Report on Convoy QP15
(Extracts) - Commodore Wm C Meeks’
17th November 1942
Convoy consisting of 28 Merchant Ships, HMS Ulster Queen and
rescue ship Copeland sailed from Archangel. The escort consisting
of the following H.M. Ships Halcyon, Britomart, Sharpshooter,
Salamander, Hazard, Bryony, Camellia, Bluebell & Bergamot.
18th November 1942
Two Russian Destroyers joined. 1420 Convoy cleared entrance to the
White Sea and formed up in nine columns. Light wind, slight sea.
19th November 1942
Ocean Faith dropped astern owing to engine defect but rejoined
Convoy at 1015. 1200 Lat 70.59N Long 45.02E. Wind S. force 6,
equally, rough sea.
20th November 1942
Convoy reached position Lat 75.06N Long 45.02E. Weather
deteriorating, wind shifted to SSE force 7, wind and snow squalls.
Visibility poor. Between squalls alteration of course at position
CC was made to all ships.
Convoy at position CC (Lat 75.06N, Long 40.36E). Necessary
alteration of course was made for position DD. On this course the
wind and sea were two points abaft the beam on the port side and
ships were labouring considerably. Wind SSE force 7, frequent
heavy wind and snow squalls of force 8/9, very high sea,
visibility very poor and reduced to zero during squalls. Fog
signal sounded at 15 minute intervals and leaders of columns to
windward were heard but none from columns to leeward. By 1830 no
fog signals from other ships were heard. 2200 Wind decreasing in
violence, squalls less frequent but heavy confused seas running.
21st November 1942
Weather moderating rapidly, snow stopped falling, no ships in
sight. 0800 Weather clear but very heavily overcast and dark, no
ships in sight.
Called by flashing from ship on port quarter. This proved to be
corvette Bergamot who informed me that there was one ship bearing
red 130º and several ships bearing green 115º, altered course 15º
to starboard to close latter.
Salamander with several ships in company and steering on
south-easterly course passed close astern from starboard to port.
Salamander signalled new route (via south of Bear Island) and gave
her course as 225º. Visibility was low at the time and it was not
certain that the whole signal was received. Course was immediately
altered to 225º in an endeavour to keep contact with this party.
1200 Lat 75.06N, Long 28.58E.
Several merchant ships were dimly sighted on port beam and taken
to be the Salamander party. When called by Aldis Lamp a reply was
received from Bryony stating that Sharpshooter with ten ships was
there. Bryony took station on port bow. Ships on port side were
lost sight of in darkness and haze.
Course altered to 248º to make new position South of Bear Island.
Requested Bryony to inform ships of new course. Wind shifted to
NNE and increased rapidly to force 8/9 with wind and snow squalls
of force 10/11, sea rough and increasing. In view of the fact that
there appeared to be a certainty that a number of ships were to
the southward of me, I continued 10 miles to the Southward of
position off Bear Island in an endeavour to contact them.
22nd November 1942
Being about 10 miles south of position off Bear Island course was
altered to 278º to regain track. Bryony reported that he had
located ships on portside by R.D.F. and later reported they were
drawing ahead. Speed increased to 10 knots. About 1030 Bryony made
a sweep to the south and south-east and later the south-west but
could not contact any ships. Speed was now reduced to 9.5 knots.
Lat 73.38N, Long 17.36E. 12.15 Ship observed on starboard quarter
which proved to be Empire Morn. 15.15 Empire Morn joined. 1600
Britomart with Charles McCormack in company joined. 2100 Lat
73.32N, Long 15.08E. Wind and sea moderating quickly, heavily
overcast, dark. From now on weather improved but owing to darkness
and occasional light snow showers visibility was poor.
