Allied Warships

HMS Alcantara (F 88)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 88 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Island) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched 1926 
Commissioned20 Dec 1939 
End service29 Jun 1943 
History

laid down as Amazon, completed as Alcantara.
On 25 September 1939 the passenger ship Alcantara of the Royal Mail Lines Ltd, London was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 20 December 1939.

Displacement: 22209 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 19 knots

Career:
January 40 - April 43: South Atlantic Station
May 43: West Africa Command

On 29 June 1943 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).

 

Commands listed for HMS Alcantara (F 88)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (retired) James Geoffrey Penrose Ingham, DSO, RN12 Sep 193916 Sep 1941
2A/Capt. (retired) John Douglas Harvey, RN16 Sep 1941mid 1943

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Notable events involving Alcantara include:


4 Oct 1939
HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN) and HMS Delight (Cdr. M. Fogg-Elliott, RN) departed Malta to make rendez-vous with convoy Red 2 which was made up of the troopships Athlone Castle (25564 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Australia (21833 GRT, built 1914) and Franconia (20175 GRT, built 1923). These were on passage to the Far East and were being escorted at that time by the armed merchant cruiser (not outfitted yet) HMS Alcantara (Capt.(Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, RN) and HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN).

The 'D-class' destroyers joined the convoy the next morning.

20 Feb 1940
HMS Hawkins (Capt. E. Rotherham, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir H. Harwood, KCB, OBE, RN) and HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), which were still on patrol in the 'Rio de Janeiro area' were joined by HMS Alcantara (Capt.(Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN). She parted company the next day. (1)

28 Jul 1940
The armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt.(retd.) J.P.G. Ingham, DSO, RN) had a gun duel with the German auxiliary cruiser Thor in the south Atlantic east of Brazil in position 24°30'S, 31°56'W and was badly damaged, while the German ship escaped.

5 Mar 1941
The battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt.(Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and the troopships Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935) departed Greenock for Gibraltar. They escorted by the destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN).

On the 6th HMS Alcantara was detached as were all the destroyers.

Around 2200/8, the destroyers HMS Fearless (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN) joined HMS Repulse, HMS Furious and the Strathmore to escort them to Gibraltar.

HMS Repulse and HMS Furious were however ordered to proceed at high speed to Gibraltar which they did escorted by HMS Foxhound. The other destroyers escorted the Strathmore to Gibraltar.

30 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to participate in a special operation (Operation Grab) in which four Italian submarines coming from the Red Sea and their German supply vessel/tanker were to be intercepted. The British had discovered where these ships were to make rendez-vous though 'Ultra' (code breaking) and decided to spoil 'the party'.

Besides HMS Severn the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt. (Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) were also involved in this operation. (2)

31 May 1941
Around noon (zone PO = +2.5), HMS Newcastle (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.H. Pegram, DSO, RN) made rendezvous with HMS Alcantara (Capt.(Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) south-west of Rio de Janeiro in position 25°33'S, 44°31'W. Shortly afterwards they both proceeded to patrol the area but not in company with each other. (3)

10 Jul 1941
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) and armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt.(Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) departed St. Helena to patrol in the South Atlantic.

The ships patrolled in the same general area but not always in company with each other. (4)

11 May 1942

Convoy WS 19.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 11 May 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Akaroa (British, 15130 GRT, built 1914), Athlone Castle (British, 25565 GRT, built 1936), Borinquen (American, 7114 GRT, built 1931), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Lanarkshire (British, 9816 GRT, built 1940), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Moreton Bay (British, 14193 GRT, built 1921), USS Orizaba (American, 6937 GRT, built 1918), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Pasteur (British, 29253 GRT, built 1938), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920), Strarthaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) and Sussex (British, 13647 GRT, built 1937).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), HMS Castleton (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Bristowe, DSO, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN).

Around 0400Z/14, HMS Keppel, HMS Volunteer and HMS Leamington parted company with the convoy in approximate position 46°00'N, 21°40'W.

Around 1600Z/14, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley parted company in approximate position 43°40'N, 22°40'W. They were to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Around 0100Z/15, the Akaroa was detached to proceed to Bermuda independently.

Around 2100Z/15, HMS St. Marys parted company in approximate position 37°25'N, 23°30'W.

Around 1600Z/16, HMS Castleton parted company in approximate position 33°08'N, 23°46'W.

Around 1800Z/17, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley rejoined in approximate position 27°43'N, 24°24'W.

Around 1030Z/19, the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN) joined in approximate position 19°45'N, 20°40'W. She came from convoy SL 110.

Around 0845Z/20, the destroyers HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) and HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) joined, coming from Bathurst, in approximate position 15°27'N, 20°40'W.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 22 May 1942.

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The convoy departed Freetown on 26 May 1942.

