Peveril Barton Reibey Wallop William-Powlett DSO, RN

Born  5 Mar 1898


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Ranks

2 Aug 1914 Mid.
15 Nov 1916 A/S.Lt.
15 Jul 1917 S.Lt.
15 Oct 1918 Lt.
15 Oct 1926 Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1931 Cdr.
31 Dec 1938 Capt.
8 Jan 1948 Rear-Admiral
15 Dec 1950 Vice-Admiral

Retired: 8 Sep 1954


Decorations

8 Jan 1942 DSO
4 Sep 1945 CBE
9 Jun 1949 CB
1 May 1953 KCB

Warship Commands listed for Peveril Barton Reibey Wallop William-Powlett, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Fiji (58)Capt.Light cruiser16 Dec 194022 May 1941
HMS Newcastle (76)Capt.Light cruiser14 Feb 194224 Apr 1944

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Light cruiser HMS Fiji (58)


7 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
With her repairs now completed HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) proceeded down river to Greenock. (1)

15 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (1)

18 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted full power trials and exercises in the Clyde area. (1)

25 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (1)

2 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted torpedo and gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. Also a simulation air attack was made on her. (2)

6 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (2)

7 Mar 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (2)

10 Mar 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in the Clyde area. (2)

11 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow. (2)

12 Mar 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from the Clyde. (2)

14 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted torpedo firing and 4" gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (2)

19 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (2)

22 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
In the evening, HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN), conducted night gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (2)

25 Mar 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. Also RDF exercises were carried out with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) during the night of 25/26 March. (2)

27 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
In the afternoon HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) and HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Denmark Strait. (3)

28 Mar 1941
HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) and HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) are ordered to join the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) which they did around 1445 hours (zone -1). HMS Hood and her escorting destroyers had departed Scapa Flow around 0630 hours. The destroyers were to proceed to the limit of their edurance and then proceed to Londonderry to refuel, in fact they were detached at 0001/31.

These ships were to relieve 'Force H' from Gibraltar on the Bay of Biscay patrol to block the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Brest. (3)

31 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Shortly after midnight, HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), parted company with Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) and HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN). The destroyers were to proceed to Londonderry to fuel before they were to rejoin the other ships for their return passage to the U.K. (4)

2 Apr 1941
Around 2100 hours, HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) parted company with HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN). HMS Fiji was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar to temporarily join 'Force 'H.

At midnight HMS Nigeria was also detached to join convoy HG 57 at sea. (5)

2 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2100 hours, HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) parted company with Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN).

At Midnight HMS Nigeria was also detached. (5)

5 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (6)

6 Apr 1941

Shortly after midnight Vice-Admiral Somerville was informed that there were indications that the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau might leave Brest on the night of 6/7 April. He was instructed to leave Gibraltar with ' Force H ' as soon as possible and proceed westwards. ' Force H ' was placed under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet.

At 0300 'Force H', made up of the following ships; battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. R.R. McGrigor, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), light cruisers HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN), HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN), destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN (Capt. D.8)), HMS Fearless (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), departed Gibraltar. They were ordered to patrol off the Bay of Biscay.

At 0650/6, an A/S patrol was flown off and at 0730/6 three Fulmars and five Swordfish were landed on coming from North Front (the airbase at Gibraltar). An additional A/S patrol was glown off in view of information received from th Vice-Admiral Commanding North Atlantic Station, that five Italian submarines might be passing through the Straits into the Atlantic. Speed was increased to 23 knots at 1000/6 to reach a position from which a reconnaissance from HMS Ark Royal on the evening of the 7th might locate the enemy should he leave Brest on the previous night and steer south-west.

In the late afternoon / early evening an exercise was carried out during which ranges and bearings were obtained by the new radar set in HMS Fiji and were passed on to HMS Renown. HMS Sheffield served as the 'target' during this exercise. This was to investigate the possibility of HMS Renown engaging the enemy at night or in low visibility. Results were promising, but not entirely satisfactory, largely owing to lack of experience in HMS Fiji in operating this new radar set.

At 2000/6, when in position 37°46'N, 11°04'W, course was altered to 328° and speed increased to 24 knots. Further instructions for all units taking part in the operation were received.

