Allied Warships

HMS Chitral (F 57)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 57 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched27 Jan 1925 
Commissioned4 Oct 1939 
End serviceDec 1943 
History

In August 1939 the passenger ship Chitral 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 4 October 1939.

Displacement: 15346 BRT
Armament: 7x 152mm, 3x 102mm
Speed: 17 knots

Career:
October 39 - August 40: Northern Patrol
November 40 - February 41: Northern and Western Patrol
March 41 - April 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
May 41 - October 41: North Atlantic Escort Force
November 41 - February 42: East Indies Station
March 42 - December 43: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)

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

 

Commands listed for HMS Chitral (F 57)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (retired) Alfred Geoffrey Peace, DSO, RN18 Oct 193918 Jan 1940 (+)
2Capt. (retired) Guy Hamilton, RN20 Jan 194022 Dec 1940
3A/Capt. Eric Vernon Lees, RN22 Dec 194012 Jan 1941
4Capt. (retired) Guy Hamilton, RN12 Jan 19412 Dec 1941
5A/Capt. (retired) Gerald William Hoare-Smith, RN2 Dec 1941

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Notable events involving Chitral include:


20 Nov 1939
The German merchant Bertha Fisser (4110 GRT) is intercepted of the south-east coast of Iceland in position 64°10N, 15°14W by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (Capt. G. Hamilton, (retired), RN). However before the German ship can be captured she is scuttled by her own crew.

11 Mar 1941

Convoy HX 114.

This convoy departed Halifax on 11 March 1941 and arrived in UK waters on 30 March 1941.

This convoy was made up of following merchant vessels; Cardita (British (tanker), 8237 GRT, built 1931), Cerinthus (British (tanker), 3878 GRT, built 1930), Chesapeake (British (tanker), 8955 GRT, built 1928), Clavella (Dutch (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1939), Colonial (British, 5108 GRT, built 1926), Corrales (British, 5363 GRT, built 1930), Cristales (British, 5389 GRT, built 1926), Elmdene (British, 4853 GRT, built 1939), Emile Francqui (Belgian, 5859 GRT, built 1929), Empire Mermaid (British, 6381 GRT, built 1919), Harmatris (British, 5395 GRT, built 1932), Heranger (Norwegian, 4877 GRT, built 1930), Inger Lise (Norwegian, 1582 GRT, built 1939), Labette (British, 4989 GRT, built 1919), Lapland (British, 1330 GRT, built 1936), Lunula (British (tanker), 6363 GRT, built 1927), Malakand (British, 7649 GRT, built 1919), Nestos (Greek, 5764 GRT, built 1919), New Texas (British, 6568 GRT, built 1919), Pandias (Greek, 4981 GRT, built 1912), Pentridge Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1941), Roxby (British, 4252 GRT, built 1923), Royal Emblem (British, 4900 GRT, built 1940), Skeldergate (British, 4251 GRT, built 1930), Tilapa (British, 5392 GRT, built 1928), Torr Head (British, 5021 GRT, built 1937), Toward (British (rescue ship), 1571 GRT, built 1923) and Zagloba (Polish, 2864 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN).

Shortly after departure the merchant vessel Labette was to return to Halifax with engine trouble.

On the 14th the convoy merged with convoy BHX 114 coming from Bermuda. The following merchant vessels then joined the convoy; Adellen (British (tanker), 7984 GRT, built 1930), Carelia (British (tanker), 8062 GRT, built 1938), Comanchee (British (tanker), 6837 GRT, built 1936), Dephnella (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1938), Hidlefjord (British (tanker), 7639 GRT, built 1928), Inverlee (British (tanker), 9158 GRT, built 1938), Kaia Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 9063 GRT, built 1931), Lincoln Ellsworth (British (tanker), 5580 GRT, built 1927), Otina (British (tanker), 6217 GRT, built 1938), President de Vogue (Norwegian (tanker), 9320 GRT, built 1935), San Conrado (British (tanker), 7982 GRT, built 1936), Thalatta (Norwegian, 5671 GRT, built 1922), Thorshavet (Norwegian (tanker), 11015 GRT, built 1938) and Velox (Norwegian, 3831 GRT, built 1922 ).

