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CONVOY ON 6 – U.K.-Norway

Left Methil Roads on Dec. 29-1939 and arrived Norway on Jan. 1-1940
Received from Tony Cooper, England.

Stations are not known.

Up until the end of Dec.-1939 the ON convoys consisted mainly of British ships, but from then on 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.

The following ships took part in ON 6:

Salerno (Br)
Highlander (Br)
Wanda (Fi)
Rigel (Fi*)
Vienti (Fi)

Another document listing all the ON convoys states that ON 6 had a total of 6 ships. Comparing the above to a list of ships in ON 6 received from Don Kindell, based on A. Hague's research, I find that A. Hague has also included HMS Ringdove in this convoy. *Also, he states that Rigel was the Norwegian ship by that name. However, the document about the ON convoys says there were 3 Finnish and 3 British ships in ON 6.

The ships left at 16:00 on Dec. 29-1939, in poor visibility, resulting in the convoy being very slow in getting underway, but by 18:00 they were proceeding at 8 knots, with HMS Encounter and Orzel stationed astern. Bell Rock was passed at 20:30 that day.

Eclipse was detached at 01:00 Dec. 30 to escort Highlander to Aberdeen, Eclipse rejoining convoy at 09:00. At daylight that day the Finnish Vienti was found to be missing and was not seen again during the voyage. Because of the low visibility, no one had observed her disappearance.

Convoy speed was reduced to 6 1/2 knots during the day, which was the maximum capability of Wanda and Rigel. At 10:30, HMS Ringdove was detached due to the slow speed of the convoy, and escorted by Eclipse she proceeded ahead to her rendezvous with a trawler escort from Scapa, whereupon Eclipse rejoined ON 6 at 16:00. By that time, Wanda and Rigel had dropped 5 miles astern, in spite of the previous reduction of convoy speed, so the Senior Officer decided to proceed with Salerno, ordering Encounter and Orzel to take station 15 yards astern of Salerno, the ships proceeding at 6 1/2 knots through the night.

Encounter was sent back to look for the straggling Finnish ships at 08:30 on Dec. 31, now out of sight astern. Position by sights at 09:00 showed an average speed during the night of 5 1/2 knots. Exmouth subsequently increased her speed to 8 knots, to make sure she arrived on time to meet Convoy HN 6. Glasgow and Edinburgh were sighted at 09:30; only Salerno was in company. At 10:00 the Senoir Officer received a message from the Flag Officer Commanding, 2nd Cruiser Squadron, informing him that the neutral ships carried important cargoes, so he altered course 180° in order to collect the stragglers, Rigel rejoining at 11:00. Wanda was sighted 10 miles away bearing 210°, and at 11:30 Exmouth resumed course for Norway at 6 knots to enable Wanda to catch up, the latter taking her station at 13:30, at which time speed was increased to 6 1/4 knots.

As mentioned, Exmouth was scheduled to escort Convoy HN 6 (Norway-U.K.). As can be seen by following the above link, this was a fairly large convoy, and according to the Senior Officer it was already a day late, so he "cut the corner" and altered course to 060° in order to reach the meeting point by 13:00 on Jan. 1-1940, in time to form HN 6, while convoy speed was increased to 7 knots during the night, the wind having calmed down.

Bueland was sighted at 10:00 on Jan. 1, and Exmouth altered course to lead the convoy to the Aspø fjord entrance. Wanda was ordered to follow Salerno to the Lågø(?) fjord where she would find a pilot, she having reported she had no charts of Aspø. However, visibility was subsequently reduced to 5 cables when a snowstorm was encountered shortly afterwards, so it was not known whether she followed these instructions.

Exmouth led the escort out again at 11:00, having reached the edge of territorial waters, then turned inshore at 12:30 in order to meet HN 6.

HMS Exmouth (S.O.), Escapade, Encounter and Eclipse sailed from Rosyth at 13:45 on Dec. 29-1939.
Orzel and Ringdove joined at 15:30, all ships anchoring off Methil at 15:45, then left at 16:00. (HMS Ringdove is mentioned among the ship in the convoy, so I'm not sure she was actually part of the escort). For additional info, see this document, listing escorts for all HN and ON convoys.

Back to Convoy Index

To the next available ON (U.K.-Norway) convoy in my list ON 7
To List of all U.K.-Norway Convoys


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