linda and RFA Cherryleaf arrived at Malta on 6 March escorted by HMS Kelvin, RHS Vasilissa Olga, HMS Dulverton, HMS Rockwood and RHS Pindos.

8 Mar 1943
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas) and the escort destroyers HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and Pindos conducted exercises off Malta. (3)

10 Mar 1943

Convoys ME 19 and TX 3.

Convoy ME 19 departed Malta on 10 March 1943 and arrived at Alexandria on 15 March 1943 / Port Said on 16 March 1943.

It had merged as sea on 12 March with convoy TX 3 coming from Tripoli.

On departure from Malta convoy ME 19 was made up of the following ships; Dromus (British (tanker), 8036, built 1938), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Indochinois (British, 6966 GRT, built 1939), Kaikoura (British, 5852 GRT, built 1937), Orna (British, 6779 GRT, built 1938), Panama (British, 6650 GRT, built 1915) and Yorba Linda (Panamanian (tanker), 6900 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Malta convoy ME 19 was escorted by the destroyer HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Easton (Lt. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN), Miaoulis.

Convoy TX 3 departed Tripoli on 11 March 1943 and merged with convoy ME 19 at sea on 12 March 1943.

It was made up of following ships; Benrinnes (British, 5410 GRT, built 1921), British Sovereign (British, 3657 GRT, built 1917), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Florence (British, 6862 GRT, built 1918), City of Guildford (British, 5157 GRT, built 1919), Daltonhall (British, 7250 GRT, built 1941), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912).

On departure from Tripoli convoy TX 3 was escorted by the destroyer HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and Pindos. HMS Tetcott apparently returned to Tripoli later on the 11th.

The following ships arrived at Alexandria on 15 March 1943; Benrinnes, British Sovereign, City of Evansville, City of Florence, City of Guildford, Darien II, Erinna, , Indochinois, Kaikoura, Karoa and Neuralia.

They were escorted by; HMS Kelvin, HMS Javelin, HMS Dulverton and HMS Rockwood.

The following ships arrived at Port Said on 16 March 1943; Daltonhall, Dromus, Orna, Panama and Yorba Linda. They were escorted by; HMS Belvoir, RHS Miaoulis and RHS Pindos.

29 Apr 1943

Convoy MW 27 (+ convoy XT 12)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 29 April 1943 and arrived at Malta on 4 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 3 May 1943 forming convoy XT 12 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Algorab (Dutch, 4938 GRT, built 1921), British Trust (British (tanker), 8466 GRT, built 1939), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Ensis (British, 6207 GRT, built 1937), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Fort Cataraqui (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort Chambly (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort St.James (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Macuba (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1931), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (Norwegian, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Samuel Parker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Saparoea (Dutch, 6668 GRT, built 1920), Safola (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937), Stirlingville (British, 1995 GRT, built 1937), Suiyang (British, 2590 GRT, built 1917) and Toronto (British, 5018 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas), escort destroyers HMS Easton (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), RHS Adrias, RHS Kanaris, Corvette RHS Sakhtouris and the auxiliary MS whalers HMS Sahra (T/A/Skr.Lt. E.G. Gurney, RNR) and HMS Santa (T/A/Skr.Lt. G. Noble, RNR). [The last three ships apparently returned to Alexandria rather soon.]

On 1 May 1943 the British Trust and Erinpura were sunk by enemy aircraft in position 32°40'N, 19°53'E. On board the Erinpura 657 persons lost their lives.

On 3 May the convoy was split up, Convoy XT 12 proceeded to Tripoli and arrived there later the same day. It was made up of the; City of Rangoon, Destro, Ensis, Fort Chambly, Fort St.James, Karoa, Pronto, Samuel Parker, Saparoea, Sofala, Stirlingville, Suiyang and Toronto. They were escorted by HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin.

Convoy MW 27 continued on to Malta with the; Algorab, Fort Cataraqui, Glaucus, Macuba and Ocean Vesper. They were escorted by HMS Isis, RHS Queen Olga, HMS Easton, HMS Hurworth, HMS Rockwood, RHS Adrias and RHS Kanaris.

