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World War 2 at Sea

 

ROUTE TO THE EAST - the WS (Winstonís Special) CONVOYS

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

WS CONVOYS - 1943 SAILINGS, WS 26 to 33

SS H F Alexander (American) (US, click to enlarge)

on to Warship Index

 

† 1943 SAILINGS

 

 

 

 

WS 26

This convoy was the first of a new pattern in the WS series in that this, and future convoys, sailed from the UK in conjunction with a KMF (UK to Mediterranean Fast) convoy, which detached at a point west of Gibraltar after which the KMF convoy entered the Mediterranean and the WS proceeded South to Freetown. In due course this arrangement was to end (with WS 33) when the Mediterranean was opened to personnel ships, and such vessels thereafter proceeded Eastwards via the Suez Canal.

WS 26 and KMF 8 sailed from the Clyde 23.1.43 to position 36.17N 08.23W where the convoys divided at 1600GMT on 29.1.

The convoy consisted originally of 29 ships, 9 of which were the KMF portion forming the two port hand columns plus the rear ship of column 3 and the lead ship of column 4, as follows:

 

11

TAWALI

 

21

DUNNOTTAR CASTLE

 

31

HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

 

41

DURBAN CASTLE

 

51

HMS WAYLAND

 

61

STRATHEDEN

 

71

ARUNDEL CASTLE

 

81

CHYEBASSA

 

12

EMPIRE PRIDE

 

22

STRATHNAVER

 

32

SIBAJAK

 

42 DUCHESS OF RICHMOND

 

52

HMS CANTON

 

62

MALOJA

 

72

EMPRESS OF CANADA

 

82

REMBRANDT

 

13

LETITIA

 

23

DUCHESS OF YORK

 

33

VOLENDAM

 

43

CALIFORNIA

 

53

HMS CILICIA

 

63

MOOLTAN

 

73

RUYS

 

83

ANTENOR

 

 

24

CIRCASSIA

 

34

SAMARIA

 

44

ORDUNA

 

 

64

DOMINION MONARCH

 

74 DEMPO

 

 

 

Commodore of the combined convoy was in DURBAN CASTLE, which became Commodore of KMF 8 on detachment, Vice Commodore in STRATHEDEN, which was later Commodore of WS 26, Rear Commodore in CIRCASSIA, later Vice Commodore of KMF 8, while Vice Commodore of WS 26 was in ARUNDEL CASTLE.

ANTENOR returned to the Clyde 26.1.43 while LEOPOLDVILLE joined WS 26 at sea on 4.2.43, position unknown.

Escort arrangements were complex with the WS 26 component formed from the cutters BANFF and FISHGUARD and frigate TEST 23 to 29.1, armed merchant cruisers CANTON and CILICIA and destroyers QUADRANT and RELENTLESS 23.1 to 6.2, destroyer MIAOULIS and sloop SAVORGNAN DE BRAZZA 23 to 26.1, destroyer ADRIAS 23.1 to 3.2 and destroyers QUALITY, QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH, RACEHORSE and REDOUBT joining on 31.1 until arrival at Freetown on 6.2.43.

At Freetown there was the first of several alterations in sailing order, the convoy sailing 9.2.43 in the following formation:

11

HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

 

21

ARUNDEL CASTLE

 

31

HMS WAYLAND

 

41

STRATHEDEN

 

51

DUCHESS OF RICHMOND

 

61

MOOLTAN

 

12

SIBAJAK

 

22

CALIFORNIA

 

32

HMS CANTON

 

42

RUYS

 

52

MALOJA

 

62

DEMPO

 

13

VOLENDAM

 

23

ORDUNA

 

33

HMS CILICIA

 

43

CHYEBASSA

 

53

EMPRESS OF CANADA

 

63

DOMINION MONARCH

 

14

LEOPOLDVILLE

 

24

REMBRANDT

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEOPOLDVILLE detached to Takoradi on 13.2.

Escort was varied and large, destroyer ADRIAS to 13.2, armed merchant cruiser CANTON to 22.3, armed merchant cruiser CILICIA and destroyers QUIBERON and QUICKMATCH to 25.2, ocean boarding vessel CORINTHIAN to 13.2, destroyer QUALITY to 20.2, and RACEHORSE to 23.2 all from Freetown.

