Allied Warships

HMS Birdlip (T 218)

ASW Trawler of the Hill class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeASW Trawler
ClassHill 
PennantT 218 
Built byCook, Welton & Gemmill (Beverley, U.K.) : Holmes 
Ordered20 Nov 1940 
Laid down12 Mar 1941 
Launched9 Jul 1941 
Commissioned23 Dec 1941 
Lost14 Jun 1944 
Loss position5° 00'N, 9° 00'W
History

HMT Birdlip (T/Lt. Iorwerth Brian Evan Humphrey, RNVR) was torpedoed and sunk off Greenville, Liberia in approximate position 05º00'N, 09º00'W by the German submarine U-547.

 

Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 14 Jun 1944 by U-547 (Niemeyer).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Birdlip

Commands listed for HMS Birdlip (T 218)

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
1T/Lt. James Alcorn, RNVR12 Nov 1941mid 1942
2T/Lt. Frederick Waine, RNVRmid 1942mid 1942

3Lt. Eric Nelson Groom, RNR3 Nov 1942late 1943

4T/Lt. Iorwerth Brian Evan Humphrey, RNVR1 Jan 194414 Jun 1944 (+)

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Birdlip include:


23 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. H. Eibel), HMS Inkpen (T/Lt. H. Vernon, RNR), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN) and HMS Birdlip. (1)

13 Nov 1942
HMS H 33 (Lt. P.C. Chapman, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR), HMS Butser (T/Lt. A.F. Cameron, RNVR), HMS Mignonette (Lt. H.H. Brown, RNR) and HMS Helier 2 (A/Skr.Lt. G.L. Oleson, RNR). (2)

11 Mar 1943
HMS P 615 (Lt. C.W.St.C. Lambert, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown with HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR) and HMS Butser (T/Lt. A.F. Cameron, RNVR). (3)

30 Apr 1943
HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR) picks up 77 survivors from the British merchant Bandar Shahpour, 39 survivors from the British merchant Corabella, 73 survivors from the Dutch merchant Kota Tjandi and 111 survivors from the British merchant Nagina that were all torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-515 from convoy TS-37 about 130 miles southwest of Freetown.

HMS Arran (T/Lt. D.S. Hutton, RNR) and HMS Birdlip together pick up 97 survivors from the British merchant City of Singapore that was torpedoed and sunk in a second attack on the convoy by the same U-boat on 1 May.

6 May 1943

Combined convoy OS 47 / KMS 14.