Shortly after midnight Vice-Admiral Somerville leant that reconnaissance at 1830/6 had located both enemy battlecruisers at Brest. He therefore decided to maintain the course and speed of ' Force H ' till 1000/7 asnd then if no report had been received if the enemy having left Brest during the night of 6/7 April to reduce speed and alter course to the westward. As it was anticipated that activity by Focke Wulf aircraft would probably accompany the departure of the battlecruisers from Brest, a section of fighters was ranged on deck of HMS Ark Royal after the usual A/S patrol had flown off at 0655/7.

During the forenoon the employment of HMS Fiji's radar set by HMS Renown was again exercises on HMS Sheffield. During the afternoon each destroyer proceeded alongside HMS Renown and received 105 tons of oil. The time taken averaged 1 hour 14 minutes. During this period HMS Renown maintained a steady course of 290° at 10 knots. HMS Ark Royal acted independently. Weather conditions for fuelling were moderate.

At 1420/7 the A/S patrol aircraft, which was then seven miles to the northward of HMS Renown, reported having sighted three miles to the north-west of his position what appreared to be a four-engine monoplane flying 090° at 1000 feet. Renown's position was then 43°05'N, 15°47'W, and the visibility from 1000 feet, 7 miles. The aircraft was at first presumed to be a Focke Wulf, and it was doubtful whether or not ' Force H ' had been sighted. Nothing however was picked up on HMS Fiji's radar and later the crew of the Swordfish reported it was possible that they had seen a section of Fulmars which was flying in formation at that time and mistaken it for the single large aircraft reported.

No report having been received y 1500/7 regarding the presence or otherwise of the enemy battlecruisers at Brest, Vice-Admiral Somerville decided to send off a reconnaissance from HMS Ark Royal to search their furthest-on position assuming theyy had let Brest at nightfall on 6 April and passed between our submarine patrols and Cape Finisterre. Accordingly at 1625/7, nine aircraft were flown off from position 43°15'N, 16°15'W to search between 000° and 110°. Just after they had taken off a report was received that at 1145/6 the enemy was still in Brest harbour. The reconnaissance landed at 2010/7, having searched to a depth of 130 miles without sighting anything. Earlier receipt of the Brest report would have obviated the necessity for this reconnaissance.

Course was altered to the southward at 2130/7 amd to the eastward at 0200/8 to remain in the most favourable position for covering the south-west corner of the Bay of Biscay should the enemy leave Brest during the night.

At 0510/8 the result of the photographic reconnaissance of Brest on the afternoon of the 7th came in. This showed one battlecruiser had moved into dry dock. The other was in the harbour.

The A/S patrol was flown off at 0655/8 and at 0800/8 course was altered to 065° to reach a good position for an evening reconnaissance in the event of no information having been received that the enemy were still in Brest, and to enable a surface reconnaissance to be established the south-west of Cape Finisterre during the night if definite information wre received of the enemy's departure.

During the forenoon RDF trials were again carried out between HMS Fiji and HMS Renown, HMS Sheffield again acting as the 'target'. At the end of the exercise two rounds of 15" were fired with the object of HMS Fiji could range on the splashes but nothing was detacted on the screen. The exercises continued to show promise. A search and plotting exercise was also carried out during the forenoon.

The visibility was variable throughout the day and by 1120/8 the A/S patrol had to be abandoned. It was possible to restart it an hour later when one aircraft was flown off and instructed to investigate some flashes that had been reported by HMS Faulknor just above the horizon, on a bearing 130°. This observation could not be confirmed and nothing was seen by the aircraft.

Between 1600/8 and 1845/8 ' Force H' entered fog and at times the visibility was only a few hundred yards. The A/S patrol was fitted with ASV and by mean of this succeeded in landing on HMS Ark Royal down wind sustained some damage in the safety net. As any form of reconnaissance was clearly out of the question in this area, course was altered to the westward at 1700/8 and later the the southward in ordered to cover by air reconnaissance next moring, a possible enemy break out between our submarine patrols and Cape Finisterre.

At 2100/8 Vice-Admiral Somerville received instructions that the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet in HMS King George V was to return to Scapa Flow and that HMS Repulse was to proceed to Gibraltar and the command of the remaining forces in the Bay of Biscay area was now transferred to Vice-Admiral Somerville.