During the passage, other escorts joined at varying dates: corvette COMMANDANT D'ESTIENNE D'ORVES 13 to 25.2, destroyers BLACKMORE 20 to 23.2, RELENTLESS 14 to 25.2, cruiser CERES 22 to 23.2 and corvette GENISTA 22 to 25.2.

The convoy arrived at Capetown 22.2 when ARUNDEL CASTLE, CALIFORNIA, CHYEBASSA, DUCHESS OF RICHMOND, EMPRESS OF CANADA, HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN, ORDUNA, RUYS and SIBAJAK entered that port and the Durban detachment proceeded to arrive on 25.2.

Both detachments made their rendezvous off Durban on 1.3, again with varied ships and in a changed formation:

 

11

ORDUNA

 

21

MALOJA

(Rear Commodore)

 

31

STRATHEDEN

(Commodore)

 

41

CITY OF PARIS

 

51

CALIFORNIA

(Vice Commodore)

 

12

ARUNDEL CASTLE

 

22

SELANDIA

 

32

DOMINION MONARCH

 

42

MOOLTAN

 

52

DEMPO

 

13

REMBRANDT

 

23

HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

 

33

LANCASHIRE

 

43

DILWARA

 

53

CHYEBASSA

 

 

HMS RESOURCE was with the convoy.

 

DILWARA returned to Durban with defects shortly after sailing, and RESOURCE detached 9.3.43 to Kilindini; LANCASHIRE detached to Tamatave escorted by COMMANDANT DUBOC 6.3.

Escorts from the Durban rendezvous were the corvettes JASMINE and FREESIA to 3.3, COMMANDANT DUBOC to 6.3, destroyers BLACKMORE, CATTERICK, and RELENTLESS and minesweeper CARNATIC to 4.3, cruisers CERES to 8.3 and BIRMINGHAM to 9.3, corvette NIGELLA to 2.3. The cruisers HAWKINS joined the convoy 9.3, and FROBISHER 10.3.

 

 

WS 26A

The cruiser FROBISHER detached on 11.3 escorting the following ships ARUNDEL CASTLE, CITY OF PARIS, HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN, MALOJA, ORDUNA, REMBRANDT and SELANDIA to Aden arriving off that port 15.3 when ships dispersed for Suez as independents.

WS 26B

The cruiser HAWKINS detached on 11.3 with CALIFORNIA, CHYEBASSA, DEMPO, DOMINION MONARCH, MOOLTAN and STRATHEDEN under this designation for Bombay, arriving there 17.3.

WS 27

 

Forming off Oversay 27.2.43 in company with KMF 10A, the joint convoy comprised the ships shown below:

11C

LETITIA

 

21C

BOISSEVAIN

 

31C

CIRCASSIA

(Commodore)

 

41C

ALMANZORA

 

51C

ANTENOR

 

12C

NIEUW HOLLAND

 

22C

BATORY

 

32L

FRANCONIA

 

42C

STRATHAIRD

 

52L

CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS

 

 

 

33L

STRATHMORE

 

43L

CAPETOWN CASTLE

 

 

 

When the KMF ships detached on 2.4, there was a considerable shuffling of positions and the WS convoy was formed as shown:

11

CAPETOWN CASTLE

(Vice Commodore)

 

21

ALMANZORA

(Commodore)

 

31

ANTENOR

 

12

STRATHMORE

 

22

STRATHAIRD

 

32

CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS

 

 

The convoy arrived at Freetown 8.3.43 and the escort from the UK was the sloops EGRET and ERNE, cutter FISHGUARD, frigate TEST and destroyer CLARE to 2.3, destroyer QUADRANT to 5.3, battleship MALAYA and destroyers QUAIL, QUEENBOROUGH, RAIDER and WOLVERINE to 8.3.

The convoy sailed from Freetown 11.3, the positions of ships are unknown but the following sailed:

ALMANZORA

ANTENOR (Commodore)

BERGENSFJORD

CAPETOWN CASTLE

CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS

 

LEOPOLDVILLE

ORBITA

STRATHAIRD

STRATHMORE.

 

JAMES LYKES joined from Marshall 12.3 and detached to Takoradi 14.3, and DUCHESS OF RICHMOND, RUYS and SIBAJAK joined from Lagos 14.3.

