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Convoy HX 134 - Page 3
Continuation of Commodore Gerald N. Jones' Report

Commodore's Report
Page 1 - Ships in HX 134

Tuesday July 1st.
Bar: 29.15 falling. Moderate head gale and rough sea. Ships pitching and labouring heavily, and steering badly. Shipping heavy seas. Revs. for 6 Kts, but actual speed is below 3 Kts.
04:00 - Received a destination change for S/S Ancylus, from Belfast to the Mersey. I will inform her when weather is finer.
07:00 - 6.25 Kts.
10:06 - 6 Kts.
12:25 - 6.5 Kts.
Noon position - 60 10N 37 07W. Distance 92 miles. Av. Spd. 4 Kts. Total distance 1581 miles. Bar: 29.06 Air 52. Moderate to fresh gale, high head sea and swell. Ships all labouring and steering badly at these low speeds, many falling athwart the columns. These ships cannot steer at the low speeds the slow Convoy ships are capable of doing. We need to be going faster, but if I attempt to go ahead I receive orders from the Commodore astern to keep the fast Convoy in station on his slow Convoy astern. I have already received signals of protest from Masters of ships in the Convoy over our changes of speed, but I cannot avoid making these changes, since I am ordered to maintain a gap of one mile between the rear of ships of this Convoy and the leading ships of the Convoy behind us. It is most difficult.
13:30 - 6.25 Kts.
15:07 - 6 Kts.
15:50 - 6.5 Kts.
16:00 - R.V. signal for the 3rd.
16:40 - Time alteration signal made.
17:45 - 6.75 Kts.
18:40 - 7 Kts. Received a number of signals regarding the relative positions of the two Convoys from the Commodore of SC 35. We are doing our best to maintain our distance, but the high sea, bad steering and straggling make it difficult.
19:46 - 6.5 Kts.

Wednesday July 2nd
Wind and sea decreasing. Bar: steady or rising very slowly. Passing showers of drizzle.
04:00 - 5.25 Kts.
05:25 - 6 Kts. 60 54N 35 53W. Sunderland flying boat incompany. Made recognition signals, and circled the convoy.
07:07 - 6.5 Kts. Made various signals during the forenoon regarding station keeping.
Noon position - 61 15N 35 07W. Distance 85 miles. Av. Spd. 3.3 Kts. Total distance 1666 miles. Bar: 29.31 rising. Air 47. Strong N.W. wind and rough sea and confused swell. Overcast and showery.
13:05 - SC 35 is now close under our rear ships' sterns. 6.5 Kts.
14:05 - 6.75 Kts.
16:00 - Signalled alteration of time.
19:00 - 6.5 Kts.
20:15 - 83(?) wheeled 30 degrees to starboard.
20:35 - Set course 082 degrees.
20:45 - 6.5 Kts. Singalled R.V. for 4th.
23:47 - 62 02N 33 00W. Friendly aircraft Sunderland in company.
23:56 - Received list of local escorts that will meet the Convoys tomorrow(?), July 4th 04:00 "Z".

Thursday July 3rd
Moderate to fresh wind and rough sea, overcast.
01:44 6.5 Kts.
06:10 - 6.75 Kts.
10:00 - Ships tested A.A. Guns.
10:30 - Tried to fly Kites, three managed to get them up, but most of them fell into water.
11:55 - A Corvette and rescue ship Copeland joined convoy. Copeland takes pennants 65. Position of joining as for Noon.
Noon position - 61 55N 39 59W. Distance 146 miles. Av. Spd. 6.4 Kts. Total distance 1818 miles. Bar: 29.70. Air 48. Fresh N.N.W. wind, moderate sea, but heavy confused swell. Overcast with some showers of drizzle.
14:05 - 6.5 Kts.
15:54 - R.V. for July 5th.
16:35 - 6.75 Kts. Wind falling light, sky clearing, high visibility. Radio oscillations are very bad in this Convoy and despite signals, the evil continues. Drastic measures must be taken to ensure that this menace is removed. We need more signals dealing with it, at present there are only two ambiguous signals that can be hoisted with regard to oscillations. We need a signal that can indicate the wavelength on which the disturbance is heard.
20:18 - 6.75 Kts.
21:10 - 7 Kts.
21:45 - A/C 105 degrees.

