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 on: 19 December 2018 09:19:19 AM 
Started by EwenS - Last Post by spooks1959
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

 on: 18 December 2018 05:08:34 PM 
Started by EwenS - Last Post by EwenS
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.

 on: 18 December 2018 03:22:11 PM 
Started by stuart kilminster - Last Post by stuart kilminster
Wow I am so impressed, a Big Thank you PhiloNauticus, this is a cracking site to be on, going though the posting, and reading the answers and replies, is interesting to say the least,, A big thank you to you all.

 on: 17 December 2018 12:06:05 PM 
Started by stuart kilminster - Last Post by PhiloNauticus
Service Record
   from 30 Oct 95      A shore base/naval barracks located at Chatham

Wildfire      from 1 Nov 95      Base at Sheerness: it was a group of old ships used for accommodation/training
Anson      from 7 Oct 95      Battleship, built 1886.  At this time, she was serving in the Mediterranean, based at Malta.  Apart from the usual exercises, visits to Corfu; Piraeus; Crete; Cagliari; Salamis; Marmaris; Gibraltar; Patras. Returned England Jan 1900
Pembroke   from 1 Feb 00      see above
Severn      from 21 Sep 00      ‘Mersey’ class Cruiser, built 1885. Then based at Harwich, serving in the Reserve fleet as a Coastguard depot
Pembroke   from 24 Jul 02      see above
Venerable   from 12 Nov 02      Battleship, built 1899. Mediterranean Fleet; based at Malta. Usual exercises and visits to Gibraltar, Greek and Italian ports
Pembroke   from 1 Aug 05      see above
Blenheim   from 1 May 1907   Cruiser, built 1890, converted to a depot ship for destroyers in 1907, based at Chatham; some exercises and home port visits (Harwich etc)
Pembroke   from 30 Nov 11      see above
Crescent   from 1 May 12      Cruiser built 1892. Serving with the Home Fleet; used at this time to carry out new crews for ships on foreign stations
Dwarf       from 9 May 12      Gunboat built 1898. Your man would have joined her at Gibraltar. Gunboat then deployed to West Africa – Monrovia; Douala; Lobito; Lagos; Accra; Sierra Leone. Returned to England June 1913
Pembroke   from 5 Jun 13      see above
Columbine    from 25 Jun 13      An old sloop, original name Wild Swan, built 1876 and employed as a depot at Rosyth 
Pembroke   from 12 Feb 15      see above
Penelope   from 19 Feb 1915    Light Cruiser, built 1914. During WW1 based at Harwich as part of Commodore Tyrwhitt’s famous “Harwich Force” (

Ships details:
Anson, see:
Severn, see:
Venerable, see:
Blenheim, see:
Crescent, see:
Dwarf, see:
Penelope, see:

Other notes from the Record:
Note at the bottom he was ‘2nd class for conduct’ in 1902. This was a punishment, involving extra work or drill no shore leave. It was awarded to persistent offenders ... 
Conduct: on the right-hand side is the yearly assessment of Character (that is conduct) and ability. Character was graded VG (Very Good), Good, Fair, Bad.    In the early years he seems to have been a problem – mostly VG but drops to Good and then Fair.  He is also noted as serving 7 days in cells in 1896. 
Ratings – Sto 2 – stoker 2nd class initially, but seems to have got his act together after 1902, being promoted to Ldg Sto = Leading Stoker and the Sto PO = Stoker Petty Officer.

 on: 17 December 2018 08:50:36 AM 
Started by stuart kilminster - Last Post by PhiloNauticus

He was a Stoker. SPO - Stoker Petty Officer.
Coal fired boilers required a constant supply of coal to produce the steam - the original duties of a Stoker was to keep shovelling !  With the shift to oil fired engines their duties expanded and they became engineers, responsible for the whole propulsion system including hydraulics / firefighting etc

I will look through the record and get back with details of the ships listed

 on: 16 December 2018 03:36:28 PM 
Started by stuart kilminster - Last Post by stuart kilminster
Can anybody help me. William Bourne S.P.O. RN  - I know RN stands for Royal Navy, But was does S.P.O stand for?  I have posted an image of his service record before and during WW1 as I have 3 medals for the WW1 not sure if he has any more. I would like help on what ships and where he sailed, and would he have taken part in any engagements? I have a photo of him, and on his uniform is a badge what looks like a propeller. Any information at all would really be much appreciated.

 on: 16 December 2018 09:45:35 AM 
Started by Jamax - Last Post by Jamax
Hi all

My uncle was serving aboard this vessel and was lost on 14/8/1944. John Shields.

Memories I have from family are that she was lost in the Bay of Biscay. I have rcently found through some great sites and this forum that she was actually lost near Harland Point on a Convoy EBC-72.

Looks like our story got mixed up and the U-Boat U-667 that sunk her was lost in the Bay of Biscay.

He served in the Italy campaign and I have an Italy Star medal for him. I would like to find out more about his time in the Navy aboard 99 Where can I find out the operations, flotillas and convoys that he served on?

If anyone has a photograph of 99 would it be possible to send me a copy, the family are digging through attics trying to find some for me.

Best Regards
Alex Shields

 on: 08 December 2018 09:17:01 AM 
Started by PennyRambler - Last Post by PhiloNauticus
As indicated above, he would have stayed 'on the books' of Terror until he joined the next establishment.  If it was in the 1930's he may well have travelled back to UK on a troopship.

Could you post up details of his service? or give dates etc?

 on: 08 December 2018 12:20:20 AM 
Started by PennyRambler - Last Post by PennyRambler
Thanks for the reply and sorry for the late acknowledgement.

The service record I have is from the MOD ( Unfortunately it doesn't show passage. One day he is in Singapore and the next he is in Plymouth.

Searches on the National Archives website don't find any matches. Are there any other possible sources I can try for the more complete record?


 on: 16 November 2018 09:05:37 AM 
Started by Ian Old - Last Post by PhiloNauticus

It will have been 'Gazetted' i.e. published in the London Gazette, which will give some background -  What was his name?

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