For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

Wartime Diary of Joseph Byway

While serving in HMCS Fennel K194, HMS Arethusa, HMCS Algonquin R17

Courtesy of Judy McLaughlin

 


 

HMCS Fennel K194

 

14 Oct 1941 - drafted to ship (in refit at Dartmouth, NS)

 

20 Nov 1941 - Left Halifax

 

22 Nov 1941 - Arrived St. John's, Nfld

 

28 Nov 1941 - Left St. John's Nfld

 

12 Dec 1941 - Arrived Greenock, Scotland

 

24 Dec 1941 - Left Greenock, Scotland

 

25 Dec 1941 - Arrived Tobermory, Isle of Mull (working up exercises)

 

09 Jan 1942 - Left Tobermory

 

09 Jan 1942 - Arrived Greenock (tied up to Gourock dock)

 

13 Jan 1942 - Left Greenock

 

17 Jan 1942 - Arrived Reyjavik, Iceland

 

28 Jan 1942 - Left Reyjavik

 

08 Feb 1942 - Arrived St. John's, Nfld

 

20 Feb 1942 - Left St. John's, Nfld

 

23 Feb 1942 - Submarine attack (The Skeena, which was with another section of the convoy several miles off lost quite a few ships. The flames and explosions were very distinct from our position)

 

06 Mar 1942 - Arrived Londonderry

 

11 Mar 1942 - Left Londonderry

 

22 Mar 1942 - Arrived St John's, Nfld

 

03 Apr 1942 - Left St. John's, Nfld

 

17 Apr 1942 - Arrived Londonderry

 

20 Apr 1942 - Left Londonderry

 

21 Apr 1942 - Anchored off Moville (River Foyle)

 

22 Apr 1942 - Left Moville

 

04 May 1942 - Arrived St. John's, Nfld (submarine sighted outside gates of harbour, spent entire day of 03 May in search of same)

 

12 May 1942 - Left St. John's, Nfld

 

14 May 1942 - Arrived Sydney, NS

 

16 May 1942 - Left Sydney, NS

 

17 May 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

02 Jun 1942 - Left Halifax

 

03 Jun 1942 - Arrived Pictou, NS

 

03 Jun 1942 - Left Pictou, NS

 

04 Jun 1942 - Arrived Sydney

 

05 Jun 1942 - Left Sydney

 

08 Jun 1942 - Arrived St. John's, Nfld

 

13 Jun 1942 - Left St. John's, Nlfd

 

18 Jun 1942 - Arrived Boston, Mass.

 

19 Jun 1942 - Left Boston, Mass.

 

21 Jun 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

30 Jun 1942 - Left Halifax

 

02 Jul 1942 - Arrived Sydney

 

03 Jul 1942 - Left Sydney

 

06 Jul 1942 - Arrived St. John's, Nfld

 

06 Jul 1942 - Left St. John's, Nfld

 

08 Jul 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

10 Jul 1942 - Left Halifax

 

12 July 1942 - Arrived New York City for Refit  (at Brewers shipyard, Staten Island, via Long Island Sound and the East River)

 

25 Sep 1942 - Left New York

 

25 Sep 1942 - Arrived New London, Conn.

 

30 Sep 1942 - Left New London, Conn.

 

02 Oct 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

06 Oct 1942 - Left Halifax

 

06 Oct 1942 - Arrived St. Margaret's Bay, NS

 

10 Oct 1942 - Left St. Margaret's Bay

 

10 Oct 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

13 Oct 1942 - Left Halifax

 

17 Oct 1942 - Arrived New York

 

18 Oct 1942 - Left New York

 

21 Oct 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

27 Oct 1942 - Left Halifax

 

31 Oct 1942 - Arrived St. John's

 

02 Nov 1942 - Left St. John's

 

08 Nov 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

23 Nov 1942 - Left Halifax

 

24 Nov 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

26 Nov 1942 - Degaussing Range

 

27 Nov 1942 - Left Halifax

 

04 Dec 1942 - Arrived St. John's

 

05 Dec 1942 - Left St. John's

 

10 Dec 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

10 Dec 1942 - Left Halifax

 

14 Dec 1942 - Arrived New York (home for 3 day leave)

 

21 Dec 1942 - Left New York

 

24 Dec 1942 - Arrived Halifax

 

29 Dec 1942 - Left Halifax

 

05 Jan 1943 - Arrived St. John's

 

07 Jan 1943 - Left St. John's

 

15 Jan 1943 - Arrived New York

 

22 Jan 1943 - Left New York

 

25 Jan 1943 - Arrived Halifax

 

27 Jan 1943 - Left Halifax

 

01 Feb 1943 - Arrived St. John's

 

07 Feb 1943 - Left St. John's

 

13 Feb 1943 - Arrived Halifax

 

19 Feb 1943 - Left Halifax (A/S Sweep)

 

19 Feb 1943 - Arrived Halifax (Duty ship)

 

22 Feb 1943 - Left Halifax

 

25 Feb 1943 - Arrived New York

 

27 Feb 1943 - Left New York

 

08 Mar 1943 - Arrived Halifax

 

16 Mar 1943 - Left Halifax

 

17 Mar 1943 - Arrived Cape Cod Canal 1700 hrs

 

17 Mar 1943 - Left Cape Cod Canal 2200 hrs

 

18 Mar 1943 - Arrived New York City

 

20 Mar 1943 - Left New York City

 

30 Mar 1943 -Arrived St. John's

 

01 Apr 1943 - Left St. John's

 

05 Apr 1943 - Arrived Halifax, NS

 

07 Apr 1943 - Left Halifax, Arrived Dartmouth, NS

 

05 May 1943 - Left Dartmouth, Arrived Halifax

 

07 May 1943 - Left Halifax

 

09 May 1943 - Arrived Sydney, NS

 

09 May 1943 - Left Sydney, NS

 

10 May 1943 - Arrived Halifax

 

12 May 1943 - Left Halifax

 

14 May 1943 - Arrived St. John's

 

15 May 1943 - Left St. John's

 

22 May 1943 - Arrived New York

 

(gap in dates)

 

09 Jun 1943 - Left Halifax for St. John's to join Mid-Ocean Escort.

 

11 Jun 1943 - Arrived St. John's Friday after a smooth trip in the early afternoon. Went alongside tanker. 

 

11 Jun 1943 - Left St. John's. We slipped at 8:30 that evening without having shore leave. Engines developed trouble, so we were delayed until two in the morning, at which time we left to join our escort group.

