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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS  VINDEX - Vindex-class Escort Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Nairana, sister-ship and below HMS Vindex herself  (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

A mercantile under construction by Swan Hunter was one of the four CVE built in UK.


Displacement: 13, 825 tons, Full Load 17,210 tons


Dimensions:  Length overall 528 feet x 68 feet Beam


Propulsion Machinery: Two Diesel Engines driving  2 shafts, BHPP 19,700, Speed  17 knots


Aircraft: 18 aircraft in Hangar with one Lift. 


Mercantile hull requisitioned for Admiralty service  on 20th October 1942 whilst under construction by Swan Hunter at Newcastle for the Port Line.  The Ship was to be converted for use as an Escort Aircraft Carrier and designated Job Number 4698. Launched on 4th May 1943 as HMS VINDEX her build completed on 3rd December that year. Full details of  her service are given in HMS VINDEX by K Poolman .



B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ATLANTIC 1944 - ARCTIC 1944-45


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White, a serpent embowed into a  rung Green.


M o t t o

                                                  Die noctague amri coeloque:  'By day and by night, by sea and sky'



D e t a i l s o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 3


November              Contractors Trials

                15th        Commissioned for service in Western Approaches Command.

                20th        Storing and fuel embarkation began.

                29th        Commenced Acceptance Trials in North Sea.

                30th        Passage to Rosyth



                2nd         Carried out Full Power Trials

                3rd          Accepted into RN service.

                10th        Sailed fro Greenock.

                11th        Arrived in Clyde,

                15th        First Deck Landing by an AVENGER aircraft.

                18th        825 Squadron SEA HURRICANE and SWORDFISH aircraft embarked at sea off Cumbrae Light.


1 9 4 4


January                  Nominated for support of anti-submarine operations in NW Approaches.

                20th        Flag Officer Carrier Training visited ship.

                                (Note: His assessment of the ship was poor..)

                22nd       Dragged anchor in Clyde and sustained structural damage in collision with HM Escort Carrier



February                Under repair.

                13th        Ship docked for examination,

                23rd        Ship undocked on completion of repair

                25th        Resumed preparations for operational service in NW Approaches for support of anti-submarine


                25th        Carried out flying exercises during which two aircraft crashed.

                                (Note: These crashes were later found to be due to water infiltration into fuel.)

                                Other accidents were also found to be due to this contamination.)


March                    Ship ready for deployment.

                2nd         At Larne for meeting relating to planned operations.

                3rd          During flying exercises rating lost overboard by slipstream of aircraft taking-off.

                9th          Deployed with ships of 6th Canadian Escort group to carry out antisubmarine operations in NW


                                (Note: Ships in Group were HM Canadian Destroyer QU’APPELLE, HM Canadian Frigates

                                WASKESIU, OUTREMONT, HM Canadian Corvettes PRESCOTT and EDMUNDSTON.

                10th        Carried out search operations in conjunction with Canadian Escort Group.

                                Aircraft from ship hit by return fire from U-Boat sighted on surface.

                                (Note: One of aircrew died from injuries.)

                11th        Air search operations in continuation.

                                Supplied fuel to ships of Escort Group.

                12th        6th Escort Group joined by 2nd British Escort Group

                                (Note: Ships in Group were HM Sloops STARLING, WHIMBREL, WILD GOOSE, MAGPIE

                                and WREN.)

                                Aircraft from ship sighted U-Boat bu follow up operations by HMCS QU’APPELLE not


                13th        Under attack by submarine whilst refuelling HMCS QU’APPELLE but torpedo avoided by

                                prompt manoeuvring action.

                14th        Flying operations in continuation.

                                SWORDFISH search aircraft crashed into sea after night take-off due to petrol contamination,

                                Aircrew of three rescued by HMCS OUTREMONT.

                15th        Radar contact by search aircraft reported to ships of EG2 which carried out attask operation

                                sinking U653. For details see U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.

                16th        Flying operations in continuation

                                Refuelled ships of Canadian Group.

