Alexander Henry Maxwell-Hyslop, RN

Born  25 May 1895Woolwich, London, England
Died  28 Aug 1978(83)Par, Cornwall, England


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Ranks

15 May 1913 Mid.
15 May 1915 A/S.Lt.
15 Dec 1915 S.Lt.
15 Mar 1917 Lt.
15 Jan 1925 Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1930 Cdr.
30 Jun 1937 Capt.

Retired: 5 Jul 1946


Decorations

11 Nov 1929 AM

Warship Commands listed for Alexander Henry Maxwell-Hyslop, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Durban (D 99)Capt.Light cruiser31 Jul 193926 Nov 1939
HMS Cumberland (57)Capt.Heavy cruiser5 Dec 194116 Mar 1942
HMS Cumberland (57)Capt.Heavy cruiser13 Apr 19426 Dec 1943
HMS Nelson (28)Capt.Battleship9 Dec 19432 Aug 1944

Career information

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

Events related to this officer

Light cruiser HMS Durban (D 99)


30 Aug 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) departed Plymouth for Gibraltar. (1)

2 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. She departed for Freetown later the same day. (2)

8 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) arrived at Freetown where she joined the South Atlantic Station. (2)

12 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) departed Freetown for convoy escort duty.

[See the event ' Convoy AB 1/1 ' for 2 September 1939 for more information on this convoy.] (2)

29 Sep 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) arrived at Simonstown after convoy escort duty. (2)

4 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) departed Simonstown to patrol off the Cape of Good Hope. (3)

6 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) returned to Simonstown. (3)

10 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) departed Simonstown to patrol off the Cape of Good Hope. She returned to Simonstown later the same day. (3)

13 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) departed Simonstown for Mauritius.

HMS Durban is to join the China Station. (3)

20 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) arrived at Mauritius. She departed for Colombo later the same day.

HMS Durban is to join the China Station. (3)

24 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) made a short stop at Diego Garcia before continuing to Colombo later the same day. (3)

27 Oct 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) arrived at Colombo. (3)

2 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) departed Singapore for Hong Kong. (4)

6 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) arrived at Hong Kong. (4)

9 Nov 1939
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) is docked at Hong Kong for a short refit. (4)

13 Nov 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) is undocked. (4)


Heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (57)


5 Dec 1941
In the afternoon and evening the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (5)

10 Dec 1941
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (6)

12 Dec 1941
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord, Iceland from Scapa Flow. (6)

23 Dec 1941
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Seidisfjord. (6)

24 Dec 1941
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Seidisfjord from Hvalfjord. (6)

30 Dec 1941
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyer HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off the Seidisfjord. (6)

2 Jan 1942

Convoy PQ 7B.

This convoy departed Hvalfjord, Iceland on 31 December 1941 for Murmansk where it arrived on 11 January 1942.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels; Aneroid (Panamanian, 5074 GRT, built 1917), Botavon (British, 5848 GRT, built 1912), Chernyshevski (Russian, 3588 GRT, built 1919), Empire Activity (British, 5335 GRT, built 1919), Empire Halley (British, 7168 GRT, built 1941), Empire Howard (British, 6985 GRT, built 1941), Empire Redshank (British, 6615 GRT, built 1919), Jutland (British, 6153 GRT, built 1928) and Reigh Count (Panamanian, 4657 GRT, built 1907).

On departure from Hvalfjord the convoy was escorted by the A/S trawler HMS Cape Argona (T/Lt. R.G. Wallace, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMS Wastwater (T/Lt. J.H.L. May, OBE, RNVR).

On 4 January 1942 the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) were to join the convoy escort and take over from the two escorting trawlers / whalers. They had departed Seidisfjord at 1350N/2.

Around 1715N/2, the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Seidisfjord to provide close cover for the convoy. She and the two destroyers were however unable to find it due to the frequent course changes of the convoy due to the ice conditions and the possibility of enemy activity.

HMS Cumberland encountered HMS Tartar and HMS Icarus at 1300Z/4 and they then proceeded in company along the expected convoy track. but they could not find it. The convoy therefore had to continue unescorted after the two trawlers / whalers had detached on the 4th.

The destroyers parted company at 0300C/10.

HMS Cumberland finally sighted the convoy shortly before 1000C/10 but she did not join it and proceeded ahead of it to Murmansk.

The convoy arrived at Murmansk on the 11th.

13 Jan 1942

Convoy QP 5.

This convoy departed Murmansk on 13 January 1942 and was dispersed at sea on 19 January 1942.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels; Arcos (Russian, 2343 GRT, built 1918), Dekabrist (British, 7363 GRT, built 1903), Eulima (British (tanker), 6207 GRT, built 1937) and San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935).

On departure from Murmansk the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN).

On board HMS Cumberland was Sir Stafford Crips the retiring British Ambassador to Russia. He was landed at Scapa Flow on 21 January.

At 2340B/16, HMS Cumberland parted company with the convoy to proceed to Seidisfjord where she arrived on 18 January 1942.

The convoy was dispersed at sea on 19 January 1942 with the merchant ships proceeding to their destinations independently and HMS Tartar and HMS Icarus proceeding to Seidisfjord where they arrived on 20 January 1942.

18 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Seidisfjord after convoy escort duty. (7)

19 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Seidisfjord for Scapa Flow. (7)

20 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Seidisfjord. (7)

24 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord. She had on board stores and personnel for units of the Home Fleet based in Iceland. (8)

26 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from Scapa Flow. (7)

29 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Hvalfjord to return to Scapa Flow. (8)

31 Jan 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (7)

3 Feb 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth. (9)

4 Feb 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Rosyth from Scapa Flow. (9)

5 Feb 1942
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Rosyth for Sheerness. She is being escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Winchester (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Cotswold (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN). (9)

6 Feb 1942
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Sheerness. (9)

8 Feb 1942
Having completed de-ammunitioning at Sheerness, HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), proceeded from there to the Chatham Dockyard where she was to be taken in hand for refit and repairs to her hull as she was suffering from leaking fuel and water tanks. (10)

14 Feb 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is docked in No.9 Dock at the Chatham Dockyard. (9)

23 Apr 1942
it appears that on this day, No.9 Dock at the Chatham Dockyard was flooded. HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) apparently remaining in the dock but now afloat. (11)

23 Apr 1942
While still at the Chatham Dockyard, HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), moved from No.9 Dock to No.2 Basin. She moved to No.3 Basin on 28 April 1942. (11)

30 Apr 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) proceeded from the Chatham Dockyard to Sheerness. (11)

2 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Sheerness. (12)

3 May 1942
Around 1300B/3, the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), departed Sheerness for Scapa Flow. She was being escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Cattistock (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN) and HMS Meynell (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN).

HMS Meynell parted company at 2317B/3.

HMS Cattistock parted company at 0515B/4.

HMS Cumberland arrived at Scapa Flow around 1540B/4. (12)

8 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovering trials / exercises at Scapa Flow. (12)

9 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (12)

11 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (12)

12 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted compass swing trials at Scapa Flow followed by 8" gunnery exercises in the Flow. (12)

13 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted AA and 8" gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (12)

15 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted 8" gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (12)

19 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (12)

21 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow followed by night 8" gunnery exercises. (12)

22 May 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovering exercises inside the Flow.

These were followed by 8" gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (12)

25 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2200Z/25, HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), departed Hvalfjord for the Denmark Strait patrol where she was to relieve USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN). (13)

2 Jun 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait after having been relieved by USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN). (14)

8 Jun 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Hvalfjord for the Denmark Strait patrol where she was to relieve USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN). (14)

16 Jun 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait after having been relieved by USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN).

After having fulled HMS Cumberland departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow later the same day. (14)

18 Jun 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (15)

24 Jun 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (15)

11 Jul 1942
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted 4" HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow following which, around 1000B/11, she joined HMS King George V (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN) and her escorting destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN).

