Which troopship query!?

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Pinhead, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Pinhead

    Pinhead Stitch Monkey!

    Hello All,

    Just wondering if any of the War At Sea buffs can tell me which troopship my wife's Grandfather would have been on?

    He was 1 Bn Royal Fusiliers and the war diaries state that they left 'Alex' on 19 September 1943 and arrived at 'Taranto' on 24 September 1943, berthing at 0900. Unfortunately, all they say about the transport is 'At Sea'.

    Any help or prods in the right direction would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks!

    Sean
     
  2. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello and welcome.

    Probably one of these

    Fri Sep 24, 1943
    ARUNDEL CASTLE
    XIF.1

    DERBYSHIRE
    XIF.1

    EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA
    XIF.1

    MONARCH OF BERMUDA
    XIF.1

    RUYS
    XIF.1

    TEGELBERG

    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Pinhead likes this.
  3. Pinhead

    Pinhead Stitch Monkey!

    Many thanks Hugh, that gives me another avenue to investigate!

    Regards,
    Sean
     
  4. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

  5. Pinhead

    Pinhead Stitch Monkey!

    Thanks for the help!

    Unfortunately, I can't find anything that narrows down the options and links to 1 Bn RF...

    Sean
     
  6. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    Is there any thing in fathers military records that might give a hunt of what ship he was on.
     
    Pinhead likes this.
  7. Pinhead

    Pinhead Stitch Monkey!

    Unfortunately not, only the details in the war diary... and it looks like they embarked ship a day or two before it sailed as convoyweb shows no departures from Alexandria on the 19/9/1943... but the above ships sailed from there on 21/9/1943.

    It does appear that the whole battalion went on the same ship though...

    Sean
     
  8. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Unfortunately not, only the details in the war diary... and it looks like they embarked ship a day or two before it sailed as convoyweb shows no departures from Alexandria on the 19/9/1943... but the above ships sailed from there on 21/9/1943.

    It does appear that the whole battalion went on the same ship though...

    Sean

    Sean are you sure about this? Convoy web shows, convoy XIF.1 sailing on the 20 September and arriving Taranto on the 24th, and according the the history of the 8th Infantry Division, six merchant ships sailed into Taranto harbour on this date which would all seem to tie up.

    I know from researching my own Grandfather`s service that there are sometimes discrepancies between dates in different war diaries, especially when it comes to sailing times.

    Regards,

    John


    Arnold Hague convoy database - misc convoys

    Chapter 2 – Eighth Division Advances

    8th Infantry Division (India) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  9. Pinhead

    Pinhead Stitch Monkey!

    Unless I'm doing something wrong in the search, convoyweb shows nothing departing from Alexandria on the 20th, but shows the vessels listed by Hugh as departing on the 21st and arriving in Tarranto on the 24th. I seached by departure port.

    As I mentioned earlier, I guess, if the war diary dates are accurate, they boarded a day or so before they sailed... but that's all I can fathom!

    Looks like I can rule out TEGELBERG though as that sailed from SAID on the 20th, probably joining the XIF.1 convoy at sea?

    I'm happy it was one of the remaining ships... but just can't figure out which one had 1 RF aboard!

    BTW, I have George's original 8th Indian Army clover patch here!

    Sean
     
  10. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Sean if you look at the list on the convoyweb.org.uk website, XIF.1 is shown as departing Alexandria 20th, with escorts joining on the 20th and 21st September.

    Also, if you take a look at the naval-history.net site and look for the LEVANT war diary in September, you`ll see more about XIF.1 and the sailing date and destination. Here`s a link.

    Levant, Admiralty War Diary 1943, including British Aegean Campaign

    I know from my own experience that my Grandfather`s convoy was reported as sailing from Kilindini on two different days depending on if you read his regimental war diary or the naval war diary so it`s easily possibly the dates are a day or so out.

    Regards,

    John

    Unless I'm doing something wrong in the search, convoyweb shows nothing departing from Alexandria on the 20th, but shows the vessels listed by Hugh as departing on the 21st and arriving in Tarranto on the 24th. I seached by departure port.

    As I mentioned earlier, I guess they embarked a day or so before they sailed... but that's all I can fathom!

    Looks like I can rule out TEGELBERG though as that sailed from SAID on the 20th, probably joining the XIF.1 convoy at sea?

    Sean
     
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Unless I'm doing something wrong in the search, convoyweb shows nothing departing from Alexandria on the 20th,

    Arnold Hague convoy database - misc convoys

    Convoy XIF.1 From: ALEXANDRIA Monday, 20 September 1943.


    you must be doing something wrong , mate.
    :)
     
  12. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Gents,
    Given the information supplied, I am reasonably sure convoy XIF.1 is correct. Remember when looking for information take the websites as a guide only [as good as convoyweb is] and be prepared to research further to find what you want. It was normal for troops to embark on a big ship days in advance of sailing.

    Roger Griffiths is your man with regard to sailings and arrivals of these troopships.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  13. Pinhead

    Pinhead Stitch Monkey!

    That's where the confusion comes in... although I do believe Hugh is correct and that this is the right convoy.

