HMAS Parramatta (L 44 / U 44)
Sloop of the Grimsby class
|Navy||The Royal Australian Navy|
|Pennant||L 44 / U 44|
|Built by||Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)|
|Laid down||9 Nov 1938|
|Launched||10 Jun 1939|
|Commissioned||8 Apr 1940|
|Lost||27 Nov 1941|
|Loss position||32° 20'N, 24° 35'E|
HMAS Parramatta (A/Cdr. Jefferson Hirst Walker, MVO, RAN) was torpedoed and sunk by U-559 about 35 nautical miles north-east of Tobruk, Lybia in position 32º20'N, 24º35'E. There were 24 survivors but 138 men, including all officers, lost their lives.
Hit by U-boat
|U-boat Attack||See our U-boat attack entry for the HMAS Parramatta|
Commands listed for HMAS Parramatta (L 44 / U 44)
Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.
|1||Lt.Cdr. Jefferson Hirst Walker, RAN||Jan 1940||27 Nov 1941 (+)|
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Notable events involving Parramatta include:
3 Aug 1940
At 1224C/3, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), departed Berbera to patrol off Cape Guardafui as it was thought that an Italian merchant vessel or even raider had departed Massawa and had evaded the Perim patrol during the night of 1 / 2 August. It was thought the enemy was posing as the Greek merchant vessel (tanker) Petrakis Nomikos (7020 GRT, built 1914).
The ship was not sighted an HMAS Hobart returned to Berbera around 1840C/5. On her arrival back at Berbara it was found that the Varsova and HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) had departed for Aden while the transport Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), sloop HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) and A/S trawler HMS Amber (A/S.Lt P.le M. Andrew, RNR) had arrived from Aden.
HMAS Hobart was to remain at Berbera to provide cover for landing and evactuation operations. (1)
6 Aug 1940
Convoy BN 2½ or BN 2A.
This convoy departed Aden on 6 August 1940 and arrived at Suez on 12 August 1940. [The convoy is in some sources called BN 2½ and in other BN 2A].
The convoy is made up of the following transports; Athelstane (British (tanker), 5571 GRT, built 1918), British Chemist (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1925), Palestinian Prince (British, 1960 GRT, built 1936), Planter (British, 5887 GRT, built 1927) and Rahmani (British, 5463 GRT, built 1928).
At 1900N/9, the convoy was dispersed. Both escorts proceeded to Port Sudan as did the tanker Athelstane. They arrived the following day.
The transport Rahmani proceeded to Jeddah, arriving on the 12th (?).
The other ships proceeded to Suez, arriving on 12/13 August. (2)
16 Aug 1940
From 16 to 19 August 1940, Allied troops from Berbera, Italian Somaliland, were evacuated to Aden.
The troops were evacatuated by the transports Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (6491 GRT, built 1912), the hospital ship Vita (4691 GRT, built 1914) as well as the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).
Cover for the evacuation was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, 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), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN), HMS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), minesweeper HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and the netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN).
On 17 August, HMS Ceres bombarded Italian Army targets which temporarily halted the Italian advance.
On 18 August, HMS Caledon and HMS Kandahar bombarded enemy units on the Bulhar-Berbera road.
The evacuation was completed on the 18th. Over 7000 men had been evacuated.
The last men were taken off by HMAS Hobart at Berbera early on the 19th. She left around 0845C/19 for Aden with the last of the Army personnel and the demolition parties which had demolished the harbour facilities. HMS Indus proceeded along the coast to pick up stragglers. (2)
9 Sep 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) departed Aden for Port Said.
23 Sep 1940
Convoy BN 6.
The Karachi section of this convoy departed that place on 23 September 1940.
It was made up of the transports; Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911) and Pundit (British, 5305 GRT, built 1919).
It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).
On 26 September 1940, the ' Kararchi section ' was joined by the ' Bombay section ' which had departed that place on 25 September 1940.
It was made up of the following transports (one one tanker); Borgestad (Norwegian, 3924 GRT, built 1924), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936), Garmula (British, 5254 GRT, built 1920), Khandalla (British, 7018 GRT, built 1923), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Marisa (Dutch (tanker), 8029 GRT, built 1937), Naringa (British, 6607 GRT, built 1923), Nizam (British, 5322 GRT, built 1914), President Doumer (British, 11898, built 1935), Rajput (British, 5521 GRT, built 1925), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Ranee (British, 5060 GRT, built 1928), Rhona (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Shirala (British, 7841 GRT, built 1925), Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).
