Allied Warships

HMS Carthage (F 99)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 99 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched18 Aug 1931 
Commissioned26 Dec 1939 
End service30 Dec 1943 

laid down as Canton, completed as Carthage.
On 7 September 1939 the passenger ship Carthage of the P. & O. Steam Navigation Co Ltd, London was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 26 December 1939.

Displacement: 14182 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 17 knots

January 40 - February 42: East Indies Station
March 42 - April 42: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
June 42 - August 42: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
September 42 - November 42: South Atlantic Station
December 42 - February 43: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
March 43 - April 43: South Atlantic Station
May 43 - November 43: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)

On 30 December 1943 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 1948 returned to owner.


Commands listed for HMS Carthage (F 99)

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1Capt. (retired) Basil Owen Bell-Salter, RN28 Aug 1939Dec 1940
2Capt. (retired) Henry Leonard Ivers Kirkpatrick, OBE, RNDec 194019 Feb 1942
3Capt. (retired) Basil Owen Bell-Salter, RN19 Feb 19421 May 1942
4A/Capt. Cyril William Archie Gooding Hamley, RN1 May 194210 Jun 1942
5A/Cdr. John Wyndham Cookson, RN10 Jun 194223 Jun 1942
6A/Capt. (retired) William Vesey Hamilton Harris, DSC, RN23 Jun 194228 Jul 1943
7A/Capt. Ughtred Henry Ramsden James, RN28 Jul 1943

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Notable events involving Carthage include:

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. (1)

3 Nov 1940
In the morning convoy WS 3A (slower part) and Convoy WS 3B (faster part) merged together west of Madagascar.

Convoy WS 3A was at that moment made up of the British transports Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Erinpura (5143 GRT, built 1911), Highland Brigade (14134 GRT, built 1929), Khedive Ismael (7290 GRT, built 1922), Oropesa (14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (10496 GRT, built 1936) and Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933). These were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

Convoy WS 3B was at that moment made up of the British troop transports Duchess of York (20021 GRT, built 1929), Georgic (27759 GRT, built 1932), Monarch of Bermuda (22424 GRT, built 1931) and Orontes (20097 GRT, built 1925). These were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

Shortly before noon the Erinpure and Khedive Ismael split off from the convoy and set course for Mombasa escorted by HMS Carthage. HMS Dorsetshire then continued on towards Suez with the remainder of the convoy. (2)

19 Apr 1941
In the morning, near East London, South Africa, HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), made rendez-vous with HMS Illustrious (Cdr. G.S. Tuck, RN) and took over the escort of the damaged aircraft carrier from the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN). Course was then set for Capetown. (3)


  1. ADM 199/383
  2. ADM 53/112041
  3. ADM 53/114132

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

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