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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS BALSAM (K 72) - Flower-class Corvette
including Convoy Escort Movements

 HMS Balsam (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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RIVER-Class Frigate ordered on 29th October 1940 from G. Brown of Greenock and to be named CHELMER. However this was changed and build was to be for a  FLOWER-Class Corvette. The ship was laid down as Job No 1453 (Yard No 224) on 16th April.1941 and intended to be named CHELMER. The ship was launched as HMS BALSAM on 30th May 1942. Build was completed on 28th November 1942 , and she had been adopted by the civil community of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in January 1942. Radar and an anti-submarine Ahead Throwing Mortar (HEDGEHOG) were both fitted during build

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1943-45 - NORMANDY 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944-45

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

No Badge is recorded in the official List of Crests.

This is not unusual for ships of this Class built during WW2

but many had an unofficial Badge.

 

 

S u m m a r y   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e

 

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

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

November          Contractors trials.

             28th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

 

December           Carried out trials in Clyde.

              2nd        Sailed to Tobermory from Clyde

                             (Note: Nominated initially for service at Gibraltar )

             17th         Retained in Western Approaches.

                             (Note: This may have been due to work-up requirements.)

             24th.        Joined 37the Escort Group on completion of work-up for operational service.

                             Deployed as part of escort for outward Convoy KMS6 during passage to Gibraltar.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January

               3rd         Detached from KMS6 with Ďcondenseritis', and took independent passage to Gibraltar.

             11th         On completion of repair deployed as part of escort for inward Convoy MKS5 to Liverpool.

             25th         Arrived at Liverpool

 

February

               6th         Deployed as part of escort of Convoy KMS9 during passage to Gibraltar.

                              Returned to Liverpool with escort for inward Convoy MKF9.

              24th        Transferred to 39th Escort Group and joined HM Corvettes COLTSFOOT, MIGNONETTE,

                              and SPIRAEA.

                              (Note: See ALLIED CONVOY SYSTEM IN WW2 by A Hague for details of dates.)

 

March

                6th        Deployed as part of escort for outward Convoy OS44 during passage from Liverpool to West

                              Africa.

              12th        Under heavy U-Boat attacks.

                              (See U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO) and HITLERíS U ĖBOAT WAR by

                              C Blair.)

              24th        Arrived at Freetown with OS44.

              31st         Sailed from Freetown a part of escort for inward Convoy SL127 during passage to Liverpool.

 

April

              23rd        Arrived at Liverpool with SL127.

 

May

                5th        Deployed with ships of Group for escort of outward joint Convoy OS47/KMS14 during

                              Atlantic passage from Liverpool.

              16th        Remained with Convoy OS47 with ships of Group as escort during passage to Freetown

                              when Convoy KMS14 detached to proceed to Gibraltar.

              25th        Detached from OS47 on arrival at Freetown.

              30th        Sailed Freetown SL130 As escort during passage to Liverpool.

 

June

              11th        Remained as escort for joint convoy when Convoy MKS14 merged with SL130

              21st        Detached on arrival of joint convoy at Liverpool.

 

July

                5th        Joined joint convoy OS51/KMS20 as escort during Atlantic passage from Liverpool with

                              HM Corvettes COLTSFOOT, AZALEA, GERANIUM and MIGNONETTE.

              13th        Remained as escort of Convoy OS51 when ships of Convoy KMS20 detached and took

                              passage to Gibraltar.

              15th        During attack on OS51 by U135 one mercantile was damaged.

                              Carried out depth charge attacks with HM Sloop ROCHESTER and MIGNONETTE which

                              forced submarine to surface.

                              (Note: U135 was then rammed and sunk by this attack and 41 of the crew were taken prisoner.

                                         For details see U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR

                                         by C Blair.)

              23rd        Detached from OS51 on arrival at Freetown

              28th.       Deployed as escort with ships of Group for inward Convoy SL134 during passage from

                              Freetown. to Liverpool.

 

August

              12th        Under air attacks by FW aircraft.

              19th        Detached from SL134 on arrival.

              28th        Deployed with HM Corvettes SPIRAEA, ALISMA, GERANIUM, and AZALEA as escort for

                              joint convoy OS54/KMS25 during Atlantic passage.

 

September

               4th         Convoy sighted by U515 which then was shadowed

               5th         Under attempted night surface torpedo attacks by U515 which forced to submerge after being

                              sighted.

                              (Note: HM Frigate TAVY carried out depth charge attacks after sonar contact and seriously

                                          damaged U515 which the had to return to base. See above references.)

               8th         Remained with escort for OS54 when ships of KMS25 detached and took passage to Gibraltar.

              17th        Detached from OS54 on arrival at Freetown

                              Nominated for Local Escort of convoy from Gibraltar

 

October

               1st         Took passage to join Convoy RS10 during passage to Sierra Leone from Gibraltar.

              10th        Rejoined ships of Group at Freetown.

