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  British and Other Navies in World War 2 Day-by-Day
by Don Kindell

NAVAL EVENTS, MARCH 1942 (Part 2 of 2) (in outline only)
Sunday 15th - Monday 30th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Indomitable, fleet aircraft carrier (Paul/Maurice Whiteing, click to enlarge)

on to April-December 1942 in outline

 

Note: all vessels and aircraft are British unless otherwise identified or implied - click for abbreviations

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)

More information on naval events in this period may be found in:

 

ADMIRALTY WAR DIARIES

 


Background Events - March-May 1942

Russian convoys, Raid on St Nazaire, Battle of Sirte Gulf, SE Asia & SW Pacific occupied, British landings on Madagascar


 

 

1942

 

 

Sunday, 15 March

 

Destroyer VORTIGERN (Lt Cdr R S Howlett) was sunk by German motor torpedo boat S.104 off Cromer. Cdr Howlett, Temporary S/Lt J Gilmour RNVR, Lt P A B Powell and eleven ratings were killed, and S/Lt P Le M Andrew RNR, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt S L Bindermann RNVR, Temporary S/Lt H A Blackhall RNVR, Lt W H G Jones and one hundred and twenty seven ratings missing. Temporary Midshipman C H F D'Albiac RNR, and Acting Gunner (T) A G J H Watson were wounded. Patrol sloop GUILLEMOT, formerly escorting convoy FS,449, rescued the 14 survivors, but one rating died of wounds.

_____

 

Convoy ON.76 departed Liverpool 15 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

15th

naval trawlers Inchkeith, Killegray, Sanda, Scarba, New Zealand Tui

 

16th

destroyers Restigouche, St Francis, corvettes Buctouche, Cobalt, Dunvegan, Napanee

 

23rd

 

St Francis

26th

 

Inchkeith, Killegray, Sanda, Scarba, Tui, Buctouche, Napanee

28th

 

Restigouche, Dunvegan

convoy arrived Halifax 31 March

_____

 

German steamer NICOLE SCHIAFFINO (4969grt) was sunk by torpedo near Tromso.

_____

 

Convoy HX.180 departed Halifax 15 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

15th

destroyer Vanquisher, corvettes Lunenburg, Sudbury, Summerside, minesweeper Ungava

 

19th

American destroyer Edison, corvettes Clematis, Gentian, Pictou, Vervain

Vanquisher, Lunenburg, Sudbury, Summerside, Ungava

convoy arrived Liverpool 27 March

 

 

Monday, 16 March

 

Submarine UNBEATEN damaged Italian steamer PISANI (6339grt) south of Messina.

_____

 

An Albacore of 827 Squadron from aircraft carrier INDOMITABLE ditched in the Indian Ocean. Lt R B Park was rescued by armed merchant cruiser CORFU.

 

 

Tuesday, 17 March

 

Convoy OG.81 departed Liverpool 17 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

17th

sloop Black Swan, corvettes La Malouine, Bluebell, Myosotis, Stonecrop

 

27th

destroyer Vidette

 

28th

corvette Mallow

 

convoy arrived Gibraltar 29 March

_____

 

Convoy ON.77 departed Liverpool 17 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

18th

American destroyer Niblack, US coast guard cutter Ingham, corvettes Aconit, Barrie, Chambly, Mayflower, Rosthern

 

25th

 

Mayflower

26th

destroyer Vanquisher, corvettes Lunenburg, Sudbury, Summerside, Trail, minesweeper Ungava

Niblack, Ingham, Aconit, Barrie, Chambly, Rosthern

convoy dispersed 28 March

_____

 

Submarine UNBEATEN sank Italian submarine GUGLIELMOTTI off Calabria. Some twelve survivors were later rescued by a motor torpedo boat.

_____

 

Steamer CRISTA (2590grt) was damaged by U.83 near Tobruk in 32-21N, 25E, with two officers and five ratings killed. The survivors were taken off by South African minesweeping whaler BOKBURG. MTB.266 found CRISTA abandoned and anchored her off Bardia where the fire was put out and salvage begAn. She was towed by ST MONANCE, and escorted by SOUTHERN ISLE, ML.1005 and ML.1069 to Alexandria, arriving on the 28th.

_____

 

A Swordfish of 830 Squadron attacked and badly damaged German steamer ACHAIA (1778grt) in 32-53N, 13-40E. The Swordfish was shot down and S/Lt S C Shute and Midshipman G L Hilary killed. ACHAIA later struck a mine and sank.

