Allied Warships

HMAS Hobart (D 63)

Light cruiser of the Perth class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassPerth 
PennantD 63 
Built byDevonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.) 
Ordered1 Mar 1933 
Laid down15 Aug 1933 
Launched9 Oct 1934 
Commissioned28 Sep 1938 
End service 
History

Commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Apollo on 13 January 1936.

From 1936 until 1938 HMS Apollo served on the America and West Indies Station. On 28 September 1938 Apollo was acquired from the Royal Navy by the Royal Australian Navy, she was commissioned by the crew of the HMAS Albatross (which had been transferred to the RN in part payment of Apollo) earlier than intended because of the Munich crisis. She was renamed Hobart and sailed for Australia towards the end of the year.

In October 1939 HMAS Hobart was in the East Indies and thereafter was employed in the escorting of troop convoys across the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. During November – December 1939 she was patrolling south of the Arabian sea in search for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee and her attendant replenishment ship Altmark.

In January 1940 Hobart in company with the carrier HMS Eagle were on troop convoy escort duties. On February 8th the convoy passed Aden and reached Suez four days later, where the first New Zealand and Australian troops were disembarked. In August, in the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, she assisted in the evacuation from British Somali of troops and civilians to Aden. By December she was in the Mediterranean, while undertaking escort duties from Malta back to Alexandria, she was called to assist the last supply convoy to Tobruk as the escort vessels were in trouble due to heavy air attacks.

Late 1941, with the entry of Japan into the war, Hobart was required in the East again, and sailed for Singapore, escorting troop convoy BM-9A . The early part of this year was spent on escort duties for troop transports from Colombo to Singapore. She was also involved in escorting the evacuation convoys from Singapore. On February 25th, while being a member of the Allied strike force under Dutch Admiral Doorman, she put out from Batavia to attack the Japanese forces, however they were spotted by enemy reconnaissance aircraft and came under heavy attack. Hobart suffered only splinter damage which prevented the completion of refuelling. As a result she missed the fatal Battle of the Java Sea on the 27th, when her sister ship HMAS Perth was destroyed. In May she became a member of Task Force 44, in company with HMAS Australia and USS Chicago. During July - August she was involved in the successful landings on Guadalcanal and later the same month she was transferred to Task Force 61, under the command of Vice Admiral Fletcher (USN) and involved in sea and air battles east of the Solomons. Unfortunately on August 9th, disaster struck the Naval Forces, a Japanese Cruiser Squadron attacked, causing the loss of the Australian HMAS Canberra and the American cruisers USS Astoria, USS Quincy and USS Vincennes. Although operations in the Solomons were to continue, further RAN involvement was limited. October 1942 was spent at Sydney refitting and after this she rejoined Task Force 44 on Coral Sea patrols.

In March 1943 Hobart became part of the newly formed US 7th Fleet. During June – July while a unit of Task Force 74 under Vice Admiral Crutchley (RAN) and in company with HMAS Australia, she operated in the area of the Coral Sea and the Eastern Australian Sea in order to cover the landings on New Georgia (Central Solomons) On July 20th, Hobart was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine I-11 (offsite link). Escorted by HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta the cruiser reached Sydney. On August 26th the repairs were begun.

In November 1944 the repairs from the torpedo damage were completed. In March – April 1945 Hobart in company with two American cruisers were deployed as fire support for the amphibious landings of US troops near Cebu (Philippines). On April 27th the shelling began on the assault area in the south of Tarkan. (Borneo). On May 9th Hobart with the British cruiser HMS Newfoundland began shelling Wewak (New Guinea) in support of the 6th Australian Division. In June she took part in shelling of the assault areas off Brunei Bay (Borneo) prior to the arrival of the Australian 9th Infantry Division. On August 31st in company with the Australian cruiser HMAS Shropshire she arrived in Sagami Bay Japan, to witness the peace ceremony.

Post war Hobart remained in service making three deployments to Japanese waters. On December 20th 1947 Hobart was decommissioned at Sydney. During 1953 - 1956 Hobart was extensively refitted and partly converted and modernised as a training ship at New Castle, New South Wales. For this role she was given a lattice foremast, but had all torpedo tubes and secondary guns removed. During this period, the plans regarding her being brought back into service as a fleet training ship were dropped. In 1959 Hobart was placed into reserve and later during that year it was decided that she was surplus to requirements and placed on the disposal list. On 2 February 1962 she was sold for scrap. In March 1962 Hobart left Sydney to be towed to Osaka in Japan for breaking up by Mitsue & Co at the Miyachi shipyard where she arrived on 2 April 1962.

Her badge can be seen displayed on the Selborne dry dock wall at Simonstown, South Africa.

 
Former nameHMS Apollo

Commands listed for HMAS Hobart (D 63)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Harry Leslie Howden, RAN28 Aug 19397 Jun 1942
2Capt. Henry Arthur Showers, RAN8 Jun 19428 Oct 1943
3Cdr. Frederick Norton Cook, RAN18 Oct 19438 Nov 1944
4Capt. Roy Russell Dowling, RAN8 Nov 194413 Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Hobart include:


28 Oct 1939
HMS Birmingham (Capt. E.J.P. Brind, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Singapore for a patrol around Sumatra. (1)

1 Nov 1939
HMS Birmingham (Capt. E.J.P. Brind, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) parted company with each other. HMS Birmingham proceeded south to the Sunda Strait while HMAS Hobart proceeded north to return to Singapore via the Malacca Strait. (2)

10 Dec 1939

Convoy K 6.

This convoy departed Bombay on 10 December 1939.

It was made up of the transports; Cap Tourane (French, 8009 GRT, built 1923), D'Artagnan (French, 15105 GRT, built 1925), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Tairea (British, 7934 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

These ships were carrying Indian and French troops and mules.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) H.C. Legge, DSC, RN) and HMS Maloja (Capt.(Retd.) C.R. Dane, RN).

Cover for he convoy was proviced by the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) which had departed Colombo on 9 December. They turned back at midnight during the night of 11/12 December 1939.

On 15 December 1939, on entering the Gulf of Aden the escorts parted company with the convoy which then proceeded unescorted to Suez where it arrived on 20 December.

After passing the Suez Canal the convoy departed Port Said on 21 December escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN).

The destroyers were relieved on 24 December by their sister ships HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN).

The convoy arrived at Marseilles on 26 December.

6 Jan 1940

Convoy US 1.

Troop convoy from New Zealand and Australia to Suez.

The convoy departed Wellington, New Zealand on 6 January 1940 and on departure was made up out of the following troopships: Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Wellington the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. W.R. Patterson, RN) and the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN).

Two more troopships joined the convoy in New Zealand waters, these were: Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937) and Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy then set course for Australia.

On 9 January the troopships: Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925) and Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) departed Sydney to join the convoy which they did the next day. They were being escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN).

HMNZS Leander was then detached while HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN) joined the convoy on the 11th but already left again the day after.

On the 12th the troopship Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930) joined the convoy coming from Melbourne.

On 18 January the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) briefly joined the convoy escort but she parted company again later the same day.

On 20 January, near Fremantle the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) joined the convoy after which the Australian cruisers parted company and proceeded to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 30 January and entered the harbour as did HMS Ramillies. HMS Kent and Suffren kept patrolling off the harbour until the convoy set sail again on 1 February but now escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies the aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). HMS Ramillies and HMS Sussex had sailed with the convoy from Colombo, the other two escorts came from Trincomalee. HMS Kent and Suffren then entered Colombo. At Colombo the convoy had been joined by the French troopship Athos II (French, 15276 GRT, built 1927).

On 6 February 1940 the destroyer HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) joined the convoy coming from Colombo. On joinig the convoy she was oiled by HMS Sussex.

Early on the 7th, HMAS Hobart proceeded ahead to Aden with three of the troopships.

At dawn of the 8th the convoy arrived off Aden and three more of the troop transports entered the harbour. The remainder proceeded towards the Red Sea now escorted by HMS Sussex and HMAS Hobart. Aircraft from HMS Eagle patrolled in the area while HMS Ramillies fuelled in the outer anchorage.

The transports that had entered Aden left there on 9 February escorted by HMS Sussex as this cruiser had turned back when off the Perim Strait. HMS Sussex and HMS Westcott now escorted these ships until they met HMAS Hobart which had now dispersed the first group of transports in 22°30'N.

