Allied Warships

HMS Kale (K 241)

Frigate of the River class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeFrigate
ClassRiver 
PennantK 241 
Built byA & J Inglis Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered11 Feb 1941 
Laid down22 Sep 1941 
Launched24 Jun 1942 
Commissioned4 Dec 1942 
End service 
History

From February until July 1943 HMS Kale was employed in convoy escort duties in the North Atlantic. In August she was joined by the frigates HMS Teviot, HMS Test, HMS Helford and HMS Plym for the passage down to Simonstown, South Africa. On the 17th, convoy WS-32 arrived in South Africa from the U.K. with reinforcements for service in Burma, the convoy consisted of 5 ships. Kale and the frigates HMS Derg and HMS Tay accompanied by the British destroyers HMS Relentless and HMS Rapid and the Australian destroyers HMAS Norman and HMAS Quiberon were responsible for providing the A/S escort for the final leg of the passage. From September 27-30th she was docked in the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown.

Kale spent 1944 escorting convoys around the Cape sea route. In April 1945 she was docked in the Robinson dry dock at Cape Town for a refit, after the refit she sailed for the Far East, in preparation for the occupation of Malaya, until the second Atomic Bomb was dropped on Japan, this put all the initial training into practice, and Kale was then involved in operation Zipper, the landings at Port Sweetenham and Port Dixon, to arrive at Singapore for the surrender on September 12th accepted by the Supreme Allied Commander, Lord Louis Mountbatten. The following day she sailed for Batavia in Java, in company with the occupying forces, where she spent two months in those waters evacuating British prisoners of war. In November, she left far Eastern waters for her return and final paying off in the U.K.

She was sold for scrap in November 1956 and was broken up by Kashmore at Newport in 1957.

 

Commands listed for HMS Kale (K 241)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. George William Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR27 Aug 19422 Jan 1946

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Notable events involving Kale include:


6 Dec 1942
On 6 and 7 December 1942, HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR) conducted D/G trials on the D/G range at Holy Loch. (1)

21 Apr 1943
HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RNR) picks up 39 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Scebeli that was torpedoed and sunk south of Cape Farewell in position 56°07'N, 44°26'W by German U-boat U-191.

19 Jul 1943

Combined convoy WS 32 / KMF 20.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 19 July 1943.

On assembly the convoy was made up of the following transports; Chyebassa (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), City of Bristol (British, 8424 GRT, built 1943), Copacabana (Belgian, 7340 GRT, built 1938), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Esperance Bay (British, 14204 GRT, built 1922), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Rangitata (British,16737 GRT, built 1929), Rembrandt (British, 5559 GRT, built 1941), Rochester Castle (British, 7795 GRT, built 1937), Rowallan Castle (British, 7798 GRT, built 1939) and Volendam (Dutch, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), sloops HMS Egret (Lt. G.H. Cook, RN), HMS Pelican (Capt. G.N. Brewer, RN) and the frigates HMS Derg (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.W. Cooper, RNR), HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO, RD, RNR), Kale (HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSO, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR) and HMS Wear (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR).

On 21 July 1943 the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) departed Plymouth to join the convoy which she did early in the evening off 22 July.

The convoy split up at 2000B/25.

Convoy KMF 20, continued on to the Mediterranean. It was made up of the following transports; Cheyebassa, City of Bristol, Dempo, Highland Princess, Mooltan, Orion, Rembrandt and Volendam.

They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Pelican, HMS Jed, HMS Rother and HMS Wear.

At 1000B/26, HMS Charybdis parted company and proceeded ahead to Gibraltar arriving there around 2000B/26.

The convoy passed the straits of Gibraltar during the night of 27/28 July. HMS Pelican was detached and arrived at Gibraltar on 27 July.

The transports Dempo, Highland Princess, Mooltan, Orion and Volendam arrived at Algiers on 28 July 1943 escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Jed, HMS Rother and HMS Wear.

Cheyebassa, City of Bristol and Rembrandt continued on the the eastwards towards Malta as convoy KMF 20A. They were escorted by HMS Egret, HMS Jed and HMS Rother which, most likely, had fuelled at Algiers.

On 30 July 1943, HMS Egret, HMS Jed and HMS Rother arrived at Malta. Their escort duties taking over by the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) which had departed Malta earlier on 30 July.

The three ships of the convoy joined convoy GTX 4 on 31 July following which HMS Ilex and HMS Intrepid returned to Malta arriving on 1 August.

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Convoy WS 32 continued on towards Freetown. It was made up of the following transports; Copacabana, Esperance Bay, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Moreton Bay, Rangitata, Rochester Castle and Rowallan Castle.

They were escorted by the destroyer Beagle and the frigates HMS Derg, HMS Kale and HMS Tay. These were joined by the destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the frigate HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 28 July 1943.

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Convoy WS 32 departed Freetown for South Africa on 5 August 1943.

It was now made up of the transports; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Esperance Bay, Highland Chieftain, Maloja, Moreton Bay, Rangitata and Rochester Castle.

On 8 August 1943 the transport Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922) joined the convoy coming from Takoradi. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Wolverine (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) which also joined the convoy.

On 9 August 1943, the transports Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922) joined the convoy coming from Lagos.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Beagle, HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN), HMS Douglas and the frigates HMS Derg, HMS Kale and HMS Tay.

On 12 August 1943, HMS Beagle, HMS Bulldog, HMS Douglas and HMS Wolverine parted company after having been relieved by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Lt. G.J.A. Ashley-Brown, RAN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

The convoy arrived at Capetown in 18 August 1943.

It sailed again the following day, minus the Rochester Castle for Durban where it arrived on 22 August 1943. They had been escorted by HMAS Norman, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Rapid and HMS Relentless.