15 May 1943

Convoy MW 28 (+ convoy XT 14)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 15 May 1943 and arrived at Malta on 21 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 20 May 1943 forming convoy XT 14 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Benreoch (British, 5818 GRT, built 1921), Benrinnes (British, 5410 GRT, built 1921), City of Keelung (British, 5186 GRT, built 1919), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), David Stone (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Dunkeld (British, 4944 GRT, built 1937), Empire Conrad (British, 7009 GRT, built 1942), Empire Patrol (British, 3334 GRT, built 1928), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Francis Drake (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), John Hart (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912), Ovula (Dutch (tanker), GRT, built ), Ozarda (British, 9685 GRT, built 1940), Princess Kathleen (Canadian, 5875 GRT, built 1925), Romney (British, 5840 GRT, built 1929) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT, built 1930). The Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Green Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), FFS Leopard and the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and RHS Adrias.

The sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR) departed Tobruk on the 15th and joined the escort.

HMS Rockwood arrived back at Alexandria on 19 May 1943 having been detached from the escort earlier.

On the 16th, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN) departed Tobruk to join the escort.

On the 18th, the escort destroyer HMS Easton (Lt. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Tripoli to join the convoy.

HMS Kelvin arrived at Tripoli on 19 May and departed again on the 20th to rejoin the convoy.

On 20 May 1943 the convoy split up and the following ships proceeded to Tripoli arriving later the same day; Benreoch, Benrinnes, City of Keelung, Darien II, Empire Patrol, Fort Tadoussac, Francis Drake, Hermelin, John Hart, Neuralia and Romney.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Malta arriving on 21 May 1943.

18 Aug 1943

Combined convoy OG 92 / KMS 24.

This convoy assembled off Oversay on 18 August 1943. It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Auk (British, 1338 GRT, built 1921), Bactria (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928), Baron Semple (British, 4573 GRT, built 1939), Bodegraven (Dutch, 5541 GRT, 1929), Cape Brenton (British, 6044 GRT, built 1940), City of Hongkong (British, 9609 GRT, built 1924), City of Lancaster (British, 3041 GRT, built 1924), City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928), Conakrian (British, 4876 GRT, built 1937), Delius (British, 6065 GRT, built 1937), Empire Mortimer (British, 7051 GRT, built 1943), Empire Rhodes (British, 7030 GRT, built 1941), Empire Service (British, 7067 GRT, built 1943), Empire Snow (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Empire Spey (British, 4292 GRT, built 1929), Empire Summer (British, 6949 GRT, built 1941), Empire Wolfe (British, 2888 GRT, built 1941), Eurybates (British, 6276 GRT, built 1928), Exilona (American, 5593 GRT, built 1919), Flaminian (British, 2711 GRT, built 1917), Fort Camosun (British, 7126 GRT, built 1942), Fort Coulonge (British, 7136 GRT, built 1943), Fort Fidler (British, 7127 GRT, built 1943), Fort Glenora (British, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Fort Thompson (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Highwear (British, 1173 GRT, built 1936), Howra (British, 6709 GRT, built 1922), Langleebrook (British, 4246 GRT, built 1930), Leonardia (Swedish, 1583 GRT, built 1906), Lightfoot (British, 1894 GRT, built 1922) Lom (Norwegian, 1268 GRT, built 1920), Macharda (British, 7998 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Exporter (British, 5277 GRT, built 1918), Mers el Kebir (French, 2052 GRT, built 1917), Ocean Angel (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vestal (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), P.L.M. 13 (British, 3754 GRT, built 1921) and Skeldergate (British, 4251 GRT, built 1930).

The escort oiler Scottish American (British (tanker), 6999 GRT, built 1920) and rescue vessel Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921) were also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the desroyers HMS Hurricane (Cdr. E.C. Bayldon, DSC, RN, HMS Wanderer (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Whinney, RN) and the corvettes HMS Borage (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR), HMS Hydrangea (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F.S. Howell, RNR), HMS Monkshood (Lt. G.W. McGuiness, RNR) and HMS Wallflower (Lt. G.R. Greaves, RNR). Also part of the escort was the sloop HMS Cygnet (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Proudfoot, RN) which initially was part of the A/S escort but after the convoy would cross 46°00'N she was to act as AA ship during daylight being stationed astern of the convoy and she was to be part of the A/S escort during the night.

