Convoy routes to Mid and Far East

Discussion in 'General' started by Alan Allport, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member

    Popeye1975; the date on the record is possibly the embarkation date, not necessarily the sailing date (which may have been 2 or 3 after embarkation). Do you have a disembarkation date / location?


  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    It seems the first of the WS convoys did not leave UK until 28th June 1940

    WS Convoys

    WS.1 Depart UK June 28, 1940
    Depart Freetown July 9, 1940
    Arrive Capetown July 16, 1940
    Arrive Ceylon July 29, 1940

    So he would not have been on one if he left the UK in Feb 1940

    Does his diary or the War Diary for his regiment say which port they departed from??

  3. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Hi mate. He wasn't army, but an RN Signalman. I know he served aboard HMS Jervis in 1941, and for a fair slice of 1940 he was at Royal Naval Signal Station, Mount Carmel, Haifa. There is a possibility he served aboard HMSAS Southern Sea in that time period. But it is his departure from the UK that puzzles me
  4. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    I always found this site of great assistance when I was attempting to followup on my grandfather's DEMS service:

    Arnold Hague Ports database
  5. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Looks like the only ship that seemed to leave the UK on that date was SS Contractor which left Southampton heading for Le Havre. Gives me something to start with
  6. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Literally what dad wrote in the back of his 1942 diary : 'Departed UK February 4 1940'
  7. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member Patron

    Older, Crossing The Line.jpg
    I have been sent a photo of this certificate in the name of Leslie Older who was serving with the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex at the time. I believe he was on the same ship as my father- the "Athlone Castle" which was part of the Convoy WS 24, then WS24b. This was the Convoy that went via Bahia to avoid routing complications involving Operation Torch. You will see that the ship's name is not its real name but says " Z..5". Was this usual? I have never seen a wartime certificate before so wondered if the forms were pre-printed with a made up name? Was it this or an attempt at wartime secrecy.
  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Since it contains the date it must have been printed on board. I suspect that Z5 is either Athlone Castle's convoy number or it is a made up name using Flag Code. Flag Zulu on it's own means 'I require tug'. What Zulu 5 means I know not!
  9. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member Patron

    Well the convoy number was probably WS24, aso I am thinking it might hace been an invented number.
  10. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Sorry. By convoy number I meant Athlone Castle's number in the convoy. It is also probably a fun take that she is calling herself HMS.
  11. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member Patron

    Yes I get the fun bit, and will see what the Athlone's numer in the WS Convoy was. Thanks!
  12. Kevin1

    Kevin1 Member

    Hi, I have been going through my father’s war records and they show him embarking with 17RF from Gourock on 14/04/43 to disembarking in North Africa on 23/04/43. From what I have read on this site (and convoyweb), that must have been Algiers and the convoy was KMF13. Roger Griffiths’ post with the sailing details of the Franconia (amazing amount of info there) shows Greenock as the port in the Clyde so sadly it wasn’t the same ship as that Ron was on. I wondered if my father could have been on the Cuba, but I don’t know if that sailed from Gourock as the site just shows Clyde. I don’t suppose that anyone has the sailing movements of the Cuba?
  13. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    The War Diary may help. They often show port of embarkation and ship.

  14. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry I don't have any info on KMS 13 Kevin, but you may find my article on earlier KMF/KMS convoys of interest.

    It includes 5 first-hand accounts, giving an indication of the dangers and discomforts that the troops had to endure:-
    Sergeant ACK-ACK: Operation Torch convoys
  15. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    He (my father) was posted to the 2nd London Division: Signals at 20 Artemis Road, Clapham Park, SW12. We moved there in time for the Blitz, living at 21 Langham Place, Egham (now TW20 2EB, runs parallel to the Egham by-pass). No bombs are recorded falling on Egham; a few did on nearby Staines. He did not embark for Egypt until 13.2.1942. The troop convoy WS16 sailed from the Clyde on 16.2.1942, I believe he was on the Nea Hellas. This ship had been a Cunarder, they sold it to the Greeks when it reached the end of its useful life. It was hurriedly bought back at the beginning of the war as the British were desperately short of ships and was known to the troops as Nearer to Hell!).
  16. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    I require five tugs, maybe? More seriously, unlikely to be a convoy number; but there is a thread elsewhere on this site about the military allocating identifying digits which seem to have been for their own use.
  17. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Z5 in this case was a code allocated to the ship in place of the ship name [probably temporary, for that convoy only]. I am not sure if there will be a key for this but I doubt it. I have only seen one document that ever transcribed a convoy ship code into an ship's name.
    timuk likes this.
  18. Kevin1

    Kevin1 Member

    Thanks for that website link, Steve. Those are some really compelling accounts on there. Hopefully my father’s voyage in KMS13 was a lot less eventful. I don’t remember him saying that anything major happened on it. Lucky him.

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