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World War 2 at Sea


ROUTE TO THE EAST - the WS (Winston’s Special) CONVOYS

by the late Arnold Hague, Lieutenant Commander, RNR (Rtd) (c) 2007

Links to main World War 2 pages:
- Guide to Royal Navy Organisation
- Casualties
- killed, died, missing
- Service Histories,
1,000 Warships
- Escort Movements
, 1,000+ Warships
- Battles, Major Warship Losses
- Naval & Military Campaigns
- British Navies Daily
, 1939-42
- Admiralty War Diaries
SS Orontes  (Maritime Quest/Robert Edmonds, click to enlarge)

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Dedication and Thanks

Arnold Hague, born 1930, carried out his National Service from 1949 as a Midshipman, Supply & Secretariat, then joined the Reserve Division in London, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander in 1979. In this time, his appointments included command of two Reserve Communications Centres and the Sea Cadet Corps in the West Midlands area. His published books include “The Towns, Destroyers for Great Britain”, “Sloops 1926-1946”, “Convoy Rescue Ships”, “The Allied Convoy System 1939-1945” and co-author of “Convoys to Russia”. He was also as sub-editor of “Jane’s Fighting ships” in the late 1960’s and made numerous contributions to naval publications over the last forty years. He died in February 2006, and is much missed in naval history circles.


It is therefore with great pleasure that Naval-History.Net, through the good offices of Arnold’s close friend and collaborator, Don Kindell and with the kind permission of his wife, Gill Hague (also a former Reserve Officer), hosts his unpublished and invaluable work on the WS convoys.


As with all of Arnold’s work, primary official sources were the key and this work is no exception, relying as it does on Official Admiralty War Diaries, narratives, and convoy reports, Lloyds ship movement cards, etc.


Editor's Note: Some ship positions in some convoys are duplicated. Unfortunately the original work notes are no longer available and there is no easy was to know which of these ships belonged where.

Photographs are mainly courtesy of Steve Johnson of Cyberheritage (CH), Michael Pocock of Maritime Quest (MQ), Peter Swarbrick of Ships Pictures (SP),  US Naval Historical Centre (US) and their contributors. (Each image is acknowledged by the abbreviation for the main source and name of the individual contributor if appropriate). My thanks to all of them.

Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net



Background to the WS Convoys

The Route

The Ships

Listing of Public Record Office references for WS convoys



1940 Sailings, WS 1 to 5A

January to June 1941 Sailings, WS 5B to 9C

July to December 1941 Sailings, WS 10 to 14B

January to June 1942 Sailings, WS 15 to 20B

July to December 1942 Sailings, WS 21 to 25

1943 Sailings, WS 26 to 33


Index of Warships Escorting or Taking Passage in WS Convoys

Index of Merchant ships Taking Passage in WS Convoys



on to Background, Route and Ships
or return to World War 2, 1939-1945

revised 4/12/10