The merchant vessel Zaanstroom (Dutch, 1646 GRT, built 1920) sailed late and joined the convoy around 1030A/19 in position 55°08'N, 10°00'W, with the corvette HMS Dahlia (T/Lt. M.S. Work, RNR) which had remained behind to escort her.

Around 1815A/18, the Exilona was detached to the Clyde as ordered by the C-in-C Western Approaches.

During the night of 18/19 August 1943, the Highwear developed engine trouble and then detached from the convoy to return to the U.K.

Around 0015A/21, HMS Wanderer was detached to search for a missing aircraft as ordered in the C-in-C Western Approaches signal timed 2323A/20. She rejoined the convoy around 1925A/21 having seen nothing.

On 22 August 1943, HMS Hurricane and HMS Wanderer fuelled from the escort oiler Scottish American.

On 22 August 1943, HMS Wallfolower fuelled from the escort oiler Scottish American.

At 0320A/25, HMS Wanderer obtained a small radar echo on her port bow at a range of 14000 yards. She then proceeded to close this contact at 20 knots. Her contact faded at a range of 3800 yards. Asdic contact was then gained and a depth charge attack was carried out. HMS Wallflower was then ordered to join her in the A/S hunt. Meanwhile HMS Wanderer carried out another depth charge attack after which contact was lost. Later HMS Wanderer and HMS Wallflower regained contact after which HMS Wallflower carried out two depth charge attacks. Contact was then again lost. About an hour later HMS Wanderer again regained contact and carried out a Hedgehog attack. One explosion was heard. This was followed ten minutes later by a depth charge attack by HMS Wanderer and seven minutes later the U-boat surfaced. HMS Wanderer and HMS Wallflower opened fire and hits were obtained. The U-boat then sank and thirty-seven survivors, including the Commanding Officer, were then picked up. Four of these were seriously wounded and were subsequently transferred to the Zamalek. Fifteen others were transferred by HMS Wallflower to HMS Hurricane.

On 26 August 1943, HMS Wanderer, HMS Cygnet and HMS Hydrangea fuelled from the escort oiler Scottish American.

Around 2100A/28, the following merchant vessels were detached from the convoy to proceed to Lisbon; Empire Mortimer, Empire Rhodes, Empire Service, Empire Wolfe, Flaminian, Fort Coulonge, Leonardia, Lightfoot, Ocean Angel and Skeldergate. They were escorted by HMS Cygnet, HMS Wanderer and HMS Wallflower. They arrived at Lisbon on the 29th.

Around 05305A/30, in position 36°01'N, 05°23'W the following merchant vessels were detached to Gibraltar (where convoy OG 92 ended); Bactria, City of Lancaster, Empire Spey, Fort Fidler, Fort Thompson, Lom, Mers el Kebir and PLM 13. Also detached were the Scottish American, Zamalek. They were escorted by HMS Hydrangea and HMS Monkshood. They arrived at Gibraltar later the same day.

Around 0800A/30, in position 36°14'N, 04°30'W the following merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar; Charles M. Conrad (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Elihu Yale (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Hallfried (Norwegian, 2968 GRT, built 1918), Louisa M. Alcott (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lublin (Polish, 1409 GRT, built 1932) and Solomon Juneau (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943). Also joining from Gibraltar were the tugs Weazel, Empire Griffin and the boom defence vessel HMS Barndale (T/Lt. R.L. Jones, RNR). Also the light (AA) cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN) and corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR), HMS Camellia (T/Lt. R.F.J. Maberley, RNVR), HMS La Malouine (Lt. W.A. Ives, RNR) and the patrol vessel RHS Vasilefs Georgios II joined. HMS Borage and HMS Dahlia then parted company to proceed to Gibraltar.

At 1055A/30, HMS Hurricane parted company to proceed to Gibraltar.