HMS Sussex then turned back to proceed to Aden leaving the transports of the second group to HMAS Hobart which then escorted the transports to 22°30'N when they were dispersed. HMS Westcott went on to Suez with the Rangitata. HMAS Hobart then also set sourse to return to Aden. (3)

15 Jan 1940
The aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to patrol off Ceylon. (4)

18 Jan 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Colombo from patrol. (4)

22 Feb 1940
HMS Olympus (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN) conducted exercises off Colombo. These included a practice attack on the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). (5)

6 Mar 1940
HMS Durban (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN), HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) departed Nancowry Island. Shorty after deparuture they made rendezvous with HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which then took over the escort of the gunboats which were to proceed to the Mediterranean via Colombo and Aden. (6)

27 Mar 1940
HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) departed Colombo for exercises.

Later in the day HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) also sailed and she joined HMS Kent for the exercises.

Later HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN) also joined.

Exercises were then carried out with HMS Kent and HMAS Hobart operating together against an enemy raider which was portrayed by HMS Gloucester

Also flying boats were involved.

Exercises continued during the night. On completion of the exercises HMS Gloucester proceeded to Colombo while HMS Kent and HMAS Hobart set course for Trincomalee. (7)

29 Mar 1940
' Force I ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee. (8)

3 Apr 1940
' Force I ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (9)

4 Apr 1940
' Force I ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Trincomalee to intercept the Dutch merchant vessel Alcinous (6189 GRT, built 1925) which was reported to be carrying goods of German origin (contraband). This order was later cancelled and both ships proceeded to Colombo arriving there on the 5th. (10)

11 Jun 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) departed Aden to conduct a raid in the Red Sea along the coast of Italian Somaliland.

12 Jun 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) returned to Aden after their a raid in the Red Sea along the coast of Italian Somaliland. They had sighted no enemy shipping. They had been attacked from the air by Italian aircraft but sustained no damage.

20 Jul 1940
At 2013C/20, the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) and the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) departed Aden for an operation in the Red Sea to destroy the stranded Italian submarine Perla.

Around 0500C/21, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined company in position 148° Perim Light, 8 miles.

HMAS Hobart and HMS Ceres, screened by HMS Kingston and HMS Kimberley then proceeded up the Red Sea keeping close to the Yemen coast until south-west of Mocha (Mokka), when course was altered to the westward to pass between Harbi and Sayal Islands and thence up the Eritrean Coast.

At 1555C/21, when in position 14°23'N, 41°32'5"E with cruiser in line ahead screened by the two destroyers and steering 295°, sighted what appeared to be two destroyers ahead. Speed was increased to close when these 'destroyers' were identified as object inshore of Ras Cesar.

At 1605C/21, sighted a Dhow close inshore southward of the reported position of Perla and a dark object, which had all the appearanc of a submarine hull. This object was fist seen and pointed out to Captain Howden by the Navigating Officer. Captain Howden looked at it through binoculars and no doubt was raised in his mind tat it was other then the 'wreck' of the grounded Perla, The Observer Officer similarly examined it and also considered it to be the submarine, except that the size of the conning tower appeared reduced. Captain Howden later asked HMS Kingston if the conning tower had been hit during the gun action on 27 June. HMS Kingston replied that it had twice been hit but had not been demolished.

It was when the position of the suspected Perla was abaft the beam that the Navigating Officer raised some doubts as to the certainty of the object sighted being the Perla. By that time the distane away was considerable and as two enemy aircraft were in sight Captain Howden had not the opportunity for further observation. Later HMS Ceres was asked if she had sighted Perla and the response was 'No'. [Indeed the Italian submarine had arrived back at Massawa on 20 July after having been towed off the reef.]

At 1609C/21, HMS Kingston reported two aircraft to the northward and a few minutes later these was also seen onboard HMAS Hobart

At 1617C/21, course was altered to starboard to place them on the port beam and so gain sea room. By this time the ships were within 7.5 miles of the position of the suspected wreck of the Perla. At this stage the enemy aircraft were some nine or ten miles away and could only be recognised as large bombers in close formation.

At 1620C/21, the aircraft altered course towards and closes on the port beam, their height being about 8000 feet.

At 1623C/21, HMS Kingston opened fire rather prematurely as the bombers were well out of range and bursts were well short.

At 1625C/21, HMAS Hobart opened fire but the initial rounds were wide of the bombers, which however, opened up to about five spans. The bursts were getting closer and when one burst came below and between the bombers they altered course to starboard and the rear bomber jettisoned two large bombs while on a banked turn. These fell harmlessly into the sea 2-3 miles inshore of the port wing destroyer.

The rear aircraft, which appeared to be very nervous broke formation and banked steeply to port withdrawing to the north-west. The leader continued on an opposite course to the ships and withdrew out of range astern.

At 1637C/21, HMS Kimberley was detached to indentify the wreck of the Perla. In the meantime HMAS Hobart opened fire on the aircraft which was making up the coast towards Massawa, but her angle of sight was below the limit for which the control system was designed and shots burst wide and the aircraft withdrew outside gun range and disappeared to the north.

At 1650C/21, HMS Kimberley was closing the shore and was attacked by the leaders aircraft at 6000 feet. One bomb was dropped which fell some 1500 yards astern of HMS Kimberley which was then recalled. She reported seeing a dark shape on the beach near the dhow, but was not certain that it was the Perla.

The aircraft, which came under accurate fire from HMS Ceres, retired to the southward until out of range and then made off in a westerly direction, jettisoning a large bomb on the foreshore. The aircraft appeared to be attempting to attain a position right astern before attacking, but as they kept at long range there was no difficulty in keeping them on the beam.

The aircraft were identified as being SM 81's and the four bombs dropped by them were thought to be of 1250lbs in weight. Neither aircraft showed any desire to press home an attack and the rear aircraft appeared particularly uneasy. It is thought they had been sent out as a reconnaissance force and not a dedicated bombing force sent out for us.

When it became evident that no further air attacks were launched against us course was set to retire to the south-east.

At 1800C/21, HMS Kimberley was detached for the Perim patrol. HMAS Hobart and HMS Ceres set course to return to Aden screened by HMS Kingston. They arrived at Aden around 1200C/22. (11)

24 Jul 1940

Convoy RS 5.

This convoy departed Liverpool on 24 July 1940 for Suez.

It was made up of the troopship Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931) and the transport Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Liverpool the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H Layman, DSO, RN).

Also on the 24th the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Maloja (A/Capt. V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN) and the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, DSC, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN) departed Greenock. They made rendezvous with the ships coming from Liverpool around 0600A/25.

At 1000A/26, HMS Argus and the destroyers parted company to proceed direct to Gibraltar. They arrived at Gibraltar around 0700A/30.

The convoy, escorted by HMS Maloja, continued on towards Freetown where it arrived on 4 August 1940.

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The then convoy departed Freetown on 5 August 1940 for Capetown.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was now escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, MVO, RN).

Around 1200Z/11, the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Hermes then parted company to proceed independently on patrol and then on to Simonstown.

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 15 August 1940.

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The convoy, still in the same composition and still escorted by HMS Dragon departed Capetown for Durban on 16 August 1940.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 19 August 1940.

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The convoy departed Durban for Aden on 21 August 1940 now escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

The convoy arrived at Aden on 31 August 1940.

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The convoy departed Aden for Suez on 31 August 1940 now escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN). The armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) was also with the convoy for a while.

At 1830C/2, the Reina del Pacifico parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Suez where she arrived on 4 September 1940.

At 1920C/2, HMS Kandahar parted company with the convoy to proceed to Port Sudan to fuel.

At 0910C/3, the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) took over the escort of the Clan Ferguson from HMAS Hobart which in turn took over HMS Grimsby's southbound convoy.

HMS Grimsby and the Clan Ferguson arrived at Suez on 5 September 1940. (12)

6 Aug 1940

Convoy WS 2.

This convoy departed Liverpool / the Clyde on 6 August 1940 for the far east.

The Liverpool section of the convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Aska (British, 8323 GRT, built 1939), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Clan Macaulay (British, 10492 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Stratheden (British, 23722 GRT, built 1937) and Waiwera (British, 12435 GRT, built 1934).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hammill, RN), HMS Havelock (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN), HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) and HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN).

The Clyde section of the convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Lanarkshire (British, 9816 GRT, built 1940), Memnon (British, 7506 GRT, built 1931) and Suffolk (British, 11063 GRT, built 1939).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN) and HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN).

Both sections made rendez-vous around 1200/6 and then the convoy was formed in position 55°30'N, 06°00'W.

