Convoy WS14(A) 146th RAC (9th DWR)

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by JamesDrury, Dec 29, 2019.

  1. JamesDrury

    JamesDrury Active Member

    Hi all,

    Have recently had chance to look through a box of 'stuff' that none of the family new existed, some relating to my grandfathers the in the war. Amongst other bits and pieces was a diary in a note book he kept of the journey east as part of convoy WS14.

    Have attached if anyone is interested.


    Attached Files:

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  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    That is an invaluable diary James, not too many soldiers paid that much attention to what was going on around them, or managed to keep hold of the diaries when they did.
  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Interesting account of one of the Winston Specials. The returning ships were used to carry Italian POWs to work on British farms and building sites and many of these did not return home until 1947
  4. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    As others have said, this is a wonderful description of the experience of being on a convoy to India.

    There is much information on these convoys – the Winston Specials. Details of the ships in WS 14 can be found at : WS (Winston Specials) Convoys in WW2 - 1941 Sailings

    More background and details on WS 14 come from the book “The Winston Specials” by Archie Munro, below:

    “Over 38,000 personnel were embarked on WS 14, with almost half in drafts and details destined for the Middle East, one third for Bombay or Iraq and just over 3,000 for Malaya which demonstrated the low priority given to reinforcement of that latter area. [Draft RAKXZ was one such draft as described above.] Complete units known to be in this convoy were 10 Lancashire Fusiliers (embarked on Athlone Castle), 67 and 77 Heavy, 21 and 48 Light A.A. Regiments, R.A.; the first named for India and the remaining three for destinations ultimately revealed as Java. Embarked on Strathallan was the 7th York and Lancaster Regiment also for India.”

    Some background is given which may explain why our soldier transshipped at Durban from the Reina del Pacifico to the Durban Castle. During the passage of the convoy, the Japanese war started and changes were made for plans for transshipment for personnel and their destinations as a result. Continued Japanese progress resulted in a further rearrangement of the troops on WS 14. “There was additionally an instruction to turn around not one but five of the transports in Durban and replace them with seven of the Indian Ocean type. In the space of five days 24,350 personnel were transshipped at Durban …. 5,600 for India bound ships ….”

    From Durban, it seems that some ships of WS 14 (WS 14A) then left port and combined with other ships of a convoy CM 25, destined for Aden. The Bombay portion of this convoy (Athlone Castle, Strathallan, Durban Castle, Reina del Pacifico) detached on 21st January 1942, arriving on 26th January. The remainder of WS 14 (WS 14B) arrived at Bombay on 28th January 1942.

  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    The 13th King’s who became the British infantry element for the first Chindit Brigade, left Liverpool Docks as part of WS14. They were aboard the troopship Oronsay originally, but completed the voyage to Bombay aboard the Andes.
    Rothy likes this.
  6. JamesDrury

    JamesDrury Active Member

    thanks for all the great info :)
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
  7. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    More on the ships mentioned by bamboo43, taken from "The Winston Specials":

    Oronsay left Merseyside with other ships on the afternoon of 8th December 1941 to rendezvous with other parts of WS 14 in the Clyde the next morning. Oronsay then loaded at Durban and Capetown for the return trip home. Capetown was left on 28th December 1941 but the ship had to put back to port with engine problems. She eventually reached Liverpool on 25th February 1942, where she was dry-docked and prepared for convoy WS 17.

    It seems that the Andes had been scheduled to return to the U.K. from South Africa, but was hastily diverted when one of the ships destined for Bombay developed engine problems. The Duchess of Atholl left Durban on 13th January 1942, as part of convoy CM 25, but her engines began to cause trouble and the ship was forced to return to Durban. It was decided that once the Duchess of Atholl reached port, she should transship all troops to the Andes. This was accomplished in a single day and the Andes sailed on the afternoon of 14th January 1942 to catch up with WS 14. Andes reached Bombay on 28th January 1942.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    The King’s had the discomfort of squeezing aboard the Andes after leaving Durban originally aboard the Duchess of Atholl after a five-day shore leave in the city.
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  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I'm back home finally and can add the pages from the book Winston's Specials (mentioned by Steve) to this thread. Some are a little crooked, sorry:

    1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG 4.JPG 5.JPG 6.JPG 7.JPG 8.JPG 9.JPG 10.JPG 11.JPG 12.JPG 13.JPG 14.JPG
    Rothy likes this.
  10. JamesDrury

    JamesDrury Active Member

    really interesting - thank you. does anyone know of any pictures of this convoy ?
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I never come across any James, I would be as interested as you to view any.
  12. Steven Williamson

    Steven Williamson New Member

    My great grandfather was in this convoy and ended up in Java where he was captured and died. Many thanks for sharing this.

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