It was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).
Around 1230C/1, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) took over from the armed merchant cruisers which then parted company to proceed to Bombay.
Around 0830C/4, the ' Bombay / Karachi section ' merged with the ' Aden section '. On doing so, HMAS Hobart parted company and proceeded to Aden.
The ' Aden section ' was made up of the following transports / tankers; Ayamonte (British, 845 GRT, built 1899), Bencruachan (British, 5920 GRT, built 1928), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), City of Singapore (British, 1988 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ross (British, GRT, built ), Cyprian Prince (British, GRT, built ), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), El Amin (British, 746 GRT, built 1926), El Segundo (Panamanian (tanker), 3664 GRT, built 1912), Elpis (Greek, 3651 GRT, built 1912), Helka (British (tanker), 3471 GRT, built 1912), Hilda Moller (British, 4622 GRT, built 1912), Jalaputra (British, 4856 GRT, built 1906), Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Jhelum (British, 4038 GRT, built 1936), Liss (British (tanker), 5932 GRT, built 1921), Lurigethan (British, 3564 GRT, built 1916), Quiloa (British, 7765 GRT, built 1925), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Robert L. Holt (British, 2918 GRT, built 1926), Soli (Norwegian (tanker), 5834 GRT, built 1915), Star of Alexander (Egyptian, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Strix (Norwegian (tanker), 6219 GRT, built 1930), Therese Moller (British, 3930 GRT, built 1905) and Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).
The ' Aden section ' of the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) (from the New Zealand division), destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) and sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).
The convoy now proceeded northwards up the Red Sea.
At dawn on the 5th, the Ayamonte was detached to proceed to Kamaran escorted by HMAS Parramatta.
On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October convoy BN 6 was attacked by high level Italian bombers but no damage was done.
The following ships were detached to Port Sudan where they arrived on 7 or 8 October 1940; Borgestad, Devonshire, El Amin, Garmula, Jehangir, Khandalla, Pundit, Rajput, Ranee, Rohna, Strix, Takliwa and Talamba.
From the escort HMIS Hindustan arrived and left Port Sudan on 7 October 1940, HMAS Auckland arrived and left on 8 October and HMAS Yarra arrived and left on 9 October. HMS Kingston also called at Port Sudan [date currently unknown to us].
The remainder of the convoy arrived at Suez on 11 October 1940. on 9 October 1940, HMS Leander had been replaced as escort by the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN). (5)
7 Oct 1940
Convoy WS 3 (Fast).
This convoy departed Liverpool and the Clyde on 7 October 1940. The convoy arrived at Suez on 16 November 1940.
The Liverpool section was made up of the troop transports; Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1929).
It was escorted by the destroyers HMS Douglas (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Crossley, RN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN). HMCS St. Laurent however collided with a small merchant vessel very early on the 8th and had to return to Liverpool for repairs.
The Clyde section was made up of the transports; Capetown Castle (British, 27000 GRT, built 1938), Georgic (British, 27759 GRT, built 1932), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).
At 0700/8, the Clyde section was joined by the destroyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. H.W. Williams, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) which came from Londonderry.
At 1012/8, a large enemy bomber was seen to approach the Capetown Castle off the Clyde section and dropped a bomb which missed.
At 1050/8, HMCS Ottawa and HMS Active were ordered to close the Oronsay which had been damaged by air attack and needed assistance. HMS Active however misunderstood the order and remained with the convoy. Meanwhile the Oronsay had dropped out of the convoy.
At 1152/8, HMS Arrow joined the damaged Oronsay as well.
Around 1400/8, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Cheshire (Capt.(Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and HMS Salopian (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) also arrived on the scene. HMS Salopian later departed to continue her patrol. HMS Cheshire remained with Oronsay and the two destroyers.
At 1440/8, Oronsay got underway at slow speed and was able to increase speed to 9 knots.
At 1520/8, the ships that were with the Oronsay sighted the Liverpool section of the convoy which apparently had been delayed by bad weather conditions and therefore unable to have joined up with the Clyde section as had been intended. HMS Douglas, one of the escorting destroyers of the Liverpool section had been unable to keep up with it due to the weather conditions now joined the Oronsay group.
The destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) also joined but it is unknown when.
