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Departure & Arrival Dates

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Transcribed from documents received from Tony Cooper, England - His source: Public Records Office, Kew.

The dates refer to departure from Methil and arrival at the channel through the Norwegian Islands. The number of hours on passage does not include time spent inside the Norwegian "Indre Led".

Click on the links provided for more information on each convoy.

Departure Date
Arrival Date
Hours on Passage
Number of Ships
Nov. 4-1939
Nov. 7
All British
Nov. 12-1939
Nov. 15
See also Notes below
Nov. 26-1939
Nov. 30
All British
Dec. 5-1939
Dec. 8
All British
Dec. 16-1939
Dec. 19
All British
Dec. 29-1939
Jan. 1-1940
3 British, 3 Finnish
2 detached (not for Norway)
Jan. 6-1940
Jan. 9
1 British, 1 Norwegian, 4 Finnish
Jan. 15-1940
6 British, 3 Norwegian, 1 Finnish
2 detached (not for Norway)
See also Notes below
Jan. 24-1940
Jan. 27
3 British, 5 Norwegian, 1 Swedish, 4 Finnish
Febr. 5-1940
Febr. 8
7 British, 10 Norwegian, 7 Swedish, 4 Finnish, 1 Estonian
See also Notes below
Febr. 9-1940
Febr. 12
7 British, 13 Norwegian, 1 Swedish, 2 Danish, 3 Finnish, 1 Estonian
3 detached (not for Norway)
Febr. 13-1940
Febr. 16
10 British, 8 Norwegian, 2 Swedish, 2 Danish, 4 Finnish, 1 Panamanian
4 detached (not for Norway)
Febr. 17-1940
Febr. 22
10 British, 7 Norwegian, 1 Swedish, 5 Finnish, 1 Estonian
1 detached (not for Norway).
Convoy diverted to Kirkwall,
time lost: 48 hrs.
See also Notes
Febr. 23-1940
Febr. 27
2 British, 20 Norwegian, 6 Swedish, 3 Danish, 6 Finnish, 3 Estonian
1 detached (not for Norway)
See also Notes
Febr. 28-1940
March 2
incl. 6 from Kirkwall
6 British, 19 Norwegian, 11 Swedish, 2 Danish, 3 Finnish, 2 Estonian
2 detached (not for Norway)
March 3-1940
March 7
3 British, 16 Norwegian, 12 Swedish, 5 Danish, 2 Finnish, 2 Estonian
1 detached (not for Norway)
March 4-1940
March 8
incl. 17 from Kirkwall
6 British, 16 Norwegian, 8 Swedish, 8 Finnish, 3 Estonian
1 detached (not for Norway)
See also Notes
March 7-1940
March 10
incl. 10 from Kirkwall
10 British, 13 Norwegian, 12 Swedish, 2 Danish, 4 Finnish, 2 Estonian, 1 Panamanian
4 detached (not for Norway)
See also Notes and Air Attacks
March 11-1940
March 14
incl. 13 from Kirkwall
8 British, 14 Norwegian, 7 Swedish, 2 Danish, 5 Finnish, 4 Estonian
1 detached (not for Norway)
March 15-1940
March 18
incl. 12 from Kirkwall
9 British, 18 Norwegian, 7 Swedish, 2 Danish, 2 Finnish, 2 Panamanian
March 19-1940
March 23
incl. 15 from Kirkwall
6 British, 21 Norwegian, 7 Swedish, 2 Danish, 3 Finnish, 2 Estonian
3 detached (not for Norway)
See also Notes and link to Air Attacks
March 24-1940
March 27
incl. 8 from Kirkwall
5 British, 19 Norwegian, 3 Swedish, 4 Finnish
3 detached (not for Norway)
ON 22 and subsequent convoys were routed westward of the Shetlands. See also Notes.
Some details on ON 22 are also available in HMS Breda's report on my page about Convoy HN 22. (This report gives departure date as March 23).
March 27-1940
March 31
incl. 2 from Kirkwall
6 British, 11 Norwegian, 4 Swedish, 2 Danish, 2 Finnish, 1 Estonian
1 detached (not for Norway)
See also link to Air Attacks
March 31-1940
Apr. 4
incl. 3 from Kirkwall
1 British, 13 Norwegian, 1 Swedish, 5 Danish, 1 Finnish
See also link to Air Attacks
Apr. 5
(Norway invaded Apr. 9)
incl. 10 from Kirkwall
9 British, 16 Norwegian, 9 Swedish, 4 Danish, 4 Finnish, 1 Estonian
2 detached (not for Norway,)
17 turned back for Kirkwall
See also link to Air Attacks
incl. 96 from Kirkwall
146 British, 243 Norwegian, 99 Swedish, 33 Danish, 72 Finnish, 23 Estonian, 4 Panamanian.
31 had been detached (not for Norway)

75 merchant ships of various nationalities were sunk by U-boat action during the first 2 months of the war (before the convoy system was properly implemented), others were sunk by aircraft. (See also the 2nd link at the end of this text for information on air attacks on convoys).

