Allied Warships

HMS Southern Gem (K 247)

ASW Whaler

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeASW Whaler
Class[No specific class] 
PennantK 247 
Built byBremer Vulkan (Vegesack, Germany) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched 
CommissionedJul 1940 
End service 
History

Completed in October 1937.
Whaler of Southern Whaling & Sealing Co. Ltd., London, U.K., requisitioned by the Admiralty in March 1940.
Displacement: 593 tons.

Returned to owner in April 1945 (???).

 

Commands listed for HMS Southern Gem (K 247)

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

CommanderFromTo
1T/Lt. Charles Edward Denne, RNVR17 Jul 1940mid 1941
2T/Lt. John David Walter Lewis, RNVRmid 194110 Jun 1941
3T/Lt. Dennis Charles Hayes, RNVR10 Jun 194117 Feb 1943
4T/Lt. Philip Henry Riseley, RNVR17 Feb 1943Aug 1944
5T/Lt. William Arthur Andrew Sternslow, SANF(V)Aug 1944Dec 1944
6T/Lt. Keith Robinson Blenkharn, RNVRDec 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Southern Gem include:


11 Aug 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. C.E. Denne, RNVR) and HMS Helier 2 (Skr. J. Mawer, RNR). (1)

16 Aug 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. C.E. Denne, RNVR). (1)

19 Aug 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. C.E. Denne, RNVR) and HMS Peony (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, RN). (1)

4 Oct 1942

Convoy WS 23.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 5 October 1942.

It consisted of the following transports / troopships; Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Russia (British, 16810 GRT, built 1913), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Kina II (British, 9823 GRT, built 1939), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), Port Jackson (British, 9687 GRT, built 1937), Silverandal (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930) and Straat Malakka (Dutch, 439 GRT, built 1939).

Initial escort consisted of the light cruisers HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN), HMS Durban (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO and Bar, OBE, RN), armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and RHS Kanaris.

At 2200Z/6, HMS Durban parted company with the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel.

At 1850Z/8, HMS Beagle parted company with the convoy to return to the UK. HMS Zetland had a leaking Asdic dome and was apparently also detached on the 8th to return to the UK for a docking and repairs.

At 1000Z/9, HMS Puckeridge arrived at Ponta Delgada to refuel. She departed to rejoin the convoy at 1345Z/9. RHS Kanaris arrived at 1100Z/9 and departed again at 1430Z/9. [It is currently not known to us when they had left the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada.]

At 1545Z/9, HMS Durban rejoined the convoy. HMS Despatch was then detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada.

At 1900Z/9, HMS Puckeridge and RHS Kanaris rejoined the convoy.

At 0100Z/10, HMS Wrestler and HMS Bicester parted company with the convoy to fuel at Ponta Delgada after which they were to return to the UK.

At 0810/Z/13, HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN) joined the convoy shorly afterwards followed by HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN).

On 16 October 1942 the convoy arrived at Freetown escorted by HMS Despatch, HMS Durban, HMS Queen of Bermuda, HMS Antelope, HMS Velox, HMS Puckeridge and RHS Kanaris.

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The convoy departed Freetown for Durban on 20 October 1942.

The same ships made up the convoy plus the merchant vessels Hai Lee (Norwegian, 3616 GRT, built 1934) and Tamesis (Norwegian, 7256 GRT, built 1939).

On departure from Freetown the convoy escort was made up of the light cruisers HMS Despatch, HMS Durban, armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN), escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), RHS Kanaris, sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and the corvette HMS Tamarisk (Lt. S. Ayles, RNR).

At 1020A/23, HMS Avon Vale parted company. HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. D.C. Hayes, RNVR) had joined just before. She had sailed from Takoradi on the 22nd.

At 1842A/23, HMS Durban parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi to repair a defect. She arrived at Takoradi around 0745/24 and departed again around 0230A/25. She rejoined the convoy around 0945A/27.