At 2115/8, the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) joined.
At 0205/9, HMS Arrow and HMCS Ottawa parted company with Oromsay and the other escorts to proceed to Londonderry.
Around 1030/9, the damaged Oronsay escorted by HMS Cairo, HMS Cheshire, HMS Douglas, HMS Verity, HMS Viscount and HMS Sabre arrived at Greenock.
Meanwhile the Clyde section had continued on escorted by HMS Whitehall, HMS Achates and HMS Active. As did the Liverpool section but apparently unescorted. They had failed to make rendezvous with each other in the heavy weather.
Around 1215/9, the Clyde section was joined by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN). It seems that at this time the destroyers were no longer present.
At noon on the 12th the Clyde section, with HMS Kenya was finally joined by the Liverpool section of the convoy.
The convoy arrived at Freetown in the afternoon of October 18th.
The convoy departed Freetown on 20 October 1940 and was made up of the Capetown Castle, Duchess of York, Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda, Orontes and Winchester Castle.
The convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).
The convoy arrived at Capetown on 28 October 1940. HMS Dorsetshire then proceeded to Simonstown where she arrived also on the same day.
On 30 October the convoy, now made up of the Duchess of York, Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda and Orontes departed Capetown for Suez. They were escorted by HMS Dorsetshire.
In the morning of 3 November the convoy overtook and then merged with the slow section of convoy WS 3 which was made up of the transports Dorset (British, 10624 GRT, built 1934), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Khedive Ismael (British, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Oropesa (British, 14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936) and Port Chalmers (British, 8535 GRT, built 1933) and their escort the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).
Shortly before noon the Erinpura and Khedive Ismael split off from the convoy and set course for Mombasa escorted by HMS Carthage. HMS Dorsetshire continued on with the remainder of the convoy towards Suez.
In the morning of November 11th, the light cruiser HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) joined the convoy at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden.
The transport City of Lille (British, 6588 GRT, built 1928) and several more escort vessels, the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined on 12 November 1940 for the passage through the Red Sea in which the Italian Navy was still active at this time.
The troopships Duchess of York and Georgic also re-joined the convoy after a brief visit to Aden. HMS Caledon also briefly left the convoy to oil at Aden before re-joining it.
Around 2130/12, the convoy entered the Perim Strait.
HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy at 0915/14.
The convoy arrived at Suez on 16 November 1940. (6)
28 Oct 1940
Convoy SW 2A.
This convoy departed Suez on 28 August 1940.
It was made up of the following troop transports; Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).
On departure from Suez the convoy was escorted by the damaged heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN).
Around 1530B/30, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) and sloops HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy escort.
The convoy was dispersed off Aden on 1 November. (2)
1 Nov 1940
HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and the troopship Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930) departed Aden for Kilindini / Mombasa. They were escorted out for a few hours by the sloops HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN). (7)
7 Jan 1941
Convoy WS 5B
This convoy departed U.K. ports on 7 January 1941 for variuos ports in the Far East and Mediterranean (see below).
The convoy was made up of the following troop transports; Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Athlone Castle (25564 GRT, built 1936), Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Highland Chieftain (British, 14131 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Pennland (Dutch, 16082 GRT, built 1922), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).
Four of these ships departed Avonmouth on 7 January and six sailed from Liverpool. These ships anchored in Moelfre Bay for several days as the eleven ships that were to be sailed from the Clyde could not do so due to thick fog.
The Avonmouth (Bristol Channel) section of the convoy had been escorted to Moelfre Bay by the destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN).
The Liverpool section was escorted to Moelfre Bay by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN) and the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, DSO, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN).
The ships and their escorts anchored in Moelfre Bay from 8 to 11 January. The escorts remained there for A/S patrol and AA protection and were joined by the destroyer HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN) which had departed Liverpool on the 8th and the light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RN) which came from the Clyde.
When it became clear that the ships from the Clyde were finally able to sail the ships in Moelfre Bay sailed for Lough Foyle (near Londonderry, Northern Ireland) to take on board additional water.
The ships from Lough Foyle and the Clyde made rendez-vous at sea on 12 January and course was then set to Freetown.
The convoy was now escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. A.D. Read, RN), heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, light cruisers HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), HMS Naiad, destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Harvester, HMS Highlander, HMS Fearless (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Witherington, HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), HMS Vansittart, HMS Lincoln (Cdr. A.M. Sheffield, RN), HMS Leamington (Cdr. W.E. Banks, DSC, RN) and Léopard (Lt.Cdr. J. Evenou).