                                Under torpedo attack after submarine contact but this failed,

                                Weather deteriorated,

                17th        Flying operations restricted by weather conditions

                                Disquiet amongst aircrew about frequent failure of depth charges to explode and continued

                                concern about petrol contamination.

                                (Note: Depth charge failures traced to incorrect assembly on untested weapons of modified

                                design.. This failure prevented sinking of three more U-Boats which had been attacked

                                by 825 Squadron, Only two of the 127 charges dropped had functioned.)

                18th        Flying operations in continuation.

                                Tests carried out to investigate depth charge failures,

                19th        Flying restricted by fog but the only contact investigated was not found.

                                SWORDFISH aircraft crashed due to petrol contamination and aircrew of three lost.

                20th        Flying restricted due to limitations of space in hangar to change type of aircraft required

                                for specific tasks.

                21st         Weather deteriorated and aircraft struck down.

                22nd       Flooding caused power failure and consequent loss of steering control.

                                Ship manoeuvred by main engines

                                Repair effected and normal steering possible.

                23rd        During flying operations SWORDFISH aircraft overran Flight Deck due to movement of ship

                                in extreme weather conditions. Crew rescued by HMCS WASKESIU.

                                HM Canadian Frigates CAPE BRETON and GROU joined Canadian Escort Group.

                24th        During continued flying operations with ship pitching heavily SWORDFISH aircraft crashed

                                on landing with two depth charges on racks. Crew able to escape from wrecked aircraft

                                before petrol ignited and depth charges exploded. One rating was killed by a splinter whilst

                                asleep in a compartment below the Flight Deck.

                                Flying delayed whilst deck cleared. but restricted by weather conditions.

                25th        Resumed flying in deteriorating conditions.

                                One aircraft crashed into barrier on return.

                                (Note: Returning aircraft jettisoned depth charges before landing to prevent a repetition of

                                the explosion on 24th,)

                26th        Flying operations continued in rough weather which presented difficult landings,

                                One aircraft hit bridge on landing and was able to maintain control over the damaged aircraft

                                and land satisfactorily the second time.

                                Two further barrier crashes due to weather conditions

                27th        Ship withdrew from operations in late afternoon and took passage to Clyde

                                (Note: Weather conditions were unsatisfactory and loss of four aircraft as well as aircrew

                                together with the availability of fewer aircraft made the return necessary although it

                                had been intended that operations would continued for three weeks,)

                28th        Arrived in Clyde

                                (Statistics of air operations: 825 Squadron

                                SWORDFISH:      100 Deck Landings (Day).  235 hours Flown

                                22 Deck Landings (Night)   40 hours Flown

                                SEA HURRICANE               46 Deck Landings (Day       36 Sorties

                                3 Sorties (Night)   1.5 hours


April                       Deployed for replenishment in Clyde.

                16th        Carried out price shoot.

                17th        Commenced Flying training

                                (Note: Aircraft hit bridge in during take-off

                                HURRICANE aircraft fitted with Rocket Projectiles to assist take-off. (RATOG)

                                During flying training SWORDFISH aircraft recently repaired after earlier damage, had an

                                engine failure after launch and ditched.

                                Aircrew were rescued by attendant destroyer,

                24th        Deployed for anti-submarine operations and sailed from Clyde escorted by HM Canadian

                                Frigates MATANE, STORMONT of 9th Escort Group.

                27th        Commenced anti-submarine air search operations in conjunction with HM Frigates

                                BICKERTON, AYLMER and BLIGH of 5th Escort Group.

                                (Note: Group had been supporting passage of Outward Convoy ONS233 and detached

                                to join ship for anti-submarine operations,

                                These ships were refuelled during subsequent joint operations.).

                28th        HM Canadian Frigates KEATS, KEMPTHORNE and GOODSON of 5th Escort Group


                29th        SWORDFISH aircraft made force landing in sea after petrol failure.

                                Aircrew rescued by HMCS AYLMER.

                30th        Flying operations restricted by weather.


May                        Operation area transferred to new area where U-Boat was know to be deployed for

                                weather reporting.

