Allied Warships

FR Suffren

Heavy cruiser of the Suffren class

NavyThe French Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassSuffren 
Pennant 
Built byArsenal de Brest (Brest, France) 
Ordered 
Laid down4 Apr 1926 
Launched3 May 1927 
Commissioned1 Jan 1930 
End service1 Oct 1947 
History

Disarmed at Alexandria, Egypt and interned by the British on 22 June 1940.
Rejoined the Allied cause and rearmed on 30 May 1943.
Decommissioned on 1 October 1947.
Used at Toulon as a pontoon.
Sold in 1974 to be broken up for scrap.

 

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Notable events involving Suffren include:


10 Nov 1939
Around 0615/10 the British light cruiser HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) is relieved on the Sunda Strait patrol by the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard). HMS Dauntless then set course to return to Singapore where she arrived around 0900/12. (1)

21 Nov 1939
' Force M ', made up of the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) departed Singapore for Nancowry. (2)

23 Nov 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) arrived at Nancowry. Here they were fuelled during 23/24 November by the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917).

The destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN) were also at Nancowry having arrived there earlier the same day and patrolled at sea one by one during the time the cruisers were at Nancowry. (3)

28 Nov 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) returned to Nancowry from patrol.

They were at Nancowry during 28 to 30 November. During this time they were fuelled by the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917).

The destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN) were also at Nancowry and patrolled at sea one by one during the time the cruisers were at Nancowry. HMAS Voyager had returned from patrol earlier in the day. (3)

30 Nov 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) departed Nancowry for Colombo. The destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN) were also in company during the passage. (3)

2 Dec 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) as well as the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN) arrived at Colombo from Nancowry. (4)

4 Dec 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) departed Colombo to patrol in the Ceylon area. (5)

6 Dec 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) returned to Colombo from patrol. (5)

9 Dec 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) departed Colombo to provide cover for convoy K 6.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy K 6 ' for 10 December 1939.] (5)

10 Dec 1939

Convoy K 6.

This convoy departed Bombay on 10 December 1939.

It was made up of the transports; Cap Tourane (French, 8009 GRT, built 1923), D'Artagnan (French, 15105 GRT, built 1925), Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926), Rohna (British, 8602 GRT, built 1926), Tairea (British, 7934 GRT, built 1924) and Talamba (British, 8018 GRT, built 1924).

These ships were carrying Indian and French troops and mules.

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) H.C. Legge, DSC, RN) and HMS Maloja (Capt.(Retd.) C.R. Dane, RN).

Cover for he convoy was proviced by the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) which had departed Colombo on 9 December. They turned back at midnight during the night of 11/12 December 1939.

On 15 December 1939, on entering the Gulf of Aden the escorts parted company with the convoy which then proceeded unescorted to Suez where it arrived on 20 December.

After passing the Suez Canal the convoy departed Port Said on 21 December escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN).

The destroyers were relieved on 24 December by their sister ships HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN).

The convoy arrived at Marseilles on 26 December.

14 Dec 1939
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) arrived back at Colombo.

HMS Kent was then taken in hand for partial retubing of condensers. (5)

23 Dec 1939
Around 0250Z/23, the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard).

On departure from Colombo HMAS Hobart conducted gunnery exercises on a target that was being towed by the minesweeper HMS Widnes (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Chandler, RN).

Rendezvous with the Suffren was effected around 1015Z/24 in position 07°06'N, 85°48'E.

The cruisers made rendezvous with a convoy escorted by the French sloop Savorgnan de Brazza (Cdr. A.R.D. De Badens) around 2336Z/25 (dawn on 26 December in local time). The convoy was made up of the transports; Bougainville (French, 7293 GRT, built 1914), Yalou (French, 6783 GRT, built 1915) and Si-Kiang (French, 6738 GRT, built 1915).

HMAS Hobart parted company with the convoy around 1200Z/27 and set course for Colombo where she arrived around 1235Z/28 and then completed with oil fuel.

HMAS Hobart departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN). They later joined the French convoy as additional escorts.

Around 0235Z/6, near Socotra, in position 12°00'N, 52°05'E, HMAS Hobart parted company and set course to return to Colombo where she arrived around 0325Z on 10 January 1940. (6)

6 Jan 1940

Convoy US 1.

Troop convoy from New Zealand and Australia to Suez.