The escort of convoy BHX 114, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt. J. Creswell, RN), then parted company.

Around 1200OP/15 the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) joined the convoy. She parted company at 1520P/16 when a warship was sighted which turned out to be HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) which was to join the convoy to take over from HMS Rodney.

At that moment the armed merchant cruiser HMS Laconia (Capt.(Retd.) G.G.P. Hewett, RN), which was in sight, reported heavy calibre gunfire on the horizon. HMS Rodney increased speed and set course towards this reported gunfire. HMS Royal Sovereign briefly followed but due to her slower speed opted to remain between the enemy and the convoy. HMS Royal Sovereign remained in position between the enemy and the convoy until late in the evening.

The source of the gunfire was the German battlecruiser Gneisenau which was in the process of sinking the merchant vessel Chilean Reefer (British, 1739 GRT, built 1936). She spotted the tops of the approaching British battleship and quickly got underway and made off at high speed. HMS Rodney was left with picking up the survivors of the Chilean Reefer unable to catch the German battlecruiser due to her inferior speed. HMS Rodney then continued to patrol the area where convoy HX 114 was passing through during the next few days.

At 1545N/24, the merchant vessels Inger Lise and Velox were detached with orders to join convoy SC 25.

HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy at 1930N/24 and set course for Halifax.

On the 25th, the merchant vessel (tanker) Lincoln Ellsworth with a cargo of fuel oil parted company with the convoy to proceed to Reykjavik was she was to discharge her cargo. She arrived at Reykjavik the next day.

HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy at 1930N/24 and set course for Halifax. The convoy was joined by destroyers late on the 24th or early on the 25th by the destroyers HMS Wanderer (Cdr. A.F.St.G. Orpen, RN), HMS Vanity ( Lt. I.W.T. Beloe, RN), HMCS Columbia (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) S.W. Davis, RN), HMS Montgomery (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) W.L. Puxley, RN), sloop HMS Weston (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Sutton, RN), corvettes HMS Nasturtium (Lt.Cdr. J.F.C. Bartley, DSC, RNR), HMS Periwinkle (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR), HMS Primrose (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A. Ayre, RNR) and the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS Arab (T/Lt. C.A. Shillan, RNVR), HMS Ayrshire (T/Lt. L.J.A. Gradwell, RNVR) and HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G. Ogden, RNVR). Destroyers HMS Montgomery, HMS Vanity, sloop HMS Weston and the auxiliary A/S trawlers were detached later to join other convoys. The remainder of the escort remained with the convoy until its arrival in UK waters on the 30th.

9 Apr 1941

Convoy SC 28.

This convoy departed Halifax on 9 April for Liverpool where it arrived on 28 April 1941.

Upon departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant ships: Aeas (Greek, 4729 GRT, built 1915), Akabahra (Norwegian, 1524 GRT, built 1929), Aldington Court (British, 4891 GRT, built 1929), Almenara (British, 1851 GRT, built 1922), Anna Bulgaris (Greek, 4603 GRT, built 1912), Armathia (British, 4683 GRT, built 1919), Baron Inchcape (British, 7005 GRT, built 1917), Beckenham (British, 4636 GRT, built 1937), Bernhard (Norwegian, 3563 GRT, built 1924), Bosworth (British, 6672 GRT, built 1919), Bristol City (British, 2864 GRT, built 1920), Buccinum (British (tanker), 5237 GRT, built 1910), Cressdene (British, 4270 GRT, built 1936), Despina (Greek, 3016 GRT, built 1907), Embassage (British, 4954 GRT, built 1935), Euthalia (Greek, 3553 GRT, built 1918), Georgios P. (Greek, 4052 GRT, built 1903), Gezina (Norwegian, 1828 GRT, built 1917), Gullpool (British, 4868 GRT, built 1928), Katvaldis (British, 3163 GRT, built 1907), King Stephen (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928), Kisnop (British, 5874 GRT, built 1919), Manatee (British, 5948 GRT, built 1920), Matronna (Greek, 2846 GRT, built 1902), Navarino (British, 4841 GRT, built 1937), Niceto de Larrinaga (British, 5591 GRT, built 1916), Prins Willem van Oranje (Dutch, 1303 GRT, built 1918), Rossum (Dutch, 2118 GRT, built 1928), Runswick (British, 3970 GRT, built 1930), Sildra (Norwegian (tanker), 7313 GRT, built 1927), Trojan Star (British, 9037 GRT, built 1936), Wellfield (British (tanker), 6054 GRT, built 1924) and West Amargosa (British, 5462 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN). Submarine HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) joined the escort on the 11th. Battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) joined the convoy on the 13th and was detached on the 20th as was HMS Talisman. HMS Chitral was detached on the 21st.

