Allied Warships

ORP Slazak (L 26)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class

NavyThe Polish Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type II) 
PennantL 26 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered20 Dec 1939 
Laid down25 May 1940 
Launched23 Jul 1941 
Commissioned9 May 1942 
End service28 Sep 1946 
History

Loaned to the Polish Navy as ORP Slazak on 30 April, 1942.

She was returned to the Royal Navy on 28 Sept, 1946.

 
Former nameHMS Bedale

Commands listed for ORP Slazak (L 26)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Kmdr ppor. Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP30 Apr 194227 Oct 1942
2Kmdr ppor. Bohdan Wronski, ORP27 Oct 194218 Apr 1943
3Kmdr ppor. Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP18 Apr 194313 Sep 1944
4Kmdr ppor. Bohdan Wronski, ORP13 Sep 194417 Apr 1945
5Kpt. mar. Waclaw Fara, ORP17 Apr 194528 Sep 1946

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Notable events involving Slazak include:


16 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Bleasdale (Lt. P.B.N. Lewis, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP). (1)

18 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP). (1)

25 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP). She also made practice attacks on HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN). (1)

27 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Halcyon (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Harding, RNR) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP). (1)

28 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP). (1)

30 May 1942
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) and HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RNR). (1)

5 Jun 1942
HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow during the morning with HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys, RNethN) and in the afternoon with and in the afternoon with HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) and ORP Slazak (Kmdr ppor. (Lt.Cdr.) R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP). (2)

12 Jun 1942
HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Youngs, OBE, RD, RNR), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), HMS Preston North End (Lt. K.A. Vasey, MBE, RNR) and HMS Davy (Skr. W.J. Salisbury, RNR). (2)

15 Jul 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. A.R. Profit, DSC, RN) arrived at Plymouth where she conducted A/S exercises with HMS La Nantaise (Skr. S.J. Cory, RNR), HMS Kingston Chrysoberyl (A/Skr.Lt. M.A. Smith, RD, RNR), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), HMS Ambrose Pare (Skr. J.W. Morris, RNR), HMS Olvina (Skr. J. Howson, RNR), HMS Cambridgeshire (T/Lt. H.F.B. Ashby, RNVR) and HMS Grimsby Town (Skr. W.A. Cormack, RNR). (3)

19 Aug 1942
ORP Slazak participated in the Dieppe Raid, bombarding numerous German shore artillery units, repulsing 30 air attacks and shooting down four Luftwaffe airplanes. For the action in Dieppe Raid, the commander of ORP Slazak, Lt.Cmdr. Romuald Tyminski received the Distinguished Service Cross.

13 Oct 1942
RAF Wireless Operator Bill Wright, DFC and other crewmen were rescued from the Atlantic after spending 3 days adrift in a dinghy when their aircraft had ditched after engine failure. (4)

12 May 1943
HMS Ultimatum (Lt. W.H. Kett, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), HMS Charlestown (Lt. W.F.B. Webb, DSC, RN) and HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. T.M. Dorrien-Smith, RN). (5)

19 May 1943

Combined convoy WS 30 / KMS 15.

This combined convoy was formed off Oversay on 19 May 1943. The convoy was divided into convoys WS 30 and KMS 15 at sea on 25 May 1943.

The combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Arawa (British, 14462 GRT, built 1922), Argentina (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Brisbane Star (British, 12791 GRT, built 1937), Deseado (British, 9641 GRT, built 1942), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), H.F. Alexander (American, 8357 GRT, built 1915), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Siboney (American, 6938 GRT, built 1918), Sloterdijk (Dutch, 9230 GRT, built 1940), Staffordshire (British, 10683 GRT, built 1929) and Stirling Castle (British, 25550 GRT, built 1936).

The landing ships HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) were also part of the convoy.

On formation off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier, heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RD, RNR), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), sloops HMS Lowestoft (A/Cdr.(Retd.) L.H. Phillips, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), 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).

The destroyer HMS Sardonyx apparently parted company on 20 May.