On 14 January the destroyers HMS Witherington and FFS Leopard parted company.
The light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) departed Plymouth on 12 January. She joined the convoy around noon on the 15th. Shortly afterwards HMS Naiad then parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Scapa Flow where she arrrived around 1430/17.
HMS Phoebe and HMS Fearless also parted company with the convoy escorting the Capetown Castle and Monarch of Bermuda to Gibraltar where they arrived in the afternoon of the 18th. On the 17th they were joined by the destroyer HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and on the 18th by two more destroyers; HMS Duncan (A/Capt. A.D.B. James, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN).
At Gibraltar the two troopships took on board troops from the damaged troopship Empire Trooper. They departed Gibraltar for Freetown on 19 January being escorted by the destroyers HMS Fury, HMS Fearless and HMS Duncan until 21 January when they parted company. Both troopships arrived at Freetown on 26 January escorted by HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN) and HMS Forester.
Meanwhile convoy WS 5B had coninued its passage southwards.
On the 16 January all remaining destroyers parted company.
HMS Ramillies parted company with the convoy on 17 January.
The troopship / liner Duchess of York was apparently detached at some point.
When approaching Freetown local A/S vessels started to join the convoy. On 21 January the corvettes HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR) joined and the next day the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) also joined the convoy. Finally on 24 January the destroyer HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN) also joined the convoy.
On 25 January 1941 the convoy arrived at Freetown escorted by HMAS Australia, HMS Emerald, HMS Velox, HMS Vidette, HMS Asphodel and HMS Calendula.
The convoy departed Freetown on 29 January with the addition of troop transport Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920) still escorted by HMAS Australia and HMS Emerald. A local A/S force remained with the convoy until 1 February and was made up of the destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Forester, sloop HMS Milford (Capt.(Retd.) S.K. Smyth, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR).
HMS Emerald arrived at Capetown on 8 February escorting Arundel Castle, Athlone Castle, Capetown Castle, Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Empress of Australia, Empress of Japan, Monarch of Bermuda and Winchester Castle. The light cruiser then went to Simonstown.
HMAS Australia arrived at Durban on 11 February with Britannic, Cameronia, Duchess of Richmond, Franconia, Highland Chieftain, Highland Princess, Nea Hellas, Ormonde, Pennland, Samaria and Windsor Castle.
The Capetown section departed that place on 12 February and the Durban section on 15 February after which a rendez-vous of Durban was effected.
On 21 February the troopships Empress of Australia, Empress of Japan, Ormonde and Windsor Castle were detached to Kilindini / Mombasa escorted by HMS Emerald. They arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa on 22 February. In the approaches to Kilindini / Mombasa the convoy was joined by the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN).
The remainder of the convoy continued on Suez escorted by HMS Australia and HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN) which joined the convoy shortly before HMS Emerald and the four troopships for Kilindini / Mombasa were detached, arriving on 3 March. The sloop HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) provided A/S escort during the passage through the Red Sea. The convoy arrived at Suez on 3 March 1941.
The 'Kilindini / Mombasa section' meanwhile departed there on 24 February as convoy WS 5X now escorted by light cruiser HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN). On 27 February light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. P.H.G. James, RN) joined this convoy as additional escort. The convoy arrived at Bombay on 3 March 1941.
Convoy WS 5BX, now made up of the troopship Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914) and Empress of Japan, departed Bombay for Singapore on 5 March escorted by HMS Enterprise. The convoy was joined on 8 March by the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN). HMS Enterprise left the convoy on 9 March. The convoy arrived at Singapore on 11 March. HMS Durban had parted company with the convoy the day before.
26 Jan 1941
Convoy BNF 1.
This convoy departed Bombay on 26 January 1941 for Suez where it arrived on 6 February 1941.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Felix Roussel (French, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Santhia (British, 7754 GRT, built 1925) and Varela (British, 4651 GRT, built 1914).
On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN).
She remained with the convoy until around 0800/31 when the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) took over the convoy.
On 1 February the destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and sloop HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) sailed from Aden to join the convoy. Also from Aden sailed four merchant ships which were to join the convoy, these were; Baluchistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Hav (Norwegian, 5062 GRT, built 1939), Peter Maersk (British, 5476 GRT, built 1932) and Rinda (Norwegian, 6029 GRT, built 1917).