 

12 Jun 1943 - Saturday - Smooth sailing. Sighted escort in late afternoon, it had already taken over convoy.

 

13 Jun 1943 - Sunday - A quiet day. this convoy is sure well protected. Seems as though there are more escorts than convoy.

 

14 Jun 1943 - Monday - and a very foggy day. We are still making good time though, averaging over nine knots.

 

15 Jun 1943 - Tuesday - Still foggy. Our convoy has not scattered so all is going well. A sub was DF'd by one of the escort so our position is now known. However the trip is still uneventful. the fog lifted late in the afternoon and it got quite rough.

 

16 Jun 1943 - Wednesday - Still rough. Today we oiled at sea. It was the first time that I had ever seen it done, so it helped break the monotony of another day at sea. Daylight hours now average from three a.m. until ten p.m.

 

17 Jun 1943 - Thursday - The sea has calmed down and is clear and smooth once more. Around two p.m. escorts astern of us dropped charges. We are now about half way across. Around four p.m. we were called to action stations. We were closed up for abut an hour and a half. Dropped twenty five charges on a sure thing. About two hours later the Chambly also made an attack. Tons of fun.

 

18 Jun 1943 - Friday - We had a very quiet evening, all but the weather. There was a squall around midnight. It calmed down around noon hour and fog closed in. Half of our escort left today for England. Only a couple of days to go now. Three ships did a stern sweep last night as a sub was reported on our trail.

 

19 Jun 1943 - Saturday - Raining during the early hours, but soon cleared up and turned out to be a swell day. We closed up at action stations for an hour but did not drop charges as we lost contact.

 

20 Jun 1943 - Sunday - Very rough. Gale warning received. One of escort dropped charges around 11 a.m. Kamloops sighted a mine. So here is the close of another trip. Tied at tanker about 11 p.m. Left for Derry 3 am.

 

21 Jun 1943 - Arrived Londonderry (visited the free state 29th)

 

30 Jun 1943 - Left Londonderry 

 

01 Jul 1943 - Arrived Londonderry

 

01 Jul 1943 - Left Londonderry

 

10 Jul 1943 - Arrived St. John's

 

12 Jul 1943 - Left St. John's

 

14 Jul 1943 - Arrived Sydney

 

15 Jul 1943 - Left Sydney

 

17 Jul 1943 - Arrived Halifax

 


 

20 Jul 1943 - Drafted off HMCS Fennel into Stad for an LTO Course

 

Autographs from shipmates and friends 1943

 

Given unto my hand 11th December 1943, From a grand friend which is your father. I am now signing this on the hopes of meeting you some day. Petty Officer Penny, J.F., T.G.M. P/JX123954

 

And Don't forget to keep the grand old Branch of the R.M. & R.C.N. A.1, which means efficiency and "Victory" J.F. Penny, PO T.G.M.

 

I have just met a fine man and his wife, they are your mother and father and believe me I've never had a more heartier reception anywhere.  W.A. Colman, P.O. R/M

 

Remember the Torpedo Branch, its the best in the Navy and only the cream are in it. Good Luck and the Very Best of Luck. W.H. Colman RO/RM

 


 

HMS Arethusa

 

20 Nov 1943 - Arrived Halifax from 10 days embarkation leave

 

22 Nov 1943 - Left Halifax for Charleston South Carolina by troop train.

 

25 Nov 1943 - Arrived Charleston S.C. after stops at New York City, Washington, D.C. and Raliegh, North Carolina.

 

25 Nov 1943 - Boarded the cruiser HMS Arethusa, which is just completing a refit after being torpedoed in the Med.

 

17 Dec 1943 - Left Charleston

 

18 Dec 1943 - Arrived Norfolk Virginia.

 

01 Jan 1944 - Left Norfolk on completion of gun shoots and trials

 

01 Jan 1944 - Arrived Portsmouth, Virginia

 

03 Jan 1944 - Left Portsmouth

 

05 Jan 1944 - Arrived Hamilton, Bermuda

 

06 Jan 1943 - Left Hamilton Bermuda

 

11 Jan 1944 - Arrived Ponta Delgado, San Miguel, Azores

 

11 Jan 1944 - Left Ponta Delgado, San Miguel, Azores

 

15 Jan 1944 - Arrived Greencock, Scotland

 

16 Jan 1944 - Left Greenock, Scotland

 

18 Jan 1944 - Arrived Sheerness, England after an uneventful trip around the north of Scotland.

 

22 Jan 1944 - Having de-ammunitioned the Arethusa we left Sheerness and went up the Thams to Chatham Dockyard.

 

23 Jan 1944 - Drafted off the Arethusa.

 


 

24 Jan 1944 - Arrived at the battleship HMS Malaya which is being used as a Canadian naval barracks, and is now moored in a small bay opposite Greenock, Scotland.