Also detached on 23 October were the two Norwegian merchant vessels and the corvette HMS Tamarisk. These were also to proceed to Takoradi.

The corvette HMS Amaranthus (T/Lt. W.S. Thomson, RNR) joined on the 25th coming from Ponte Noire. After she joined HMS Southern Gem was detached to Ponte Noire due to engine trouble.

On the 26th, HMS Amaranthus parted company.

On 30 October the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and the corvettes HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) joined the convoy. These ships had sailed from Walvis Bay, the corvettes at 0600Z/29 and HMAS Norman at 2000Z/29. HMAS Norman joined the convoy around 1300B/30 and the corvettes around 1530B/30.

At 2100B/30, HMS Durban, HMS Despatch and HMS Milford were detached to fuel at Walvis Bay where they arrived around 0840/30. HMS Durban departed Walvis Bay aroud 1845B/31 and she rejoined the convoy around 1800B/1

On 2 November the transport / troopship Rimutaka (British, 16576 GRT, built 1923) joined the convoy coming from Capetown.

At 1330C/2, the destroyer HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN) joined coming from Simonstown.

Around 1545C/2, RHS Kanaris parted company to refuel at Simonstown. She rejoined the convoy around 0100C/3.

At 2215C/2, HMS Rockrose and HMS Thyme were detached to search for survivors from ships that had been torpedoed by German submarines.

At 1950C/4, HMS Express was detached to search for survivors from a ship that had been torpedoed by a German submarines.

At 0530C/5, the escort destroyer HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Durban in the early afternoon of 5 November escorted by HMS Durban, HMS Carthage, HMAS Norman, HMS Catterick, HMS Derwent and RHS Kanaris.

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The convoy departed Durban around noon on 9 November 1942, now made up of Capetown Castle, Empress of Russia, Highland Monarch, Kina II, Port Jackson, Silversandal and Straat Malakka.

On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dauntless (Cdr.(Retd.) N.G. Leeper, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage, destroyers HMAS Norman, HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), escort destroyers HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN), RHS Kanaris and the corvettes HMS Genista (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Jasmine (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.D.B. Coventry, RNR).

At 1700C/10, HMS Insconstant, HMS Genista and HMS Jasmine were detached.

At 1500D/11, HMS Dauntless, HMS Norman, HMS Blackmore and RHS Kanaris were detached.

At 1830D/11, the cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) joined.

At 1600E/16, HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN) joined and at 1230E/16, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini taking the Empress of Russia with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1700D/18.

At 1800E/17, the convoy was split up into the ' Aden section ' and the ' Bombay section '.

The ' Aden section ' was made up of the Highland Monarch, Kina II, Port Jackson and the Straat Malakka. They were escorted by HMS Carthage and arrived at Aden around 1300C/21. They had earlier been joined by the destroyer RHS Panther around 0615/20.

The ' Bombay section ' was made up of the other transports escorted by HMS Mauritius. They arrived at Bombay around 1000FG/24 except for the Silversandal which had been detached on November 22nd to proceed to Karachi where she also arrived on the 24th. (2)

10 Jun 1943
The AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) departed Plymouth around 1100B/11 to patrol off the Bay of Biscay from an anti-blockade breaker patrol. Also proceeding on patrol were the destroyers HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki).

HMS Charybdis was to proceed to position 43°01'N, 12°59'W and to patrol within 50 miles from this position.

HMCS Iroqouis and ORP Orkan were ordered to return to Plymouth on the 12th. ORP Orkan arrived later on the 12th but HMCS Iroquois remained at sea to provide cover for a convoy of landing craft that was only being escorted by the A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR).

On the 14th, while HMS Charybdis was on the way back to Plymouth she was also ordered to provide cover for the convoy of landing craft as German forces had been reported. She therefore joined HMCS Iroquois around 1145B/14.

Around 2330B/14, HMCS Iroquois parted company to search for a reported downed Whitley aircraft in position 49°10'N, 06°20'W but no survivors were however found.