In the afternoon the corvette HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, RNVR) overtook and joined the convoy after having been delayed due to defects.

Around 0930B/31, the following merchant vessels joined the convoy off Oran; Chelma (French, 4968 GRT, built 1920), Lorraine (French (tanker), 9512 GRT, built 1937), Tintern Abbey (British, 2471 GRT, built 1939), Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930) and Ville de Bougie (French, 1237 GRT, built 1907). Lorraine however almost immediately returned to Oran.

At 0915B/1, the following merchant vessels were detached to Algiers; Auk, Chelma, Elihu Yale, Louisa M. Alcott, Hallfried, Lublin, Solomon Juneau, Zaanstroom. The tugs HMS Weazel and Empire Griffin were also detached.

At the same time the following merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Algiers; British Character (British (tanker), 8453 GRT, built 1941), Crackshot (British, 2379 GRT, built 1924), Empire Dace (British (ferry), 716 GRT, built 1942), Fort la Traite (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Pitt (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Gallium (French, 1775 GRT, built 1924), Prosper Schiaffino (French, 1634 GRT, built 1931), Spero (Norwegian, 3619 GRT, built 1919) and Ville de Djidjelli (French, 1132 GRT, built 1907). Also joining was the submarine HMS Tally-Ho (Lt.Cdr. L.W.A. Bennington, DSO, DSC, RN).

During the night of 1/2 September 1943, the Empire Dace, Ville de Bougie and Ville de Djidjelli were detached to Bougie while two merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Bougie, these were the; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925) and Prometheus (British, 6095 GRT, built 1925).

Around 1330B/2, the merchant vessel British Character parted company off Philippeville while the following merchant vessels joined the convoy; Chloris (British, 1171 GRT, built 1910) and Portsea (British, 1583 GRT, 1938).

At 2000B/2, the merchant vessels Baron Semple, Fort Glenora and Langleebrook parted company off Bone while the following merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Bone; British Purpose (British (tanker), 5845 GRT, built 1943), Como (British, 1295 GRT, built 1910), Odysseus (Dutch, 1057 GRT, 1922), Ousel (British, 1533 GRT, built 1922) and Selvik (Norwegian, 1557 GRT, built 1920).

At 0900B/3, the following merchant ships parted company off Bizerta; Alcinous, Como, Ousel, Prometheus, Tintern Abbey and Ulla. The following merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Bizerta, these were the; A.C. Bedford (British (tanker), 9485 GRT, built 1918), Badarpur (British, 8079 GRT, built 1922), Eildon (British, 1447 GRT, built 1936), Empire Opal (British (tanker), 9811 GRT, built 1941), Empire Thackeray (British, 2865 GRT, built 1942). Also joining the convoy was the boom defence vessel HMS Barmond (T/Lt. L.J. Essery, RNR), the gasoline tanker USS Aroostook and the self propelled fuel barge USS Anticline.

At 1330B/3, the following ships were detached to Tunis, Eildon, Prosper Schiaffino, USS Aroostook and USS Anticline.

Around 1800B/3, the Selvik parted company to proceed to Sfax.

Around 1330B/4, in position 35.10'N, 13.30'E the following merchant vessels were detached to Malta; Crackshot, Empire Thackeray, Gallium, Odysseus and Spero. Also detached were HMS Delhi, HMS Bergamot, HMS Barmond and HMS Barndale. Joining from Malta were the following merchant vessels; Afghanistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Clan Murdoch (British, 5950 GRT, built 1919), Debrett (British, 6244 GRT, built 1940), Empire Kamal (British, 7862 GRT, built 1938), Empire Patrol (British, 3334 GRT, built 1928), Fort Lajoie (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Highland Prince (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912), President de Vogue (Norwegian (tanker), 9320 GRT, built 1935) and Suiyang (British, 2590 GRT, built 1917). With these ships the escort destroyer HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and the A/S whaler HMSAS Southern Maid also joined.