 

 

Wednesday, 18 March

 

American convoy AS.2 departed Charleston, SC, 18 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

18th

heavy cruiser Devonshire, escort carrier Archer, American destroyers Cole, Dupont, Upshur

 

26th

 

Dupont

27th

 

Cole, Upshur

1st

French sloop Command Detroyat, British corvette Hydrangea

 

convoy arrived Freetown 3 April

ships proceeded as convoy AS.2A on 7 April

7th

Devonshire, destroyers Aldenham, Grove

 

convoy arrived Capetown 19 April

_____

 

Convoy SC.75 departed Halifax 18 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

18th

destroyers Lauderdale, Ramsey, corvettes Arrowhead, Chicoutimi, minesweeper Quinte

 

22nd

 

Quinte

24th

Polish destroyer Piorun, American Babbitt, Schenck, Woolsey, corvettes Heather, Lobelia, Narcissus

Lauderdale, Ramsey, Arrowhead, Chicoutimi

Babbitt, Schenck, Woolsey (later)

3rd

A/S trawler Man O War

 

convoy arrived Liverpool 3 April

 

 

Thursday, 19 March

 

Indian armed patrol trawler SOPHIE MARIE (1138grt) was sunk by a mine off the Andaman Islands.

Two ratings were killed and the rest of the crew rescued.

 

 

Friday, 20 March

 

Escort destroyer HEYTHROP (Lt Cdr R S Stafford) was sunk by U.652 in the eastern Mediterranean, with six ratings killed and ten missing.

_____

 

Convoy ST.17 departed Freetown, escorted by minesweepers CROMARTY and ROMNEY, and arrived at Takoradi on the 25th.

 

 

Saturday, 21 March

 

Convoy ON.78 departed Liverpool 21 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

22nd

corvettes Eyebright, Kamsack, Rimouski, Sherbrooke, Trillium

 

1st

destroyers Montgomery, Veteran, corvettes Nanaimo, Nipigon, Oakville

 

3rd

 

Eyebright, Kamsack, Rimouski, Sherbrooke, Trillium

convoy arrived Halifax 9 April

_____

 

Motor launches ML.129 and ML.132 departed Gibraltar on the 14th for Malta, but both were bombed and sunk off the coast of Algeria. Temporary S/Lt R P Cottrell RNVR and six ratings were killed or died of wounds, and the rest interned - Temporary Lt W S Strang RNVR at Bone, Lt A T Read RANVR, and Lt R W James RANVR of ML 132 also at Bone. A total of twenty three ratings were interned.

_____

 

Convoy HX.181 departed Halifax 21 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

21st

corvettes Fredericton, Matapedia, minesweeper Red Deer

 

22nd

destroyer Caldwell

 

24th

corvettes Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla

Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla (later)

25th

destroyers Burwell, Firedrake, corvette Abelia, Anemone

Fredericton, Matapedia, Red Deer, Caldwell

convoy arrived Liverpool 2 April

 

 

Sunday, 22 March

 

Destroyer KINGSTON (Cdr P. Somerville DSO, DSC) was sunk by German bombing at Malta.

_____

 

Convoy SL.103G departed Gibraltar 22 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

22nd

corvettes Campion, Coltsfoot, Coreopsis, Petunia, A/S trawler St Nectan

 

23rd

corvette Mallow

St Nectan

convoy rendezvoused with SL.103, 25 March, joined for passage to Liverpool

 

 

Monday, 23 March

 

TROOP CONVOY WS.17, UK TO SOUTH AFRICA AND INDIAN OCEAN

 

Convoy WS.17 assembled off Oversay on the 23rd, the following ships having sailed from Liverpool and the Clyde:

 

Glaucus

11C

 

Leopoldville

21C

 

Abosso

31C

(Vice Cdre)

Tamaroa

41C

 

Franconia

51C

(Cdre)

Almanzora

61C

 

Mataroa

71C

 

Largs Bay

81C

 

Port Wyndham

12C

 

Samaria

22C

 

Empress of Russia

32L

 

Duchess of Atholl

42L

 

Orion

52C

 

Cameronia

62C

 

Sobieski

72C

 

Bhutan

82C

 

Kina II

13C

 

Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt

23C

 

Oronsay

33L

 

Dominion Monarch

43L

 

