Russian Convoys

S Ogilvie
12th November 2010, 13:51
I have been trying to find out information about my father's convoy record. I have contacted the RN and all they have been able to provide me with is his victualling record. This gives me the shore bases he was attached to but not the ships. The problem is that although he was an RN signalman he served the whole war on merchantships. The RN cannot, apparently, tell me which merchant ships he was on. Does anyone know how I can research this? Where can I go to look for this information?

R58484956
12th November 2010, 15:28
Greetings SO and welcome to SN. Enjoy the site and bon voyage.

E.Martin
13th November 2010, 10:55
I have been trying to find out information about my father's convoy record. I have contacted the RN and all they have been able to provide me with is his victualling record. This gives me the shore bases he was attached to but not the ships. The problem is that although he was an RN signalman he served the whole war on merchantships. The RN cannot, apparently, tell me which merchant ships he was on. Does anyone know how I can research this? Where can I go to look for this information?

Signalman on merchant ships in WW2 were Royal Navy men on the staff of the Convoy Commodore,most Commodores were high ranking retired naval officers brought back into service for that important job.

Hugh MacLean
13th November 2010, 13:24
Welcome Angus,
Unfortunately these RN signalmen like the DEMS gunners, in the main, only show their parent shore establishment on their military records. For example HMS PEMBROKE, HMS PRESIDENT.
Can you give us his name, date and place of birth as that may help?
Regards

Roger Griffiths
14th November 2010, 01:47
Hello Angus,
Could you also post as an attachment a copy of the records that the RN sent you?
You never know there may be a clue there. As Hugh has indicated RN signalmen and DEMS gunners are always difficult to research and just a name of one ship he was on can open the door.

Roger

ray1buck1
14th November 2010, 08:42
Angus..Is this your Father

John Ogilvie aged 21 Signalman RN C/JX309952 with the commodore aboard the “ Baron Fairlie” arriving New York 26th October 1942 having sailed from Glasgow 3rd October 1942 in convoy ON136
His address : Mother 72 Ronald Street Coatbridge Lanarkshire

Ray

audierne
14th November 2010, 09:34
Angus,

Do you happen to know which convoys?

Gerard

S Ogilvie
15th November 2010, 13:53
That is my father. I will send the information when I get haome this evening. Thanks for the help so far. It is great

S Ogilvie
15th November 2010, 13:55
Welcome Angus,
Unfortunately these RN signalmen like the DEMS gunners, in the main, only show their parent shore establishment on their military records. For example HMS PEMBROKE, HMS PRESIDENT.
Can you give us his name, date and place of birth as that may help?
Regards
My father's name was John Ogilvie 25.8.1922. He was born in Coatbridge, LanarKshire, Scotland

Dickyboy
15th November 2010, 14:33
I saw the ''White Berets'' marching at the Cenotaph yesterday. My hat goes off to them. Best regards to your Dad. He did something so that I didn't have to.
My seatime was served in warmer and softer clime's.

Hugh Ferguson
15th November 2010, 16:38
There's a book, Angus, that would probably be of interest to you. The title, The Fighting Comodores by Alan Burn. It was only published as recently as 1999: ISBN 0 85052 504.7.
A Commodore of an important convoy could have several signalmen along with him, a Leading Signalman and as many as four others. Sometimes one of them gets a mention by name but, unfortunately in this case, no signalman's name gets a mention in the index in this book. I have not come across your father's name in the text as yet.
Whatever, I'm sure the book would be of much interest to you as you would get a first hand account of what life was like for a Commodore's signalman in those days.


I was persuaded to buy this book on account of neighbour of mine (a retired Colonel) telling me that his father had been a Commodore. I read the book, cover to cover, not a mention of his name anywhere! It was to be years later that I, quite coincidentally, discovered that his father had been the senior master in some non-descript tramp company, but never a convoy Commodore. Some people will do anything to pull rank!

ray1buck1
15th November 2010, 17:20
Hugh
attached is an extract from the crew list showing the Comodore's party
Ray

Hugh Ferguson
15th November 2010, 18:11
The book to which I referred has a chapter devoted to the Convoy Signalmen.
I quote, "Now we come to the convoy commodores eyes and ears, the convoy signalmen, an extraordinary body of unsung heroes, carrying out an absolutely vital job, about which very little has ever been said of written".