The position allocated to HMS Queen Elizabeth and to a less extent that allocated to HMS Hood appeared to Vice-Admiral Somerville to be too far to the westward to provide a reasonable prospect of making contact with the enemy before shadowing by shore base aircraft ceased owing to darkness or distance from their base. Vice-Admiral Somerville, however, cosidered that it was justigiable to break W/T silence at this stage.

At 0645/9, an A/S patrol was flown off, followed at 0800/9 by a reconnaissance of nine aircraft from position 42°03'N, 15°41'W. An all round search was flown with the object of locating the enemy battlecruisers should they had left Brest during the night of 7/8 April and passed south of our submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The reconnaissance was limited by poor visibility and some aircraft had to return early. Nothing was sighted.

Soon after 1000/9 an immediate plain language signal was interepted from 19 Group, Headquartes, instructing RAF aircaft SQ8M to 'patrol to maximum prudent limit of endurance. Battlecruisers may have left 0830'. The time of origin of this signal was 1009/9. Vice-Admiral Somerville was surprised that a signal of this nature should have been made in plain language.

Course was altered to 320° at 0915/9 for oiling the destroyers and each of the three took 107 tons in an average of 67 minutes. On completion of oiling this course was maintained in order to close HMS Repulse, who was returning to Gibraltar in accordance with Admiralty signal 1859/8, as Vice-Admiral Somerville wanted to pass a cypher to her for transmission on the first occasion of breaking W/T silence.

At 1140/9, a signal was intercepted from the Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, informing HMS Dunedin, who was on passage to Gibraltar, that a large vessel, possibly a warship, escorted by three destroyers, was leaving Brest. This vessel eventually proved to be a merchant vessel. News of the enemy leaving Brest was eagerly awaited in HMS Renown as this was the anniversary of Renown's previous encounter with the battlecruisers of Norway.

A reconnaissance of eight aircraft flew off at 1600/9 from position 42°11'N, 16°04'W, to search between 220° and 000° with the object of locating HMS Repulse. She was sighted fine on the starboard bow, and passed at a distance of seven miles at 2000/9 in position 43°00'N, 16°53'W. The reconnaissance aircraft dropped onboard HMS Repulse a message to be transmitted to the Admiralty as soon as the breaking W/T silence was considered justified. This message requisted the Admiralty to move HMS Hood and HMS Queen Elizabeth further in towards Brest and to give earlier information concerning the results of air reconnaissance.

HMS Ark Royal's reconnaissance also sighted at 1635/9 a Bermuda rigged cutter in position 42°11'N, 16°52'W steering 240° and wearing no flag. This report was not received till shortly before dark and as the position was then some 45 miles on Renown's port quarted Vice-Admiral Somerville did not detach a destroyer to investigate. This cutter, which was probably a Portugese fruit boat, was heading for the Azores.

Course was altered to 215° at 2000/9 and continued throughout the night so as to be in position at 0800/10 to cover the enemy;s furthest on position had they left Brest on the night of 8/9 April and steered south-west. No news of the enemy was received all day.

At 0230/10 a signal was received stating that photographs taken at 1830/9 showed both battlecruisers still at Brest. An A/S patrol was flown off at 0700/10 and at 0740/10 speed was reduced to 14 knots on account of the sea and rising wind from north-east. Course was altered to 340° to bring the sea on the beam and thus improve conditions for the destroyers.

During the forenoon HMS Sheffield was stationed 12 miles on the port beam for an exercise. At 1300/10 course was altered to 120° to avoid getting too far to the north-west and to keep as much to windward as possible without punishing the destroyers.

At 2000/10 course was altered to 330° for the night. This took ' Force H ' about 60 miles north of its area by 0800/10 but it was considered desirable for A/S reasons to get clear of the area in which we have been operating fo the last 48 hours. There were no indications of early departure of the enemy and the weather reports suggested that the area to the north-west would in all probability be the least favourable for air reconnaissance.

At 2100/10, HMS Fiji was detached in position 41°56'N, 14°36'W, to return to Gibraltar to fuel and sail for Freetown in accordance with Admiralty's 1829/8. The wind and sea had risen considerably and a speed of 12 knots could not be exceeded without the destroyers bumping excessively.

At 0200/11, Vice-Admiral Somerville received the Commander-in-Chief. Home Fleet's intended dispositions for the patrol. These coincided very closely with his own but necessitated ships moving further eastward then Vice-Admiral Somerville had suggester in his signal sent 1330/9.