Around 1430/6 (zone -1), the troopship Orion, was ordered to proceed to the Clyde as she had developed engine defects.

At 2118/7, the destroyers HMS Vortigern and HMS Watchman were detached in response to an SOS signal. [This was from the torpedoed Mohamed Ali El-Kebir.]

At 2359/7, HMS Emerald and the remaining destroyers parted company with the convoy.

Around dawn on the 8th the convoy split up in a 'fast' and a 'slow' section. The fast section was made up of the Andes, Batory, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Monarch of Bermuda, Strathaird and Stratheden. They were escorted by HMS Cornwall. The other ships formed the 'slow' section escorted by HMS Shropshire.

The 'fast' section arrived at Freetown on 15 August 1940. The 'slow' section arrived at Freetown on 16 August 1940.

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On 16 August 1940 the 'fast' section departed Freetown for Capetown. It was now made up of the troopships / transports Andes, Batory, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Strathaird and Stratheden under the escort of HMS Cornwall.

The 'slow' section, now made up of the troopships / transports Clan Macaulay, Franconia, Lanarkshire, Memnon, Ormonde, Otranto, Suffolk and Waiwera under the escort of HMS Shropshire.

The fast sections arrived at Capetown on 25 August 1940, the slow section on 28 August 1940.

Both cruisers proceeded to Simonstown after delivering the convoy at Capetown, HMS Cornwall arriving there on 25 August and HMS Shropshire on 28 August.

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On 30 August 1940 the troopships / transports Andes, Clan Macaulay, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Lanarkshire, Memnon, Otranto, Strathaird, Suffolk and Waiwera departed Capetown for Aden / Suez. They were escorted by HMS Shropshire. This convoy was now known as WS 2A.

On 2 September 1940, while off Durban, this convoy was joined by the troopships / transport Franconia and Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929) which had been escorted out of Durban by the HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN). These ships had departed Durban the day before.

The Llangibby Castle was detached from the convoy around noon on 7 September for Mombasa where she arrived on 8 September being escorted from them moment she had been detached by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN).

The convoy arrived near Aden on 12 September 1940 where it split into two sections late in the afternoon. The 'fast' section was escorted by light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN). HMS Shropshire remained with the 'slow' section but was reinforced by the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

Not all of these escorts remained with their convoy's until Suez though.

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One day later, 31 August 1940, the troopships / transports Batory, Orion (which by now had also arrived at Capetown, Ormonde and Stratheden departed Capetown for Bombay. They were escorted by HMS Cornwall. This convoy was now known as WS 2B.

The escort of convoy WS 2B was taken over by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN) in position 35°08'S, 34°27'E at 1200/3. Half an hour later HMS Cornwall parted company with the convoy.

Convoy WS 2B arrived at Bombay in the morning of September 15th. (13)

16 Aug 1940
From 16 to 19 August 1940, Allied troops from Berbera, Italian Somaliland, were evacuated to Aden.

The troops were evacatuated by the transports Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (6491 GRT, built 1912), the hospital ship Vita (4691 GRT, built 1914) as well as the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).

Cover for the evacuation was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), AA -cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN), HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), minesweeper HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and the netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN).

On 17 August, HMS Ceres bombarded Italian Army targets which temporarily halted the Italian advance.

On 18 August, HMS Caledon and HMS Kandahar bombarded enemy units on the Bulhar-Berbera road.

The evacuation was completed on the 18th. Over 7000 men had been evacuated.

The last men were taken off by HMAS Hobart which Berbera early on the 19th for Aden with the last of the Army personnel and the demolition parties which had demolished the harbour facilities. HMS Indus proceeded along the coast to pick up stragglers. (14)

22 Aug 1940

Convoy's AP 1 and AP 2.

This combined convoy sailed from the U.K. on 22 August 1940 and was made up of the following ships; Denbighshire (British, 8983 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Sydney Star (British, 12696 GRT, built 1936) and Waiotira (British, 11090 GRT, built 1939).

The aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) was also part of this convoy serving in the role as aircraft transport.

The convoy was heavily escorted, mostly by warships proceeding from home waters to join other stations.

The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CVO, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN) and HMS Tartar (Capt. C. Caslon, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 1045/22.

From Liverpool the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) sailed around 1430/22.

From the Clyde the AA cruisers HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyer HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN) sailed around 2030/22.

HMS Ashanti, HMS Bedouin and HMS Tartar had detached on 24 August.

HMS Valiant, HMS Illustrious, HMS Sheffield, HMS Calcutta, HMS Coventry, HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Fortune and HMS Fury proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 29 August.

Convoy AP 1 arrived at Freetown on 1 September escorted by HMS York. It departed for Capetown later the same day.

Convoy AP 2 (Sydney Star and HMS Argus arrived at Freetown on 2 September 1940 escorted by HMS Ajax. It departed for Durban later the same day. HMS Argus parted company with the convoy on 4 September and proceeded to Takoradi.

Convoy AP 1 arrived at Capetown on 9 September. HMS York proceeed to Simonstown arriving later the same day. The convoy departed again on 10 September still escorted by HMS York.

Convoy AP 2 arrived at Durban on 13 September and sailed again later the same day still escorted by HMS Ajax.

On 20 September 1940, HMS York turned over the escort of convoy AP 1 to the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) which escorted the convoy in the Red Sea. The convoy arrived at Suez on 23 September 1940. After turning over the convoy HMS York proceeded to Aden arriving in the evening of September, 20th.

Convoy AP 2 arrived off Aden on 22 September, still escorted by HMS Ajax. There it was joined by the transport Amra (British, 8314 GRT, built 1938), heavy cruiserHMS York and the destroyers HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN). HMS Ajax was then detached to Aden. The AA cruiser HMS Coventry also joined later on 22 September, parting company again at 1300/23.

Convoy AP 2 arrived at Suez on 25 September 1940.

31 Aug 1940
The light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) departed Aden to rendez-vous at sea with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN) and take over the escort of the two ships she is escorting. These were the merchant vessels Clan Ferguson (British, 7347 GRT, built 1938) and Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931). They were to proceed to Suez. The armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) was also part of the escort.

In the early evening of September 2nd, the Reina del Pacifico parted company and proceeded ahead to Suez where she arrived on the 4th.

Shortly afterwards, HMS Kandahar set course for Port Sudan to refuel.

At 0900/3, rendez-vous was made in position 23°20'N, 37°42'E with convoy BS 3A which came down from Suez. Escorts were then exchanged and both convoy's proceeded to their destinations. (14)

1 Sep 1940

Convoy BS 3A.

This convoy departed Suez on 1 September 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was to be dispersed on 6 September 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Khedive Ismael (Egyptian, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

In the morning of 3 September the escort was passed to the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN).

The following moring the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) joined the convoy as escorts.

On the 5th the convoy was attacked by Italian aircraft but no damage was inflicted by the enemy.

The convoy was dispersed early in the evening of September 6th in position 12°34'N, 47°07'E after which HMS Hobart and HMS Kandahar proceeded to Aden where they arrived in the morning of the 7th. (14)

7 Sep 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) arrived at Aden after convoy escort duty. (14)

16 Sep 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) arrived at Aden after convoy escort duty. (14)

20 Sep 1940
Convoy AP 21, coming from the U.K. via the Cape, passed Aden for it's last leg through the Red Sea to Suez.

The convoy was made up of the troopships / transports; Denbighshire (British, 8983 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928) and Waiotira (British, 12823 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN).

Coventry and Kandahar parted company with the convoy during the passage and returned to Aden where they arrived on the 24th and 23rd respecively. Hobart and Diamond continued with the convoy to Suez where it arrived on the 24th.

22 Sep 1940

Convoy US 5.

This convoy departed Fremantle on 22 September 1940 for Suez where it arrived on 12 October 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships; Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Fremantle the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN). The convoy proceeded via Colombo. On 2 October 1940 HMAS Australia was relieved by the heavy cuiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN).

On 8 October 1940 the convoy was off Aden where HMS Shorpshire parted company with the convoy and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

The escort remained with the convoy until 10 October 1940 when they joined te southbound convoy SW 2. [See the event ' Convoy SW 2 ' for 8 October 1940 for more info on this convoy.] (14)

24 Sep 1940

Convoy SW 1.

This convoy departed Suez on 24 September 1940 for Durban where it arrived on 8 October 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), California Star (British, 8300 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Suffolk (British, 11145 GRT, built 1939).

On the 25th the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) as escort.

In the morning of the 26th the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined the escort. She came from Port Sudan.