They came from Liverpool where HMS King George V had just completed repairs and a refit. HMS Cumberland then served as target vessel to conduct trials with HMS King George V's new ' state of the art ' radar outfit.

All ships arrived at Scapa Flow around 1530B/11. (16)

17 Jul 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) conducted towing exercises at Scapa Flow. (17)

20 Jul 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord. (18)

17 Aug 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Hvalfjord. (19)

25 Aug 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The battleship HMS Duke of York (R.Adm. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) and HMS Montrose (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. (20)

30 Aug 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (19)

2 Sep 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (21)

3 Sep 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (21)

6 Sep 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyer HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock where they arrived the following day. (22)

8 Sep 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyer HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Greenock for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (22)

10 Sep 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyer HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived Hvalfjord from Greenock. (22)

8 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted bombardment exercises at Scapa Flow. She also ran over the D/G range. (23)

9 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Scapa Flow. Also a practice dive bomb attack was made on her. (23)

14 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
During 14/15 October 1942, HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These included a night encounter exercise with HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN). (24)

20 Oct 1942
The battleships HMS King George V (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral B.A. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, second in Command Home Fleet), HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. Destroyers were also present but many were exercising in the area and the logs don't mention with ones were present to escort the battleships during the exercises. (25)

23 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
In the evening, HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted a night encounter exercises with HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN). (26)

27 Oct 1942
HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (27)

31 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow to proceed to a position off the Azores to provide distant cover for the landings in North Africa (Operation Torch). (28)

5 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 0740Z/5, in approximate position 35°20'N, 23°56'W, the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) were joined by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN). These destroyers had been escorting convoy WS 24 from the U.K. southwards and had fuelled at the Azores on the 4th. (29)

7 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
In the morning the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) fuelled the HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN).

HMS Norfolk fuelled HMS Onslow and HMS Offa while HMS Cumberland fuelled HMS Oribi. (29)

11 Nov 1942
The heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar after patrol.

After fuelling the departed again later the same day to escort the troopships Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936) to the U.K. (29)

16 Nov 1942
At 1800A/16, the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) parted company with the troopships Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN). (29)

17 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (29)

25 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), escorted by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), and the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. J.J. Weld, MVO, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (30)

3 Dec 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (31)

6 Dec 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from Scapa Flow and after exercises had been carried out. (31)

13 Dec 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Hvalfjord for the Denmark Strait patrol. (32)

19 Dec 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait patrol. (32)

22 Dec 1942

Convoy JW 51B and the Battle of the Barents Sea.

This convoy departed Loch Ewe on 22 December 1942 and arrived in the Kola Inlet on 3 January 1943.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ballot (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922), Calobre (Panamanian, 6891 GRT, built 1919), Chester Valley (American, 5078 GRT, built 1919), Daldorch (British, 5571 GRT, built 1930), Dover Hill (British, 5815 GRT, built 1918), Empire Archer (British, 7031 GRT, built 1942), Empire Emerald (British (tanker), 8032 GRT, built 1941), Executive (American, 4978 GRT, built 1920), Jefferson Meyers (American, 7582 GRT, built 1920), John H.B. Latrobe (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Pontfield (British (tanker), 8319 GRT, built 1940), Puerto Rican (American, 6076 GRT, built 1919), Ralph Waldo Emerson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Vermont (American, 5670 GRT, built 1919) and Yorkmar (American, 5612 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Loch Ewe the convoy was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Chiddingfold (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN), corvettes HMS Hyderabad (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, DSC, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt. L.A. Sayers, RNR), minesweeper HMS Bramble (Cdr. H.T. Rust, DSO, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Northern Gem (Skr. H.C. Aisthorpe, RNR) and HMS Vizalma ( T/Lt. J.R. Anglebeck, RNVR).

On 21 December the destroyers HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN) departed the Clyde to fuel at Seidisfjord and then join the close convoy escort. However on 22 December they ran into a Force 12 gale near Stokksnes Light, Iceland and both sustained weather damage. Damage to HMS Bulldog, whose Commanding Officer was to become the Senior Officer of the close escort, was of such nature that she was unable to join the convoy and she returned to the Clyde for repairs. HMS Achates was able to continue to Seidisfjord.

The convoy was most likely detected by a German Focke Wolf reconnaissance aircraft on the 24th.

Late on the 24th the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Orwell ( Lt.Cdr. N.H.G. Austen, DSO, RN) and HMS Achates departed Seidisfjord and joined the convoy the following day.

During the night of 28/29 December 1942, five merchant vessels, HMS Oribi and HMS Vizalma separated from the convoy during a gale about half way between Jan Mayen and Bear Islands.

In the afternoon of the 29th, HMS Bramble was detached to search for the missing merchantmen.

On 30 December 1942, three of the merchantmen managed to find and rejoin the convoy.

HMS Oribi reached the Kola Inlet alone on 31 December 1942 having searched for the convoy but having failed to do so.

HMS Bramble was sunk on 31 December 1942 before she was able to rejoin the convoy.

HMS Vizalma and one of the merchantmen rejoined the convoy on 1 January 1943.

The last merchantmen that had separated from the convoy was unable to find it and arrived in the Kola Inlet on 5 January 1943, two days after the main body of the convoy had arrived.

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Meanwhile in the afternoon of 27 December 1941, ' Force R ' had departed the Kola Inlet to support the convoy. ' Force R ' was made up of the light cruisers HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) and the destroyers HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN). They were to provide cover of the convoy going as far west as 11°00'E.

On the 29th he turned back and the destroyers were then detached to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived early in the afternoon of 1 January 1943.

As the cruisers went east again they kept well south of the expected convoy route and on reaching the meridian of the Kola Inlet on the 30th, they turned north-west to cross the expected convoy route early the next day with the intention to then steer a parallel course a few miles north of the route and to cover the convoy from 40 to 50 miles astern. This was the direction from which an attack was most likely to develop. The intention by Rear-Admiral Burnett to keep to the North of the convoy route was to gain the advantage of the light over any enemy that might appear and also to avoid detection by enemy air reconnaissance and leading enemy aircraft to the convoy.

Nothing however came of this plan as the convoy was further to the south and much further to the west than had been anticipated. The result was that Rear-Admiral Burnett did not cross the route behind the convoy but well ahead of it and by 0830 hours on 31 December 1942 was nearly 30 miles due north of it. This ignorance of the relative position of the convoy exercised great influence on the Rear-Admiral's decisions throughout the action that ensued.

Up to that morning, the 31st, there had been little sign that the Germans knew of the convoy's progress since the 24th.

Actually the convoy had been sighted by a German submarine (this was U-354) around noon on the 30th. The U-boat reported it was 'weakly protected'. A German squadron, made up of the heavy cruisers Admiral Hipper (Kpt.z.S.(Capt.) H. Hartmann, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral O. Kummetz), Lützow (Kpt.z.S.(Capt.) R. Stange) and the destroyers of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla (Kpt.z.S.(Capt.) A. Schemmel), Z 16 / Friedrich Eckhold (K.Kpt.(Lt.Cdr.) H. Bachmann, with Capt. Schemmel on board), Z 4 / Richard Beitzen (K.Kpt.(Lt.Cdr.) H. von Davidson), Z 6 / Theodor Riedel (K.Kpt.(Lt.Cdr.) W. Riede), Z 29 (F.Kpt.(Cdr.) K. Rechel), Z 30 (F.Kpt.(Cdr.) H. Kaiser) and Z 31 (K.Kpt.(Lt.Cdr.) H. Alberts) then wasted no time in putting to sea. Vice Admiral Kummetz was not aware of the cruisers of Rear Admiral Burnett. He was also hampered by the orders not to risk an action with equal or superior enemy forces. Also night attack was ruled out. Also the Lützow showed a bit timid action in the engagement that was to follow, this was she was to avoid damage as she was to break out into the Atlantic immediately following the attack on the convoy.