The convoy departed Wellington, New Zealand on 6 January 1940 and on departure was made up out of the following troopships: Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Wellington the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. W.R. Patterson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Leander (from the New Zealand Division) (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN).

Two more troopships joined the convoy in New Zealand waters, these were: Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937) and Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy then set course for Australia.

On 9 January the troopships: Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925) and Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) departed Sydney to join the convoy which they did the next day. They were being escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN).

HMS Leander was then detached while HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN) joined the convoy on the 10th but already left again the day after when she was detached at 0238K/11 to search for a missing aircraft. As it was later reported that the aircraft had crashed on land the search was soon abandoned.

On the 12th the troopship Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930) joined the convoy coming from Melbourne.

On 18 January the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) near Fremantle joined the convoy escort.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle later the same day.

On 20 January, the convoy departed Fremantle escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies and the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard).

HMAS Canberra and HMAS Australia had departed a few hours earlier to patrol the area. They returned to Fremantle on 21 January.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 30 January and entered the harbour as did HMS Ramillies. HMS Kent and Suffren kept patrolling off the harbour until the convoy set sail again on 1 February but now escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies the aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). HMS Ramillies and HMS Sussex had sailed with the convoy from Colombo, the other two escorts came from Trincomalee. HMS Kent and Suffren then entered Colombo. At Colombo the convoy had been joined by the French troopship Athos II (French, 15276 GRT, built 1927).

On 6 February 1940 the destroyer HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) joined the convoy coming from Colombo. On joinig the convoy she was oiled by HMS Sussex.

Early on the 7th, HMAS Hobart proceeded ahead to Aden with three of the troopships.

At dawn of the 8th the convoy arrived off Aden and three more of the troop transports entered the harbour. The remainder proceeded towards the Red Sea now escorted by HMS Sussex and HMAS Hobart. Aircraft from HMS Eagle patrolled in the area while HMS Ramillies fuelled in the outer anchorage.

The transports that had entered Aden left there on 9 February escorted by HMS Sussex as this cruiser had turned back when off the Perim Strait. HMS Sussex and HMS Westcott now escorted these ships until they met HMAS Hobart which had now dispersed the first group of transports in 22°30'N.

HMS Sussex then turned back to proceed to Aden leaving the transports of the second group to HMAS Hobart which then escorted the transports to 22°30'N when they were dispersed. HMS Westcott went on to Suez with the Rangitata. HMAS Hobart then also set sourse to return to Aden. (7)

8 Jan 1940
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) departed Colombo for Fremantle. (8)

17 Jan 1940
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) arrived at Fremantle from Colombo. (8)

20 Jan 1940
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) departed Fremantle for escort duty with convoy US 1.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy US 1 ' for 6 January 1940.] (8)

1 Feb 1940
' Force M ', made up of HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) arrived at Colombo after convoy escort duty. (9)

15 Apr 1940

Convoy US 2.

This convoy departed Melbourne on 15 April 1940.

It was being made up of the following troop transports; Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937, 1476 troops), Ettrick (British, 11229 GRT, built 1938, 1476 troops), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912, 1257 troops), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913, 1400 troops) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932, 1564 troops).

On departure the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN).

The convoy arrived at Fremantle on 21 April 1940.

The convoy departed Fremantle on 22 April 1940 now escorted by HMS Ramillies and the light cruiser HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN).

At 1100G/28, the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) joined west of the Cocos Islands in position 12°19'S, 93°50'E.

At 1230G/28, HMAS Sydney parted company to return to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 3 May 1940. In the approaches distant cover was provided by the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) which also patrolled near the harbour until 4 May while the convoy was in harbour.

The convoy departed Colombo for Aden on 5 May now escorted by HMS Ramillies, HMS Kent and the Suffren.

The convoy arrived at Aden on 12 May.

The convoy departed Aden again later the same day now escorted by battleship HMS Ramillies, heavy cruiser Suffren, light cruiser HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN) and HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN). Light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) was briefly with the convoy taking the place of the Suffren which was delayed in leaving harbour. The sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) apparently joined the escort at sea the next day.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 17 May 1940. (7)

12 May 1940
Shortly after noon this day (zone -3), troop convoy US 2 (Melbourne - Suez), which was made up of the following transports; Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937), Ettrick (11279 GRT, built 1938), Neuralia (9182 GRT, built 1912), Nevasa (9213 GRT, built 1913) (joined the convoy at Fremantle) and Strathaird (22281 GRT, built 1932), departed Aden for Suez.

