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Thread: British Coastal Convoys WWII

  1. #21
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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Patricia Meiring View Post
    I would be grateful if members can assist me with the following question :

    During WWII my father served as an engineer in the merchant navy. Many of his voyages in the Atlantic and Mediterranean were escorted but the following trips were sailed in convoy but not escorted. I believe that generally ships did not stop to assist another in the convoy if a ship was attacked as it put the whole convoy in danger. Was this the case with coastal convoys where there was no rescue ships?


    FN convoys - Thames to Firth of Forth

    8 December, 1942 no escorts
    May, 1943 no escorts
    November, 1943 no escorts

    EN convoys - from Methil, Fife, Scotland to Oban via Loch Ewe.
    December, 1942 no escorts
    May, 1943 - no escorts
    December, 1943 no escorts

    WN convoys - from Clyde, Oban, Loch Ewe around the north of Scotland to Firth of Forth
    April, 1943 no escorts
    October, 1943 no escorts from Loch Ewe


    FS Firth of Forth to the Thames
    April, 1943 no escorts
    October, 1943 no escorts

    BB - Belfast to the Bristol channel
    June, 1943 no escorts

    Thankyou in anticipation of your assistance.

    Patricia
    Thanks Patricia - an interesting topic for me as I held a Dormant Appointment, for many years as a Coastal Convoy Commodore, operating out of Milford Haven - and actually got to fly my flag aboard an offshore patrol vessel, on a major NATO exercise!
    Coastal Convoys during WW2 operated along swept channels, often escorted by armed trawlers, due to the acute shortage of ocean convoy escorts such as corvettes and frigates. In theory, the swept channels were guarded by the RAF, operating from UK airfields, but once again, the shortage of assets often meant that no suitable aircraft were available. The swept channels were frequently kept clear of mines by minesweeping trawlers, and when available, inshore minesweepers.

    I can thoroughly recommend the following book:-

    Coastal Convoys 1939-1945: The Indestructible Highway (Paperback)
    Nick Hewitt's excellent book, using official records from the National Archives personal accounts from the Imperial War Museum and other sources, Coastal Convoys 1939 - 1945: The Indestructible Highway describes Britain's dependence on coastal shipping and the introduction of the convoy system in coastal waters at the outset of the war. It beings to life the hazards of the German mining offensive of 1939, the desperate battles fought in coastal waters during 1940 and 1941, and the long struggle against German air and naval forces which lasted to the end of the Second World War.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    [QUOTE=Patricia Meiring;391105]I would be grateful if members can assist me with the following question :

    During WWII my father served as an engineer in the merchant navy. Many of his voyages in the Atlantic and Mediterranean were escorted but the following trips were sailed in convoy but not escorted. I believe that generally ships did not stop to assist another in the convoy if a ship was attacked as it put the whole convoy in danger. Was this the case with coastal convoys where there was no rescue ships?


    I could be wrong, I was once, but were rescue ships not RN but merchant ships ?

    My uncles very first convoy as a fireman was on SS HONTESTROOM. He was rescued from the sinking ship in Iceland. I can't imagine what that was like. 1st trip, working below the water line and sunk.

    SS HONTESTROOM was the first British Rescue Ship (research suggests it was a different ship called "Beachy") Her job was to travel with a convoy's naval escorts into the part of the Atlantic known as the Western Approaches, and to pick up survivors from any ships that were sunk in that area. She was a "coaster", designed to sail the more sheltered waters between London and Amsterdam, and once she ventured out into the rougher North Atlantic, she was found to be unseaworthy.
    During research I found this quote from a crewmember. "Charlie's main memories from his time aboard her involved putting to sea in pouring rain, being continually wet, and ducking and diving under the waves to such a degree that, in Charlie's own words: "She spent more time under the water than she did on top!" "And," Charlie continued, "I bet not many blokes have sailed on a coal burning submarine!"
    My uncle continued serving as a fireman on numerous convoys from the Artic, Atlantic, Med,etc. until the end of 1947 when he "jumped ship" in Australia.
    Last edited by David Robins; 17th November 2021 at 02:14 PM.