Vice-Admiral Kummetz decided to approach from astern of the convoy thereby obtaining advantage of light, and to attack it from both sides, anticipating that the escort would be drawn off towards the first contact and that the convoy would turn away from it, thereby falling an easy prey to the other force. To give effect to this plan he devided his squadron into two forces. The Admiral Hipper, Z 16 / Friedrich Eckholdt, Z 4 / Richard Beitzen and Z 29 were to attack from the north-west and the Lützow, Z 6 / Theodor Riedel, Z 30 and Z 31 were to operate from the southward. During the night the Lützow-group was detached with orders to be 75 miles 180° from the Admiral Hipper-group at 0800/31. The Hipper-group would be in position 73°40'N, 28°00'E. On arriving in their positions a sweep to the eastward was to commence with the destroyers spread 15 miles apart on a line 15 miles ahead of the heavy ships.

Admiral Kummentz was later criticised for adopting a plan which split his force and introduced complications such timing difficulties, identification of own forces in the Arctic dusk and qualls, etc., but it is worth noting that his tactical dispositions did in fact work out exactly as he intended. The Lützow and her destroyers passed two or three miles south of the convoy while practically all its escorts were attending to the Hipper-group in the north, and but for the extreme caution of Capt. Strange of the Lützow there seems no reason why he should not have virtually annihilated the convoy.

To return to convoy JW 51B, the situation at 0830/31 was thus approximately as follows. The convoy, temporarily reduced to 12 ships, with five destroyers, two corvettes and a trawler still in company, was on an easterly course in position 73°15'N, 29°00'E. This was about 220 miles north-west of the Kola Inlet. Some 45 miles to the northward was the trawler HMS Vizalma with one merchant vessel in company. About 15 miles to the north-eastward was HMS Bramble. Rear-Admiral Burnett in HMS Sheffield and with HMS Jamaica was about 30 miles north of the convoy and 15 miles south of the Vizalma. None of these four groups knew each other's relative positions and there was also another straggler somewhere in the neighbourhood. Quite unknown to the British, for there had been no sign of the enemy being aware of their progress, still less that he was at sea in force, the Admiral Hipper had just crossed the wake of the convoy and was then within 20 miles to the north-westward, while the Lützow, still some 50 miles off, was closing in from the southward.

The weather was generally clear, the twilight visibility being about seven miles to the northward and ten miles to the southward, but at intervals much reduced by snow squalls. The sky was mostly covered with low cloud. The wind came from the west-north-west, force 3, the sea slight with no swell. There were 16 degrees of frost and there was ice on all ships.

At 0830/31, HMS Obdurate, on the starboard beam of the convoy, reported two destroyers to the south-west. Actually, they had been sighted ten minutes previously by HMS Hyderabad (on the starboard quarter of the convoy) but she had taken them for Russians coming to reinforece the escort and made no report. Captain Sherbrooke sent HMS Obdurate to investigate. A third destroyer soon came into sight. These were the Z 16 / Friedrich Eckholdt, Z 4 / Richard Beitzen and Z 29 gradually opening from the Admiral Hipper in anticipation of the order to turn and sweep to the eastward. They altered course away from the Obdurate to the north-west. At 0930 hours - an hour after she had first sighted them - the Obdurate had closed them to 8000 yards, and they opened fire on her, so she turned away and steered to rejoin the convoy. The enemy made no attempt to follow and disappeared to the north-westward. This was the beginning of a series of disconnected skirmishes fought in the gloom of the Arctic twilight, in which smoke screens and snowstorms made it often impossible for ships of either side to identify their opponents with certainty, or indeed even to be sure of their numbers.

Captain Sherbrooke had already turned HMS Onslow towards the gun flashes and he signalled HMS Orwell, HMS Obedient and HMS Obdurate to join him, leaving HMS Achates and the three smaller warships with the convoy to cover it with smoke.

A more formidable opponent, however, diverted Captain Sherbooke's attention from the three destroyers. At 0939 hours, he sighted a large ship eight miles to the north-westward, a little on his starboard bow standing towards him. With HMS Onslow at this moment was only HMS Orwell as HMS Obedient had to come from the far side of the convoy. At 0941 hours, the big German turned away to port to open fire on HMS Achates, then showing clearly to windward of her smoke, and thus disclosing herself to be the Admiral Hipper, as her four gun turrets proved. HMS Onslow and HMS Orwell returned the fire, at a range of about 11000 yards, and followed round to a similar course. Captain Sherbrooke soon formed the opinion that the enemy was unwilling to face the risk of torpedo attack by the destroyers and made good use of the fact. For half an hour they skirmished fitfully, the British ships firing by radar, the Admiral Hipper sometimes hiding in the smoke and sometimes firing towards the convoy and all the time edging towards the north-east.

Meanwhile, the convoy had turned from east to south-east at 0945/31ç and was going off at nearly 9 knots, screened by smoke from HMS Achates, HMS Rhododendron and HMS Northern Gem. By 0955 hours, HMS Obedient had joined Captain Sherbrooke, and HMS Obdurate was in sight returning from the south-west He ordered these two ships to join the convoy, anxious lest it should be attacked by the three German destroyers, which he had never seen himself and whose movements he could not trace. Actually they had been ordered to join the Hipper at 0933 hours (just after opening fire on HMS Obdurate). HMS Obedient steered away to the southward at 1008 hours, and signalled to HMS Obdurate to join her, turning eastward later to lay a smokescreen across the wake of the convoy before joining it. A signal from HMS Sheffield that she was approaching on course 170° had been received ' with acclamation ' a few minutes previously.

At the same time HMS Obedient turned south the Admiral Hipper hauled right up to the northward out of action and it was thought that she had received three hits [this was not the case though]. Her firing had been ' aimless and erratic ' and whenever the range came within 11000 yards she had turned away. This was partly in pursuance of the plan to lure the escort away to the northward and so leave the field clear for the Lützow, and partly because Admiral Kummetz could form no clear picture of the situation owing to the smoke and poor visibility.

However, a few minutes later she ' suddenly pulled herself together ' and turned back to fight to two remaining destroyers. After a few inaccurate salvos she found the Onslow's range and at 1020 hours scored four hits in rapid succession inflicting considerable damage. 'A' and 'B' guns were put out of action, the aft superstructure and mess deck were set on fire, the main aerials and both W/T sets were destroyed, the engine room holed, and Captain Sherbrooke severely wounded in the face, so that he could not see. Despite his wounds he continued to direct the flotilla and his ship till a further hit compelled him to disengange the Onslow, only then, after receiving reports as to her condition and assuring himself that the order to Lt.Cdr. Kinloch of HMS Obedient to take charge of the destroyers was being acted on, did he leave the bridge. By the time Lt.Cdr. Kinloch learnt that he was in command (1035 hours), a snowstorm had reduced the visibility to about two miles and the Admiral Hipper had disappeared. This was the end of the first action.

By this time Rear-Admiral Burnett with HMS Sheffield and HMS Jamaica was coming into the picture. Unfortunately he had been delayed from steering for the gunfire as early as he might have done by a radar contact picked up at 0858/31 of a ship some 15000 yards ahead while he was still steering to the north-west. As the plot developed, at 0905 hourss the stranger seemed to be doing at least 25 knots, though it subsequently appeared that her speed had been greatly over estimated. Just before this ' a ship was dimly in sight ' for a moment on the correct bearing and Rear-Admiral Burnett ' hauled away ' to the south-east and then closed at 0930 hours, in order to ' track and establish touch '. It was in fact, a merchant vessel, wihch had parted company with the convoy earlier and was now with the trawler HMS Vizalma. These were shortly yo see the two British cruisers stretching away to the southward ten miles on their starboard bow, without knowing whether they were friend or foe. Two minutes later, at 0932 hours, gun flashes were seen over the southern horizon and were taken for anti-aircraft fire. It must have been the skirmish between HMS Obdurate and the German destroyers that opened the day's fighting.

