The Singapore convoys

This are the order of battles for all Singapore-convoys between December 1941 and February 1942. Initially, I thought this would be a simple job searching together pieces of info to make a list of all ships, together with the dates of departure and arrival. Not surprisingly, this proved to be troublesome, as many flaws in sources had to be sorted out, checked, crossreferenced and added to the list. This is the list I ultimately made, which does not necessarily mean it is entirely corrected. I welcome any correction, comment or addition.

BM 9A

This convoy transported the first large troop reinforcement to the island. It left Bombay on December 21 1941 and arrived in Singapore on the 3rd of January without much delay or difficulty. Aboard was the 45th Indian infantry brigade. It departed Bombay on December 21 1941, and arrived in Singapore on January 3 1942. The order of battle for the convoy was as follows:

Merchants
Devonshire British, 11.275 tons 1599 troops
Lancashire British, 9.542 tons 1337 troops
Ethiopia British, 5.574 tons 897 troops
Varsova British, 4.691 tons 978 troops
Rajula British, 8.478 tons 1166 troops

Escort
CL HMS Glasgow Between December 21 and 25
CL HMAS Hobart from December 25 to Singapore
CL HMS Dragon from December 30 to Singapore
CL HMS Durban from December 30 to Singapore
CL De Ruyter RNN, between January 1 and 2 through Sunda Strait
CL Tromp RNN, between January 1 and 2 through Sunda Strait
DD HMAS Vampire from December 30 to Singapore
DD HMS Jupiter from January 2 1942 to Singapore
DD HMS Encounter from January 2 1942 to Singapore
DD Banckert RNN, between 1 and 2 January through Sunda Strait
DD Piet Hein RNN, between 1 and 2 January through Sunda Strait
PB HMIS Sonavati between 21 and 27 December
PB Falmouth between 25 and 27 December

BM 9B

This was the follow-up convoy for BM-9A, and the ships of this formation carried the vehicles and stores for the 45th Indian infantry brigade. It departed Bombay on December 22 1941 and arrived in Singapore on January 6 1942.

Merchants
Medina British, 3.962 tons 387 troops
Risalder British, 5,.407 tons ) Motor transport
Rajput British, 5.497 tons Motor transport
Jalajaran British, 5.102 tons Motor transport
Madura British, 8.975 tons Joined convoy with HMS Glasgow at sea
Talma British, 10.000 tons 600 troops, detached with Greek CL Georgios Averoff for Colombo December 27 1941 as planned

Escort
CL Georgios Averoff ( Greek ) Between December 22 and 27
CL HMS Glasgow Between December 27 and 31
CL HMS Danae from December 31 1941 to Singapore
CL De Ruyter ( RNN, joined January 4, detached before arrival )
CL Tromp ( RNN, joined January 4, detached before arrival )
CL Java ( RNN, joined 31/12/41 but has to break off because of damage to one of the propellors )
DD HMS Electra from January 3 to Singapore
DD HMS Express from January 3 to Singapore
DD HMS Stronghold from January 4 to Singapore
DD Banckert ( RNN, joined January 4, detached before arrival )
DD Piet Hein ( RNN, joined January 4, detached before arrival )
AM HMAS Burnie from January 5 to Singapore
AM HMAS Goulburn from January 5 to Singapore

DM1 ( Ex- WS 12 ZM)

This convoy had quite an impressive cargo, as it not only transported the 53rd Infantry Brigade Group, 232 squadron RAF, 6th Heavy and 35th Light AA regiments and the 85th Anti-tank regiment, but also had fifty crated Hawker Hurricane fighters on board of 17, 135, 136 and 232 squadron RAF. The convoy departed Durban on December 24 as part of WS 12Z, and the Singapore-bound ships detached at sea. The American trooper Mount Vernon departed Mombasa with HMS Emerald on December 29, and joined at sea. The ships, now known as DM-1, departed the Addu Atoll on January 5 and arrived in Singapore on the 13th.

Merchants
Narkunda British, 16.632 tons 1773 troops
Aorangi British, 17.491 tons 2194 troops
Sussex British, 11.063 tons 52 Hurricane fighters, 3.7-inch AA-guns and 14 troops
Abbekerk Dutch, 7.906 tons Ammunition and 16 troops
Mount Vernon American, 22.559 tons 221 officers and 4882 men of the 18th division

Escorts
CA HMS Cornwall Until Colombo area
CA HMS Exeter From January 5 to Singapore
CL HMS Durban From January 9, but arrived ahead of convoy
CL HMS Emerald ( F ) From January 29 to Singapore
CL De Ruyter ( RNN, between January 10 and 12 )
CL Tromp ( RNN, between January 10 and 12 )
PB HMIS Jumna from January 5 to Singapore
DD HMS Jupiter from January 10, but arrived ahead of convoy
DD HMS Encounter from January 10 to Singapore
DD HMAS Vampire from January 10 to Singapore
DD Banckert ( RNN, between January 10 and 12 )
DD Piet Hein ( RNN, between January 10 and 12 )

BM 10

BM-10 arrived in Singapore on January 25 1942 with the 44th Indian Infantry brigadegroup ( 6000 men ), vehicles and stores for the 18th division and carriers for the reconregiment. It had departed Bombay on January 8 1942.

