At 0800 on 22nd November the flag of Admiral Sir
Arthur J. Power, KCB, CVO, as Commander in Chief
Indies Fleet was hoisted in H.M.S. CARADOC.
2. The period
inaugurated by the change of command and ending with the year was marked by a
further strike against Japanese in
Northern Sumatra, a
comparative absence of U boat activity, and intensive preparation for future
3. December saw no
shipping losses due to U boat action, although there was evidence of one
Japanese U boat operating in the Bay of Bengal and possibly another off the
southeast coast of Ceylon. There were
also indications of German U boats on passage in the southern
18 DAY A/S SEARCH
4. A search which was
begun on the night of 3rd/4th December in the Bay of
Bengal when an RAF Liberator on A/U patrol sighted a U boat on the surface in
position 12 degrees, 37 minutes north, 88 degrees, 40 minutes East, and
attacked with depth charges, was continued by Force 66 operating with the RAF
for a period of 18, but without success.
(Force 66 consisted of H.M.S. BEGUM and 6 frigates of the 60th
5. On 8th
December, H.M.A. Ships NAPIER (D 7) and
thereafter supported the Army in their advance down the Mayu Peninsula.
6. There was further
A/U activity between 13th and 15th December when a force
commanded by the Captain, East Indies Escorts, in H.M.S. LANDGUARD with 7
minesweepers of the 22nd Minesweeper Flotilla and 4 sloops operated
in conjunction with RAF aircraft in the vicinity of 10 degrees, 00 minutes
North, 84 degrees, 00 minutes East. The
search was without result.
7. The strike against
Japanese bases in
(Operation ROBSON) was carried out on 20th December, when carrier
aircraft attacked airfields in the Sabang area, targets at Belawan Deli, and
small craft at Uleehoe.
8. H.M.S. NEWCASTLE
of the East Indies Fleet took part in the operation with the following ships
destined for the British Pacific Fleet under the Command of Flag Officer
Aircraft Carriers, British Pacific Fleet:
INDOMITABLE (Rear Admiral Aircraft Carriers, British Pacific Fleet),
ILLUSTRIOUS, BLACK PRINCE, ARGONAUT, and 7 destroyers of the 27th
Destroyer Flotilla. The force left
Trincomalee on the 17th December and returned 22nd
December. The attack was not very
9. On the 28th
December, H.M. Submarine THULE reported that she had attacked and probably sunk
a Japanese U boat in position 21 miles N.N.W. off the northern entrance to
FORCE 61 TO AKYAB
10. It had now become
clear that it would be possible to assault Akyab much earlier than had been
planned and on 30th December, a bombarding force, consisting of
H.M.S. NEWCASTLE (Flag Officer, Force 61, Rear Admiral A.D. Read, CB),
KENYA, NIGERIA, RAPID,
RAIDER, PATHFINDER, with PHOEBE as a Fighter Direction Ship , was sailed from
11. As reported by the
Vice Admiral Commanding the Third Battle Squadron, the working up of Force 61
was “proceeded intensively during the earlier part of the period.” The force was sailed at short notice before
the date originally intended and QUEEN ELIZABETH, AMEER,
FLAMINGO were not essential to the success of the operation. Training of these units therefore continued
after the remainder of the ships had left.
PACIFIC FLEET WORKS
12. Working up Force
61 was only part of the training programme during this period. Main units of the British Pacific Fleet
assembled at Trincomalee early in December and carrier out a full programme of
practices in harbour and at sea.
13. Transfer of
petrol to aircraft carriers at sea was among the exercises which had their
place in the programme.
14. Meanwhile at
Mandapam, the newly formed 22nd Minesweeping Flotilla was also
working up in readiness to join the British Pacific Fleet. At the same time all available auxiliary
minesweepers were assembling at
operations on the Burma Coast.
Appendix I - Shipping
Commander in Chief, East Indies Station letter No. 472/E.I. 1409/Ops
11TH February 1945.
Eastern Fleet War Diary – Appendix I – Shipping
All shipping continued to run free of trade convoy
throughout the East Indies Station, there being no appreciable U boat threat.
In view of the possibility of U boats operating off the
South and West Coast of Australia, shipping to and from Australia continued to
be route south of 34 degrees South when crossing the chop line 100 degrees
TROOP AND SPECIAL
ABF.6B Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
BANN and LOCHY sailed Aden on 22nd
BAF.7 Six troopships escorted by H.M.S.
BANN, PLYM, TRENT, and LOCHY sailed from Bombay 12th
BAF.8 One troopship escorted by H.M.S.
BANN and LOCHY sailed Bombay 30th
December and arrived Aden on 4th
AP.75A (n.b. in list as BP7.5A, pen corrected to
AP7.5) One troopship escorted by HALLADALE
and arrived Hormuz 17th December.
BP.121 One troopship escorted by H.M.I.S.
ROHILKAND and KHYBER sailed Karachi on 3rd
and arrived Hormuz 5th December.
BP.122 One troopships escorted by H.M.I.S.
ROHILKAND and KHYBER sailed Karachi on 20th
and arrived Hormuz 22nd December.