HMS Cleveland fuelled from HMS Suffolk during the morning of 21 May.

At 1130Z/23, HMS Active sighted a surfaced submarine in position 42°16'N, 15°40'W at a range of about 6000 yards. Shortly afterwards HMS Ness also sighted this submarine. Both ships rushed towards to attack and the submarine was seen to crash dive. When the range was down to 2900 yards HMS Active obtained contact on the target with her Asdic. At 1143Z/23, HMS Active dropped a pattern of ten depth charges set at 150 and 300 feet. At 1150Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (150 and 300 feet). At 1158Z/23, HMS Active came back for another pattern of ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1212Z/23, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). A double explosion was then heard by the two escorts. At 1223Z/23, HMS Active dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet). At 1240Z/23, a small amount of wood and cork wreckage came to the surface as well as life-jackets, coffee tins marked 'Napoli' and a pair of fresh human lungs. At 1305Z/23, HMS Ness dropped a final pattern of ten depth charges (500, 550 and 700 feet). It is believed that the Italian submarine Leonardo Da Vinci was sunk in this attack. The most succesful Italian submarine of the Second World War disappeared with all hands. Nine officers and fifty-four ratings perished.

At 0630Z/24, the transports Brisbane Star and Deseado were detached from the convoy.

Around 1530Z/24 a German Focke Wulf aircraft attacked and dropped some bombs near HMS Unicorn but no damage was done.

The armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, DSO, RN) joined on either the 24th or the 25th.

At 1040Z/25 the convoy split up. All escorts proceeded with convoy KMF 15 except for HMS Suffolk, HMS Corfu which went along with WS 30. Convoy KMF 15 was made up of the transports Arawa, Boissevain, Duchess of York, Franconia, Indrapoera, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Letitia, Ormonde, Samaria, Staffordshire and Stirling Castle. HMS Royal Scotsman and HMS Royal Ulsterman were also part of this convoy.

The transport Letitia proceeded to Gibraltar as did HMS Unicorn. The escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) had come out to escort them in. HMS Active, HMS Cleveland and ORP Slazak also put into Gibraltar.

The transports Staffordshire and Stirling Castle were detached and arrived at Oran on 26 May.

The remainder of convoy KMF 15 arrived at Algiers on 27 May.

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Convoy WS 30 continued on to Freetown and was made up of Argentina, Brisbane Star, Deseado, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Siboney and Sloterdijk. Their escort of HMS Suffolk and HMS Corfu was joined by the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) which all came from Gibraltar. HMS Boadicea also rejoined after fuelling at Casablanca.

In the morning of May 27th, HMS Antelope fuelled from HMS Suffolk.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 31 May 1943.

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On 3 June 1943 the convoy departed Freetown now made up of the transports Argentina, H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Siboney and Sloterdijk.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex, armed merchant cruisers HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) E.W. Kitson, RN), HMS Corfu, destroyers HMS Wolverine (Lt. I.M. Clegg, RN), HMS Boardicea, HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Catterick.

At 1500Z/6, the transport Cuba (British, 11420 GRT, 1923) and the destroyer HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Takoradi.

At 1950Z/6, HMS Corfu and HMS Boadicea parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi.

At 1445Z/9, the destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) joined the convoy coming from Pointe Noire.

At 1517Z/9, HMS Witch, HMS Wolverine and HMS Rapid parted company with the convoy to proceed to Pointe Noire.

Around 0730A/13, the transports Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941) and Santa Barbara (American, 6507 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy as did the sloop Savorgnan de Brazza which had been escorting them.

On 15 June 1943 the convoy arrived at Capetown. HMS Sussex and HMS Carnarvon Castle then went on to Simonstown. In the approached to Capetown the destroyer HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) joined the escort as an enemy submarine had been reported to be operating in the area.

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On 16 June 1943, the convoy departed Capetown for Durban. It was now made up of the transports Argentina, Cuba, Exceller, Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), H.F. Alexander, Mataroa, Nieuw Holland, Santa Barbara, Siboney and Sloterdijk.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, HMS Quadrant and HMS Redoubt.