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On 28 August 1943 convoy WS 32 departed Durban for Bombay. It was now made up of the transports Britannic, Largs Bay, Maloja, Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935) and Tamaroa.

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Norman, HMAS Quiberon and HMS Rapid.

On 3 September 1943, the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN) took over from HMS Hawkins and the three destroyers which then proceeded to Kilindini where they arrived the following day after having participated in night exercises.

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 10 September minus the Strathmore which had been detached to Aden on 6 September.

25 Oct 1943

Combined Convoy AB 18 / AP 50.

This combined convoy departed Aden in company on 25 October 1943.

Convoy AB 18 was made up of the following transports;
City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928), Clan MacInnes (British, 4672 GRT, built 1920), Clement Clay (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Esperance (British, 5072 GRT, built 1923), Fort Buckingham (British, 7122 GRT, built 1943), Glenapp (British, 9503 GRT, built 1920), Heimvard (Norwegian, 4851 GRT, built 1930), Jalavihar (British, 5330 GRT, built 1911), Kohistan (British, 5884 GRT, built 1930), Kong Sverre (Norwegian, 7238 GRT, built 1941), Mahout (British, 7921 GRT, built 1925), Pasha (British, 5307 GRT, built 1919), Tjibadak (Dutch, 7083 GRT, built 1929) and William Whipple (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942).

The tug Empire Harry (British, 458 GRT, built 1943) was also part of the convoy.

The landing ship HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.C. Gervers, RN), tank landing ships HMS LST 180 (?) and the cable ship HMS Bulan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J. Donaldson-Palmer, RNR) were also part of this convoy.

On departure from Aden this convoy was escorted by the sloop HMIS Jumna (A/Cdr. I.B.W. Heanly, RIN), frigate HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR) and the corvette HMS Rockrose (T/Lt. H.J. Makepeace, RNR).

Convoy AP 50 was made up of the following transports / tankers;
A.C. Bedford (British (tanker), 9485 GRT, built 1918), Bradford City (British, 7266 GRT, built 1943), British Fidelity (British (tanker), 8465 GRT, built 1938), British Sailor (British (tanker), 5576 GRT, built 1918), Charles Henderson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Egero (Norwegian (tanker), 7590 GRT, built 1929), Esso Baytown (American (tanker), 7991 GRT, built 1937), Harry Lane (British, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Havkong (Norwegian, 9666 GRT, built 1937), Jalapa (American, 10195 GRT, built 1943), Juan de Fuca (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Samoa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Santa Margarita (American, 6507 GRT, built 1942) and Thomas Pollock (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from Aden this convoy was escorted by the minesweepers HMAS Cessnock (Lt.Cdr. T.S. Marchington, RANR(S)), HMIS Madras (Lt. S.G. Karmarkar, RINR) and HMIS Punjab (T/Lt. V.V. Pogoretsky, RINR).

The convoys were to split on reaching longtitude 56°E.

Around 1600F/31, convoy AB 18 was joined by the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN).

Convoy AB 18 arrived at Bombay on 3 November 1943.

Convoy AP 50 arrived off Bandar Abbas on 3 November 1943.

3 Nov 1943
HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMIS Jumna (A/Cdr. I.B.W. Heanly, RIN), HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR) and HMS Rockrose (T/Lt. H.J. Makepeace, RNR) arrived at Bombay with convoy AB 18. (2)

13 Dec 1943

Convoy AB 24.

This convoy departed Aden on 13 December 1943.

[The exact composition of this convoy is not clear to us for the moment and will require furter research.]

The repair ship HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN), tank landing ship Boxer (Lt.Cdr. G.B Herbert-Jones, RNR) and the tug HMS Aimwell were also part of this convoy.

On departure from Aden this convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and the frigates HMS Derg (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR).

Around 1200DE/15, the destroyer HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) joined and commenced fuelling from HMS Recource.

Around 1700DE/15, the escort carrier HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and frigate HMS Plym (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A. Foxall, RNR) made rendezvous with the convoy. They came from Bombay which they had departed, together with HMAS Nepal around 1500FG/12. HMS Rapid had joined the Battler group around 1415DE/15 having departed Colombo on 12 December 1943. HMS Plym actually did not join the convoy but proceeded independently to Aden where she arrived on 17 December 1943. HMAS Nepal proceeded to Kilindini where she arrived on 19 December 1943 escorting the troop transport Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921) which she must have picked up at some point. HMS Battler, HMS Rotherham, HMS Rapid, HMS Roebuck, HMS Derg and HMS Kale arrived at Bombay with part of the convoy on 19 December 1943.

Around 1715DE/15, HMS Rescourse and the transport City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938) and the destroyers HMAS Quiberon and HMS Quality parted company with the convoy. The City of Lincoln parted company with these ships around 1400FG/20 to proceed to Colombo where she arrived on 21 December 1943. HMS Rescource, HMAS Quiberon and HMS Quality arrived at Trincomalee around 1200FG/22.

8 Jan 1944

Convoy AB 27A.

This convoy departed Aden on 8 January 1944.

It was made up of the troop transports;
Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Aden, around 1500C/8, the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN).

Around 1800C/8, the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) joined coming from Aden having overtaken the convoy.

Around 0800E/11, the frigate HMS Bann (Lt.Cdr. F.A. Shaw, RD, RNR) joined coming from Bombay. HMAS Norman then parted company to return to Aden.

Around 0800E/12, the escort carrier HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN), destroyer HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) and frigate HMS Kale (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RD, RNR) joined.

Around 1200E/12, HMS Battler and HMS Bann parted company to proceed to Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Around 1030FG/14, the convoy arrived at Bombay. (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/115946
  2. Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for November 1943
  3. Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for January 1944

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


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