Windsor Castle

53C

 

HMS Karanja

63C

HMS Adamant

73C

Rembrandt

83C

Dunedin Star

14C

 

City of Lincoln

24C

 

Arundel Castle

34L

 

Winchester Castle

44C

 

Nieuw Holland

54C

 

HMS Keren

64C

 

Clan Macdonald

74C

 

City of Edinburgh

84C

 

 

WS.17 departed Oversay 23 March for Freetown, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

23rd

aircraft carrier Illustrious, destroyers Antelope, Badsworth, Beverley, Boadicea, Inconstant, Javelin, Keppel, Leamington, Newport, Packenham, Rockingham, Volunteer

 

24th

cruiser Shropshire, armed merchant cruiser Alcantara, destroyers Aldenham, Grove, Lookout

 

25th

 

Newport

27th

 

Badsworth, Beverley, Keppel, Leamington, Volunteer

29th

 

Antelope

30th

 

Boadicea, Rockingham

31st

 

Illustrious, Inconstant, Javelin, Packenham

1st

destroyers Active, Anthony, Wild Swan, corvettes Commandant Detroyat, Hydrangea

 

6th

 

Shropshire, Alcantara, Aldenham, Grove, Lookout

Active, Anthony, Wild Swan, Commandant Detroyat, Hydrangea

WS.17 arrived Freetown 6 April

 

Destroyers BEVERLEYandNEWPORT were in collision on the 25th, the latter returning to harbour.

 

WS.17 split into two sections WS.17A and B, for passage from Freetown to South Africa.

 

WS.17A sailed 9 April with BHUTAN, CLAN MACDONALD, DOMINION MONARCH, DUCHESS OF ATHOLL, HMS KARANJA, HMS KEREN, LARGS BAY, ORONSAY, PORT WYNDHAM, REMBRANDT, SOBIESKI, WINCHESTER CASTLE, WINDSOR CASTLE. The formation is not known but was escorted by battleship MALAYA, cruiser HERMIONE and destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, INCONSTANT, JAVELIN, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, LIGHTNING and PACKENHAM, arriving at Capetown on the 18th with the Durban ships arriving on the 22nd.

 

WS.17B sailed two days after WS.17A, on the 11th, and here the formation is known:

 

Abosso

11

(Vice Cdre)

Tamaroa

21

 

Glaucus

31

 

Franconia

41

(Cdre)

Mataroa

51

 

Almanzora

61

 

Kina II

12

 

Empress of Russia

23

 

Leopoldville

32

 

Orion

42

 

Cameronia

52

 

City of Edinburgh

62

 

Dunedin Star

13

 

Samaria

22

(Rear Cdre)

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

33

 

Nieuw Holland

43

 

Arundel Castle

53

 

City of Lincoln

63

 

Heavy cruiser Shropshire and HMS Adamant between columns 4 and 5

 

WS.17B departed Freetown 11 April for Capetown, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

11th

local escort - destroyers Croome, Wild Swan, corvettes Commandant Drogou, Hydrangea

ocean escort - heavy cruiser Shropshire

also destroyer Exmoor, corvette Commandant de Troyat

 

14th

 

Croome, Wild Swan, Commandant Drogou, Hydrangea

15th

 

Exmoor, Commandant de Troyat

18th

sloop Milford

 

all WS.17B ships arrived Capetown 23 April, except Empress Of Russia, Franconia, Mataroa

which went on to Durban arriving there 26th

 

Once again under its original designation - WS.17, the convoy sailed from Capetown 27 April and from Durban 1 May to be joined by new ships from Port Elizabeth (the American BRAZIL, MORMACTIDE and MONTEREY). After the final rendezvous the convoy was formed as below. Numbers are suffixed C, D and P to indicate South African ports from which the ships sailed.

