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General Report - Convoy HX 126

This information received from Tony Cooper, England.

HX 126 departed Halifax on May 10-1941and arrived Liverpool on the 28th

Page 1 - Ships in HX 126
Orders for ocean and local escorts (SC 31 & HX 126)
Commodore's Narrative of Events (& Tongariro's Report)

Ocean Escort: HMS Aurania and HMS Tribune
Local Escort:
HMS Malcom, Burnham, Scimitar, Burwell, Mallow, Verbena, Arabis, Heliotrope, Northern Gem and Northern Wave (Westerly rendezvous).
Also, HMS Keppel, Sabre, Lincoln, Dianella, Sunflower, Kingcup, Gladiolus and Springbank (Easterly rendezvous).
See also Page 1 for the names of some additional escort vessels.

May 19:
19:13 - Admiralty made G.M.B.S. to all stragglers from HX 126, giving them a route in.

May 20:
06:01 - Malcolm reported that he and Scimitar (from OB 322) were proceeding to Iceland to refuel, while Burnham, Burwell, Mallow, Heliotrope, Arabis, Verbena, Norther Wave and Northern Gem were proceeding to meet the convoy.
06:31 - Aurania reported that Norman Monarch and Harpagus had been torpedoed.
11:50 - Aurania gave a U-boat sighting report.
12:59 - Burnham reported that she and Burwell were proceeding to this position, followed by remainder of escort vessels.
13:00 - Darlington Court and British Security were reported torpedoed and at 16:08, Aurania reported that convoy had scattered.
13:41 - Admiralty warned the convoy that a it had been sighted.
14:44 - Aurania replied that the convoy had already scattered, and that 3 ships had been sunk (see Aurania's report).
13:58 - (the times don't make sense here) Commander in Chief consequently ordered Malcolm (who had proceeded to Iceland earlier) and the 12th Escort Group to attempt to reform the convoy.
16:04 - Rothermere torpedoed.
16:24 - John P. Pedersen torpedoed.
18:01 - Burnham reported that she had the crew of Norman Monarch on board, giving the position, course and speed of Harpagus (which had also picked up survivors from Norman Monarch). Burwell was searching to the W.N.W., Burnham to the south (see also Burnham and Burwell's report).
18:13 - Nicoya reported U-boat sighting (ref. her captain's report).
19:10 - Northern Wave and Northenr Gem ordered to search for the torpedoed ships, together with Hontestroom, which was to be escorted. (The latter was a Dutch Rescue Vessel, on her way home, and not the Rescue Ship assigned to the convoy - see Notes on Page 1). Burnham reported having proceeded to the given position, but found nothing (again, see Burnham's report).

May 21
04:12 - Burnham reported Elusa had been torpedoed.
04:34 - Burnham reported that she was rejoining Burwell, and had survivors from Harpagus and Norman Monarch on board. 17 ships in company.
05:14 - Commander in Chief Western Approaches ordered Malcolm to report to Iceland at her discretion.
05:51 - Burnham reported rescuing survivors from the torpedoed Elusa, on fire, but salvage considered to be possible. Vicinity of wreck had been reached one hour after the explosion, but searched without results.
09:03 - Verbena reported having attacked an enemy submarine (this is also mentioned in the Commodore's narrative) in 58 55N 39 30W, and was ordered by Malcolm to remain in neighbourhood for 48 hours. Burnham was detached from convoy to assist.
15:44 - Burnham reported several attacks on the submarine had taken place, but contact had been lost and not yet regained. By that time, Verbena had only one depth charge left.
16:39 - C. in C. informed all escorts of the position as far as could be ascertained, ordering Arabis and the 2 trawlers with Hontestroom to continue searching for survivors, until satisfied all had been picked up.
21:00 - Scimitar (having refuelled) repored she expected to rejoin convoy at 16:00 the next day.

