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Veterans of the Arctic Convoys 1941 - 1945

Members’ Ships : Royal Navy : M to O

Ships listed on this page:
HMS Magpie; HMS Malcolm; HMS Musketeer; HMS Nabob; HMS Nelson; HMS Nigeria; HMS Norfolk; HMS Obedient; HMS Offa; HMS Onslaught; HMS Onslow

HMS Magpie(U82)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Syd Wells, Wellington

HMS Magpie, the seventh Royal Navy ship to bear the name, was a sloop launched in 1943 and broken up in 1959. The ship was the only vessel commanded by The Duke of Edinburgh, who took command on 2 September 1950. Commissioned on 30 Aug, 1943, during October – November 1943, HMS Magpie was part of the 2nd search group in the North Atlantic.

On 31 January 1944 on North Atlantic convoy escort duties, the Magpie along with the sloops HMS Starling and HMS Wild Goose intercepted and sank, by depth charges, German submarine U-592 which was on its way to France for repairs.

The following month saw Magpie involved in destroying U-238 and U-734. After serving as an escort during the D-Day amphibious Allied landings in Normandy Magpie served in British coastal waters, operating from Greenock as an escort to the Gibraltar convoys. Along with others in the Black Swan class she was officially reclassified as a frigate in 1947. Magpie did duty in Trieste following riots there over the city’s future, this being a bone of contention between Italy and Yugoslavia.

On 3 March 1955 Magpie left Portsmouth to steam to the 7th Frigate Squadron at Simonstown, South Africa. Due to be relieved at the Cape Station by her sister ship HMS Sparrow, boiler problems meant the crew were changed. Magpie’s crew returned to the UK on the Sparrow. In 1958 Magpie had her tour of duty at the Cape Station finally completed; she sailed back for the UK for paying off, and was broken up by Hughes Bolkow, Blyth, Northumberland on 12 July 1959.

HMS Magpie sailed in convoys: JW58 + RA58. Motto: "What we want we take". Badge date: 1943

HMS Musketeer (G86)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Jack Moon (deceased)

HMS Musketeer was an M class destroyer, built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan and launched 2 December 1941. It was commissioned on 18 October 1942. Scrapped 6 December 1955.

HMS Musketeer sailed in convoys: QP15 + JW51a + JW52 + JW53 + JW54b + JW55a + JW55b + JW56b + JW59 + JW60 + RA51 + RA52 + RA53 + RA54a + RA54b + RA55a + RA56 + RA59 + RA59a + RA60. Badge date: 1943

HMS Malcolm (D19)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Pen Moore (deceased), Wellington

HMS Malcolm (D19) was a Royal Navy destroyer during World War II. She was a "Campbell" class destroyer designed to lead the "V & W" class.

Malcolm was built by Cammel Laird, launched on 29 May 1919 and commissioned on 14 December 1919. She was originally armed with five 4.7 inch guns, a single 3 inch gun and two triple 21 inch torpedo tubes. In August 1940 she sank two German ships off the island of Texel, was used in the Battle of the Atlantic, and took part in the sinking of a U-boat, U-651 south of Iceland on 29 June 1941.

She took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk where she was damaged. By 1942 her gunnery and torpedo armament had been reduced to allow her to be fitted with radar on the bridge and enhanced anti-submarine weapons. She was then classified as a short range escort vessel. She also escorted the aircraft carrier HMS Furious taking aircraft to Malta in August 1942 and during the next month was part of the strong escort given to the Russian convoy PQ18. On 8 November 1942 Malcolm was used in the invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch.

Specifically she was used in Operation Terminal to attempt to land troops and was the only ship to survive this unsuccessful attempt to enter Algiers harbour, having suffered engine damage from artillery fire and was unable to land. Malcolm was sold for scrap and broken up at Barrow in Furness in July 1945.

HMS Malcolm sailed in convoys: PQ18 + QP14. Motto: "In ardua tendit" "He has attempted difficult things". Badge date: 1919

HMS Nabob (D77)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
George Billing (deceased), Wellington

HMS Nabob (D77) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier which served in the Royal Navy during 1943 and 1944. The ship was built in the United States as USS Edisto (CVE-41) (originally AVG-41 then later ACV-41) but did not serve with the United States Navy. She was laid down on 20 October 1942, launched 22 March 1943, and transferred under Lend-Lease to the United Kingdom on 7 September 1943 prior to her commissioning as HMS Nabob (D77) into the Royal Navy. She served as an anti-submarine warfare carrier and was manned by personnel of the Royal Canadian Navy.