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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    I lived with my gran and ernie smallin the 50s and 60s during my seagoing career....he was chief officer on the coastal vessel ss new minster....the convoy going south from the tyne in 1940 .......the SS leo of hul was bombed and sunk in a large attack from stuka aicraft the master of the newminster asked for volunteers to go in the jolly boat ....he stepped up along with the steward and iether an AB or a fireman ......the jolly boat picked up some seaman but they then had to put some already gone to pick up some still alive and needing help ......the jolly boat a clinker built boat mainly used for sculling fro vessel to jetty was machine gunned by a stuka who was so low he could see the pilots face ......the boat was leaking ....the life jackts of the time were cork ...the cork was cut and forced into the holes in the jolly boat.....he was awardedMBE LODS MEDAL FOR BRAVERY AT SEA AND ROBIN EMILE AWARD FOR RESCUE OF SEAFARERS AND FISHERMEN .......SADLY THESE WERE SOLD AFTER HIS DEMISE BY Afamily member to pay an electric bill ......i tied to buy then but found another member of his family had purchased them from the medal collector ....so it should be ...he told me this as we shared a docking bottle of brandy his favourite in the late 50s or 60s....i was in ore carriers at that time.....he was a fine man....sadsly ending up firewatching on the norske mailboats in the tyne ......wrack.ed with bronchitis ......and eventually setting fire to his sofa while falling asleep with his pipe from which he sadly passed......the jolly boat was picked up later by a RN destroyer .....he was a great mentor to me and is sadly missed......his sense of humour was endless ...ie on coming ito the tyne from seven islands my girlfriend who is now my wife had come to my grans house ...we were canoodling in the best room whengranny knocked on the door ans asked did i want fish fingers for tea......much to my suprise he shouted they have been in there half an hour and if he hasnt got fish fingers i will eat my hat.....cappy from shields

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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by j.sabourn View Post
    #1. Patricia although you point out the fact of non protected coastal convoys you forget to mention they had air coverage , much more formidable than corvettes with a much more greater striking power against u boats and e boats . Coastal command had a good success rate I believe and were within minutes of any such convoys. JS
    My father was a Spitfire pilot based on airfields in Cornwall and Dorset (10 Group). Although in 1941 fighter squadrons started to get more involved in offensive operations most of the 'bread and butter' operations were patrols including the support of our shipping against aerial attacks from German planes based in France. Many of his operational flights recorded in the squadron's ORB 541 were convoy or shipping escorts. For individual ships they were at section strength, patrolling a nominated vector in which ships were - for convoys these were at flight strength. They would rotate the cover with other squadrons in the same wing. He was Duty Pilot at RAF Warmwell in July 1941 when he was 'sent up' to help a flight that was on convoy escort duty and had got into a scrap with German aircraft. He never found them, but returning to base he saw something in the water and went to investigate. A barrage balloon floating on the water, probably still attached to a sunken ship. He was bounced by a couple of ME109s and shot down. Thankfully, only a month earlier fighter pilots were given K type (inflatable) dinghys attached to their parachutes. He spent many hours in one before being picked up by a German patrol boat. Without a liferaft, life expectancy in the water was very limited. He spent the rest of the four years of WW2 in German prison camps for airmen.

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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    I have the official book of all Naval and Merchant ships lost during the second world war. This incudes Warships and auxiliary craft, every barge, Landing craft ,ships and barges. Motor torpedo boats, etc. Every British Merchant ship, fishing vessels, even those lost through miscellaneous war causes other than enemy action.
    Don't know if it is available now
    Des
    Lest We Forget

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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    What does it say for the Blythmoor Des think I got the year right 1944. ? JS
    R575129

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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    Hi John.
    The Blythmoor of 6,580 tons was attacked by aircraft and bombed on the 10 of April 1940 at Narvik and was was sunk or seized. For some reason she is listed twice in the book, but with the same write up.
    Des
    Lest We Forget

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    Default Re: British Coastal Convoys WWII

    Members may find the attached of interest in describing early arrangements for coastal convoys including the role played by the RAF.

    https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/...N-I/index.html

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