Friday July 4th
Light wind and smooth sea. Aircraft of the Coastal Command in company at various times during the night. There is no darkness up in these Latitudes, which has its advantages.
07:05 - 6.75 Kts.
08:08 - 6.5 Kts.
09:15 - Signalled ship Ancylus her new destination viz. the Mersey.
Noon position - 61 39N 25 56W. Distance 148 miles. Av. Spd. 6.4 Kts. Total distance from port 1966 miles. Bar: 29.90. Air 52. Moderate to light fresh winds, and slight sea. A number of local escorts for SC 35 joined up.
13:07 - 7 Kts.
16:00 - 61 33N 25 00W. Several ships of local escort for HX 134 joined. Following are the names of these ships, HMS Salamander, Britomart, Hollyhock, Carnation, St. Apollo, Angle, Nigella, Aubretia, St. Clair. HMS Bulldog proceeded to Iceland, will return tomorrow to this Convoy. HMS Maloja, together with the Newfoundland escorts, the rescue ship Copeland, and the oil tanker Sveve all left for Iceland. With them went HMS Ausonia and escorts from SC 35.
16:08 - 8 Kts.
16:30 - Rescue ship Perth joined Convoy.
17:00 - HMS Britomart closed us and fired a costain gun line across, attached to which was a tin containing news and the list of escorts in their formation.
19:20 - Increased to 8.5 Kts. Smoke of a westbound Convoy sighted on starboard bow.
19:45 - Made R.V. for the 6th.
20:35 - Corvette Nigella hoisted black pennant and dropped a number of depth carges, all well clear of Convoy.
21:26 - Sloop Britomart hoisted black pennant, Convoy turned 90 degrees to starboard by two emergency turns.
21:45 - Returned to course again.
23:15 - Ships sighted on port beam.

Saturday July 5th
HMS Sherwood escort for Iceland Convoy closed and signalled names of five ships and their speeds, these ships are to join up with HX 134. Positions in Convoy detailed and signalled to Sherwood.
00:55 - Reduced to 7 Kts. to allow Iceland ships to come up into station.
04:00 - 60 58N 20 37W. Iceland ships now in station.
04:15 - 8.5 Kts.
06:00 - Some of the ships have dropped astern. Reduced to 8 Kts.
08:09 - Convoy well together, increased to 8.5 Kts.
Following is the list of escorts now present:
HMS Britomart, Salamander, Aubretia, Nigella, King Sol, Sherwood, St. Clair, St. Apollo, Carnation, Hollyhock and HMS Salisbury. Corvette HMS Angle remained astern last night investigating a contact. During that time, when 40 miles astern she fell in with S/S Tredinnick which had dropped astern with boiler trouble yesterday. Angle is now taking that ship into the slow Convoy.
Noon position - 60 47N 19 35W. Distance 191 miles. Av Spd. 7.95 Kts. Bar: 29.50 falling. air 53. Now blowing a moderate to fresh gale with rising sea. Sky heavily overcast. Thick drizzle.
14:55 - 8 Kts.
16:15 - 7.5 Kts.
17:00 - Made the R.V. signal for July 7th. All the ships are keeping fairly well up except the small motor craft Lida, which will most likely be hove to in this weather. She will find the slow Convoy astern as weather improves.
21:30 - Dense fog set down, and wind fell lighter and hauled S.W.

Sunday July 6th
00:30 - Fog lifting. Opened Convoy out to 5 cables. 8 Kts.
01:14 - A Corvette on port beam dropped several depth charges.
06:20 - Fine weather. Closed columns to 3 cables.
08:00 - 8.5 Kts.
10:00 - 9 Kts. During bad weather HMS Linnet disappeared astern, but received information through the escorts that she is now with slow Convoy. Lida, which I had expected to be astern is well up and in station. On the other hand Oil Tanker Empire Gold pennants 82, is not present this morning. We have no information regarding her, and assume that she must have had engine trouble during the thick and bad weather yesterday, and dropped out. A ship in No. 1 Column made a signal accusing the Greek ship Kastor of laying an oil track. I arranged with the S.O.of Escort to investigate. Imagine that Kastor was pumping out bilges. Same ship was making black smoke all day today, despite our signals. However the smoke evil is bad in this ship and I have only been able to reduce it a little, by never ending complaints.
11:55 - HMS Bulldog returned from Iceland and rejoined Convoy.
Noon position - 60 08N 14 25W. Distance 158 miles. Av. Spd. 6.6 Kts. Total distance from Halifax along our track is 2315 miles. Bar: 29.49. Air 53. Moderate S.W. wind, fine weather. Moderate quarterly sea. Convoy in good order, but smoke evil is very disturbing, but nothing more can be done about it. Cheap coal bought by parsimonious owners, and badly arranged combustion systems is the cause.
19:06 - Passed a floating mine, 59 50N 12 20W. Convoy now making a steady 9 Kts. through the water, would like to try for more speed, but am afraid that it would only lead to straggling.