Rear-Admiral Burnett was in a perplexing position. He had no idea of the actual position of the convoy, whose safety was his prime objective, and which he supposed to be well to the eastward of him. Past experience had taught him that stragglers were to be expected after the heavy gales. The brief exchange of gunfire seen at 0932 hours had soon died down and might well have come from one or a detached escort vessel. On the whole it seemed likely hat the convoy was somewhere ahead of the Vizalma and her straggler and with this in mind he continued to track them by radar steering to the east and north-east.

Then, at 0946/31, heavy gunfire was observed to the southward and very shortly afterwards an enemy report of three destroyers was received from Capt. Sherbrooke. Though by then suspecting that the convoy was considerably further south than anticipated, the Rear-Admiral held on for some minutes and it was not until 0955 hours that he altered course and increasing to 25 knots and ' steamed towards the sight of the guns '.

In hindsight, it is clear that the cruisers could have intervened in the action earlier, had Rear-Admiral Burnett at once applied the two fundamental principles of British fighting policy, viz ' when in doubt, steer for the sound of the guns ' and ' the unfailing support given in battle by one British unit to another '. On the other hand the ' safe and timely arrival ' of the still unlocated convoy was his object, and human reactions are known to be slow when subjected to the rigours of the bitter Arctic climate.

As the cruisers ran south they worked up to 31 knots, and the could see through the smoke the later stages of the destroyers first fight with the Admiral Hipper, though the could not distinguish the ships engaged. At about 1030 hours, they had radar contacts of ships bearing 180° and 140°, at ranges of about 24000 and 30000 yards respectively, both ships apparently standing to the eastward at high speed. As the situation was not yet clear Rear-Admiral Burnett turned eastward himself at 1035 hours. A minute later there was a burst of firing on his starboard bow. He continued to the eastward to close this while taking care to preserve the light in his favour. At 1045/31 the nearer and western ship of the two radar contacts came in sight for a moment, she was ' larger then a destroyer, therefore necessarily an enemy' but that was all that could be said of her. The ships of the other contact, further east, altered course to the southward at 1054 hours and at 1055 hours the British cruisers turned to the southward in chase.

Ten minutes later they had a contact a little on the starboard bow at 19000 yards, and this was the ship they subsequently engaged. At 1112 hours she was seen to be firing to the eastward. Rear-Admiral Burnett then altered course towards her.

Now lets return to the convoy. The situation that Lt.Cdr. Kinloch had to cope with on taking over command of the escort at 1035 hours was by no means clear. The convoy, by this time steering 180°, was some three miles to the southward of HMS Obedient and HMS Obdurate, which were closing it. HMS Orwell, somewhat to the north-east, was steering to join them. HMS Achates a little to the westward was continuing to lay smoke, and the damaged HMS Onslow was taking station ahead of the convoy from whence she could home ' Force R '. Just about this time, HMS Rhododendron from the port quarter of the convoy reported smoke to the south-west, followed ten minutes later by a report of a large vessel bearing 160° only two miles off, steering to the north-east. These reports necessarily engaged the attention of Lt.Cdr. Kinloch, but he did not accept them for want of corroboration by ships nearer to the strangers, and continued to follow the convoy to the southward, keeping between it and the direction in which the Admiral Hipper had disappeared. For some reason HMS Hyderabad, stationed on the starboard side of the convoy, which just previously had seen two destroyers and a large ship cross ahead from west to east, made no report. This was the Lützow's force, but provindentially a heavy snow-squall just then partially blotted out the convoy, and her Captain, though aware of its presence, considered it too risky to attack and decided to stand off to the eastward till the weather should be clear.

Meanwhile the Admiral Hipper, after disabling HMS Onslow had stood on the east-north-east at 31 knots. At 1036 hours, she fell in with HMS Bramble, which no doubt had altered course towards the gunfire of the previous engagements, and damaged her with a few salvoes at short range. At 1047 hours, she altered course to the southward, detaching Z 16 / Friedrich Eckholdt a few minutes later to finish off HMS Bramble.

Lt.Cdr. Kinloch with his three destroyers continued to the southward, gradually overhauling the convoy and passing down its port side. His last news of the Hipper had been a report from the Orwell placing her 038° eight miles from her at 1040 hours. The weather cleared somewhat at about 1100 hours and HMS Obedient then sighted a cruiser and two destroyers bearing 060°. This was the Lützow waiting for the weather to clear. Lt.Cdr. Kinloch led round towards her mad made smoke. She seemed to be steering about 150°, and the British destroyers soon conformed, keeping between her and the convoy. At 1106 hours the enemy opened fire, but no fall of shot could be seen from HMS Obedient. Actually, the ship firing was the Admiral Hipper, which was approaching at 31 knots on course 190° on a bearing nearly the same as the Lützow's. The Admiral Hipper at that time was firing on destroyers to the eastward, which she claimed to have set on fire. No British destroyers were in this position at the time. A possible explanation is that this was the unfortunate Bramble again, which in the murk and gloom had limped off to the southward. Be that as it may, the Admiral Hipper continued at high speed on course 220°, and at 1115 hours engaged HMS Achates, then just clearing her smoke screen in response to orders from Lt.Cdr. Kinloch to join HMS Onslow ahead of the convoy. After three minutes, HMS Achates received a hit which crippled her, killing her Commanding Officer, Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, and some 40 others. Lt. Peyton-Jones, who then took command, found he could only overtake the convoy very slowly, so he disregarded orders and continued to lay smoke as before.

The Admiral Hipper then shifted her fire to HMS Obedient, which had led her destroyers to the northward again to keep between her and the convoy, and had opened fire on her at a range of 8500 yards at 1120/31. At 1125 hours the Admiral Hipper hauled up o the north-westward (310°), and having straddled HMS Obedient and put her wireless out of action at 1128 hours, altered course to 360° at 1130 hours in order to clear the torpedo menace. At the same time Lt.Cdr. Kinloch, as the range was rapidly opening, altered course to port again to close the convoy.

At this moment the Admiral Hipper received an unpleasant shock. Firing broke out from the northward, and before it was realised what was happening she received a hit which reduced her speed to 28 knots. ' Force R ' had arrived. Her turn to the north-westward at 1125 houres had revealed her broadside to the approaching cruisers, then some sever or eight miles off. Rear-Admiral Burnett led round a roughly parallel course and at 1130 hours, HMS Sheffield opened fire under helm at about 13000 yards, HMS Jamaica firing directly afterwards from her forward turrects. Taken completely by surprise, the Admiral Hipper failed to reply till after the fourth salvo had arrived. She made smoke and altered course towards them, swinging through east to 240°, and receiving two more hits before she was round. This was too much for Vice-Admiral Kimmetz, who thus found himself between Lt.Cdr. Kinloch's destroyers to the southward and an unknown force engaging him from the northward, and at 1137 hours he made a general signal ordering all ships to break off action and retire to the west.

The British ships conformed with her turn and the range at one stage fell as low as 8000 yards, unluckily the Admiral Hipper then became obscured, and HMS Sheffield had to cease fire from 1136 to 1139 hours, losing three precious minutes at short range. At 1143, when both sides were pointing southward again, two German destroyers appeared in an ideal position to attack with torpedoes at 4000 yards range. HMS Sheffield reversed her helm and headed for one destroyer. This was the Z 16 / Friedrich Eckholdt, which had mistaken the British cruisers for the Admiral Hipper and Lützow, which she was trying to rejoin. HMS Sheffield engaged her with all guns down to pompoms, passing within half a mile of her and reducing her to a shambles in ten minutes. HMS Jamaica astern fired first at the other destroyer, which was further off and which turned away seemingly unharmed [This was the Z 4 / Richard Beitzen]. Then she shifted her aim to the Sheffield's target, but refrained from firing on the blazing wreck, which the enemy subsequently admitted had been sunk. Meanwhile the Admiral Hipper having completed the full circle of her turn passed out of sight to the westward. She had suffered three hits in the brief action. Her no.3 boiler room was flooded and her hangar on fire. They only salvo she got off at her opponents had fallen harmlessly in the sea.

