Allied Warships

HMS Grimsby (L 16 / U 16)

Sloop of the Grimsby class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassGrimsby 
PennantL 16 / U 16 
Built byDevonport dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.): J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) 
Ordered1 Nov 1932 
Laid down23 Jan 1933 
Launched19 Jul 1933 
Commissioned17 May 1934 
Lost25 May 1941 
Loss position32° 30'N, 24° 40'E
History

HMS Grimsby (Cdr. Kenneth Judge D'Arcy, RN) was sunk by German aircraft about 40 nautical miles north-east of Tobruk, Libya in position 32º30'N, 24º.40'E.

 

Commands listed for HMS Grimsby (L 16 / U 16)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Alfred Spalding Russell, RN10 Feb 193911 Dec 1939
2Cdr. Kenneth Judge D'Arcy, RN11 Dec 193925 May 1941

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Notable events involving Grimsby include:


27 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade, HMS Amber (Boatswain H.W. Clark, RN) and later with HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and HMS Deptford (Cdr. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN). (1)

30 Sep 1939

Convoy Blue 3.

This convoy departed Port Said on 30 September 1939 for Gibraltar where it arrived on 10 October 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following merchants; Britannia (British, 8799 GRT, built 1926), British Captain (Tanker, British, 6968 GRT, built 1923), British Commodore (Tanker, British, 6865 GRT, built 1923), British Genius (Tanker, British, 8553 GRT, built 1939), British Grenadier (Tanker, British, 6857 GRT, built 1922), British Officer (Tanker British, 6990 GRT, built 1922), British Sergeant (Tanker, British, 5868 GRT, built 1922), City of Guildford (British, 5157 GRT, built 1919), City of Mandalay (British, 7028 GRT, built 1925), Clan Chisholm (British, 7256 GRT, built 1937), Clan Macbean (British, 5000 GRT, built 1918), Halizones (British, 3298 GRT, built 1920), Hatasu (British, 3198 GRT, built 1921), Malancha (British, 8124 GRT, built 1937), Malvernian (British, 3133 GRT, built 1937), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Registan (British, 5886 GRT, built 1930), Sagaing (British, 7958 GRT, built 1925), Theseus (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Tunisia (British, 4337 GRT, built 1927), Ville de Tamatave (French, 6276 GRT, built 1931), Ville du Havre (French, 5083 GRT, built 1919), War Krishna (Tanker, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, British, 5760 GRT, built 1919), Yorkshire (British, 10183 GRT, built 1920),

British Sergeant parted company with the convoy off Malta.

A/S Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Duchess (Lt.Cdr. R.C.M. White, RN) and the sloops HMS Fowey (Cdr. H.B. Ellison, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

When off Malta on 5 October 1939, HMS Defender and HMS Duchess were relieved by HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN). They remained with the convoy until off Algiers on 8 October 1939 when the returned to Malta. The convoy was then escorted only by the two sloops and arrived at Gibraltar on the 10th. (2)

27 Oct 1939
HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted an A/S sweep off the Firth of Forth. (3)

6 Nov 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Skagerrak.

Before proceeding on patrol Triton carries out exercises with HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN). (4)

25 Jan 1940
HMS H 34 (Lt. E.F. Balston, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Rosyth with HMS Vega (Cdr. C.I Horton, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN). Upon completion of these exercises HMS H 34 proceeded to Portsmouth together with HMS Ursula (Cdr. G.C. Phillips, DSO, RN) and ORP Wilk (Lt. B. Krawczyk). They were ordered to return to Rothesay the next day due to enemy submarines operation of the east coast of the U.K. (5)

23 Jun 1940

Convoy BN 1.

This convoy departed Bombay on 23 June 1940 for the Suez where it arrived on 12 July 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Akbar (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924), Alavi (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Anna Odland (Norwegian, 4980 GRT, built 1939), Beaconstreet (British, 7467 GRT, built 1927), British Architect (British (tanker), 7388 GRT, built 1922), British Hope (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), Svenor (Norwegian (tanker), 7616 GRT, built 1931), Turbo (British, 4781 GRT, built 1912) and William Strachan (Norwegian (tanker), 6157 GRT, built 1931).

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cathay (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.M. Merewether, RN).

HMS Cathay parted company with the convoy on 2 July after the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) and sloops HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) and HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) had joined the escort.

HMS Ceres parted company with the convoy on 4 July.

The destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined the convoy on 5 July 1940. HMIS Hindustan then parted company.