In the morning of the 27th the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) joined the convoy having just parted company with the northbound convoy BN 5A.

The convoy arrived off Aden on the 28th where the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN) took over the escort.

Also the merchant vessel California Star left the convoy and proceeded to Aden.

The transport Otranto proceeded to Mombasa, arriving there on 4 October.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 8 October 1940. (14)

8 Oct 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) all departed Aden to join convoy US 5 as escort through the southern part of the Red Sea.

See the event ' Convoy US 5 ' for 22 September 1940 for more info on this convoy.

8 Oct 1940

Convoy SW 2.

This convoy departed Suez on 8 October 1940 for Durban where it arrived on 22 October 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Amra (British, 8314 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Sydney Star (British, 12696 GRT, built 1936) and Waiotira (British, 11090 GRT, built 1939).

On departed from Suez the convoy was apparently not escorted.

On 9 October 1940 two more ships joined the convoy. These came from Port Sudan. They were the merchant vessels Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

On 10 October the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) for onward escort until off Aden.

These ships parted company on the 12th when the convoy was joined by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN).

This heavy cruiser escorted the convoy until 04.50'N, 30.00'E where the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN) took over.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 22 October 1940 minus three merchant vessels which had proceeded to other destinations; Amra and Waiotira proceeded to Bombay and Colombo respectively while Ormonde arrived at Mombasa on 18 October. (14)

12 Oct 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty.

[See the events ' convoy US 5 ' and ' convoy WS 2 ' for 22 September 1940 and 8 October 1940 respectively for more information on the convoy's they had been escorting.]

4 Dec 1940

Convoy BS 10.

This convoy departed Suez on 4 December 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 11 December 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alice Moller (British, 4986 GRT, built 1914), Arena (Norwegian (tanker), 6362 GRT, built 1927), British Endurance (British (tanker), 8406 GRT, built 1936), British Hope (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Renown (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1928), British Sailor (British (tanker), 5576 GRT, built 1918), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (British, 12427 GRT, built 1935), Ioannis P. Goulandris (Greek, 3750 GRT, built 1910), Katingo Hadjipatara (Greek, 3661 GRT, built 1913), Katy (Norwegian, 6825 GRT, built 1931), Khosrou (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marcella (British, 4592 GRT, built 1928), Margot (British, 4545 GRT, built 1926), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rosalie Moller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1910), Roxane (British, 7813 GRT, built 1929), Speybank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT (tanker), built 1930).

They were escorted on departure from Suez by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 7 December 1940 five ships joined coming from Port Sudan. These were; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helen Moller (British, 5259 GRT, built 1918), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Wayfarer (British, 5068 GRT, built 1925).

They had left Port Sudan on the 6th.

On the 8th convoy escort was taken over by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN).

On the 9th AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined.

The convoy was dispersed on the 11th.

4 Feb 1941

Convoy US 9.

This convoy departed Sydney on 4 February 1941 and arrived at Bombay on 22 February 1941.

The convoy was made up of the troopships; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914), Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Sydney the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN).

Off Melbourne the convoy was joined by the troopship Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy arrived at Fremantle on 10 February 1941 and departed again on 12 February 1941 but now escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN).

In the afternoon of the 16th the convoy made rendezvous with the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) which took the Queen Mary with her to Singapore where they arrived on the 18th.

On the 20th, HMAS Canberra was relieved by the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN).

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 22 February 1941.

7 Apr 1941

Convoy US 10.

This convoy departed Wellington, New Zealand on 7 April 1941. It arrived at Colombo / Trincomalee on 26 April 1941.

On departure from Wellington the convoy was made up of the troopships; Mauretania (British, 35739 GRT, built 1939) and Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN).

In the morning of the 10th, HMNZS Achilles parted company in position 35°15'S, 152°45'E and proceeded to Jervis Bay where the troopship Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936) is anchored under the protection of the light cruiser HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN). When HMNZS Achilles arrived HMAS Sydney departed Jervis Bay for Sydney.

The remainder of the convoy meanwhile went to Sydney where they arrived later on the 10th.

On the 11th the convoy departed Sydney with two more troopships in it, these were the Ile de France (British, 43450 GRT, built 1926) and Queen Elizabeth (British, 83673 GRT, built 1939). Escort was HMAS Australia.

In the afternoon of the 11th they were joined in position 35°24'S, 152°05'E by the Queen Mary and HMNZS Achilles. HMNZS Achilles then parted company to proceed to Sydney.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle on 16 April and departed from there in the same composition on 19 April.

In the afternoon of 22 April the convoy made rendezvous in position 08°30'S, 104°45'E with the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) which then took the Nieuw Amsterdam with her to Singapore. They arrived at Singapore on 24 April.

In the afteroon of the 25 April the convoy made rendezvous in position 03°00'N, 84°45'E with the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) which then took the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary with her to Trincomalee where they arrived on 26 April.

HMS Australia with the Ile de France and Mauretania proceeded to Colombo where they arrived on 26 April. (15)

16 Jul 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria. (16)

17 Jul 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (17)

4 Aug 1941
At 1300 hours HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) departed Haifa for gunnery and torpedo exercises. On completion of these they proceeded to Port Said.

The following morning they were joined at sea by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN).

They arrived at Port Said around 1000/5.

5 Aug 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) departed Port Said with troops for Farmagusta. (16)

6 Aug 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Farmagusta. After unloading the troops HMS Neptune, HMS Kandahar and HMS Kimberley departed for Alexandria where they arrived later the same day while HMS Kipling proceeded to Haifa where she also arrived later the same day. (16)

13 Aug 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said. (16)

14 Aug 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) arrived at Port Said. (16)

15 Aug 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Pleydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) departed Port Said loaded with troops for Famagusta. (16)

16 Aug 1941
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Pleydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) arrived at Farmagusta shortly after midnight.

After disembarking their troops they departed for Haifa where they arrived aound noon. HMS Abdiel however proceeded to Alexandria. (16)

3 Sep 1941
Shortly after 1000 hours, the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN) and HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria for exercises.

HMS Valiant and HMAS Hobart returned to Alexandria at 1915 hours. The destroyers remained out. (18)

15 Sep 1941
Around 0855C/15, the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria with supplies for Tobruk.

The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) had departed Alexandria around 0840C/15 for exercises.

The destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria around 1035C/15 to join the light cruisers on completion of their exercises and then to cover provide cover for the store carrying destroyers.

All ships returned to Alexandria on the 16th, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam and HMS Havock around 1345C/16 followed by HMS Kingston around 1405C/16. HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune and HMAS Hobart returned around 1445C/16 and finally HMS Kimberley entered harbour around 1610C/16. (19)

17 Sep 1941
Around 1850B/17, HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) departed Alexandria to embark troops at Beirut or Haifa.

Around 0800C/18, HMS Neptune parted company with the other ships and proceeded to Haifa arriving there around 1110B/18.

HMS Ajax and HMAS Hobart arrived at Beirut around 1405B/18.

HMS Neptune departed Haifa around 0430B/19 and arrived at Beirut around 0815BC/19.

All three cruisers departed Beirut for Alexandria around 1100BC/19.

They were joined at sea around 1230B/19 by the destroyers HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN).

All five ships arrived at Alexandria around 0615B/20. (20)

22 Sep 1941
At 0800B/22, the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN) and the destroyers and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria with supplies for Tobruk.

Their return passage was covered by the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) which departed Alexandria around 2200B/22.

All ships returned to Alexandria around noon the following day. (21)

26 Sep 1941
Around 0900B/26, the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) departed Alexandria for a diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean during 'Operation Halberd' in the Western Mediterranean.

They returned to Alexandria in the afternoon of the 27th. (16)

10 Oct 1941
Shortly after 0900 hours, the battleships HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria for a sweep to the westwards.

The destroyers HMS Jupiter, HMS Kandahar, HMS Griffin, HMS Decoy and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale, HMS Eridge were detached for a sweep towards Bardia. The destroyers HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) had sailed from Alexandria to join the fleet to take their place in the screen.

The fleet turned back to the east around 1800 hours. They returned to Alexandria in the morning of the 11th.

The destroyers that had been detached returned to Alexandria in the afternoon of the 11th. (16)

12 Oct 1941

Operation 'Cultivate'.

Replacement of Australian troops at Tobruk with 'fresh' troops.

At 0700/12 the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair-Ford, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) departed Alexandria with troops and stores for Tobruk.

A cover force also sailed from Alexandria. It was made up of the battleships HHMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN).