Merchants
Cap St. Jacques French, 8009 tons 716 troops and stores
Talthybius British, 10.254 tons stores
Islami British, 5.879 tons 964 troops and stores
Rohna British, 8.602 tons 1188 troops and stores
Ekma British, 5.108 tons 897 troops
Takliwa British, 7.936 tons 980 troops and stores
Jalakrishna British, 4.991 tons motor transport and stores
Subadar British, 5.425 tons motor transport and stores
Jalavihar British, 5.330 tons motor transport and stores
Brittany British, 4.772 tons general cargo
Loch Ranza British, 4.958 tons motor transport and stores
Jalaratna British, 3.942 tons stores, departed Colombo 12/1/42 and joined at sea
Silverlarch British, 5.064 tons stores, departed Colombo 12/1/42 and joined at sea
Hosang British, 5.698 tons Joined January 20, carrying stores.
Yuen Sang British, 3.229 tons Joined January 20, carrying stores
Rochussen Dutch, 2.363 tons Joined January 22, detached Doerian Strait
Hermelin Norwegian, 1.683 tons Joined January 22
Collingswood American, 5.101 tons Joined January 22

Escorts
CA HMS Exeter From January 18 to Singapore
CL HMS Caledon Between January 8 and 13
CL HMS Enterprise From January 13 to Singapore
CL HMS Glasgow Between January 13 and 18
CL HMS Danae From January 18 to Singapore
CL De Ruyter Between January 22 until Doerian Strait
CL Tromp Between January 22 until Doerian Strait
DD HMS Electra Between January 20 and 22
DD Stronghold Between January 20 and 22
PB HMIS Sutlej From January 14 to Singapore
PB HMAS Yarra From January 20 to Singapore

MS 1

This convoy departed Melbourne on January 10, but it is currently unknown which units were transported to Singapore aboard the ships of this convoy. The ships marked with an * arrived in Singapore on February 1st.

Merchants
City of Manchester * British, 8.917 tons  
Derrymore * British, 4.799 tons  
Java Dutch, 9.250 tons  
Enggano Dutch, 5.412 tons  
Gorgon * British, 3.533 tons  
Pan Europe * Norwegian, 9.468 tons  
Peisander British, 6.225 tons  
Phrontis * Dutch, 6.181 tons  
Tjikandi Dutch, 7.970 tons  
Tjikarang Dutch, 9.505 tons  
War Sirdar * British, 5.647 tons  

Escorts
AMC HMAS Kanimbla Between January 10 and 28
CL HMAS Hobart Between January 26 and 31
DD HMS Stronghold Between January 28 and 31
DD HMS Tenedos Between January 28 and 31

MS 2 and MS 2A

This convoy originally consisted of the large liner Aquitania, which transported 3500 Australian troops ( 2/4th MG batallion, reinforcements for the 8th division ) to Singapore. However, by this time, the Japanese had complete control of the air over Singapore and the approaches to this port, and the naval authorities therefore found it to be wiser to transfer the troops aboard to smaller vessels. The Aquitania with her ocean escort, HMAS Canberra arrived in Ratai Bay on Sumatra on January 20. The troops were transferred to smaller KPM-steamers and a British ship, and the convoy departed Ratai Bay on January 21, now as MS 2A. The ships arrived unscathed in Singapore on January 24.

Until Ratai Bay

Merchants
Aquitania British, 45.647 tons 3500 troops

Escorts
CA HMAS Canberra Ocean escort
CL Java ( RNN ) From January 18
DD Evertsen ( RNN ) From January 18
DD Van Nes ( RNN ) From January 18

Transfer in Ratai Bay to smaller ships

Cover force
CA HMAS Canberra
CL HMS Dragon
DD HMAS Vampire
DD HMS Express
DD USS Stewart
DD USS Barker
DD Van Nes ( RNN )
PB USS Isabel
PB Soemba ( RNN )

Ratai Bay to Singapore

Merchants
Both Dutch, 2.660 tons
Reael Dutch, 2.561 tons
Reynst Dutch, 2.462 tons
Van der Lijn Dutch, 2.464 tons
Van Swoll Dutch, 2.156 tons
Sloet van de Beele Dutch, 2.977 tons
Taishan British, 3.174 tons

Escorts
CA HMAS Canberra Detached north of Banka
CL Java ( RNN )* From 21 to 24 January
DD HMAS Vampire* From 21 to 24 January
DD HMS Thanet* From 21 to 24 January
DD Evertsen ( RNN ) Detached north of Banka
DD Van Nes Detached north of Banka
PB HMIS Jumna* From 21 to 24 January
* These ships arrived with the convoy in Singapore

BM 11

BM-11 carried 5 light AA-batteries, 1 light tanksquadron and the 18th Division ( except the 53rd Brigade Group ), a total of 17.000 troops to Singapore. It had departed Bombay on January 19 1942 and arrived in Singapore on January 29 1942.