This combined convoy was assembled off Oversay on 6 May 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Albion Star (British, 7946 GRT, built 1919), Amstelkerk (Dutch, 4457 GRT, built 1929), Baron Dunmore (British, 3938 GRT, built 1933), Baron Yarborough (British, 3388 GRT, 1928), Brika (British, 4412 GRT, built 1929), Chateauroux (British, 4765 GRT, built 1921), City of Agra (British, 6361 GRT, built 1936), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Calcutta (British, 8063 GRT, built 1940), City of Hereford (British, 5101 GRT, built 1927), City of Oran (British, 7323 GRT, built 1915), Clan Forbes (British, 7529 GRT, built 1938), Clan MacBean (British, 5000 GRT, built 1918), Clumberhall (British, 5198 GRT, built 1930), Collegian (British, 7886 GRT, built 1923), Daldorch (British, 5571 GRT, built 1930), Egret (British, 1391 GRT, built 1937), Eildon (British, 1447 GRT, built 1936), Empire Barrie (British, 7168 GRT, built 1942), Empire Beatrice (British, 7046 GRT, built 1943), Empire Brook (British, 2852 GRT, built 1941), Empire Carpenter (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Empire Chamois (British, 5684 GRT, built 1918), Empire Clive (British (CAM ship), 7069 GRT, built 1941), Empire Commerce (British, 3722 GRT, built 1943), Empire Cougar (British, 5758 GRT, built 1919), Empire Eve (British (CAM ship), 5979 GRT, built 1941), Empire Galahad (British, 7046 GRT, built 1942), Empire Geraint (British, 6991 GRT, built 1942), Empire Lake (British, 2852 GRT, built 1941), English Prince (British, 7275 GRT, built 1943), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Filleigh (British, 4856 GRT, built 1928), Fort Anne (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Douglas (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942)), Fort Drew (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Thompson (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Vermillion (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Govert Flinck (Dutch, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Groix (British, 9975 GRT, built 1922), Guinean (British, 5205 GRT, built 1936), Harmonic (British, 4558 GRT, built 1930), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Indian Prince (British, 8587 GRT, built 1926), James Barbour (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Holt (British, 4964 GRT, built 1943), Kingsland (British, 3669 GRT, built 1930), Kong Haakon VII (Norwegian, 7073 GRT, built 1942), Liberian (British, 5129 GRT, built 1936), Llancarvan (British, 4910 GRT, built 1937), Lombardy (British, 3379 GRT, built 1921), Lwow (Polish, 1409 GRT, built 1932), Macharda (British, 7998 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Maplewood (British, 4566 GRT, built 1930), Masirah (British, 6578 GRT, built 1919), Merkland (British, 1363 GRT, built 1934), Myrtlebank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Nea (Norwegian, 1877 GRT, built 1921), Nestor (British, 14629 GRT, built 1913), Nigerstroom (Dutch, 4639 GRT, built 1939), Ocean Valour (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vanity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Verity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pencarrow (British, 4841 GRT, built 1921), Phrontis (Dutch, 6616 GRT, built 1926), Prince de Liege (Belgian, 2588 GRT, built 1938), Rallus (British, 1871 GRT, built 1922), Salawati (Dutch, 6643 GRT, built 192), Sellinge (British, 2327 GRT, built 1916), Silversandal (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Spero (British, 1589 GRT, built 1922), Stad Vlaardingen (Dutch, 8501 GRT, built 1925), Stanforth (British, 1817 GRT, built 1915), Tactician (British, 5996 GRT, built 1928), Thurland Castle (British, 6372 GRT, built 1929), Topsdalfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921), Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940), Tynemouth (British, 3168 GRT, built 1940) and Umvuma (British, 4419 GRT, built 1914).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Scarborough (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Carnduff, RN), HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), corvettes HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR), HMS Balsam (Lt. J.E.L. Peters, RNVR), HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR), HMS Mignonette (Lt. H.H. Brown, RNR), minesweepers HMS Fort York (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Parrsboro (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Raven, DSC, RNVR), HMS Qualicum (T/Lt. H. Stevens, RNVR), HMS Wedgeport (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.L. Fetherstonhaugh, RNR), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN) and the M/S trawler HMS Prodigal (T/Lt. G.C. Norman, RNR).

Later, between latitudes 49°N and 42°N, the AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) was near the convoy to provide cover.

On 7 May 1943, the Ocean Valour developed a fire in her lower bunker. As she was carrying ammunition and at 0800Z/7 she was detached in position 55°18'N, 08°58'W to return to Belfast.

Around 0200Z/9, HMS Mignonette was detached to make rendezvous with the merchant vessel Empire Guinevere (British, 7072 GRT, built 1942) which had been unable to sail with the convoy and had left Barrow-in-Furness later to proceed and join the convoy via the south of Ireland.

Around 0800Z/10, HMS Mignonette and the Empire Guinevere joined the convoy in position 49°16'N, 14°12'W as did the corvette HMS Spiraea (Lt. A.H. Pierce, OBE, RNR) and the merchant vessel Ocean Volunteer (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942) which came from Milford Haven.

At 0722Z/11, when the convoy was in position 47°07'N, 14°19'W, the air cover, a Halifax aircraft (Sqdn. 58/D), reported sighting a submarine bearing 217° - 10 nautical miles from the convoy. On receipt of this report HMS Mignonette was ordered to proceed to this position and she was ordered to rejoin by 1000Z/11 if not in contact. The convoy changed course to 150°.

At 0749Z/11, the aircraft reported that she had sighted and attacked a submarine in position 280° - 8 nautical miles. HMS Fleetwood was ordered to proceed to this position and she was ordered to rejoin by 1030Z/11 if not in contact. At 0820Z/11, HMS Fleetwood reported that she was in the position marked by the aircrafts smoke float and at 0856Z/11, she reported that she was in contact. On receipt of this info, HMS Mignonette and HMS Wedgeport were ordered to join HMS Fleetwood.

The convoy altered course to 200° at 1200Z/6.

