Destroyer of the Bourrasque class
|Navy||The French Navy|
|Built by||At.&Ch de St. Nazaire (St. Nazaire, France)|
|Laid down||8 Aug 1923|
|Launched||3 Jun 1924|
|Commissioned||29 Apr 1926|
|End service||17 Feb 1950|
Operated by the Vichy French and based at Casablanca during the Allied landing in North Africa in November 1942.
Commands listed for FR Simoun
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|Pierre Marie Charles O`Neill, FR|
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Notable events involving Simoun include:
5 Sep 1939
A convoy of eleven passenger liners departed the U.K. for destinations in the Atlantic or Mediterranean (or Far East via the Mediterranean).
The convoy was assembled off the Clyde and was made up of the passenger liners / merchant vessels; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Clan Ferguson (British, 7347 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Montcalm (British, 16418 GRT, built 1921), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).
On assembly the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Vivacious (Cdr. C.R.L. Parry, RN), HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Plumer, RN), HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. K.H. Fraser, RN), HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN) as well as HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. A.R.M. Black, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. H. Gartside-Tippinge, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. G.C. Fryer, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN).
Arond 2300A/5, the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) departed Portland escorted by the destroyers HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN). They were joined around 0530A/6 by the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Woodhall, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) which had come from Plymouth.
Around 1845A/6, HMS Ramillies and her four escorting destroyers joined the convoy after which HMS Vivacious, HMS Vanessa, HMS Witherington and HMS Wolverine parted company. After conducting an A/S sweep astern of the convoy they proceeded to Plymouth where they arrived around noon on the 7th.
Around 1100A/8, HMS Verity, HMS Volunteer, HMS Witherington and HMS Wolverine parted company with the convoy to proceed to Milford Haven where they arrived in the morning of September 10th.
Late in the morning of September 10th, the French destroyers Le Fortune (Cdr. C.M.L. D'Hespel), La Railleuse (Lt.Cdr. J.E.C. Hourcade) and Simoun (Lt.Cdr. F. Hainguerlot) which had departed Gibraltar around 0810A/9, joined the convoy.
Around 1850A/10, the French destroyer Simoun was sent to Gibraltar with despatches. She arrived there around 0710A/11.
Around noon on the 11th, off Gibraltar, the British light cruiser HMS Galatea (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) and the French destroyers Tramontaine (Cdr. R.M.J.A. Renault), Tornade (Lt.Cdr. R.G.A. Labat) and Typhon (Lt.Cdr. Y.M.J. Le Hagre).
HMS Ramillies, and the French destroyers Le Fortune and La Railleuse then proceeded to Gibraltar as did the liner Scythia. Apparently the French destroyers, including Simoun, later proceeded again to rejoin the convoy.
HMS Exmouth, HMS Eclipse, HMS Encounter and HMS Escapade most likely detached from the convoy on 12 September as they arrived at Gibraltar on the 14th via Oran.
The French destroyers were relieved near Malta on 14 September 1939 by the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN) and HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN). Also a French convoy (L 2), made up of the merchant vessels Sphinx (French, 11375 GRT, built 1915) and Ville de Strasbourg (French, 7007 GRT, built 1920), which had departed Marseilles on 12 September, joined the convoy for onward passage to Beirut. This French convoy had probably been escorted by the destroyers Maille Breze (Cdr. H.M.E.A. Glotin), Cassard (Cdr. R.A.A. Braxmeyer) and Kersaint (Cdr. G.R.J. Rebuffel) which apparently also joined the convoy. The Durban Castle also detached off Malta at 1000B/14 and entered Valetta.
Around 1600B/15 the Clan Ferguson parted company. She was carrying important stores for Istanbul, Turkey. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN).
At 0700B/16, the Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Montcalm, Reina del Pacifico and Strathaird were detached to Port Said.
the Orcades, Orford and Orion arrived at Alexandria in the evening of the 16th. HMS Galatea did not enter but went to the west to make rendezvous with the destroyers HMS Griffin and HMS Garland of which the former was towing the later after she had been damaged by her own depth charges.
31 Oct 1940
The destroyer HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), which was on patrol to the east of Gibraltar sighted five Vichy French destroyers at 0610/31 (Bordelais, Brestois, L'Alcyon, Simoun and Tempête) proceeding westwards to pass the Strait of Gibraltar possibly bound for Casablanca.
The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), battleship HMS Barham (Capt G.C. Cooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar at 0830/31 to the westward to intercept. Destroyers which were on patrol to the eastward of Gibraltar were ordered to join HMS Renown to the west of Gibraltar. These were HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN).
HMS Griffin was ordered to shadow the Vichy French ships.
HMS Renown, HMS Barham, HMS Wishart, HMS Encounter, HMS Firedrake, HMS Forester, HMS Fortune, HMS Fury, HMS Gallant and HMS Greyhound returned to Gibraltar at 1000/1. (1)
29 Mar 1941
Around 2300A/29, the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN (Capt. D.8)), HMS Fearless (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) departed Gibraltar to sweep along the North African coast towards Oran to search for Vichy-French merchant vessels and try capture them.
At 0830A/30, in approximate position 35°32'N, 01°44'W, a Vichy French convoy was sighted made up of the merchant vessels Azrou (2998 GRT, built 1931), Bankor [???] (???? GRT, built ????), Cap Varela (7677 GRT, built 1922) and San Diego (6013 GRT, built 1930). They were escorted by the destroyer Simoun.
The convoy made off towards the coast and eventually entered Nemours [now Ghazaouet]. When the British closed they were taken under fire by French shore batteries. HMS Sheffield returned fire but eventually the British withdrew.
At 1217A/30 and 1301A/30, the British were attacked by French aircraft but they did not obtain any hits.
Around 2250A/30, HMS Sheffield, HMS Faulknor, HMS Fearless, HMS Forester and HMS Fury returned to Gibraltar. (2)
- ADM 199/392
- ADM 53/115052 + ADM 199/2225
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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