Merchants
Empire Star British, 11.093 tons Motor transport
Duchess of Bedford British, 20.123 tons 1955 troops
Empress of Japan British, 26.032 tons 1981 troops
USS Wakefield American, 22.559 tons 4479 troops
USS West Point American, 23.179 tons 3250 troops

Escorts
CA HMS Exeter From January 26 to Singapore
CL HMS Dragon Between January 26 and 28
CL HMS Durban Between January 26 and 28
CL HMS Glasgow Between January 22 and 26
CL HMS Caledon Between January 19 and 22
DD HMS Thanet ??, arrived Singapore January 24
DD HMS Tenedos From January 24
DD HMS Express From January 24
DD HMS Electra From January 24
DD HMS Encounter From January 26

BM 12

BM-12 carried drafts for the 9th and 11th Divisions ( 3800 men ) and stores for the 18th Division to Singapore. The convoy departed Bombay on January 23 and arrived in Singapore on the 5th of the following month. It was also the first to lose a ship: the trooptransport Empress of Asia was hit by bombs from divebombers and had to be abandoned. Most troops aboard were picked up by escorting vessels ( HMAS Yarra especially distinguished herself ), but most of the equipment was unfortunately lost.

Merchants
Empress of Asia British, 16.909 tons 2235 troops and stores
Félix Roussèl French, 17.084 tons 157 troops and stores
Plancius Dutch, 5.955 tons 987 troops and stores
Devonshire British, 11.275 tons 1673 troops and stores
City of Canterbury British, 8.331 tons 1053 troops

Escorts
CA HMS Exeter Joined February 2, detached north of Banka
CL HMS Danae Joined January 31, detached north of Banka
CL HMS Emerald Between January 27 and 31
CL Java ( RNN ) Between January 31 and February 4, detached because of fuel shortage.
DD HMS Encounter Joined ??, detached north of Banka
DD HMAS Vampire Joined February 2
PB HMAS Yarra Joined February 1
PB HMIS Sutlej Joined February 1
PB HMS Falmouth Between January 26 and 27
AM HMAS Bendigo Joined north of Banka Strait
AM HMAS Woolongong Joined north of Banka Strait

DM 2 ( Ex - WS 14 B )

DM-2 ( which departed Durban on January 13 ) was originally WS 14B, but the name was changed off Mombasa on January 19. It made rendez-vous with BM-12, after which the convoys merged at 01.05 N, 91.28 E. The ships of this convoy were rerouted to Batavia with one exception, the City of Canterbury joined BM-12 and arrived in Singapore. Aboard the ships were the Wing Headquarters and groundstaff for 3 fightersquadrons, the 77th heavy and 21st light AA regiments with their equipment, vehicles and stores for the 48th Light AA-regiment. The rerouted ships arrived in Batavia on February 3.

Merchants
Warwick Castle British, 20.119 tons N/A
Empress of Australia British, 21.860 tons N/A
City of Pretoria British, 8.049 tons Motor transport
Triolus British, 7.422 tons N/A
Malancha British, 8.124 tons Motor transport
City of Canterbury British, 8.331 tons 1053 troops
Dunera British, 11.197 tons 1884 troops

Escorts*
BB HMS Royal Sovereign Until January 26 (1100 hours)
AMC HMS Ranchi Joined January 26 (1100 hours), detached January 28 (1300 hours)
CA HMS Exeter From February 2
CL HMS Emerald Between January 28 and 31
CL Java ( RNN ) Between January 31 and February 4, detached because of fuel shortage.
CL HMS Danae Joined January 31
DD HMAS Vampire Joined February 2
DD HMS Jupiter Joined February 2
PB HMAS Yarra Joined February 1
PB HMIS Sutlej Joined February 1

BM-13

The last of the Singapore convoys. Departed Bombay on February 13, but was recalled on February 17. I don't list her here as it never came close to reaching her destination. In addition, the convoys JS 1, JS 2 and MS 3 were apparently also originally bound for Singapore but also never reached their destination.

Some abbrevations:

CA = Heavy cruiser
CL = Light Cruiser
DD = Destroyer
PB = Sloop or anti-submarinevessel
AM = Minesweeper
AMC = Armed Merchant Cruiser

All tonnages for the merchants are in gross weight

I would like to thank the following persons for their help compiling this article

Don Kindell ( I owe you a huge thankx )
Allan Alsleben
Stephen Hagen

Back Home