 

09 Feb 1944 - Drafted off the Malaya with five others

 

09 Feb 1944 - Arrived John Browns shipyard, Clydebank to form part of a stand by party.

 


 

HMCS Algonquin R17

 

17 Feb 1944 - Drafted from lodge and comp ashore in Glasgow to the Algonquin, which was commissioned today.

 

19 Feb 1944 - Left Browns Shipyard (where the Queen Mary was built) and went down the Clyde to Greenock, where we commenced the Admiralty's acceptance trials.

 

05 Mar 1944 - Left Greenock

 

06 Mar 1944 - Arrived Scapa Flow, and began our work ups which included 16 torpedo runs, and scores of gun shoots.

 

30 Mar 1944 - Our workups were suddenly cancelled as all destroyers are required for an important operation. We took on supplies, fueled up, adn buzzed off from Scapa.

 

31 Mar 1944 - Dropped 20 charges on a good pin. Oiled at the Froe Islands (A Danish owned island) informed today that we are participating in an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz anchored in Alten Fjord, Norway. This ship for some time now has been a constant threat to Allied ships using the northern supply route to Russia.

 

03 Apr 1944 - First wave of fighters and the new Barracuda bombers left the carriers about 4 a.m. On their return about 4.35 a.m. the second wave left. One plane, a Hellcat fighter, crashed in the water beside us as his landing gear had been shot away by flak, and when any plane is so disabled they are not allowed to land on a carriers deck. We lowered our whaler and picked him up.

 

05 Apr 1944 - While listening to Lord Haw-Haw on his German propaganda program, We heard them claim our loss of 13 destroyers in the attack.

 

06 Apr 1944 - We arrived back at Scapa, 3600 miles covered. Started work ups again.

 

20 Apr 1944 - We completed our work ups and joined the 26th destroyer flotilla.

 

21 Apr 1944 - Left Scapa Flow.

 

22 Apr 1944 - Told today that we are going to make another attack on the Tirpitz.

 

24 Apr 1944 - The planes were to depart at 4 and 8 a.m. but due to bad weather the attack was postponed.

 

25 Apr 1944 - Because of consistent squalls the attacked was postponed, so we turned about and started back. We passed within a stones throw of thee mines today, nearly running over one.

 

26 Apr 1944 - The weather cleared a bit so it was decided to make some small runs on shipping. Bombers from the carriers attacked a convoy by the Lofoten Islands. We were within 30 miles of the Norwegian coast today.

 

28 Apr 1944 - Arrived at Scapa.

 

03 May 1944 - Left Scapa with the fleet carrier Furious, an escort carrier, cruiser, and our flotilla.

 

04 May 1944 - An attacked to was to come off today but our aircraft were unable to take off due to heavy weather.

 

05 May 1944 - Attack on convoy by Trondenhiem took place about 7 a.m. by about 40 planes, and it was highly successful. Our loss was two Barracudas. Enemy aircraft came fairly close.

 

06 May 1944 - Arrived Scapa

 

12 May 1944 - 50 Algonquin ratings mustered aboard our depot ship HMS Tyne and were inspected by King George V.

 

25 May 1944 - Left Scapa Flow with our flotilla, and proceeded down the east coast of Scotland.

 

27 May 1944 - Arrived at Ryde, Isle of Wight. There are invasion ships here by the hundreds.

 

29 May 1944 - Out in the English channel for an E and U boat sweep.

 

30 May 1944 - Back at Ryde.

 

02 Jun 1944 - Out in the channel for an E and U boat sweep.

 

03 Jun 1944 - Back at Ryde. Three American and two Canadian news reel photographers came aboard.

 

05 Jun 1944 - Left Ryde about 5 p.m. The captain cleared lower decks and gave us the low down on our objectives for this apparently is the long awaited D day. We are the lead ship and in our column are the headquarters ship HMS Hilary followed by Canadian 3rd division in the small landing barges. The path across the channel was clearly lit. As the sweepers cleared they dropped lighted buoys at every mile. In the early hours of the morning a considerable area was suddenly lightened by flares, and it was feared that we had been discovered. But our outer defences beat this attack off and it was later learned that the jerrys had thought this to be merely a small coastal convoy.

 

06 Jun 1944 - Arrived coast of Frances at the Cherbourg peninsula about 6 a.m. We left the HMS Hilary and went inshore, commenced bombarding at 6.15. We had thirteen direct hits out of fifteen shots, knocked out five gun emplacements. After we moved out the rocket firing barges took over. At this time the air force came over and dropped 950 tons of bombs. Five critically wounded soldiers were brought on board shortly after the first wave had gone ashore and they snapped us out of our lax attitude, for up to now there had been so many things to watch we had almost forgotten the seriousness of the situation. One of the soldiers died while being brought aboard, two of the others required immediate amputations. One had to be kept tied up so that he would not fall apart. German planes were over during the dark hours. There were some near misses by us. Hundreds of our bombers came over about dusk towing gliders. We saw the paratroopers just land behind the beach head. Two of our bombers were shot down and landed in the sea just by us. One went up in a cloud of flames and smoke immediately.

 

07 June 1944 - Saw a jerry dive bomber doing his stuff over the beach head today. We bombarded the beach where a jerry battalion had entrenched themselves with excellent results. Out on an A.S. sweep after this. Two more of the soldiers died today. There was another big air raid this evening. They laid mines and dropped a few bombs. One hospital ship hit a mine and was down by the bow. The tugs are towing all kinds of stuff over here. Parts of jettys N stuff. Even the old French battleship Paris which with some old freighters were sunk close inshore to form a breakwater for landing barges etc. The two remaining soldiers were taken ashore today to a base hospital that had been set up. On Wednesday night some of the bombs got a bit too close and the ship shook all over. Some of the smaller  assault barges are coming alongside now for wash ups and food. The freighters go right inshore now at high tide and are left high and dry on the beach when the tide goes out. All that can be seen along the whole beach is trucks, tanks and men. There is a tide drop here of about thirty feet.

