Allied Warships

HMS Gorleston (Y 92)

Sloop of the Banff class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassBanff 
PennantY 92 
Built byGeneral Engineering & Drydock Co. (Oakland, California, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched16 Nov 1929 
Commissioned31 May 1941 
End service23 Apr 1946 
History

She was returned to the United States on 23 April 1946. Her recommissioning was cancelled and she was sold on 4 October 1950.

 
Former nameUSCGC Itasca

Commands listed for HMS Gorleston (Y 92)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. (retired) Ronald William Keymer, RN6 Jul 194110 Nov 1943
2Lt.Cdr. William Horace Clifton Wood-Roe, RD, RNR10 Nov 194316 Dec 1943
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. William Alan Emerson Leonard, RNZNVR16 Dec 194325 Jan 1945
4T/Lt.Cdr. Geoffrey Marcus Berlyn, SANF(V)25 Jan 1945Sep 1945
5Cdr. John Henry Eaden, DSC, RNSep 194529 Sep 1945

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Notable events involving Gorleston include:


24 Sep 1941
HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN) picks up 26 survivors from the British merchant St. Clair II that was torpedoed and sunk west-northwest of the Canary Islands in position 30°25'N, 23°35'W by German U-boat U-67.

HMS Gorleston also picks up 68 survivors from the British merchant John Holt and 47 survivors from the British merchant Lafian that were torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-107 southwest of Madeira in position 31°12'N, 23°32'W.

19 Aug 1942
HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN) picks up 49 survivors from the British merchant City of Manila that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-406 west of Cape Finisterre in position 43°21'N, 18°20'W.

14 Nov 1942

Convoy KMF 3.

This convoy departed the U.K. (Clyde) on 14 November 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports;
Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Borinquen (American, 7114 GRT, built 1931), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Coamo (American, 7057 GRT, built 1925), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Mariposa (American, 18152 GRT, built 1931), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929), Rangitiki (British, 16698 GRT, built 1929), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

On departure from the U.K. the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Scimitar (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Cuthbertson, DSC, RNR), sloops HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt. L.G. Toone, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the corvette HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR).

On 15 November 1942, HMS Scimitar parted company.

On 20 November 1942, the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) joined.

Around 1500A/21, the Oran Section of the convoy parted company. The Oran Section was made up of the Andes, Borinquen and the Rangitiki. They arrived at Oran around 1730A/21 escorted by HMS Milne, HMS Quality, HMS Quentin and HMAS Quiberon.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Algiers on 22 November.

12 Dec 1942

Convoy KMF 5.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Further research regarding this convoy is required.]

8 Jan 1943
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Scimitar (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Cuthbertson, DSC, RNR), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt. L.G. Toone, RN) and HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN). (1)

8 Jan 1943

Convoy KMF 7.

This convoy departed U.K. waters on 8 January 1943.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports;
Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931) and Sobieski (British, 11030 GRT, built 1939).

The repair ship HMS Wayland (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.S. Carson, RN) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from the U.K. the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt. L.G. Toone, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigate HMS Wear (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR).

On 15 January 1943, HMS Wayland parted company and entered Gibraltar. HMS Weston made a short stop at Gibraltar to disembark stores. She rejoined the convoy on the 16th. During the time HMS Weston was not with the convoy the destroyer HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) took her place.

On the 16th also the escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) joined coming from Gibraltar.

Around 1500A/16, the Franconia and Reina del Pacifico parted company with the convoy to proceed to Oran escorted by the destroyer HMAS Quiberon (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) which had escorted the tanker Gulfport (American, 8081 GRT, built 1942) from Oran to the rendezvous with the convoy. The Gulfport then joined the convoy for passage to Algiers.

The convoy arrived at Algiers on 17 January 1943.

15 Apr 1943
HMS H 50 (Lt. G.S.C Clarabut, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Hulton, RN) and HMS Coreopsis (T/Lt. B.C. Hamilton, RNR). (2)

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), Empire 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, HMS Quadrant, HMS Racehorse and HMS 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.

19 May 1943

Combined convoy WS 30 / KMS 15.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 19 May 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 30 and KMS 15 at sea on 25 May 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Argentina (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Brisbane Star (British, 12791 GRT, built 1937), Deseado (British, 9641 GRT, built 1942), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), H.F. Alexander (American, 8357 GRT, built 1915), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Siboney (American, 6938 GRT, built 1918), Sloterdijk (Dutch, 9230 GRT, built 1940), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

The landing ships HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) were also part of the convoy.

On formation off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier, heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), sloops HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), 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).

The destroyer HMS Sardonyx apparently parted company on 20 May.

HMS Cleveland fuelled from HMS Suffolk during the morning of 21 May.