 

Almanzora

11C

 

Samaria

21C

 

Glaucus

31C

 

Windsor Castle

41D

(Cdre)

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

51C

 

Brazil

61P

 

Nova Scotia

12D

 

Cameronia

22C

 

City of Lincoln

32C

 

Kina II

42C

 

Elisabethville

52D

 

Monterey

62P

 

Khedive Ismail

13C

 

Mendoza

23D

 

City of Edinburgh

33C

 

Dunedin Star

43C

 

Nieuw Holland

53C

 

Mormactide

63P

 

 

battleship Revenge and HMS Adamant probably

between columns 3 and 4

Clan Macdonald

64

 

WS.17 departed Capetown 27 April and Durban 1 May, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

27th

cruiser Dauntless (from Capetown)

 

1st

ocean escort - battleship Revenge (from Durban)

 

7th

 

(Adamant independently for Mombasa)

8th

battleship Royal Sovereign, AMC Corfu

Dauntless, Revenge (with two port columns, Almanzora, Nova Scotia, Khedive Ismail, Samaria, Cameronia, Mendoza) for Mombasa

convoy WS.17 divided in 05. 30N 50. 02E on 11 May

 

WS.17A - CITY OF EDINBURGH, CITY OF LINCOLN, ELISABETHVILLE and GLAUCUS escorted by CORFU to Aden, dispersed on 14 May.

 

WS.17B - BRAZIL, CLAN MACDONALD, DUNEDIN STAR, JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT, KINA II, MORMACTIDE, MONTEREY, NIEUW HOLLAND and WINDSOR CASTLE detached as the Bombay convoy, escorted by ROYAL SOVEREIGN. BRAZIL, MORMACTIDE and MONTEREY then detached as independents on the 13 May for Karachi, the remainder arriving at Bombay on the 16th.

 

WS.17BZ the last convoy with the WS.17 code was made when the following ships sailed from Mombasa on 10 May:

 

Mendoza

11

 

Samaria

21

 

Almanzora

31

 

Cameronia

41

 

Chantilly

12

 

 

Nova Scotia

32

 

Khedive Ismail

42

 

 

WS.17B was escorted by armed merchant cruiser RANCHI to Bombay, arriving there 19 May, except for CHANTILLY and MENDOZA which detached as independents from position 09. 40N, 52.15E earlier on the 14th

_____

 

Convoy ON.79 departed Liverpool 23 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

24th

American destroyer Gleaves, US coast guard cutter Spencer, corvettes Algoma, Bittersweet, Chilliwack, Shediac

 

31st

 

Spencer

1st

destroyers Caldwell, St Clair, corvette Matapedia, minesweepers Fredericton, Red Deer

Chilliwack

3rd

 

Gleaves, Algoma, Bittersweet, Shediac

5th

 

St Clair, Red Deer

6th

 

Caldwell

convoy arrived Halifax 7 April

_____

 

Convoy SL.104 departed Freetown 23 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

24th

destroyer Wild Swan, sloop Commandant Detroyat, corvettes Bergamot, Snowdrop, Violet

 

26th

sloops Aberdeen, Ibis, escort ships Hartland, Walney

 

28th

 

Wild Swan, Commandant Detroyat, Bergamot, Snowdrop, Violet

12th

A/S trawlers Man O War, Kirkella (off Liverpool)

 

convoy arrived Liverpool 12 April with latter escort group and the two A/S trawlers

 

 

Tuesday, 24 March

 

Convoy OS.23 departed Liverpool 24 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

25th

sloops Rochester, Sandwich, Scarborough

 

26th

destroyer Bradford

 

10th

corvettes Aubretia, Petunia

 

convoy arrived Freetown 11 April

_____

 

An Albacore of 820 Squadron crashed on take off from Hatston. Lt W G R Beer, S/Lt D W Davis and Leading Airman W A Beardwell of 817 Squadron were lost.

_____

 

Convoy SC.76 departed Halifax 24 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

24th

destroyers Montgomery, Veteran, corvettes Nanaimo, Oakville, Orillia, minesweeper Nipigon

 

28th

destroyer Havelock, US Coast Guard cutter Campbell, corvettes Camellia, Morden, Pimpernel

Montgomery, Veteran, Nanaimo, Oakville, Orillia, Nipigon

6th

 

Havelock

9th

 

Morden

19th

naval trawler Butser

 

convoy arrived Liverpool 11 April, escorted in by Butser

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE and escort aircraft carrier ARCHER departed San Juan with a fast convoy for Freetown, all arriving 3 April.

_____

 

Escort destroyer SOUTHWOLD (Cdr C T Jellicoe) was sunk on a mine off Malta. Commissioned Engineer A C Harvey MBE and four ratings were killed.