Both HMS Charybdis and HMCS Iroquois arrived at Plymouth on the 15th. (3)

19 Jun 1943

Combined convoy OS 50/KMS 17G.

This combined convoy assembled off Oversay on 19 June 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anglo Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Balteako (British, 1328 GRT, built 1920), Baron Douglas (British, 3899 GRT, built 1932), Baron Ramsay (British, 3650 GRT, built 1929), Baron Ruthven (British, 3178 GRT, built 1925), Basil (British, 4913 GRT, built 1928), Blairesk (British, 3300 GRT, built 1925), Calgary (British, 7206 GRT, built 1921), City of Dundee (British, 5273 GRT, built 1921), City of Eastbourne (British, 5563 GRT, built 1923), Coity Castle (British, 2767 GRT, built 1919), Colytto (Dutch, 4408 GRT, built 1926), Como (British, 1295 GRT, built 1910), Corcrest (British, 2373 GRT, built 1918), Cromarty (British, 4974 GRT, built 1936), Dalcross (British, 4557 GRT, built 1930), Dordrecht (Dutch, 4402 GRT, built 1928), Dornoch (British, 5186 GRT, built 1939), Dumfries (British, 5149 GRT, built 1935), Empire Candida (British, 2908 GRT, built 1943), Empire Fal (British, 4880 GRT, built 1914), Empire Franklin (British, 7292 GRT, built 1941), Empire Harp (British (tanker), 861 GRT, built 1942), Empire Nightingale (British, 5698 GRT, built 1918), Evviva (Norwegian, 1597 GRT, built 1921), Fort Abitibi (British, 7122 GRT, built 1942), Fort Liard (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Nipigon (British, 7132 GRT, built 1942), Fort Senneville (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Glenwood (British, 4897 GRT, built 1940), Godfrey Holt (British, 3585 GRT, built 1929), Helencrest (British, 5233 GRT, built 1941), Henzada (British, 4161 GRT, built 1934), Kristianiafjord (Norwegian, 6759 GRT, built 1921), Lafian (British, 4876 GRT, built 1937), Llanberis (British, 5055 GRT, built 1928), Lysaker V (Norwegian, 1571 GRT, built 1936), Marga (Norwegian, 1583 GRT, built 1923), Merkland (British, 1363 GRT, built 1934), Nijkerk (Dutch, 5843 GRT, built 1915), Norfalk (British, 5675 GRT, built 1919), Ocean Viceroy (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pendeen (British, 4174 GRT, built 1923), Pentridge Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1941), Phemius (British, 7406 GRT, built 1921), Richmond Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1940), Saltwick (British, 3775 GRT, built 1929), Sansu (British, 5446 GRT, built 1939), Silverash (British, 7750 GRT, built 1926), Souliotis (Greek, 4299 GRT, built 1917), Stad Maasluis (British, 6541 GRT, built 1918), Stanhope (British, 2337 GRT, built 1919), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Tombouctou (British, 5636 GRT, built 1919), Trevaylor (British, 5257 GRT, built 1940), Uranienborg (British, 5257 GRT, built 1940) and Vigsnes (Norwegian, 1599 GRT, built 1930).

On assembly of Oversay the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN), HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN) and the corvettes HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. H.V. Gordon, DSC, RNVR), HMS Coreopsis (T/Lt. B.C. Hamilton, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR) which joined coming from Londonderry.

The monitors HMS Abercrombie (A/Capt.(Retd.) R.E.C. Dunbar, RN) (A/Capt. G.V.B. Faulkner, RN) and HMS Roberts (A/Capt.(Retd.) R.E.C. Dunbar, RN) were also taking passage in this convoy as was the RFA tanker Orangeleaf (5983 GRT, built 1917).

On 21 June HMS Folkestone was detached to return to Londonderry for repairs to defective hull plating.

On 24 June the merchant vessel Dornoch straggled from the convoy. The next day HMS Folkestone was ordered to search for her. She had departed Londonderry to overtake the convoy on 24 June having effected repairs there.