Escort from Freetown comprised the corvettes CROCUS and PETUNIA to 14.3, US destroyer GHERARDI 15 to 17.3, RN destroyers QUAIL, QUEENBOROUGH and RAIDER to 24.3, FOXHOUND, QUILLIAM and RACEHORSE 24 to 26.3. Cruiser SUSSEX provided major ship escort 11 to 26.3 and the corvettes ARMERIA and BELLWORT, which brought out the Lagos ships, remained with the convoy from 14 to 17.3.

ALMANZORA, BERGENSFJORD, DUCHESS OF RICHMOND, JAMES PARKER, LEOPOLDVILLE, ORBITA, RUYS and SIBAJAK arrived at Capetown 23.3, CITY OF BRISTOL and SYDNEY STAR detached to Port Elizabeth 24.3 (it is not known at what stage in the passage these ships joined the convoy), the remaining ships to Durban 26.3.43

 

Ships sailed from Capetown 26.3 and made a rendezvous off Durban 29.3 with ships from that port, when the following formation was taken up:

11

LEOPOLDVILLE

 

21

DUCHESS OF RICHMOND

(Commodore)

 

31

ORBITA

 

41

CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS

41

STRATHAIRD

(same position number)

 

12

STRATHMORE

 

22

CAPETOWN CASTLE

(Vice Commodore)

 

32

RUYS

 

42

BERGENSFJORD

 

 

 

33

SIBAJAK

 

 

 

Escort was the destroyers QUAIL, QUEENBOROUGH and RAIDER from Capetown to Durban, CATTERICK, FOXHOUND, NAPIER and ROTHERHAM from Durban to 1.4, cruiser FROBISHER 29.3 to 5.4, DURBAN 5 to 9.4 and armed merchant cruiser CARTHAGE 3 to 9.4.

BERGENSFJORD detached to Kilindini 4.4, the convoy dispersed off Aden on 9.4.43.

 

 

WS 28

Sailed from the Oversay rendezvous 16.3.43 with convoy KMF 11, ships in both convoys are shown below:

11C

RANGITATA

 

21C

WINDSOR CASTLE

 

31C

NEA HELLAS

 

41

STRATHNAVER

 

51C

HMS BULOLO

 

61C

REINA DEL PACIFICO

 

71C

PERTHSHIRE

 

12C

BANFORA

 

22C

ORION

 

32L

OTRANTO

 

42C

HMS KEREN

 

52L

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD

 

62L

MONARCH OF BERMUDA

 

72C

EMPIRE MIGHT

 

13L

CUBA

 

23C

ORMONDE

 

33L

ORONTES

 

43C

HMS LARGS

 

53L

BRITANNIC

 

63C

TEGELBERG

 

73

WAIPAWA

 

 

24C

WINCHESTER CASTLE

 

34L

JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT

 

44C

HMS ULSTER MONARCH

 

54C

SOBIESKI

 

 

 

 

The convoy proceeded in this formation to position 36.09N, 09.46W where, at 0745 GMT on 21.3 the two convoys parted, whereupon the sailing order of WS 28 became:

11

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD

 

21

REINA DEL PACIFICO

 

31

STRATHNAVER

 

 

51

HMS BULOLO

51

PERTHSHIRE

(same position number)

 

12

MONARCH OF BERMUDA

 

22

OTRANTO

 

32

ORONTES

 

42

HMS LARGS

 

52

WAIPAWA

 

13

WINCHESTER CASTLE

 

23

TEGELBERG

 

33

BRITANNIC

 

 

53

EMPIRE MIGHT

 

 

 

34

SOBIESKI

 

 

 

 

The joint convoy was escorted from sailing by the destroyer SKATE for 16.3 only, and until 21.3 by the destroyers BADSWORTH, DOUGLAS, EGGESFORD, GOATHLAND, KRAKOWIAK and WHADDON and the sloops WOODPECKER and WREN. After detachment, WS 28 was escorted by the destroyers MALCOLM, QUADRANT, WITCH and WOLVERINE to 27.3 when the convoy arrived at Freetown.

The destroyer ASHANTI was part of the escort from 21.3 but detached to Dakar 22.3 with EMPIRE MIGHT which was disabled by a stokehold fire and proceeded to Dakar.

When the convoy sailed from Freetown 30.3 there was a slight alteration to column 4 in that the cruiser KENYA took position 41 while the naval LSI KEREN also joined in position 43, BULOLO and LARGS moving to 42 and 44 respectively; other ships and positions were unchanged.

