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Veterans of the Arctic Convoys 1941 - 1945

HMS Caesar (R07)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
David Christison, Lower Hutt (deceased)

HMS Caesar was launched on 14 February 1944 and was one of 32 C class destroyers of the Royal Navy that were launched from 1943 to 1945. The class was built in four flotillas of 8 vessels, the Ca, Ch, Co and Cr classes, ordered as the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Emergency Flotillas respectively. They were built as part of the War Emergency Programme, based on the hull and machinery of the pre-war J class, incorporating whatever advances in armament and naval radar were available at the time. Some of the class were completed in time for wartime service.

The Ca flotilla were generally repeats of the preceding W and Z class, while the Ch, Co and Cr flotillas had quadruple instead of pentuple torpedo tubes to compensate for the added weight of remote power control (RPC) gun-laying equipment. They also introduced the all-welded hull into Royal Navy destroyer construction, beginning in Contest. A fifth flotilla, the Ce class, was planned but were cancelled in favour of the Weapon class. The Ca flotilla were reconstructed in the 1960s to serve as fast fleet escorts.

HMS Caesar sailed in convoys: JW62 + RA62. Motto: "Veni vidi vici" "I came, I saw, I conquered". Badge date: 1944

Members’ Ships : Royal Navy : C to F


Ships listed on this page:
HMS Caesar; HMS Caprice; HMS Chiltern; HMS Dasher; HMS Diadem; HMS Drury; HMS Duke of York; HMS Echo; HMS Forester; HMS Furious

HMS Caprice (R01)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Joe Bartlett (deceased)

HMS Caprice was launched on 16 September 1943 and was one of 32 C class destroyers of the Royal Navy that were launched from 1943 to 1945. The class was built in four flotillas of 8 vessels, the Ca, Ch, Co and Cr classes, ordered as the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Emergency Flotillas respectively. They were built as part of the War Emergency Programme, based on the hull and machinery of the pre-war J class, incorporating whatever advances in armament and naval radar were available at the time.

Some of the class were completed in time for wartime service. The Ca flotilla were generally repeats of the preceding W and Z class, while the Ch, Co and Cr flotillas had quadruple instead of pentuple torpedo tubes to compensate for the added weight of remote power control (RPC) gun-laying equipment. They also introduced the all-welded hull into Royal Navy destroyer construction, beginning in Contest. A fifth flotilla, the Ce class, was planned but were cancelled in favour of the Weapon class. The Ca flotilla were reconstructed in the 1960s to serve as fast fleet escorts.

HMS Caprice sailed in convoys: JW69 + JW61a + JW62 + RA59a + RA61a + RA62. Badge date: 1945

HMS Chiltern

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Bill Brokenshaw, Whangarei (deceased)

HMS Chiltern was an ASW trawler that sailed in convoys PQ-12, PQ-14 and PQ-15. Chiltern was built by Cochrane & Son Ltd, Selby in 1917 and requisitioned for war service as an armed escort vessel on 18 June 1940. The 45.7 metre vessel weighed 324 tons. Chiltern later acted as a relay RT ship for the British naval mission in Polyarnoe, and was used to run supplies and confidential messages between Murmansk, Polyarnoe and the fleet anchored off Vyenga.



HMS Chiltern sailed in convoys: PQ12 + PQ14 + PQ15

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HMS Dasher

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Robert Powell, Christchurch (deceased)

HMS Dasher (D37) was an 'Avenger' class escort carrier of 12,150 tons. Built by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. Laid down as passenger/cargo vessel "Rio de Janeiro". Bought by US Navy 20 May 1941 for conversion to escort carrier. Transferred to Royal Navy 2 July 1942. Damaged by fire and repaired in USA. Modified in the Clyde to suit Royal Navy use as a convoy escort. Took part in Operation Torch (North Africa).

After severe storm damage whilst escorting Convoy JW57 was detached to Iceland. Proceeded to Dundee for repair. During working up, after repairs, she mysteriously blew up in the Clyde with the loss of 379 men out of her crew of 528.

The ship’s  history can be found at: HMS Dasher


HMS Dasher sailed in convoys: JW57. Badge date: 1985

HMS Diadem (84)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Bill Thompson, Christchurch (deceased)

An "Improved Dido" class cruiser built by R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd. and completed in January, 1944 . In May 1944 was detached from Home Fleet for support duty in Normandy landings with "Bombarding Force E". Rejoined Home Fleet September 1944. Attended Victory Parade in Oslo, Norway during June 1945. Placed in reserve 1950. Sold to Pakistan in 1956 and renamed "Babur" in July 1957.