Notes & general information on ON convoys:

No merchant ships were sunk while in convoy, but 1 ship, the Norwegian Svinta, was torpedoed after having been driven out of Convoy ON 21 following an air attack. See my text for Svinta, as well as my page on Air Attacks

Heavy weather with snow and very high winds were prevalent during the winter 1939/1940. The normal time of passage at 7 knots should have been about 67 hours on the route to the eastward of the Shetlands, but only about half of the convoys completed the voyage in 70 hours or less. In these conditions several ships lost touch, some of which were sunk by enemy action while sailing alone. A number of convoys were forced to heave to, resulting in them becoming scattered overnight. Frequent fog was another hazardous problem.

As can be seen in the above table, the first 4 convoys each way (ON and HN convoys, see previous page), as well as ON 5, were quite small and consisted mainly of British ships. Neutral ships were subsequently included.

From the end of Dec.-1939 until the ON and HN convoys stopped running in Apr.-1940, one or more Finnish ships carrying munitions for Finland were regularly included in the ON convoys. Their cargoes were unloaded at Norwegian ports, usually at Bergen, then sent on by rail.

ON 2
Local escort was HMS Imperial - for other escort vessels, see my page listing escorts.

ON 8
A collision occurred between HMS Duncan and the Norwegian Haukefjell. Both ships reached port.

ON 10
Traffic increased considerably during Jan.-1940, and this, coupled with the expectations that Denmark would ask for inclusion of her ships in these convoys, raised the question of reducing the time-cycle of the convoys. The C.-in C., Home Fleet felt that a 4 days cycle could not be maintained with the existing destroyer commitments and that more cruisers would be needed for the covering force. It was then decided that the Humber Force destroyers should be used for the time being, and that the 18th Cruiser Squadron should share provision of the covering force with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron. The 4 day-cycle was instituted with Convoy ON 10 on Febr. 5-1940. (See also the link at the end of this page to my page listing the HN and ON convoy escorts).

ON 10 had 22 neutral ships. After this, the ON convoys continued to include a large amount of neutrals. With this convoy, the practice was also initiated of including ships bound westward of the U.K. as well as ships for Narvik, which detached en route to continue independently.

ON 11
This convoy, leaving on Febr. 9-1940, saw the inclusion of Danish ships for the first time. From then on, the number of Danish ships increased steadily.

ON 14
Considerable enemy activity was reported following the Cossack-Altmark affair. Convoy ON 14, which had left Methil on Febr. 17-1940, was ordered into Kirkwall on the 18th, until a heavy covering force (Rodney, Hood, and Warspite) arrived in the area. ON 14 sailed again on Febr. 20.

ON 15
The Norwegian Annfinn hit a submerged object* off Rattray Head and sank in Norwegian waters, having been hove to in a gale. She was later salvaged.

* Jan-Olof Hendig, Sweden has sent me a newspaper clipping about this incident (from Febr. 28-1940), which states that she collided with a U-boat, whose periscope was torn off, and which, it is claimed, may have sunk. Annfinn developed a heavy leak, but they managed to keep her afloat with the help of the pumps until they were off Holmgengrå, at which time they found it best to take to the boats, as they were standing in water up to their waists. They were in 2 boats, which were separated in the bad weather, one reaching Tangenes, while the men in the other boat were picked up by a Danish vessel and later taken to Bergen. Annfinn is said to have been still afloat and drifting northwards, and a salvage vessel has been sent out. This ship is not included on my website. The article states she was 950 tons and had a complement of 14. She was on a voyage from Methil to Moss with coal when the the incident took place.

ON 17 - ON 17A
The increasing demand by neutrals to be included in outward convoys resulted in a congestion of shipping at Methil and Kirkwall, and an extra ON convoy, ON 17A was formed on March 4-1940, the day after ON 17 had departed.

ON 18
A collision occurred between HMS Kelly (ON 18) and HMS Gurkha (HN 17). Both ships reached port.
See also my page about convoys attacked by aircraft.

ON 21
Attacked by aircraft - see this page.

ON 22
This was the first convoy to be routed to the westward of the Shetlands towards the end of March-1940. The extra time required by doing so was gained by sailing earlier from Methil. A few details on this convoy are available in HMS Breda's report on my page about Convoy HN 22.

ON 23
Attacked by aircraft.

ON 24
Attacked by aircraft Apr. 2 and Apr. 3.
With the German invasion of Norway on Apr, 9-1940, the last convoys to complete a full voyage were HN 24 and ON 24.

ON 25
Attacked by aircraft Apr. 10 - Follow the link for a report on this convoy.

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