HMS Rockrose (K 51)
Corvette of the Flower class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Charles Hill & Sons Ltd. (Bristol, U.K.) : Richardson, Westgarth & Clark|
|Ordered||21 Sep 1939|
|Laid down||28 Oct 1940|
|Launched||26 Jul 1941|
|Commissioned||4 Nov 1941|
Commisioned as Protea into the south African Navy 4 October 1947.
Commands listed for HMS Rockrose (K 51)
Please note that we're still working on this section.
|1||Lt.Cdr. John Dudley Birch, RNR||6 Aug 1941||6 Jul 1942|
|2||Lt. Edward John Binfield, RNR||6 Jul 1942||16 Oct 1943|
|3||T/Lt. Henry James Makepeace, RNR||16 Oct 1943||8 Jul 1945|
|4||T/Lt. Edward Alexander King, RNVR||8 Jul 1945||11 Jan 1946|
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Notable events involving Rockrose include:
21 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HNoMS Rose, HMS Bluebell (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR), HMS Rockrose (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Birch, RNR) and HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, RNR). (1)
22 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Rockrose (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Birch, RNR), HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, RNR), HMS Sluna (Lt.Cdr. E.W. Middleton, RNVR) and HMS Rosalind (Skr. E.G. Littler, DSC, RD, RNR). (1)
4 Oct 1942
Convoy WS 23.
This convoy was formed off Oversay on 5 October 1942.
It consisted of the following transports / troopships; Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Russia (British, 16810 GRT, built 1913), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Kina II (British, 9823 GRT, built 1939), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), Port Jackson (British, 9687 GRT, built 1937), Silverandal (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930) and Straat Malakka (Dutch, 439 GRT, built 1939).
Initial escort consisted of the light cruisers HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN), HMS Durban (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO and Bar, OBE, RN), armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and RHS Kanaris.
At 2200Z/6, HMS Durban parted company with the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel.
At 1850Z/8, HMS Beagle parted company with the convoy to return to the UK. HMS Zetland had a leaking Asdic dome and was apparently also detached on the 8th to return to the UK for a docking and repairs.
At 1000Z/9, HMS Puckeridge arrived at Ponta Delgada to refuel. She departed to rejoin the convoy at 1345Z/9. RHS Kanaris arrived at 1100Z/9 and departed again at 1430Z/9. [It is currently not known to us when they had left the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada.]
At 1545Z/9, HMS Durban rejoined the convoy. HMS Despatch was then detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada.
At 1900Z/9, HMS Puckeridge and RHS Kanaris rejoined the convoy.
At 0100Z/10, HMS Wrestler and HMS Bicester parted company with the convoy to fuel at Ponta Delgada after which they were to return to the UK.
On 16 October 1942 the convoy arrived at Freetown escorted by HMS Despatch, HMS Durban, HMS Queen of Bermuda, HMS Antelope, HMS Velox, HMS Puckeridge and RHS Kanaris.
The convoy departed Freetown for Durban on 20 October 1942.
The same ships made up the convoy plus the merchant vessels Hai Lee (Norwegian, 3616 GRT, built 1934) and Tamesis (Norwegian, 7256 GRT, built 1939).
On departure from Freetown the convoy escort was made up of the light cruiser HMS Durban, armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN), escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), RHS Kanaris, sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and the corvette HMS Tamarisk (Lt. S. Ayles, RNR).
At 1020A/23, HMS Avon Vale parted company. HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. D.C. Hayes, RNVR) had joined just before. She had sailed from Takoradi on the 22nd.
At 1842A/23, HMS Durban parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi to repair a defect. She arrived at Takoradi around 0745/24 and departed again around 0230A/25. She rejoined the convoy around 0945A/27.
Also detached on 23 October were the two Norwegian merchant vessels and the corvette HMS Tamarisk. These were also to proceed to Takoradi.
The corvette HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) joined on the 25th coming from Ponte Noire. After she joined HMS Southern Gem was detached to Ponte Noire due to engine trouble.
On the 26th, HMS Amaranthus parted company.
On 30 October the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and the corvettes HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) joined the convoy. These ships had sailed from Walvis Bay, the corvettes at 0600Z/29 and HMAS Norman at 2000Z/29. HMAS Norman joined the convoy around 1300B/30 and the corvettes around 1530B/30.
At 2100B/30, HMS Durban, HMS Despatch and HMS Milford were detached to fuel at Walvis Bay where they arrived around 0840/30. HMS Durban departed Walvis Bay aroud 1845B/31 and she rejoined the convoy around 1800B/1
On 2 November the transport / troopship Rimutaka (British, 16576 GRT, built 1923) joined the convoy coming from Capetown.
Around 1545C/2, RHS Kanaris parted company to refuel at Simonstown. She rejoined the convoy around 0100C/3.
At 2215C/2, HMS Rockrose and HMS Thyme were detached to search for survivors from ships that had been torpedoed by German submarines.
At 1950C/4, HMS Express was detached to search for survivors from a ship that had been torpedoed by a German submarines.
At 0530C/5, the escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) joined.
The convoy arrived at Durban in the early afternoon of 5 November escorted by HMS Durban, HMS Carthage, HMAS Norman, HMS Catterick, HMS Derwent and RHS Kanaris.
The convoy departed Durban around noon on 9 November 1942, now made up of Capetown Castle, Empress of Russia, Highland Monarch, Kina II, Port Jackson, Silversandal and Straat Malakka.
On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dauntless (Cdr.(Retd.) N.G. Leeper, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage, destroyers HMAS Norman, HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), escort destroyers HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN), RHS Kanaris and the corvettes HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR).
At 1700C/10, HMS Insconstant, HMS Genista and HMS Jasmine were detached.
At 1500D/11, HMS Dauntless, HMS Norman, HMS Blackmore and RHS Kanaris were detached.
At 1830D/11, the cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) joined.
At 1600E/16, HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN) joined and at 1230E/16, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini taking the Empress of Russia with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1700D/18.
At 1800E/17, the convoy was split up into the ' Aden section ' and the ' Bombay section '.
The ' Aden section ' was made up of the Highland Monarch, Kina II, Port Jackson and the Straat Malakka. They were escorted by HMS Carthage and arrived at Aden around 1300C/21. They had earlier been joined by the destroyer RHS Panther around 0615/20.
The ' Bombay section ' was made up of the other transports escorted by HMS Mauritius. They arrived at Bombay around 1000FG/24 except for the Silversandal which had been detached on November 22nd to proceed to Karachi where she also arrived on the 24th. (2)
8 Oct 1942
HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, RNR) picks up 42 survivors from the American merchant Chickasaw City that was torpedoed and sunk the previous day by German U-boat U-172 about 85 nautical miles south-south-west of Cape town, South-Africa in position 34°15'S, 17°11'E.
HMS Rockrose also picks up 28 survivors from the Panamanian merchant Firethorn that was also torpedoed and sunk the previous day by the same U-boat but about 60 nautical miles north-west of Cape town in position 34°13'S, 17°21'E.
10 Oct 1942
HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, RNR) picks up 5 survivors from the Greek merchant Pantelis that was torpedoed and sunk two days earlier by German U-boat U-172 about 40 nautical miles south-west of Cape town, South Africa.
29 Oct 1942
The British merchant Ross is torpedoed and sunk of Cape Agulhas, South Africa in position 38°51'S, 21°40'E by German U-boat U-159. 39 survivors were later picked up by HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, RNR).
For the daily positions of HMS Shakespeare during this passage see the map below.
- File 2.12.03.6368 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
- ADM 199/1211
- File 2.12.03.6413 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
- ADM 173/19638
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.