                                (Note: This was directed by Admiralty as a result of interception of wireless transmissions.

                2nd         Arrived in designated area and carried out flying operations based on interception

                                of wireless traffic by ships of Escort Group.

                                (Note: These proved to be erroneous and saturation air search operations failed.

                3rd          Weather conditions restricted use of SWORDFISH aircraft for searches.

                4th          Flying operations continued and some escorts refuelled.

                5th          Successful trials established that landing of aircraft could be carried during

                                refuelling of escorts,

                                Air search for U-Boat in continuation.

                                HURRICANE aircraft forced to ditch after engine failure. Despite drop of dinghies

                                and gallant attempts to effect a rescue neither of the crew survived one of whom.

                                died on board HMCS GOODSON after recovered unconscious from the sea.

                6th          U-Boat sighted after radar contact during intensive air operations nut target submerged

                                In low visibility conditions One SWORDFISH aircraft short of fuel managed to

                                land with desperate shortage of fuel.

                                Frigates of 5th Escort Group began search supported by air operations resulting in

                                sinking of U785 by HM Frigates BICKERTON, KEATS, AYLMER and BLIGH.

                                See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR by P Kemp.

                7th          Despite extreme weather conditions further search operations for a second submarine

                                were flown until conditions force their suspension.

                                When flying resumed possible contact was made but subsequent attacks by ships of Escort

                                Group were unsuccessful.

                8th          Flying operations delayed when Lift to Flight Deck from hangar had a major defect.

                                Manual operation of lift used to transfer aircraft and limited flying resumed.

                9th          Despite poor weather conditions air search operations continued.

                                Ships of EG5 refuelled.

                10th        Three ships of EG5 detached and replaced by EG2 Sloops.

                11th        Air search operations in continued in support surface anti-submarine operations.

                                SWORDFISH aircraft crashed on landing and went overboard due to erratic ship

                                movement. Despite rescue attempt by HMCS GOODSON there were no survivors.

                12th        Took passage to Clyde on completion of overnight air patrols.

                14th        Arrived in Clyde.

                15th        Began routine maintenance which included major investigation of the reasons

                                for petrol contamination.

                                (Note: This was successful and use of sea water instead of compressed air which had

                                caused contamination of the petrol due to temperature increase


June                        Clyde maintenance in continuation

                                Nominated for further anti-submarine support operation in NW Approaches.

                21st         Modified design SWORDFISH Mk III embarked from shore.

                                (Note: These aircraft were fitted with new design centimetric ASV Mk III radar

                                and Rocket Assisted Take-off Gear (RATOG) to improve take-off performance

                                and allow four depth charges to be mounted in good weather conditions.)

                28th        Prepared to resume anti-submarine operations.

                29th        Passage to Londonderry for deployment with 5th Escort Group.


July         1st           Sailed from Moville with HM Frigates AWE, BULLEN, GOODALL and HM Canadian

                                Corvette ST THOMAS.

                2nd         Flying operations commenced.

                3rd          Rain and low visibility prevented flying.

                                HM Destroyer BULLDOG joined supporting warships.

                4th          Flying operations resumed during afternoon but marred by failures inn new radar sets.

                                (Note: This was due to poor design of cabling used for interconnection between units

                                and need for repair reduced availability of aircraft for search operations.)

                5th          Flying resumed in early afternoon.

                                Ship diverted to carry out out search for U-Boat which had attacked fishing trawlers

                                in position west of Cape Wrath about 870 miles from current search area.

                                (Note: Submarine involved was U11. For details see HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR.)

                                Two HURRICANE aircraft launched to carry out search of area where submarine was likely

                                to be on passage away from the trawler attacks,

                                (Note: These two were unable to return because of lack of fuel and landed near Thurso.

                6th          Air search operations in continuation..

                                Rocket projectile accidentally fired during testing by aircraft on Flight Deck

                                One rating was killed and another HURRICANE aircraft damaged.

                                Later another aircraft was unable to take-odd because of Water contamination in fuel.