On 24 April 1941 the destroyer HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), corvettes HMS Dianthus (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E. Bridgman, RNR), HMS Mallow (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Piggott, RNR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR), HMS Nasturtium (Lt.Cdr. J.F.C. Bartley, DSC, RNR), HMS Periwinkle (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR), HMS Primrose (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A. Ayre, RNR) and the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN) and HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, RN) joined the convoy. The minesweepers departed later the same day. On the 26th, corvette HMS Mallow was detached. The destroyer HMS Wanderer (Cdr. A.F.St.G. Orpen, RN) joined on the 27th.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 28th.

27 May 1941

Convoy HX 129.

This convoy departed Halifax on 27 May 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 12 June 1941.

On departure from Halifax this convoy was made up of the following ships; Agra (Swedish, 4569 GRT, built 1925), Baxtergate (British, 5531 GRT, built 1925), Boston City (British, 2870 GRT, built 1920), Braganza (Norwegian, 6327 GRT, built 1924), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), Chesapeake (British (tanker), 8955 GRT, built 1928), Delfshaven (Dutch, 5281 GRT, built 1930), Empire Albatross (British, 4714 GRT, built 1918), Empire Dawn (British, 7241 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ibex (British, 6990 GRT, built 1918), Empire Impala (British, 6116 GRT, built 1920), Empire Lapwing (British, 5403 GRT, built 1921), Empire Lightning (British, 6942 GRT, built 1940), Empire Panter (British, 5600 GRT, built 1919), Empire Ptarmigan (British, 6013 GRT, built 1920), Empire Zephyr (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Erna III (British, 1590 GRT, built 1930), Evanger (Norwegian, 3869 GRT, built 1920), Generton (British, 4797 GRT, built 1936), Glenlea (British, 4252 GRT, built 1930), Harpasa (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Koenjit (Dutch, 4551 GRT, built 1929), Leonidas M. (British, 4573 GRT, built 1929), Lyras (Greek, 5685 GRT, built 1918), Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Mariso (Dutch, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Mount Kassion (Greek, 7914 GRT, built 1918), Norwegian (British, 6366 GRT, built 1921), Pacific Pioneer (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925), Prins Maurits (Dutch, 1287 GRT, built 1936), Ringstad (Norwegian, 4765 GRT, built 1923), Salando (Dutch, 5272 GRT, built 1920), Saltersgate (British, 3940 GRT, built 1924), Saluta (British, 5272 GRT, built 1920), Suderoy (Norwegian (whale factory ship), 7562 GRT, built 1913), Sylvia de Larrinaga (British, 5218 GRT, built 1925), Uffington Court (British, 4976 GRT, built 1929), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928) and Zaglobia (Polish, 2864 GRT, built 1938).

The rescue ship Zaafaran (British, 1559 GRT, built 1929) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 129 was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Earl Beattie, RN) and HMCS St Croix (Cdr. H. Kingsley, RCN).

On 28 May 1941, HMS Buxton and HMCS St. Croix were detached.

