Allied Warships

HMS Antenor (F 21)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 21 
Built byPalmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd (Jarrow-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Laid down 
Launched30 Sep 1924 
Commissioned7 Nov 1939 
End service31 Oct 1941 

On 13 September 1939 the passenger ship Antenor of the Alfred Holt & Co, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 7 November 1939.

Displacement: 11174 BRT
Armament: 6x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15 knots

January 40 - April 40: Mediterranean Fleet
May 40 - October 41: East Indies Station

On 31 October 1941 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).


Commands listed for HMS Antenor (F 21)

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1Capt. (retired) Arthur Bannatyne Arnold Baker, DSO, RN30 Aug 193931 Dec 1939
2Cdr. Gilbert Palmer Claridge, RN31 Dec 193910 Jan 1940
3Capt. (retired) Donald Irvine McGillewie, RN10 Jan 1940late 1941

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Notable events involving Antenor include:

31 Dec 1939
Capt A B A Baker was CO 30/8/39-31/12/39 : Capt G P Claridge 31/12/39-10/1/40 : Capt D I mcGillewie 10/1/40-1/12/41 (1)

19 Sep 1940

Convoy BN 5A.

This convoy departed Bombay on 19 September 1940 for Suez where it arrived on 29 September 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935) and Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917).

On departure escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN).

The Ormonde was not ready to depart on the 19th and she departed one day later with orders to overtake the convoy. Until she made rendez-vous with the convoy she was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).

The convoy arrived off Aden on 25 September and HMS Kanimbla was relieved as escort by the light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), 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).

Light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) had also been with the convoy (briefly) but parted company on 26 September 1940.

On 27 September the southbound convoy SW 1 was sighted and the destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Kimberley and sloop HMS Flamingo joined that convoy as escorts. The convoy then continued northwards escorted by HMS Ajax and HMS Coventry.

Çonvoy BN 5A arived at Suez safely on 29 September 1940. (2)

16 Jan 1941

Convoy US 8A.

This convoy departed Colombo on 16 January 1941 for Suez where it arrived on 28 January 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships / merchant vessels; Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan de Witt (Dutch, 10474 GRT, built 1920), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Nevassa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN). The heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) provided cover to the south of the convoy until the 18th after which she returned to Colombo on 19 January 1941. While berthing there she hit a pier and sustained some damage.

On 22 January the convoy escort was taken over by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN).

On 23 January two more merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Aden, these were the City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938) and the Thurland Castle (British, 6372 GRT, built 1929). They were escorted by the sloop HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

On the 24th HMS Capetown rejoined the convoy.

Early in the evening of 26 January HMS Carlisle and HMAS Yarra parted company with the convoy to proceed to Port Sudan where they arrived the following day. HMS Capetown and HMS Kimberley also parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden where they arrived on the 28th.

On the 27th the sole remaining escort, HMS Kandahar was relieved by HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN). HMS Kandahar then proceeded to Port Sudanwhere she arrived on the 28th.

The convoy arrived at Suez also on 28 January 1941. (3)


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 199/383
  3. ADM 199/408

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

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