                                (Note: This was traced to human error when water sea was directly fed into supply tanks.)

                7th          Flying operations resumed when 500 gallons of contaminated petrol had been removed and

                                had to be ditched.

                                One suspected contact was never confirmed.

                8th          Search area changed

                9th          Carried out air search operations until these were suspended due to weather conditions.

                10th        Supply hose parted during refuelling of HMS BULLEN.

                                Frigates of 5th EG detached.

                                HM Escort Carrier STRIKER joined to assist in search operations.

                11th        Air searches in continuation with HMS STRIKER

                12th        During air patrol submarine sighted and position passed to supporting corvette.

                                Landing conditions for return of SWORDFISH aircraft made difficult by poor visibility

                                One aircraft crashed on Flight Deck whilst landing and the fifth had to ditch due to lack

                                of petrol.. The aircrew were rescued by HM Frigate MANNERS after complex guidance

                                from ship.

                14th        Arrived at Greenock.

                15th        Deployed in Clyde



                4th          Sailed from Clyde to carry out flying exercises.

                5th          Diverted to take part in anti-submarine operations as Force 31 and deployed with HM

                                Corvette MORPETH CASTLE

                                (Note: One source records HM Minesweeper PETROLA but this ship did not commission

                                in Canada as HMS LIONESS until December 1944.)

                6th          Joined by HM Frigates BAZELY, BURGES, HM Canadian Minesweeper TILLSONBURG

                                and HM Trawler THIRLMERE

                                Flying operations restricted by bad visibility with landings controlled by an extempore

                                approach control radar system.

                                (Note: No positive submarine sighting was made.)

                7th          Returned to Clyde on release from search.

                                Passage to Scapa Flow to join Home Fleet.

                                (Note: Nominated for provision of air cover during passage of Russian Convoy JW 59 to

                                Kola Inlet and return Convoy RA59 from Kola Inlet to UK (Operation VICTUAL)

                13th        Deployed at Scapa Flow and took part in whaler races.

                16th        Flag of CS10 transferred to ship from HM Cruiser JAMAICA.

                                Sailed from Scapa Flow to join JW69 during passage from Loch Ewe with HM Cruiser

                                JAMAICA and HM Escort Carrier STRIKER screened by HM Destroyers VOLAGE,

                                VERULAM, VIRAGO, WHIRLWIND, WRANGLER, SCOURGE and Canadian


                                HM Destroyers CAPRICE, MARNE, MILNE, METEOR and MUSKETEER, joined.

                                (Note ; For details of all Russian convoy operations with details of all mercantiles and

                                warships involved see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN

                                CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P Kemp, ARCTIC CONVOYS by

                                R Woodman and for submarine deployments HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR.)

                                Carried out flying exercises with HMS STRIKER.

                17th        Met JW59 and deployed within convoy.

                                (Note: Battleship ARCHANGELSK (Ex HM Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN on

                                passage to join Russian Northern Fleet was also included in the convoy.)

                18th        Carried out air patrols to intercept any enemy reconnaissance aircraft

                19th        Launched HURRICANE aircraft to intercept radar contact with WILDCAT fighters from

                                HMS STRIKER. No sighting made.

                                Nominated for provision of night air cover using ASV Mk III Hurricane aircraft with

                                improved radar performance.

                20th        Air search launched for interception of reconnaissance aircraft which was unsuccessful,

                                but sighted nine Russian ships on passage to join Northern Fleet based at Murmansk.

                                (Note: These ships were on Lend/Lease from USA and comprised Ex battleship

                                HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN and eight Ex USN destroyers which had been

                                on Lend/Lease to RN)

                                Russian ships joined JW59.

                                First indications of U-Boat activity by wireless transmissions.

                21st         HM Sloop KITE deployed for anti-submarine support sunk by torpedo from U344

                                14 survivors rescued by HM Destroyer KEPPEL but five died on board.

                                Intensive air search operations carried out with HMS STRIKER in support of surface

                                Anti-submarine deployments of escorts.

                                German flying boat intercepted and destroyed by STRIKER aircraft.