The escort on sailing was the destroyers WITCH and WOLVERINE to 4.4, MALCOLM to 5.4, cruiser KENYA and destroyers QUADRANT and REDOUBT to 11.4. Destroyers RACEHORSE and RELENTLESS joined 5.4 to 11.4, and FOXHOUND, QUILLIAM and ROTHERHAM 11 to 14.4.

The convoy arrived at Capetown 11.4 when BRITANNIC, DUCHESS OF BEDFORD, MONARCH OF BERMUDA, TEGELBERG, WAIPAWA and WINCHESTER CASTLE entered, LARGS and ULSTER MONARCH going to Simonstown while the remaining ships went on to Durban where they arrived 14.4.43.

Ships sailed Capetown 15.4 and Durban 18.4 to form a convoy for Aden in the following formation, the convoy omitting BRITANNIC and EMPIRE MIGHT:

11

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD

(Vice Commodore)

 

21

REINA DEL PACIFICO

 

31

STRATHNAVER

 

41

HMS BULOLO

 

51

PERTHSHIRE

 

12

MONARCH OF BERMUDA

 

22

OTRANTO

 

32

ORONTES

 

42

HMS KEREN

 

52

WAIPAWA

 

13

WINCHESTER CASTLE

 

23

TEGELBERG

 

33

SOBIESKI

 

43

HMS LARGS

 

 

 

Commodore was now in STRATHEDEN (position not known).

Escorts were the destroyers QUADRANT from Capetown to Durban, REDOUBT and RELENTLESS from Capetown to 20.4, NAPIER and RAIDER from Durban to 20.4, cruiser KENYA 15 to 27.4, armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL to 27.4 and CANTON to 30.4.

 

The convoy dispersed off Aden 30.4.43.

 

 

WS 29

Sailing from various UK ports, final departure from the Clyde 14.4.43 and assembly off Oversay 16.4 in company with KMF 13, the combined convoy being as follows:

11L

TROILUS

 

21C

BANFORA

 

 

41C

ORION

 

51A

HIGHLAND MONARCH

 

61A

HIGHLAND PRINCESS

 

71L

CITY OF EDINBURGH

 

12L

SILVERWALNUT

 

22C

CUBA

 

32C

DUCHESS OF YORK

 

42L

EMPIRE PRIDE

 

52L

ATHLONE CASTLE

 

62L

HIGHLAND BRIGADE

 

72L

PARDO

 

13L

EMPIRE KAMAL

 

23C

FRANCONIA

23C

STAFFORDSHIRE

(same position number)

 

33L

ORMONDE

 

43L

INDRAPOERA

 

53L

GLOUCESTER

 

63C

NEA HELLAS

 

73A

STRAAT MALAKKA

 

 

24C

DUNNOTTAR CASTLE

 

34C

BOISSEVAIN

 

44C

NIEUW HOLLAND

 

 

 

 

 

The convoys divided on 20.4, WS 29 then becoming:

 

11

HIGHLAND MONARCH

 

21

ORION

(Commodore)

 

 

41

CITY OF EDINBURGH

 

12

TROILUS

 

22

ATHLONE CASTLE

 

32

HIGHLAND BRIGADE

32

HIGHLAND PRINCESS

(same position number)

 

42

PARDO

 

13

SILVERWALNUT

 

23

GLOUCESTER

 

33

NEA HELLAS

 

43

STRAAT MALAKKA

 

 

 

34

EMPIRE KAMAL

 

 

 

Escorts were provided by the destroyer SHIKARI from Bristol Channel to Oversay. minesweeper SHIPPIGAN Liverpool to Oversay, destroyers LAUDERDALE and VENOMOUS, sloops WELLINGTON and WESTON and cutters GORLESTON and TOTLAND and frigate EXE and NESS 16 to 20.4 and cruiser NEWCASTLE and destroyer RAPID 16 to 28.4.

Convoy arrived at Freetown 28.4, having been met on 26.4 by the destroyers MALCOLM, WITCH and WOLVERINE.

NEA HELLAS detached independent on 20.4 to New York City and GLOUCESTER on 24.4, while CHINA MAIL joined from Dakar on 26.4.43

 

 

WS 29A

This small convoy sailed from the Clyde 20.4.43, consisting of AORANGI and CLAN LAMONT escorted by the destroyers ANTHONY to 26.4, BRISSENDEN 21 to 26.4, LEWES 20.4 to 4.5 and BOREAS 26.4 to 4.5. The ships arrived at Freetown 4.5.43 to join WS 29, having made their passage via Casablanca and Dakar.