Escort was provided by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard), the light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN) and HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN). The sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN) apparently joined the escort at sea the next day.

The convoy arrived at Suez on the 17th. (10)

17 May 1940
The British battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) and the British destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN) and HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) passed the Suez Canal northbound and then set course for Alexandria. (11)

18 May 1940
The British battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), the French heavy cruiser Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) and the British destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN) and HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (11)

21 Jun 1940

Operation MD 3

Bombardment of Bardia, 21 June 1940.

An Allied force sailed on 20 June 1940 to carry out operation MD 3, the object was to destroy military objectives at Bardia and to destroy enemy submarines.

At 0800B/20, the destroyers HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, RN), HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, DSO, RN), sailed to carry out an A/S sweep along the North African coast as far as the longtitude of Tobruk, reaching this position at 0400B/21 and to return to Alexandria at 1830B/21.

A second force, made up of the French battleship Lorraine (Capt. L.M.L. Rey), the British light cruisers HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O’Coner, RN), the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, RN), HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Thyrwitt, RN) departed Alexandria at 1130/20 to conduct a bombardment of Bardia, Libya.

After this force had sailed, information was received from air reconnaissance that there were three enemy cruisers, three destroyers, two submarines and ten other ships over 40 feet long and eleven smaller vessels at Tobruk. It was therefore decided to provide cover for the destroyers of the A/S sweep. Another force left Alexandria at 1730B/20 with orders to be in a position 40 nautical miles north of Tobruk at 0600B/21 and if no enemy forces were encountered to return to Alexandria by 2000B/21. This force was made up of the French cruisers Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) and Duguay Trouin (Capt. J.M.C. Trolley de Prevaux). They were escorted by the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN) and HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitkat, RN).

The actual bombardment.

The bombarding squadron arrived off the coast at 0500B/21, a few minutes before sunrise. As he could not avoid the disadvantage of the dawn light, Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN had decided to make the last 20 nautical miles or so of his approach at that time, and to attack while the sun was still low enough to dazzle the Italian gunners on the shore. The ships spread as their instructions prescribed, and stood to the south-westward towards Bardia in the order HMS Orion, Lorraine, HMS Neptune and HMAS Sydney with two destroyers on the outer bow of each wing ship, HMAS Stuart and HMS Decoy to port and HMS Dainty and HMS Hasty to starboard.

At 0548 hours, HMS Orion opened fire, followed immediately by the other big ships except HMAS Sydney, which joined in about five minutes later, by which time the squadron had altered course to 145 degrees. The destroyers also started firing after the turn. At 0610 hours the squadron withdrew to the north-westward.

HMS Orion started by ranging on the lighthouse on Point Bluff at about 13500 yards range, it stood close to the position of the Italian coast defence battery, and at that time was the ony object in the target area that could be seen clearly to the haze. After turning to the south-westerly course at 0550 hours, she fired on the battery position itself until it was clear that the battery was not replying. Then at 0600 hours, she shifted to her second target area, the Wadi Jefran. Shooting was difficult as communication with her spotter aircraft could not be established.

The Lorraine attacked various targets in the left half of the area assigned to HMS Neptune, the town of Bardia, with her 13.4” guns, and perhaps silenced an anti-aircraft battery in that area with her 5.5” guns.

HMS Neptune ranged on the barracks in the left half of the town. As soon as she began firing for effect, however, the smoke of the explosions prevented her aircraft from observing, so she fired a few salvoes blind, which, with the Lorraine’s fire in the same quarter, raised cloud of dust that hid all that part of the target area. Accordingly HMS Neptune shifted her fire right, by steps, to attack an anti-aircraft battery in the northern half of that area and on regaining communication with her spotter aircraft during this sweep, she fired seventeen 4-gun salvoes with its help and the battery ceased fire.

HMAS Sydney fired at one target throughout, the camp in the centre of her area, starting a fire in one corner and probably causing losses amongst troops that were seen to leave the camp during the shoot. Smoke and dust obscured the target, so that she only saw half her shell burst. An unfortunate attack by fighter aircraft from the R.A.F. drove the spotter aircraft for HMAS Sydney out of action after her second salvo.