HMS Diadem sailed in convoys: JW58 + JW60 + JW63 + JW65 + RA58 + RA59 + RA60 + RA63 + RA65. Badge date: 1943

HMS Drury (K316)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Bernard Tucker (deceased)

HMS Drury (K316), a Captain class frigate (Type 1), was launched on 24 July 1942 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa., USA, leased to the Royal Navy on 12 April 1943 and served in the Royal Navy throughout World War II. On 20 August 1945, HMS Drury was transferred to the U.S. Navy at Chatham, England. She was commissioned the same day with Lieutenant W. R. Herrick, Jr. USNR in command.

She departed Chatham 28 August, joined TG 21.3 off Dover, and the following day sailed for the United States. Drury arrived at Philadelphia on 8 September and remained there at the Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 22 October 1945. She was scrapped in June 1946.

HMS Drury sailed in convoys:  JW67 + RA67


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HMS Duke of York (17)

RCCNZ Members that served on this ship:
Paul McGee (deceased) and Bill Leitch (deceased)

HMS Duke of York was a King George V class battleship of the Royal Navy, and the second of the name, the predecessor having been a 4-gun cutter purchased in 1763 and sold in 1766. The ship was originally to be named Anson but adopted its final name in December 1938. Built at the John Brown & Company shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, 5th May 1937 and launched on 16th Sept., 1939.

She was commissioned too late to see action against the Bismarck, or any other German naval surface raider in the early Atlantic battles of World War II. However, Duke of York did play a pivotal role in reducing German naval power. On her shakedown cruise in December, 1941, she embarked Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill for a trip to confer with United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, arriving in Annapolis on 22 December 1941. In March, 1942, she escorted the Russia-bound convoy PQ-12 with the intention of intercepting the German battleship Tirpitz. On 6 March, Tirpitz did put to sea, but no contact was made.

In late December 1943, Duke of York was part of the Home Fleet, covering convoys between the UK and the Soviet Union. German surface vessels based in Norway were a constant threat to these convoys, and the German fleet-in-being forced the retention of powerful naval forces in British home waters. One of those vessels was the battle-cruiser Scharnhorst. During the passage of convoy JW55B, Scharnhorst left her base and steamed to engage. In the unfolding battle, Duke of York scored a vital hit in Scharnhorst's boiler room which prevented her escape and led to her destruction in the Battle of North Cape. After the sinking of Scharnhorst and the retreat of most of the other German heavy units from Norway, the need to maintain powerful forces in British home waters was diminished.

After a modernization in Liverpool during 1944 which included the enhancement of her anti-aircraft armament, Duke of York headed east to join the British Pacific Fleet, then assembling to take part in the invasion of Okinawa. The ship performed a vital anti-aircraft protection role for the aircraft carriers of the fleet and also bombarded Japanese positions on several occasions. She was flagship of the British Pacific Fleet when Japan surrendered.

Following the end of the war, Duke of York remained in service until April 1949. Battleships were now, whilst not completely obsolete, certainly rapidly approaching obsolescence. They were also money- and crew-intensive units, two things that Britain of the postwar era could not afford. The ship was scrapped in 1957 at Faslane. A distinguishing feature of the Duke of York was the extended fire control platform located on the after funnel. On this ship it extended out over the boat deck (after the refit during which the aircraft equipment was deleted from the ship's configuration).

HMS Duke of York sailed in convoys: PQ12 + PQ13 + PQ14 + PQ15 + PQ16 + PQ17 + PQ18 + QP9 + QP10 + QP11 + QP12 + QP13 + QP14 + JW55a + JW55b + RA55a. Badge date: 1940

HMS Echo (H23)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Douglas (Jock) Forbes (deceased)

HMS Echo was an "E" class destroyer launched on 16 February 1934 and was built by Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, Scotland. Sank the Italian submarine "Nereide" of the coast of Sicily 13 July 1943 in collaboration with HMS Ilex. Transferred to Royal Hellenic Navy 5 April 1944 . Returned to Royal Navy in 1956 and scrapped at Dunston on 26 April 1956.





Served on convoys PQ6 + PQ12 + PQ13 + PQ18 + QP4 + QP9 + QP14 + QP15 + JW51a + JW52 + RA51. Motto: "Marte et Arte" "By Mars and Art". Badge date: 1932

HMS Forester (H74)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Chris Fletcher, Paraparaumu (deceased)

HMS Forester was a F class fleet destroyer built by J.S.White at Cowes (IoW). Launched on 28 June 1934 as the 10th Royal Navy ship to carry the name. Deployed with other ships of the 4th destroyer flotilla for Home Fleet duties. At the start of WW2 these duties continued with convoy screening and protection. Took part in the Norwegian operations in April through to June 1940. HMS Forester was transferred to the Mediterranean as part of Force H.