Off Aden the merchant vessels Alavi and Beaconstreet parted company with the convoy. They arrived at Aden on 6 July.

Off Aden the RFA tanker Plumleaf (5916 GRT, built 1917) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) also joined the convoy.

Also off Aden the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) joined the convoy.

On 9 July HMS Carlisle, HMS Kandahar and HMS Kingston parted company with the convoy.

On 10 July HMNZS Leander, HMS Flamingo and HMS Shoreham parted company with the convoy being relieved as escorts by the sloops HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) and HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN). (6)

7 Jul 1940

Convoy BS 1.

This convoy departed Suez on 7 July 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was to be dispersed on 15 July 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Almenara (British, 1851 GRT, built 1922), Arabistan (British, 5874 GRT, built 1929), Athelmere (British (tanker), 5566 GRT, built 1918), British Colonel (British (tanker), 6999 GRT, built 1921), British Commodore (British (tanker), 6865 GRT, built 1923), Bronxville (Norwegian, 4663 GRT, built 1929), Bullmouth (British (tanker), 7519 GRT, built 1929), Cliftonhall (British, 5063 GRT, built 1938), Egyptian Prince (British, 3490 GRT, built 1922), Ganges (British, 6246 GRT, built 1930), Ganymedes (Dutch, 2682 GRT, built 1917), Gogra (British, 5190 GRT, built 1919), Herstein (Norwegian, 5100 GRT, built 1939), Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923), Khosrou (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924), Orwell (Norwegian (tanker), 7920 GRT, built 1905), Ross (British, 4878 GRT, built 1936) and Zamzam (Egyptian, 8299 GRT, built 1909).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) and HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

On 10 July 1940, HMIS Clive and HMS Grimsby parted company with the convoy as escort was taken over by the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN), AA-cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) and HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

The merchant vessel Khosrou parted company (on the 10th ?) to proceed to Port Sudan arriving there on the 11th. (6)

24 Jul 1940

Convoy RS 5.

This convoy departed Liverpool on 24 July 1940 for Suez.

It was made up of the troopship Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931) and the transport Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Liverpool the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H Layman, DSO, RN).

Also on the 24th the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Maloja (A/Capt. V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN) and the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, DSC, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN) departed Greenock. They made rendezvous with the ships coming from Liverpool around 0600A/25.

At 1000A/26, HMS Argus and the destroyers parted company to proceed direct to Gibraltar. They arrived at Gibraltar around 0700A/30.

The convoy, escorted by HMS Maloja, continued on towards Freetown where it arrived on 4 August 1940.

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The then convoy departed Freetown on 5 August 1940 for Capetown.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was now escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, MVO, RN).

Around 1200Z/11, the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Hermes then parted company to proceed independently on patrol and then on to Simonstown.

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 15 August 1940.

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The convoy, still in the same composition and still escorted by HMS Dragon departed Capetown for Durban on 16 August 1940.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 19 August 1940.

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The convoy departed Durban for Aden on 21 August 1940 now escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

The convoy arrived at Aden on 31 August 1940.

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The convoy departed Aden for Suez on 31 August 1940 now escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN). The armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) was also with the convoy for a while.

At 1830C/2, the Reina del Pacifico parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Suez where she arrived on 4 September 1940.

At 1920C/2, HMS Kandahar parted company with the convoy to proceed to Port Sudan to fuel.

At 0910C/3, the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) took over the escort of the Clan Ferguson from HMAS Hobart which in turn took over HMS Grimsby's southbound convoy.

HMS Grimsby and the Clan Ferguson arrived at Suez on 5 September 1940. (7)

31 Jul 1940

Convoy BS 2.

This convoy departed Suez on 31 July 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was to be dispersed on 9 August 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; African Prince (British, 4653 GRT, built 1939), Deebank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Esneh (British, 1928 GRT, built 1919), Hopecastle (British, 5178 GRT, built 1937), Manaqui (British, 2802 GRT, built 1921), Masirah (British, 6578 GRT, built 1919), Novasli (Norwegian, 3204 GRT, built 1920), Ovula (Dutch (tanker), 6256 GRT, built 1938) Tweed (British, 2697 GRT, built 1926) and William Strachan (Norwegian (tanker), 6157 GRT, built 1931).

On depature from Aden the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) and HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) until position 21°30'N, 63°37'E on 3 August.

Two more merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Port Sudan on 3 August, these were the Akbar (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924) and Trajanus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930).