The following are the words of Vice-Admiral Goldsmith about Yeoman of Signals, Pell. They could be applied to many of the convoy Yeomen and their teams of signalmen.
This Petty Officer has been my continuous and only source of help in
my work for many a tedious and weary voyage voyage and I feel that
my debt to him can never really be repaid. He volunteered to serve,
leaving a well paid and steady job, the minute hostilities broke out. His
patriotism does one good to contemplate. I admire him immensely.

ray1buck1
15th November 2010, 19:57
Robert Oliver Pell Yeoman of Signals C/JX 171158 staff for Commodore Vice-Admiral Sir Lennon Goldsmith KBE DSO “SS Ville D’Anvers” 30th April 1944
also 1st March 1945 “Abraham Lincoln” and several others

Ray

stan mayes
15th November 2010, 20:37
Hello Hugh,
Re your comment on Commodores,
As you know there were also Vice Commodores ( Not RN) who were Masters
of ships in the convoy.
It may be that is what your neighbours son meant..
There is mention here of a Commodore sailing in Baron Fairlie -
I wonder if he was aware of the reputation of Hungry Hogarth's?
Regards
Stan

Roger Griffiths
16th November 2010, 00:59
Hello Angus,
Could you also post as an attachment a copy of the records that the RN sent you?
You never know there may be a clue there. As Hugh has indicated RN signalmen and DEMS gunners are always difficult to research and just a name of one ship he was on can open the door.

Roger


Hello,
I'll ask again Could you also post as an attachment a copy of the records that the RN sent you?
As far as I am aware, RN Signalmen, (unlike RN/MRRA DEM'S) did not sign the crew agreement because, as in this case, they were part of the Convoy Commodore's Party. So we cannot backtrack their previous vessels via Crew Agreements.
To solve this one we need all the help we can get.


Roger

Hugh Ferguson
16th November 2010, 09:22
Stan, I don't think any naval officer had the foggiest idea of what life was like in any merchant ship let alone a Baron boat. Knowing the colonel, to whom I referred, well, I'm quite certain he was endeavouring to elevate his relative in the social scale in the time honoured pure and simple snobbery fashion.
After the war I do recall naval officers joining us in the Glen boats for a trip around the land-it was a belated endeavour for getting to know how the other half lived.
I went ashore with one in Hamburg once and I vaguely recall going to an amusement park-had a ride on a carousel-very strange, made a change from the usual Hamburg night ashore down the Reeperbahn!
Your reference to the master acting as a Vice Commodore was quite often the case and in one instance, Aden to Bombay, I recall Captain Bell of the Glaucus actually being the commodore but I cannot remember if we had an R.N. signalman aboard.

One signal I do recall "Commodore" Bell ordering to be sent to the lead ship in the next column was, "Please come a little closer", to which the reply was,
"Oh, Commodore I didn't know you cared"; which we in the half-deck thought was one hell of a hoot!
Incidentally, I have an idea that Captain Bell found himself doing a one-off commodore operation (it had not been anticipated for going in convoy Aden to Bombay in Feb.1944) was the result of the sinking of the Khedive Ismael (huge loss of life) on the 12th Feb. of that year.

ray1buck1
16th November 2010, 09:48
Angus
John Ogilvie was Signalman with the Vice Commodores staff on the “Coptic” which sailed from Liverpool on the 10th July 1944 arrived New York on the 23rd July 1944 in convoy ON 244,
http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/on/index.html?onz.php?convoy=244!~onzmain

the “Coptic” sailed again on the 10th August in Convoy HX 303 for the UK (which arrived Liverpool 27th August 1944)
According to Arnold Hague the Vice Commodore returned on the “Geisha” in Convoy HX 303
http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/hx/index.html?hx.php?convoy=303!~hxmain
Ray

Hugh Ferguson
16th November 2010, 18:33
Initially the demand for professional signalmen, to ship with the commodores, caused an excessive drain on the Royal Navy's supply of these highly skilled personnel, and a big effort had to be made to attract and train men for this essential job. A lot of effort was necessary to attract people and the following passage from the book, The Fighting Commodores, gives an amusing account of that.