Before the British cruiser found the enemy again, HMS Obedient and her consorts had one more fight. After disengaging from the Admiral Hipper at 1130 hours, they stood to the southward to close the convoy. The flashes of Rear-Admiral Burnett's guns to the north-eastward had been a welcome sight. Though they had known he was on his way, they could not know when he would arrive. They also saw another engagement further east at 1138 hours, apparently between a large ship and a much smaller one, the latter firing a single gun. This may have been the Z 16 / Friedrich Eckholdt sinking HMS Bramble. Then, some three minutes later, a large ship began shelling the convoy from the north-east at a distance of about nine miles. Some of the merchant ships were not yet screened by the smoke the destroyers had been laying, and one of them, the Calobre, was damaged. This was the Lützow, which seeing no possibility of attacking the convoy from the east, had altered course at 1126 to the north-westward, in order to maintain contact with the Admiral Hipper, which she had seen firing and identified by exchange of recognition signals ten minutes previously.

The convoy made an emergency turn to 225°, while Lt.Cdr. Kinloch hauled round to the eastward to cover it with smoke, and opened fire. According to the Lützow all shots fell short. One of the German destroyers following the Lützow fired a few ineffective rounds. After about five minutes, the smoke screen became effective and the Lützow ceased fire. Immediately afterwards Lt.Cdr. Kinloch sighted the Admiral Hipper and her two destroyers on a south-westerly course four to five miles to the northward. The three British destroyers turned together to the north-west which put HMS Obdurate, to whom Lt.Cdr. Kinloch had turned over the direction of the destroyer when his own wireless was disabled, at the head of the line and steered between the convoy and the new enemy. The Germans altered away to a similar course, but by this time the Lützow was steaming to join the Admiral Hipper at 24 knots and she opened an accurate fire on HMS Obdurate at 1155/31, to which the British destroyers replied. At 1202 hours, after the Obdurate had been damaged by a near miss, they turned away to keep between the convoy and the most likely direction of attack if the enemy should close again, while the Lützow continued to the westward. But this was the last attempt the Germans made. Vice-Admiral Kummetz had repeated his signal to withdraw at 1149 hours, and no more was seen of them by the destroyers. At 1240 hours, with no enemy in sighted and night drawing on, the steered south to overtake the convoy.

All this time the crippled HMS Achates, her bows deep in the water and listing ominously, had continued to screen the convoy with smoke. By 1300 hours the list had increased to about 60°, and a quarter of an hour later she lost steam. Lt. Peyton-Jones then signalled for assistance, and HMS Northern Gem closed her at once. She capsized suddenly and sank at 1330 hours. HMS Northern Gem picked up 81 survivors.

Meanwhile HMS Sheffield and HMS Jamaica had ceased fire at 1154 ad alter to the westward. At 1215 hours, they sighted the Admiral Hipper for a moment 12 miles away on the port bow going also to the westward. Then at 1223 hours two destroyers came in sight four or five miles to the southward in a good position for firing torpedoes. Rear-Admiral Burnett turned towards them to engage. As the guns were training on the target, however, HMS Sheffield sighted a larger ship, the Lützow, further away on the same bearing. At 1229 hours, the British cruisers opened fire on her from 14000 yards. She replied at once and the Admiral Hipper joined in the fight two or three minutes later from further ahead. The Lützow's shots fell consistently short, but the Hipper's fire was dangerously accurate, so Rear-Admiral Burnett hauled up to the northward to avoid being engaged ' from both sides at once ' and to lessen the risk from torpedoes fired gt the destroyers, which were not being engaged. By 1236 hours the fight was over, HMS Jamaica claiming one hit on the Lützow [this was not the case]. The Germans continued to the westward, and the British ships soon turned west also, tracking the enemy by radar till at 1400 hours they lost contact. By this time the radar operators in HMS Sheffield, who had been operating their apparatus in an exposed position in a temperature well below freezing point for hours, were completely exhausted. HMS Jamaica's radar had been out of action due to her own salvo firing. Rear-Admiral Burnett also did not want to get too far from the convoy, of whose position he was still very uncertain. The big German ships had been driven off, but it was known that the light cruiser Nürnberg had been with them at Altenfjord. It was though that she was also at sea nearby. Rear-Admiral Burnett to the southward, between the convoy and the big German ships still with the advantage of what little light remained.

So the fighting ended. The British forces had lost the Achates and Bramble but the convoy was intact and the had sunk the Friedrich Eckholdt and seriously damaged the Admiral Hipper. As a result of these actions, too, the Germans abandoned the plan for the Lützow to break out onto the Atlantic which was deemed impossible of fulfulment, and thouroughly discouraged they steered for the Altenfjord.

Convoy JW 51B had no more encounters with the enemy after the action on 31 December. In the afternoon of January 2nd, the minesweepers HMS Harrier (Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN) as well as two Russian destroyers joined. The Russians taking charge of ships bound for Archangelsk, which then parted company. The main body of the convoy entered the Kola Inlet on the 3rd and the Archangelsk detachment arrived there on the 6th.

Rear-Admiral Burnett had patrolled with HMS Sheffield and HMS Jamaica to the westward of convoy JW 51B up to 1830/31 when he followed it to the south-east and finally turned north early on 1 January to give protection to westbound convoy RA 51. These two cruiser eventually arrived at Seidisfjord on 4 January 1943.

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A distant cover force had also been deployed. It was made up of the battleship the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral B.A. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) and had left Akureyri, Iceland on shortly after noon on 26 December. At 0400/29 they had arrived in position 72°36'N, 13°07'E after which they turned back for Iceland.

In the early evening of 30 December HMS Cumberland was detached to Hvalfjord where she arrived very late in the evening of 31 December.

HMS Anson and the three destroyers then proceeded to Seidisfjord where they arrived early in the afternoon of 31 December but not before they had been joined by the escort destroyers HMS Blankney, HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Ledbury earlier in the day. (33)

23 Dec 1942
Around 0930N/23, the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral B.A. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet),, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Akureyri where they arrived around 1000N/24. (34)

26 Dec 1942
Around 1100N/26, the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral B.A. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet),, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) departed Akureyri to provide distant cover for convoy JW 51B.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy JW 51B and the Battle of the Barents Sea ' for 22 December 1942.] (34)

31 Dec 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2300A/31, HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from operations. (35)

14 Jan 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. (36)

21 Jan 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. On completion of the exercises HMS Norfolk returned to Hvalfjord while HMS Cumberland set course for Scapa Flow. (36)

23 Jan 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (37)

2 Feb 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Glasgow where she was to dock at the Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyard for repairs to some leaks and a bottom cleaning. (38)

3 Feb 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Glasgow. (38)

6 Feb 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is docked in No.3 graving dock at the Stephens shipyard at Glasgow. (38)

14 Feb 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is undocked at Glasgow and proceeded to Greenock. (38)

15 Feb 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Greenock for Seidisfjord, Iceland. (38)

15 Feb 1943

Convoy JW 53.

This convoy departed Loch Ewe for Northern Russia on 15 February 1943.

On departure from Loch Ewe the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Artigas (Panamanian, 5613 GRT, built 1920), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Beaconhill (American, 6941 GRT, built 1919), Bering (American, 7631 GRT, built 1920), British Governor (British (tanker), 6840 GRT, built 1926), City of Omaha (British, 6124 GRT, built 1920), Dover Hill (British, 5815 GRT, built 1918), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Fortune (British, 6140 GRT, built 1943), Empire Galliard (British, 7170 GRT, built 1942), Empire Kinsman (British, 6744 GRT, built 1942), Empire Portia (British, 7058 GRT, built 1942), Empire Scott (British, 6150 GRT, built 141), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Francis Scott Key (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Israel Putnam (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), James Bowie (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Laurance (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Joseph E. Johnston (American, 7196 GRT, built 1942), Komiles (Russian, 3962 GRT, built 1932), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Marathon (Norwegian, 7208 GRT, built 1930), Mobile City (American, 6157 GRT, built 1920), Ocean Freedom (British, 7173 GRT, built 1942), Petrovski (Russian, 3771 GRT, built 1921), Pieter de Hoogh (British, 7168 GRT, built 1941), Tblisi (Russian, 7169 GRT, built 1912), Thomas Hartley (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Tobruk (British, 7048 GRT, built 1942).