As for the destroyers, HMAS Stuart and HMS Decoy, now ahead of the line fired into the area of HMS Neptune at the wireless masts and the barracks respectively from a range of about 12000 yards. Smoke and dust made spotting difficult, and HMS Decoy fired only four salvoes in consequence. On the other hand HMAS Stuart could distinguish her shell bursts from those of HMS Neptune and the ones from the Lorraine so she continued firing until the smoke at last made spotting impossible.

HMS Dainty and HMS Hasty were astern of HMAS Sydney. The former attacked a house near the artillery headquarters, and believed she set it on fire. She also fired at the wireless masts. The main range for her shoot was about 14000 yards. Like the other destroyers she found her fall of shot hard to distinguish from that of the bigger ships. HMS Hasty fired on the wireless station, probably the same building as one of targets of the Lorraine. HMS Hasty then shifted her fire to a party of troops coming from the camp in the area HMAS Sydney was firing on. She could not see her fall of shot when firing at these troops.

Rounds expended in the shore bombardment was as follows; HMS Orion 118 rounds of 6”, Lorraine 53 rounds of 13.4” and 37 rounds of 5.5”, HMS Neptune 134 rounds of 6”, HMAS Sydney 148 rounds of 6”, HMAS Stuart 39 rounds of 4.7”, HMS Decoy 12 rounds of 4.7”, HMS Dainty 56 rounds of 4.7” and HMS Hasty 47 rounds of 4.7”.

All ships returned to Alexandria later on the 21st.

Results

The Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, called this bombardment ‘ a useful minor operation, in which the damage caused fully justified the ammunition expended ‘. So far as could be judged from air reconnaissance / photographs and from what the ships could see at the time, the squadron destroyed some ammunition and other storehouses in the Wadi Jefran, blew up an anti-aircraft battery’s ammunition dump, and damaged or set fire to barracks and other government buildings in and near the town.

The Italians did not reply to the fire, indeed the squadron could see no coast-defence guns in position. The only opposition came from anti-aircraft guns, which fired a few rounds at the spotting aircraft without effect. (12)

22 Jun 1940

Operation BQ

Bombardment of Augusta, Sicily and raid to the south of the Strait of Messina.

Composition of forces taking part.

Force A: Battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, OBE, RN, flying the flag of the C-in-C, Mediterranean Fleet, A/Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN), destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, RN), HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN).

Force B: Light cruisers HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN), HMS Gloucester (Capt. F.R. Garside, CBE, RN) destroyers HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN).

Force C: Battleships HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), destroyers HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN), HMS Hasty, (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, RN), HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, DSO, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN).

Force D: French heavy cruisers Duquesne (Capt. G.E. Besineau, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral R.E. Godfroy), Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard), light cruiser Duguay Trouin (Capt. J.M.C. Trolley de Prevaux), destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMAS Vampire (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN).

Sailing of the forces and the cancellation of the operation.

At 1700/22 HMS Eagle from Force C sailed with all the destroyers assigned to that force. They were followed at 2000 hours by the two R-class battleships assigned to that force.

At 2130/22 Force B sailed.

At 2200/22 Force A sailed.

At 2153 hours a signal was received from the Admiralty ordering the cancellation of the operation due to the French armistice. Following this signal the sailing of Force D was cancelled. Force A returned to the harbour immediately. Forces B and C were ordered to return to harbour on the morning of the next day. Orders were also issued to the Vice-Admiral Malta to not sail a convoy to Alexandria as had been intended under the cover of the operation. (13)

22 Jul 1943
FFS Suffren picks up two survivors from the British merchant City of Canton which had been torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-178 five days earlier northeast of Beira in position 13°52'S, 41°10'E.

24 Jul 1943
Around 1430B/24, the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Lt. G.J.A. Ashley-Brown, RAN) departed Durban to make rendezvous with the heavy cruiser Suffren and light cruiser Duguay Trouin coming from Kilindini which they had departed around 1535C/21.

Rendezvous was affected around 1130C/25.

The four ships arrived at Durban around 0900B/26. (14)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/108217
  2. ADM 53/109461
  3. ADM 53/109461 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for November 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Voyager from September 1939 to March 1940
  4. ADM 53/109462 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for December 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Voyager from September 1939 to March 1940
  5. ADM 53/109462
  6. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  7. ADM 199/382
  8. ADM 53/112521
  9. ADM 53/112522
  10. ADM 53/112609 + ADM 199/382
  11. ADM 199/2552
  12. ADM 199/386 + ADM 234/323
  13. ADM 199/386
  14. Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for July 1943

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


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