PB.88 One troopship escorted by
H.M.I.S. ROHILKAND and KHYBER sailed Hormuz and arrived Karachi 31st
CM.59A One troopship by H.M.S. LINARIA and
later by H.M.S. GORLESTON sailed Kilindini 29th November and arrived
CM.59B Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
BANFF, JASMINE, and LINARIA sailed Kilindini on 24th December and
MC.14 Three troopships escorted by
H.M.S. FALMOUTH, GENISTA, and HONESTY sailed Aden on 14th
and arrived Kilindini on 22nd December. Two troopships escorted by H.M.S. FALMOUTH,
FREESIA, and GENISTA sailed Kilindini on 24th December and arrived Durban on 30th
December. This convoy was accompanied by
H.M.S. VALIANT from Aden to Durban.
CX.36 One troopship escorted by
H.M.I.S. RAJPUTANA and
OUDH sailed Colombo on 13th
and arrived Addu Atoll on 17th December.
XC.35 One troopship escorted by
H.M.I.S. RAJPUTANA and
Addu Atoll on 19th and arrived Colombo on 21st
CH.58 Two troopships escorted by
H.M.I.S. KATHIAWAR sailed Chittagong on 3rd
and arrived Sandhead on 4th December.
CH.58A Two troopships escorted by H.M.I.S.
Chittagong on 4th
and arrived Sandhead on 5th December.
CH.59 Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
ROCKROSE and H.M.I.S. PUNJAB sailed Chittagong on 7th
and arrived Sandhead on 9th December.
CH.60 Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
AWE and H.M.I.S. CARNATIC sailed Chittagong on 8th
and arrived Sandhead on 9th December.
CH.60A Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
AWE and H.M.I.S. ORISSA sailed Chittagong on 11th
and arrived Sandhead on 12th December.
CH.61 Two troopships escorted by
H.M.I.S. KATHIAWAR and
BIHAR sailed Chittagong on 12th
and arrived Sandhead on 13th December.
CH.62 Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
Chittagong on 15th
and arrived Sandhead 16th December.
CH.62A One troopships and one special ship
escorted by H.M.I.S. PUNJAB sailed Chittagong on 15th
and arrived Sandhead on 16th December.
HC.86 Four troopships escorted by H.M.I.S.
BIHAR sailed Sandheads
on 1st and arrived Chittagong on 2nd
HC.87 Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
ROCKROSE and H.M.I.S. PUNJAB sailed Sandheads on 5th and arrived Chittagong on 6th
HC.88 Two troopships escorted by H.M.S.
AWE and H.M.I.S. CARNATIC sailed Sandheads on 7th and arrived Chittagong on 8th
HC.88A One special ship escorted by
H.M.I.S. ORISSA sailed Sandheads on 9th and arrived Chittagong on 11th
HC.89 Two troopships escorted by
H.M.I.S. KATHIAWAR and
Sandheads on 10th and arrived Chittagong on 11th
HC.90 Three troopships escorted by
H.M.S. ROCKROSE and H.M.I.S. PUNJAB sailed Sandheads on 13th and
JA.1 One troopship escorted by H.M.S.
Aden on 17th
JC.70 Three troopships escorted by
H.M.S. JED and SHOREHAM sailed Colombo on 3rd
Chittagong on 10th
JC.70A One troopship and one special ship
escorted by H.M.I.S. HINDUSTAN sailed Colombo on 11th
Chittagong on 19th
JC.70B One troopship escorted by H.M.I.S.
BALUCHISTAN sailed Colombo on 21st
Madras on 24th
CJ.44A One troopship and one special trip
escorted by H.M.S. NIGELLA, CESSNOCK, and IPSWICH sailed Vizagapatam 29th
November and arrived Colombo 4th
US – SU U.S.S. GENERAL BUTNER escorted by
H.M.S. WHELP and WAGER sailed Bombay 1st
December. Destroyers parted company on
crossing 5 degrees south and U.S.S. GENERAL BUTNER proceeded independently to Melbourne.
GENERAL POPE sailed Melbourne on 28th
November and was met by H.M.S. URSA and UNDAUNTED in 5 degrees South on 8th
December being escorted to Bombay where
she arrived on 11th December.
GENERAL POPE escorted by H.M.S. URSA and UNDAUNTED sailed Bombay 16th
December and was met by H.M.S. LONDON on 19th December. Destroyers parted company on 20th,
H.M.S. LONDON continued as escort till 24th. U.S.S. GENERAL POPE arrived Melbourne on 29th
ADMIRAL BENSON sailed from Melbourne on 17th
December and was met by H.M.S. ROEBUCK and RELENTLESS in 5 degrees South on 27th
being escorted to Bombay where
she arrived on 30th December.
Heavy lift ship BELRAY escorted by H.M.S. HIND and SHOREHAM
Chittagong on 13th
and arrived in the Naaf River on 14th
sailed again on 16th and arrived at Sandhead on 17th
At the end of the month, the following number of escort
vessels were undergoing refit or major repairs or were on passage to or from
Escort Force 4
to be loaned to Kilindini Escort on completion of her refit.
DE BRAZZA has sailed for United
Kingdom for refit.
Area of operations, click to enlarge