Escort was then taken over by the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN), AA-cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

The convoy was dispersed on 9 August 1940. Three of the merchant vessels proceeded to Aden as did the escorts. (6)

13 Aug 1940
Around 2200B/13, the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) departed Port Sudan.

Around 1300B/13, she joined the transport Ellenga (British, 5196 GRT, built 1911) and took over escort from the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN). These ships had departed Suez on 11 August.

HMS Ceres was to escort the Ellenga southwards towards Aden. She parted company with the Ellenga at 1900B/15 and then proceeded towards Berbera to participate in operations there [see the event for 16 August.] (8)

1 Sep 1940

Convoy BS 3A.

This convoy departed Suez on 1 September 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was to be dispersed on 6 September 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Khedive Ismael (Egyptian, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

In the morning of 3 September the escort was passed to the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN).

The following moring the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) joined the convoy as escorts.

On the 5th the convoy was attacked by Italian aircraft but no damage was inflicted by the enemy.

The convoy was dispersed early in the evening of September 6th in position 12°34'N, 47°07'E after which HMS Hobart and HMS Kandahar proceeded to Aden where they arrived in the morning of the 7th. (6)

4 Dec 1940

Convoy BS 10.

This convoy departed Suez on 4 December 1940 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 11 December 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alice Moller (British, 4986 GRT, built 1914), Arena (Norwegian (tanker), 6362 GRT, built 1927), British Endurance (British (tanker), 8406 GRT, built 1936), British Hope (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Renown (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1928), British Sailor (British (tanker), 5576 GRT, built 1918), City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922), City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928), Clan MacArthur (British, 10528 GRT, built 1936), Imperial Star (British, 12427 GRT, built 1935), Ioannis P. Goulandris (Greek, 3750 GRT, built 1910), Katingo Hadjipatara (Greek, 3661 GRT, built 1913), Katy (Norwegian, 6825 GRT, built 1931), Khosrou (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marcella (British, 4592 GRT, built 1928), Margot (British, 4545 GRT, built 1926), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936), Rosalie Moller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1910), Roxane (British, 7813 GRT, built 1929), Speybank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926) and Vacport (British, 6774 GRT (tanker), built 1930).

They were escorted on departure from Suez by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN).

On 7 December 1940 five ships joined coming from Port Sudan. These were; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helen Moller (British, 5259 GRT, built 1918), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Wayfarer (British, 5068 GRT, built 1925).

They had left Port Sudan on the 6th.

On the 8th convoy escort was taken over by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN).

On the 9th AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined.

The convoy was dispersed on the 11th.

18 Dec 1940

Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper

This convoy departed U.K. ports on 18/19 December 1940. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Suez where the convoy arrived on 16 February 1941.

On 17 December 1940 the transport Rangitiki (British, 16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Avonmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) towards the rendez-vous position.

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A slow;
Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Atreus (British, 6547 GRT, built 1911), Bhutan (British, 6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Delane (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Elizabethville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922), Menelaus (British, 10307 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Settler (British, 6202 GRT, built 1939) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Costa Rica (Dutch, 8055 GRT, built 1910), Ernebank (British, 5388 GRT, built 1937), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912). Ernebank was however forced to return around 1800 hours on the 21st escorted by HMS Witch and HMS St. Mary’s. On the 22nd, HMS Wellington, was detached to take over the escort of the Ernebank. They were escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN), HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from Lough Foyle (Belfast); City of Derby (British, 6616 GRT, built 1921) and Stentor (British, 6148 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN).

The slow part of the convoy was met around dawn on the 19th by the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN).

Around 2300/21 all destroyers parted company with the slow part of the convoy.

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A fast;
Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Essex (British, 13655 GRT, built 1936) and Northern Prince (British, 10917 GRT, built 1929).

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Adviser (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Arabistan (British, 5874 GRT, built 1929), Barrister (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Benrinnes (5410 GRT, built 1921), Clan Cumming (British, 7264 GRT, built 1938), Empire Song (British, 9228 GRT, built 1940) and Empire Trooper (British, 14106 GRT, built 1922).

Escort for the fast section of convoy WS 5A joined around dawn on the 20th and was provided by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RNRN), destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) which came from the Clyde. And also by the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Harvester and FSS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) which came from Londonderry. The first two of these destroyers had fuelled there after escorting the slow part of the convoy for a while. Also the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) (with fighters embarked for Takoradi) and the destroyers HMS Beverley (Cdr.(Retd.) E.F. Fitzgerald, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling joined from Liverpool.