This convoy merged at sea on 31 May 1941 with convoy BHX 129 which had departed Bermuda on 25 May 1941 and was made up of the following ships; Basil (British, 4913 GRT, built 1928), Benedick (British (tanker), 6978 GRT, built 1928), British Princess (British (tanker), 7019 GRT, built 1917), Cowrie (British (tanker), 8197 GRT, built 1931), Daphnella (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1938), Delhi (Swedish, 4571 GRT, built 1925), El Grillo (British (tanker), 7264 GRT, built 1922), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Ferncastle (Norwegian (tanker), 9940 GRT, built 1936), Geisha (British, 5113 GRT, built 1921), Maja (British (tanker), 8181 GRT, built 1931), Malmanger (Norwegian (tanker), 7078 GRT, built 1920), Murena (Dutch (tanker), 8252 GRT, built 1931), Rapana (British (tanker), 8017 GRT, built 1935), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935), San Demetrio (British (tanker), 8073 GRT, built 1938), Sandanger (Norwegian (tanker), 9432 GRT, built 1938), Solsten (Norwegian (tanker), 5379 GRT, built 1929), South Africa (Norwegian (tanker), 9234 GRT, built 1930) and Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940).

On departure from Bermuda convoy BHX 129 was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranpura (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN) which was then detached.

Also on 31 May 1941 the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) joined the convoy to provide cover against attack by enemy surface ships (the German light cruiser Prinz Eugen was still at sea).

On 3 June 1941 the corvettes HMCS Chambly (A/Cdr. J.D. Prentice, RCN), HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Orillia (T/Lt.Cdr. W.E.S. Briggs, RCNR) joined the convoy.

On 4 June 1941, HMS Repulse parted company with the convoy having been relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN).

On 6 June 1941, HMS Suffolk was detached after the destroyers HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Veteran (Cdr. W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Begonia (T/Lt. T.A.R. Muir, RNR) and HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR) had joined the convoy.

On 7 June the corvettes HMCS Chambly, HMCS Collingwood and HMCS Orillia were detached.

On 8 June the destroyers HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Lincoln (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Sabre (Lt. P.W. Gretton, DSC, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.P. Henderson, RN), corvettes HMS Alisma (A/Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Kingcup (Lt. R.A.D. Cambridge, RNR), HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RNR), auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Wellard (Lt.(Retd.) R.F. Turnbull, RD, RNR) and the MAC-ship Springbank joined.

On 10 June HMS Alisma was detached.

On 11 June HMS Chelsea, HMS Lincoln, HMS Mansfield, HMS Veteran, HMS Wolverine and HMS Sunflower were detached.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 12 June 1941 escorted by HMS Chitral, HMS Sabre, HMS Venomous, HMS Begonia, HMS Convolvulus, HMS Kincup and HMS Wellard.

30 Jun 1941

Convoy WS 9B.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 30 June 1941. It arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

On assembly it was made up of the following (troop)transports; Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Ceramic (British, 18713 GRT, built 1913), Clan Forbes (British, 7529 GRT, built 1938), Elizabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Pampas (British, 6345 GRT, built 1941), Pulaski (Polish, 6345 GRT, built 1912), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The transport Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935) had been unable to keep the required speed up during the passage from Liverpool to the rendezvous point and was ordered to proceed to the Clyde. She was not allowed to join the convoy.

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN), flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), AA cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN), armed merchant cruisers HMS Cathay (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.M. Merewether, RN), HMS Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN), HMS Moreton Bay (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, RN), armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (A/Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) and the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN), HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski, ORP).

HMS Wolverine was detached with defects at 1324Z/31.

HMS Wells parted company with the convoy around 2200Z/1.

HMS Vanquisher, HMS Winchelsea, HMS Castleton and HMCS St. Francis parted company around 0400Z/2.

HMS Maori was detached at 1600Z/2.

HMS Cairo, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland parted company with the convoy around 1900Z/2 in position 49°20'N, 26°20'W.

HMS Reading was detached at 0400Z/3.

HMS Edinburgh parted company around 2315Z/3.

HMS Cathay parted company around 0630Z/4.

HMS Chitral and HMS Corinthian parted company around 0100Z/6.

Around 1115Z/10, in position 17.28'N, 20.50'W the destroyers HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and corvette HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

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The convoy left Freetown in the same composition as in which it had arrived.

It was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Galatea and the destroyers HMS Brilliant, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN).