                22nd       Anti submarine patrol continued..

                                U344 sighted on surface by SWORDFISH aircraft and sunk by depth charge attack.

                                Several attacks made by patrolling aircraft despite intense return fire.

                                Neither rocket, depth charge or acoustic torpedo attacks by aircraft from both carriers

                                were successful

                23rd        Presence of several of submarines confirmed by aircraft searches after detection of

                                of transmitted radio signals.

                                Extensive patrols maintained with aircraft from HMS STRIKER.

                                Russian ships detached to make independent passage

                24th        Rocket hits during attacks by SWORDFISH from ship forced surface submarine to dive

                                and hunt continued by surface vessels.

                                Sonar contact established by HM Sloop MERMAID which resulted in the sinking of

                                concentrated depth charge operations by HM Sloop PEACOCK, HM Frigate LOCH

                                DUNVEGAN and HM Destroyer KEPPEL.

                                The submarine U344 never surfaced and was sunk by these attacks

                                For details see above references and U-BOATS DESTROYED.

                25th        Detached from JW59 on arrival at Kola Inlet and anchored off Vaenga Island

                                Flag or CS10 transferred to HMS JAMAICA

                28th        Flag of CS10 returned to ship.

                                Sailed from Vaenga with HMS JAMAICA and HMS STRIKER screened by HM

                                Destroyers MILNE, MARNE, METEOR, MUSKETEER and CAPRICE

                                Joined inward Convoy RA59A which had sailed earlier from Kola Inlet

                                (Note: Convoy Escort included HM Destroyers KEPPEL. WHITEHALL, HM Sloops

                                MERMAID and PEACOCK as Anti-submarine Striking Force with HM Frigate

                                LOCH DUNVEGAN, HM Sloop CYGNET, HM Corvettes CAMELLIA,

                                CHARLOCK and OXLIP to be DEPLOYED AS OUTER SCREEN..

                29th        Commenced flying operations after delay due to fog.

                                SWORDFISH patrol had radar contact and passed details to Striking Group.

                30th        Air search operations in continuation and followed up detection of submarine

                                wireless transmissions.

                                (Note: Two returning aircraft crashed into Barrier.)



                1st           Aircraft from HMS STRIKER sighted submarine on surface in snow shower

                                Further indication of U-Boat deployments in vicinity of convoy.

                2nd         Patrol of three SWORDFISH aircraft sighted surfaced submarine and directed

                                Striking Group to position. Under fire from submarine and carried out rocket attacks

                                Followed up with depth charges but these failed to explode,

                                Ships of Striking Group carried out sustained anti-submarine attacks resulting in sinking

                                of U394. See U-BOATS DESTROYED and above references for details.

                3rd          No further U-Boat attacks but air search operations continued.

                                Ju88 German reconnaissance aircraft sighted by HURRICANE interception flight but escaped.

                                One SWORDFISH aircraft crashed into sea on fire after hitting bridge structure on landing

.                               Aircrew rescued by ships seaboat

                4th          HURRICANE aircraft crashed after being hit by stern of ship and hitting Barrier on landing

                                (Note: HURRICANE broke in two and hit other parked which were damaged.

                5th          Detached from RA59A and returned to Scapa Flow.

                                Took passage to Return to Greenock,.

                6th          Two SWORDFISH launched to carry out unsuccessful search for U-Boat reported in vicinity.

                                (Note: Only one was able to land on board and the other was diverted to land ashore.)

                7th          Arrived in Clyde after Squadron aircraft landed at Machrinhannish.

                8th          Deployed at Greenock.

                                825 Squadron left ship.

                26th        Ship dragged anchors and sustained damage to upper deck fittings after collision with

                                rms QUEEN MARY

                                (Note: This famous liner had just returned from USA with Winston Churchill and was

                                anchored downstream from ship.)

                                Docking for repair arranged in Clyde commercial shipyard


October                  811 Squadron nominated for service on board in place of 825 Squadron.

                                (Note: Work-up flying programme for new Squadron had to be reduced until repair completed.)