The usual A/S patrol flew off at 0720/11, and by 0830/11 the sea had moderated sufficiently to allow a speed of 16 knots. A reconnassance of 12 aircraft was flown off at 0904/11 in position 43°48'N, 16°10'W, for an all round search for the enemy battlecruisers in case they might be in the vicinity, no news having been received of them later than that spplied by photographs at 1830/9.

At 1000/11, signals were received which showed both battlecruisers at Brest at 1620/10. These signals from the Admiralty were in Naval Code with no indication of priority. They were originated at 2324/10 and 0234/11 but were not received in HMS Renown until 0845/11 and there was then a futher delay in decoding due to this lack of any indication of priority. As a result 12 aircraft had been flown off on a needless reconnaissance in conditions where there was considerable chance of damage on landing and ' Force H ' was committed to a definite course and speed till all aircraft returned.

Speed had to be reduced to 15 knots at 1130/11 as the destroyers had again started to bump.

The reconnaissance landed on at 1300/11 having sighted nothing. Course was then altered to the westward for two hours with the object of avoiding steaming through the same water when making ground to the north-west.

Course was altered to 330° at 1530/11. The decisiom to move north-west was based on several factors. HMS Queen Elizabeth was proceeding from her patrol position in the vicinity of 45°00'N, 23°00'W, to fuel at Gibraltar, and would therefore temporarily cover the sector previously patrolled by ' Force H ', whilst the latter Force would be moving towards Queen Elizabeth's former position. The centre sector of the Bay of Biscay was being uncovered by the removal of our submarines to the UK and Gibraltar. Weather reports indicated better prospects for efficient reconnaissance to the north-west and it was clearly advantageous from an A/S point of view to shift the area of operations.

At 1700/11, information was received that both enemy battlecruisers were still in Brest at 1400/11. This early receipt of the results of reconnaissance was of great value.

HMS Fearless investigated an A/S contact at 2130/11 in position 44°24'N, 17°02'W, and HMS Faulknor assisted, but the echo was not good and was considered to be non-sub. After dropping a pattern of depth charges the destroyers rejoined.

Having made enough ground tp the north-ward course was altered to 270° at 0100/12 to avoid approaching the position where HMS Fearless had obtained a contact. HMS Sheffield was detached at 0500/12 on receipt of instructions that she was to return to Gibraltar.

Course was altered to the eastward at 0650/12 to aoid moving too far from Brest, and as weather conditions were then favourable for oiling destroyers, course was altered to 140° at 1030/12 and speed reduced to 10 knots for this purpose. Each destroyers received approximately 77 tons.

A short search and plotting exercise was carried out during the forenoon and HMS Ark Royal exercised fighters. Further fighter training and a dummy torpedo bombing attack was carried out p.m.

At 1800/12, in position 44°08'N, 16°50'W, a life saving raft marked Bianca was sighted. This position was 110 miles 274° from where the Bianca had been scuttled on March 20th when intercepted by HMS Renown. During the morning watch an empty lifeboat had been investigated and it is probable this also belonged to either the Bianca or San Casimiro, who had been scuttled some 60 miles north-west of the Bianca on the same day.

On completion of oiling, course was altered to 090° to make ground to windward and towards Brest in case any report should be received of the enemy leaving harbour. At 1700/12 information was received that up to 1300/12 reconnaissance of Brest had been unsuccessful. No reconnaissance was flown as he position of ' Force H ' and visibility did not suggest that any useful results would be otained. Course was maintained to the eastward.

At 0019/13, a signal was received stating that the ASV patrol off Brest was not being flown and since there had been no reconnaissance of the port the previous day it was decided to turn to, the north-eastward to take up the best position for an air reconnaissance from HMS Ark Royal in the evening to cover the possible position of the enemy if they had left during the night of 12/13 April. Course was accordingly altered to 060° at 0400/13. By noon it was apparent that the visibility was unlikely to improve and as it was low enough to reduce the risk of our own force being detected, course was once more altered to 060° in order to fly a reasonably effective reconnaissance before dark.

HMS Faulknor dropped depth charge on a contact in position 44°48'N, 14°06'W at 1400/13 but resumed station at once as the contact was considered doubtful and a large fish was seen to break surface near the depth charge explosions.

