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CONVOY ON 202 (ONS 18)
Commodore's Report

Received from Doug McLean, Canada - His source: Public Records Office, Kew.
See also his analysis on
Page 4

ONS 18 departed Liverpool on Sept. 12-1943 and arrived Halifax on Sept. 29
(Arnold Hague's The Allied Convoy System" gives 27 ships in this convoy).

ON 202 left Liverpool on Sept. 15-1943 and arrived New York on Oct. 1.
(Arnold Hague gives 38 ships in this convoy - the Commodore says 42).

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Report of Proceedings by Commodore of Convoy ON 202
(E.O. Cochrane, R.N.R. in Dutch Westland)
Here are several other reports on passage

Daily positions at 08:00 BST have been inserted from a separate document (I'm not sure whether the Commodore also operates in BST in his report).

Friday, Sept. 17:
08:00 BST - 56 07N 11 11W (W.N.W. 5, OCP)

Sept. 18:
In view of apparent absence of U-boats, the clear weather and full moon, an anti-sub excercise was carried out at the request of S.O. Escort at 04:10. Convoy firing rockets and snowflakes. A diversion to the northward was ordered just at dusk. No time to alter R/V's but fortunately no alterations of course during the night had been made.

08:00 BST - 56 07N 17 18W (DR) - (W.S. 5, OCM).

Sept. 19:
08:00 BST - 56 29N 23 17W (W 6, OCM).

Icarus and Polyanthus started fueling at daylight; former could not complete; latter completed 60 tons.
05:45 - A Liberator passed ahead of convoy flying North. She reported at 10:15 having got 4 hits on a s/m. Icarus was detached to investigate.
Support Group joined at 11:30.

Sept. 20:
Escort hunting s/m's from 01:40/04:30. HMS Lagan was torpedoed at 03:05. When chasing a U-boat that had been detected by Rathlin's H/F D/F. Lagan taken in tow by Destiny and proceeded to Iceland escorted by Lancer.
05:40 - No. 11 Frederick Douglas (US) and No. 21 Theodore Dwight Weld (US) torpedoed. The latter broke in half just before bridge the forepart sinking in a few minutes.
(08:00 BST - 57 12N 28 00W [W.N. 6, OC]).
08:04 - Icarus sighted U-boat on surface and attacked with D/C's at 08:30. Aircraft subsequently flew over place and reported a large bubble, thought a kill probable. U-boats being reported by aircraft, and Escorts, all around convoy, carried out several turns, mostly to port as heaviest concentration appeared to be to the northward.
Ordered to join up with ONS 18 at 12:20 and made contact with them at 17:15 in 57 21N 31 05W. Received orders at 14:00 to steer for a position off Cape Race after convoys joined. This order proved subsequently to be wrong - we were meant to continue on the old route. The mistake, however, was a fortunate one, resulting in a nice quiet night.

N.D. Ships - The Net Defence ships were ordered to stream nets at 17:15 when convoys joined, having been warned two hours previously that they would be getting them out. Eugene Field (US) succeeded in 45 minutes; Casimir Pulaski reported at 18:00 she couldn't get nets out that night as she had an insufficient number of able seamen. She streamed them next forenoon.

Sept. 21:
08:00 BST - 56 20N 33 07W (DR) - (S 2, F).

Foggy all day, clearing a bit at 14:00 when ONS 18 were sighted on stbd. beam. Passed alteration of course to ONS 18 to get us back on route, but fog shutting down thick again, had to cancel them. New route received shortly afterwards straight for Cape Race. Fog thick all night.

Sept. 22:
04:30 - Keppel reported having rammed a U-boat on stbd side of convoy.
04:45 - Not to be outdone, Icarus rammed the Drumheller but did little damage.
(08:00 BST - 54 26N 37 05W [DR] - [S 2, F]).
A clearish patch at 12:30 enabled course to be altered to join new route. Fog lifted at 14:15, ONS 18 about 4' before stbd beam. As Escort wanted a 60° alteration of course after dark to endeavor to throw off shadower, ONS 18 was formed astern.
At 21:55 HMS Itchen was torpedoed and blew up just ahead of 03 column; she was seen just previously to be firing at a s/m on the surface which she had lit up with her search light, shots falling short. No 31 slipped a raft for the survivors, but only two were picked up. Pos. 53 23N 39 55W.

Sept. 23:
00:20 - No. 102 Skjelbred, 103 Oregon Express, 94 Fort Jemseg were torpedoed. The Skjelbred only had her rudder blown off and it was hoped to save her but the Rescue Tug Destiny had left convoy with HMS Lagan so she was ordered to be abandoned at 04:45.
At 04:45 Steel Voyager in ONS 18 was torpedoed. She did not appear to be badly damaged but in the end had to be abandoned (see Narrative on next page).

08:00 BST - 53 14N 41 05W (W 4, OC).

Sept. 24:
08:00 BST - 52 07N 44 20W (S.W. 3, OCP).

Foggy all day and night; various U-boats seen and heard around convoy but no attacks.

Sept. 25:
08:00 BST - 49 28N 49 20W (S.W. 2, F).

17:30 - Fog lifted sufficiently to enable signal for 9 knots to get through and so draw ahead of other convoy, but did not like to risk crossing ahead of ONS 18 to get on course to Eastward of Virgins. Pos. 48 20N 50 00W.
N.D. ships brailed nets.

Sept. 26:
Escort put down and depth charged a U-boat at 01:30 board(?) on Fog continued off and on all day and following day.

08:00 BST - 47 15N 51 36W (S 4, F).

Sept. 27:
08:00 BST - 45 00N 55 50W (S.W. 4, OCR).

Sept. 28:
08:00 BST - 43 08N 60 31W (S.W. 3, BC).

Fine clear weather. Halifax portion left.

Sept. 29:
08:00 BST - 40 40N 64 39W (N.E. 4, OC).

Sept. 30:
08:00 BST - 39 30N 70 40W (N.E. 8, OCMR).

Signal ordering changing of destinations for five tankers was received at 14:00. Visibility at the time about one mile, blowing a full N.E.'ly gale. Convoy endeavouring to form 2 columns and make end channel buoy.

Suggest that signal changing destinations of tankers be despatched so as to reach Commodore at least 24 hours before arrival at Point Z. Attention is called to signal from CESF 3013552.

Suggest that, at any rate during winter months, convoys bound for New York should be routed via Cape Cod in order to avoid difficulty of finding swept channel to Ambrose Light.

Signed - E. O. Cochrane, Commodore R.N.R.

Here are several other reports on passage

Back to Page 1 - ships in convoys

Back to Convoy Index

To the next ON convoy in my list ON 203
will be added, as will ON 204 through ON 211
In the meantime, see Ships sailing in all ON convoys
The next available ON convoy is ON 212


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