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Convoy ON 122
Commodore's Report on Attacks

Page 1 - Cruising order

All times are G.M.T.

Convoy ON 122 formed up off Oversay P.M. 15th August 1942 36 ships in company and experienced heavy weather until the night of 21st August 1942.

A.M. 22nd August 1942 - Wind fell light and by afternoon had smooth sea and light following wind. About 16:00Z a U-boat was sighted on surface by escort, on Port quarter (52 22N 26 25W. Convoy course 243° speed 7.5 knots) but got away.
At 16:50Z altered course 273°.

During afternoon several signals were made to Convoy by me about smoke. Two ships Amberton (64) and Jan (53) were pouring out volumes of smoke, they were told that they would be reported, and both Masters replied that they were doing their best but had bad coal. I consider that in great measure the subsequent loss of at least four ships and the loss of life entailed was due to whoever was responsible for the coal supplied to these ships.

After dark (23:00Z) course was again altered to 236°, visibility deteriorating.

By morning of 23rd fog had set in but cleared later in day.
At 23:00Z however on HF/DF bearings from Stockport, search was made astern and two U-boats sighted (52 30N 32 06W) and chased off, and on return of S.O. Escort course was again altered to 270° at 06:30Z and again at 14:30Z to 236°. Weather clear and fine, moderate west wind and sea, position at 14:00Z 50 00N 35 50W.

At 19:00Z 24th received change of Route but remained on 236° so as to alter to 270° after dark. Viscount and part of? escort were at this time astern investigating HF/DF reports, and at 19:30Z MF/DF reports were also received from No. 21 Empire Wagtail and No. 41 Empire Breeze.
At 22:00Z S.O. escort in Viscount returned reporting at least four U-boats astern but that he hoped he had driven them far enough astern to prevent them seeing our alteration of course.
At 23:00Z altered course to 270°.
Moon was nearly full and though clouds were low and fog obviously impending, visibility unfortunately remained good.

At 23:45Z felt six depth charges and then minutes later 23:55Z Sheaf Mount No. 94 was torpedoed sinking in one minute but firing her rockets almost horizontally as ship heeled over and sank, a most heroic effort. Katvaldis No. 91 seems to have been also torpedoed by the same salvo.

At midnight G.M.T. emergency turn of 45° to Port on request from Viscount by R/T and a few minutes later No. 41 Empire Breeze was seen by me to have been torpedoed on her Starboard side, Athelprince having to alter course to starboard to clear her. Rockets were fired by Athelprince and report passed on by R/T. An explosion was seen a little abaft Starboard beam at this time 00:13Z/25th, which must have been No. 71 Trolla who was struck by a torpedo in the same salvo. A torpedo appeared to pass very close under the counter of Athelprince at the time No. 41 was hit. The first salvo seemed to be fired from Starboard quarter and the second from before Starboard beam.

The Convoy was kept on this emergency turn to port i.e. on 225° until 02:05Z/25th by which time thick fog had set in. Escort were heavily engaged astern and at this time course was resumed 270°.

At 07:07Z report was intercepted from No. 34 Gloxinia* as follows "SSSS attacked" but no further message was received.
At 12:30Z S.O. requested me by R/T to alter course 60° to Port and by 13:00Z Convoy was round on course 210°. The speed throughout the night 7 1/2 knots.

* This ship is listed in station 32 of the available A 1 form.

Fog cleared for about two hours about 18:30Z and I found we had 27 ships in company. Four ships No. 12 Kolsnaren, No. 34 Gloxinia, No. 74 Souliotis and No. 93 Lifland were unaccounted for, No. 44 Mariposa rejoined later (Mariposa is listed in station 103 on the A 1 form). Station keeping for two hours on a quarterly bearing from guides during first emergency turn followed by a second emergency turn in thick fog, and later a 60° alteration by sound signals, still in dense fog, account for some ships having gone astray. Credit is due to those who kept together.

At 21:00Z/25th escort rejoined. Fog setting in again and at 22:00Z course was again altered to 270° by sound signals in thick fog.

At daylight on 26th August 1942 pursuit seemed to have been abandoned; if any of the enemy were in condition to undertake it!

Viscount reports he considers two U-boats almost certainly sunk* and one probably, signals from him are attached (not available), in which special mention is made of gallant behaviour of certain of the Sheaf Mount's crew and of courageous work by rescue ship Stockport, also of valuable HF/DF reports made by her.

* A claim that U-256 was sunk is incorrect, though she was heavily damaged on Aug.31, not sure if this took place in the same area(?). As for Viscount's claims above, I have no further information.

The Commodore ends his report by saying, "Survivors i.e. thirty-nine from No. 91 Katvaldis and twenty-one from No. 94 Sheaf Mount picked up by Stockport, and 17(?) from No. 71 Trolla by escort Potentilla.", however, these numbers appear to be incorrect - see Page 1.

Signed Captain S. H.(?) White R.N.R., Commodore.

Page 1 - Cruising order

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