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Convoy SC 28 - Page 2

Page 1 - Ships in SC 28

From the Commanding Officer of HMS Chitral
to Secretary of the Admiralty

Dated Apr. 24-1941
Received from Roger Griffiths (his source: Public Records Office, Kew).

Apr. 9-1941:
15:25 - Sailed from Halifax. Joined convoy. The ships deleted from A 1 form on Page 1 did not join the convoy.

Apr. 10:
18:30 - Stopped and took engineer off Gezina on board for medical treatment. He was returned later.

Apr. 11:
17:30 - HMS Talisman joined and took station on bow of convoy.

Apr. 13:
Noon - HMS Royal Sovereign joined.
The escort was uneventful. No enemy forces were met, and the route as laid down was adhered to. The weather was fine on the whole with two or three fog patches lasting a few hours each. A fresh N.W. gale was met with on the 17th and 18th, which caused the convoy to straggle very considerably, and made it reduce speed.

Apr. 19:
15:00 - The HX convoy which had been 20 to 40 miles ahead turned 16 points and took station ahead of SC convoy, the speed being adjusted until they gradually joined up as one. (HX 120?)

Apr. 20:
20:00 - HMS Royal Sovereign left. When well away she reported by W/T that the convoy would be 13 hours late at rendezvous "A".

Apr. 21:
15:30 - Local Iceland escort joined. HMS Chitral and HMS Laconia left convoy for Iceland.

Disposition of escort:
Between columns 4 and 5, either slightly ahead or slightly astern of leading ship, depending on weather and visibility.

The average speed was 6.5 knots. Some of the ships could only do 7 knots, and in heavy weather their speed was reduced to 5 knots.

The following ships fell out and were not seen again:

Apr. 13 - Runswick (returned to Halifax)
Apr. 18 - Bernhard (returned to Halifax)
Apr. 19 - Kisnop

The Bernhard, a motorship, hoisted "Not Under Control" balls, but hauled them down and appeared to be coming up well; she disappeared during the night.
The Kisnop reported she would be three hours carrying out repairs, but two sweeps 25 miles astern failed to find either of them.
As the two convoys were close together and approaching the submarine area it was not considered advisable to carry out D/F procedure.
There were in addition a large number of ships who stopped to repair main engines or steering gear, and did not regain station for some hours. About 50% of the ships in the convoy suffered from some such defect.

Only one ship had to be reprimanded for showing light. The convoy was apt to spread out during the night and required to be gingered up every morning by the escort.

I was struck by the large number of corrupt groups in messages received. These will be compared later with the messages received by Laconia with a view to ascertaining whether the fault lies within or without the ship. Trouble was experienced in receiving Louisberg (V.A.S.) 105 Kcs on the night of the 20th, and one message was missed owing to interference from an unknown station sending out automatic unintelligible signals which appeared to be a succession of V's followed by a 10 second long and giving out a harsh note. Laconia experienced the same interference and missed the same signal. Chitral had no occasion to transmit on the trip.

Attached is a list of westbound merchant vessels met with whilst convoying (copied below). If these ships are routed clear of the convoy some of them cannot be following their instructions. Difficulty is experienced in establishing the identity of the Dutch, Swedish, and Norwegian vessels met with, particularly tankers. This difficulty is greater than ever now that Lloyds Weekly Index is no longer issued to ships on Escort duty. It is submitted that the Index be issued in future.

The method of challenging British merchant ships, though slow, works well, and it is recommended that the same, or a procedure on similar lines, be introduced for the other foreign ships in permanent British employ.

Westbound merchant ships met while with Convoy SC 28 (all times are Zone times):
Nicolaou Virginia (Greek) - at 17:05 on Apr. 10 in 43 14N 60 34W.
Aghia Marina (Greek) - at 01:25 on Apr. 12 in 42 40N 56 30W.
Gretavale (British) - at 08:35 on Apr. 15 in 43 50N 46 20W.
Elusa (Dutch) - at 10:20 on Apr. 16 in 46 23N 43 36W.
Thorshavet (Norwegian) - at 13:00 on Apr. 17 in 49 36N 41 31W.
Kelso (British) - at 14:10 on Apr. 17 in 49 40N 41 27W.
Chr. Th. Boe (Norwegian) - at 16:10 on Apr. 17 in 49 53N 41 25W.
Harmonic (British) - at 04:20 on Apr. 18 in 51 00N 40 13W.
Amsterdam (Dutch) - at 09:55 on Apr. 21 in 56 53N 35 41W.
Katendrecht (Dutch) - at 10:00 on Apr. 21 in 56 54N 35 40W.
Tolken (Swedish) - at 11:00 on Apr. 21 in 56 55N 35 20W.
Cape Wrath (British) - at 11:15 on Apr. 21 in 56 56N 35 18W.
British Princess (British) - at 12:05 on Apr. 21 in 57 05N 35 10W.
British Fusilier (British) - at 14:00 on Apr. 21 in 57 20N 35 05W.

Signature is illegible.

Page 1 - Ships in SC 28

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