At 1345Z/11, HMS Fleetwood reported that the submarine had been sunk and that she had picked up 39 survivors and HMS Mignonette another 6. The submarine in question was U-528 which had been damaged by the depth charges from the aircraft and HMS Fleetwood. The damaged U-boat managed to surface and was then scuttled by her crew.

At 1500Z/11, HMS Fleetwood, HMS Mignonette and HMS Wedgeport were ordered to rejoin the convoy. HMS Fleetwood and HMS Mignonette were back in station by 2130Z/11. HMS Wedgeport could not find the convoy in the bad visibility and was ordered to remain behind the convoy until the following morning. At 2000Z/11, the convoy altered course to 182°

On the 12th, HMS Wedgeport was homed on to the convoy and resumed station at 1140Z/12. Earlier, the Llancarvan had to stop in approximate position 45°35'N, 14°10'W with engine trouble and at 0608Z/12, HMS Qualicum was ordered to remain with her until further orders. They were subsequently ordered to proceed to Lisbon which was the port of destination of the Llancarvan.

At 0800Z/12, the convoy was in position 44°56'N, 14°03'W, course 182°, speed 6.75 knots.

At 1315Z/14, in position 38°50'N, 12°17'W, HMS Prodigal was detached to escort Merkland to the territorial waters of Lisbon and the Brika to Huelva. HMS Prodigal was then to proceed to Gibraltar. In the end the destination of the Brika was changed to Gibraltar and HMS Prodigal escorted her to her new destination.

Also on the 14th, HMS Mignonette transferred her six German survivors from U-528 to HMS Fleetwood.

At 0600Z/15, the convoy was in position 37°15'N, 11°32'W when course was altered to 135°. HMS Fleetwood was now detached to Gibraltar to land her prisoners and complete with depth charges, ammunition and fuel and then rejoin the convoy.

At 1830Z/15, in position 36°02'N, 10°36'W, convoy KMS 14 parted company to make rendezvous with convoy UGS 8 which was effected in the afternoon of the 16th in position 35°44'N, 08°15'W. Convoy KMS 14 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Baron Yarborough, City of Agra, City of Auckland, Clan Macbean, Collegian, Daldorch, Egret, Eildon, Empire Beatrice, Empire Carpenter, Empire Clive, Empire Commerce, Empire Eve, Empire Guinevere, English Prince, Explorer, Filleigh, Fort Anne, Fort Vermillion, Govert Flinck, Havildar, Indian Prince, James Barbour, Kingsland, Kong Haakon VII, Lwow, Macharda, Manchester Port, Masirah, Myrtlebank, Nea, Nigerstroom, Ocean Vanity, Ocean Verity, Ocean Volunteer, Pencarrow, Prince de Liege, Rallus, Salawati, Sellinge, Spero, Stanforth, Tactician, Thurland Castle, Topsdalfjord, Trader and Tynemouth.

They were escorted by HMS Fort York, HMS Parrsboro, HMS Wedgeport and HMS Hazard.

In the early hours of 16th May 1943, the Maplewood straggled from the convoy and was not seen again. She proceeded independently to Freetown.

Around 0700Z/6, in position 34°43'N, 10°14'W, rendezvous was made with convoy OS 47G, the Gibraltar section of the convoy. The following merchant vessels now joined the convoy; Anglo-African (British, 5601 GRT, built 1929), Benledi (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), Carlton (British, 7210 GRT, built 1942), Cefn-Y-Bryn (British, 5164 GRT, built 1939), Clan Murray (British, 5953 GRT, built 1918), Empire Ruskin (British, 7037 GRT, built 1942), Empire Torrent (British, 7076 GRT, built 1942), Fort Ellice (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Fort Livingstone (British, 7135 GRT, built 1942), Fort Simpson (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Jan Lievens (Dutch, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Mahout (British, 7921 GRT, built 1925), Ocean Messenger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Pilgrim (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Trader (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Wayfarer (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942) and Stancleeve (British, 5970 GRT, built 1942).

They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, DSC, RN) and the ASW trawlers HMS Foxtrot (T/Lt. J.B. Bald, RNVR) and HMS Reighton Wyke (Skr. G.M. Sutherland, RNR).

At 1000Z/16, rendezvous was made with the Casablanca section of the convoy which had departed that port on the 15th. The following merchant vessels now joined the convoy; Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Essex Trader (British, 7237 GRT, built 1943), Fort Rupert (British, 7142 GRT, built 1942) and Orient City (British, 5095 GRT, built 1940).

