Re: Convoys SL-74 & WS-8-B - Post by Mark E Horan » Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:38 am
British convoy WS-8-B departed the Clyde with steamers Christiaan Huygens (16,287 tons), Abosso (11,030 tons), Georgic (27,759 tons), Martand (8,000 tons), Duchess of Richmond (20,022 tons), Almanzora (15,551 tons), and Orduna (15,507 tons). It was joined by the carrier Argus transporting aircraft to Gibraltar for “Operation Rocket”. It was to have included carrier Victorious as well, but she went elsewhere :). The convoy was escorted by heavy cruiser Exeter, antiaircraft cruiser Cairo, and destroyers Cossack, Sikh, Maori, Zulu, Piorun, Ottawa, Restigouche, and Eridge. All but Exeter were detached on 26 May.
You are correct that Bulolo was the only remaining escort for Convoy SL-74 after Dorsetshire departed (without permission).
Action this day : A war memoir - Hardcover – 1 January 1960 - by Philip Vian (Author)
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,
it could be very helpful if anybody can find and post here the key pages regarding this situation from Sir Philip Vian book :Action this day : A war memoir - Hardcover – 1 January 1960 - by Philip Vian (Author)
On the 21st May, 1941, Cossack, with Maori, Sikh and Zulu of the 4th Flotilla, together with the Polish destroyer Piorun, and the cruiser Cairo, sailed from the Clyde with a troop convoy, southbound. On the morning of the 23rd at dawn, the convoy was attacked by a lone Focke Wulf, operating from France. One liner was hit and stopped, and then arose one of those situations to which there seemed no adequate solution. We could not leave her unless we left at least two destroyers with her, and if we did this there would be too few remaining to afford adequate protection to the other troopships. After what seemed an endless period of waiting, while engineers worked with supreme effort to repair the damage to the diesel engines, the vessel got going at reduced. speed, and we thankfully proceeded, keeping an ever sharper look-out against air attack.
The new German battleship Bismarck, in company with the cruiser Prince Eugen, had been sighted west-bound in the Denmark Strait on the 23rd by our patrolling cruisers, and was brought to action at dawn on the 24th by Hood and Prince of Wales. Shortly afterwards the latter reported that Hood had been sunk. I believe I felt no stronger emotion at any time in the war than at the moment when I read this signal.
The events which followed are well known. So far as was of direct concern to us, the last reported course and speed of Bismarck would bring her into contact with our convoy. Cairo was thrown out thirty miles in the direction of the enemy's approach, to give us early wanting: and I reported the situation as it developed to the Commander-in-chief designate, East Indies Sir G. Arbuthnot, in a code of my own devising. He was taking passage in Georgic, one of the troopships As the senior officer present he had evidently to be informed: at the same time it seemed important to avoid giving what might well prove needless alarm to the convoy. We then saw nothing of Bismarck, however; nor did anyone else; she had been lost.
At 3.30 a.m. on the morning of the 26th I received orders to leave the convoy and, with the five destroyers in company, to join the King George V...
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