Allied Warships

HMCS Alberni (K 103)

Corvette of the Flower class


HMCS Alberni during the war.

NavyThe Royal Canadian Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 103 
Built byYarrows Ltd. (Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada) 
Ordered14 Feb 1940 
Laid down29 Apr 1940 
Launched22 Aug 1940 
Commissioned4 Feb 1941 
Lost21 Aug 1944 
Loss position50° 18'N, 0° 51'W
History

HMCS Alberni never had her fo'c's'le extended.

At 11.40 hours on 21 August 1944, U-480 fired a Gnat at an unknown convoy and thought that she had sunk a frigate. In fact, the corvette HMCS Alberni (A/Lt.Cdr. Ian Hunter Bell, RCNVR) was hit and sunk in in the English Channel about 25 nautical miles south-east of St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight in position 50º18'N, 00º51'W. The survivors (three officers and 28 men) were rescued by the British motor torpedo boats HMS MTB-469 and HMS MTB-470 and taken to Portsmouth where the two injured men were treated. 59 off her crew went down with the ship.

 

Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 21 Aug 1944 by U-480 (Förster).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMCS Alberni

Commands listed for HMCS Alberni (K 103)

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
1Lt. Gerald Ormsby Baugh, RCNR6 Jan 19414 Apr 1942
2T/Lt. Aubrey Winston Ford, RCNR5 Apr 194212 Oct 1942
3T/Lt. Ian Hunter Bell, RCNVR12 Oct 194221 Aug 1944

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Notable events involving Alberni include:


20 May 1941

Convoy HX 128.

This convoy departed Halifax on 20 May 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alaska (Norwegian, 5681 GRT, built 1918), Alhama (British, 1352 GRT, built 1938), Aymeric (British, 5196 GRT, built 1919), Baron Haig (British, 3391 GRT, built 1926), Barrwhin (British, 4998 GRT, built 1929), British Colony (British (tanker), 6917 GRT, built 1927), Cape Clear (British, 5085 GRT, built 1939), Dorcasia (British (tanker), 8053 GRT, built 1938), Empire Kittyhawk (British, 5675 GRT, built 1918), Empire Mahseer (British, 5087 GRT, built 1920), Empire Storm (British, 7290 GRT, built 1941), Empire Sunbeam (British, 6711 GRT, built 1941), Gloucester City (British, 3071 GRT, built 1919), Harperley (British, 4586 GRT, built 1930), Hjelmaren (Swedish, 2467 GRT, built 1922), Inger Lise (Norwegian, 1582 GRT, built 1939), La Paz (British, 6548 GRT, built 1920), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Leiv Eiriksson (Norwegian (tanker), 9952 GRT, built 1936), Llanover (British, 4959 GRT, built 1928), Montreal City (British, 3066 GRT, built 1920), Oltenia (British (tanker), 6394 GRT, built 1928), Pilar de Larringaga (British, 7046 GRT, built 1918), Silvercedar (British, 4354 GRT, built 1924), Skaraas (Norwegian (tanker), 9826 GRT, built 1936), Swiftpool (British, 5205 GRT, built 1929), Thorshavet (Norwegian (tanker), 11015 GRT, built 1938), Thorshavn (Norwegian (tanker), 6869 GRT, built 1930), Tilapa (British, 5392 GRT, built 1928), Torborg (British (tanker), 6042 GRT, built 1921) and Treminnard (British, 4964 GRT, built 1922).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN) and the corvettes HMCS Alberni (Lt. G.O. Baugh, RCNR) and HMCS Rimouski (T/Lt. J.W. Bonner, RCNR). The corvettes soon returned to Halifax though.

Three recently transferred US Coast Guard Cutters were also with the convoy, though these had not been re-armed and worked up. These were the HMS Sennen (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN) and HMS Walney (?).

On 24 May 1941, after the news was received that German warships were trying to break out into the Atlantic, the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Halifax to join the convoy. She overtook and joined the convoy around 1345O/28.

In the morning of May 27th, Convoy BHX 128, merged with convoy HX 128. This was a few days later then had been intended. Convoy BHX 128 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Amsterdam (Dutch (tanker), 7329 GRT, built 1922), British Chivalry (British (tanker), 7118 GRT, built 1929), British Diligence (British (tanker), 8408 GRT, built 1937), British Fusilier (British, 6943 GRT, built 1923), Cardita (British (tanker), 8237 GRT, built 1931), Charles Racine (Norwegian (tanker), 9957 GRT, built 1937), Clavella (British (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1939), Designer (British, 5495 GRT, built 1928), Drammensfjord (Norwegian, 5339 GRT, built 1920), Eulima (British (tanker), 6207 GRT, built 1937), San Cirilo (British (tanker), 8012 GRT, built 1937) and Thistlegorm (British, 4898 GRT, built 1940). They had departed Bermuda on 18 May escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Montclare (Capt.(Retd.) H.M. Spreckley, RN) which parted company after the convoys had merged.

