HMS TAY Convoy ONS 5
December 4, 2011
Dear Mr Gregory
I have recently received my father's World War 2 records and discovered that he was on HMS Tay in 1943. Yesterday, my husband and I so enjoyed reading your account of the convoy ONS 5 ("The Battle For Convoy ONS 5. 26th.April - 6th. May 1943") which I think my father must have been on.
One part of the information which I received from the Royal Navy says that my father was on the Tay from April 1943 and another part says he was on it from March 1943 - until July 1944. We shall try to obtain some sort of clarification of this - possibly from records of the ship's company which the Royal Navy may have.
Either way, he must have been on ONS 5 and possibly SC 130 which was convoy back to UK. He may have been on ONS 010 from UK which sailed on 9 June 1943 and then back to UK on SC 135 on 1 July 1943. He was also on HMS Tenacious later on - from August 1945 through to June 1946 I think. The records we have are not as informative as we had hoped.
Thank you so much for your website and the marvellous account of ONS 5. It really brings home how terryifying these convoys were and the bravery of the men involved. Unfortunately, my father died in 1983 and I know that these convoys had a huge effect on him and he had some awful memories - although, like many of his generation, he did not speak about his experiences. I know that Dad was awarded the Atlantic Star - it was so familiar when I saw it on your article about ONS 5. I am so proud of him.
Do you also have the Atlantic Star? I would be interested to know your war experiences.
We were fascinated to learn that, for some of the time the convoy was sailing, there was a break in the decoding of the German signals. It was all the more strange as my mother had been at Bletchley Park - although not in 1943. We think she was there later - maybe 1944 or 1945.
She didn't speak about her work of course but I am always so proud when I think of her being there. She was very modest and, like all her collegues at Bletchley she always played down the work which was done there. She died in 1997 and only told the family of her Bletchley Park days shortly before her death. We visited Bletchley Park a few years ago and saw my mother's name in the register. It was a very emotional time.
We live in the Scottish Borders in UK. Are you in Melbourne?
Thanks again for the superb information about ONS 5.
My thanks for your kind comments about AHOY and convoy ONS 5, it was an amazing fight as that convoy battled its way across the Atlantic.
Personally, I have always thought that my writing about ONS 5 was probably the best I have done on the convoys of WW2.
Yes, I have the Atlantic Star and it is the most prized of my 13 WW2 medals, it was certainly the hardest to win, one needed to have been awarded the 39-45 Star and then spent six months in the Atlantic. I also have the Arctic Star emblem for serving in the Arctic Ocean in 1940, and I wear that on the Atlantic Star ribbon.
Yes we live in Melbourne.
You asked about my Naval service, I joined the Royal Australian Naval College ( similar to your Dartmouth College in UK ) as a 13 year old Cadet Midshipman in January of 1936.
I was bundled off to sea at 17 in August 1939 as war was imminent, I stayed at sea or overseas for the 6 years of WW2, served in HMAS Australia in the Home Fleet on Atlantic convoys and we were with de Gaulle for his debacle at Dakar in September 1940. Took my Sub Lieutenant's courses in UK in 1941, and arrived home on Pearl Harbor day in that December.
Went to HMAS Canberra, and was her Officer of the Watch when the Battle of Savo Island started, and then we were sunk, next in the cruiser HMAS Adelaide, and in November of 1944 joined HMAS Shropshire ( gifted by Winston Churchill to replace Canberra )
Finished the war in her, and we were in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender on Sunday September 2, 1945.
Shropshire took the Australian Victory contingent to UK, I was still in her and stayed in UK to take the first Torpedo Anti Submarine Specialist Officer's course over 1947, and part of 1948.
Came home to serve in our Tribal destroyers Warramunga and Bataan in my specialist capacity. Then I spent two and a half years as Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency the Governor General of Australia in Canberra, a fascinating appointment.
My final appointment was on the staff of the Admiral Commanding the Australian Fleet in the carrier HMAS Vengeance.
We had lost our first child, a girl, with meninigitis, and I resigned to be home.
Enough of me and my doings.
The seasons greetings to you both