At 1530/13, course was altered to 150°. information was received at 1625/13 (Admiralty message 1456/13) that up to 1300/13 no reconnaissance of Brest had been possible. Twelve aircraft were flown off at 1630/13 from position 44°43'N, 13°33'W, to cover the enemy's possible position had he sailed during the first half of last night and steered between 220° and 255° between 20 and 24 knots. These aircraft landed on at 2000/13 having sight nothing except a 3-masted brigantine 120 miles north of HMS Renown heading to the westward. No steps were taken to investigate this craft as it would have been dark before a destroyer could reach the position.

Course was altered to 210° for the night to enable a morning reconnaissance to cover the enemy's possible position if he had avoided detection by, or passed to the south-east of the area covered by, the days search. News was received at 2125/13 that no reconnaissance of Brest had been carried out up to 1800/13 and that a report hat stated that Gneisenau had been seriously hit aft by two bombs.

An A/S and security patrol was flown off at 0650/14. At 0800/14 course was altered to 320° to maintain the same distance from Brest, and a reconnaissance of eight aircraft was flown off from position 41°30'N, 14°50'W, to carry out a search to the north-eastward to a depth of 120 miles. Nothing was sighted. Course was altered to 065° at noon so that the evening reconnaissance from HMS Ark Royal could cover the enemy's furthest on position should the reconnaissance of Brest indicate that the battlecruisers had sailed.

During the day HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal carried out 4.5" gunnery exercises at a target towed by one of the destroyers. Dummy dive bombing practices were carried out on the destroyers by Fulmars.

Information was received at 1245/14 that one battlecruiser had been seen at Brest at 0730/14 but owing to low visibility the dry dock had not been seen.

At 1630/14, a signal (C-in-C, Home Fleet, 1435/14) was received directing the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, to assume command of all the units operating in the Bay of Biscay area from 1600/14.

Failing further news of the enemy Vice-Admiral Somerville did not consider it desirable to carry out an evening reconnaissance, as to reach his possible position it would have been nesccessary for the aircraft to fly off very late and to carry out a very deep search. As nothing more was heard by 1800/14 course was altered to the westward for two hours and then to 150° to return to Gibraltar. It was etimated that HMS Repulse, northbound to start her patrol, would cross the latitude of ' Force H ', southbound, a.m. on the 15th.

At dawn on the 15th the usual A/S patrols were flown off. Speed was increased to 19 knots at 1000/19. During the forenoon fighters carried out dummy dive bombing attacks on HMS Renown for the training of the close range AA personnel.

Information was received at 1300/15 that both the enemy battlecruisers had been seen at Brest at 0845/15.

At 1345/15, when in position 39°05'N, 11°24'W, a signal was received that a German Focke Wulf aircraft had been operating near 38°00'N, 12°00'W at 1135/15. In the afternoon two sections of fighters were therefore flown off to maintain a high and low patrol. These patrols landed at 1610/15, nothing had been sighted.

There were signs of considerable U-boat activity in the Gibraltar area. Three definite reports of sightings were made in the past twenty-four hours, one 53 miles east of Gibraltar, one 100 miles were of Tarifa, and one 28 miles of Lisbon. Course was accordingly altered to 180° at 2000/15 in case ' Force H ' had been sighted and reported by U-boat or aircraft.

At 2255/15, a raider signal was received from an unknown ship in position 37°09'N, 18°43'W, some 400 miles due west of ' Force H '. With the fuel remaining only one search over a relatively small area was possible and the destroyers could not accompany the force. In view of the reported presence of U-boats in the vicinity and the very small prospects of effecting contact coupled with the necessity for ships and destroyers of ' Force H ' to make good defects in preparation for forthcoming operations, Vice-Admiral Somerville decided that it was undisirable to investigate this report. The ocean boarding vessel HMS Camito was known to be in the vicinity of the position or the raider report.

Course was altered to the eastward at 2330/15 and speed was increased to 24 knots at midnight.

A double A/S patrol was flown off at 0625/16 and later five aircraft were flown off to land at North Front landing ground to be available for various training exercises while the ships would be in harbour.