At 1130Z/23, HMS Active sighted a surfaced submarine in position 42°16'N, 15°40'W at a range of about 6000 yards. Shortly afterwards HMS Ness also sighted this submarine. Both ships rushed towards to attack and the submarine was seen to crash dive. When the range was down to 2900 yards HMS Active obtained contact on the target with her Asdic. At 1143Z/23, HMS Active dropped a pattern of ten depth charges set at 150 and 300 feet. At 1150Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (150 and 300 feet). At 1158Z/23, HMS Active came back for another pattern of ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1212Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). A double explosion was then heard by the two escorts. At 1223Z/23, HMS Active dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1240Z/23, a small amount of wood and cork wreckage came to the surface as well as life-jackets, coffee tins marked 'Napoli' and a pair of fresh human lungs. At 1305Z/23, HMS Ness dropped a final pattern of ten depth charges (500, 550 and 700 feet). It is believed that the Italian submarine Leonardo Da Vinci was sunk in this attack. The most succesful Italian submarine of the Second World War disappeared with all hands. Nine officers and fifty-four ratings perished.

At 0630Z/24, the transports Brisbane Star and Deseado were detached from the convoy.

Around 1530Z/24 a German Focke Wulf aircraft attacked and dropped some bombs near HMS Unicorn but no damage was done.

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, DSO, RN) joined on either the 24th or the 25th.

At 1040Z/25 the convoy split up. All escorts proceeded with convoy KMF 15 except for HMS Suffolk, HMS Corfu which went along with WS 30. Convoy KMF 15 was made up of the transports Arawa, Boissevain, Duchess of York, Franconia, Indrapoera, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Letitia, Ormonde, Samaria, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle. HMS Royal Scotsman and HMS Royal Ulsterman were also part of this convoy.

The transport Letitia proceeded to Gibraltar as did HMS Unicorn. The escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) had come out to escort them in. HMS Active, HMS Cleveland and ORP Slazak also put into Gibraltar.

The transports Staffordshire and Stirling Castle were detached and arrived at Oran on 26 May.

The remainder of convoy KMF 15 arrived at Algiers on 27 May.

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Convoy WS 30 continued on to Freetown and was made up of Argentina, Brisbane Star, Deseado, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Siboney and Sloterdijk. Their escort of HMS Suffolk and HMS Corfu was joined by the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) which all came from Gibraltar. HMS Boadicea also rejoined after fuelling at Casablanca.

In the morning of May 27th, HMS Antelope fuelled from HMS Suffolk.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 31 May 1943.

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On 3 June 1943 the convoy departed Freetown now made up of the transports Argentina, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Siboney and Sloterdijk.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex, armed merchant cruisers HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), HMS Corfu, destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN), HMS Boardicea, HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick.

At 1500Z/6, the transport Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, 1923) and the destroyer HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Takoradi.

At 1950Z/6, HMS Corfu and HMS Boadicea parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi.

At 1445Z/9, the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) joined the convoy coming from Pointe Noire.

At 1517Z/9, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pointe Noire.

Around 0730A/13, the transports Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941) and Santa Barbara (American, 6507 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy as did the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza which had been escorting them.

On 15 June 1943 the convoy arrived at Capetown. HMS Sussex and HMS Carnarvon Castle then went on to Simonstown. In the approaches to Capetown the destroyer HMAS Nizam (Lt. W.F. Cook, RAN) joined the escort as an enemy submarine had been reported to be operating in the area.

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On 16 June 1943, the convoy departed Capetown for Durban. It was now made up of the transports Argentina, Cuba, Exceller, Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland, Santa Barbara, Siboney and Sloterdijk.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt.

On 18 June, the transport Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy presumebly coming from Port Elizabeth or East London.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 20 June.

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On 25 June 1943, the convoy departed Durban for Aden / Bombay, now made up of the transports Cuba, General Fleischer (Norwegian, 5138 GRT, built 1943), Karagola (British, 7053 GRT, built 1917), Nieuw Holland, Sagoland (American, 5334 GRT, built 1913), Santa Barbara and Sibajak.

The convoy was now escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman (now commanded by Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN).

The armed mercant cruiser HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) joined the convoy around 0900C/28 having departed Kilindini around 1745C/25.

Around 2000C/29, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy to return to Durban via Tulear, Madagascar. HMS Rotherham and HMAS Quickmatch remained with the convoy for another 150 miles and then parted company to rejoin HMAS Norman and then proceed to Tulear.

Around 0900C/1, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy having departed Kilindini around 1730C/29. HMS Canton then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindi taking the transports Karagola and Sagoland with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1200C/2.

At 0310C/3, the transport Santa Barbara was detached to proceed independently to Colombo.

At 1115C/4, the transports General Fleischer and Sibajak were detached to proceed independently to Aden.

The transports Cuba and Nieuw Holland arrived at Bombay and their escort, HMS Alaunia, around 1000FG/9.

28 May 1943

Convoy MKF 15.

This convoy departed Algiers on 28 May 1943 for the U.K.