 

09 Jun 1944 - Air raids again last night and this evening. The cruiser Belfast is right by us bombarding. Every time it fires some of our lights go out. There is a terrific concussion. the ship that took up our anchorage the evening of the 7th, when we went out on A.S. sweep was bombed and sunk shortly after we left. It is a beautiful sight at night when all the ships put an A.A. barrage up. Just like to 4th of July on a larger scale.

 

10 Jun 1944 - Left the beach head for Portsmouth. We arrived there about 5 p.m. and refueled, re-ammunitioned etc. Admiral Nelles came aboard to make the trip back. There was an air raid on Portsmouth tonight.

 

11 Jun 1944 - Left Portsmouth 11.45 p.m.

 

12 Jun 1944 - Arrived beach head 5.30 a.m. There were lots of "E" boats around but we didn't meet any. A meschersmitt 109 came over today and dropped three bombs between the ships but didn't hit anything. We left for Portsmouth with a slow convoy early this evening.

 

13 Jun 1944 - Arrived Portsmouth 12.00 p.m. Left Portsmouth, out into the channel for an A.S. sweep. Dropped 50 charges

 

16 Jun 1944 - Arrived Portsmouth 6 a.m. Left at 12 a.m. Arrived Plymouth 8.30 p.m. with the invasion troopship which he had escorted.

 

17 Jun 1944 - Left Plymouth 6 a.m. Arrived Portland 10.30 a.m. and left at 12.30 a.m. Arrived Portsmouth 4.30.

 

18 Jun 1944 - Left Portsmouth after taking aboard General Crerar and the Canadian Army headquarters staff. Picked up HMS Nelson and escorted it across. The generals flag flew from our mast and every time we passed any troop laden barge they would cheer us loudly. Arrived at the beach head in the late afternoon and disembarked the army staff.

 

19 Jun 1944 - Bombarded coast. 107 rounds fired. We scored hits on an airfield, hitting aircraft and killing several troops.

 

21 Jun 1944 - Relieved HMS Fury which was mined. We tried to explode mines that were floating by us with a rifle, but no luck. A rock plane that later turned out to be a flying or better known buzz bomb flew around overhead for a few moments this morning.

 

22 Jun 1944 - Went out on patrol at 11 p.m. Shortly after we left our anchorage was bombed and the American destroyer escort that took our exact spot was sunk. About 12.45 p.m. we were patrolling out in the channel and minding our own business when suddenly the sky around the ship was lighted by flares and then from out of nowhere it seemed, a jerry dive bomber dropped out of the sky. He dropped bombs one of which landed just off our port bow, lifting the ship quite a piece into the air and splashing water over the bridge watch. The off watch crew came pouring out of the mess decks all set to abandon ship for to them it must have seemed like a sure hit. the captain was on the bridge by now and he gave the shi everything that it had an taking a zig zag avoiding action. However no more was seen of the culprit. Us torpedomen have a new job while on watch now, we are armed with sten guns and have to do our watch midship and aft, as the jerry E boats have a new technique, they come right alongside and throw hand grenades.

 

24 Jun 1944 - Out on patrol

 

25 Jun 1944 - On way back to anchorage about 5.30 a.m. the destroyer HMS Swift which was directly ahead of us was hit midships by a mine and sunk. They suffered a loss of thirty odd men. The luck part of it, for us that up until a few minutes before she was hit we had been in line ahead formation with us ahead of Swift but we pulled out of line to fire at some loose floating mines. In the afternoon we bombarded with three barges, trying to knock out a fairly large gun which had been brought up to shell us. One barge was sunk and there were some near misses by us. Quite a bit of shrapnel was flying about.

 

26 Jun 1944 - Fairly heavy air raid about 5 a.m. We opened fire for the first time in several days. The destroyer L44 which brought over our mail was mined short after leaving us. Bombarded at 3 and 6 p.m. Fired about 126 rounds. Blew up a jerry infantry hdqs. They scored hits on a ship near us. The cruiser Arethusa was mined the night before last but not critically. There are many mines around now as jerry drops a good many every night. Some bombs from aircraft landed fairly close today, probably intended for the Rodney which is near us. Watched a merchantman go down today, the bow remained up so it must have been in shallow water.

 

27 Jun 1944 - Left beach head and arrived Pompey about 8.30 p.m.

 

01 Jul 1944 - Left Portsmouth.

 

03 Jul 1944 - Arrived Rosyth, Scotland after a trip up the east coast of England.

 

11 Jul 1944 - Left Rosyth. Arrived Scapa.

 

14 Jul 1944 - Left Scapa to make another attack on the Tirpitz which is now reported ready for sea once again. Our force includes the battleship Duke of York, carriers Furious, Indefatigable, Formidable, Cruisers Ken, Devonshire, Jamaica, and two flotillas of destroyers. Passed within 50 ft. of a mine today.

 

17 Jul 1944 - Attacked made about 3 a.m. The planes were all back by about 4 a.m. The jerry knew that we were coming so he laid a very heavy smoke screen over the Tirpitz. Bombing had to be done blind. Two planes were lost one Barracuda, one Corsair.

 

19 Jul 1944 - Arrived Scapa Flow with only 51 tons of oil. We have eight fires in our boilers and when going full ahead they use 17 tons of oil an hour.