                                Nominated for further detached service in Home Fleet for air support during passage

                                of Russian Convoy JW61 to Kola Inlet and return Convoy RA61 to UK

                                (Operation TRIAL).

                10th        After repair completed deployed to carry out flying exercises for 811 Squadron in Clyde.

                                (Note: 813 Squadron included WILDCAT aircraft instead of HURRICANE fighters.)

                21st         Sailed from Clyde for Scapa Flow to rejoin Home Fleet for TRIAL.

                22nd       Flag of CS10 transferred and took passage from Scapa Flow with Flag of CS10

                                embarked to join JW61

                                HM Cruiser DIDO, HM Escort Carriers NAIRANA, TRACKER, Frigates of 21st and

                                24th Escort Group with screened provided by HM Destroyers NUBIAN and

                                UNDAUNTED of Home Fleet in company.

                23rd        Joined JW61

                                For details of main escorts see above references.

                                Six Ex US Navy PC Boats also took passage with JW61.

                                Carrier aircraft carried out anti-submarine patrols

                26th        Two SWORDFISH aircraft delayed in landing by weather conditions.

                                WILDCAT aircraft launched to intercept unknown aircraft which was found to be friendly.

                28th        SWORDFISH aircraft crashed into sea on return to ship..

                                Despite rescue attempts both of crew lost their lives.

                                Detached from JW61 on arrival at Kola Inlet after unscathed passage.



                2nd         Sailed from Kola Inlet to join return Convoy RA61 which had left previously

                                Avoided torpedo by speedy manoeuvre.

                3rd          SWORDFISH aircraft crashed into sea on landing

                                Only one of the two aircrew was rescued .

                7th          SWORDFISH aircraft using RATOG crashed into sea after take-off.

                                Aircrew were rescued.

                                (Note: One of RATOG rockets had not fired which caused crash.

                                Two WILDCAT aircraft broke loose from Lashings on Flight Deck due to violent

                                ship movement in sever roll of ship. One went overboard. and the other was damaged.

                                As a result further landings were restricted but two aircraft crashed during their return.

                8th          Detached from JW61 and returned to Clyde and Squadron aircraft flown ashore

                                (Note: It was decided that 811 Squadron required further work-up to improve their

                                night flying.)

                                Deployed on Clyde.


December              Clyde deployment for flying training in continuation.

                                825 Squadron nominated to return to ship.

                11th        Squadron aircraft returned ship,

                12th        Deployed for flying exercises in Clyde area..

                                Nominated for detached service in Home Fleet in support of passage of Russian

                                Convoy JW63 to Kola Inlet and return Convoy to UK Operation GREYSTOKE).

                                (Note: No other aircraft carrier was deployed and availability of the ship was vital

                                to ensure safety of these two convoy

                24th        Fog delayed return to land Christmas Leave parties after exercises..

                                Arrived at berth despite weather conditions by skilful navigation.

                28th        Sailed from Clyde for Scapa Flow after problems in releasing cables.

                31st         Flag of CS10 transferred at Scapa Flow.

                                Took passage from Scapa Flow to join JW63 with HM Cruiser DIADEM and

                                destroyers of 23rd Flotilla.

                                Launched SWORDFISH aircraft for anti-submarine search after U-Boat reported

                                near Scapa Flow.


1 9 4 5



                1st           Joined JW63 and took up station within Box.

                3rd          Launched two aircraft to intercept unknown aircraft detected approaching JW63.

                                This later was identified as a seaplane but not found.

                                WILDCAT aircraft launched for another search but not found.

                                (Note: Extempore aircraft radar equipment fitted for ship use to reduce risk of

                                collision whilst manoeuvring within convoy.).

                6th          Intensive search patrols flown in view of likely assembly of U-Boats near

                7th          Detached from JW63 on arrival off Kola Inlet after unscathed transit.

                                Took passage with destroyer escort to Vaenga Bay..

                                CS10 Flag transferred to HMS DIADEM

                11th        Flag returned to ship before sailing to join return Convoy RA63 escorted by HM Destroyers

                                ZAMBESI, ZEBRA, WALKER and WESTCOTT.