These had been escorted to the rendezvous with the convoy escorted by the destroyers USS Guest (T/Cdr. H. Crommelin, USN), USS Thatcher (T/Cdr. L.R. Lampman, USN) and USS Brownson (T/Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN).

These destroyers then returned to Casablanca where they arrived on the 17th having taken the following merchant vessels with them; Baron Dunmore, Empire Barrie, Fort Douglas, Fort Drew and Fort Thompson.

Around the same time the HMS Foxtrot and HMS Reighton Wyke were detached to proceed to Gibraltar. HMS Wishart was to join the combined convoy UGS 8 / KMS 14.

At 0700Z/19, in position 25°57'N, 16°27'W, the RFA tanker Fortol (2629 GRT, built 1917) and her escorts, the corvette HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR) and the ASW whaler HMS Wastwater (T/Lt. W.J.L. Storey, RNVR) joined the convoy. The Fortol was to fuel the escorts which commenced at 0900Z/19 when HMS Scarborough went alongside.

At 1106Z/19, when the convoy was in position 25°38'N, 16°51'W, the air escort, a Sunderland flying boat, reported having sighted a periscope bearing 120° - 14 nautical miles from HMS Scarborough, the escort leader. Immediately HMS Balsam was ordered to proceed to this position and at 1114Z/19, HMS Coltsfoot was ordered to join her. HMS Scarborough slipped from the Fortol at 1120Z/19 to also proceed to the scene.

At 1120Z/19, HMS Scarborough arrived on the reported location and with the two corvettes a large square search was carried out until 1615Z/19, but no contact was obtained. The escorts then made off to rejoin the convoy after having dropped a depth charge pattern each for exercise purposes. [No enemy submarine appeared to have been in the immediate area, closest one was U-511 but she was further to the west.]

Around 0200Z/20, HMS Scarborough, HMS Balsam and HMS Coltsfoot rejoined the convoy.

Around 1050Z/20, HMS Fleetwood rejoined the convoy from Gibraltar.

During the 20th, all escort vessels fuelled from the Fortol.

Around 1600Z/22, in position 14°52'N, 18°05'W, two merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Dakar [No clue on their identity] escorted by local escorts. Four of the merchant vessels then parted company to proceed to Dakar escorted by the local escorts. These were the Empire Addison, Empire Cougar and Fort Livingstone. [No clue on the identity of the fourth.]

At 1100Z/23, in position 12°45'N, 18°30'W, one of the mercant vessels which was to proceed to recife was detached. This was most likely the City of Hereford.

At 1700Z/23, in position 11°08'N, 18°41'W, two additional escorts joined, these were the corvette HMS Armeria (Lt. M. Todd, RNR) and the ASW whaler HMS Buttermere (Lt. J.D.E. Lewis, RNR).

Around 1100Z/25, the convoy was approaching the end of the swept channel into Freetown. Some ships of the convoy split off forming convoy OSS 47 escorted by HMS Bellwort, HMS Armeria, HMS Buttermere and HMS Wastwater. [The ships that split off were probably the following (to be researched further); Albion Star, Amstelkerk, City of Calcutta, Clan Forbes, Empire Galahad, Empire Geraint, Guinean, Harmonic and Lombardy.]

Three merchant vessels; Lida (Polish, 1387 GRT, built 1938), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925) and Rhesus (British, 6530 GRT, built 1911) joined convoy OSS 47 coming from Freetown escorted by the armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR), corvette HMS Burdock (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Lynes, RD, RNR) and the ASW trawlers HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR) and HMS Duncton ( Lt. J.N. Burgess, RANVR).

On these ships joining, HMS Bellwort, HMS Buttermere and HMS Wastwater parted company with convoy OSS 47 and also entered Freetown.

Convoy OSS 47 continued on to Takoradi though most of the merchant vessels were detached to proceed independently before arrival at Takoradi. (4)

15 Jul 1943
Le Centaure conducted A/S exercises off Freetown with HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR), HMS Butser (T/Lt. A.F. Cameron, RNVR) and HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR). (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17253
  2. ADM 173/17231
  3. ADM 199/635
  4. ADM 199/963 + ADM 199/975 + ADM 199/2201

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


Return to the Allied Warships section