All destroyers parted company on the 18th, HMS Brilliant and HMS Velox at 1200/18 and HMS Boreas and HMS Vansittart at 1600/18.

At 0515/27, HMS Galatea parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Simonstown to fuel.

The transports Ceramic, Clan Forbes, Pampas, Elizabeth Bakke, Pulaski and Rangitata were detached to Capetown.

HMS Galatea departed Simonstown at 1530/27 and rejoined the remaining ships of the convoy at 0900/28.

The remaining ships and HMS Galatea arrived at Durban on 30 July 1941.

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The Clan Forbes, Elisabeth Bakke, Pampas and Pulaski departed Capetown on 30 July 1941 escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN).

On 3 August 1941 the Arundel Castle, Athlone Castle, Monarch of Bermuda and Oronsay departed Durban escorted by HMS Galatea. The Capetown and Durban section then merged and set course for Aden. Both escorts remained with the convoy until it was dispersed off Aden on 14 August 1941.

On 13 August the Athlone Castle and Elizabeth Bakke parted company forming convoy WS 9BX. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) and arrived at Bombay on 16 August 1941. (1)

16 Aug 1942

Convoy CM 31.

This convoy departed Durban on 16 August 1942 and arrived at Aden on 31 August 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following transports / troopships; Ascanius (British, 10048 GRT, built 1910), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Kosciuszko (Polish, 6852 GRT, built 1915), Nova Scotia (British, 6796 GRT, built 1926) and Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937).

On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Caradoc (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt.(Retd.) E.H. Hopkinson, RN).

At 2200C/23, HMS Caradoc parted company with the convoy to proceed to Diego Suarez.

Around 0815C/25, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined in position 06.40'S, 49.02'E and shortly afterwards the convoy split up into the ' Aden section ' made up of the Ascanius, Kosciuszko and Salween and was escorted by HMS Chital and the ' Bombay section ' made up of the Indrapoera and Nova Scotia and was escorted by HMS Worcestershire.

The ' Aden section ' arrived at Aden on 31 August and the ' Bombay section ' arrived at Bombay on 1 September. (2)

13 Dec 1942

Combined convoy WS 24A and CM 36.

This combined convoy departed Durban on 13 December 1942 for Mombasa / Aden.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Ascanius (British, 10048 GRT, built 1910), Ekma (British, 5128 GRT, built 1911) and Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930).

Escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) and HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN).

At 0904C/14, HMS Inconstant parted company with the convoy.

At 0950C/19, HMS Rotherham and HMAS Nepal parted company with the convoy.

At 1200C/19, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy.

Around 11020C/20, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) and the minesweeper HMAS Cessnock (A/Lt.Cdr. T.S. Marchington, RANR(S)) coming from Mombasa. They had brought out the transport Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937).

HMS Capetown then parted company for Mombasa with the convoy taking HMAS Cessnock and the transport Ekma with her.

At 2000C/25, HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy.

The remainder of the convoy continued on to Aden where it arrived on 27 December 1941.

16 Mar 1943

Combined convoy WS 28 / KMS 11.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 March 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 28 and KMS 11 at sea on 21 March 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Brittanic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empire Might (British, 9209 GRT, built 1942), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

Also the naval auxiliaries HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) were part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay the following escorts were with the convoy; sloops HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN, with the S.O. 2nd Escort Group on board, Capt. F.J. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) R.E.S. Hugonin, DSC, RN), destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz, ORP).

On 21 March the convoy split up into two sections, KMF 11, made up of Banfora, Cuba, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Ormonde, Orion, Nea Hellas, Rangitata, Windsor Castle and HMS Ulster Monarch proceeded to Algiers where it arrived on 23 March 1943 escorted by the original escort minus HMS Douglas which put into Gibraltar on 22 March with damage to her port propeller. After inspection it was apparent that she was able to continue but she was not to exceed 22 knots so it was decided that she could rejoin the convoy. All five escort destroyers also put into Gibraltar to fuel but departed again later the same day to rejoin the convoy. HMS Ulster Monarch also put into Gibraltar.