                                Launched aircraft to carry out anti-submarine search operations.

                12th        Air patrols maintained overnight in deteriorating weather conditions.

                                Aircraft crash on landing damaged barrier which prevented flying till repaired.

                                (Note: Heavy weather made steel deck dangerous for working parties and

                                accumulation of snow with ice made clearance essential.

                13th        Weather condition made flying impossible

                                Sustained slight damage to upper deck fittings in heavy weather

                15th        SWORDFISH aircraft launched during night to locate reported U-Boat without success,

                16th        Heavy gale caused some damage and flooding in ship.

                                Ships of convoy dispersed owing to weather conditions.

                17th        Made course for Thorshvn, Faeroes escorted by HM Destroyers SCORPION and SCOURGE.

                                (Note: Many ships of escort also sustained major weather damage with loss of

                                serviceable equipment as well as structural damage.)

                20th        Flag transferred to HMS DIADEM.

                                Sailed from Thorshvn with HMS DIADEM and three destroyers.

                21st         Arrived at Scapa Flow and sailed for Greenock same day.

.               23rd        Squadron flew off to Machrihannish

                25th        Began refit and docking period.


February                Under refit.



                2nd         Ship docked for routine examination of underwater fittings.



April                       Shipyard work completed

                5th          Carried out post refit trials in Clyde.

                8th          813 Squadron rejoined in Clyde estuary.

                9th          Commenced work-up for operational service in Clyde area.

                                Nominated fro detached service with Home Fleet in support of passage of Russian

                                Convoy JW66 to Kola Inlet and return Convoy RA66 to UK.

                17th        Flag of CS10 joined at Tail o the Bank and sailed to join JW66 which had already taken passage

                                from Clyde. See references.

                                (Note: Warships in company were:

                                HM Escort Carrier PREMIER, HM Destroyers ZEALOUS, ZEST, ZODIAC and


                18th        Met JW66 and deployed within convoy

                                HM Cruiser BELLONA joined convoy.

                                Launched one SWORDFISH and two WILDCAT aircraft to allow ships in convoy to become

                                familiar with types of aircraft in use for defence during passage.

                22nd       Carriers began air patrols after four days of inactivity

                                First anti-submarine patrol launched.

                                SWORDFISH RATOG gear failed and aircraft crashed into sea.

                                Crew rescued by HM Canadian Destroyer HAIDA.

                23rd        Patrol aircraft reported presence of submarine after detection by sonobuoy during patrol.

                                Later investigations were unsuccessful.                 

                24th        Russian Catalina aircraft intercepted by fighter from ship.

                25th        Detached from JW6 with HMS BELLONA and HMS PREMIER when Local

                                Eastern escort joined and moved to away to provide anti-submarine operations

                                whilst convoy entered Kola Inlet (Operation SONO-COOKE.)

                                (Note: FAUST Group of U-Boats was known to be awaiting arrival .)

                                Both carriers launched SWORDFISH aircraft to lay sonobuoys across the swept Channel and

                                AVENGER aircraft to patrols ahead of outer screen.

                26th        Berthed in Vaenga Bay.

                29th        Sailed from Kola Inlet with return Convoy RA66.

                                (Note: Extensive anti-submarine operations were carried out by ships of 7th and 19th Escort

                                Groups on 28th to deal with the known assembly of at least 10 U-Boats.

                                U986 and U307 were sunk during this concentrated deployment to clear submarines

                                from the approaches.

                                HM Frigate GOODALL was sunk after being hit by a torpedo from U986 and had to be

                                abandoned. See references.)


May                        During passage of RA66 air patrols were maintained but there were no enemy air or submarine


                3rd          One Ju88 aircraft was intercepted by two WILDCAT fighters and damaged.

                6th          Detached from RA66 with HMS PREMIER and returned to Scapa Flow with four destroyers as


                                Passage from Scapa Flow to Clyde.