 

21 Jul 1944 - Left Scapa 9.00 a.m. escorted HMS Malaya. Back in about 9 p.m.

 

24 Jul 1944 - Left Scapa 9 a.m. with HMCS Iroquois and four other destroyers for manouveres.

 

25 Jul 1944 - Arrived Scapa 8 a.m.

 

26 Jul 1944 - Out all day screening the carrier Indefatigable

 

28 Jul 1944 - Left Scapa 8 a.m. with Russian battleship Archangel ex HMS Royal Sovereign. Back in about 12.30 p.m.

 

01 Aug 1044 - Out all day with the Malaya.

 

 03 Aug 1944 - Left Scapa with carriers Nabob and Trumpeter

 

04 Aug 1944 - Arrived Scapa

 

08 Aug 1944 - Left Scapa with Indefatigable, escort carriers Nabob and Trumpeter, cruisers Kent and Devonshire.

 

10 Aug 1944 - Flight of planes left about 1.30 p.m. Fighters off Indefatigable and bombers of the escort carriers. Second flight left about 6 p.m. Results of 1st flight - mines laid successfully, six M.E.'s 110's destroyed. One shot up on Gossen airdrome, hanger left ablaze. Damage done to dredger, W.T. and Radar posts. Fishermen and natives waved with zeal. All planes returned safely. results of second flight - mines laid successfully. One avenger shot down, one firefly forced landing in sea, crew rescued. One motor launch and a minesweeper left ablaze n Area Derby. an armed drifter, oil tanker, W.T. and radar stations also shot up.

 

11 Aug 1944 -Arrived Scapa Flow.

 

16 Aug 1944 - Left Scapa to make another attack on Tirpitz. We are with cruisers Jamaica, escort carriers Vindex and Striker. This is to be the largest force ever used in these waters. There are eight separate forces like our own. Russian ship with us this time.

 

17 Aug 1944 - Left our carrier and cruiser with a north bound convoy and proceeded to the Faroe islands arriving there about 4.30 p.m.

 

18 Aug 1944 - Left Faroes about 11 p.m.

 

19 Aug 1944 - Joined up with the main fleet Duke of York, Fleet of carriers Indefatigable, Furious, Formidable, Cruisers Berwick, Ken and Dorsetshire and fourteen destroyers.

 

21 Aug 1944 - Attacked was to take place at 11 a.m. but was postponed due to the weather. We have been about 45 miles off the coast since last evening. There are quite a few mines around. There is to be 125 planes in the first wave. They will lay mines first around the Tirpitz so that she cannot move about the fjord. The HMS Kite, a sloop escorting the north bound convoy being used as a decoy was torpedoed and sunk. There were only nine survivors. We oiled from the cruiser Devonshire tonight.

 

22 Aug 1944 - Planes left about 11 a.m. We are 27 miles off the coast. The planes returned at 12.30 p.m. There was one hit with a 500 lb bomb on the Tirpitz. One submarine shot up, 2 radar stations and an oiler also damaged. HMS Nabob escort carrier and HMS Bickerton one of he escorts were torpedoed early this evening. Vigilant and ourselves proceeded at full speed to the Nabob's aid, but when we arrived at the scene, we were detailed to screen the Trumpeter which was with the Nabob. Vigilant remained with Nabob which is still afloat. Vigilant also put one fish into the Bickerton to finish it. Still screening Trumpeter on our way back to the Nabob, which is now making way at 8 knots. We are to escort it to the Faroes. Caught up to it about 7 p.m. and took 212 men off it. The Nabob was fished between the bomb stowage and the high-test gasoline stowage right under the galley and spirit locker. Just before she got it one place crashed into two others on deck and the three of them were heaved over the side. There were about nine Canadians and twenty English killed.

 

26 Aug 1944 - Arrived Faroes 11.30 a.m. and disembarked Nabob survivors. Went ashore here for the first time.

 

27 Aug 1944 - Left Faroes about 10 a.m. with Duke of York, cruiser Devonshire, Sioux and a couple of other destroyers.

 

29 Aug 1944- Off the northern tip of Norway today. Had a rendezvous at 3 a.m. with the carriers Indefatigable and Implacable. About 4 p.m. 60 fighters and bombers left to strike at the Tirpitz. They returned about 6 p.m.

 

01 Sep 1944 - Arrived Scapa Flow

 

02 Sep 1944 -Left Scapa

 

03 Sep 1944 - Arrived Rosyth

 

10 Sep 1944 - Left Rosyth, arrived Scapa at 9 p.m.

 

11 Sep 1944 - Left Scapa with the 26th flotilla, fleet carrier Furious, escort carrier Trumpter, cruiser Devonshire, for a mine laying operation off the Norwegian coast.

 

12 sep 1944 - Aircraft left about 11 a.m. We are air sea rescue ship so we left the force and headed inshore to a distance of about eighteen to twenty miles. Sighted to large ships about 11.30 a.m. that did not answer our challenge so we closed in on them at full speed to investigate. They were the British ship Arundel Castle loaded with servicemen repatriats and the Swedish ship Drottingholm with civilian repatriats.  They sure were excited and waved and cheered like mad. One sea fire missing from the operation. The raid was a success and took place in the leeds, below Trondheim in Christiansund. One flak ship was sunk.

 

13 Sep 1944 - Arrived Scapa Flow

 

16 Sep 1944 - Left Scapa about 12 p.m. with about fourteen destroyers, battleship Rodney, cruiser Diadem, escort carriers Striker and Chaser. We are going on Russian convoy.

 

17 Sep 1944 - Met the convoy early this morning

 

21 Sep 1944 - We are now 14 degrees from the North Pole between Spitzbergen and Bear Isle, the farthest north for us yet.

 

23 Sep 1944 - Arrived Polyarnoe, Kola Bay, Russia about 8 p.m. Our convoy is one of the first to reach here without loss.

 

24 Sep 1944 - Went alongside a jetty. There was an air raid last night and some flares were dropped. The A.A. set up a barrage three times.