On 18 June, the transport Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy presumebly coming from Port Elizabeth or East London.

The convoy arrived at Durban on 20 June.

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On 25 June 1943, the convoy departed Durban for Aden / Bombay, now made up of the transports Cuba, General Fleischer (Norwegian, 5138 GRT, built 1943), Karagola (British, 7053 GRT, built 1917), Nieuw Holland, Sagoland (American, 5334 GRT, built 1913), Santa Barbara and Sibajak.

The convoy was now escorted by the destroyers HMAS Norman, HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN).

The armed mercant cruiser HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) joined the convoy around 0900C/28 having departed Kilindini around 1745C/25.

The destroyers parted company with the convoy around 1830C/29 to return to Durban where they arrived in the morning of July 3rd.

Around 0900C/1, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt. R.H.C. Crawford, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy having departed Kilindini around 1730C/29. HMS Canton then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindi taking the transports Karagola and Sagoland with her. They arrived at Kilindini around 1200C/2.

At 0310C/3, the transport Santa Barbara was detached to proceed independently to Colombo.

At 1115C/4, the transports General Fleischer and Sibajak were detached to proceed independently to Aden.

The transports Cuba and Nieuw Holland arrived at Bombay and their escort, HMS Alaunia, around 1000FG/9.

30 May 1943
' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) departed Gibraltar for Algiers. (6)

1 Jun 1943
' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) arrived at Algiers from Gibraltar. (7)

2 Jun 1943
' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) departed Algiers for Mers-el-Kebir. (7)

3 Jun 1943
' Force H ', made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt. H.D. Durell, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) arrived at Mers-el-Kebir from Algiers. (7)

4 Sep 1943
Around 1600B/4, the escort carrier HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Holcombe (Lt. F.M. Graves, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta.

They were joined around 0730B/5 by the escort carrier HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN) and ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) coming from Oran.

More ships joined around 1940B/5. These were the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz). These ships had departed Algiers around 1845B/5.

These ships were to join forces at Malta with a few more ships which had already left earlier escorting an eastbound convoy. These ships were to form ' Force V ' for the upcoming landings at Salerno.

All ships listed above arrived at Malta in the morning of September, 7th except for HMS Euryalus which proceeded ahead already arriving late on the 6th. (8)

8 Sep 1943

Operations of ' Force V ' during operation Avalanche.

Around 1100B/8, ' Force V ' departed Malta for the tyrrhenian sea. ' Force V ' was made up of the HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Battler (A/Capt. F.M.R. Stephenson, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker ( Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Holcombe (Lt. F.M. Graves, RN), HMS Liddesdale (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RNR), ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz).

They passed through the Messina Strait during the night of 8/9 September. At dawn on the 9th ' Force V ' arrived in the assault area. The first sortie was flown off at 0615B/9 and subsequently at hourly intervals. The aircraft maintained patrols of 80 minutes until 1930B/9 when the last aircraft landed on.

' Force V ' operated in an area 30 miles square, to the southward of the assault area, approaching the island of Capri from time to time in order to obtain accurate fixes. Three types of patrol were flown;
a) A standing patrol south and east of Capri by seafires from the escort carriers.
b) A high patrol over the beaches from about sunrise until 0745 hours and from 1810 hours until just before sunset by seafires from HMS Unicorn. This was during the period that fighter cover was not provided from Sicilian airfields.
c) A standing high patrol over the low patrol in the Capri area during the remainder of the day by Seafires from HMS Unicorn.

A total of 265 sorties were flown on the first day. Cover over ' Force V ' was maintained by aircraft from the fleet carriers of ' Force H '. During the dark hours the force was withdrawn to the southward and operated to the east of a line joining Salerno and Palermo so as to keep clear of the convoy routes, returning to the flying-off area at dawn.

During 10 September the flying programme was repeated and 232 sorties were flown.