May 22:
12:46 - Malcolm announced she had left the convoy with 17 ships, escorted by Burwell, Mallow and Heliotrope.
16:53 - N.O.I.C. Iceland told Burnham and Verbena to expect air support.
19:07 - Admiralty warned the convoy that it had been reported by U-boat, and was told to alter course to port, rejoining the route ordered in 61 40N 28W.
19:37 - British Freedom ordered by Admiralty to proceed to Reykjavik, and if not present, Rosewood to go instead. (Burwell signalled at 06:29 on May 24 that British Freedom was not present, and that Rosewood was heading to Iceland as ordered).
19:20 - Scimitar reported convoy "not met".

May 23:
06:01 - Iceland confirmed arrival of HMS Aurania.
11:46 - Burnham reported that if no further contact was made she intended to abandon hunt at 16:00 that day.
(There's a note here for 16:13 May 23, which looks like it has been crossed out, saying: "Keppel signalled not met Venemous, Lincoln, Sabre, Scimitar, Springbank and Toward").
16:32 - Keppel, which was to join at 13:00 in 61 35N 25 45W, together with Sabre, Lincoln, Dianella, Sunflower, Kingcup, Lady Elsa and Springbank, reported "convoy not met", but subsequently announced at 21:56 that convoy had been met.
19:01 - Aircraft reported the convoy in position 61 40N 27 30W, 095° at 16:00 hours, this position being about 30 miles astern of estimate.
20:00 - Arabis, her fuel being expended, signalled Malcolm that she was returning to Reykjavik with Hontestroom. Northern Wave and Northern Gem continued their search for survivors of torpedoed ships.
23:59 - Primrose signalled "not met"

May 24:
12:00 - Heliotrope signalled Iceland that estimated time of arrival Reykjavik was 21:00 May 24, with Scimitar and Rosewood.
12:59 - C. in C. Western Approaches ordered Churchill to immediately proceed to Iceland at best speed, and was to await orders there after fuelling, along with Burnham.
14:54 - C. in C. told Keppel that Kingcup was required for minesweeping (training?) for one day and was to leave convoy off Butt of Lewis and proceed directly to Loch Foyle, and to report estimated time of arrival when clear. Wires to be streamed and kites calibrated before arrival. M/S officer to report to N.O.I.C. Londonderry on May 27.

May 25:
10:10 - Iceland reported that in view of the situation Zwarte Zee and Buttermere were not sent to tow in Elusa, and proposed sending Zwarte Zee to the U.K. with B.D.? 4. If salvage of Elusa was still considered possible, Tenacity could be sent instead.
17:45 - Burnham reported revised number of survivors from Elusa 49, Harpagus 16, Norman Monarch 22, for a total of 89.

May 26:
06:35 - Iceland requested Northern Gem and Northern Wave to report position of British Security and, if known, whether she was salvable.
11:41 - Keppel was ordered to leave convoy off Butt of Lews and proceed to Scapa, and from there to ?(illegible) to refit.
19:46 - Venomous signalled that escort was detailed as follows:
Sabre for Loch Ewe - estimated time of arrival 01:30 May 27
Venomous for Clyde
Lincoln and Mallow for Liverpool
21:36 - Aultbea confirmed the arrival of Lincoln and at 06?:37, advised that she had sailed to rejoin the convoy.
22:37 - Aultbea confirmed the arrival of Mallow, later signalling she had sailed May 27 (time illegible).
23:58 (the date here still says May 26) - Loch Ewe confirmed arrival of HX 126 (including Westport from SC 31), except for stragglers Ribera and Eemland.

May 27:
03:13 - Sabre left Aultbea to rejoin the convoy

Convoy arrived Liverpool on May 28.

See Page 1 for a list of ships sunk, and the U-boats that sank them, as well as Commodore's notes etc.

Page 1 - Ships in HX 126
Orders for ocean and local escorts (SC 31 & HX 126)
Commodore's Narrative of Events (& Tongariro's Report)

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