The cruisers with three of the destroyers were detached during the night. They rejoined at daylight when the fleet set course to return to Alexandria.

Meanwhile Abdiel with her destroyers had landed the stores and troops at Tobruk and taken on board troops that were being relieved and set course to return to Alexandria.

Early in the afternoon a report was received of Italian cruisers and destroyers and the fleet was turned westwards again. Shortly afterwards the fleet was attacked by three enemy torpedo bombers but no damage was done. During the night the cruisers and three of the destroyers were again detached.

At daylight on the 14th the detached ships again rejoined and course was set to return to Alexandria. The fleet arrived at Alexandria around 1530/14.

Operation 'Cultivate' continued for a while sending 'fresh' troops to Tobruk. (16)

20 Oct 1941
The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Alexandria at 0830/20 to bombard an enemy gun battery near Tobruk during the night of 20/21 October.

The cruisers returned to Alexandria at 1330/21. At 0610/21 the destroyers had been detached to go to the assistance of the gunboat HMS Gnat (Lt.Cdr. S.R.H. Davenport, RN) which had been torpedoed and heavily damaged. Due to the air threat they remained near Mersa Matruh and were not allowed to proceed further to the west. HMS Griffin and HMS Jaguar were later joined by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN).

They contacted the damaged gunboat before sunset. HMS Griffin took HMS Gnat in tow escorted by HMS Jaguar and the A/S whalers HMSAS Southern Maid and HMS Klo.

Tow was later passed to the tug HMS St. Monance.

HMS Jaguar, HMS Avon Vale and HMS Eridge arrived at Alexandria at 0030/23.

HMS Gnat and HMS Griffin arrived at Alexandria later on 23 October. (22)

23 Oct 1941
The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria around 0845 hours on a bombardment operation.

During the night of 23/24 October the light cruisers and the escort destroyers bombarded the Bardia area. Petrol dumps and a building, thought to be the Army headquarters were the main targets.

The four fleet destroyers had been detached and bombarded the Sollum area.

All ships then returned to Alexandria. (16)

25 Oct 1941
The light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria for further bombardment operations.

The light cruisers and the destroyers HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam and HMS Hasty bombarded the Bardia area during the night of 25/26 October.

The destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar, HMS Jupiter and HMS Kimberley were detached to go to the assistance of the fast minelayer HMS Latona (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) which had been bombed and later sank as result of the damage.

All ships returned to Alexandria on the 26th. (16)

11 Nov 1941
HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These included night exercises. During these exercises they were escorted by four destroyers, these were; HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN).

Four destroyers from the 7th Destroyer Flotilla were also exercises in the area, these were; HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN) and HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN).

All ships involved returned to Alexandria late in the evening. (23)

17 Nov 1941
Around 1115/17 the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to bombard the Sollum area during the night of 17/18 November 1941. The bombardment however had to be cancelled due to the bad weather conditions. The ships then joined the Mediterranean Fleet which had departed Alexandria in the morning of the 18th at noon on the 18th.

They returned to Alexandria with the Fleet on the 19th. (24)

20 Nov 1941
Around 1130B/20, the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Alexandria to conduct a bombardment of the Bardia area during the night of 20/21 November. They were joined off the gate by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) which had departed around 1000B/20.

Around 1400B/20, they were joined, about 40 miles east of Alexandria by the escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) which had departed Alexandria around 1315B/19 for an A/S hunt for a reported enemy submarine reported by an aircraft. (which in the end turned out to be HMSAS Southern Maid).

A bombardment was carried out around 0200B/21 and course was then set to join the fleet at sea which was done around noon. (25)

21 Nov 1941

Operations ME 7 and Landmark.

Diversionary attack on Tripoli to divert enemy air strenght away from the Bardia / Halfaya pass area during land operations.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Alexandria for operation ME 7.

At noon, the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) joined the fleet at sea having completed their bombardment. The four hunt-class destroyers were however detached to return to Alexandria where they arrived around 1500B/21.

After dark HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Galatea were detached after dark to make false W/T reports further to the west. The fleet then turned back towards Alexandria.

The fleet arrived back at Alexandria at daybreak on the 22nd. The detached cruisers arrived back later the same day.

To simulate a fake landing attempt on the coast near Tripoli (Operation Landmark) a convoy made up of the transports HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939), Ajax (7540 GRT, built 1931), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938) and Sydney Star (12696 GRT, built 1936) departed Malta. It was escorted by the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR) and cover was provided by ' Force K ', made up of HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN). These ships all departed Malta around 1415/21. [Both destroyers had actually departed around 1235/21, presumably to conduct an A/S sweep before the other ships departed the harbour.]

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0600/22 followed around 2 hours later by the convoy. It does not appear the convoy had been sighted by the enemy. (16)

6 Dec 1941
The destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria at 0630B/6 to patrol off Derna during the night of 6/7 December 1941 and then proceed to Malta where they arrived around 0915B/8.

Around 1315B/6, the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to make rendezvous with the transport HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) which was coming from Malta having departed there around 1700B/5 escorted by the destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN). To cover these ships the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O’Coner, RN) and destroyer HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) had departed Malta around 2000B/5 and joined with HMS Breconshire, HMS Kimberley and HMS Kingston around 0800B/6.

Around 0700B/7, HMS Hobart, HMS Galatea, HMS Carlisle, HMS Griffin and HMS Hotspur joined HMS Kingston and HMS Kimberley to escort HMS Breconshire to Alexandria where they arrived around 0445B/8. HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune and HMS Lively then set course to return to Malta where they arrived around 0400B/8.

Later on the 7th both forces were attacked by enemy aircraft several times but no damage was caused. (26)

21 Dec 1941

Convoy BM 9A.

This convoy departed Bombay on 21 December 1941 and arrived at Singapore on 3 January 1942.

It was was made up of the following ships; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Lancashire (British, 9445 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ethiopia (British 5575 GRT, built 1922) and Varsova (British, 4691 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Bombay it was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, DSO, RN) and the patrol vessel HMIS Sonavati (T/Lt. G.W. Barnes, RINR).

At 1340/22, in position 14°03'N, 73°02'E, HMIS Sonavati obtained a strong A/S contact and attacked with six depth charges but the contact appeared to be non-sub.

On 24 December the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) departed Colombo and they joined the convoy the next day in position 05°20'N, 80°00'E. HMS Glasgow then parted company with the convoy.

On 27 December HMS Falmouth and HMIS Sonavati parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Colombo.

On 30 December, in position 02°22'S, 98°00'E, the light cruisers HMS Durban (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Dragon (A/Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) joined the convoy.

At 1530/31, in position 06°10'S, 101°52'E the destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) joined the convoy.

The Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) departed Batavia on 1 January 1942 to reinforce the convoy escort. The Dutch ships joined the convoy at 1345/1 and remained with the convoy until 2000/2.

The convoy arrived safely at Singapore on 3 January 1942. (15)

3 Jan 1942
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN), HMS Durban (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) arrived at Singapore with convoy BM 9A. (27)

4 Jan 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) departed Banten Bay to bolster the escort of convoy BM 9B that was en-route to Singapore. The Dutch ships joined the British convoy around 1300 hours.

The Dutch ships remained with the convoy until 2000/5.

Convoy BM 9B was made up of the following ships; passenger (or in this case troops / cargo ships Madura (8975 GRT, built 1921), Rajput (5521 GRT, built 1925), Risaldar (5407 GRT, built 1940), Jalarajan (5076 GRT, built 1925) and El Madina (3962 GRT, built 1937). They were escorted by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), the British destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and the Australian minesweepers HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) and HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)). (28)

23 Jan 1942

Convoy BM 12.

Convoy from Bombay to Singapore.
Departure date: 23 January 1942.
Arrival date: 4 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British troop ships; Devonshire (11275 GRT, built 1939), Empress of Asia (16909 GRT, built 1913).

French troop ship (under British control) Felix Roussel (17083 GRT, built 1930)

and the Dutch transport Plancius (5955 GRT, built 1923).

The convoy initially proceeded unescorted.

On 26 January, the British sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) joined the convoy in position 07°53'N, 76°23'E.

On 27 January, the British light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) joined the convoy in position 04°30'N, 78°15'E. HMS Falmouth parted company with the convoy at dusk.

On 28 January, the convoy made rendez-vous with convoy DM 2 which was made up of the following ships;
British troopships Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937), Empress of Australia (21833 GRT, built 1914) and Warwick Castle (20107 GRT, built 1930) and the British transports City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937), Malancha (8124 GRT, built 1937) and Troilus (7422 GRT, built 1921). This convoy was escorted by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) which then parted company.