 

WS 29

The combined convoy sailed from Freetown 6.5.43:

11

PARDO

 

21

ATHLONE CASTLE

 

31

ORION

(Commodore)

 

41

HIGHLAND MONARCH

 

12

STRAAT MALAKKA

 

22

ALMANZORA

 

32

HIGHLAND BRIGADE

 

42

AORANGI

 

 

23

SILVERWALNUT

 

33

CLAN LAMONT

 

 

 

CITY OF EDINBURGH, HIGHLAND PRINCESS and TROILUS accompanied the convoy until 7.5 when these ships detached to Takoradi.

 

Escort was provided by the destroyers BOREAS and WITCH 6 to 8.5, MALCOLM, RAPID and WOLVERINE 6 to 11.5, cruiser NEWCASTLE and destroyer LEWES 6 to 18.5. RACEHORSE and RELENTLESS joined 11 to 18.5 and ROTHERHAM 11 to 16.5; QUADRANT 16 to 20.5 and NORMAN and REDOUBT 18 to 20.5.

 

The convoy arrived at Capetown 18.5, ALMANZORA, ATHLONE CASTLE, PARDO and SILVERWALNUT entering, the remaining ships arriving at Durban 20.5.

There was considerable re‑organisation of the convoy while in South Africa, the Capetown section sailed 22.5.43 in the following formation:

11

ALCOA PIONEER

 

21

ALMANZORA

21

ATHLONE CASTLE

(same position number)

 

31

ORBITA

 

12

LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE

 

 

32

PARDO

 

13

EMPIRE KAMAL

 

23

SILVERWALNUT

 

 

 

Of these ships LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE and EMPIRE KAMAL were for passage to Durban only. Escort was provided by the destroyers RACEHORSE, RELENTLESS and ROTHERHAM until the rendezvous off Durban 26.5.

Off Durban, junction was made with the ships from that port which sailed 25.5 and the convoy re‑formed:

 

11

ALCOA PIONEER

 

21

RUYS

(Rear Commodore)

 

31

CLAN LAMONT

(Vice Commodore)

 

41

STRATHMORE

(Commodore)

 

51

STRATHAIRD

 

61

 

ORBITA

 

12

SELANDIA

 

22

BERGENSFJORD

 

32

LEOPOLDVILLE

 

42

ALMANZORA

 

52

ATHLONE CASTLE

 

62

STRAAT MALAKKA

 

 

23

SILVERWALNUT

 

33

PARDO

 

 

 

 

 

SILVERWALNUT returned to Durban with defects shortly after sailing.

Escort from the Durban rendezvous were the destroyers NORMAN to 28.5, QUADRANT and REDOUBT from 25 to 29.5, RACEHORSE 26 to 29.5, cruiser KENYA 26.5 to 1.6 and armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL 1 to 2.6. Armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA joined 1.6 to escort WS 29A.

 

 

 

WS 29A

 

When the convoy divided on 2.6.43, ALAUNIA escorted the Aden section composed of ALCOA PIONEER, BERGENSFJORD, CLAN LAMONT, LEOPOLDVILLE, PARDO, RUYS and SELANDIA, arriving at Aden 8.6.43.

WS 29B

The Bombay section of ALMANZORA, ATHLONE CASTLE, ORBITA, STRAAT MALAKKA, STRATHAIRD and STRATHMORE escorted by the armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL arrived at Bombay 10.6.43 after detaching STRAAT MALAKKA on 9.6 to Karachi.

 

STRATHAIRD and STRATHMORE sailed from Bombay to Colombo, as convoy BM 54 escorted by CHITRAL, arriving 15.6. They sailed again 20.6 as convoy MB 38, still escorted by CHITRAL, and returned to Bombay 23.6.43.