On departure from Algiers the convoy was made up of the following ships; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921) and Santa Rosa (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932).

The convoy was escorted by the British sloop HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), 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 (Lt.Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

On 29 May, off Oran, the convoy was joined by the following ships; Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), Dartmouth (American, 9879 GRT, built 1943), Examiner (American, 6736 GRT, built 1942), General George W. Goethals (American, 12093 GRT, built 1942), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), John Ericson (American, 16552 GRT, built 1928), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Seafrain Lakehurst (American, 8108 GRT, built 1940), Staffordhire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

On 30 May the convoy was off Gibraltar. There two more ships joined the convoy, these were; Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923) and Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920). Also six ships were detached to Gibraltar, these were the; Arawa, Dartmouth, Examiner, Seafrain Lakehurst, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle.

The following warships joined the escort of the convoy off Gibraltar; aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), ecort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

The sloop HMS Totland was detached to proceed to Gibraltar for repairs as she had defects.

On 1 June 1943, the Scythia was detached.

At 1200 hours on 4 June, HMS Unicorn, HMS Tracker, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin parted company with the convoy and proceeded ahead of it to the Clyde (HMS Tracker to Belfast).

28 May 1943

Convoy MKF 15.

[Note: Further research on this convoy is required.]

This convoy departed Algiers on 28 May 1943 for the U.K. where it arrived on 5 June 1943.

On departure the convoy was made up of the following transports; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Boissevain (British, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Dartmouth (American, 9879 GRT, built 1943), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921) and Santa Rosa (American, 9135 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Algiers the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), 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).

On 29 May the transports Cristobal (American, 10021 GRT, built 1939), General George W. Goethals (American, 12093 GRT, built 1942), J.W. McAndrew (American, 7997 GRT, built 1940), John Ericsson (American, 16552 GRT, built 1928), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Seatrain Lakehurst (American, 8108 GRT, built 1940), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

On 30 May the transports Felix Roussel (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923) and Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) joined coming from Gibraltar. Also joining from Gibraltar were the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carrier HMS Tracker (A/Capt. G.C. Dickins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

Later on 30 May the transports Antenor, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle were detached to proceed to Freetown via Bathurst / Dakar.

Also on 30 May the Scythia was detached to proceed to New York.

The sloop HMS Totland had to be detached due to defects and arrived at Gibraltar on 30 May 1943.

[No info available on the US ships, it seems likely that the Scythia proceeded with them to the USA but further research is required.]

The convoy arrived in the U.K. on 4 June 1943 with the bulk of the convoy arriving at Liverpool on 5 June 1943.

18 Jun 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN), another vessel (unable to read the name in the log of HMS P 511) and HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN). (3)

19 Jun 1943
HMS H 34 (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Dart (Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR). (4)

20 Jun 1943

Convoy KMS 18A.

This convoy departed the Cylde on 20 June 1943.

It was made up of the following tank landing ships; LST 301 (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.F. Hoyle, RNR), LST 305 (A/Lt.Cdr. R.M. Naylor, RNR), LST 319 (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Sutton, RN), LST 321 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.H. Metcalfe, RNR), LST 365 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.F. Halliday, RNR), LST 366 (A/Lt.Cdr. N. Hall, RNR), LST 406 (A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Chaloner, RNR) and LST 424 (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Grandage, RNR).

The convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Wellington (Cdr. G.A. Thring, DSO, RN), HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Pytchley (Lt. R.H. Hodgkinson, RN).

LST 406 developed engine trouble and was detached to Londonderry.

Cover for part of the voyage was provided by the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN).

The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 29 June 1943.

23 Feb 1944
HMS Uther (Lt. A.A. Catlow, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Cam (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Smythe, RD, RNR), HMS Wye (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.C. Powys-Smith, RNR), HMS Gorleston (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.A.E. Leonard, RNZNVR) and HMS Pennywort (T/Lt. A.W. James, RNR). (5)

26 Feb 1944
HMS Uther (Lt. A.A. Catlow, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Gorleston (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.A.E. Leonard, RNZNVR), HMS Quadrille (T/Lt. G.A. Peat, RNVR) and HMS Kilbride (Lt. H.O. L’Estrange, DSC, RNR). (5)

28 Feb 1944
HMS Uther (Lt. A.A. Catlow, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Gorleston (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.A.E. Leonard, RNZNVR), HMS Pennywort (T/Lt. A.W. James, RNR), HMS Cam (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Smythe, RD, RNR) and HMS Wye (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.C. Powys-Smith, RNR). (5)

7 Dec 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) departed Aden for Colombo. She was escorted out by HMS Gorleston (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.A.E. Leonard, RNZNVR). (6)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17790
  2. ADM 173/17827
  3. ADM 173/17925
  4. ADM 173/17795
  5. ADM 173/19325
  6. ADM 173/19441

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


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