Three of the above listed ships sailed only on the 16th as convoy JW 53B and were to overtake and join the main convoy [see below].

On departure from Loch Ewe the convoy was escorted by the minesweeper HMS Jason (Cdr. H.G.A. Lewis, RN), corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.F. Tognola, RNR), HMS Poppy (Lt. N.K. Boyd, RNR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Lord Austin (T/Lt. E.L. Wathen, RNR) and HMS Lord Middleton (T/Lt. T.D. Bennett, RNR).

The escort destroyers escort destroyers HMS Meynell (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN), HMS Pytchley (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN) and minesweeper HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN) departed Scapa Flow on the same day and joined the convoy escort at sea. HMS Hazard however returned to Scapa Flow later the same day with weather damage and presumably never actually joined the convoy. She was replaced by HMS Halcyon (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.L.D. Hoare, RNR) which departed Scapa Flow early on the 16th joining the convoy escort p.m. that day.

Also on the 16th convoy JW 53B, made up of three merchant ships of the above list, and escorted by the corvette HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR) departed Loch Ewe to overtake and join the convoy. The destroyers HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, DSO, RN) and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join convoy JW 53B which they did the following day after which HMS Bryony was detached to Liverpool as she had sustained weather damage. She arrived at Liverpool on the 18th.

On the 17th, the A/S trawler HMS Lord Middleton was detached with weather damage to Scapa Flow escorted by the corvette HMS Dianella. They arrived at Scapa Flow on the 18th.

On the 18th, one of the ships from convoy JW 53B was detached to Scapa Flow with weather damage. She was escorted by HMS Matchless. The merchant vessel eventually went back to Loch Ewe arriving there on the 22nd. HMS Matchless then went to Scapa Flow arriving there also on the 22nd.

On the 19th, the two remaining ships of convoy JW 53B also turned back, due to the weather conditions they were unable to overtake the main convoy. Three ships from the main convoy also turned back to Loch Ewe with weather damage. These five merchant vessels arrived back at Loch Ewe on 22 February. The destroyer HMS Musketeer proceeded to Akureyri, Iceland arriving there on the 20th.

On the 20th the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN), HMS Obedient (Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN) departed Seidisfjord to join the escort of convoy JW 53 as did the corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, RNVR) and HMS Camellia (T/Lt. R.F.J. Maberley, RNVR). All these escorts joined the convoy p.m. 20th.

Also on the 20th the AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) departed Akureyri also to join the escort of convoy JW 53 which they did on 21 February.

On the 21st, HMS Middleton and HMS Pytchley were detached from the escort of convoy JW 53 to proceed to Seidisfjord where the arrived p.m. the same day. HMS Middleton was unable to anchor at Seidisfjord and the proceeded to Scapa Flow instead where she arrived on 23 February.

On the 22nd, HMS Meynell and HMS Halcyon parted company with convoy JW 53. HMS Meynell arrived at Seidisfjord p.m. on the 22nd, HMS Halcyon arrived the next day.

On 23 February the convoy was sighted and reported by German air reconnaissance and of the next day the convoy was being shadowed by aircraft and U-boats.

At 2142A/24, the German submarine U-622 attacked a destroyer with torpedoes. She missed but was later depth charged by the destroyer HMS Orwell which most likely had also been the target of her attack. The submarine escaped without damage though.

On 25 February the convoy was attacked around noon by 14 Ju.88's in position 73°41'N, 29°42'E. No damage was done to any ship in the convoy.

Around noon the 26th the convoy was attacked again from the air, in position 71°16'N, 36°54'E and again no damage was done.

Also on the 26th a Russian escort made up of the destroyers Gromkiy, Grozniy, Valerian Kyubishev and Uritsky joined as did the British minesweeper HMS Britomart (Lt.Cdr. S.S. Stammwitz, RN).

Later on the 26th, seven of the merchant vessels were detached to Archangelsk with the Russian escorts as well as the minesweeper HMS Britomart.

The bulk of the convoy arrived in the Kola Inlet on 27 February. The Archangelsk section arrived there the following day.

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A battle force (distant cover force) for this convoy was also deployed. It departed Akureyri, Iceland on 22 February 1943 and was made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Offa (Cdr. R.A. Ewing, DSC, RN), HMS Musketeer, HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. T. Gorazdowski) and HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN).

They arrived in their covering position, 150 miles south-west of Bear Island on 24 February.

On the 26th the distant cover force returned to Akureyri except for HMS Berwick which was detached to Hvalfjord where she arrived on the 27th.

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Besides the distant cover force there was also a cruiser / close cover force ' Force R '.

It was made up of the light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) departed Seidisfjord on 21 February.

' Force R ' arrived in the Kola Inlet on 26 February 1943.

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A ' carrier ' force made up of the escort carrier HMS Dasher (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, DSO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Impulsive and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN) was also to be deployed from Seidisfjord but as HMS Dasher and HMS Blankney suffered weather damage in the built up stage of the convoy operation so the deployment of the ' carrier ' force was cancelled. HMS Impulsive then went to Akureyri to join the ' battle ' force instead. (39)

19 Feb 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Seidisfjord from Greenock. Due to the bad weather conditions she had been unable to enter earlier. (38)

21 Feb 1943
The light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) departed Seidisfjord to provide close cover for convoy JW 53 during its passage to northern Russia.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy JW 53 ' for 21 February 1943.] (40)

26 Feb 1943
The light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) arrived in the Kola Inlet from convoy cover operations. (40)

1 Mar 1943

Convoy RA 53.

This convoy departed the Kola Inlet on 1 March 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Calobre (Panamanian, 6891 GRT, built 1919), Chester Valley (American, 5078 GRT, built 1919), Cornelius Harnett (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Dan-Y-Bryn (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Delsud (American, 4982 GRT, built 1919), El Oriente (Panamanian, 6012 GRT, built 1910), Empire Archer (British, 7031 GRT, built 1941), Empire Clarion (British, 7031 GRT, built 1942), Empire Emerald (British, 8032 GRT, built 1941), Empire Snow (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Empire Tristram (British, 7167 GRT, built 1942), Executive (American, 4978 GRT, built 1920), Gulfwing (American (tanker), 10217 GRT, built 1928), J.L.M. Curry (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Jefferson Myers (American, 7582 GRT, built 1920), John H.B. Latrobe (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Mossovet (Russian, 2981 GRT, built 1935), Nicholas Gilman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Faith (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Oremar (American, 6854 GRT, built 1919), Puerto Rican (American, 6076 GRT, built 1919), Ralph Waldo Emerson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Richard Basset (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Richard Bland (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), San Cipriano (British (tanker), 7966 GRT, built 1937), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Vermont (American, 5670 GRT, built 1919), West Gotomska (American, 5728 GRT, built 1918) and Yorkmar (British, 5612 GRT, built 1919).

The RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Oligarch (6894 GRT, built 1918) was also part of the convoy.

On departure the close escort was made up of the AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN), HMS Obedient (Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Lotus (Lt.Cdr. H.J. Hall, DSC, RNR), HMS Poppy (Lt. N.K. Boyd, RNR), Starwort and the A/S trawlers HMS Northern Pride (T/Lt. A.L.F. Bell, RNR) and HMS St. Elstan (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR).