 

 

WS 30

 

Sailing from Liverpool 18.5.43 and the Clyde 19.5, the joint convoys assembled off Oversay 21.5. KMF 15 comprised:

11C

ARAWA

 

21L

ORMONDE

 

31C

SAMARIA

 

41C

STIRLING CASTLE

 

12C

INDRAPOERA

 

22L

FRANCONIA

 

32C

DUCHESS OF YORK

 

42C

JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT

 

13L

STAFFORDSHIRE

 

23C

HMS ROYAL SCOTSMAN

 

33C

HMS ROYAL ULSTERMAN

 

43C

BOISSEVAIN

 

 

these ships forming columns 1 to 4 of the joint convoy. WS 30 comprised:

51C

SIBONEY

 

61C

H F ALEXANDER

 

71C

MATAROA

 

52C

ARGENTINA

 

62C

SLOTERDIJK

 

72L

BRISBANE STAR

 

53C

LETITIA

 

63L

DESEADO

 

 

 

forming columns 5,6 and 7. On detachment on 25.5 at 1040 GMT, the WS columns became 1 2 and 3 of the convoy, the relative positions of the ships being unchanged. BRISBANE STAR detached independent for Cristobal on 5.6.

Commodore of the joint convoy, and of WS 30 was in SIBONEY.

 

The joint convoys were escorted by the aircraft carrier UNICORN, destroyers ACTIVE, CLEVELAND, and SLAZAK, sloops LOWESTOFT, WELLINGTON and WESTON, frigates EXE and NESS and cutters GORLESTON and TOTLAND 19 to 25.5. The armed merchant cruiser ASTURIAS escorted 19 to 24.5, destroyer SARDONYX 19 to 20.5 the cruiser SUFFOLK 19 to 29.5 and destroyer BOADICEA 19 to 28.5.

On the departure of the principal escort on 25.5, the destroyers ANTELOPE, CATTERICK and FOXHOUND joined from Gibraltar and escorted the convoy to Freetown where it arrived 29.5.43, having been joined by the armed merchant cruiser CORFU from 24.5 to 29.5.

The convoy sailed, with the same ships and formation, from Freetown on 3.6, being joined at sea by CUBA on 6.6, EXCELLER and SANTA BARBARA on 13.6, EXIRIA 16.6 and SIBAJAK 18.6, the three latter ships for Durban, arriving at Capetown 16.6 and Durban 19.6.

Escort from Freetown was the cruiser SUFFOLK and destroyer CATTERICK to Capetown, armed merchant cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE to Durban, armed merchant cruiser CORFU and destroyer BOADICEA 3 to 6.6, destroyers RAPID, WITCH and WOLVERINE 3 to 9.6, NORMAN, QUADRANT and REDOUBT 9 to 19.6, and NIZAM 15 to 19.6. The French sloop SAVORGNAN DE BRAZZA was with the convoy on 13.6.

Only the Durban section proceeded beyond South Africa, with the addition of several ships, sailing on 25.6 as below:

11

SIBAJAK

(Vice Commodore)

 

21

NIEUW HOLLAND

(Commodore)

 

31

KARAGOLA

 

12

GENERAL FLEISCHER

 

22

CUBA

 

32

SAGOLAND

 

 

23

SANTA BARBARA

 

 

 

Escort was the destroyers NORMAN 25 to 29.6, QUICKMATCH and ROTHERHAM 25 to 30.6, armed merchant cruiser CANTON 28.6 to 1.7.

KARAGOLA and SAGOLAND detached on 1.7 escorted by CANTON and arrived at Kilindini 2.7; the remaining ships proceeded, escorted by the armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA, which joined on 1.7, for Bombay. SANTA BARBARA detached independent for Colombo 3.7, GENERAL FLEISCHER and SIBAJAK independent for Aden from 4.7; the two remaining ships reached Bombay 9.7.43.

 

WS 31

 

Sailing in company with KMF 17, the convoy assembled off Oversay 21.6.43 as below:

11L

LARGS BAY

 

21L

BRITANNIC

 

31C

SANTA ROSA

 

12C

J W McANDREW

 

22C

CRISTOBAL

 

32L

SAMARIA

 

 

23L

SILVERTEAK

 

33A

TAMAROA

 

 

being KMF 17 forming columns 1 to 3.

41C

STRATHEDEN

 

51C

GEN GEORGE W GOETHALS

 

61L

CITY OF LINCOLN

 

42C

JOHN ERICSSON

 

52L

RANGITIKI

 

62L

CLAN MACAULAY

 

43C

CLAN MACARTHUR

 

 

 

 

being WS 31 forming columns 4 to 6.

 

Commodore of the joint convoys, and WS 31, was in STRATHEDEN, Vice Commodore of WS 31 in RANGITIKI.

When the convoys divided on 26.6, WS 31 retained the same formation, numeration becoming columns 1 to 3.