 

26 Sep 1944 - Ashore in Polyarnoe, which is just a garrison town now. Nearly everyone seems to have a gun, rifle or tommy gun. Women carry them too. In face we were warned to treat women with more respect than the men as they have the itchiest trigger fingers. There are guards wandering all over the town, and we are only allowed on a few of the streets. We are also not allowed to whistle as it is some sort of code here. We are about 27 miles from the Finnish border here. The hills around here are packed with A.A. guns and can be seen in the daytime. All the destroyers had a field day today and our ship won the trophy. We have had far better weather here than we ever had at Scapa. The sun has been out every day. There was an air raid last night. 

 

28 Sep 1944 - Left Polyarnoe about 4 a.m. There was an air raid yesterday at the place where we oiled coming in, about a mile from here. One of our freighters was lost.

 

29 Sep 1944 - One freighter was torpedoed about 5 p.m. Two surfaced vessels were picked up by radar shortly after about 20 miles away, ahead of the convoy. Venus, Sioux and ourselves proceeded to investigate. We dropped several charges as an anti-acoustic torpedo precaution. No luck in the area for us as it was presumed that they were surfaced subs and had submerged.

 

30 Sep 1944 - About 10 a.m. one of the swordfish from an escort carrier spotted a surfaced sub about ten miles from the convoy and engaged it with gunfire. Volage and ourselves proceeded at full speed to the position, but as usual by the time we got there the sub had crash dived and was lying low. We carried out a sweep in the area for a couple of hours with no success. Dropped a few charges as an anti-gnat precaution. Another freighter was hit and so badly damaged last evening that HMS Nilnk had to finish sinking it. About 6 p.m. one of our aircraft attacked a surfaced sub a few miles astern of the convoy, but it crash dived and escaped. We dropped ten charges on a good ping about 8 p.m.

 

01 Oct 1944 - Two ships reported torpedoes going past them last evening. We changed course 90 degrees.

05 Oct 1944 - Took the convoy down the west coast of Scotland between the mainland and the Isle of Lewis, where a local escort took over. Arrived Scapa about 5 p.m.

 

13 Oct 1944 - Left Scapa with escort carriers Fencer and Trumpeter, and cruiser Euryalus

 

14 Oct 1944 - About 10.30 a.m. 15 Gruman Avengers bombers and a few fighters went up. They went in and laid mines near Trondhiem. The coast was clearly visible at this time. We are now headed north along the coast line to Narvik.

 

15 Oct 1944 - Planes went up about 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Trumpeter supplied aircraft for the second attack, corsairs and hellcats. it got very rough today, two carley floats were lifted off their racks and smashed to pieces, and the captains skimmer was badly damaged.

 

16 Oct 1944 - Planes were taking off about 7.30 a.m. one left the flight deck and plunged into the sea. it went right down and then came up by the tail. The crew was drowned. About 12.30 p.m. another plane was taking off for patrol, it got off the flight deck and then its motor stalled and is crashed into the sea. the Scorpion saved its crew.

 

17 Oct 1944 - Arrived Scapa

 

24 Oct 1944 - Left Scapa with the 26th flotilla, (Volage, Verelum, Venus, Sioux), cruiser Mauritus and fleet carrier Implacable.

 

26 Oct 1944 - Strike of about 20 planes, seafires and barracudas left about 10.30 a.m. They shot up a flak ship and a couple of merchant ships. A second strike left about 2 p.m. The last barracuda to leave the flight deck tried to gain altitude too quickly, his motor stalled and he side slipped badly, then went into the sea tail first and sank almost immediately. Verelum went to pick up survivors. We are simply going up and down the coast looking for convoys. We are closed up at action stations a great deal of the time now as a sweep of Junker 88s cover this area daily.

 

27 Oct 1944 - Strike left about 10 a.m. We are in sight of the Norwegian mainland, the mountain ranges are clearly visible. There was another strike this afternoon.

 

28 Oct 1944 - Closed in on the coast by the Lofoten Islands at daybreak to about 18 miles. We went up and down the coast outside Narvick fjord all day. two strikes left today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The last strike being carried out with torpedoes. One plane crashed on its carriers deck today. The snow on the mountain tops was very clear especially when the sun sank low.

 

30 Oct 1944 - Arrived Scapa. Tied up alongside HMS Greenwich for a boiler clean.

 

08 Nov 1944 - Left Scapa at 6 p.m. with cruisers Kent and Bellona, destroyers Venus, Myngs, Verelum. There is another force of escort carriers out and they are to send up aircraft when we get over to the Norwegian coast and spot convoys then we are to go in and shoot them up. Due to very heavy seas today which smashed our whaler and skimmer, the operations was cancelled and we headed back

 

11 Nov 1944 - Left Scapa 8.30 p.m. with cruisers Kent and Bellona, destroyeer Myngs, Verelum and Zambesi. We had a gun shoot about 11.30 p.m.

 