It was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Mauritius, armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN), destroyers HMS Boreas, HMS Velox, escort destroyers HMS Belvoir, HMS Hursley and the sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN).

Around 1900Z/28, HMS Boreas and HMS Velox parted company in approximate position 01°07'S, 13°43'W. HMS Velox was to return to Freetown while HMS Boreas was to proceed to Takoradi taking the Highland Monarch from the convoy with her. The Highland Monarch was later to proceed to the River Plate area.

Around 0800Z/29, HMS Alcantara and HMS Milford parted company with the convoy so that the armed merchant cruiser could top off the sloop with fuel. They rejoined around 1630Z/29. HMS Alcantara then immediately left the convoy again in position 05°18'S, 10°38'W to proceed to St. Helena. HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley went with her so that they could fuel in the lee of St. Helena from HMS Alcantara

Around 2000Z/31, HMS Alcantara, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley rejoined the convoy in approximate position 15°48'S, 06°02'W

Around 1600A/1, HMS Alcantara parted company with the convoy in approximate position 18°05'S, 02°20'W. She was to patrol in the South Atlantic.

Around 1230B/5, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) joined the convoy in approximate position 32°25'S, 14°20'E.

Around 1700B/5, in approximate position 32°55'S, 14°59'E, HMS Shropshire parted company taking the Clan MacArthur, Moreton Bay, USS Orizaba, Ormonde, Pasteur and Strathaird with her to Durban where they arrived on 9 June. HMS Shropshire then turned back towards the Capetown area to make rendezvous with the Capetown section of the convoy and then escort it eastwards.

The remainder of the convoy proceeded to Capetown where it arrived on 6 June. HMS Mauritius then went on to Simonstown as did the A/S escorts later.

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On 11 June the Athlone Castle, Borinquen, Lankashire, Monarch of Bermuda, Mooltan, Strathnaver, Sussex departed Capetown to continue their voyage. With them was now also the transport Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924).

They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire (A/Capt. H.G. Hopper, RN).

Around 1200B/12, HMS Shropshire joined them in approximate position 37°10'S, 19°56'E.

Around 0900C/14, the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley joined.

Around 1100C/15, HMS Cheshire parted company with the convoy off Durban.

Around 1200C/15, the Durban section of the convoy joined. They were being escorted by the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN). The Durban section was made up of the Clan Macarthur, Moreton Bay, USS Orizaba and Strathaird. With them were now also the Clan MacInnes (British, 4672 GRT, built 1920), Clan MacTavish (British, 7631 GRT, built 1921), Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922) and Empire Woodlark (British, 7793 GRT, built 1913).

Around 1100D/18, the light cruiser HMS Mauritius joined the convoy in approximate position 27°28'S, 43°05'E. HMS Shropshire then parted company.

Around 0900C/23, the Clan MacInnes, Clan MacTavish, Empire Trooper, Empire Woodlark and Moreton Bay parted company with the convoy in approximate position 13°51'S, 53°03'E to proceed to Diego Suarez where they arrived on 24 June. They were escorted by HMS Emerald, HMS Belvoir and HMS Hursley.

Around 2000E/26, the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN) joined coming from Kilindini/Mombasa. She relieved HMS Mauritius which then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini/Mombasa.

Around 1700E/26, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) J.P. Landon, RN) joined the convoy in in approximate position 05°26'N, 52°16'E, The Athlone Castle, USS Orizaba and Strathaird parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bombay where they arrived on 1 July. They were escorted by HMS Devonshire.

The remainder of the convoy proceeded towards Aden escorted by HMS Corfu. They arrived off Aden on 30 June. (5)

4 Aug 1942
HMS Caradoc (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) departed Simonstown to make rendezvous with the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN) and take over the escort of the cable laying ship John W. MacKay (British, 4049 GRT, built 1922).

Rendezvous was effected around 1000B/5.

HMS Caradoc and the John W. MacKay arrived at Capetown on August 7th. (6)

29 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 22.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 29 August 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Canara (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Leinster (British, 4303 GRT, built 1937), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Nieuw Holland (British, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Ruys (British, 14155 GRT, built 1937) and Suffolk (British, 11145 GRT, built 1939).

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN), destroyers HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt. R.A. Price, RN), HMS Chesterfield (Lt. J. Smallwood, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) and the escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).

Around 1800Z/31, ORP Blyskawica was detached to Londonderry due to abnormal high fuel consumption.

Around 0600Z/1, HMS Bulldog, HMS Keppel and HMS Zetland were detached to return to the U.K.

Around 1315Z/1, HMS Bicester was detached to Plymouth.

Around 1520Z/1, HMS Partridge and HMAS Quiberon were detached to fuel at the Azores.

Around 1540Z/2, the Leinster parted company with the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar. The destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) had come from Gibraltar to escort her.