 

Escort from Oversay to 26.6 was the cruiser UGANDA and destroyers ARROW, BLANKNEY, BLENCATHRA, BRECON, BRISSENDEN, HAMBLEDON, LEDBURY, MENDIP, VICEROY, WALLACE, WITHERINGTON and WOOLSTON relieved from Gibraltar by AMAZON, BLACKMORE, BULLDOG and FOXHOUND which escorted to Freetown where the convoy arrived 4.7.43. French armed merchant cruiser QUERCY joined on 1.7 for Freetown.

The re‑organised convoy sailed from Freetown 6.7.43 formed as below:

 

11

JOHN ERICSSON

 

21

STRATHEDEN

 

31

HIGHLAND MONARCH

 

41

CITY OF LINCOLN

 

12

GEN GEORGE W GOETHALS

 

22

STIRLING CASTLE

 

32

HIGHLAND BRIGADE

 

42

CLAN MACAULAY

 

13

CLAN MACARTHUR

 

23

STAFFORDSHIRE

 

33

ARAWA

 

 

 

ARAWA, HIGHLAND BRIGADE, HIGHLAND MONARCH and STAFFORDSHIRE joined at sea on 11.7 from Lagos.

Escorts from Freetown were the armed merchant cruiser CORFU to 10.7, destroyer FOXHOUND to 12.7 and armed merchant cruiser QUERCY to 14.7, destroyers BLACKMORE, BULLDOG and WOLVERINE to 15.7. Destroyer WITCH and corvette ARMERIA were present 10 to 12.7, destroyers RAPID joined 12 to 21.7 and QUADRANT and REDOUBT 15 to 21.7. The convoy arrived at Capetown 21.7.43.

From Capetown a reduced convoy sailed on 26.7 as below:

11

STIRLING CASTLE

(Vice Commodore)

 

21

STRATHEDEN

(Commodore)

 

31

HIGHLAND MONARCH

 

12

ARAWA

 

22

STAFFORDSHIRE

 

32

HIGHLAND BRIGADE

 

 

Escort was provided by the cruiser DESPATCH and destroyers QUADRANT and REDOUBT 26.7 to 4.8, and the cruiser FROBISHER 4 to 13.8.43 on which date the convoy arrived at Bombay.

WS 32

Sailing with KMF 20 from Oversay on 20.7.43 the convoy consisted of the following ships:

11

CITY OF BRISTOL

 

21

HIGHLAND PRINCESS

 

31

MOOLTAN

(Vice Commodore)

 

41

MALOJA

(Commodore)

 

51

HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

(one of two Rear Commodores)

 

61

ROCHESTER CASTLE

 

12

CHYEBASSA

 

22

VOLENDAM

 

32

ORION

(one of two Rear Commodores)

 

42

RANGITATA

 

52

MORETON BAY

 

62

COPACABANA

 

 

23

REMBRANDT

 

33

DEMPO

 

43

ESPERANCE BAY

 

53

ROWALLAN CASTLE

 

 

 

The convoy divided in the evening of 25.7 in position 34.26N 12.34W, the composition of WS 32 is shown below:

11

ESPERANCE BAY

 

21

MALOJA

(Commodore)

 

31

HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

(Vice Commodore)

 

41

ROCHESTER CASTLE

 

12

ROWALLAN CASTLE

 

22

RANGITATA

 

32

MORETON BAY

 

42

COPACABANA

 

 

Escort to the splitting position was the sloops EGRET and PELICAN and frigates JED, ROTHER and WEAR reinforced by the cruiser CHARYBDIS 22 to 25.7. From 20.7 to arrival at Freetown on 28.7 the destroyer BEAGLE and frigates DERG, KALE and TAY escorted, joined on 25.7 by the destroyer DOUGLAS and frigate NESS.

From Freetown the convoy sailed on 5.8 both in a new formation and with additional ships:

11

ESPERANCE BAY

 

21

MALOJA

 

31

HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

 

41

ROCHESTER CASTLE

 

12

NEA HELLAS

 

22

BRITANNIC

 

32

MORETON BAY

 

42

RANGITATA

 

 

23

TAMAROA

 

33

LARGS BAY

 

 

 

LARGS BAY, NEA HELLAS and TAMAROA joined at sea 9.8, 8.8 and 9.8 respectively.

