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CONVOY HXF 11 - Report
Received from Roger Griffiths - His source: Public Records Office, Kew.

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Report of Proceedings - Convoy HXF 11
from the Commanding Officer, HMS Ascania
to Rear Admiral, 3rd Battle Squadron, Halifax N.S.
Dated Dec. 19-1941

Dec. 2-1939:
Convoy HXF 11 sailed from Halifax at 10:00.

Ships of the convoy left harbour and formed up well after passing No. 1 Buoy, setting course 083°. Narwhal and Seal joined up there and took up positions No.'s 53 and 54. Ascania assumed position No. 41 and maintained it generally throughout the passage. The Local Escort consisting of HMCS Skeena and St. Laurent took station in accordance with C.B. 04024 page 54 figure 2, Skeena to Port and St. Laurent to starboard. Aircraft of the the Royal Canadian Air Force maintained an outer A/S patrol during the hours of light.

14:00 - Speed was increased to 11 knots. It was a bright afternoon and sea was calm.
19:35 - Fog set in and the Commodore made the signal on his syrens for a reduction of speed to 9 knots.
20:03 - A report was received by W.T. that Chancellor had been rammed and had her engine room flooded, requireing assistance, and at
20:40 - Athelchief reported it necessary to return to port with as leaking forepeak. Oropesa was ordered by the Commodore to stand by Chancellor. A report giving position of Chancellor was sent by Ascania but owing to difficulty in getting through on H.F. this had to be passed on 425 KC's. Fog continued during the night and at
23:15 - Ascania, who had moved out ahead of the convoy had to alter course to avoid a ship who was stopped in fog.

Dec. 3:
03:00 - Course of the convoy was altered to 089° without further signal. Dense fog until
07:00 - when it began lifting and the convoy began reforming.
10:30 - Local Escort were ordered to proceed to Halifax and submarines were stationed on each bow of the convoy 30' before the beam of the leading ships of wing columns, at a distance of 4 cables, with HMS Narwhal to starboard and HMS Seal to port.
11:03 - Speed increased to 11 knots.
Noon position: 44 44N 58 28W.
Distance made good: 209 miles.
14:00 - Commenced zig-zagging and ceased at 16:00 - speed during the night: 11 knots.
17:15 - Crossed 100 fathoms line.
23:00 - Clocks advanced 30 minutes.

Dec. 4:
03:00 - Clocks advanced 30 minutes. Wind rising during early morning and continued Force 7 till noon. Convoy steering steady course and at
10:53 - reduced speed to 10 knots to allow rear ships to overtake. Sulairia reported bad coal.
Submarines experiencing no difficulties.
Noon position by DR: 44 51N 53 05W.
Distance run: 230 miles.
15:09 - Increased to 11 knots, wind dropping during the afternoon and at
17:00 - fog coming on again so the convoy speed was reduced to 9 knots.

Dec. 5:
Dense fog.
09:07 - Passed 100 fathom line. Considerable advantage found by being in next berth to Commodore and Vice Commodore, signals being carried out by Searchlight and Aldis light in thick fog.
Speed: 9 knots throughout the day.
Noon position by DR: 44 51N 48 10W.
Distance run: 210 miles.
17:00 - Heavy rain, fog lifted.
18:35 - Convoy altered course by Red Light Signal to 069°.

Dec. 6:
Misty weather during the night and at daylight Beaverdale, Inkosi, Manchester Progress and Torr Head, as well as Narwhal and Seal were missing from the convoy.
07:40 - Altered course to 033°.
08:35 - Speed increased to 11 knots.
11:30 - Torr Head rejoined.
Noon position by observation: 46 12N 43 55W.
Distance run: 197 miles.
Carried out exercises with the convoy during the afternoon.
15:35 - Course 055°, speed 9 knots. Fine and calm.

Dec. 7:
At daylight Narwhal, Beaverdale, Inkosi and Manchester Progress all rejoined, leaving only Seal now absent. Continued at 9 knots to allow Seal to overtake. It was not possible to reach signalled rendezvous by noon, so altered course at noon to 060°.
Noon DR: 48 13N 39 32W.
Distance run: 216 miles. Weather fine, westerly winds Force 4.
23:00 - Put clocks on 30 minutes.

Dec. 8:
00:30 - Put clocks on 30 minutes.
At daylight Ascania moved out to Northward to try and get in touch with Seal. Showery and calm.
Noon DR: 49 54N 34 48W.
Distance run: 207 miles. Noon, altered course to 088°.
Zig-zagging all day, speed 9 knots. Seal came up from astern just before dark and took up her position on the Port bow.
22:05 - Convoy altered course 20 to port to avoid a large ship with lights on, steering 150°.