                                Deployed in Clyde and prepared for service in British Pacific Fleet as a Replenishment Carrier

                                with British Fleet Train.

                                For details of use and extent of Fleet Train see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and

                                WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)


June                        Extensive changes made by reduction in number of ship’s company as ship was not to be

                                deployed as an operational aircraft carrier.

                3rd          Sailed from Clyde to Belfast to embark SPITFIRE and BARRACUDA aircraft by crane for

                                passage to Australia as deck cargo for replenishment in BPF.

                                FIREFLY aircraft were also embarked and stowed in hangar,

                7th          Returned to Greenock for final storing before departure.

                                (Note: Replacement drafts of naval personnel were embarked for passage to join ships in Far

                                East , together with staff of Drafting and Pay Office from Liverpool.



                1st           Took passage from Clyde for Sydney.

                5th          Entered Mediterranean.

                10th        Transit of Suez Canal.

                14th        Passed Aden.

                21st         Called at Colombo.

                24th        Called at Trincomalee



                11th        Disembarked BARRACUDA aircraft at Brisbane and sailed for Sydney.

                12th        Arrived at Sydney and disembarked passengers.

                15th        With the end of hostilities the need for a Replenishment Ship had ended and ship was required

                                for transport of stores and personnel .

                20th        Sailed from Sydney for the British Forward Base at Manus, Admiralty islands

                                Naval personnel were also embarked.

                28th        Called at Manus.



                8th          Arrived at Hong Kong after brief call at the US Navy Forward Base in Leyte.

                14th        Began embarkation of Australian prisoners of war.

                17th        British and other civilians released after end of hostilities embarked for passage.

                18th        Sailed from Hong Kong .



                2nd         Electrical failure during storm quickly repaired whilst in Tasman Sea,

                3rd          Arrived in Sydney and passages landed.

                                Taken in hand for improvement to ventilation system.


November              Deployed for further transport of stores to Hong Kong

                                Passage to Hobart, Tasmania with new Governor.


December              Passage to Hong Kong.


1 9 4 6


January                  Embarked aircraft and vehicles at Hong Kong for transport to Japan.

                                Took passage to Hong Kong


February                Returned to Sydney from Hong Kong


March                    Under refit at Sydney

to                            Nominated for return to UK to Pay-off



F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS VINDEX returned to Plymouth to Pay -off. On return passage she was used to transfer documentation and office equipment from British Pacific Fleet administration centre, HMS GOLDEN HIND at Sydney to Ceylon. Whilst in Ceylon the ship was used to embark US aircraft supplied under Lease Lend and take them into the Indian Ocean where they were dropped into the sea. On completion her final duties were to carry gold bullion and the Greek Crown Jewels from Simons Town to UK. On passage she called at Mauritius and Durban before sailing to Britain with her valuable cargo welded into a ships magazine. This ship Paid-off on arrival at Plymouth and was reduced to Reserve status. She was laid-up at Rosyth until purchased in October 1947 by the Port Line from the Admiralty. It is therefore presumed the that the Admiralty must have bought the ship at some time during her war service. The cost of conversion back to trade for other mercantiles of this type was paid for by the Ministry of War Transport after the end of WW2.


Before being towed to Newcastle for conversion by her builders the ship was de-stored and ballast removed.. The conversion involved removal of all structure above the hangar deck as well as machinery necessary for use as an

 aircraft carrier. The ship was then converted into a ‘ Three-island’  type mercantile and most appropriately renamed  ss PORT VINDEX. She entered service in June 1949. In 1971 she was sold for demolition and arrived in tow at the breaker’s yard in Kaohsiung, Formosa  on 23rd August that year. The ships bell and that of her sister ship HMS NAIRANA, later returned to trade as ss PORT VICTOR are both now held in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, Somerset. A twin screw motor cruiser own by a returned naval officer who had an association with this the ship was registered in the British Merchant Shipping Register in 1979 so keeping this name afloat.






by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








HX 283





JW 059





RA 059A





JW 061





RA 061





JW 063





RA 063





JW 066





RA 066








(Note on Convoys)



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