Allied Warships

HMS Haydon (L 75)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type III) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type III) 
PennantL 75 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Newcastle-on-Tyne, U.K.): Parsons 
Ordered28 Jul 1940 
Laid down1 May 1941 
Launched2 Apr 1942 
Commissioned24 Oct 1942 
End service 
History

Scrapped at Dunston on 18 May 1958.

 

Commands listed for HMS Haydon (L 75)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Roland Chisnell Watkin, RN20 Jul 194214 Jan 1944
2Lt. Richard George Ralph Clay, RN14 Jan 1944Jun 1945
3Cdr. James Marjoribanks Rowland, DSO, RNJun 1945

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Notable events involving Haydon include:


12 Jan 1943
Around 1530A/12, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski) and the escort destroyer HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN). departed Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir.

' Force H ' arrived at Mers-el-Kebir around 1100A/13. (1)

20 Jan 1943
HMS Sturgeon (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Mers el Kebir with HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN). (2)

24 Jan 1943
HMS Sturgeon (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Mers el Kebir with HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN). (2)

5 Feb 1943
HMS Sturgeon (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Mers el Kebir with HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN). (3)

7 Feb 1943
Around 1100A/7, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, KBE, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), cruiser-minelayer Adventure, destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Gibraltar.

En-route to Gibraltar two more destroyers joined, these were HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski).

' Force H ' arrived at Gibraltar around 1730A/8. (1)

12 Feb 1943
Around 1100A/7, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, KBE, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN).

' Force H ' arrived at Mers-el-Kebir around 1100A/13. Shortly before arriving HMS Verity was detached to return to Gibraltar. (1)

25 Feb 1943

Convoy WS 27 / KMF 10A

This combined convoy was formed off Orsay Island on 25 February 1943.

It was made up of the following troopships / transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914). Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Letitia (British, 13475 GRT, built 1925), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

The convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), destroyers HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR), sloops HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN), HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and the frigate HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RN).

At 1300/1, HMS Queensborough and HMS Wolverine were detached from the combined convoy to fuel at Casablanca.

At 1900/1, the destroyer HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) joined the combined convoy.

At 1100/2, the convoy split up; Convoy WS 27 continued to Freetown and Convoy KMF 10A set course to enter the Mediterranean and proceed to Oran / Algiers.

Convoy KMF 10A.

Convoy KMF 10A was made up of the troopships / transports; Batory, Boissevain, Circassia, Franconia, Nieuw Holland and Letitia, escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Erne, HMS Fishguard, HMS Test and HMS Clare.

On 3 March, while transiting the Gibraltar Strait, HMS Clare was detached to Gibraltar and the convoy was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) coming from Gibraltar.

The troopships Franconia and Letitia were detached and arrived at Oran on 4 March escorted by HMS Farndale, HMS Haydon, HMS Oakley and HMS Puckeridge. The escort destroyers departed Oran again later the same day to form an separate A/S force that was to operate near the remainder of the convoy during it's passage to Algiers.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Algiers on March, 5th escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Erne, HMS Fishguard, HMS Test and HMS Zetland.

Convoy WS 27.

Convoy WS 27 was made up of the troopships / transports; Almanzora, Antenor, Capetown Castle, Christiaan Huygens, Strathaird and Strathmore, escorted by HMS Malaya, HMS Quadrant, HMS Quail and HMS Raider.

At 0030/3, HMS Queensborough and HMS Wolverine rejoined the convoy.

Between 1033 and 1125/3, HMS Raidar was fuelled by HMS Malaya followed by HMS Wolverine between 1156 and 1215/3.

At 1115/4, HMS Quadrant parted company with the convoy to fuel at Bathurst.

At 1800/5, the troopship Almanzore parted company with the convoy to proceed to Dakar escorted by HMS Quail.

At 1110/7, HMS Quail rejoined the convoy.

The convoy arrived safely at Freetown in the morning of March, 8th.

1 Mar 1943
Around 1615A/1, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, KBE, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN), HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN).

At 0630A/2, ' Force A ' split into two groups for exercises. All ships had arrived at Gibraltar before noon. (1)

11 Mar 1943
Around 1330A/11, ' Force H ', made up of the made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski), escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir. At sea they were joined by the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN).