The destroyers of the fast portion of the convoy were detached during the night of 21/22 December 1940.

At dawn on 23 December 1940 the slow and fast part of the convoy made rendez-vous and proceeded in company.

On the 24th, HMS Naiad parted company to return to the U.K. The heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) both joined the escort of the convoy.

At dawn on the 25th the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. She had made contact with the convoy with radar the previous day and had already made a torpedo attack shortly before 0400/25 but no hits had been obtained nor had the attack been noticed by the British.

Then shortly after 0800/25 she made visual contact with the convoy and it came as a surprise to the Germans to sight HMS Berwick.

Around 0830 hours the Germans opened fire on HMS Berwick but due to the bad visibility she soon shifted target to the troopship Empire Trooper which was not in her assigned station. The troopship was slightly damaged as was the merchant vessel Arabistan.

The convoy was ordered to scatter and HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure both engaged the German cruiser as did the corvette Cyclamen briefly.

Meanwhile HMS Dunedin laid a smokescreen to cover the ships of the convoy. HMS Furious flew off a few aircraft but these failed to find the German cruiser in the bad visibility.

HMS Berwick was damaged by gunfire from the German cruiser but she forced, together with HMS Bonaventure, the enemy to break off the action around 0915 hours.

In the evening HMS Boneventure was detached to search for the damaged Empire Trooper.

On the 28th the convoy was reassembled at sea (minus Empire Trooper which was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar via the Azores) and continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 6 January 1941.

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The convoy departed Freetown for South Africa on 8 January.

The convoy was now made up of the (troop) transports; Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability (British, 7603 GRT, built 1931), Menelaus, Neuralia, Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor and Tamaroa.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.La T. Bisset, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), destroyers HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN), sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN), HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) and the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR).

At 0700N/9, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined the convoy. She had also departed Freetown around the same time as the convoy but apparently acted independently until the time she joined the convoy.

At 0600N/10, HMS Formidable, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Norfolk, HMS Velox and HMS Vidette parted company with the convoy. At the same time the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN) joined.

It appears that HMS Bridgewater, HMS Milford, HMS Asphodel and HMS Calendula parted company on 12 January.

At 1000B/21, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN) joined the convoy and HMS Devonshire parted company.

At 1600B/22, HMS Hawkins parted company with the convoy taking the transports Anselm and City of Canterbury to Capetown where they arrived on 23 January.

The remainder of the convoy arrived at Durban on 25 January 1941 escorted by HMS Shropshire.

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The convoy departed Durban for Suez on 29 January 1941. It was now made up of the transports, Adviser, Anselm, Arabistan, Atreus, Barrister, Benrinnes, Bhutan, City of Canterbury, City of Derby, City of London, Costa Rica, Delane, Elisabethville, Empire Ability, Menelaus, Neuralia, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orbita, Rangitiki, Settler, Stentor, Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924) and Tamaroa.

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire and the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN).

Around 0800B/30, HMS Shropshire was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN).

In the morning of 31 January the transport Delane parted company with the convoy to return to Durban due to engine defects.

At 1000CD(-3.5)/4, HMS Ceres parted company taking the transports Nieuw Holland and Orbita with her to Kilindini / Mombasa where they arrived on 5 February.

At 1440CD/5, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) joined.

At 1500CD/5, the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) joined.

At 0430CD/6, HMS Capetown parted company with the convoy having been ordered to do so.

At 1730CD/10, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy to fuel at Aden. She rejoined the convoy around 2130C/11.

Around 0630C/11, the convoy was joined by the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) and the sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN). HMS Hector then parted company with the convoy.

At 2300C/11, HMIS Indus parted company with the convoy upon being relieved by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

At 1830C/13, HMS Flamingo parted company with the convoy to return to Aden and HMS Grimsby parted company with the convoy taking the transport Neuralia with her to Port Sudan.

At 0400C/14, HMS Enterprise parted company with the convoy.

The convoy escorted by HMS Caledon arrived at Suez on 16 February 1941. (9)

11 Jan 1941

Convoy BN 12A.

This convoy departed Aden on 11 January 1941 for Suez where it arrived on 15 January 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Boringia (British, 5821 GRT, built 1930), Chinese Prinsei (British, 8593 GRT, built 1936), City of Bombay (British, 7140 GRT, built 1937), City of Pretoria (British, 8049 GRT, built 1937), Port Halifax (British, 5820 GRT, built 1937) and Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Aden the convoy was escorted 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 the 13th the merchant vessel Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937) joined the convoy coming from Port Sudan.