    Convoyweb shows no departures from Alexandria on the 20th according to the ports/destination search...

    Taken from convoyweb... departure date showing as 20th in the heading, but 21st in the table... and Tegelberg from SAID.

    Convoy XIF.1

    Departed ALEXANDRIA on Sep 20, 1943. Arrived TARANTO on Sep 24, 1943. (TDS = 6)

    Port of Departure Date Vessel Port of Arrival Date
    Alexandria Sep 21, 1943 ARUNDEL CASTLE Taranto Sep 24, 1943
    Alexandria Sep 21, 1943 DERBYSHIRE Taranto Sep 24, 1943
    Alexandria Sep 21, 1943 EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA Taranto Sep 24, 1943
    Alexandria Sep 21, 1943 MONARCH OF BERMUDA Taranto Sep 24, 1943
    Alexandria Sep 21, 1943 RUYS Taranto Sep 24, 1943
    Port Said Sep 20, 1943 TEGELBERG Taranto Sep 24, 1943

    My head hurts! LOL
     
  14. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Arnold Hague convoy database - misc convoys



    you must be doing something wrong , mate.
    :)

    No not necessarily so Owen, there is contradicting information on the site.

    Departures for Tue Sep 21, 1943 EURYADES Independent..MACTRA Independent..CAP ST JAQUES not noted..ARUNDEL CASTLE XIF.1..DERBYSHIRE XIF.1..EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA XIF.1..MONARCH OF BERMUDA XIF.1..RUYS XIF.1

    Like I said be prepared to look deeper.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  15. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    No, sorry it`s no contradictory, it`s being interpreted incorrectly.

    Firstly go to the Convoy web search engine and select departures for 20th and XIF 1 comes up on the bottom of the page and clearly shows departure from Alexandria to be the 20th September.

    Now go to the XIF 1 convoy link and again it says departure on the 20th. The dates on the right are when the escort vessels joined, most being the 21st according to this site. You will note it says one sailed with the convoy on the 20th. Escorts joined convoys at all different times not just on the day it sailed.

    The naval history net link I also sent further states that this convoy sailed on the 20th from Alexandria, and I quote:

    September 20th
    Arrival of Through Mediterranean Slow Convoy K.M.S. 25
    K.M.S. 25 arrived with 8 M.V.s for Alexandria and 16 for Port Said and beyond escorted by H.M.S. COLTSFOOT, HONEYSUCKLE, SPIRAEA, HYDERABAD, and OXLIP. H.M.S. HONEYSUCKLE and H.M.S. SPIRAEA continued with the Port Said Section. In company were M.M.S. 100, 101, 104, 108 from the Western Mediterranean, of which M.M.S. 108 was on passage to the Eastern Fleet
    Departure of Fast Personnel Convoy to Taranto X.I.F. 1.
    X.I.F. 1 consisting of 6 personnel ships left Alexandria escorted by H.M.S. HURWORTH (22nd Destroyer Flotilla), H.M.S. CROOME, H.M.S. BEAUFORT, H.M.S. HURSLEY, H.H.M.S. KANARIS and ADRIAS. This was the first convoy direct from the Levant to Taranto since its occupation on September 10th.


    Yes, yes I know what you`re going to say, this shows the escorts sailing on the 20th, not the 21st as stated on the Convoy web site, but as I have stated already, sometimes the war diaries disagree on the exact dates and the convoy web site even says that some data is not faultless, and I quote again:


    The records were collected by Arnold and his coworkers over a number of years but there can be no guarantee of accuracy except that it bears the name of one of the most highly respected WW2 naval historians. Consequently, the records should be treated with caution and it should not be assumed that the presence or absence of a particular vessel in convoy is complete evidence of it being so without corroborative evidence. Furthermore, it is VITAL that where an external reference is given, that it is followed up and compared with the data given here. These external references have been painstakingly compiled from original records gleaned from The National Archives and should be considered the definitive source in any disputed data.


    No not necessarily so Owen, there is contradicting information on the site.

    Departures for Tue Sep 21, 1943 EURYADES Independent..MACTRA Independent..CAP ST JAQUES not noted..ARUNDEL CASTLE XIF.1..DERBYSHIRE XIF.1..EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA XIF.1..MONARCH OF BERMUDA XIF.1..RUYS XIF.1

    Like I said be prepared to look deeper.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  16. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    I have no doubt that the convoy didn't dept on Tue Sep 21st, my point was, and still is, that for anyone researching maritime movements they should use all sources of online information as a guide only and then look deeper - 12 years researching has taught me that. Depending on where you look you will be given different dates. Interpretation rather than contradiction, yes, maybe so, but you can see where the confusion arises for those who are not familiar.

    Anyway for those who want to know where and when a ship sailed and its destination get the ships' logbooks and movement cards to aid your research.