"There is a story of one man who went to the Boy Scouts' Headquarters at 25 Buckingham Palace Rd., SW1 where they were pleading for volunteers who had some idea of signalling. He was asked to fill in a form giving various personal details including the nature of his job in civilian life. He filled it in quite correctly as 'signalman'. He was taken into the Royal Navy as an ordinary signalman, and to his dismay almost at once found himself at sea as part of a crusty Admiral's staff in a merchant ship. He then had to explain that his previous signalling experience had been confined to the Southern Railways signal box at Clapham Junction".

Hugh MacLean
16th November 2010, 20:03
As far as I am aware, RN Signalmen, (unlike RN/MRRA DEM'S) did not sign the crew agreement because, as in this case, they were part of the Convoy Commodore's Party.

Roger,
My understanding also, which makes them a very difficult group to reasearch. I too would be interested in whether Angus has a typed transcript of his father's service or a photocopy. Mistakes have been made before using this method and relevant details missed or not thought relevant by the clerk. At least Ray has given a starter for ten but the Crew Agreement will not help us this time I fear.

Regards

S Ogilvie
17th November 2010, 14:18
Sorry for the delay. I wil send this evening. I have my fathers service record and a letter detailing his victually bases. I have also cross referenced these with dates of convoys and come up with a rough list with lots of assumptions and blanks. Thanks for all the help you are giving it is much appreciated.

S Ogilvie
18th November 2010, 23:48
Hello,
I'll ask again Could you also post as an attachment a copy of the records that the RN sent you?
As far as I am aware, RN Signalmen, (unlike RN/MRRA DEM'S) did not sign the crew agreement because, as in this case, they were part of the Convoy Commodore's Party. So we cannot backtrack their previous vessels via Crew Agreements.
To solve this one we need all the help we can get.


Roger

Sorry for the delay. Attached are the records that I have.21384

21385

21386

21387

21388

S Ogilvie
18th November 2010, 23:49
Sorry for the delay. I wil send this evening. I have my fathers service record and a letter detailing his victually bases. I have also cross referenced these with dates of convoys and come up with a rough list with lots of assumptions and blanks. Thanks for all the help you are giving it is much appreciated.

Here are the rest21389

21390

S Ogilvie
29th November 2010, 23:13
Have these papers been any use? Can you advise where I can go to find further information about the ships crews.

ray1buck1
30th November 2010, 10:39
Angus
just a little on the :-

Empire Rest was originally laid down as the Castle class corvette HMS Rayleigh Castle, completed as a convoy rescue ship. She was owned by the Ministry of War Transport and operated by Ellerman City Line. She entered service in 1944 and was scrapped in 1952.


ADM 199/2194/8
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/searchresults.asp?SearchInit=0&txtsearchterm=Empire+Rest&txtfirstdate=&txtlastdate=&txtrestriction=&hdnsorttype=Reference&image1.x=37&image1.y=14


ADM 217/639 Rescue Ship EMPIRE REST: report on proceedings of voyage 2 while escorting convoys KMS 74 and MKS 72 from 20 to 30 December

ADM 217/640 Rescue Ship EMPIRE REST: report on proceedings of voyage 3 while escorting convoys OS 104, KMS 78 and MKS 72 from 9 to 21 January

ADM 217/641 Rescue Ship EMPIRE REST: report on proceedings of voyage 4 while escorting convoy ON 283 from 4 to 24 February

Ray

Roger Griffiths
30th November 2010, 12:57
From the documents you have posted it would seem your dad did not take part in the Russian convoys. His service was mainly in the North Atlantic.
For details of convoys see
http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/
To find out what ships he was on apart from those listed also try Warsailors convoys and it may tell you which was the commodores ship. An example from ON152
http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/on152.html

Both of these databases are not complete. See how you go on.
For the Crew agreements of Merchant ships you would need to visit TNA. The ships official number is the search key.
Once you have found the name of the ship you should find official numbers here.http://www.plimsollshipdata.org/

That said, if he was part of the commodores party it is doubtful he would be recorded in the crew agreement. There is only one way to find out.

Roger