On 31 January, the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN) joined the convoy in position 05°05'S, 94°00'E after which HMS Emerald parted company with the convoy.

On 1 February, the Indian sloop HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and the Australian sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy.

On 2 February, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) joined around 0800 hours and a little over two hours later the British destroyer HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) also joined the convoy.

On the morning of 3 February the British destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) joined. Later the same day HMAS Vampire split off from the convoy with the part of the convoy that was to proceed to Batavia. These were all the ships that had been in convoy DM 2 except the City of Canterbury which went to Singapore.

Around 0200 hours on 4 February 1942, HrMs Java parted company with the convoy. Shortly before noon the convoy was attacked by Japanese aircraft and the Empress of Asia was straddled. Around 2130/4, HMS Exeter, HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter parted company to intercept Japanese warships that were reported to the north of Banka Strait. HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) was ordered to join them there. They did not find any Japanese ships and proceeded to Batavia where they arrived on 6 February.

The convoy arrived at Singapore shortly after noon on 5 February 1942 but not before a heavy enemy air attack was carried out. The Empress of Asia was set on fire, the Felix Roussel was also hit and the City of Canterbury had her steering gear damaged. (29)

3 Feb 1942

Convoy JS 1.

This convoy departed Colombo on 3 February 1942 and arrived at Batavia, Netherlands East Indies on 14 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British transports; Adastrus (7905 GRT, built 1923), Alice Moller (4986 GRT, built 1914), Filleigh (4856 GRT, built 1928), Lulworth Hill (7628 GRT, built 1940), Modasa (9070 GRT, built 1921), Prominent (2232 GRT, built 1918) and Yoma (8131 GRT, built 1928).

Norwegian transports Hai Lee (3616 GRT, built 1934) and Hermion (5202 GRT, built 1937).

The Alice Moller had to return to Colombo with defects.

The convoy sailed from Colombo on 3 February 1942 and was escorted initially by the British heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. P.C.W. Manwaring, RN) and the Australian minesweepers HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)) and HMAS Lismore (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Crawford, RANR(S)).

The Australian minesweepers parted company with the convoy on 5 Februaury. HMS Cornwall was relieved by HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) on 10 February in position 05°40'S, 93°00'E.

On 11 Februry 1942, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) apparently joined the escort and remained with it until 13 February.

On 12 February 1942, the British destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna (Cdr. W.R. Shewring, RIN) joined the convoy.

On 13 February 1942 the convoy was split up and the Filleigh Lulworth Hill, Yoma, Hai Lee and Hermion arrived at Oosthaven, Sumatra. They were escorted by HMAS Hobart and HMIS Jumna. HMIS Jumna remained at Oosthaven to provide A/S protection for that port together with the Australian minesweepers HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) and HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)).

The other ships of the convoy, the Adastrus, Modasa, and Prominent arrived at Batavia on 14 February 1942 escorted by HMS Electra. (30)

5 Feb 1942
HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) are sighted to the north-east of the Sunda Strait by the Japanese submarine RO-34 which fired four torpedoes at HMS Encounter but no hits were obtained. The submarine was hunted briefly but managed to escape.

6 Feb 1942
HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) arrived at Batavia.

After fuelling HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter departed again to make rendez-vous in the Indian Ocean with convoy MS 3.

14 Feb 1942
Around 1600 hours, an Allied task force, now made up of five cruisers; the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). They were escorted by a total of ten destroyers, four Dutch and six American; HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN), HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN), HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN) depared Oosthaven (Bandar Lampung), Sumatra for a hit and run raid to the north of the Gaspar Straits to attack a reported Japanese convoy. (28)

15 Feb 1942
Around 0315 hours the Allied task force entered the Stolze Strait (to the east of Mendanau Island (Pulau Mendanau). The task force was clear of the strait around 0800 hours but not before the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) had hit a reef resulting in the loss of this vessel. The Dutch destroyer HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) remained behind to render assistance to her stranded sister but it was soon apparent that the ship was beyond salvage. Several valuable items of the equipment were however taken off and by 1700 hours the wreck of the Van Ghent was destroyed by the Banckert. The Banckert now made off for Surabaya with the crew of the Van Ghent on board.

Meanwhile around 1150 hours the first Japanese air attack on the remainder of the Allied task force started. The attacks, which came in five waves, lasted until about 1745 hours. No major damage was done to the Allied ships which had reversed course shortly after 1300 hours. Only the US destroyers USS Barker and USS Bulmer required repairs to their badly shaken up machinery spaces.

The task force was then split up with the De Ruyter, Tromp, Exeter, Hobart and the US destroyers Barker and Bulmer proceeding to Batavia to refuel. The Java and the remaining US destroyers proceeded to the Ratai Bay to refuel and the two remaining Dutch destroyers to Oosthaven to do the same. (28)

25 Feb 1942
At 1500 hours, HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN) departed Batavia for Surabaya where they were to join Dutch Rear-Admiral Doorman's Eastern Striking Force.

HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) was also ordered to sail with these ships but she had not completed fuelling yet as the oiler RFA War Sirdar (5542 GRT, built 1920, (master) Cdr. M.W. Westlake, RNR) had been damaged in a Japanese air attack. (31)

26 Feb 1942

Operations by the Western Striking Force during 26/27 February 1942.

The object of the operations was to intercept and engage a reported Japanese invasion force.

Around 2115GH(-7.5)/26, the Western Striking Force, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Tandjong Priok (Batavia), in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1231Z/26, to intercept and engage, by night, an enemy force consisting of three cruisers, four destroyers and thirty transports which had been reported near Banka Island proceeding southwards. The Western Striking Force therefore proceeded northwards between Arnemuiden Beacon and North Watcher Island to position 04°45'S, 106°41'E where the Force turned to the southward at 0300GH/27 in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1529Z/26.

There was no sign of the enemy during the passage north when, except for a few heavy rain squalls, the visibility was very good. At 0345GH/27, Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1946Z/26 was received, stating that D/F bearings indicated that many Japanese units were in position 04°00'S, 106°30'E. This was 55 nautical miles north of the Western Striking Force's current position. It was decided to continue on southwards as it was not possible to engage the enemy before dawn and also to await the results of the dawn air reconnaissance. Two enemy reconnaissance aircraft were sighted at 0730GH/27. They commenced to shadow. This was reported to the Commodore Commanding China Force.

By 0800GH/27, the Force had reached the latitude of Babi Island, and as no further information had been received, it again turned north until 0900GH/27. Capt. Howden, the Senior Officer, decided that if air reconnaissance reported that the enemy was not overwhelmingly superior he should engage by daylight. If they were superior he would proceed eastwards to join the Eastern Striking Force in the Surabaya area which had been reported to be expected to proceed westwards to Batavia.

At 1000GH/27, the Force was back in the vicinity of Babi Island and in view of the danger of submarine attack Capt. Howden decided it was not wise to remain in the same area for too long, therefore the Force proceeded to the south-east and then northwards towards the South Watcher Island.

The Commodore Commanding China Force stated in his signal timed 0315Z/27 that air reconnaissance had failed to locate any enemy forces south of Banka therefore Capt. Howden decided to return to Batavia informing the Commodore of his intentions.

As the Force was approaching Edam Island around 1200GH/27 enemy aircraft were sighted but they did not attack. Fires were observed on shore so probably they had already expended their bombs.

At 1305GH/27, eight aircraft approached and dropped a large quantity of small calibre bombs. HMAS Hobart sustained some splinter damage and five ratings were wounded.

The Force entered Tandjong Priok around 1420GH/27. (32)

28 Feb 1942

Operations by the Western Striking Force from 28 February 1942 to 5 March 1942.

The initial object of the operations was to intercept and engage a reported Japanese invasion force.

Around 0045GH(-7.5)/28, the Western Striking Force, made up of the made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) and HrMs Evertsen (Lt.Cdr. W.M. de Vries, RNN) departed Tandjong Priok (Batavia), in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1021Z/27. An enemy landing force made up of thirty transports escorted by four cruisers and three destroyers had been reported at 1022GH/27 in position 04°20'S, 106°28'E. The Western Task Force had been unable so sail earlier due to delays in fuelling caused by Japanese air attacks. The destroyer HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN) which had departed earlier for Tjilatjap had been recalled and joined the Western Task Force three miles south of Edam Island.