At 0254/23, the Windsor Castle was torpedoed by a German He.111 from I/KG 26 in position 37°28'N, 01°10'E. The passengers (troops) were taken off by HMS Wren, HMS Eggesford and HMS Whaddon. The last two ships reported to be dangerously overloaded with survivors.

Three tugs were sailed to go to the damaged ship assistance, Salvestor from Algiers, Hengist from Gibraltar and Restive from Oran.

Also the destroyer HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), which were on A/S patrol off Algiers were ordered to proceed to the convoy. Also the destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) were ordered to do the same sailing from Oran.

At 1027/3, it was reported that Windsor Castle was abandoned and slowly sinking and the HMS Loyal had taken off the crew. HMS Whaddon and HMS Eggesford were proceeding to Algiers covered by HMS Douglas.

At 1621/3, Windsor Castle was still afloat and HMS Farndale was ettempting to take her in tow. The ship however sank suddenly at 1724/3. HMS Eskimo, HMS Loyal, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, Hengist and Restive then proceeded to Oran while HMS Lamerton and Salvestor proceeded to Algiers.

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WS 28, made up of Brittanic, Duchess of Bedford, Empire Might, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Tegelberg, Waipawa, Winchester Castle, HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and HMS Largs.

To escort these ships the destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) and HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) sailed from Casablanca on 20 March and the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) sailed from Gibraltar also on 20 March. They joined the convoy in the morning of March 21st after which the convoy split up.

Another destroyer, HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), departed Gibraltar on 21 March and she joined the convoy later the same day.

On 22 March the transport Empire Might reported a fire in her stokehold rendering her immobile. She was then towed to Dakar by HMS Ashanti.

The remainder of convoy WS 28 arrived at Freetown on 27 March 1943.

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Convoy WS 28 departed Freetown for South Africa on 30 March 1943.

The composition of the convoy was the same on departed as in which it had arrived at Freetown three days earlier.

Escort was provided on departure from Freetown by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN), destroyers HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN), HMS Quadrant, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine.

At 2359Z/30, HMS Ulster Monarch overtook and joined the convoy coming from Freetown.

At 0600A/4, HMS Redoubt and HMS Quadrant parted company with the convoy to refuel at Pointe Noire. They rejoined the convoy at 1212B/5.

At 1300B/5, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch and HMS Wolverine were detached.

At 1420B/5, HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) joined the escort.

On the 11th the convoy split up, Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Monarch of Bermuda, Tegelberg, Waipawa and Winchester Castle went to Capetown apparently escorted by HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless. HMS Largs and HMS Ulster Monarch went to Simonstown, as did HMS Kenya and HMS Quadrant and HMS Racehorce.

The destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the remainder of the convoy (Orontes, Otranto, Perthshire, Reina del Pacifico, Sobieski, Strathnaver, HMS Bulolo and HMS Keren) which arrived at Durban on 14 April 1943.

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On 15 April the 'Capetown section' of the convoy departed from there, it was made up of the same ships as that had arrived at Capetown but apparently without the Britannic. HMS Largs joined the convoy off Simonstown. Escort was provided by HMS Kenya, HMS Quadrant, HMS Redoubt and HMS Relentless.

Around noon on the 18th the 'Capetown section' joined up with the 'Durban section' which had departed from there escorted by HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) which also joined the convoy as escorts. HMS Quadrant parted company and proceeded to Durban.

At 2000C/20, the destroyers parted company to return to Aden.

At 1015D/24, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) and HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy to take over the escort. They had sailed from Kilindini on 22 April. HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy at noon and set course for Kilindini where she arrived on 25 April to join the Eastern Fleet.

At 2300D/27, HMS Chitral parted company with the convoy following which she proceeded to Bombay where she arrived on 1 May 1943.

On 30 April 1943 the convoy was dispersed off Aden. HMS Canton arrived at Aden later on the same day.

22 Mar 1943

Convoy CM 40.

This convoy departed Durban on 22 March 1943.

On departure from Durban the convoy was made up of the following transports; Cap Tourane (British, 8009 GRT, built 1923), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922), Empire Woodlark (British, 7793 GRT, built 1913), Khedive Ismael (British, 7290 GRT, built 1922) and Pulaski (Polish, 6345 GRT, built 1912).