On the 2nd the convoy was reported by the German submarine U-255 on 2 February 1943 which then commenced shadowing the convoy. Later in the day U-622 and U-629 also made contact with the convoy but were driven off. In the afternoon U-657 also made contact but soon lost it. In the evening the German submarine U-622 was depth charged by some ships of the convoy escort.

Early in the afternoon U-657 was driven off and depth charged but she escaped without damage.

In the late afternoon of 3 March the German submarine U-355 made a torpedo attack on the convoy but no hits were obtained. Following this attack the German submarine was depth charged by HMS Bergamot but she managed to escape without damage.

On 4 March U-255 was twice driven off before she could attack. Early in the day U-622 was detected and depth charged by the escort but she managed to escape without damage. The shortly before noon U-657 and shortly after noon U-355 both had the same experience.

Early on the 5th the convoy was also reported by German air reconnaissance.

In the morning of the 5th the German submarine U-255 made a torpedo attack. The British merchant Executive was sunk and the American merchant Richard Brand was hit and damaged. The torpedo did not explode but went right through the ship making a hole on both sides. The damaged ship was able to remain with the convoy for the moment though.

Early in the afternoon of the 5th the convoy was attacked by German Ju.88 aircraft but no damage was done.

On the 6th the destroyer HMS Vivacious (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN), HMS Meynell (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN) and HMS Pytchley (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Akureyri to join the convoy which they did only on the 9th having been delayed by ice and bad weather. HMS Vivacious had also smashed her Asdic dome while en-route.

Also on the 6th, the destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Eclipse, HMS Impulsive and HMS Opportune parted company with the convoy to proceed to Seidisfjord to fuel.

On the 7th, the destroyers HMS Intrepid, HMS Boadicea, HMS Obdurate and HMS Obedient parted company with the convoy to proceed to Seidisfjord to fuel.

On the 8th, HMS Faulknor, HMS Eclipse, HMS Impulsive and HMS Opportune arrived at Seidisfjord to fuel.

On the 9th, HMS Vivacious, HMS Ledbury, HMS Meynell and HMS Pytchley joined the convoy while HMS Intrepid, HMS Boadicea, HMS Obdurate and HMS Obedient arrived at Seidisfjord to fuel.

Also on the 9th the American merchant vessel J.L.M. Curry broke up in heavy weather and sank. Apparently her hull had developed cracks earlier. Her crew was picked up by HMS St. Elstan.

HMS Faulknor, HMS Eclipse, HMS Impulsive and HMS Opportune departed Seidisfjord on the 9th to rejoin the convoy which they did later the same day.

On the 10th, HMS Scylla, HMS Milne, ORP Orkan and HMS Orwell detached from the convoy to proceed to Akureyri to fuel. They arrived the later the same day.

Also on the 10th several ships were detached to Seidisfjord, most of which (if not all) arrived there later the same day, these were , HMS Meynell, HMS Pytchley and HMS Northern Pride. Also detached was HMS Ledbury but she escorted one of the merchant vessels of the convoy to the Seidisfjord. They arrived early on the 11th.

Besides that, on the 10th, the merchant vessel Richard Brand, which had been damaged earlier, (see above), was again sighted by U-255 after having straggled from the convoy. The submarine now managed to sink her. HMS Impulsive was detached early on the 11th to pick up survivors.

On the 11th, HMS Milne, ORP Orkan and HMS Orwell departed Akureyri to search for stragglers from the convoy.

The merchant vessel John H.B. Latrobe was towed into Seidisfjord on the 11th as she had defective steering by the destroyer HMS Oppurtune. They were escorted by HMS St. Elstan.

HMS Boadicea escorting a merchant vessel (presumably the one that had arrived early on the 11th) departed Seidisfjord to rejoin the convoy.

HMS Vivacious, HMS Meynell and HMS Pytchley also departed Seidisfjord and rejoined the convoy.

HMS Bergamot, HMS Lotus and HMS Starwort left the convoy to fuel at Seidisfjord. After doing so they left Seidisfjord later on the 11th to rejoin the convoy.

HMS Poppy also parted company with the convoy, but later then the other corvettes. She too went to Seidisfjord but did not rejoin the convoy.

HMS Fury also detached on the 11th to proceed to Seidisfjord escorting the RFA tanker Oligarch. After fuelling HMS Fury departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy.

On the 12th HMS Inglefield and HMS Ledbury departed Seidisfjord to rejoin the convoy. HMS Inglefield however remained briefly with the convoy as she was detached to Scapa Flow later the same day. Also detached to Scapa Flow were HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury and HMS Eclipse.

Also on the 12th HMS Bergamot, HMS Lotus and HMS Starwort rejoined the convoy. Also the destroyer HMS Orwell, which had been searching for stragglers joined the convoy.

On the 13th, HMS Impulsive arrived at Seidisfjord with survivors and HMS Milne also arrived there having searched for stragglers. ORP Orkan which had also been searching for stragglers proceeded direct to Scapa Flow arriving there on the 15th.

Also on the 13th, HMS Vivacious, HMS Ledbury, HMS Meynell and HMS Pytchley detached from the convoy and proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 14th.

Two of the merchant vessels arrived at Loch Ewe on the 13th apparently having proceeded ahead of the convoy.

On the 14th, HMS Boadicea detached from the convoy to proceed to the Clyde where she arrived on the 15th.

and HMS Starwort detached from the convoy and proceeded to Londonderry arriving there on the 15th.

HMS Bergamot detached with the Clyde section of the convoy (5 ships). After having delivered them off the Clyde on the 15th, HMS Bergamot continued on to Liverpool where she arrived later on the 15th.

The Loch Ewe section of the convoy (16 ships) arrived there on the 15th.

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To provide distant cover for this convoy the ' battlefleet ' departed Akureyri on 2 March. The ' battlefleet ' was made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Offa (Cdr. R.A. Ewing, DSC, RN), HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. T. Gorazdowski), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN).

They arrived in their covering position to the north of the convoy route on the 4th.

On the 5th they left the covering position for Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 6th minus HMS Glasgow and HMS Forester which had been detached to Skaalefjord, Faeroer Islands on the 5th. These two ships arrived there on the 6th. HMS Forester then fuelled from HMS Glasgow and they departed for Scapa Flow later the same day.

HMS Glasgow and HMS Forester arrived at Scapa Flow on the 7th.

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A cruiser, close cover, Force was also deployed. It was known as ' Force R ' and was made up of the light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN).

They had departed the Kola Inlet on 2 March and arrived at Seidisfjord on the 7th.

After fuelling they departed again on the 8th to continue to provide cover for the convoy.

On the 9th they set course to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 11th. (39)

2 Mar 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) departed the Kola Inlet to provide close cover for convoy RA 53.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy RA 53 ' for 1 March 1943.] (41)

7 Mar 1943
The light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) arrived at Seidisfjord to fuel. (41)

8 Mar 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
On completion of fuelling, the light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) departed Seidisfjord to continue to provide close cover for convoy RA 53.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy RA 53 ' for 1 March 1943.] (41)

11 Mar 1943
The light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, OBE, RN) and the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from convoy cover duty.

HMS Norfolk departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde later the same day. (41)

23 Mar 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
In the morning HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted an underway refuelling exercise at Scapa Flow during which HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN) was fuelled.

Around noon HMS Cumberland departed Scapa Flow for exercises with Duke of York which continued until late in the evening. During the exercises HMS Duke of York was escorted by HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN). (42)

26 Mar 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (43)

31 Mar 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (43)

2 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is ordered to patrol in the Denmark Strait. (44)

8 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from patrol. (44)

12 Apr 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Hvalfjord to patrol in the Denmark Strait.

Before proceeding on patrol HMS Cumberland she carried out exercises with HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) which was escorted by HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, RN) and HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN). (44)

16 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), on patrol in the Denmark Strait, sighted a surfaced submarine, she turned towards at full speed and dropped depth charges and then cleared the area. The submarine in question was the German U-189 which was not damaged. (45)

17 Apr 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from patrol. Shortly before entering the fjord she grounded and sustained damage to her bottom.

She departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow later the same day as repairs were required in the U.K. She made the passage together with HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN). (44)

19 Apr 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (45)

21 Apr 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) proceeded from Scapa Flow to the Tyne. (45)

29 Apr 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is taken in hand for repairs at the Palmers Shipyard at Hebburn-on-Tyne. [Presumably she was docked on this day but this is not mentioned in the ships log.] (45)

10 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is undocked at Hebburn, she was then towed to the T.I.C. Quay. (46)

12 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) proceeded from the Tyne to Scapa Flow. (46)

15 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted compass swing, D/G and D/F trials at Scapa Flow. (46)

21 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (46)

25 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
During 25/26 May 1943, HMS Berwick (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These included night exercises. (47)

27 May 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), destroyer HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde. On departure from Scapa Flow some exercises were carried out before course was set for the Clyde.

They arrived in the Clyde the following day. (48)

31 May 1943
The aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyers HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN), HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN)and the escort destroyers HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Akureyri, Iceland. (49)

2 Jun 1943
The aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyers HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN), HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN)and the escort destroyers HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) are ordered to proceed to Hvalfjord instead of Akureyri.

Heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) continued their passage to Akureyri. (50)

3 Jun 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) arrived at Akureyri from the Clyde. (51)

7 Jun 1943

Operation FH.

This operations had three objectives;
a) Carrying relief personnel and stores to the Norwegian Garrison in Spitsbergen.
b) Bringing back two corvettes from North Russia.
c) Carrying mail and stores to HM ships and establishments in North Russia.

The ships taking part in the operation were covered by a large battleforce which took station about 200 miles south-west of Bear Island.

The detailed movements taking part in the operation were as follows.

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' Force R ' was deployed for the relief of the garrison at Spitsbergen (Operation Gearbox III).

It was made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN).

They departed Akureyri, Iceland on 7 June for Spitsbergen where they arrived on 10 June. The cruisers commenced unloading while the destroyers conducted an A/S patrol off the entrance of the fjord. Also HMCS Athabascan fuelled from HMS Cumberland and HMS Eclipse from HMS Bermuda.

On 11 June, ' Force R ' departed Spitsbergen for Scapa Flow where they arrived on 14 June.

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On 8 June, the destroyers HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN), HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN) departed Seidisfjord. HMS Mahratta and HMS Musketeer were to proceed to the Kola Inlet. HMS Onslaught was to make rendezvous with the corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, RNVR) and HMS Camellia (T/Lt. R.F.J. Maberley, RNVR) which departed the Kola Inlet for the U.K. on 9 June.

On 12 June, HMS Mahratta and HMS Musketeer arrived in the Kola Inlet where they unloaded, fuelled and departed to return to Seidisfjord later the same day.

On 13 June, HMS Onslaught returned to Seidisfjord having failed to meet the corvettes which passed to the south of Bear Island.

On 14 June, HMS Bluebell arrived at Aultbea.

On 15 June, HMS Camellia arrived at Liverpool and HMS Mahratta and HMS Musketeer arrived at Seidisfjord.

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On 9 June, the battlefleet, made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), USS South Dakota (Capt. L.D. McCormick, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O.M. Hustvedt, USN), USS Alabama (Capt. F.D. Kirtland, USN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN), AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN), USS Ellyson (T/Cdr. E.W. Longton, USN), USS Rodman (T/Cdr. J.F. Foley, USN), USS Emmons (T/Cdr. E.B. Billingsley, USN), USS Macomb (T/Cdr. J.C. South, USN) and USS Fitch (T/Cdr. K.C. Walpole, USN) departed Akureyi to proceed to their cover position about 200 miles south-west of Bear Island where they arrived on the 11th.

On the 12th, USS South Dakota, USS Alabama, HMS Berwick, USS Ellyson, USS Rodman, USS Emmons, USS Macomb and USSFitch were detached to proceed to Hvalfjord where they arrived on the 14th. The remaining ships set course for Scapa Flow.

On the 13th, HMS Duke of York, HMS Furious, Scylla, HMS Milne, HMS Obdurate, HMS Obedient, HMS Opportune and HMS Orwell arrived at Scapa Flow. (50)

14 Jun 1943
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from operations. (52)

18 Jun 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord. (53)

20 Jun 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from Scapa Flow. (54)

1 Jul 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Berwick (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. (55)

3 Jul 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyer HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow. (56)

5 Jul 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) and the destroyer HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (56)

6 Jul 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Tyne where she is to refit before a deployment to the Far East. (57)

7 Jul 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at North Shields where she commenced to de-ammunition, de-fuel and de-store. (58)

21 Jul 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) proceeded to the Palmers Shipyard at Hebburn-on-Tyne where she is docked and taken in hand for refit. (58)

29 Nov 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) is undocked. (59)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/108428
  2. ADM 53/108429
  3. ADM 53/108430
  4. ADM 53/108431
  5. ADM 53/114000 + ADM 53/114155
  6. ADM 53/114000
  7. ADM 53/115681
  8. ADM 53/115681 + ADM 199/644
  9. ADM 53/115682
  10. ADM 53/115682 + ADM 199/644 + ADM 199/2551
  11. ADM 53/115684
  12. ADM 53/115685
  13. ADM 53/115685 + ADM 199/644
  14. ADM 53/115686 + ADM 199/644
  15. ADM 53/115686
  16. ADM 53/115687 + ADM 53/116137 + ADM 199/429
  17. ADM 53/115687
  18. ADM 53/115687 + ADM 199/644
  19. ADM 53/115688
  20. ADM 53/115688 + ADM 53/115833
  21. ADM 53/115689
  22. ADM 53/115689 + ADM 53/116630 + ADM 199/644
  23. ADM 53/115690
  24. ADM 53/115690 + ADM 53/116098
  25. ADM 53/115690 + ADM 53/116098 + ADM 53/116140 + ADM 53/116355
  26. ADM 53/115690 + ADM 53/116528 + ADM 53/116683
  27. ADM 53/115690 + ADM 53/116390
  28. ADM 53/115690 + ADM 53/116390 + ADM 199/644
  29. ADM 53/115691 + ADM 53/116391
  30. ADM 53/115266 + ADM 53/115691 + ADM 53/116071
  31. ADM 53/115692 + ADM 53/116392
  32. ADM 53/115692 + ADM 199/644
  33. ADM 234/369
  34. ADM 53/115327 + ADM 53/115692 + ADM 199/429
  35. ADM 53/115692
  36. ADM 53/117279 + ADM 53/118296
  37. ADM 53/117279
  38. ADM 53/117280
  39. ADM 199/632 + ADM 234/369
  40. ADM 53/117010 + ADM 53/117280 + ADM 53/118297 + ADM 199/632 + ADM 199/766
  41. ADM 53/117011 + ADM 53/117281 + ADM 53/118298 + ADM 199/632 + ADM 199/644
  42. ADM 53/117281 + ADM 53/117396
  43. ADM 53/117281
  44. ADM 53/117282 + ADM 199/632
  45. ADM 53/117282
  46. ADM 53/117283
  47. ADM 53/117026 + ADM 53/117039 + ADM 53/117283
  48. ADM 53/117026 + ADM 53/117283 + ADM 53/117669
  49. ADM 53/117026 + ADM 53/117283 + ADM 53/117553 + ADM 199/632
  50. ADM 199/632
  51. ADM 53/117284 + ADM 53/117027
  52. ADM 53/117027 + ADM 53/117284 + ADM 199/632
  53. ADM 53/117284 + ADM 199/632
  54. ADM 53/117284
  55. ADM 53/117041 + ADM 53/117285
  56. ADM 53/117285 + ADM 199/632
  57. ADM 53/117285 + ADM 199/2551
  58. ADM 53/117285
  59. ADM 53/117289

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


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