12 Nov 1944 - The weather is perfect and we are headed towards the Norwegian coast. Passed the Shetland Islands about 11.30 p.m. There is a large convoy goes up the coast and one that goes down the coast every night and we are to intercept one of these. We will proceed line ahead at about 25 knots till 1 a.m. and then turn about and return along the same stretch. There are quite a few gun batteries along this stretch of the coast and the Kent is to engage these. Passed through enemy mine field about 8 p.m. at a distance of about 14 miles from the coast. We then formed up into line ahead position and started our sweep down the coast. We were soon closed in to about 8 miles off shore and were passing flashing lighthouses and searchlights. We had contact with a couple of fishing smacks. At this time we passed quite close to a submarine heading in the opposite direction to ourselves, he had apparently not been long gone from his base as they could be dimly seen working in the upper deck. This was something for which he had longed to see in the weary months of mid-ocean convoy and now we had to let him slide by for now no shots were to be fired as it would forewarn the enemy ships which were now presumed to be reasonably close. Shortly after this we had contact with the enemy convoy at 8000 yards at 11.45 p.m. We closed in between the convoy and the shore and illuminated them with star shells. A couple of ships were ablaze in a couple of minutes. they were certainly surprised and at first must have thought us to be aircraft as they fired their shells into the air. it didn't take them long to smarten up though and there was soon all kinds of shells whizzing around. No. 4 gun was hit on the muzzle with a small shell gouging out a large chunk. Just after I had trained the tubes to starboard I heard everyone shouting "look out," "duck", which i did. Just in time too. A small shell hit a few inches from where I was and buried itself in the base of the tubes. Close shave. This action lasted about a half hour. Shortly after the destroyers closed in again to finish off freighters that were trying to pick up survivors or escape. We hit one that made extremely big explosions and it went by us at about 1500 yards distance burning fiercely. It raked us with its small guns. This action lasted about 20 minutes. At times we were within what seemed a stones throw of land, right under the noses of the shore batteries. One battery fired star shells which exploded directly over us. They were a bright greenish color. This battery landed a few shells fairly close to us. After this action we rejoined the cruisers and carried on back up the coast and out to sea. the cruiser Euryalus and the escort carrier Pursuer were off shore a ways and we met them in the early morning. they covered us in case we got into difficulties. Altogether we used 827 rounds of 4.7 and over 100 Bofors.

 

13 Nov 1944 - Arrived Scapa 8 p.m.

 

16 Nov 1944 - Left Scapa 8 a.m. with fleet carrier Implacable, Battleship Rodney, four destroyers and two cruisers. Planes from the carrier are exercising torpedo attacks by night. One Barracuda cracked up on the flight deck.

 

17 Nov 1944 - Back in Scapa about 10 a.m. Ourselves and Sioux were transferred from the 26th flotilla to the 23rd. The 26th flotilla is going out east.

 

22 Nov 1944 - Left Scapa with ten destroyers, two escort carriers, fleet carrier Implacable, cruisers Kent and Dido. the force is to break up tomorrow. Implacable to raid shipping while the escort carriers are to lay mines. The Jerry is trying to get troops out of Norway via the sea route and we are attempting to foil this.

 

24 Nov 1944 - Due to extremely heavy seas the force did not split up and the mine laying operation was cancelled. The escort carriers, Kent and an escort of fur destroyers turned back for Scapa. Our force carrying one with Implacable includes cruiser Dido, destroyers Zephyr, Myngs, Scorpion, Zambesi, Sioux. We are gong back and forth along the coast waiting for the storm to cease.

 

27 Nov 1944 - A flight of 26 fighters and Barracudas went off today about 10 a.m. to attack shipping by Tromsoe which is about 60 miles away. Results of this attack were - one loaded troop ship sunk, one other vessel sunk, two ships damaged and left burning. In the early afternoon we looked for a pilot who was forced down and was sending out S.O.S.'s. One of the destroyers on the opposite side of the screen from us fired at enemy aircraft with its 4.7, during the last dog watch. No hits were obtained.

 

29 Nov 1944 - Arrived Scapa about 2 p.m.

 

05 Dec 1944 - Left Scapa about 9.30 a.m. with HMS Rodney and the destroyer Zephyr. The Rodney carried out star shell shots with its secondary armament. Back in about 8 p.m.

 

06 Dec 1944 - Left Scapa with fleet carrier Implacable, escort carriers Trumpeter and Premier, cruiser Diadem, destroyers, Sioux, Zealous, Zambesi, Vigilant, Stord, Savage, Serapis.

 

07 Dec 1944 - A strike of twenty four avengers and wildcats left from the escort carriers about 1.30 p.m. and all returned safely about 2.45 p.m. Sioux was air-sea rescue ship. Land based Mosquitoes are now doing the weather reporting for us. The mines were laid in the same position where we sank the convoy. Two fish were fired into the force around midnight. Savage picked up a contact and dropped quite a few charges with no result.

 

08 Dec 1944 - Four planes took off at day break to search for a pilot who is adrift in a dinghy in this area. A force of 12 bombers and 8 fighters left for a strike about 12 p.m. and returned about 1.30 p.m. the force broke into two sections about 10 p.m. Zambezi, Savage and ourselves are with the Implacable and the rest have proceeded into Scapa.

 

09 Dec 1944 - Arrived Scapa 11.30 a.m. Planes left at day break for land bases. One crashed into the sea after leaving the flight deck.

 

12 Dec 1944 - Left Scapa about 2 p.m. with cruiser Devnshire, escort carriers Trumpeter and Premier, destroyers Sioux, Zephyr, Serapis, Zealous and Savage for mine laying operation off the Norwegian coast. Passed very close to five mines about 6 p.m.

 

13 Dec 1944 - About 11 p.m. a mine passed on our port side seven or eight feet away. it was so close to the ship's side that none of the forward lookouts saw it.

 

14 Dec 1944 - A strike of about 24 avengers and fighters left at 10.45 a.m. and returned about 12 p.m. after completing their mine laying. We were air-sea rescue ship and went within twenty miles of the coast. This operation took place near Trondhiem. About 1.30 p.m. enemy aircraft was spotted following us. As there were heavy seas running now we didn't send up any fighter opposition. About 5.45 p.m. we were attacked by torpedo carrying Junker 88 bombers. They were around for about a half an hour. We fired about 8 rounds from our 4.7's at them. They didn't come within our range very often but centered their attack mostly on the cruiser and carriers. The cruiser and carriers set up a very heavy barrage. The closest the planes came to us was about 1200 yards. they flew fairly close to the water at times. Devonshire confirmed one shot down and a possible two more. After they had left one was still around shadowing us for a few hours but no further attacks were made.