On 22 August 1944 she was torpedoed by U-354 in the Barents Sea, while returning from a strike against the German battleship Tirpitz (Operation Goodwood) and sustained heavy damage. Five days later she steamed into Scapa Flow under her own power but had lost 21 men. She was eventually judged not worth repairing, was beached and abandoned then cannibalized for other ships and decommissioned on 30 September 1944. She was returned to United States custody and sold into merchant service 26 October 1946 as the merchant Nabob (later renamed Glory). She was sold for scrap in Taiwan in 1977. Nabob is one of three Royal Navy escort carriers built in the United States which is listed as lost in action during World War II.

The badge above is thought to be unofficial and is from an alternative source than others on this page.

HMS Nelson (28)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:

HMS Nelson (28) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy between the two World Wars. She was named in honour of Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson the victor at the Battle of Trafalgar. The Nelsons were unique in British battleship construction, being the only ships to carry a main armament of 16 in (410 mm) guns, and the only ones to carry all the main armament forward of the superstructure. These were a result of the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty. Commissioned in 1930, Nelson served extensively in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian oceans during World War II. She was decommissioned soon after the end of the war and scrapped in 1949.

She was nicknamed "Nels-ol" from her outline which resembled RN oilers.

Built under the constraints of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the British were allowed two new battleships with 16 inch guns. The design intent was to carry a main armament of 16 in (410 mm) guns to match the firepower of the American Colorado class and Japanese Nagato class on a ship displacing no more than 35,000 tons. Inheriting some of the design of the G3 battlecruisers, all of the 16 in (410 mm) main guns in three turrets were placed forward, the vessel's speed was reduced and maximum armour was limited to vital areas.

The three turrets from forward to aft were "A", "B" and "X". The guns received individual nicknames being known as Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy, Bashful, Doc, Mickey and Minnie, sometime after the release of the film Snow White in 1937. The secondary armament was in turrets P1 to P3 on the port, S1 to S3 on the starboard. The six 4.7 in (119 mm) anti-aircraft mounts were designated HA1 to HA6, the even numbers on the port. The six pom-pom mounts were numbered from M1 (on top of B turret) to M7 at the extreme aft—there was no M2 position—the odd numbers 3 and 5 to the starboard.

Nelson was laid down in December 1922 and built at Newcastle by Armstrong-Whitworth. Launched in September 1925, she was commissioned in August 1927 and joined by her sister ship Rodney (built by Cammell Laird) in November. She cost GBP7.504m to build and made partial use of the material prepared for the cancelled HMS Anson and Howe, planned sister ships of HMS Hood.

She was the flagship of the Home Fleet from launch. In 1931 the crews of both Nelson and Rodney took part in the Invergordon Mutiny. On 12 January 1934 she ran aground on Hamilton's Shoal, just outside Portsmouth, as she was about to embark with the Home Fleet to the West Indies.

Nelson was modified little during the 1930s and was with the Home Fleet when war broke out in September 1939. On 25 and 26 September she performed escort duty during the salvage and rescue operations of the submarine HMS Spearfish. Nelson was first deployed in the North Sea in October against a German formation of cruisers and destroyers, all of which easily evaded her. On 30 October she was unsuccessfully attacked by U-56 near the Orkney Islands being hit by 3 torpedoes, none of which exploded. Later she was again shown up for pace in the futile pursuit of German battle cruisers. In December 1939 she struck a mine (laid by U-31) off the Scottish coast and was laid up for repairs until August 1940.

Upon return to service she went to Rosyth in case of invasion[1] and was then deployed in the English Channel. From April to June 1941 she was on convoy escort in the Atlantic. In late May she was in Freetown and was ordered to Gibraltar to stand by to take part in the chase of the German battleship Bismarck.

In June 1941 Nelson, now in Gibraltar, was assigned to Force H operating in the Mediterranean as an escort. On 27 September 1941 she was extensively damaged by a Regia Aeronautica torpedo strike and was under repair in Britain until May 1942. She returned to Force H as the flagship in August 1942, performing escort duties for supply convoys running to Malta. She supported Operation Torch around Algeria in November 1942, the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and the Salerno operation (by coastal bombardment) in September 1943. The Italian armistice was signed between Eisenhower and Marshal Pietro Badoglio aboard Nelson on 29 September.

Nelson returned to England in November 1943 for a refit, including extensive additions to her anti-aircraft defences. Returning to action she supported the Normandy landings but hit two mines on 18 June 1944 and was sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for repairs. She returned to Britain in January 1945 and was then deployed to the Indian Ocean, arriving in Colombo in July. She was used around the Malayan Peninsula for 3 months. The Japanese forces there formally surrendered aboard her at George Town, Penang on 2 September 1945.

