Convoy HX 239
Group B3, Keppel (SO) Commander M.J. Evans, OBE, Escapade, Garland, Roselys, Renoncule, Lobelia, Orchis, Aconit, and Northern Gem relieved the Western Local Escort at 1450 on 19 May. During the night the Convoy, consisting of 43 ships, ran into a heavy north-westerly gale which continued throughout the 20th, when one straggler was ordered back to St John’s.
At 0800/21 the Support Group [the 4th Escort Group] Faulknor (SO) Captain A K Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, Archer, Pelican, Onslaught, and Impulsive, joined and Archer took up position 74 in the Convoy. From the 21st onwards a number of HF/DF (High Frequency Direction Finder) bearings were followed up by both surface and aircraft searches. These, however, were without result and the Senior Officer in Keppel did not consider that the Convoy had been sighted.
A Swordfish from Archer attacked a U-boat some 20 miles ahead of the Convoy at 1418/22. Apparently this U-boat had not then reported the Convoy as the following night passed without incident. At about 0600/23, however, Keppel obtained a close HF/DF bearing and an escorting Liberator, dispatched to the position, sighted and attacked a U-boat some distance on the port quarter of the Convoy.
This was followed later in the afternoon by attacks on three different U-boats about 30 to 40 miles astern of the Convoy by Swordfish aircraft from Archer. The last of these attacks resulted in the destruction of one of the U-boats and Escapade closed the position in time to pick up thirteen survivors. After this no further contact was made with the U-boats who now abandoned their rather half-hearted attempts to close the Convoy.
The Support Group left on the 25th and two days later HX 239 reached UK.
Extracts from Keppel’s Report of Proceedings
“Air coverage by shore-based aircraft was excellent from both sides of the Atlantic… V/S and R/T communication was good and no time was wasted in passing to aircraft the particular patrol which was required.
“…HMS Archer more than filled the 36 hour gap between the departure of the last aircraft from Newfoundland and the arrival of the first home-based aircraft. She operated with apparent ease inside the close screen despite the difficult direction of the wind and the skill with which aircraft landed on her, at times, almost vertical deck was the admiration of us all.”
Source: An Analysis of the Work of Support Groups in the North Atlantic, 5 May to 12 June 1943,’ in, ‘Monthly Anti-Submarine Report, June 1943,’ DASW, CB 04050/43(6), 15 July 1943, NHB, p. 18.
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Battle of the Atlantic
CURRENT STATUS: COMPLETED
The longest continous military campaign in World War 2, the Battle of the Atlantic demonstrated the enduring importance of the sea.
ABOUT THE UNIT
- Ships sunk
- U-boat sunk
U-752by Swordfish G/819 and Martlet B/892 (Archer)
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