Took part in several Malta convoys and, after transfer to Freetown was involved in screening of Atlantic convoys. After refit in 1942 Forester rejoined the Home Fleet for Russian convoy duties. At the end of 1942 it was claimed Forester was the first destroyer to complete 200,000 miles steaming since September 1939.

Was nominated in April 1944 for escort of convoys for the Normandy landings. Later reduced to reserve in August 1945 and arrived at Rosyth for breaking up on 26 February 1946.


Sailed on convoys PQ14 + QP11 + QP15 + JW51b + RA52 + RA53.  Motto: "Audux Potentes Caedo" "Boldly I Cut Down the Mighty".


HMS Furious (47)

RCCNZ Member that served on this ship:
Matt Clapham, Nelson (deceased)

HMS Furious was a modified Courageous class "large light cruiser" (an extreme form of battle-cruiser) converted into an early aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. She was designed as a "large light cruiser" to participate in an amphibious landing on the Baltic coast of Germany during the First World War. As initially designed, she would have been a lightly-armoured cruiser mounting two 18-inch (457 mm) guns in two single mount gun turrets, one forward and one aft.

The intention was for a heavily armed ship able to navigate the Baltic narrows alongside smaller warships. However, while under construction, it was realized that she would be of more use in a totally different role. Only one of the two big guns was installed, her forward turret was removed before she was launched, and was replaced with a 160-foot (49 m) open deck for the flying-off of aircraft, with a hangar underneath. The aft 18-inch gun was left in place and trialled during July 1917. The results showed that the hull could not handle the recoil of the very large gun, and it was decided to remove it.

On 2 August 1917, while performing trials, Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning landed a Sopwith Pup successfully on board Furious, becoming the first person to land an aircraft on a moving ship. He made one more successful landing in the same manner, however on his third attempt, a tire burst as he attempted to land, causing the aircraft to go over the side, killing him. The deck arrangement was unsatisfactory; in order to land, aircraft had to manoeuvre around the superstructure. She returned to the dockyard in 1917 to have the aft turret removed and replaced by another, 300 foot (91 m) deck for landing and a second hangar, giving her both a launching and a recovery deck. Two lifts serving the hangars were also installed.

After being recommissioned on 15 March 1918, Furious and her embarked aircraft served in a number of important battles in World War I, notably the Tondern raid of July 1918 when her Sopwith Camels attacked the Zeppelin sheds at Tondern. After the end of the war Furious was sent to reserve, where she remained while the Navy decided what to do with her. In 1922 the Washington Naval Treaty was signed, and the British had to do something with her or scrap her. As a result of the experience with other aircraft carrying ships, Furious returned to the dockyard once again in 1922 to have her superstructure removed and a full length flight deck fitted, with a smaller launching deck beneath it at the bow. This got rid of the continuing problem of turbulence across the aft landing deck and established a pattern for aircraft carriers in the 1920s. Since there was no superstructure now, as on later aircraft carriers, Furious was conned by a navigating bridge on the starboard side of the forward end of the upper flight deck, and had a flying control position on the port side next to it. The ship was used extensively throughout the 1920s and 1930s as a platform to develop various techniques and tactics for the employment of carriers and carrier-based aircraft in the Royal Navy. In the 1930s, she was reconstructed again, with her launch deck converted to a gun platform with several anti-aircraft guns, and a small island superstructure added. It was in this configuration that the ship served in World War II.

When World War II started, Furious was attached to the Home Fleet, mostly hunting U-boats in the Atlantic, and carrying bullion to Canada. She took part in Operation Pedestal, carrying aircraft to Malta. After refitting in the United States, Furious took part in Operation Torch, the landings in North Africa, in November 1942. In 1943, she took part in strikes against German shipping, and attacked the German Battleship Tirpitz in Altafjord Norway. However, as the war progressed, the ship's age and limitations became increasingly apparent, and she was replaced by more modern vessels. Furious was placed in reserve in September 1944, and sold in 1948. She was scrapped starting on 15 March 1948, and the hull was scrapped at Troon in July.


Motto: "Ministrat Arms Furor" "Fury supplies arms". Badge date: 1919

Links to other members’ ships:

HMS Activity; HMS Anson; HMS Apollo; SS Atlantic; HMS Bahamas; HMS Belfast; HMS Bermuda; HMS Berwick; HMS Black Prince; HMS Bluebell; HMS Byron; 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 Magpie; HMS Malcolm; HMS Musketeer; HMS Nabob; HMS Nelson; HMS Nigeria; HMS Norfolk;  HMS Obedient; SS Ocean Freedom; HMS Offa; HMS Onslaught; HMS Onslow; 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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