 

16 Dec 1944 - Arrived Scapa Flow 6 p.m. Anchored outside in the flow, due to the heavy weather we were unable to go into harbour.

 

20 - 28 Dec 1944 - Leave from Scapa to London.

 

30 Dec 1944 - Out on gun shoots with Scorpion. The Zephyr was fished out here tonight while on anti-submarine patrol but did not sink.

 

31 Dec 1944 - Left about 12 p.m. for a Russian convoy with carrier Vindex, cruiser Diadem, destroyers Sioux, Stord, Scorpion, Zebra, Serapis, Zambesi, Savage and Myngs.

 

01 Jan 1945 - Picked up the convoy about 11 a.m. and took up a stern sweep on the port side (Webmaster's note: convoy JW-63)

 

03 Jan 1945 - We are now well above the Arctic circle and there is only a couple of hours of complete daylight. A sub was picked up by radar at a distance of 80 miles. A Jerry plane was over around noon hour. Vindex sent up planes to intercept it so he buzzed off. There were a couple of them back in the afternoon and some of the ships opened fire.

 

04 Jan 1945 - We are rounding "Hell's Corner" today.

 

07 Jan 1945 - Arrived Polyarnoe, Kola Bay, Russia, about 9 p.m. without a single loss to the convoy. Early last evening the Vindex sent up two planes and along with the Scorpion they went after a sub that was 30 miles away and who was D. Fingus. Anchored out in the inlet all of the 8th due to heavy fog.

 

08 Jan 1945 - Jerry aircraft was over tonight after the merchant men. Heavy flak was put up which scared them off.

 

09 Jan 1945 - Went into the harbour and tied up. Some Norwegians, survivors off a corvette came aboard for passage back. The crew of the destroyer Casandra which was fished on the last convoy put on a stage show at the Red Star club this time in.

 

11 Jan 1945 - Left Polyarnoe 7.45 a.m. Took up stern sweep on the port quarter of the convoy. About 7 p.m. the Zebra dropped charges and we went over to stand by her. A swordfish crashed on the flight deck of the Vindex about 10.30 p.m. returning from a patrol. It burst into flames immediately and lit up the sky for quite a distance. (Webmaster's note: Convoy RA 63)

 

15 Jan 1945 - Fairly heavy seas. Plenty of blizzards and the ship is iced up pretty bad.

 

16 Jan 1945 - About 6 p.m. a gale blew up, at its peak it was estimated to be blowing approx 85 miles an hour. The convoy was scattered all over the place. The carrier Vindex was 200 miles astern by the following day (17th). Our whaler was sliced in half and a lot of the stuff on the upper deck was washed over. Nobody was allowed outside.

 

18 Jan 1945 - Arrived at Faroe Islands late afternoon (7 p.m.). The convoy is to be formed up again here. Went out again at 9 p.m. for an A.S. patrol outside the fjord. Back in at 9 a.m. the following morning

 

20 Jan 1945 -Left Faroes 10.30 a.m.

 

21 Jan 1945 - Left the convoy at 5 p.m. at the northern tip of the Hebrides. Arrived in Scapa about midnight.

 

26 Jan 1945 - Left Scapa 8.30 a.m. with cruiser Berwick and a destroyer. Joined up with two other heavy cruisers and seven more destoyers about 12.30 p.m. and commenced exercises and A.A. shots. Due to heavy snow storms we had to say out at sea all night as it was impossible to see the gates.

 

27 Jan 1945 - Arrived Scapa 7 a.m.

 

27 Jan 1945 - Left Scapa 6.30 p.m. with heavy cruiser Berwick, escort carriers Trumpeter, Premier, Nairana and destroyers Scourge, Sioux, Scorpion, Zambesi, Cavendish. The purpose of this operation is to attack enemy shipping, mainly troop convoys. torpedo carrying swordfish escorted by fighters are doing the job by night. Operation takes place 150 miles north of Bergen. The cruisers Diadem and Mauritius engaged three Narvick class destroyers along with Norwegian coast about 11 p.m. and damaged all of them.

 

28 Jan 1945 - Strike of planes left at 8 p.m. and returned about 12 p.m. and 12.30 p.m.

 

29 Jan 1945 - Dropped 21 charges on a good ping about an hours run out of Scapa. We had it for a couple of hours. Arrived in Scapa 10.15 p.m.

 

31 Jan 1945 - Left Scapa about 12 p.m. with the Sioux

 

01 Feb 1945 - Picked up the Canadian manned escort carrier Puncher about 7 a.m. off the west coast of Scotland. Arrived Scapa 2.30 p.m.

 

03 Feb 1945 - Left Scapa about 6 p.m. with cruiser Dido, escort carriers Trumpeter and Premier and the 23rd flotilla. Ran into heavy seas about midnight so the force turned about for Scapa.

 

04 Feb 1945 - Arrived Scapa 5.45 p.m.

 

05 Feb 1945 - Left Scapa 2.15 p.m. Through with the home fleet. Everyone let loose with a hearty bronx cheer when we were safely out of the gates.

 

06 Feb 1945 - Arrived Greenock 8.30 p.m. 

 

07 Feb 1945 -Went alongside Gourock Jetty

 

08 Feb 1945 - Left Gourock for Canada 3.30 p.m.

 

12 Feb 1945 - An ERA developed an acute case of appendicitis so we had to alter our course for Newfie.

 

13 Feb 1945 - Arrived St. John's Newfoundland 2.oo p.m. after doing between 28 and 30 knots for 24 hours. Left St. John's 6 p.m.

 

14 Feb 1945 - Arrived Halifax about 5 p.m. after doing 30 knots all day. total sea mileage covered since commissioning nearly 60,000 miles.

 

 

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