In the afternoon of the 13th the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) joined the convoy and the destroyers HMS Kandahar and HMS Kimberley parted company.

On the 14th, HMS Carlisle parted company with the convoy and joined a southbound convoy.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 15 January 1941 escorted by HMS Grimsby. (10)

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 27th.

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. (10)

25 Jan 1941

Convoy BS 13A.

This convoy departed Suez on 25 January 1941 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 1 February 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; British Sovereign (British (tanker), 3657 GRT, built 1917), City of Christchurch (British, 6009 GRT, built 1915), City of Florence (British, 6862 GRT, built 1918), Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Delius (British, 6065 GRT, built 1937), Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937), Harpalycus (British, 5629 GRT, built 1935), Port Wyndham (British, 11005 GRT, built 1935) and Waiwera (British, 12435 GRT, built 1934).

Another merchant vessel later joined the convoy, this was the Rahmani (British, 5463 GRT, built 1928) which came from Jeddah.

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) until 28 January 1941 when HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) took over.

Also three of the merchant vessels were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on the 28th, these were; City of Florence, Delius and Dunera.

The convoy was dispersed in the Gulf of Aden on 1 February 1941. (10)

1 Feb 1941

Convoy BSF 1.

This convoy departed Suez on 1 February 1941 for the Gulf of Aden where it was dispersed on 7 February 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Cap St.Jacques (French, 8009 GRT, built 1922), City of Lyons (British, 7063 GRT, built 1926), Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937), Floristan (British, 5478 GRT, built 1928), Ima (Norwegian (tanker), 6842 GRT, built 1930), Itria (British, 6845 GRT, built 1940), Katy (Norwegian (tanker), 6825 GRT, built 1931), Pellicula (British (tanker), 6254 GRT, built 1936), Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938), Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) and Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

On 4 February 1941 the escort was reinforced by the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the sloop HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) which came from Port Sudan and a northbound convoy respectively.

On 7 February 1941 the convoy was dispersed in the Gulf of Aden. The escorts arrived at Aden also on the 7th. (10)

7 Feb 1941
HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) arrived at Aden from convoy escort duty. (11)

1 Apr 1941

Convoy AS 23

This convoy departed Piraeus on 1 April 1941 for Port Said where it arrived on 5 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Aegeus (Greek, 4538 GRT, built 1920), Coulouras-Xenos (Greek, 4914 GRT, built 1915), Hollandia (Greek, 1759 GRT, built 1911), Homefield (British, 5324 GRT, built 1919), Mary Livanos (Greek, 4771 GRT, built 1938), Mount Olympus (Greek, 6692 GRT, built 1920), Runo (British, 1858 GRT, built 1920) and Teti (Greek, 2747 GRT, built 1903).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

The convoy was attacked from the air and on 2 April the Coulouras-Xenos was sunk by aircraft bombs off Gavdos Island while the Homefield was badly damaged. She was later sunk by the destroyer HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN).

HMAS Voyager arrived at Alexandria on 4 April, HMS Wryneck continued with the convoy to Port Said where it arrived on the 5th. HMS Wryneck then proceeded to Alexandria where she arrived later the same day. (12)

7 Apr 1941

Convoy AG 11

This convoy departed Alexandria on 7 April 1941 for Pireaus where it arrived on 9 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Ais Giorgis (Greek, 2098 GRT, built 1908), Brattdal (Norwegian, 4968 GRT, built 1935), City of Karachi (British, 7140 GRT, built 1937), City of Windsor (British, 7218 GRT, built 1923), Comliebank (British, 5149 GRT, built 1924), Hollandia (Greek, 1759 GRT, built 1911), Ozarda (British, 6985 GRT, built 1940), Port Halifax (British, 5820 GRT, built 1937) and Tanais (Greek, 1545 GRT, built 1907).

The armed boarding vessel HMS Fiona (Cdr. A.H.H. Griffiths, RD, RNR) also sailed with the convoy but was soon detached to Tobruk.

Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

The AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) joined the convoy at sea on the 8th.

