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Commodore's Narrative of Voyage
Convoy ON 35

Page 1 - Ships in Convoy ON 35

Sunday, Nov. 9-1941
10:30 - Weighed. S.E. gale.
16:00 - Only 3 ships in sight and one Escort.
22:30 - Rounded Isle of Man, 5 Knots, blowing hard. Balloon burst. All ships lost their balloons.

Nov. 10
Dawn - Only 5 Liverpool ships and 5 Milford ships in sight ahead of position owing to following gale. Ships unable to steer well.
09:30 - Passed Mull of Kintyre, 5 Knots, very misty. Wasted two hours turning 16 point turns to wait for Clyde ships. Strong gale, one mile visibility.
12:00 - Went on without them, asking Sunflower to find out.
20:00 - Rounded Skerryvore.
22:00 - Hauled up 8 points, visibility better.

Nov. 11
Dawn - Only 3 ships in sight, others joined during the forenoon.
13:00 - Approached the Little Minch, weather better, blowing 6 to 8, glass rising, 10 ships.
17:30 - Arrived R/V for Loch Ewe ships, 16 joined, making 28 altogether. Course North 30° West for North R/V.
Midnight - Altered course 95° to port, weather clear and fine, wind dropped, glass rising.

Nov. 12
Clear, overcast. 7 Knots.

Nov. 13
Dawn - Convoy in good order, clear, wind South 3 to 4.
17:00 - Rescue ship and 3 Iceland ships left.
21:00 - Route altered by Admiralty to Northward.
21:45 - Altered course by wheeling 20° to Starboard.

Nov. 14
Wind altered to west, red dawn.
09:00 - Got new route positions and R/V for new Escort tomorrow. Our aircraft patrolling overhead.
P.M. - Westerly swell.
16:30 - Evasive turn 40°.
19:00 - Resumed course.

Nov. 15
A.M. - Wet misty night.
06:30 - Altered course 65° to Port.
08:00 - Met new Escort, 5 American destroyers and one Canadian Corvette. Our Escort went home. Polish ship Puck left for Iceland.
P.M. - Wind south 5 to 6. Heavy swell. 3 American transports joined convoy.

Nov. 16
Southerly winds, rolling heavily.
09:00 - Route altered by U.S. Navy Control. Informed that it is to avoid convoy and a submarine reported ahead. Our air patrol over.
P.M. - Calm and clear to 23:00 when wind shifted to N.W. and sudden gales started. Eased to 6 knots, but only made good 3. The ships not under command, causing a lot of convoy disturbance and lights being switched on.

Nov. 17
Weather slightly better, convoy scattered, but all in sight. Wind died down in the afternoon. Glass dropping fast.

Nov. 18
Wind shifted to S.E., force 6 to 8. Visibility 2 miles.
10:00 - Full S.E. gale and heavy sea.
11:00 - Hove to following with two leading ships and one crossing my bow. Only ? ships in sight.
Noon - Wind veered to west, decreasing. Shaped course ?(illegible) 60W, 6 Knots, 10 ships. Asked Escort to try to find remainder of convoy.

Nov. 19
Strong head gale, 14 ships. Dallas reports one astern 4 miles and several ahead. Speed about 4 Knots, tried faster, but others could not go it.
Noon - Blowing 8. Heavy sleet squalls. 4 submarine reports, only one in our way.

Nov. 20
Wind backed round 32 points, 5 to 7. Visibility good between squalls, 15 ships. Bestik engine trouble, broke down.
20:00 - Wind and sea increasing rapidly. Captain came and adviseid me to heave to, I did not think it necessary, but when Traveller (next leader) signalled she would have to, I made a signal "Heave to, turning to starboard". A very bad night. Ships all over the place unable to steam or steer.