HMS Kandahar, HMS Flamingo and HMAS Parramatta arrived at Port Sudan on 3 February. The merchant vessel Varela also proceeded to Port Sudan.
The convoy arrived at Suez on 6 February escorted by HMIS Hindustan. (8)
[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy BNF 1 ' for 26 January 1941.] (9)
En-route they were ordered around 1930C/23, to proceed to the aid of HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) and the damaged tanker Pass of Balmaha (British, 758 GRT, built 1933) which had been en-route to Tobruk with HMS Auckland (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) in company. During air attacks HMS Auckland had been sunk and the Pass of Balmaha damaged. The destroyers arrived on the scene around 2100C/23. HMAS Parramatta was picking up the surivors of HMS Auckland. HMAS Waterhen then took the damaged Pass of Balmaha in tow towards Tobruk screened by HMAS Vendetta until she parted company to proceed to Tobruk to land the much needed ammunition she had on board.
HMAS Vendetta arrived at Tobruk around 0215C/24 and departed again around 0255C/20, now with a few troops on board. Due to the delayed arrival she had been unable to unload all the ammunition.
On departure HMAS Vendetta encountered HMAS Waterhen in the searched channel passing the tow of the Pass of Balmaha to the small tug C 309.
Both destroyers then set course to Alexandria as there was no more time to unload HMAS Waterhen.
They arrived at Alexandria around 1700C/25. (10)
They arrived at Tobruk around 2330C/26 and unloading commenced.
Around 0145C/27, they departed for Mersa Matruh with wounded and other personnel.
During the passage HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) reported that she was attacking a submarine contact north-east of Mersa Matruh. HMAS Stuart and HMAS Voyager were ordered to go to her assistance but as HMAS Voyager had one air pump out of action she was ordered to proceed to Mersa Matruh for repairs so only HMAS Stuart at first proceeded to join HMAS Parramatta in the submarine hunt.
HMAS Parramatta had been missed by a torpedo at 0652C/27 in position 31°27'N, 27°44'E. In fact the torpedo ran underneath. HMAS Parramatta turned at once and dropped a depth charge to keep the submarine submerged. Contact on the submarine was obtained immediately and three depth charge attacks were delivered. Contact was lost after the third depth charge pattern and a long search commenced. Prior to the third depth charge attack the enemy was moving very slowly and much oil had come to the surface so she was most likely damaged by the first two depth charge attacks. HMAS Stuart then arrived and took over the hunt while HMAS Parramatta set course for Mersa Matruh.
Around 1025C/27, HMAS Voyager arrived at Mersa Matruh where she landed the wounded and other passengers and made repairs. She departed again around 1405C/27 to rejoin HMAS Stuart. HMAS Parramatta meanwhile had arrived at Mersa Matruh around 1135C/27 and had transferred twelve depth charges to HMAS Voyager which apparently had only a limited supply herself.
Meanwhile, HMAS Stuart had obtained an A/S contact at 1345C/27 and had carried out four depth charge attacks. After the fourth attack HMAS Voyager rejoined but neither one of the destroyers were able to obtain contact again. HMAS Voyager then searched the area all night but no contact was obtained and it is considered that the submarine was destroyed. The submarine in question was the Italian Jantina which managed to escape damaged. She had to abandon her patrol and arrived at Leros on 30 June.
HMAS Stuart arrived at Mersa Matruh around 1700C/27 and then unloaded her wounded and other passengers.
HMAS Voyager returned to Mersa Matruh after the A/S hunt around 0540C/28.
10 Feb 2005
The Reserve News edition dated 10 February 2005 holds a story told by Mr. Harold Moss. He is a survivor of the sinking of HMS Parramatta. You can review this story at this website (offsite link).
Please note it's in .pdf format so you will need Adobe Reader. You can download this program here (offsite link).
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for August 1940
- ADM 199/383
- ADM 53/111773
- ADM 173/16502
- ADM 199/383 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Parramatta for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Yarra for October 1940
- ADM 199/372 + ADM 199/1136
- ADM 53/112531 + ADM 199/383
- ADM 199/408
- ADM 187/11 + ADM 199/408
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for June 1941
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Parramatta for June 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Voyager for June 1941 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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