Capt. Howden, the Senior Officer, decided to proceed direct to the vicinity of the northern entrance to the Sunda Strait and then to sweep northward to engage the enemy which he thought to be en-route to Bantam Bay, the most likely place to land.

The Western Task Force arrived in position 05°48'S, 105°56'E at 0420GH/28. Course was then altered to the northward. Except for intermittent rain squalls the visibility was good. As no enemy had been sighted by 0500GH/28, course was altered to the southward. The passage of Sunda Strait was made at the Force's maximum speed of 24 knots. HrMs Evertsen had been lost out of sight in the darkness. She had not been seen after around 0400GH/28.

At 0650GH/28, when in position 06°04'S, 105°48'E, HMS Scout dropped astern to rescue a men she sighted on a raft. A lot of wreckage was sighted during the passage of the Sunda Straits.

In order to conserve fuel, speed was reduced to 22 knots at 0850GH/28, to 19 knots at 1000GH/28 and 18 knots at 1600GH/28.

At 2340GH/28, a signal was received from HMAS Perth that she had sighted a destroyer, later amended to being a cruiser.

At 2359GH/28, when in position 04°30'S, 101°05'E, the destroyers were detached to proceed ahead to fuel at Padang. The cruisers reduced speed to 15 knots. The destroyers were sent ahead in order to reduce the time the cruisers had to wait for the destroyers to rejoin. During the passage of the Seaflower Channel [between Siberut and Sipura island] the cruisers inceased speed again.

The cruisers arrived in position 260° Pandan Light 10 miles at 1740GH/1 and zigzagged between that position and Nyamuk Light. It had been hoped that the destroyers would be able to leave harbour around 1800 hours but this did not materialise. HMS Tenedos was seen passing Pandan Island at 2120GH/1 and at 2140GH/1 she secured alongside HMAS Hobart to transfer 512 evacuees. She reported that HMS Scout had previously left harbour with another load of evacuees but that she had to return due to contaminated oil fuel tanks.

In view of the long delay which would be entained in waiting for HMS Scout, Capt. Howden decided to proceed ahead with HMS Tenedos via Siberut Strait [to the north of Siberut Island] and then pass through position 00.32'S, 97.10'E at 15 knots towards the position where the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) should be. HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout were then to overtake. HMS Hobart and HMS Tenedos therefore parted company with HMS Dragon and HMS Danae at 2207GH/1 by which time the evacuees had been transferred. HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout were able to proceed at 0530GH/2. They were ordered to rejoin during daylight on 3 March.

At 0150G/3, the Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet's signal 1635Z/2 was received by HMAS Hobart but it could not be decyphered owing to area tables for the East Indies Station not being held. Capt. Howden reduced speed to 8 knots to allow HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout to join around dawn and all ships were in company at 0751G/3.

HMS Dragon had been able to decypher the signal and it stated that auxiliary patrol ship HMS Kedah (Cdr.(Retd.) J.L. Sinclair, DSO, RD, RNR) was in trouble and that her speed had been reduced to three knots. Her position was 02°10'S, 90°40'E. HMS Dragon was then detached after transferring her 136 evacuees to HMAS Hobart at 1115G/3. She was to complete with fuel from the Appleleaf who was estimated to be 40 to 50 miles ahead and then to proceed to the assistance of HMS Kedah. HMS Danae and the destroyers were ordered to proceed ahead, made contact with the Appleleaf to inform her of the oil requirements of HMS Dragon.

A 1033FG/4, the Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet's signal 0305Z/4 was received instructing Capt. Howden to proceed with all his ships to Colombo if sufficient fuel remained. The Force therefore altered course for Colombo at 1100FG/4 when in position 05°32'N, 86°45'E.

At 1000F/5, when in position 05°47'N, 79°56'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with HMS Danae, HMS Scout and HMS Tenedos, to proceed ahead at 28 knots so as to arrive 2 hours and 20 minutes earlier then the other ships so as to avoid congestion in the harbour. En-route HMAS Hobert ran a full power trial for 40 minutes to see if any defects might have developed due to the recent near misses from bombing. The results of the trial very highly satisfactory.

HMAS Hobart arrived at Colombo at 1333F/5.

HMS Danae, HMS Scout and HMS Tenedos arrived at Colombo around 1730F/5.

Around 1030F/7, HMS Dragon arrived with HMS Kedah in tow. She had fuelled from the Appleleaf during the afternoon of the 3rd and then proceeded towards the reported position of HMS Kedah which she sighted at 0229G/5 and had her in tow around 0730G/5.

(33)

9 May 1945
Around 1430K/9 the destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) departed Manus followed around 1800K/9 by the light cruiser HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN).

Around 1700I/9, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) departed Hollandia.

Both forces made rendezvous off Cape Wom around 0800K/10 and the 'Wewak support force' arrived off Wewak around 1300K/10.

After a preliminary run along the coast to search for the targets the sheduled bombardment commenced.

Around 1600K/10, the force retired to seaward for the night.

At 0630K/11, the 'Wewak support force' made rendezvous with the 'Wewak force' made up of the sloop HMAS Swan (Lt. W.J. Dovers, RAN) and minesweepers/corvettes Colac (Lt. K.J. Hopper, RANR(S)) and HMAS Dubbo (T/Lt. F.W. Roberts, RANR(S)) and the assault forces proceeded to their fire support areas. From 0730K/11, targets were successfully engaged to cover the assault on Red Beach. The bombardment was completed at 0840K/11.

After the landing the 'Wewak support force' retired to seaward.

Around 1230K/11, HMS Newfoundland obtained an A/S contact which was subsequently depth charged by HMAS Arunta. Both destroyers then continued to search the area during the afternoon but no further contact was obtained.

Around 1700 hours, HMAS Hobart and HMS Newfoundland carried out another bombardment after which the force was released and proceeded to Hollandia arriving there at 0700I/9. (34)

27 Jun 1945
In the morning HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) bombarded Japanese shore guns off Balikpapan.

Later that day Tromp joined Task Force 74.1 which was made up of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN), the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), the Australian destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and the US destroyers USS Hart (Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN). (35)

12 Aug 1945
After fuelling, and with the bulk of Task Force 37 being sent to Manus, Vice-Admiral Rawlings had the following ships left; battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, KCB, OBE, RN, 2nd in command British Pacific Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.J.P. Brind, CBE, CB, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. R.A.B. Edwards, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. G.F. Burghard, RN, Capt. D 24), HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, DSC, RN), HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN), HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Terpsichore (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wrangler (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Warren, RN), HMS Barfleur (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSO, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN).

This force was now named Task Group 38.5 and was to operate as in integrated unit of the American Task Force 38. As the British Fleet Train had now been streched to the limit and the British had to depend on the Americans for fuel.

Also on this day the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, GCB, KBE, RN, C-in-C British Pacific Fleet) and the destroyers HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) departed Guam to join Task Group 38.5 off Japan.

At 0815/13, HMS Indefatigable launched her first strike aircraft to attack targets in the Tokyo area. A second strike was flow off at 1315/13 but the selected targets could not be attacked due to the unsuitable weather conditions.

On this day only 4 luggers were claimed sunk. Some buildings, locomotives and other rolling stock were claimed to have been damaged.

During the day a total of 21 enemy aircraft were shot down by the Combat Air Patrol while trying to approach the fleet.

At 1815/13 flying operations had ceased and course was set to position 31°45'N, 144°00'E to refuel.

During the 14th, Task Group 38.5 fuelled from American tankers. At 1710/14, they set course to return to the operations area. It was noted by Vice-Admiral Rawlings that the state of equipment and efficiency of American tankers was much higher then the British ones. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary had much to learn on this subject.

At 0400/15, HMS Indefatigable launched her first strike aircraft from position 34°00'N, 142°00'E to attack targets in the Tokyo area. They were unable to attack the selected target due to bad weather in that erea but they spotted a camouflaged factory so it was decided to attack this factory instead. It was successfully bombed. The strike aircraft were intercepted by 12 Japanese fighters but 4 of these were shot down by the escorting fighters while 4 more were probably shot down. One Seafire did not return and one Avenger had to ditch due to being heavily damaged.

At 0700/15, a signal was received that all further strikes were cancelled for the moment.

Four hours later news was received that the Japanese had accepted the Allied peace terms and that all offensive operations had to cease.

At 1120/15, two bombs fell close to HMS Indefatigable as a Japanese aircraft had penetrated the defences unnoticed.