Dec. 9:
07:40 - Began zig-zagging.
09:00 - Passed a British steamer 4 miles off, steering 270°. Carried out convoy exercises during forenoon.
Noon position: 49 45N 29 37W.
Distance run: 200 miles.
12:25 - Altered course to 085°. Weather bright and fine, slight sea. Speed: 9 knots.

Dec. 10:
Course 085°. Speed: 9 knots. Zig-zagging at daylight.
10:48 - Altered course to 088°.
Noon dead reckoning: 50 02N 24 46W.
Distance run: 188 miles. Weather fine, sea slight.
23:00 - Put clocks on 30 minutes.

Dec. 11:
00:30 - Put clocks on 30 minutes. Course 088°, speed 10 knots. Began zig-zagging at dawn.
11:00 - Inkosi had a funeral on board of a distressed British seaman (this probably means a seaman who was a passenger on board, having previously been torpedoed?).
Noon position by DR: 50 10N 18 42W.
Distance run: 233 miles.
Submarines stationed in 53 and 54 positions before dark.
Convoy assumed G.M.T. at midnight, but Ascania made no alterations to her clocks. Heavy rain squalls.

Dec. 12:
06:00 - Increased speed to 10 knots. Misty rain at daylight, visibility poor, only about 1 mile. Torr Head not present.
07:45 - Arrived at rendezvous and altered course to 098° and at
08:50 - reduced speed to 9 knots. Local escort not sighted. Visibility poor all day, but at noon it was about 3 miles.
Noon position: 50 17N 13 16W.
Distance: 203 miles.
Mackay joined convoy just before dark at 17:00 and at
20:30 - Ascania left the convoy, setting course 257° at 14 1/2 knots.
This was the second consecutive occasion on which Ascania had been unable to make contact with the local escort in Western Approaches in the vicinity of the rendezvous, due to low visibility. "In this connection, 0815 GMT is not an easy time to effect a junction in that position, as it is hardly daylight by that time. Were it possibly an hour or two later, this would enable destroyers to speed(?) at visibility distance and steam along the course of approach, and would enable full advantage to be taken of the visibility improving as the sun got higher".

"This convoy was particularly lucky in its weather conditions which were generally favourable except on the occasions of fog. No rough weather was experienced. The convoy had plenty in hand as regards time.

The station keeping was on the whole satisfactory and the Commodore's handling was quite satisfactory, every opportunity being taken to exercise the convoy at alterations of course".

Dec. 13:
Course 257, speed 14 1/2 knots. Keeping to the southward clear of convoys and Trade Routes, zig-zagging during daylight hours, and steady course during the night.
Noon position by observations: 49 25N 16 36W.
Distance run Westward: 264 miles. Misty rain in the afternoon, falling glass but cleared during the night, only moderate sea.

Dec. 14:
Course 257, speed 14 1/2 knots. Fine and clear, only slight sea. Nothing sighted all day. Warmish, temperature of air at noon 56, rising to 58 at midnight. Sea 56.
Noon position by DR: 48 15N 24 17W.
23:00 - Put clocks back 30 minutes.

Dec. 15:
01:00 - Clocks put back 30 minutes. Brilliantly fine, light northwesterly breeze, sea slight.
04:00 - Altered course to 251. Steady course throughout the day.
Noon position by observations: 46 45N 33 26W.
Distance run: 318 miles. Very fine.

Dec. 16:
Course 251, speed 14 knots.
10:00 - Altered course to 263°.
Observed noon position: 45 07N 40 41W.
Distance run: 318 miles. Wind getting up from southwest and blowing hard with heavy rain during the night.
23:00 - Put clocks back 30 minutes.

Dec. 17:
01:00 - Put clocks back 30 minutes. Course 263, speed 14 knots. Blowing hard from northward, very cold.
Noon position by dead reckoning: 44 24N 48 50W.
Distance run: 350 miles.
Weather cleared up during the afternoon and wind dropped.
16:00 - Altered course to 261°.

Dec. 18:
Course 261°, speed 14 knots.
07:20 - Joined Emerald and carried out inclination exercise, proceeding independently at 11:00.
Noon - Altered course 260°. Sea calm, visibility poor, passing rain showers.
Noon position by dead reckoning: 43 42N 56 35W.
Distance run: 336 miles.
22:50 - Sable Island bearing 000 by DF so altered course to 294.
23:00 - Put clocks back 30 minutes.

Dec. 19:
01:00 - Put clocks back 30 minutes.
02:33 - Passed 3 trawlers.
07:50 - Altered course to identify a ship.
09:15 - Communicated with Leise Maersk (Danish) bound for Boston, Massachusetts from Kirkenes, Norway.
09:40 - Set course 306° for Halifax and proceeded up harbour when Convoy HX 13 and Enterprise were clear, anchoring in No. 5 Berth at 14:00.

(last name looks like Wharton)
Commanding Officer R.N.

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The next HX convoy to sail was HX 11
To the next HXF convoy HXF 12


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