It had been hoped that ' Force V ' could be withdrawn on the 10th and that Montecorvino airfield could be used. The airfield had indeed been captured as planned but it remained under heavy enemy artillery fire and could only be used for forced landings. ' Force V ' therefore had to remain in the assault area, though its flying efficieny had decreased and the fuel situation of the escort destroyers was becoming difficult.

On 11 September the number of sorties flown decreased to 160. At 1900B/11, ' Force H ' on leaving for Malta flew 17 aircraft over to join ' Force V ', which now had to provide its own fighter cover. Montecorvino was still under fire and patrols were again flows off at dawn on 12 September. The total number of sorties flown on 12 September was 56.

A landing strip had been laid out at Paestrum and orders were received that all available fighters should land ashore and that ' Force V ' could then withdraw. This signal, though sent at 0909 hours was not received until 1230 hours. 26 Seafires were then flown off and ' Force V ' then withdrew arriving at Palermo around 1930B/12.

' Force V ' departed from Palermo around 0600B/13 for Bizerta arriving there around 1830B/13. (9)

16 Sep 1943
Around 0530 hours, HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), returned to the assault area.

HMS Valiant took up a bombarding position off the northern beaches while HMS Warspite went to the same position as on the previous day. Once again HMS Valiant had great difficulty in obtaining contact with her forward observer and it was not until 1648 hours that she was able to open fire on the Nocera area. She ceased fire at 1728 hours having fired 19 rounds. She retired from the area at dusk screened by the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN). They eventually went to Augusta arriving there on the 17th.

Meanwhile HMS Warpite had sustained a heavy air attack. She had difficulty owing to enemy jamming in communicating with her F.O. but eventually opened fire at 1309 hours on ammunition dumps and traffic concentration near Altaville. 32 rounds were fired of which half landed dead on the target and 8 within 100 yards of it.

At 1410 hours, HMS Warspite was proceeding towards the northern area for further bombardment when she was attacked by about 10 FW 190's one of which was shot down. Immediately afterwards, three remote-controlled bombs were sighted almost overhead at 6000 to 8000 feet, their parent aircraft being at 20000 feet. No radar report of their presence had been received. The bombs dived vertically on to the ship which could take no avoiding action in this congested area. Two of the bombs near missed the ship but one hit the ship penetrating into No.4 boiler room where it burst. The concussion was terrific, five of the ships boiler rooms were flooded almost at once, though the ship was able to proceed at slow speed on the starboard engines until about 1500 hours when the last boiler room filled with water and all steam failed.

The USN tugs USS Hopi and USS Moreno arrived quickly on the spot and had the ship in tow by 1700 hours. Speed was 4 knots. Escort was now provided by the AA cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther, HMS Pathfinder and escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Cleveland (Lt.Cdr. J.K. Hamilton, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP).

At 1930 hours the light cruisers HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) joined them with HMS Euryalus taking over the tow with the intention to leave the area at a higher speed. However the cable parted and the USN again took the damaged battleship in tow. To everyone's surprise, in spite of a night of full moonlight, no air attacks were made by the enemy. In the morning, Spitfires arrived to give fighter cover, followed by two more tugs, HMS Nimble, HMS Oriana and the salvage vessel HMS Salveda. Around 2300 hours, another tug, USS Narragansett joined just as HMS Warspite was to enter the straits of Messina. It took the Warspite five hours to negotiate the Straits due to the strong current. She finally arrived safely at Malta around 0800 hours on 19 September. HMS Euryalus, HMS Scylla had parted company around 1030B/18 and arrived at Bizerta around 0145B/19. (10)

20 Sep 1943
The light carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. W.W.P. Shirley-Rollison, RN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Stalker (Capt. H.S. Murray-Smith, RN), AA cruisers HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN), destroyer HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN) and the escort destroyers ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) departed Bizerta for Gibraltar via Algiers.

They made a short stop at Algiers in the evening of 21 September before continuing their passage to Gibraltar. At Algiers they were joined by the escort destroyer HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR).

They arrived at Gibraltar in the early hours of 23 September. (11)

15 Nov 1943

Convoy KMF 26.

