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Narvik - Methil Convoy No. 2 (NV 2)
Transcribed from documents received from Tony Cooper, England (HMS Jervis' report)

Left Narvik on Dec. 18-1939 and arrived Methil Roads on Dec. 24

Cruising Order
Baron Kelvin
Santa Clara Valley*
Baron Ruthven
The Commodore was in Otterpool.

Additionally, the Finnish Leda, which had lost touch with HN 5, was allowed to join on Dec. 22 - see report below.

* Comparing the above list of ships with a document received from Don Kindell (from the late Arnold Hague's database), I find that the ship in station 12 is listed as Clare Lilley. However, she's listed as Santa Clara Valley in HMS Jervis' report (see also Convoy ON 4).

The escorts met the convoy 7 miles northwest of Flatøy Island (Vestfjord) at 00:10 on Dec. 19-1939, steering 240°, 8 1/2 knots. Course was altered to 228° at 02:30, and to 251° at 11:00. By 12:00 the convoy was in the open sea, curising at 8 knots, with wind from the north/northeast, force 3-4, sea and swell 35.

Course was altered again at 13:30 the following day (Dec. 20) to 204°, wind north force 2-3, sea and swell 35. At 21:00 that evening the barometer started to fall and the wind suddenly backed to southwest, and by 01:30 (Dec. 21) visibility was poor and the sea very rough, wind force 8, the convoy only able to do 4 knots. At 06:00 the wind had increased to hurricane force (12), so that all the ships had to heave to (appr. course 260°). An hour later the gale began to moderate, though the sea was still very high. Course 204° was resumed, speed 3 knots. All the ships wer still in sight at 08:45, though there were some stragglers, which were assisted by escort to rejoin the main body, all ships being in station by noon that day, sailing at 4 knots. The wind at that time was force 8, having veered to west/northwest. The sea was still high with a heavy swell at 20:00 that evening, but wind had been reduced to force 6, speed of convoy: 5 1/2 knots.

At 08:00 the next morning, Dec. 22, the wind was northwest force 3, sea and swell 37, the convoy proceeding at 6 knots, but at noon a southwest gale blew up. At 14:16 Jaguar obtained a "contact" and remained behind to check it out, rejoining again 16:00, having fired charges at what was believed to be a shoal of fish. Course was altered to 199° at 21:00 that evening, and an hour later the Finnish Leda was met (spelt Lida in the report). This ship had been detached from Convoy HN 5. She was given course and speed and allowed to join.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 23 (at 02:37) Jaguar reported evaporator problems, and was ordered at 03:25 to proceed to Scapa, with Jervis replacing her on the starboard side of the convoy. At 08:00 wind was west/southwest force 5, sea 34, speed 6 1/2 knots, the convoy feeling the effects of being in the lee of the Shetlands. Course was altered to 220° at 10:35, and at 11:50 an Anson aircraft arrived to act as escort. At 14:30 that afternoon the convoy prepared to enter the searched channels by forming into 2 columns, Jervis taking up station ahead, Janus astern. HMS Southampton was sighted on the starboard beam at this time, signalling the relative position of Convoy HN 5. The Narvik convoy altered course to 203° at 16:25, then again to 220° at 20:07 that evening, and about an hour later, after the Buchan Ness Light had been sighted at 20:54, bearing 221°, the convoy proceeded through the searched channels at 8 knots. May Island was passed at 10:30 the next morning, Dec. 24, and at 12:05 Jervis parted company off Fidra Island.

Captain P. J. Mack of HMS Jervis states that the sea experienced on this passage was the highest he had ever seen, and that the destroyers suffered various damage to their upper decks. Janus lost her motor dinghy as well as her sailing dinghy, and Jervis had her motor boat taken out of the davits by a sea and her sailing dinghy smashed in its chocks.

He adds that the captain of Baron Kelvin informed him by megaphone that there were 6 German merchant ships in Narvik awaiting cargoes of iron ore, and that the Norwegian workmen refused to load them and the Norwegian pilots refused to take them down the fjords.

HMS Jervis (Captain P. J. Mack, astern of convoy), Janus (port bow), Jaguar (starboard bow). For additional info, see this document, listing escorts for all HN and ON convoys.

See also the 4th paragraph under Dec. 17 on this external page, which also has info on the escorts for this convoy (referred to as NV 2 at this site).

Back to Convoy Index

To the next Norway-U.K. Convoy in my list HN 5
To List of all Norway-U.K. Convoys


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