Nelson returned home in November 1945 as the flagship of the Home Fleet until reduced to a training vessel in July 1946 and decommissioned in February 1948. She was used as a target vessel for bombing exercises for a few months before being scrapped on 15 March 1949 at Inverkeithing.

Motto: "Palmam qui meruit ferat" "Let him bear the palm who has deserved it". Badge date: 1923

HMS Nigeria (60)

ACCNZ Members that served on this ship:
John McLaughlin (deceased); John Renowden (deceased); and Matt Clapham, Nelson (deceased)

Dedicated website detailing the history of HMS Nigeria is available at:

HMS Nigeria sailed in convoys: PQ9 + PQ11 + PQ14 + PQ15 + PQ16 + PQ17 + QP7 + QP8 + QP10 + QP12 + QP13. Badge date: 1940

HMS Obedient (G48)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Ken Gerrell, Upper Hutt (deceased)

An "O" class destroyer of the Royal Navy, Built by William Denny Bros. (Dunbarton, Scotland). Ordered on 3 September 1939; Laid Down on 22 May 1940; Launched on 30 April 1942; Commissioned on 30 October 1942. She was commanded by Lt Cmndr D. C. Kinloch DSC (promoted Cmndr 1 January 1943). In the Battle of the Barents Sea she engaged the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper 31 December 1942.

HMS Obedient sailed in convoys: JW51B + JW53 + JW54A + JW57 + JW58 + JW61 + JW62 + RA52 + RA53 + RA56 + RA57 + RA58 + RA61 + RA62 + RA66

Badge date: 1942

HMS Norfolk (78)

ACCNZ Members that served on this ship:
T. W. (Bill) Megennis (deceased) Wellington; and David Stevenson (deceased) Tauranga

A long absence of a Norfolk in the Royal Navy was finally ended in the commissioning of County-class heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (78), which displaced 10,035 tons. She was laid down in July 1927 at Govan by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd and launched on 12 December 1928. She was commissioned on 30 April 1930. In September 1931, Norfolk was part of a mutiny that later became known as the Invergordon Mutiny. She later served with the Home Fleet until she re-commissioned for service in the East Indies Station in 1937.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, Norfolk deployed with the Home Fleet, and was involved in the chase for the German battle cruisers (or light battleships) Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, along with the Admiral Scheer. She was soon receiving numerous repairs for damage that she had received, not to mention vital modifications to the ship. Her first repairs were carried out in Belfast, after a near-miss by a torpedo from the German submarine U-47, the submarine responsible for sinking the Royal Navy battleship Royal Oak. Shortly afterwards, bomb damage that she had received from a heavy air raid, forced her into yet another repair, this time on the Clyde. After these repairs had been completed, Norfolk proceeded to the Tyne Shipyard for a new addition to her equipment - a radar set. In May 1941, Norfolk was the second ship to sight the Bismarck. She continued to dog the German battleship and was part of the force with Rodney and King George V that sank her. From September onwards, she was employed as an escort for the arduous Arctic Convoys. Norfolk was part of the cruiser covering force of convoy JW55B, when it engaged Scharnhorst, on 26 December 1943. She scored three hits on the German vessel which withdrew and was later caught and sunk by the Duke of York and her escorts.

She sustained damage in that confrontation, which was subsequently repaired on the Tyne, which prevented her from being involved in the historic D-day landings. When the war came to a close, Norfolk left Plymouth for a much needed refit at Malta, after transporting the Norwegian Royal family back to Oslo after their 5-year exile in London. This was followed by service in the East Indies as the flagship of the Commander-In-Chief East Indies Station. In 1949, Norfolk returned to the UK and was placed in Reserve. On 14 February 1950, she proceeded to Newport to be broken up after a long and proud service of 22 years, in which she gained the Norfolk lineage the majority of its battle honours, including its last.

HMS Norfolk sailed in convoys:  PQ2 + PQ14 + PQ16 + PQ17 + PQ18 + QP2 + QP12 + QP14 + JW53 + JW55a + JW55b + RA53 + RA54a + RA55a. Motto: "Serviens servo" "Serving, I preserve". Badge date: 1927

HMS Offa (G14)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Gordon Forrester (deceased)

An " Oribi " class destroyer built by Fairfield, Govan, Glasgow and launched 11 March 1941. In May 1944 was attacked by aircraft south of St. Catherine's Point and hit by a bomb on the upper deck . Three of the ship's company were killed and four injured. Transferred to Pakistan 3 November1949 and renamed "Tariq". Returned to the Royal Navy 10 July 1959 . Towed to Sunderland in October 1959 and broken up .