This convoy departed the Clyde on 15 November 1943 and arrived at Alexandria / Port Said on 30 November 1943 / 1 December 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following transports; Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Chinese Prince (British, 9485 GRT, built 1943), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), Clan Campbell (British, 9545 GRT, built 1943), Dempo (British, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Ranchi (British, 16738 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Samanco (British, 8336 GRT, built 1943), Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921), Sarmiento (British, 8335 GRT, built 1943) and Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920).

On departure the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) (actually joined on the 16th), sloops HMS Pelican (Cdr. J.S. Dalison, DSO, RN, S.O. of A/S escort), HMS Woodpecker (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and the frigates HMS Evenlode (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.L. Turner, RNR), HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Spey (Lt.Cdr. B.A. Rogers, RD, RNR)

In the afternoon of 19 November, HMS Birmingham fuelled HMS Spey as the frigate had two out of four fuel tanks contaminated with seawater drastically effecting her range. With this underway refuelling she was able to continue on to Algiers.

During the morning of 20 November, the frigate HMS Rother also received some fuel from HMS Birmingham.

On passing the Straits of Gibraltar, HMS Birmingham parted company with the convoy and entered Gibraltar harbour. The AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Wallace, DSC, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. J. Smallwood, RN) joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar. Also the submarine HMS Stonehenge (Lt. D.S.M. Verschoyle-Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the convoy for passage to Alexandria.

On the 25th, HMS Anthony and HMS Spey parted company with the convoy.

Off Oran / Mers-el-Kebir the transports Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915) and Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926) joined the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyer escorts USS Frederick C. Davcis (Lt.Cdr. O.W. Goepner, USNR), USS Herbert C. Jones (T/Lt.Cdr. A.W. Gardes, Jr., USN) and the minesweepers USS Pioneer (Lt. L.E. Rogers, Jr., USNR) and USS Portent (Lt. H.C. Plummer, USNR).

Off Algiers transport Monarch of Bermuda and the escorts HMS Brilliant, HMS Pelican, HMS Woodpecker, HMS Evenlode, HMS Jed, HMS Rother parted company with the convoy while the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Catterick (Lt.Cdr. A. Tyson, RN, HMS Cleveland (Lt.Cdr. J.K. Hamilton, RN), RHS Miaoulis and ORP Slazak (Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP) joined the convoy.

In the afternoon of 26 November the convoy was attacked by German aircraft and the transport Rohna was sunk by a glider bomb in position 36°56'N, 05°20'E. 1149 crew and passengers (mostly US troops) were killed in this attack.

Off Philipeville the transports Cameronia, Clan Campbell and Duchess of Bedford parted company with the convoy to proceed to that place while the transport Derbyshire joined the convoy coming from there.

On 27 February first HMS Colombo and later USS Frederick C. Davis and USS Herbert C. Jones parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bizerta.

The remainder of the convoy proceeded towards Alexandria / Port Said.

9 Jul 1944
At 0850B/9, HMS Rodney (Capt. R.O. Fitzroy, RN), opened fire with her 16" main battery. Targets were elements of the 12th SS Panzer Division in or near Caen.

At 1000B/9, HMS Rodney was taken in tow to be towed clear of the beachhead area. Tow was only slipped at 1841B/9. In the meantime at 1430B/9, the destroyer HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Bleasdale (Cdr. H.M.S. Mundy, RN) and ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. B. Wronski) had joined to escort HMS Rodney to Spithead.

HMS Rodney and her escorts arrived at Spithead around 2300B/9. (12)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6389 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 173/17407
  3. ADM 173/17251
  4. Personal communication
  5. ADM 173/18316
  6. ADM 53/117517 + ADM 53/117633 + ADM 53/117717 + ADM 199/639 + ADM 199/767
  7. ADM 53/117518 + ADM 53/117634 + ADM 53/117718 + ADM 199/639
  8. ADM 53/117495 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641
  9. ADM 53/117495 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 234/358
  10. ADM 234/358
  11. ADM 53/118574 + ADM 53/118664 + ADM 199/641 + ADM 199/767
  12. ADM 53/120412

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


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