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ADMIRALTY WAR DIARIES of WORLD WAR 2

 

EASTERN FLEET - 22 November to 30 December 1944

 

Transcribed by Don Kindell

HMS Begum, escort carrier (Arthur Batty, click to enlarge)

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China, East Indies, Australia & New Zealand Stations September 1939 to March 1942

 

       
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Enclosure to Commander in Chief, East Indies Station letter No. 472/E.I. 1409/Ops

Dated 11th February 1945.

 

EASTERN FLEET WAR DIARY

22 NOVEMBER to 30 DECEMBER 1944

 

PART I

At 0800 on 22nd November the flag of Admiral Sir Arthur J. Power, KCB, CVO, as Commander in Chief East 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 operations.

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 Indian Ocean.

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 Escort Group.

5.  On 8th December, H.M.A. Ships NAPIER (D 7) and NEPAL arrived at Chittagong 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.

SUMATRA STRIKE

7.  The strike against Japanese bases in Northern Sumatra (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 successful.

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 Penang.

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 Trincomalee for Chittagong.

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, JUMNA, and 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 UP

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 Chittagong for operations on the Burma Coast.

Enclosure:

Appendix I - Shipping

 

Enclosure to Commander in Chief, East Indies Station letter No. 472/E.I. 1409/Ops

Dated 11TH February 1945.

Eastern Fleet War Diary – Appendix I – Shipping

 

CONVOYS

All shipping continued to run free of trade convoy throughout the East Indies Station, there being no appreciable U boat threat.

ROUTEING

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 East.

TROOP AND SPECIAL CONVOYS

ABF.6B             Two troopships escorted by H.M.S. BANN and LOCHY sailed Aden on 22nd and arrived Bombay 27th December.

BAF.7               Six troopships escorted by H.M.S. BANN, PLYM, TRENT, and LOCHY sailed from Bombay 12th and arrived Aden 17th December.

BAF.8               One troopship escorted by H.M.S. BANN and LOCHY sailed Bombay 30th December and arrived Aden on 4th January

AP.75A            (n.b. in list as BP7.5A, pen corrected to AP7.5) One troopship escorted by HALLADALE sailed Aden 13th 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 December

CM.59A            One troopship by H.M.S. LINARIA and later by H.M.S. GORLESTON sailed Kilindini 29th November and arrived Aden 5th December.

CM.59B            Two troopships escorted by H.M.S. BANFF, JASMINE, and LINARIA sailed Kilindini on 24th December and arrived Aden 1st January.

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 OUDH sailed Addu Atoll on 19th and arrived Colombo on 21st December.

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. BIHAR sailed 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. ROCKROSE sailed 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. KATHIAWAR and BIHAR sailed Sandheads on 1st and arrived Chittagong on 2nd December.

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 December.

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 December.

HC.88A             One special ship escorted by H.M.I.S. ORISSA sailed Sandheads on 9th and arrived Chittagong on 11th December.

HC.89               Two troopships escorted by H.M.I.S. KATHIAWAR and BIHAR sailed Sandheads on 10th and arrived Chittagong on 11th December.

HC.90               Three troopships escorted by H.M.S. ROCKROSE and H.M.I.S. PUNJAB sailed Sandheads on 13th and arrived Chittagong 14th December.

JA.1                  One troopship escorted by H.M.S. TAY sailed Colombo 11th and arrived Aden on 17th December.

JC.70                Three troopships escorted by H.M.S. JED and SHOREHAM sailed Colombo on 3rd and arrive Chittagong on 10th December.

JC.70A              One troopship and one special ship escorted by H.M.I.S. HINDUSTAN sailed Colombo on 11th and arrived Chittagong on 19th December.

JC.70B              One troopship escorted by H.M.I.S. BALUCHISTAN sailed Colombo on 21st and arrived Madras on 24th December.

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 December.

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.

U.S.S. 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.

U.S.S. 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 December.

U.S.S. 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.

NAAF RIVER

Heavy lift ship BELRAY escorted by H.M.S. HIND and SHOREHAM sailed Chittagong on 13th and arrived in the Naaf River on 14th sailed again on 16th and arrived at Sandhead on 17th December.

ESCORT VESSELS

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 refit:

Aden Escort Force                     2

Kilindini Escort Force                 4

E.I.E.F.                                    13

                                               ___

                                               19

VERBENA to be loaned to Kilindini Escort on completion of her refit.

SAVORGNAN DE BRAZZA has sailed for United Kingdom for refit.

 


Area of operations, click to enlarge

 

on to Eastern Fleet, January to October 1945
back to Admiralty War Diaries

revised 19/01/11


 

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