Cover for the convoy during part of the passage was provided by the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN).

En-route the merchant vessels Baron Ramsay, Merkland and Stanhope were detached to Lisbon as was the Coity Castle which was detached to Huelva.

On 27 June 1943 the convoy was split up.

The destroyer HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Reighton Wyke (Skr. G.M. Sutherland, RNR), HMS Visenda (T/Lt. S.F. Archer, RNR) and A/S whaler HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. P.H. Riseley, RNVR) took over the escort of convoy KMS 17G. These escorts, plus the corvette HMS Columbine (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.J. Griffiths, RNR) had brought out convoy OS 50G from Gibraltar which they had departed earlier on 27 June. [For the ships of convoy OS 50G see below.]

HMS Aberdeen and HMS Folkestone from the original escort also proceeded to Gibraltar escorting convoy KMS 17G.

On 28 June the convoy escort was reinforced by the escort destroyer Holcombe and Viceroy.

Convoy KMS 17G arrived at Gibraltar on 29 June.

Convoy KMS 17G was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anglo Indian, Balteako, Baron Douglas, Baron Ruthven, Blairesk, Como, Corcrest, Cromarty, Dalcross, Dumfries, Empire Candida, Empire Fal, Empire Harp, Empire Nightingale, Evviva, Fort Abitibi, Fort Nipigon, Helencrest, Kristianiafjord, Lysaker V, Marga, Norfalk, Pendeen, Pentridge Hill, Richmond Hill, Saltwick, , Trevaylor and Vigsnes.

The Orangeleaf also was part of KMS 17G as were HMS Abercrombie and HMS Robert.

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Convoy OS 50 then continued on with the escort. It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Basil, Calgary, City of Dundee, City of Eastbourne, Colytto, Dordrecht, Empire Franklin, Fort Liard, Fort Sonneville, Glenwood, Godfrey B. Holt, Lafian, Llanberis, Nijkerk, Ocean Viceroy, Sansu, Silverash, Souliotis, Tiba, Tombouctou and Unanienborg.

These were joined by the merchant vessels which had made up convoy OS 50G which had been brought out of Gibraltar by the escortx which took over convoy KMS 17G, except for HMS Columbine which joined convoy OS 50.

The merchant vessels in question were the following; Baron Herries (British, 4574 GRT, built 1940), Biafra (British, 5405 GRT, built 1933), Empire Kangaroo (British, 6219 GRT, built 1919), Empire Miranda (British, 7054 GRT, built 1943), Empire Sunbeam (British, 6711 GRT, built 1941), Fort Fairford (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Lac La Ronge (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Fort McLoughlin (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Fort Vermillion (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Junecrest (British, 6945 GRT, built 1942), Madras City (British, 5080 GRT, built 1940), Ocean Verity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Volunteer (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940) and Wearpool (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936).

Later more merchant vessels joined coming from Casablanca, these were the; Dan-Y-Brin (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Dunkerque (French, 2477 GRT, built 1925), Elorn (French, 5482 GRT, built 1930), Finisterre (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909), Hoggar (French, 5146 GRT, built 1923), Ingleton (British, 7203 GRT, built 1942) and Schiaffino (British, 3236 GRT, built 1920).

The following merchant vessels were then detached to Casablanca; Fort Laird and Fort Senneville.

Off Dakar the following merchant vessels joined the convoy; Fort de Vaux (British, 5186 GRT, built 1918), Fort Jemseg (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Horace Williams (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Palacio (British, 1346 GRT, built 1927) and Salta (Norwegian, 3907 GRT, built 1920).

The following merchant vessels were then detached to Dakar; Calgary, Dan-Y-Bryn, Dunkerque, Elorn, Finisterre, Fort Lac La Ronge, Hoggar, Ingleton and Madras City.

The merchant vessel Godfrey B. Holt was detached to Bathurst.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 8 June 1943.

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6365 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 199/1211
  3. ADM 53/117200 + ADM 199/2266 + ADM 199/2267

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


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