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CONVOY SC 48 - Page 3

Page 1 - Advance Sailing Telegram
Page 2 - Cruising order and Commodore's notes

Report dated Oct. 23-1941
Received from Roger Griffiths (his source: Public Records Office, Kew)

This was Commodore Elliott's first Convoy and he appears to have handled a difficult situation very well. He was not actually present when the attacks took place on this Convoy and so he has been unable to offer much comment on this aspect of his voyage. With regard to his recommendations in para. 11 of his report I have the following observations to make:

1) - Although desirable, it is not possible for the Commodore's ship to receive route alterations direct. These have of necessity to be made in cypher and must therefore be addressed to the Senior Officer of the Escort who holds the requisite cyphers. The Commodore is supplied with an efficient signal staff and there should not normally be any difficulty in passing these instructions to him.

2) - It is not known why the Castalia was selected as Commodore's ship, and the N.C.S.O. at Sydney C.B. has been asked for the reasons for this choice. I know from personal conversation with the N.C.S.O. in the Mersey that Commodore's ships are in general selected with the greatest care and particular attention is paid to their having the most modern navigational equipment.

3) - The reception of weather reports by the Commodore is being investigated. There is no reason why the Highlander should not have read the weather shipping statement which is addressed to all ships and authorities in the various areas concerned, and it is the duty of the Escort to keep the Commodore informed.

4) - The carrying of passengers in slow merchant ships - it is an Admiralty ruling in the North Atlantic that these should not be carried in ships of a speed of less than 12 knots. The Castalia is in fact a borderline case, being listed as 11 1/2 knots. The passengers in fact boarded the ship at Bombay. The question of passengers in ships outside the Atlantic is being taken up with the Ministry of War Transport.

(It looks like this report was signed by Commodore Elliott)

Report dated Oct. 24-1941
From A. R. M. Campbell, F/O to O.C., M.S.F.U.

I have the honour to report further to my report on the last voyage of S.S. Empire Moon (27/8/41 - 22/10/41) that at 02:30 on Wednesday October the 17th a four engined aircraft, unidentified but believed to be a F.W. 200 crossed the convoy flying from N.E. to S.W.

At 15:20 the convoy was attacked by submarines. It appeared evident that the Empire Moon was one of the main targets because the ships both ahead and astern and on the Port side of us were almost immediately torpedoed while the remainder of the convoy was left alone.

On Thursday the 16th October at approximately 23:30 another four engined aircraft crossed the convoy and again the convoy was attacked by submarine a short while afterwards.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient Servant
A.R.M. Campbell, F/O

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To Cruising order and Commodore's notes

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To the next available SC convoy in my list SC 51


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