Task Force 38 then set course to proceed to position 32°45'N, 143°20'E to await further instructions.

On the 16th HMS Duke of York, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp joined Task Group 38.5. Vice-Admiral Rawlings however remained in tactical command of the Task Force.

On the 17th, Task Group 38.5 set course to proceed to position ' British Drink ' (32°25'N, 143°30'E) for an underway replenishment by ships from the British Fleet Train.

At 0200/18, they made rendezvous with the tankers San Adolpho (7365 GRT, built 1935), San Ambrosio (7410 GRT, built 1935) and Wave Governor (8190 GRT, built 1945), stores ship Fort Wrangell (7213 GRT, built 1944), escort carrier HMS Ruler (Capt. H.P. Currey, OBE, RN) and their escorts, the sloop HMS Ruler (Capt. H.P. Currey, OBE, RN), frigates HMS Odzani (A/Lt.Cdr. J.N. Burgess, RANVR), HMS Usk (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Medlycott, RNR) and the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Ballarat (A/Cdr. N.R. Read, RAN) and HMAS Burnie (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Andrewartha, RANR).

Fuelling commenced at daylight and continued until 1700/18. The tankers San Adolpho (7365 GRT, built 1935) and San Ambrosio (7410 GRT, built 1935) were empty now and were ordered to proceed to Leyte to refil escorted by HMS Usk and HMAS Burnie.

At dawn on the 19th fuelling continued but now only from the Wave Governor.

Replenishment continued during the 20th. During the day the escort carrier HMS Speaker (A/Capt. U.H.R. James, RN) arrived with aircraft replenishments. She was being escorted by the destroyer HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN). The escort carrier was ordered to transfer all possible aircraft to HMS Indefatigable and HMS Ruler and then prepare to embark Allied POW's from when the Fleet was able to put into Tokyo Bay.

Also the tanker Carelia (8082 GRT, built 1938) joined the Logistics Group. She was being escorted by the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Cessnock (Lt. A.G. Chapman, RANR(S)) and HMAS Pirie (Lt. C.K. Mackenzie, RANVR). The tanker Wave Governor was then ordered to proceed to Ulithi for rapid refilling and return as soon as possible. She was being escorted by HMS Odzani.

In the afternoon Task Group 38.5 was disbanded and the ships were diveded over two American Task Forces; HMS Indefatigable, HMS Troubridge, HMS Teazer, HMS Tenacious, HMS Termagent, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Wakeful, HMS Wrangler and HMS Barfleur were ordered to join Task Group 38.3 while HMS Duke of York, HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp joined Task Group 38.4.

On 21 August, Task Force 38, proceeded to the south-west to position 30°30'N, 142°00'E to continue replenishment with typhoon warnings meanwhile coming in. The Logistics Group remained near area ' British Drink ' though. HMS Queenborough had collected mails and was ordered to proceed to Manus via Ulithi.

On 22 August, the destroyers were topped up with fuel and aerial photogaphs were taken off the fleet.

At daylight on 23 August, the British destroyers were topped up with fuel by HMS Duke of York and HMS King George V. At noon the fleet was now in position 33°35'N, 144°08'E. In the afternoon the plan to enter Japanese waters was received and as a consequence HMS Duke of York was detached with HMS Wager and HMS Whelp to form Task Group 30.2 and join the US flagship USS Missouri which formed Task Group 30.1 together with some destroyers.

HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia, HMAS Napier and HMAS Nepal formed Task Force 37 again. They were reinforced by two US destroyers, USS Uhlmann (T/Cdr. S.C. Small, USN) and USS Benham (T/Lt.Cdr. W.L. Poindexter, USN).

On August 24th, the ships upperworks were painted and some efforts were made to remove the signs that the ships had been at sea for a long time. The destroyers conducted some exercises.

At daylight on August 25th, the destroyers, including the two US destroyers, were topped up by HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland and HMNZS Gambia. In the late afternoon or early evening HMAS Quickmatch (Cdr. J.K. Walton, RAN) arrived from Manus with mail and fuelled from HMS King George V while transferring the mail. Later a signal was received to close the Japanese Coast.

On the 26th a signal was received to return to the previous area as weather was still unsuitable to enter Japanese waters. HMAS Quickmatch was ordered to join the Logistics Group and transfer and collect their mails and then return to the southwards. In the afternoon a signal was received to enter Japanese waters (Sagami Wan) on 27 August and Tokyo Bay on 30 August so course was set to get closer to the coast.

On the 27th Task Force 37 entered Sagami Wan and around 1450/27 anchored in their assigned berths. The two US destroyers were ordered to rejoin the US Fleet.

The 28th was spent painting and cleaning the ships. Also the hospital ship Tjitjalengka (10972 GRT, built 1939) arrived and anchored in Sagami Wan. She was being escorted by the sloop HMS Crane (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Jenkins, DSC, RN).

On the 29th Task Goups 30.1 and 30.2, the American and British flagship groups entered Tokyo Bay at daylight, so HMS Duke of York, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp were the first British ships to enter Tokyo Bay.

On 30 August, HMS Teazer and HMS Terpsichore, which both had minor defects, entered Sagami Wan and joined Task Force 37. Also the destroyer HMS Quality (Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) joined at daylight, coming from Manus. She was the first destroyer to arrive from the destroyers sent to relieve those still at sea with HMS Indefatigabele.

Later on the day, HMS King George V, HMS Quality, HMAS Napier and HMAS Nizam were ordered to enter Tokyo Bay. They anchored off Yokohama. HMS Teazer and HMS Terpsichore also entered Tokyo Bay and secured alongside the battleships to make good their defects. HMS Quality, after having fuelled was sent out to sea to join HMS Indefatigable while HMS Speaker, now fitted out to embark POW's, entered Tokyo Bay.

On 31 August 1945, more British and Commonwealth ships entered Tokyo Bay, these were HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia from Sagami Wan and HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) which came from Okinawa.

Also ships from the Logistics Group entered Tokyo Bay, these were the tankers Carelia, Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941), Wave King (8159 GRT, built 1944), stores ship Fort Wrangell, escort carrier HMS Ruler, sloop HMS Crane, HMS Pheasant (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Woodcock (A/Lt.Cdr. S.J. Parsons, DSC, RN), frigate HMS Derg (Lt.Cdr. N.B.J. Stapleton, RD, RNR) and the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Cessnock, HMAS Pirie and HMAS Ipswich (T/Lt. R.H. Creasey, RANR(S)).

On September 1st, HMS Tenacious entered Tokyo Bay having been relieved by HMS Quality. HMS Speaker reported that she had 35 officers and 340 other ranks of former POW's that had already arrived on board. Most of them were in bad shape.

At 0930 hours on 2 September the formal ceremony of surrender took place on board USS Missouri. The war had ended.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/107769
  2. ADM 53/107770
  3. ADM 199/382
  4. ADM 53/113286 + ADM 199/382
  5. ADM 173/16356
  6. ADM 53/112103
  7. ADM 53/112342 + ADM 53/112523 + ADM 199/382 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart
  8. ADM 53/112523 + Report of proceedings from HMAS Hobart
  9. ADM 53/112524 + Report of proceedings for April 1940 of HMAS Hobart
  10. ADM 53/112524 + ADM 199/382 + Report of proceedings for April 1940 of HMAS Hobart
  11. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  12. ADM 53/111423 + ADM 53/112051 + ADM 53/112436 + ADM 199/381 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August and September 1941
  13. ADM 199/1136 (+ ADM 199/381)
  14. ADM 199/383
  15. ADM 199/408
  16. ADM 199/415
  17. ADM 199/2558
  18. ADM 53/115214 + ADM 199/415
  19. ADM 53/113533 + ADM 53/114778 + ADM 53/115214 + ADM 199/415
  20. ADM 53/113533 + ADM 53/114778 + ADM 199/415
  21. ADM 53/115213 + ADM 199/415
  22. ADM 53/115215 + ADM 199/415
  23. ADM 53/114756 + ADM 53/115216 + ADM 199/415
  24. ADM 53/115216 + ADM 199/415
  25. ADM 53/113535 + ADM 53/114780 + ADM 199/415
  26. ADM 53/115217 + ADM 199/415
  27. ADM 199/1385
  28. Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  29. ADM 199/426 + ADM 199/1185
  30. ADM 199/426
  31. ADM 199/1185 + ADM 234/346
  32. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942
  33. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February/March 1942
  34. ADM 53/121909 + Report from HMAS Hobart
  35. Files 2.12.03.6855 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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


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