At the same time these ships were detached and joined from Malta the Augusta / Syracusa portion of the convoy parted company. They were to proceed to their destination via Malta. It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Chloris, Conakrian, Empire Snow, Empire Summer, Manchester Exporter and Portsea.

Around 1100C/5, in position 34°26'N, 17°05'E, HMS Tally-Ho parted company to proceed independently to Port Said.

Around 1200C/6, in position 33°07'N, 20°52'E, the merchant vessel Sofala (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937) joined the convoy coming from Benghazi.

Around 1215C/6, in position 33°08'N, 20°53'E, HMSAS Southern Maid parted company to proceed to Benghazi.

Around 1130C/7, the merchant vessels Kwai Sang (British, 2320 GRT, built 1917) and Lee Sang (British, 1655 GRT, built 1907) joined the convoy coming from Tobruk.

Around 0745C/9, the following merchant vessel were detached to Alexandria; Cape Brenton, City of Hongkong, City of Lille, Clan Murdoch, Empire Kamal, Fort la Traite, Fort Lajoie, Kwai Sang, Neuralia, Sofala and Suiyang. Also detached were HMS Rockwood, HMS Camellia, HMS La Malouine and RHS Vasilefs Georgios II.

Around 0630C/9, the sloop HMIS Sutlej ( A/Cdr. A.H. Watt, RIN) joined in position 31°20'N, 29°39'E.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Port Said on 10 September 1943. (4)

17 Sep 1943

Convoy MKF 24.

This convoy departed Port Said on 17 September 1943.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Clan Campbell (British, 9545 GRT, built 1943), Eastern Prince (British, 10926 GRT, built 1929), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt. U.H.R. James, RN) was also part of the convoy. She was en-route from the East Indies station to the U.K. to be decommissioned and be outfitted for her new role as troop transport.

The convoy was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), RHS Kanaris and RHS Miaoulis.

At 0620C/18, the Eastern Prince was detached to Alexandria.

The convoy arrived at Algiers on 22 September 1943.

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On 28 September 1943 the convoy departed Algiers for the U.K.

It was now made up of the following (troop) transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Clan Campbell, Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Staffordshire, Strathmore, Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937) and Volendam (British, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage was still part of the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Pelican (Cdr. J.S. Dalison, DSO, RN) and the frigates HMS Evenlode (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.L. Turner, RNR), HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR), HMS Spey (Lt.Cdr. B.A. Rogers, RD, RNR) and HMS Wear (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR).

At 0700A/30, the Ruys and Volendam were detached.

At 0900A/30, the Empress of Australia and Monarch of Bermuda were detached.

At 0930A/30, the (troop) transports Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930) and Rochester Castle (British, 7795 GRT, built 1937) joined coming from Gibraltar.

Also the following warships joined at the same time; escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), seaplane carrier HMS Albatross (A/Capt.(Retd.) S. Barry, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN).

At 1400A/30, the Volendam rejoined.

At 1500A/30, the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined coming from Gibraltar.

At 1600A/30, the Ruys rejoined.

At 0420A/1, the Bergensfjord, Highland Princess and Volendam parted company to proceed to Freetown. They took HMS Wishart and HMS Witherington with them as escorts. Also the destroyer HMS Malcolm (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) joined them which had came from Casablanca.

At 1300A/1, the Athone Castle was detached to proceed independently to New York.

At 0640Z/4, the light cruiser HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined the convoy escort.

At 0635Z/5, HMS Spartan parted company with the convoy.

At 0930Z/5, HMS Charybdis and HMS Albatross parted company to proceed to Plymouth where they arrived on 6 October.

On 7 October the convoy arrived in U.K waters. The bulk of the convoy proceeded either to Greenock or to Liverpool.

6 Oct 1943
Around 1100/6, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN, Senior Officer) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to proceed to the Aegean to attack enemy forces proceeding to Leros.

Around 2315/6 [source log of HMS Sirius, the log of HMS Penelope gives 0100/7], HMS Eclipse was detached to return to Alexandria due to defective steering. She arrived back at Alexandria around 1415/7.