Monday July 7th
04:12 - Friendly aircraft in company. Think that it is a Whitley Bomber. Wind is now S.S.W., force 4 to 5. Overcast with nimbus cumulus along the southern horizon. I think it is just early morning showers, out-look is for fine settled weather.
09:00 - Made several changes of Convoy positions, so as to bring all Loch Ewe ships together. I had purposely retained oil tankers in the middle of Convoy for greater protection, disregarding actual destinations. Reduced to 8 Kts. for the changes to be carried out.
10:35 - 9 Kts. Made preparatory and instructional signal regarding the forming of two columns this evening when passing through the Minches. Loch Ewe ships will keep one mile to port of Convoy.
12:00 - A/C 131 degrees.
Noon position - 59 16N 7 36W. Distance 214 miles. Av. Spd. 8.9 Kts. Total distance from port of departure 2529 miles. Bar: 29.72. Air 56. Fine clear weather with a fresh south wind, slight sea. Convoy steaming at 9 Kts. and in good formation.
14:10 - Motor fish carrier Finlande dispatched independently, this ship was concerned about the condition of the fish and wished to go on. After consultation with the Escort the wish has been granted.
14:46 (14:48?) - Blue warning for G.B.M.S. 1.
16:20 - Made two more changes in Convoy, bringing a Mersey ship into column 5. Signal for Kites to be flown made today. 12 Kites aloft. Many ships tried, but either lost their Kites or failed to get them up.
18:10 - A/C 156 degrees.
19:22 - Butt of Lewis bearing 270 degrees. A/C 180 degrees.
20:05 - A/C 191. Loch Ewe section of 14 ships detached. Signal for two columns made.
21:45 - Passed through line of drift nets buoys belonging to Drifter Pd. 22. Unable to avoid this line of nets.
21:50 - Off Tiummpan Head. A/C 225 degrees.
23:30 - Kebock Pt. abeam. Passing through Sound of Shiant.

Tuesday July 8th
02:15 - Off Sound of Harris. A/C 192 degrees.
04:30 - Sighted an outward bound Convoy steering north.
05:10 - Ushinish Lighthouse abeam.
05:30 - Sighted two Anson Aircraft.
05:50 - Hoisted signal to form four columns.
06:06 - 6 Kts.
07:18 - 9 Kts. Convoy now in new formation. It is actually in 5 columns owing to Manchester City taking affairs into his own hands, and going back to the head of column three. I had intended four columns, but will manage well enough as things are.
09:07 - Reduced to 8.5 Kts. to allow stragglers to come up into station.
09:45 - Oil tanker Solstad pennants 42 hoisted N.U.C. signal and dropped astern.
10:00 - 9 Kts.
Noon position - 56 30N 7 19W (Skerryvore bearing S.E.). Distance 194 miles. Av. Spd. 8 Kts. Total distance from Halifax 2728 miles. Bar: 29.88. Air 62. Strong S.S.W. wind. Rough sea and long ocean swell.
13:19 - Skerryvore Lighthouse abeam. A/S 156 degrees.
16:00 - Wind falling light and sea going down. We have a strong spring tide against us and are not doing much in the way of actual speed.
16:30 - S/S Atlantic Coast, one of the small ships that came from Iceland, requested permission to proceed independently, as she wished to enter port for fuel. After consulting with the S.O. of Escort, the request was granted, and the ship left us.
18:45 - Oversay Light bearing 90 degrees. A/C 129 degrees.
19:20 - Received Admiralty instructions that Bristol Channel ships are to enter Belfast Lough for onward Convoy. These instructions passed to the ships concerned. Local Escorts now dispersing with the exception of one Corvette for the Clyde section, one for Liverpool section, and one for the ships going into Belfast Lough.
21:36 - Altkarry Head abeam.
22:07 - Mull of Cantyre abeam.
22:15 - A/C 142 degrees.
22:30 - Clyde ships dispatched to destination.
23:55 - 9.5 Kts. for Liverpool ships.
23:58 - Bristol Channel and Belfast ships sent into Lough.

Wednesday July 9th
00:15 - A/C 161 degrees.
01:30 - Mew Island abeam.
03:15 - A/C 173 degrees.
07:50 - A/C 127 degrees.
09:45 - A/C 090 degrees.
10:00 - Formed single line ahead. 13 ships in the line.
10:00 - 10 Kts.
11:30 - Passed swept channel light float and reduced to 8.5 Kts. Ships 10 cables apart. Convoy now ended and ships are to act independently. The Convoy that left Halifax on June 20th, and made contact with ships from Bermuda, Sydney and eventually from Iceland, has reached local waters without loss. Divine goodness has watched over us once again, and we are grateful that we have been spared to come to our desired haven.

In conclusion I would pay tribute to the great assistance given to me in every way by Captani H. Hancock of the Manchester Division and his Officers. Captain Hancock has been tireless, and I have placed absolute confidence in his navigation, that confidence has been fully justified.

The Manchester Division is a suitable ship for Commodore and Staff, and all on board gave us every aid. I have written a letter to the owners of the ship expressing my appreciation of the treatment received.

With regard to my own Signal Staff I am enclosing a separate report but I can confidently state that no Commodore has been more loyally served by his Chief Yeoman, Ldg Telegraphist and signalmen, than I have been. With such a Staff my work has been much simplified.

I would also like to report favourably on the Chief Radio Officer, Mr. G. Britton, of this ship, he is a very efficient and capable operator, and nothing was too great a trouble to him.

Gerald N. Jones
Commodore R.N.R.

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