              13th        Sailed from Freetown with ships of Group as escort for inward Convoy SL138during passage

                              to Liverpool

              24th        Remained with escort when Convoy KMS25 from Gibraltar merged with SL138.

              27th        Convoy sighted by German aircraft

              29th        Convoy sighted by U262 which summoned support for a major attack on joint convoy.

              31st        Under attack by U262, U333 and U306.

                              (Note: Escort for joint convoy included HM Destroyers WHITEHALL and WRESTLER. HM

                                           Frigate  TAVY, HM Sloops ROCHESTER, HASTINGS and SCARBOROUGH and

                                           Corvettes of 39th Escort Groups. HM Auxiliary AA Ship ALYNBANK was also

                                           deployed to provide additional AA defence.

                                           U306 was sunk by. HMS WHITEHALL and HM Corvette GERANIUM in defence of

                                           the convoy. See above references for details.)

 

November

               5th         Detached from joint convoy on arrival at Liverpool

              16th        Deployed with ships of Group as escort for joint Convoy OS59/KMS33 during Atlantic

                              passage from Liverpool

              28th        Remained with escort for OS59 when KMS33 detached and took passage to Gibraltar.

              29th        Detached from OS59 during passage to Freetown.

                              (Note: It is presumed ship went to Gibraltar.)

 

December

               3rd         Sailed from Gibraltar as part of escort for Convoy MKS32 during passage to join Convoy

                              SL141 on passage from Freetown.

               4th         Joined joint escort for merged convoy SL141/MKS32 during passage to Liverpool.

                              (Note: HM Escort Aircraft Carrier FENCER was deployed to provide air cover for this

                                           passage.)

                8th        Under air attacks, driven off by HMS FENCER aircraft

              10th        Further air attacks repelled by aircraft from HMS FENCER.

              15th        Detached from S141/KMS32 before arrival at Liverpool.

                              Passage to Manchester for refit

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                Under refit in commercial shipyard.

               7th         On completion of post refit trials took passage to Tobemory for work-up.

              19th         Sustained damage by grounding during work-up

 

February              Under repair.

to

March

 

April                     Carried out post refit trials and resumed work-up

              28th         On completion rejoined Western Approaches Command.

 

 May                     Detached for support of planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)

                              Allocated for service in Escort Group 106 with HM Corvette ABELIA.

                              Took part in preparatory exercise for NEPTUNE

                              (For details of naval activities before and during NEPTUNE, see LANDINGS IN

                              NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO). OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards

                              and for  information about all mercantiles and warships involved D-DAY SHIPS

                              by J de Winser.).

 

June                      Passage to Milford Haven to join HM Destroyer VANQUISHER, HM Frigate STRULE,

                              HMS ABELIA and two Motor Launches on formation of EG106.

                              Nominated for escort of Build-up Convoy EBM3.

               4th         Operation delayed 24 hours.

                              Passage to join EBM3 in Bristol Channel. as escort during passage to Isle of Wight.

                              (Note: Convoy comprised 111empty supply ships to be loaded at designated south coast

                                         port.).

               5th         Joined by HM Trawlers CALDY and GWEAL during passage off Start Point,

                              Joined later by HM Canadian Corvettes MOOSEJAW and  ARTHUR.

               6th         Detached from EBM3 during embarkation of vehicles.

               7th         Rejoined EBM3 for escort during passage through Swept Channel.

                              Detached from EBM3 on arrival at US Beach Head in Western Task Force area.

                              Passage to Falmouth from Beach Head.

               8th         Deployed for escort of Build-up convoys.

 

July                       Transferred to Portsmouth after release from NEPTUNE.

                              Deployed for escort and anti-submarine patrol in English Channel.

August                 Channel convoy escort in continuation.

 

September            Joined 41st Escort Group for escort of Atlantic convoys in SW Approaches and

                              Channel based at Devonport.

                              Escorted for inward Convoy HX308 in SW Approaches during passage to Liverpool

                              Escorted outward convoy ON255 during passage from Southend in Channel.

 

October                Escorted outward Convoy ON259 during passage in Channel from Southend.

                              Escorted inward Convoy HX312 during passage to Liverpool

 

November            Escorted joint Convoy SL176/MKS67 during passage to Liverpool

 

December             Escort outward Convoy ON270 during passage in Channel from Southend

                              Escorted inward Convoy HX322 during passage to Liverpool.

                              Escorted inward Convoy MKS71 during passage to Liverpool.

                              Escorted inward Convoy MKS72  during passage to Liverpool.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                Escorted outward Convoy ON278 in Channel during passage from Southend

                              Escorted inward Convoy HX330 during passage to Liverpool

                              Escorted outward Convoy ON279 in Channel during passage from Southend

                              Escorted inward Convoy HX331 during passage to Liverpool

                              Escorted outward Convoy ON280 in Channel during passage from Southend

                              Escorted inward Convoy HX332 during passage to Liverpool

 

 February             Escorted inward Convoy KMS84 during passage to Liverpool

                              Escorted inward Convoy  KMS82 during passage to Liverpool.