The auxiliary fleet repair ship HMS Wayland (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.S. Carson, RN) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Canton (A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN), HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN), destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN).

Around 1200C/26, HMAS Napier left the convoy. She returned to Durban around 1000B/28.

Around 1630C/26, HMS Chitral, HMS Quality and HMS Catterick parted company with the convoy. They returned to Durban around 1400B/28.

Around 1200C/30, The ' Aden section ' (CM 40A) of the convoy parted company. HMS Canton continued on with the ' Bombay section ' (CM 40B) which was made up of the City of Canterbury, City of London, Dilwara and Empire Trooper. They arrived at Bombay on 8 April 1943.

Meanwhile the ' Aden section ', which was made up of the Cap Tourane, Devonshire, Empire Woodlark, Khedive Ismael and Pulaski, was joined around 0840/1 by their escort, the light cruiser HMS Caradoc (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) which had departed Kilindini around 0615C/1. They arrived at Aden on 8 April 1943.

16 Apr 1943

Combined convoy WS 29 / KMS 13.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 16 April 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 29 and KMS 13 at sea on 20 April 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Empire Kamal (British, 7862 GRT, built 1938), Empire Prime (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Gloucester (British, 8532 GRT, built 1941), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Monarch (British, 14139 GRT, built 1928), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Índrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Pardo (British, 5400 GRT, built 1940), Silverwalnut (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929), Straat Malakka (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939) and Troilus (British, 7422 GRT, built 1921).

When the convoy was formed up off Oversay the escort for the combined convoy was made up of the light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN), escort destroyer HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), cutters HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN) and HMS Ness (A/Cdr. T.G.P. Crick, DSC, RN).

Around 1530B/18, the light (AA) cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined the convoy having sailed from Plymouth around 1415B/17. She parted company with the convoy after dark on the 20th.

Around 1600A/20, HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to fuel at Casablanca.

Around 2100A/20, the Nea Hellas parted company to proceed to New York unescorted. Also around the same time HMS Charybdis parted company to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived the following day.

Around 1030A/21, the destroyer HMS Malcolm (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) and HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN) joined coming from Casablanca. The combined convoy then split up.

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Convoy KMF 13, made up of the Banfora, Boissevai, Cuba, Duchess of York, Dunnottar Castle, Empire Pride, Franconia, Indrapoera, Nieuw Holland, Ormonde and Staffordshire escorted by HMS Weston, HMS Wellington, HMS Gorleston, HMS Totland, HMS Exe and HMS Ness set course to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar. All the merchant vessels were to proceed to Algiers, except the Dunnottar Castle which was to proceed to Gibraltar and the Boissevain and Nieuw Holland which were to proceed to Oran.

On 22 April the escort destroyer HMS Atherstone (Lt. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR) and HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN) joined the convoy off Gibraltar.

Also the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Algiers on 23 April 1943.

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Convoy WS 29, made up of the Athlone Castle, City of Edinburgh, Empire Kamal, Gloucester, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Highland Princess, Orion, Pardo, Silverwalnut, Straat Malakka and Troilus escorted by HMS Newcastle, HMS Venomous, HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Lauderdale.

At 2020A/21, HMS Rapid rejoined from fuelling at Casablanca. HMS Venomous and HMS Lauderdale were then detached to proceed to Gibraltar.

On 24 April the Gloucester was detached.

On 26 April the transport China Mail (American, 8616 GRT, built 1942) joined coming from Dakar.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 28 April 1943.

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Convoy WS 29 departed Freetown for South Africa on 5 May 1943, it was now made up of the transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Athlone Castle, City of Edinburgh, Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Empire Kamal, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Highland Princess, Orion, Pardo, Silverwalnut, Straat Malakka and Troilus.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Newcastle, destroyers HMS Rapid, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Lewes (Lt.Cdr. M.V. Thorburn, DSC, RNVR) and the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza.

At 0930Z/6, Savorgnan de Brazza was detached.