They were however later ordered to return. ' Force H ' entered Gibraltar around 1830A/11. (4)

12 Mar 1943
Around 1600A/12, ' Force H ', made up of the made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski), escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir.

Shortly after sailing HMS Calpe had to return to Gibraltar due to a defect to her Asdic installation. Repairs were quickly made and she was able to rejoin the force at 0800A/13.

' Force H ' arrived at Mers-el-Kebir around 1400A/13. (5)

25 Mar 1943
Around 1800A/25, ' Force H ', made up of the made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), Loyal and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Gibraltar.

Before arriving at Gibraltar, HMS Tartar was detached to search for survivors from the Free French A/S trawler Sergent Gouarne that had been torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-755. HMS Tartar was able to pick up 14 survivors and landed them at Oran.

' Force H ' arrived at Gibraltar around 1630A/26. (4)

4 Apr 1943
Around 1430A/4, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Brocklesby (Lt.Cdr. G. Blackler, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir where they arrived around 0900A/5. (4)

5 Apr 1943
Around 1630A/5, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Brocklesby (Lt.Cdr. G. Blackler, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Algiers where they arrived around 0830A/6 minus HMS Brocklesby which had to return to Oran with a defective feet pump. (4)

6 Apr 1943
Around 2100A/6, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Algiers where they arrived around 1330A/7. (4)

14 Apr 1943
The battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), destroyer HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) departed Gibraltar to patrol east of the Strait of Gibraltar. They returned to Gibraltar the following day together with ships from 'Force H' which returned to Gibraltar from the eastwards. (6)

28 Apr 1943
Around 2200B/28, ' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Gibraltar for exercises. [some of the destroyers / escort destroyers actually had departed earlier in the evening, presumable to conduct an A/S sweep of the exercises area.]

Around 1045B/29, the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) left Gibraltar to join ' Force H '. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN). They joined ' Force H ' around 1215B/29 after which ' Force H ' set course for Mers-el-Kebir.

' Force H ' arrived at Mers-el-Kebir around 0800B/30. (4)

3 May 1943
Around 1530A/3, ' Force H ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Algiers where they arrived around 1030A/4. (7)

5 May 1943
Around 1700A/5, ' Force H ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Algiers where HMS Nelson arrived around 0100A/7.

HMS Formidable with HMS Ilex, HMS Velox, HMS Puckeridge, HMS Wheatland and HMS Wilton arrived at Gibraltar around 1130B/7.

HMS Rodney, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, HMS Haydon and HMS Tynedale proceeded to the west of Gibraltar where around 0830B/7 these escort destroyers parted company to proceed to Gibraltar and the destroyers HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Wallace, DSC, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Tuscan (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) joined. HMS Rodney and her escorts then set course for the UK. (8)

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 approached to Capetown the destroyer HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, 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, HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, 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.

The destroyers parted company with the convoy around 1830C/29 to return to Durban where they arrived in the morning of July 3rd.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

At 1930 hours the light cruisers HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) joined them with HMS Euryalus taking over the tow with the intention to leave the area at a higher speed. However the cable parted and the USN again took the damaged battleship in tow. To everyone's surprise, in spite of a night of full moonlight, no air attacks were made by the enemy. In the morning, Spitfires arrived to give fighter cover, followed by two more tugs, HMS Nimble, HMS Oriana and the salvage vessel HMS Salveda. Around 2300 hours, another tug, USS Narragansett joined just as HMS Warspite was to enter the straits of Messina. It took the Warspite five hours to negotiate the Straits due to the strong current. She finally arrived safely at Malta around 0800 hours on 19 September. (9)

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

They arrived at Limmasol around 0630/16. (10)

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

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

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

HMS Penelope then set course to proceed to Limmasol arriving there around 0300/19. (10)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/637
  2. ADM 173/18142
  3. ADM 173/18143
  4. ADM 199/638
  5. ADM 53/638
  6. ADM 53/117879 + ADM 199/767
  7. ADM 199/639
  8. ADM 53/117517 + ADM 53/118252 + ADM 53/118479 + ADM 199/639
  9. ADM 234/358
  10. ADM 53/118345

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


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