Around 0930Z/3, HMS Partridge and HMAS Quiberon rejoined from fuelling. HMS Beverley and HMS Chesterfield were then detached to fuel at the Azores.

Around 1400Z/6, the destroyer HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair) joined.

Around 1300Z/7, the escort destroyer RHS Pindos joined.

The convoy arrived at Freetown shortly after noon on 9 September 1942.

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The convoy departed Freetown in the same composition around 0700Z/13. One additional vessel had joined the convoy, this was the transport Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927). The convoy was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN), destroyers HMAS Quiberon, HMS Partridge, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope and the escort destroyers HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and RHS Pindos.

Around 1800Z/15, the Highland Princess was detached to Takoradi escorted by HMS Boreas. HMS Antelope was also detached to return to Freetown.

Around 1800A/16, HMS Alcantara, HMS Derwent and RHS Pindos were detached to Pointe Noire to fuel. They rejoined the convoy around 1800A/18 after which HMS Aurora, HMAS Quiberon and HMS Partidge parted company with the convoy to fuel at Pointe Noire. They did not rejoin the convoy.

Around 1015BC/24, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) joined the convoy coming from Simonstown.

Around 1200BC/24, the convoy split into the Capetown section and the Durban section.

The Capetown section was made up of the Almanzora, Andes, California, Canara, Dominion Monarch, Franconia, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Nea Hellas, Nieuw Holland, Orduna and Ruys. The arrived at Capetown on 25 September escorted by HMS Alcantara, HMS Derwent and RHS Pindos.

The Durban section was made up of the Boissevain, Highland Brigade, Highland Chieftain, Mataroa, Orcades, Rangitata, Sibajak and Suffolk. They were escorted by HMS Shropshire.

The Durban section arrived at Durban on 29 September 1942.

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On 29 September 1942, the Capetown section, now made up of the following ships; Almanzora, Dominion Monarch, Franconia, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Nieuw Holland and Orduna. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Alcantara and HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN).

On 3 October 1942, HMS Alcantara parted company with the convoy and entered Durban. The Durban section of the convoy then joined. It was now made up of the following ships; Boissevain, California, Canera, Ekma (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Felix Roussel (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Rangitata and Ruys. They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN).

Around 0600D/8, HMS Ranchi parted company with the convoy to fuel at Diego Suarez. She arrived there around 1730D/9. Having completed fuelling she departed again around 2330D/9 to rejoined the convoy which she did around 0600D/11.

Around 1130E/10, the 'heavy' cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Devonshire then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini / Mombasa taking the Almanzora and Rangitata with her. They arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa on the 12th.

Around 0710D/11, HMS Hawkins parted company taking the Bombay section of the convoy with her. The Bombay section was made up of the Boissevain, California, Canara, Dominion Monarch, Franconia, Indrapoera, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Nieuw Holland and Ruys. They arrived at Bombay on 17 October 1942 minus the Canera which had been detached around 1920EF/15 to Karachi where she arrived on 18 October 1942.

HMS Ranchi escorting the Aden section, made up of the Ekma, Felix Roussel and Orduna , had meanwhile arrived at Aden on 16 October 1942. (5)

29 Oct 1942

Convoy WS 24

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 29 October 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Empress of Scotland (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Indochinois (British, 6966 GRT, built 1939), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Striling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The American seaplane tender Barnegat (Cdr. J.A. Briggs, USN) was also with the convoy.

On forming up the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR), HMS Skate (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN).

The convoy was to take an unusual route for a WS convoy. Due to the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) it was not thought wise to have another troop convoy passing through the same area as the convoys for this operations would be passing through. Therefore it was decided to sent the convoy southwards with a stopover at Bahia, Brasil instead of the usual stopover at Freetown.

The Liverpool section of the convoy made up of the Athlone Castle and Stirling Castle was late at the assembly point due to being delayed by fog. They and their escorts, HMS Sardonyx and HMS Skate only joined the main part of the convoy on 31 October. HMS Sardonyx and HMS Skate then parted company to proceed to Londonderry.

At 1430Z/31, in position 49°46'N, 21°17'W, HMS Onslow, on the port wing of the A/S screen, reported an A/S contact and shorly afterwards sighted a periscope. The convoy then carried out an emergency turn to starboard and HMS Rotherham joined HMS Onslow to hunt the U-boat. Contact was again obtained at 1443Z/31. The first depth charge attacks of both destroyers were probably reasonably accurate as the U-boat went very deep and remained there. A total of seven attacks were made in all by the two destroyers and about 1730Z/31 contact was lost. Both destroyers then carried out a search to regain contact but without success. HMS Rotherham then proceeded to rejoin the convoy leaving HMS Onslow in the area until after dark in case the U-boat should surface. The U-boat attacked was U-563 which sustained damage in the depth charge attacks.