At 1800Z/7, the City of Edinburgh, Highland Princess and Troilus split off from the convoy to proceed to Takoradi. The destroyers HMS Boreas and HMS Witch were their escorts.

At 2359B/11, HMS Rapid, HMS Malcolm and HMS Wolverine, were detached at 2359B/11 to Pointe Noire.

At 0700B/12, the destroyers HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Rotherham (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) joined coming from Pointe Noire.

In the afternoon of the 12th HMS Lewes fuelled from HMS Newcastle.

HMS Lewes was again fuelled by HMS Newcastle in the afternoon of the 14th.

In the afternoon of the 15th, HMS Relentless fuelled from HMS Newcastle.

On the 16th the Capetown section of the convoy split off, it was made up of the Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Empire Kamal, Pardo and Silverwalnut. They were escorted by HMS Newcastle, HMS Rotherham and HMS Lewes. They arrived at Capetown on the 17th. HMS Lewes then proceeded to Simonstown arriving there on the 18th.

The remaining ships, Aorangi, Clan Lamont, Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch, Orion and Straat Malakka made up the Durban section. They were escorted by HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN). This last destroyer having joined on the 16th coming from Salanha Bay. HMS Racehorse and HMS Relentless were relieved on the 18th by the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) which had departed Simonstown at 0815B/18. HMS Racehorse and HMS Relentless then proceeded to Capetown arriving later on the 18th. The Durban section of the convoy arrived there on 21 May 1943.

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On 22 May 1943, the Capetown section of convoy WS 29 departed there, it was now made up of the following transports; Alcoa Pioneer, (American, 6761 GRT, built 1941), Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Empire Kamal, Llanstephan Castle (British, 11348 GRT, built 1914), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Pardo and Silverwalnut. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Racehorse, HMS Relentless and HMS Rotherham.

On 25 May 1943, HMS Racehorse arrived at Durban to fuel.

On 25 May 1943, the Durban section of the convoy departed there, it was now made up of the following transports; Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Clan Lamont, Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937), Selandia (South African, 8482 GRT, built 1938), Straat Malakka, Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935). They were escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman, Quadrant, HMS Racehorse and Redoubt. The Silverwalnut had to return to Durban due to defects.

The Capetown and the Durban section made rendezvous on 26 May and then merged minus the transports Empire Kamal and Llanstephan Castle which proceeded to Durban escorted by HMS Relentless and HMS Rotherham. They arrived at Durban on 26 May 1943. HMS Racehorse joined the three destroyers that came with the Durban section.

Around 1700C/27, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) which had departed Durban at 1645C/26 to overtake the convoy.

At 1650C/28, HMAS Norman parted company with the convoy.

At 2359C/28, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt parted company.

At 1100C/29, HMS Racehorse parted company.

At 0810D/2, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) joined the convoy.

At 1300D/2, HMS Kenya parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini where she arrived around 1700C/4.

At 0800D/3, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy.

At 1230D/5, the convoy was split up in the Aden section and the Bombay section.

The Aden section was made up of; Alcoa Pioneer, Bergensfjord, Clan Lamond, Leopoldville, Pardo, Ruys and Selandia. It was escorted by HMS Chitral and arrived at Aden on 8 June 1943.

The Bombay section was made up of; Almanzora, Athlone Castle, Orbita, Straat Malakka, Strathaird and Strathmore. It was escorted by HMS Alaunia and arrived at Bombay on 10 June 1943, minus the Straat Malakka which had been detached on 9 June 1943 for Karachi where she also arrived on 10 June 1943.

25 May 1943
From 25 to 28 May exercises were carried out by ships from the Eastern Fleet off Kilindini. The following ships participated in these exercises; battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN), light cruisers HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.W. Davis, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Capetown (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Caradoc (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Chitral (A/Capt.(Retd.) G.W. Hoare-Smith, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

HMS Chitral returned to Kilindini early, on May 27th. (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/1138
  2. ADM 53/115507 + ADM 53/115600 + ADM 53/116796
  3. ADM 53/117120 + ADM 53/117125 + ADM 53/117215 + ADM 53/117621 + ADM 53/117898 + ADM 53/118464

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


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