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Author Topic: HMS Smiter Sept-Oct 1945  (Read 436 times)

EwenS

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HMS Smiter Sept-Oct 1945
« on: 18 December 2018 05:08:34 pm »

I’ve just been catching up on the latest updates in the Royal Navy Escort Carriers pages and especially that of HMS Smiter.

The narrative for HMS Smiter for the period September to December seems to me to be incorrect in that it seems to conflate two different ferry trips that she made with Spitfires.

On 2nd September 1945 HMS Smiter left Trincomalee having taken on board the Spitfire F.XIV of 132 squadron RAF (Squadron Code FF) and the personnel of 7155 Servicing Echelon. This squadron had been based in southern India since it arrived from the UK in January 1945, first with Spitfire VIIIs until it converted to Spitfire F.XIVs in May 1945. It did not serve in the Cocos Islands.

It sailed for Hong Kong and joined other ships of Operation Armour en route, including the LSIs Glengyle and Llanstephan Castle, LST9 and 304 and the cruiser HMCS Ontario. These ships arrived in Hong Kong on 11 September 1945. The routing was via Malacca Strait.

Instead of flying off the Spitfires on arrival at Hong Kong, it was decided to take them off by lighter as their engines were deemed in need of a thorough check over. Offloading occurred on 15th September and the first flights were begun on 19th September, with a single aircraft, building to 12 by 23rd September.
Smiter then sailed again from Hong Kong on the 26th September after embarking passengers.

The information about 132 squadron has been extracted from the Squadron ORB for September 1945. Unfortunately the ORB for August is missing from the records at the National Archive so I can’t tell exactly when the Spitfires were loaded aboard Smiter in Trincomalee, but it will have been a day or so earlier.

136 Squadron (Squadron Code HM) was based in the Cocos Islands between April and October 1945 with Spitfire VIIIs. According to Ken Rosam’s “Operation Pharos and the Cocos / Keeling Islands” HMS Smiter arrived off the Islands on 14th October 1945 and “embarked the personnel and crated aircraft of 136 squadron”. It then sailed for Malaya. This date is confirmed in Halley’s “The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth 1918-1988”, unfortunately without any specific mention of Smiter. The next base given in the latter is Kuala Lumpur in Malaya from 24th October 1945 again with Spitfire VIII. It did not begin to receive Spitfire XIV until February 1946.

So I believe that the correct narrative should be for Smiter to leave Trincomalee on 2nd September 1945 with 132 squadron, arrive Hong Kong on 11th September, unload and leave again on the 26th September. She would then probably stop at Singapore en route to Cocos Islands, arriving there on 14th October. She then loads 136 squadron and takes that unit back to Singapore (Wiki has it at Tengah in Singapore before reaching Kuala Lumpur) where it is offloaded. 136 squadron then re-assembles its aircraft before flying up to Kuala Lumpur by 24th October 1945.
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spooks1959

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Re: HMS Smiter Sept-Oct 1945
« Reply #1 on: 19 December 2018 09:19:19 am »

Thank you for pointing out the inconsistencies in my SMITER narrative and for supplying the information you nave gleaned from your own research. At present the RN Research Archive web sites undergoing ‘rolling maintenance’ to upgrade the site navigation bars but I will return to the history of SMITER in the New Year and an update should follow sometime in January 2019.

Merry Christmas
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