At 0400Z/2, HMS Rotherham parted company with the convoy to proceed to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores, where she arrived around 1715Z/2. She departed again to rejoined the convoy at first light on 3rd November. On leaving Ponta Delgada HMS Holcombe was encountered to enter that port to fuel. She was not to rejoin the convoy but to proceed to Bathurst on completion of fuelling.

At 1355Z/2, in position 40°43'N, 25°10'W, USS Barnegat parted company to proceed to French Marocco to join the forces for Operation Torch.

At 1500Z/3, HMS Rotherham rejoined the convoy.

At 1530Z/3, in position 36°40'N, 28°40'W, the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

At 1700Z/3, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa and HMS Oribi parted company to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel. They too were not to rejoin the convoy.

Around 2100Z/7, in position 15°41'N, 30°56'W, the transport Indochinois started to drop back due to engine trouble.

At 0348Z/8, HMS Queen of Bermuda was detached to proceed ahead to search for the destroyer HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and A/S whaler HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR). This was done due to the convoy arriving late at the arranged rendezvous.

At 1230Z/8, in position 13°16'N, 29°26'W, the troop transport Tamaroa parted company with the convoy to proceed to Freetown taking HMS Southern Pride with her as escort. HMS Southern Pride had been sighted only half an hour before.

HMS Queen of Bermuda rejoined the convoy at 1930Z/8. HMS Ilex had not been sighted.

At 1120Z/9, HMS Queen of Bermuda was again detached but not to search for the Indochinois using her aircraft to do so. When 50 miles clear of the convoy HMS Queen of Bermuda reported the position, speed and course of the convoy also for the benefit of HMS Ilex which had still not joined the convoy.

At 1500Z/9, in position 08°24'N, 29°22'W, the destroyer Ilex finally managed to join the convoy.

At 0715Z/11, HMS Queen of Bermuda rejoined the convoy. Her Seafox plane had made contact with the Indochinois and had passed instructions to her to rejoin the convoy. Since then she was however not seen and did not rejoin the convoy.

At 1000Z/11, in position 00°14'S, 30°42'W, the light cruiser HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 12th, HMS Ilex took in 60 tons of fuel from HMS Queen of Bermuda.

The convoy arrived at Bahia, Brazil on 15 November 1942.

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The convoy departed Bahia for South Africa at 1830Z/19.

It was still made up of the same transports, minus the Indochinois.

Escort on departure from Bahia was provided by the light cruiser HMS Despatch and the destroyers HMS Rotherham and HMS Ilex.

Armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda departed Bahia at 2359Z/19 to overtake the convoy which she did during the forenoon of the 20th.

At 0900Z/23, HMS Ilex was detached to return to Bahia.

At 2000Z/23, HMS Despatch parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pernambuco (Recife).

At 0800Z/28, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN) joined.

At 0930Z/29, the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) joined.

At 1350Z/30, in position 34°36'S, 17°40'E, a quantity of wreckage was passed and shortly afterwards survivors were seen clinging to broken boats and rafts. HMS Rotherham picked up seven of these while HMAS Norman picked up another eleven. They were the Master, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer and 15 men of the Greek merchant vessel Argo that had been torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni in position 34°45'S, 17°42'E at 2025Z/29. HMAS Norman transferred the survivors she had picked up to HMS Rotherham.

At 1440Z/30, the corvettes HMS Rockrose (Lt. E.J. Binfield, DSC, RNR) and HMS Thyme (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) joined.

At 1520Z/30, the transport Indochinois rejoined the convoy as did her escort, the destroyer HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN).

At 1610Z/30, HMS Rotherham parted company with the convoy to proceed to fuel at Simonstown where she also landed the survivors of the Argo. She arrived at Simonstown at 1830Z/30.

HMS Thyme parted company with the convoy late in the morning of 1st, December to proceed to Simonstown.

HMS Rotherham rejoined the convoy at 1600Z/1 having departed Simonstown at 0415Z/1. HMS Rockrose then parted company to proceed to Simonstown.

The convoy arrived at Durban at 0500Z/4. HMS Alcantara had parted company at 0400Z/4 to proceed to Simonstown. (5)

28 Nov 1942
HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN) picks up 18 survivors from the American merchant Jeremiah Wadsworth that was torpedoed and sunk the previous day by German U-boat U-178 about 270 nautical miles south of Cape Agulhas, South Africa in position 39°25'S, 22°23'E.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/112032
  2. ADM 173/16980 + ADM 199/1886
  3. ADM 53/113565 + ADM 53/114785
  4. ADM 53/113567 + ADM 53/114162 + ADM 53/114192
  5. ADM 199/1211
  6. ADM 53/115507

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


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