Around 1900O/29, Convoy HX 128 was temporary joined by Convoy SC 32 and her escort, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Laconia (Capt.(Retd.) G.G.P. Hewett, RN). Convoy SC 32 took station astern of convoy HX 128.

Around 2200Z/31, HMS Revenge and HMS Laconia parted company with the convoys to return to Halifax or to proceed to Reykjavik respectively.

HMS California eventually went with the convoy to the U.K. although it had originally been intended for her to detach and proceed to Reykjavik.

A/S escorts commenced to join the convoy as from 30 or 31 May but sources vary on their composition. [this will have to be researched further in the future.]

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 6 June 1941.

3 May 1942
HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) and HMCS Alberni (T/Lt. A.W. Ford, RCNR) together pick up 46 survivors from the British tanker British Workman that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-455 south-south-east of Cape Race in position 44°07'N, 51°53'W.

27 Oct 1942
HMCS Alberni (Lt. I.H. Bell, RCNVR) picks up 12 survivors from the American tanker Gurney E. Newlin that was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-436 in the North Atlantic in position 54°51'N, 30°06'W.

The abandoned Gurney E. Newlin was finally sunk the next day by German U-boat U-606.

28 Oct 1942
HMCS Alberni (Lt. I.H. Bell, RCNVR) and HMCS Ville de Quebec (Lt.Cdr. A.R.E. Coleman, RCNR) together pick up 81 survivors from the British whale factory ship Sourabaya that was torpedoed and sunk the previous day in the North Atlantic in position 54°32'N, 31°02'W by German U-boat U-436

24 Jan 1943

Combined convoy WS 26 / KMF 8.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 24 January 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 26 and KMF 8 at sea on 29 January 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Chyebassa (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Dempo (British, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empire Pride (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Rembrandt (Dutch, 8126 GRT, built 1941), Ruys (British, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Sibajak (British, 12226 GRT, built 1927), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tiwali (British, 8178 GRT, built 1931) and Volendam (British, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, RN) was also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN), HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Scott, RN), destroyers HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR), escort destroyers RHS Adrias, RHS Miaoulis, sloops HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN), Savorgnan de Brazza, cutters HMS Banff (Lt. P. Brett, RNR), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and the frigate HMS Test (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RN).

On 25 January 1943 the destroyer HMS Clare parted company to return to Londonderry. The escort destroyer RHS Miaoulis had lost touch with the convoy during the night of 24/25 January 1943. She was unable to regain touch and was also ordered to return to Londonderry. Her sister ship RHS Adrias had also lost touch but apparently was able to regain contact.

Around 1730A/26, the Antenor parted company with defects to return to the Clyde. It appears that she was escorted back to the Clyde by the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza.

Around 1630A/29, the convoy split into two parts.

Convoy KMF 8 continued on towards the Mediterranean and was made up of the transports Circassia, Duchess of York, Dunnottar Castle, Empire Pride, Letitia, Samaria, Strathnaver, Tawali and the aircraft carrier HMS Argus. They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Banff, HMS Fishguard and HMS Test.

Around 1630A/30, HMS Argus and the transport Letitia parted company with convoy KMF 8 to proceed to Gibraltar. They entered Gibraltar Bay around 0330A/31. Presumably they were escorted by the frigate HMS Test which also arrived at Gibraltar on this day.

On 31 January the destroyer HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) and sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN) joined convoy KMF 8 having departed Gibraltar on 30 January.

Later on 31 January the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Alberni (Lt. I.H. Bell, RCNVR), HMCS Baddeck (T/Lt. J. Brock, RCNVR), HMCS Lunenburg (T/Lt. W.E. Harrison, RCNVR), HMCS Port Arthur (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.T. Simmons, DSC, RCNVR) and HMCS Summerside (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F.O. Gerity, RCNR) joined the escort of convoy KMF 8. They had departed Mers-el-Kebir earlier on 31 January. On the joining of HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout, HMS Verity was detached to join convoy GUF 4 as was the corvette HMCS Port Arthur.

The transport Strathnaver was detached to proceed to Oran escorted by HMCS Alberni, HMCS Baddeck, HMCS Luneburg and HMCS Summerside.

The remainder of convoy KMF 8 arrived at Algiers on 1 February escorted by HMS Laforey, HMS Lookout, HMS Egret, HMS Enchantress, HMS Banff and HMS Fishguard.

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When the convoys split up, WS 26 continued on to Freetown. It was made up of the transports . They were escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, destroyers HMS Quadrant, HMS Relentless and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

On 31 January, the repair ship HMS Wayland (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.S. Carson, RN) and the transport Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) escorted by the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) joined. They had departed Gibraltar on 29 January. Also on 31 January the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) joined. They had departed Gibraltar on 30 January.

The destroyers HMS Quadrant, HMS Relentless and escort destroyer RHS Adrias parted company on 31 January to fuel at Casablanca from where they departed again on 1 February to rejoin the convoy.

On 4 February the transport Leopoldville parted company with the convoy escorted by the destroyer HMS Redoubt. They arrived at Bathurst on 5 February.