                              Escorted outward Convoy ON287 in Channel during passage from Southend.

 

March                  Escorted inward Convoy HX339 during passage to Liverpool

                              Escorted outward Convoy ON289 in Channel during passage from Southend

                              Escorted inward Convoy HX341 during passage to Liverpool

                              Nominated for refit at Cardiff

              24th        Taken in hand for refit in commercial shipyard.

 

April                     Under refit

to

May

 

June                      Nominated for Paying-of and to be reduced to Reserve status

              13th         On completion of post refit trials took passage to Milford Haven.

                              Paid-off and de-stored

 

July                       On completion of reduction, laid-up at Milford Haven.

 

P o s t   R e f i t   N o t e s

 

HMS BALSAM was placed on the Disposal List in 1947 and sold to BISCO for demolition by J Cashmore at Newport, Glamorgan. The ship arrived in tow at the breakerís yard on 20th April 1947

 

 


 

Addenda

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS BALSAM

by Don Kindell

These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

24/12/42

24/12/42

KMS 006G

05/01/43

09/01/43

05/01/43

11/01/43

MKS 005

22/01/43

22/01/43

06/02/43

06/02/43

KMS 009G

16/02/43

20/02/43

17/02/43

19/02/43

MKF 009

24/02/43

24/02/43

06/03/43

07/03/43

OS 044

24/03/43

24/03/43

31/03/43

31/03/43

SL 127

21/04/43

15/04/43

05/05/43

06/05/43

OS 047KM

16/05/43

16/05/43

16/05/43

16/05/43

OS 047

25/05/43

25/05/43

30/05/43

30/05/43

SL 130

11/06/43

11/06/43

11/06/43

11/06/43

SL 130MK

21/06/43

21/06/43

04/07/43

05/07/43

OS 051KM

13/07/43

13/07/43

13/07/43

13/07/43

OS 051

23/07/43

23/07/43

28/07/43

28/07/43

SL 134

19/08/43

19/08/43

27/08/43

28/08/43

OS 054KM

08/09/43

08/09/43

01/10/43

01/10/43

RS 010

07/10/43

07/10/43

13/10/43

13/10/43

SL 138

24/10/43

24/10/43

24/10/43

24/10/43

SL 138MK

05/11/43

05/11/43

16/11/43

16/11/43

OS 059KM

28/11/43

28/11/43

28/11/43

28/11/43

KMS 033G

29/11/43

29/11/43

03/12/43

03/12/43

MKS 032G

04/12/43

04/12/43

04/12/43

04/12/43

SL 141MK

13/12/43

17/12/43

03/06/44

03/06/44

EBM 003

unknown

07/06/44

12/07/44

12/07/44

EPM 002

12/07/44

12/07/44

17/08/44

17/08/44

EBC 075

19/08/44

19/08/44

27/08/44

27/08/44

ETM 067

28/08/44

28/08/44

08/09/43

08/09/44

OS 054

17/09/44

17/09/43

13/09/44

26/09/44

HX 308

29/09/44

28/09/44

12/10/44

12/10/44

ON 259

unknown

29/10/44

05/10/44

19/10/44

HX 312

21/10/44

21/10/44

10/10/44

23/10/44

HX 313

25/10/44

24/10/44

18/11/44

23/11/44

SL 176MK

24/11/44

24/11/44

03/12/44

03/12/44

ON 270

06/12/44

22/12/44

24/11/44

06/12/44

HX 322

09/12/44

08/12/44

16/12/44

22/12/44

MKS 071G

23/12/44

24/12/44

21/12/44

28/12/44

MKS 072G

30/12/44

30/12/44

26/12/44

02/01/45

MKS 073G

04/01/45

04/01/45

07/01/45

07/01/45

ON 277

10/01/45

23/01/45

29/12/44

11/01/45

HX 329

14/01/45

12/01/45

12/01/45

12/01/45

ON 278

15/01/45

31/01/45

03/01/45

16/01/45

HX 330

17/01/45

17/01/45

17/01/45

17/01/45

ON 279

20/01/45

05/02/45

08/01/45

20/01/45

HX 331

23/01/45

22/01/45

22/01/45

22/01/45

ON 280

25/01/45

09/02/45

10/02/45

10/02/45

OS 110KM

14/02/45

15/02/45

09/02/45

14/02/45

MKS 082G

17/02/45

17/02/45

07/02/45

19/02/45

HX 337

21/02/45

21/02/45

25/02/45

25/02/45

ON 287

28/02/45

14/03/45

18/02/45

01/03/45

HX 339

03/03/45

03/03/45

07/03/45

07/03/45

ON 289

12/03/45

25/03/45

28/02/45

12/03/45

HX 341

15/03/45

15/03/45

18/03/45

18/03/45

TBC 101

21/03/45

21/03/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys) 

 

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