23rd November 1942
Regained track altered course 270º 0725 Received Admiralty
Signal addressed GMS. 1045 Hazard joined. 1200 Lat 73.42N Long
8.14E. 1800 Lat 73.11N, Long 05.00E, altered course to 266º for
position NH. The following ships are now in company: Temple Arch,
Empire Morn, Charles McCormack with escort vessels Britomart and
24th November 1942
Informed by Britomart that route altered east of Iceland. 1200 Lat
72.19N, Long 0035E. 1345 Three vessels sighted ahead which proved
to be destroyers Landsbury, and Intrepid with Dan-y-Bryn in
25th November 1942
received signal from Britomart stating Goolistan, a straggler in
the convoy, had been torpedoed in Lat 75.30 Long 8.00E. 1200 at
Lat 70.05N Long 6.03W.
26th November 1942
Intrepid and Landsbury left convoy to proceed ahead to
Seidisfiord. 0800 Rescue ship Copeland joined. 1200 Lat 67.52N,
Long 12.58W. 1608 Sighted H.A. gunfire bearing 220º. No ships or
planes sighted but gunfire could be heard and area dense with
smoke. 1622 Altered course 40º to port to avoid this area. 1800
Resumed course for position OO.
27th November 1942
Sighted Langanes light. 0330 Altered course at position PP. 1000
At position QQ. 1100 off Seidisfiord. Escort relieved by
destroyers Intrepid (S.O.), Icarus, Landsbury, Middleton, Camelia
and Bluebell. 11.30 Following ships joined convoy from Seydesfjord:
Empire Snow, Exford, Esek Hopkins, Belomorcanal, William Moultrie
and Ulster Queen.
Lat 64.14N, Long 12.25E 1415 At position RR - reformed convoy in
28th November 1942
Lat 62.19N, Long 12.32W. Nothing of importance to report this day.
29th November 1942
Lat 62.19N, Long 12.32W. Nothing of importance to report this day.
30th November 1942
Crossed line Butt of Lewis to Cape Wrath. 0515 arrived off Loch
Ewe, cruised until daylight. 0915 Entered Loch Ewe.
The scattering of QP15 is attributed to the following:
strong wind and high seas combined with darkness and low
visibility probably caused some opening out of the formation when
nearing position CC (Lat 75.06N, Long 40.36E). On altering course
at CC to westward the wind and sea were brought almost abeam and
probably caused some further opening of the formation.
Subsequent to passing position CC certain of the escort vessels
apparently received an Admiralty signal changing the route. This
change cut out positions DD, EE, FF and GG and substituted two
positions, the new route being south of Bear Island. It is
apparent the escort did not manage to contact all vessels of the
convoy chiefly due to the very low visibility. A number of ships
almost certainly followed the original route and passed north of
Bear Island and so became hopelessly separated from the convoy.
APPRECIATION OF Q.P.15 as at 28.11.42
COMMODORE'S PARTY - due Loch Ewe midnight 29th-30th
Arch (Commodore), Dan-Y-Bryn (Vice Comdre), Empire Snow, Empire
Morn, Copeland, Charles R McCormick (US), Esek Hopkins (US),
William Moultrie (US), Exford (US), Belomorcanal (Russ.)
Escort: HMS Intrepid (S.O.), HMS Icarus, HMS Ledbury, HMS
Sharpshooter, HMS Bluebell, HMS Camelia.
AKUREYRI PARTY -expected to sail 28/11 due Loch Ewe 2/12
Empire Tristram, Ocean Faith, Virginia
Dare (US), Sahale (US), Patrick Henry (US), St Olaf (US),
Nathaniel Greene (US), Hollywood (US)* (to sail to Reykjavik,
shortage of water), Schoharie (US), Andre Marti (Russ.), Tblisi
(Russ.), Komiles (Russ.), Friedrich Engels (Russ.), Petrovski
(Russ.), Empire Baffin
SEIDISFJORD PARTY - due Loch Ewe 2/12
Lafayette, San Ambrosio, White Clover - to be escorted by HMS
Forester, Bergamot, Bryony to UK pm 28/11