Convoy WS 26 arrived at Freetown on 6 February 1943 escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, destroyers HMS Quality, HMS Quadrant HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch, HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

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Convoy WS 26 departed Freetown on 9 February for South Africa. It was made up of the transports Arundel Castle, California, Chyebassa, Dempo, Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Dominion Monarch, Duchess of Richmond, Empress of Canada, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Mooltan, Orduna, Rembrandt, Ruys, Sibajak, Stratheden, Volendam and the repair ship HMS Wayland.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton, HMS Cilicia, armed boarding vessel Corinthian, destroyers HMS Quality, HMS Quiberon, HMS Quickmatch, HMS Racehorse and the escort destroyer RHS Adrias.

On 12 February HMS Corinthian and RHS Adrias parted company with the convoy.

At 1145AB(-1.5)/13, the destroyer HMS Relentless joined the convoy coming from Lagos having departed there on 12 February immediately after being undocked.

Also on the 13th the corvette FFS Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves joined the convoy escort.

In the morning and early afternoon of the 14th, HMS Racehorse and HMAS Quickmatch fuelled from HMS Canton.

On the 15th the destroyers HMS Quality and HMAS Quiberon arrived at Porte Noire to fuel. After doing so they departed again to rejoin the convoy. Also on the 15th the Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves fuelled from HMS Canton.

Around 2215O/20, the escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) joined the convoy coming from Saldanha Bay.

On 22 February the Capetown section of the convoy, made up of Arundel Castle, California, Cheyebassa, Duchess of Richmond, Highland Chieftain, Orduna, Ruys, Sibajak and HMS Wayland arrived there with part of the escort, some of which then went to Simonstown.

The light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) joined the Durban section as did the corvette HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR). This corvette was later detached and arrived at Port Elizabeth on 24 February.

The remaining ships proceeded to Durban arriving there on 25 February escorted by HMS Ceres, HMS Cicilia, HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch and HMS Racehorse.

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On 26 February 1943 the Capetown section departed there to proceed towards Durban. It was now made up of the transports Arundel Castle, California, Cheybassa, Highland Chieftain, Orduna and HMS Wayland. The convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Canton, destroyer HMS Relentless and the escort destroyers HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Blackmore.

At 0115C/1, HMS Relentless was detached to proceed ahead to Durban to fuel.

On completion of fuelling she returned from Durban together with the corvette HMS Freesia (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.A. Cherry, RNR), and the minesweepers HMIS Carnatic (Lt. H.J.D. Hamilton, RIN) and Commandant Duboc.

Meanwhile the corvette HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR) had also joined the convoy escort.

HMS Blackmore and HMS Catterick also went to Durban to fuel. They returned later together with the light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN) and HMS Ceres.

HMS Canton parted company with the convoy and entered Durban.

Transports that joined coming from Durban were the City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922), Dempo, Dilwara, Dominion Monarch, Lancashire (British, 9445 GRT, built 1917), Maloja, Mooltan, Rembrandt, Selandia (South African, 8482 GRT, built 1938) and Stratheden. The repair ship HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN) also joined the convoy. The Dilwara however returned to Durban with defects shortly after sailing.

Around 1830C/3, HMS Jasmine and HMS Freesia parted company.

Around 0530C/4, HMS Relentless, HMS Blackmore and HMS Catterick parted company.

Around 1500D/6, the Lancashire was detached to Tamatave escorted by the Commandant Duboc.

Around 0300C/8, HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy to proceed to Diego Suarez.

Around 0800CD(-3.5)/9, HMS Resource was detached from the convoy to proceed to Kilindini escorted by HMS Birmingham. The heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) had joined just before.

Around 1200D/10, the heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 0700D/11, the convoy split up into the Aden section and the Bombay section.

The Aden section was made up of the Arundel Castle, City of Paris, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Orduna, Rembrandt and Selandia. They were escorted by HMS Frobisher. They arrived off Aden on 15 March 1943 where the convoy was dispersed.

The Bombay section was made up of the California, Chyebassa, Dempo, Dominion Monarch, Mooltan and Stratheden. They were escorted by HMS Hawkins. They arrived at Bombay on 17 March 1943.

22 Feb 1944
HMS L 26 (Lt. A.G. Prideaux, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off St. Margarets Bay with HMCS Alberni (T/A/Lt.Cdr. I.H. Bell, RCNVR). (1)

14 May 1944
HMS H 28 (Lt. A.S. Melville-Ross, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS Stormont (T/Skr.Lt. G.A. Myra, RCNR), HMCS Swansea (A/Cdr. C.A. King, DSO, DSC, RCNR), HMCS Alberni (T/A/Lt.Cdr. I.H. Bell, RCNVR) and HMCS Port Arthur (T/Lt. K.T. Chisholm, RCNVR). (2)

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


amazon.co.uk
(£ 38.25)


Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1939-1945

MacPherson, Ken and Milner, Marc

Sources

  1. ADM 199/1830
  2. ADM 173/18473

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


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