HMS Offa sailed in convoys:  PQ4 + PQ12 + PQ14 + PQ17 + PQ18 + QP9 + QP10 + QP14 + JW52 + JW53 + JW56A + JW56B + JW57 + JW58 + JW61 + JW62 + JW66 + RA52 + RA53 + RA56 + RA57 + RA58 + RA61 + RA62 + RA66. Motto: "Defendere Fossam" "To defend the ditch". Badge date: 1942

HMS Onslaught (G04)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Trevor Husband (deceased)

MS Onslaught was a Class O destroyer built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Govan, Scotland. She was ordered on 3 September 1939, laid down on 14 January 1941, launched: on 9 October 1941 and commissioned on 19 January 1942. Notable events involving Onslaught include on 4 March 1944 the sinking of German submarine U-472 in the Barents Sea south-east of Bear Island, Norway by gunfire and rockets aided by Swordfish aircraft (Sqn 816) of the British escort carrier HMS Chaser (Capt. H.V.P. McClintock, DSO, RN).

Then, on 12 January 1945 she was involved with the British heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN with Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN aboard) and the light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) on an attack of a German convoy near Egersund, Norway. Two German merchants, the Bahia Camarones and the Charlotte and the minelayer M 273 were sunk. HMS Onslaught was transferred to Pakistan on 6 March 1951 being renamed Tughril.

HMS Onslaught sailed in convoys:  PQ17 + PQ18 + QP13 + QP14 + QP15 + JW52 + JW53 + JW54A + JW55B + JW57 + JW62 + JW64 + JW65 + RA52 + RA53 + RA54B + RA55B + RA57 + RA62 + RA64. Motto: "Fierce in action". Badge date: 1942

HMS Onslow (G17)

ACCNZ Member that served on this ship:
David O'Rourke, Christchurch (deceased)

An Oribi class Fleet destroyer ordered ordered from John Brown, Clydebank, Glasgow. Launched 1 March 1941 and completed as a Flotilla Leader 8 October 1941. Joined the Home Fleet in Scapa Flow after trials on 8 October 1941. Supported commando raid on the Lofoten Islands and captured an "Enigma "coding machine from a German trawler in December 1941. Transferred to the Mediterranean for escort duties before rejoining Home Fleet in July 1942. Took part in D-Day landings prior to further Russian convoy duties.

Sold to Pakistan 30 September1949 and renamed "Tippu Sultan". Returned to the UK during 1960. Taken off the active list and scrapped in 1980.

HMS Onslow sailed in convoys: PQ4 + PQ12 + PQ13 + PQ14 + PQ16 + PQ17 + PQ18 + QP9 + QP10 + QP12 + QP13 + QP14 + JW51B + JW54A + JW55B + JW58 + JW61 + JW62 + JW64 + JW67 + RA52 + RA54A + RA54B + RA55B + RA58 + RA61 + RA62 + RA64 + RA67. Badge date: 1942

HMS Activity; HMS Anson; HMS Apollo; SS Atlantic; HMS Bahamas; HMS Belfast; HMS Bermuda; HMS Berwick; HMS Black Prince; HMS Bluebell; HMS Byron; HMS Caesar; SS Cape Race; HMS Caprice; HMS Chiltern; HMS Dasher; HMS Diadem; SS Dolabella; HMS Drury; HMS Duke of York; HMS Echo; SS El Almirante; SS Eldena; SS Elona; SS Empire Beaumont; SS Empire Galliard; SS Empire Garrick; HMS Forester; HMS Furious; HMS Glasgow; HMS Goodall; SS Harmatris; HMS Howe; HMS Implacable; SS Induna; HMS Jamaica; HMS Javelin; HMS Kent; HMS Kenya; HMS Keppel; HMS King George V; RFA Laurelwood; HMS Loch Insh; HMS Loch Killin; HMS London; HMS Lookout; HMS Palomares; HMS Queen; HMS Renown; HMS Rodney; SS Samgara; SS San Ambrosio; HMS Sheffield; HMS Speedwell; HMS Speedy; HMS Striker; HMS Suffolk; HMS Tartar; HMS Tracker; HMS Trinidad; HMS Victorious; HMS Vindex; HMS Volage; HMS Wakeful; and HMS Zealous

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