The force arrived off Leros around 0530/7 but found no sign of a German invasion. At 0630/7 they picked up an enemy sighting from the submarine HMS Unruly (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, RN). At 0800/6, they intercepted the convoy sighted by HMS Unruly and completely destroyed it. The convoy had been made up of the transport Olympos (852 GRT, built 1904), the landing barges F 308, F 327, F 336, F 494 and F 532. They were escorted by UJ 2111. F 496 was no longer with them, she had been damaged earlier by HMS Unruly and was beached on Stampalia.

HMS Penelope, HMS Sirius, HMS Faulknor and HMS Fury then set course to return to Alexandria via the Scarpanto Strait. The force came under heavy German air attacks by Ju-87's and Ju-88's.

Around 1120/7, the force was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and Miaoulis which came from Casteloriso.

Around 1215/7, during an attack by Ju-87 dive bombers HMS Penelope was hit aft by a bomb but it did not explode. There were also many near missed. Two officers and twenty-two ratings were killed and twenty-nine were wounded. HMS Penelope was able to continue at 22 knots.

At 1705/8, HMS Rockwood and RHS Miaoulis parted company.

HMS Sirius and HMS Faulknor arrived at Alexandria around 0050/8 followed by HMS Penelope and HMS Fury around 0200/8. (5)

11 Feb 1944

Convoy SL 149.

This convoy departed Freetown on 11 February 1944.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ann Stathatos (Greek, 5685 GRT , built 1918), Baron Fairlie (British, 6706 GRT, built 1925), Bosphorus (Norwegian, 2111 GRT, built 1934), Dan-Y-Bryn (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Empire Farmer (British, 7049 GRT, built 1943), Empire Lightning (British, 6942 GRT, built 1940), Flimston (British, 4674 GRT, built 1925), Fort Charnisay (British, 7133 GRT, built 1943), Fort Yale (British, 7132 GRT, built 1942), Kong Haakon VII (Norwegian, 7073 GRT, built 1942), Mary Kingsley (British, 5021 GRT, built 1930), Middlesex Trader (British, 7421GRT, built 1942), Nicolaou Virginia (Greek, 6869 GRT, built 1920), Olaf Bergh (Norwegian, 5811 GRT, built 1921), Ragnhildsholm (Swedish, 2818 GRT, built 1929), Riley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1936), St. Clears (British, 4312 GRT, built 1936), Tynebank (British, 4651 GRT, built 1922), William Hawkins (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942) and Zarembo (American, 4957 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN), HMS Sandwich (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR), corvette HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. R.A. Baker, RNVR) and the patrol vessels HMS Kildwick (T/Lt. P. Pannell, RNVR) and HMS Kilkenzie (T/Lt. B.C. Sheen, RNVR). The A/S trawler HMS Yestor (T/Lt. H. Sidmouth-Willing, DSC, RNVR) and the M/S trawler HMS Copinsay (Skr. J.A. MacTean, RNR) were with the convoy of the day of the convoys departure only.

On 14 February 1944, the merchant vessels Bactria (British, 2407 GRT, built 1928), Canada (French, 9684 GRT, built 1912), Danae II (British, 2660 GRT, built 1936), Fort Archambault (French, 5549 GRT, built 1918) and the coastal transport RHS APc-75 (?) departed Dakar to join the convoy. With them was the minesweeping sloop Gazelle which also joined the convoy.

At some point, presumably not too long after departure from Freetown, the William Hawkins and Zarembo were detached to Trinidad.

On 15 February 1944, the Olaf Bergh arrived at Dakar after having been detached from the convoy.

Also on 15 February 1944, HMS Kildwick and HMS Kilkenzie arrived at Freetown after having been detached from the convoy the previous day.

On 21 February 1944, the mechant vessel Empire Tana (British, 6148 GRT, built 1923) departed Casablanca to join the convoy which she did the following day. She was escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-475 (Lt. W.W. Devine, Jr., USNR) and USS PC-481 (Lt. D.W. Hunter, USNR).

On 22 February 1944, the Canada and the Fort Archambault were detached to Casablanca with the Gazelle, USS PC-475 and USS PC-481. They arrived at Casablanca on 23 February 1944.