Nov. 21
Dawn - 3 ships in sight. Wind and sea decreasing. Altered course for R/V; 9 Knots.
10:30 - 7 ships and Escort passed Empire Mouflon who had had a boiler explosion. Reported her scalded men doing better, and going to St. John's for repairs.
12:00 - Arrived at R/V. Reduced to 5 Knots waiting for Escort and rest of convoy.
18:00 - 12 ships. S.E. gale, wind shifted 8 points.

Nov. 22
About 04:00 wind was S.W. force 8. Only 8 ships with us, no information about other 4.
P.M. - Steaming 5 Knots, making good 2.
20:00 - Wind veering to N.W., increasing to 6 Knots.

Nov. 23
Dawn - Heavy snow squalls, bright intervals.
18:00 - 8 ships, 4 destroyers. Wind N.W. 6.

Nov. 24
Wind back to S.W. Heavy snow. 8 ships.

Nov. 25
Heavy snow squalls, confused sea. Widestone left for Conception Bay.

Nov. 26
05:00 - Sighted Bull Boint. Radchurch rejoined. Altered course to round Cape Race.

Nov. 27
Heavy squalls, wind increasing.
06:00 - Convoy dispersed. Altered course to round Sable Island, proceeding independently to Halifax (that is, Commodore's ship Amakura).

After heaving to on the 23rd, the following ships were missing: Empire Flame, Narlago, USS Tarazed, Baron Graham, USS Almaack, Anneberg, Castilian, Lista, Condylis, Frumenton, British Commodore, New Westminster City, Dago II, Panos. (Frumenton is mentioned in Commodore's narrative for Convoy ON 36)

Further Notes:
Nov. 16 p.m. - Convoy became spread out by 08:00/17 Monday due to weather.

Nov. 18 - 11:00, Convoy hove to in position 58 53N 37 45W.

Nov. 19 - HMCS Sherbrooke absent; last seen sunset Tuesday 18th.

Nov. 20 - 15 ships reformed in convoy during forenoon, following ships absent:
Empire Mouflon, USS Tarazed, Baron Graham, Bestik, Radchurch, Castilian, Lista, Frumenton, Panos, New Westminster City, Dago II.
At 23:25 convoy (15 ships) hove to in position 57 14N 40 40W.

Nov. 21 - By 16:30, convoy reformed (12 ships) following ships absent:
Empire Flame, Narlago, USS Tarazed, Baron Graham, Radchurch, USS Almaack, Anneberg, Castilian, Lista, Condylis, Frumenton, British Commodore, New Westminster City, Dago II.

Nov. 22 - Convoy 8 ships in company at dawn.
By 16:00 3 ships in company (remainder out of sight). Present: Amakura, Traveller, Lucerna.

Nov. 23 - At 08:15 hove to for two hours to let stragglers reform in position 52 45N 46 58W.
By 16:00 8 ships reformed, ships absent were:
Empire Flame, Narlago, USS Tarazed, Baron Graham, Radchurch, Anneberg, Castilian, Lista, Condylis, Frumenton, British Commodore, New Westminster City, Dago II, USS Almaack, Panos, Enikmon and Bestik.

Nov. 24 - At 08:00 6 ships in company, other two rejoined by 10:00 (Dutch Parklaan and Norw. Ingertre).

The whole reason for the failure of Convoy to keep company is the want of ballast in many ships. They cannot steer in a bad sea, and have to heave to, unnecessarily. The two occasions we hove to, were quite unnecessary for any well formed convoy. These empty ships heavy to, without any notice, and others have to get out of their way, with difficulty and loose the Convoy. They cannot signal to me nor can I to them. The conditions of weather, on this Convoy, have I think been the worst ever, gales seldom stopping for more than a few hours. Visibility generally very bad, though with bright, clear intervals.

Some order should be given preventing unseaworthy ships coming with us. They should be ballasted down to an agreed draught, and also able to proceed at Convoy speed, especially in winter months.

R. G.(J?) Rowley-Conwy, Commodore, R.N.R.

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