HMS Pelican (Private Collection - Haydn Redfarn) HMS Spey (Imperial War Museum)
HMS Pelican (S.O), HMS
Spey, HMS Lowestoft, HMS Rother and HMS Erne were originally detailed
as escorts for Convoy OS.33. However, HMS Erne, which was fitted with
HF/DF, did not sail as she had insufficient practice and was not considered
to be efficient. Also, two French vessels, FS Léopard (from Greenock)
and FS Commandant Du Boc (from Londonderry) were ordered to accompany
the convoy to Freetown partly to act as additional support but also to
obtain data on their endurance figures and fuel consumption at economic
However, on July 12, 1942 in position 31.46N, 23.19W, FS Léopard collided with HMS Lowestoft causing serious damage. HMS Lowestoft was holed in the forward boiler room so that the main engine was unworkable and even lost her funnel. Léopard, with only 2.5 days of fuel remaining, took Lowestoft in tow and together they departed, making for the Azores.
HMS Jonquil was then ordered to provide additional support and joined the escorts on July 14. Also, HMS Penn and HMS Quentin were ordered to rendezvous with the convoy and arrived July 15, 1942 so that the convoy remained well protected.
A number of attacks were carried out on the U-boats over the period of July 11 to July 14 but only one was successful; that carried out on U-136 on July 11, 1942 by HMS Pelican. A copy of form 1203 (Report of attack on U-Boat) submitted by Commander Boyes Smith of HMS Spey can be seen here.
See the Site Map for further details of all aspects of the Convoy.