    Regrads
    Hugh
     
  17. The point that Hugh makes is a valid one. Serious researchers never trust one source. I am sure that Mike Holdoway, the owner of convoyweb, would be the first to agree.
    The movement of Troopships in WW2 was always surrounded by secrecy for obvious reasons. Regimental War Diaries give little away, likewise Admiralty records and Troopship Logbooks.
    I suspect that the Royal Navy escorts left port before the Merchant vessels, if indeed they entered the port of embarkation. The records from the piece MT40/142/149 British National Archive indicate that all the Troopships mentioned by Hugh sailed from Alexandria on the 21st of September 1943. At what time is difficult to ascertain.
    I have attached an example.
    It would seem the original records of Convoy XIF1 have been lost or destroyed.
    Roger
     

    Attached Files:

    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  18. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Many thanks for your input on this Roger. Validates my point about using single sources for research. I would say to anyone serious about this stuff - to follow-up, it's the only way to go. Thank you.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  19. RWM-1948

    RWM-1948 Junior Member

    Sean,
    Embarkation order NO MCA/Q/285/255 Dated 16th Sep,1943.
    The six troop ships that loaded and sail from Alexandria for security reasons had code letters "A" "B" "C" "D" "E" and "F" It is not known which letter was given to which ship.
    The British Regiments where split up between ships as follows,
    Ship "D"
    5th Essex 10 Officers 150 Other Ranks.
    1st Royal Fusiliers 9 Officers 170 Other Ranks
    5th Royal west Kent 8 Officers 170 Other Ranks
    Ship "E"
    5TH Essex 10 Officers 137 Other Ranks
    1st Royal Fusiliers 9 Officers 150 Other Ranks
    5th Royal West Kent 8 Officers 100 Other Ranks
    Ship "F"
    5TH Essex 14 Officers 300 Other Ranks
    1st Royal Fusiliers 10 Officers 300 Other Ranks
    5th Royal West Kent 12 Officers 350 Other Ranks

    Their was some Indian troops on these ships the rest the rest of the Division was on ships "A" "B" and "C"
    Loading Days and times
    Vessel NO of Personnel Quay Gate Time of Arrival Date
    "E" 1103 72 51 0800 18 Sep
    : 1103 : : 1100 :
    : 1104 : : 1400 :

    "F" 1149 76 51 0800 18 Sep : 1149 : : 1100 :
    : 1147 : : 1400 :

    "C" 1384 37 22 1100 18 Sep
    : 1383 : : 1400 :

    "A" 1359 37 22 0800 19 Sep
    : 1198 : : 1100 :
    : 161 : : 1100 :

    "B" 1349 37 22 1400 19 Sep
    : 1227 : : 1500 :
    : 121 : : 1500 :

    "D" 1312 76 51 0800 19 Sep
    : 1311 : : 1100 :

    Hope this is of some use

    Regards
    Roger
     
  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    If I can add a small piece relating to this period concerning my own mob (49th LAA Rgt.RA, 78 Div)

    Yes.... I know this relates to 1944 as opposed to 1943 but the point I make is that discrepancies do arise and double-checking is the only way to accurate research. The entries relate to the period we spent in Egypt re-fitting and resting up after a year in Sicily & Italy.

    The text in red is my own comment, added later when I first read my army records and compared them to my personal diary.

    The text in black is strictly the Rgtl Diaries.

    Ron

    Ron’s diary clearly states that he boarded the US Merchant ship SS Homer Lee on the 31st August , sailed on September 3rd and disembarked on the 10th of September. It may be accounted for RHQ being part of the advance party.

    SEP 1944


    On 9 Sep the regt embussed for Alexandria and embarked there at 0800 hrs in MV Durban Castle. Sailed
    on 11 Sep and arrived at Taranto on the 15th. Disembarked by lighter and moved in RASC MT to Robertson Camp No 20, near Taranto. The Adv Party and the vehicles were already there. The news was that the div would probably move north to cone in 8th Army area at Fano on or about 27 Sep. Btys would be brigaded for the move. Some signals training was done and the btys held mobile exercises. The move began on 25 Sep with 280 Bty and 38 Bde, 84 Bty and 11 Bde on the 26th, one tp 90 Bty and 36 Bde on the 27th and the remainder on the 28th. All parties staged at San Severe (150 miles), Giulianova(l54 miles) and Fano. The last party was held up two days due to a collapsed bridge north of Giulianova. RHQ and 90 Bty less one tp moved

    My personal diary for the period in question:
    Thursday 31st. August 1944
    Reveille at 4 am but not on "Homer Lee" until 10 am. It was outstream so we had to be taken out by 'lighter'. My 'cabin' is under an awning on No.4 Hatch, port side. Slept well.


    September 1944
    Friday 1st. September 1944
    Swimming in an adjacent dock, very enjoyable. Read & finished "Crowthers of Bankdam" by Thomas Armstrong. Very little discipline on board. Wrote letter to folks. Heat pretty deadly, stripped to the waist.


    Saturday 2nd. September 1944
    Ship still in docks. Last night whilst I was on 4-6 stag there was a bit of trouble & the ship was 'boarded' by U.S. Military Police, the ship's carpenter was taken off. Swimming was very oily today. Handed in 85 Piastres.


    Sunday 3rd. September 1944
    Ship sailed out of Alexandria at 9.30 am. Baloon was brought out to us by motor boat, already inflated! Convoy formed up about 5 miles out. Our present course N.W.
     

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