On 22 February 1944, the convoy merged with convoy MKS 40(G) coming from the Mediterranean.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Baron Ramsay (British, 3650 GRT, built 1929), Baron Ruthven (British, 3178 GRT, built 1925), City of Christiania (British, 4940 GRT, built 1921), City of Durban (British, 5945 GRT, built 1921), City of Lancaster (British, 3041 GRT, built 1924), Clan MacInnes (British, 4672 GRT, built 1920), Cydonia (British, 3517 GRT, built 1927), Director (British, 5107 GRT, built 1926), Drammensford (Norwegian, 5329 GRT, built 1920), Dromore (British, 4096 GRT, built 1920), Empire Deed (British, 6766 GRT, built 1943), Empire Snow (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Finland (British, 1375 GRT, built 1939), Flaminian (British, 2711 GRT, built 1917), Gatineau Park (Canadian, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Jersey Hart (British, 7275 GRT, built 1943), Lornaston (British, 4934 GRT, built 1925), Mariposa (British, 3702 GRT, built 1914), Marita (Norwegian, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Mathura (British, 8890 GRT, built 1920), North Devon (British, 3658 GRT, built 1924), Rideau Park (Canadian, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Samark (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Sambut (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samzona (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Scottish Monarch (British, 7004 GRT, built 1943) and Shahzada (British, 5454 GRT, built 1942). With these ships were also the LST's HMS LST 324 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Bell, RNR), HMS LST 362 (Lt.Cdr. Reginald Harry Andrew Clark, RD, RNR), HMS LST 413 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.J.W. Crowdy, RNVR) and HMS LST 427 (T/Lt. W.R.G. Carling, RNR).

The rescue ship Accrington (British, 1678 GRT, built 1910) was also with this convoy.

Convoy MKS 40(G) was escorted by the sloops HMS Rochester (Cdr. H.V. King, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Londonderry (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Philpott, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Scarborough (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Carnduff, RN), frigate HMS Tavy (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F. Ardern, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Geranium (T/Lt. G. Wallace, RNR), HMS Mignonette (Lt. H.H. Brown, DSC, RNR). The damaged escort destroyer HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) was also with the convoy for passage to the U.K. where she was to undergo repairs. She had only one engine available.

The original escort of convoy SL 149 and APc-75 then parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 24 February 1944.

Around 1500N/26, the escort carrier HMS Fencer (A/Capt. W.W.R. Bentinck, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

On 1 March 1944, the four LST's, HMS LST 324, HMS LST 362, HMS LST 413 and HMS LST 427 were detached to Plymouth escorted by HMS Rockwood.

Around 0350A/2, the German submarine U-744 fired a salvo of four torpedoes in position 48°00'N, 17°23'W at what was thought to be a convoy of four tankers. It was thought that three of the tankers were hit and sunk but in fact only one ship HMS LST 362 was hit. The LST broke in two with the fore part sinking immediately without any survivors from that part. The after part remained afloat for a while and 73 surivors, on of which later died, were picked up by HMS LST 324. The U-boat was then attacked with depth charges by HMS Rockwood. The U-boat then fired a gnat, acoustic homing torpedo at the escort destroyer but this missed, most likely due to the limited speed of the escort destroyer which had only one engine operational. HMS Rockwood later picked up another 22 surivivors of which unfortunately two later died.

At 0700A/2, HMS Tavy was detached from the convoy to proceed to the aid of the detached LST's and HMS Rockwood. Also aircraft from HMS Fencer were sent to the area of the attack.

The remainder of the convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 6/7 March 1944. The Jersey Hart had been detached en-route [no further details currently available].

2 Mar 1944
HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) picks up 20 survivors from the British landing ship HMS LST-362 that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-744 about 370 nautical miles south-west of Cape Clear. The escort destroyer also unsuccessfully attacked the U-boat with depth charges.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/115945
  2. ADM 199/1211
  3. ADM 53/117237 + ADM 53/117489
  4. ADM 199/585 + ADM 199/2101
  5. ADM 53/118344 + 118559 + ADM 199/774

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


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