On the 9th HMS Mohawk was detached to Suda Bay after she had been relieved by two Greek destroyers. (12)

10 Apr 1941

Convoy AS 25

This convoy departed Piraeus on 10 April 1941 for Alexandria / Port Said where it arrived on 15 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Alfios (Greek, 5116 GRT, built 1920), Fred (Greek, 4043 GRT, built 1907), Hellas (Greek, 2081 GRT, built 1916), Ioannis Fafalios (Greek, 5670 GRT, built 1919) and Theofano Livanos (Greek, 4815 GRT, built 1937).

They were later joined at sea by the tanker Pericles (Dutch, 3167 GRT, built 1938) which came from Suda Bay.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

On sailing from Piraeus the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) was also part of the escort. She parted company with the convoy on the 11th. HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) then joined the convoy, also on the 11th.

On the 14th, the tanker Pericles broke in two in position in 32°09'N, 29°40'E. HMS Grimsby took off the crew. Destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) was sent to her assistance but she could only sink the stern section with gunfire. (12)

26 Apr 1941
Operation Demon continued, more troops were to be evacuated from mainland Greece during the night of 26/27 April 1941.

From the Raphina and Raphtis area;

landing ship HMS Glengyle (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Petrie, RN) and the transport Salween (7063 GRT, built 1938). They were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. T.C. Hampton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN).

HMS Glenearn was bombed en-route to the pick up zone. She was towed to Kissamo Bay by HMS Griffin. From there she was taken in tow to Alexandria, first by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and later by the netlayer HMS Protector (Cdr. R.J. Gardner, RN).

To replace the troop carrying capacity of the landing ship HMS Glenearn, the light cruisers HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN) and destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) were sent from Suda Bay.

From the Nauplia and Tolon area;

landing ship HMS Glenearn (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, OBE, RN), troopships Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924) and Khedive Ismael (7290 GRT, built 1922), AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), and destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. C.S.B. Swinley, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, RN).

Slamat was late in leaving Nauplia in the early morning and delayed the convoy's sailing. Slamat was then bombed and wrecked south of the Argolic Gulf in position 37°01'N, 23°10'E shortly after 0700 hours. Destroyer HMS Diamond was then left behind to rescue the survivors which she did. At 0925 hours HMS Diamond signalled that she had picked up most of the survivors and that she had set course for Suda Bay. She had also fired a torpedo into the blazing wreck and Slamat sank shortly afterwards.

The destroyers HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) were then sent out to assist the Nauplia group. Of these HMS Wryneck was ordered to assist HMS Diamond. Wryneck arrived just as Slamat capsized. Both destroyers were then attacked and sunk in the early afternoon by German aircraft (9 German aircraft Ju.88, probably of I./KG.51 (Hpt. Heinrich Hahn)) with heavy loss of life. Only 27 survivors (another source gives 24 survivors) were picked up the next day by HMS Griffin. HMS Diamond was lost with 7 officers and 141 ratings while HMS Wryneck was lost with 7 officers and 98 ratings.

From the Kalamata area;

transports City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Costa Rica (Dutch, 8055 GRT, built 1910), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936). These were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), destroyers HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. R.J.O. Otway-Ruthven, RN).

HMS Defender had also embarked the Yugoslav crown jewels for transport to Alexandria. [

The destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) were also operating in the Aegean area but their exact whereabouts are for the moment unknown to us.]

Convoy GA 14 to Alexandria.

A convoy was then formed to the north of Crete (GA 14). It was to proceed to Alexandria. It was made up of HMS Glengyle, Khedive Ismael, Salween, City of London and Costa Rica. They were escorted by the AA cruisers HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart, HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN), HMAS Vendetta and HMAS Waterhen and the sloop HMS Flamingo.

While the convoy was being formed, the Costa Rica was bombed north of Crete by enemy aircraft. She was taken in tow by HMS Defender but sank north-west of Suda Bay in position 35°54'N, 23°49'E. The troops and her crew were saved.

Cover for this convoy was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Perth, HMS Phoebe and the destroyers HMS Decoy, HMS Defender, HMS Hasty, HMS Hereward, HMS Hero and HMS Nubian. These ships returned to Suda Bay in the afternoon of the 27th. (12)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16103
  2. ADM 199/389
  3. ADM 53/109413
  4. ADM 199/1847
  5. ADM 173/16301
  6. ADM 199/383
  7. ADM 53/111423 + ADM 53/112051 + ADM 53/112436 + ADM 199/381 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August and September 1941
  8. ADM 53/111773
  9. ADM 199/1136
  10. ADM 199/408
  11. ADM 187/11 + ADM 199/408
  12. ADM 199/414

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


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