 

 

Thursday, 26 March

 

Destroyer JAGUAR (Lt Cdr L R K Tyrwhitt DSC), escorting tanker SLAVOL with Greek destroyer QUEEN OLGA and anti-submarine whaler KLO, was sunk by U.652 in the Eastern Mediterranean in 31-53N, 26-18E. Cdr Tyrwhitt, S/Lt H J Ashby RNVR, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt A G Gregory RNVR and one hundred and ninety one ratings were missing, Lt P F Cole and Lt E G N Mansfield wounded, eight officers and 45 ratings picked up by KLO.

 

QUEEN OLGA returned to assist KLO, and tanker SLAVOL, now unescorted, was sunk by U.652. QUUEN OLGA rescued her survivors.

 

 

Friday, 27 March

 

Convoy ON.80 departed Liverpool 27 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

28th

destroyer Reading, corvettes Dauphin, Lethbridge, Primrose, Shawnigan, Sunflower.

 

10th

destroyer Witch, corvettes Saskatoon, The Pas, minesweeper Gananoque

Reading, Dauphin, Lethbridge, Primrose, Shawnigan, Sunflower.

14th

 

Witch, Saskatoon, The Pas, Gananoque

convoy arrived Halifax 15 April with The Pas

_____

 

Convoy HX.182 departed Halifax 27 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

27th

destroyers Verity, Witherington, corvettes Kenogmai, Snowberry, minesweeper Charlottetown

 

30th

American destroyers Mayo, Simpson, corvettes Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla, Rose

Verity, Witherington, Kenogmai, Snowberry, Charlottetown

7th

 

Mayo, Simpson, Acanthus, Potentilla, Rose

8th

 

Eglantine

convoy arrived Liverpool 9 April

 

 

Saturday, 28 March

 

RAID ON ST NAZAIRE

 

Destroyer CAMPBELTOWN (Lt Cdr S. H. Beattie) was expended to destroy the main lock gate at St Nazaire. Lt C H C Gough, Temporary Acting Gunner (T) H Hargreaves, Lt N T B Tibbits, Temporary Surgeon Lt W J Winthrope RCNVR, and twenty eight ratings were missing, and Cdr Beattie, Acting Warrant Engineer W H Lock and fourteen ratings were taken prisoner.

 

S/Lt G M Baker RCNVR, was lost in ML.447.

_____

 

Convoy ST.18 departed Freetown, escorted by sloop COMMANDANT DROGOU, corvette GENISTA and minesweeprs CROMER and POOLE, and arrived at Takoradi on 2 April.

 

 

Sunday, 29 March

 

Light cruiser TRINIDAD was damaged by the explosion of one her own torpedoes in the Arctic. Midshipman N E T. Simmons and seventeen ratings were killed.

_____

 

Convoy ON.81 departed Liverpool 29 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

30th

American destroyers Bristol, Buck, Edison, destroyer St Laurent, corvettes Dianella, Kingcup, Roselys

 

31st

corvette Loosestrife

 

convoy dispersed 9 April

_____

 

Submarine PROTEUS attacked an Italian convoy of steamers PIEMONTE, CRISPI, GALILEA, VIMINALE, ITALIA and AVENTINO, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CITTA DI NAPOLI, destroyer SEBENICO and torpedo boats BASSINI, CASTELFIDARDO and MOSTO. Steamer GALILEA (8040grt) was sunk. Later, on the 31st, she sank steamer BOSFORO (3648grt), escorted by destroyer STRALE, in36-54N, 21-18E.

 

 

Monday, 30 March

 

A Swordfish of 813 Squadron from North Front force landed between Ras el Farea and Ponta Pescadores, Spanish Morocco. S/Lt L G Morris, S/Lt J T Taylor, and Leading Airman E Casey were interned and later returned to Gibraltar.

_____

 

Convoy SC.77 departed Halifax 30 March, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

30th

destroyers Columbia, Walker, corvettes Calgary, Halifax, Midland

 

2nd

minesweeper Cowichan

 

3rd

destroyer Assiniboine, corvettes Amherst, Brandon, Dianthus, Fennel, Orillia

Columbia, Walker, Calgary, Halifax, Midland, Cowichan

11th

American destroyers Badger, Decatur, Leary, Schenck

 

12th

 

Assiniboine, Dianthus

14th

 

Badger, Decatur, Leary, Schenck

15th

naval trawler Butser

Amherst, Brandon, Fennel, Orillia

convoy arrived Liverpool 16 April with Butser

 

on to April-December 1942 in outline
or back to RN Day-by-Day Homepage

revised 8/4/12
further editing is required


 

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