' Force H ' entered harbour at 1245/16. (6)

10 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) was detached from 'Force H' to return to Gibraltar. As she was to proceed to Freetown later on by orders from the Admiralty. (6)

12 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (7)

13 Apr 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) departed Gibraltar for Freetown. (7)

17 Apr 1941

Convoy SL 72

This convoy departed Freetown on 17 April 1941 for Liverpool where it arrived on 13 May 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchants; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Bangalore (British, 6067 GRT, built 1928), Baron Douglas (British, 3899 GRT, built 1932), Coracero (British, 7252 GRT, built 1923), Corinaldo (British, 7131 GRT, built 1921), Daldorch (British, 5571 GRT, built 1930), Dixcove (British, 3790 GRT, built 1927), Empire Lotus (British, 3696 GRT, built 1920), Gaelic Star (British, 5596 GRT, built 1917), Garoet (Dutch, 7118 GRT, built 1917), Hainaut (Belgian, 4312 GRT, built 1905), Hazelside II (British, 5297 GRT, built 1940), Inverbank (British, 5149 GRT, built 1924), Jeypore (British, 5318 GRT, built 1920), Kelbergen (Dutch, 4823 GRT, built 1914), Llanberis (British, 5055 GRT, built 1928), Lorca (British, 4875 GRT, built 1931), Moanda (Belgian, 4621 GRT, built 1937), Mokambo (Belgian, 4996 GRT, built 1938), Mount Kitheron (Greek, 3876 GRT, built 1912), Muneric (British, 5229 GRT, built 1919), Norman Star (British, 6817 GRT, built 1919), Penrose (British, 4393 GRT, built 1928), Perth (British, 2259 GRT, built 1915), Prinses Maria-Pia (Belgian, 2588 GRT, built 1938), Saint Bernard (British, 5183 GRT, built 1939), Scottish Star (British, 7224 GRT, built 1917), Somerset (British, 8790 GRT, built 1918), St. Helena (British, 4313 GRT, built 1936), Testbank (British, 5083 GRT, built 1937), Tyndareus (British, 11361 GRT, built 1916), Ulysses (British, 14647 GRT, built 1913), Velma (Norwegian (tanker), 9720 GRT, built 1930), Winkfield (British, 5279 GRT, built 1919) and Yorkwood (British, 5401 GRT, built 1936).

The merchant vessel Empire Advocate (British, 5787 GRT, built 1913) joined at sea on 25 April near the Azores.

A/S Escort was provided on the day of departure when the convoy was near Freetown by the destroyers HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN) and the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR).

Ocean escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.W. Shaw, MBE, RN) until being relieved around noon on the 19th by HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) which then remained with the convoy until May 1st.

On 20 April the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Dunnottar Castle (Capt.(Retd.) C.T.A. Bunbury, RN) joined the convoy and she remained with it until May 11th.

Local escort in British home waters was provided from 10 to 13 May by the destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. A.M. Sheffield, RN), HMS Lincoln (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN), HMS Sabre (Lt. Sir P.W. Gretton, DSC, RN) (to 12 May only), HMCS Columbia (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) S.W. Davis, RN), sloop HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN), corvettes HMS Alisma (A/Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.G. Rankin, RNR), HMS Kingcup (Lt. R.A.D. Cambridge, RNR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Man o' War (T/Lt. W.W. Creber, RNR), HMS St. Loman (T/Lt. R.C. Warwick, RNR) and HMS Wellard (Lt.(Retd.) R.F. Turnbull, RD, RNR).

18 Apr 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) arrived at Freetown. (7)

19 Apr 1941
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) departed Freetown to overtake convoy SL 72 and to relieve light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.W. Shaw, MBE, RN) as ocean escort.

[See 'Convoy SL 72' for 17 April 1941 for more on this convoy.] (7)

4 May 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) arrived at Gibraltar from convoy escort duty (convoy SL 72). (7)


Light cruiser HMS Newcastle (76)


15 Jun 1942
While escorting a convoy from Alexandria to Malta HMS Newcastle was hit by a torpedo from the German motor torpedo boat S-56. The torpedo hit on the starboard side forward and did considerable damage. The ship went to Bombay, India to be patched up. She arrived at the New York Navy Yard on 10 October 1942 for permanent repairs. HMS Newcastle returned to service in March 1943.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/114262
  2. ADM 53/114263
  3. ADM 199/396
  4. ADM 53/114263 + ADM 199/396
  5. ADM 53/114437
  6. ADM 199/656
  7. ADM 199/2554

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


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