Escort was provided by destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG and DOUGLAS 5 to 12.8, frigates DERG, KALE and TAY 5 to 19.8, destroyer WOLVERINE 8 to 12.8 and destroyers NORMAN, QUIBERON, RAPID and RELENTLESS 12 to 18.8. The convoy arrived at Capetown 18.8.43, sailed again 19.8 and arrived at Durban 22.8.

A reduced convoy sailed from Durban 28.8.43 as follows:

11

MALOJA

 

21

STRATHMORE

 

31

BRITANNIC

 

12

TAMAROA

 

 

32

LARGS BAY

 

 

Escort was provided by the cruiser HAWKINS and destroyers NORMAN, QUIBERON and RAPID 28.8. to 3.9 when the cruiser EMERALD joined to take the convoy to Bombay where it arrived 10.9.43. EMERALD took position 21 in the convoy on joining, displacing STRATHMORE to position 22; STRATHMORE detached independent on 6.9 for Aden.

 

 

WS 33

This, the last WS convoy, sailed in company with KMF 22 on 17.8.43. Positions are not known, but the two convoys comprised the following ships.

 

WS 33

 

ANTENOR (Vice Commodore)

BOISSEVAIN

DUCHESS OF RICHMOND (Commodore)

 

INDRAPOERA

JOHAN DE WITT

ORMONDE

 

 

KMF 22

ARUNDEL CASTLE

CAMERONIA

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD

DURBAN CASTLE

EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA

GLENARTNEY

 

MARNIX VAN ST ALDEGONDE

MONARCH OF BERMUDA

ORDUNA

OTRANTO

TEGELBERG

 

Unusually, both sections of the convoy proceeded to Gibraltar, with the WS 33 ships entering that port on 24.8.43.

Escort to Gibraltar was the aircraft carrier HUNTER, cruiser SHROPSHIRE, destroyer WRESTLER, sloops CHANTICLEER, NARBADA and WESTON, cutter TOTLAND and frigates BARLE, ETTRICK and USK. The cruiser CHARYBDIS escorted 20 to 22.8.

 

WS 33 sailed from Gibraltar 4.9, escorted by the destroyer BULLDOG, frigates BANN and NESS, sloop WESTON, cutter TOTLAND and corvette HYDRANGEA to arrive at Freetown 9.9.43, the destroyer DOUGLAS joining on 8.9.

The convoy sailed from Freetown 14.9 escorted to 19.9 by the destroyers BEAGLE,BOADICEA, BULLDOG and WOLVERINE and frigate BANN on a complex passage involving calls at both Lagos and Takoradi by all ships to load West African troops.

 

†Movements are best summarised as follows:

 

17.9.43 BOISSEVAIN, DUCHESS OF RICHMOND, ORMONDE arr Takoradi

 

18.9.43 ANTENOR, INDRAPOERA, JOHAN DE WITT arr Lagos, sailed again on 21.9 and arrived Takoradi 22.9.43 as convoy LGW 2.

 

22.9.43 BOISSEVAIN, DUCHESS OF RICHMOND sailed Takoradi, arrived Lagos 23.9.43 as convoy TGE 1.

24.9.43 ANTENOR, JOHAN DE WITT sailed Takoradi, arrived Lagos 25.9.43 as convoy TGE 2.

29.9.43 ORMONDE sailed Takoradi to rejoin WS 33.

 

30.9.43 all other ships sailed from Lagos, and convoy re‑formed at sea.

 

Escort from the final departure on 30.9 comprised the frigates BANN, PLYM, TEVIOT and TRENT.

The convoy arrived at Capetown 9.10 to water ship, sailed again 10.10.43 and arrived at Durban 13.10.43.

Convoy sailed from Durban 20.10.43 escorted by the armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL, destroyer RAPID and frigates BANN, TEVIOT and TRENT arriving at Kilindini 26.10.43.

Sailing from Kilindini 27.10.43, escorted by CHITRAL, BANN and TEVIOT, the convoy divided on 30.10 with the ships for Bombay proceeding under the title of CM 46 (ANTENOR, BOISSEVAIN, INDRAPOERA, JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT and ORMONDE) finally arriving at Bombay 4.11.43. WS 33, ie the DUCHESS OF RICHMOND, proceeded, escorted by the destroyer RAPID and frigate TRENT, and arrived off Aden 2.11.43 thereafter steaming unescorted to Suez where she arrived 6.11.43, thus terminating the Cape route to the Middle East.

 
 

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