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CONVOY HN 9B – Norway-U.K.

Left Bergen on Jan. 28-1940 and arrived Methil Roads in the early morning hours of Febr. 2
Received from Tony Cooper, England.

Convoy stations are not known.

After Jan. 1-1940 the assembly at Bergen was always in excess of the permitted number of 32 ships, and due to the heavy congestion at this port, a change of policy had to be considered, resulting in an increase of the permitted number of ships to 40 from Jan. 15-1940, with the escort made up to 5-7 destroyers according to the number available. However, the congestion continued, necessitating the organization of a double convoy; HN 9A and HN 9 B. 4 destroyers of the Humber Force were sent to escort the latter to England, the covering force of 2 cruisers being the same for both convoys (ref. this page listing escorts for the HN and ON convoys).

According to a document listing all the Norway-U.K. Convoys, Convoy HN 9B had 3 British, 8 Norwegian, 10 Swedish, 4 Finnish, and 4 Estonian ships for a total of 29 (departure date is given as Jan. 29-1940).

The above information does not quite match up with the following - these ships are said to have left Bergen in this convoy on Jan. 28-1940 (dates are given European style, with date/month/year):

Norwegian Mimona
Voyage from Skien / Bergen. Arrived Shields 03.02.1940. Sailed 05.02.1940. Arrived Deptford /London 10.02.1940.

Norwegian Thore Hafte
Voyage from Sauda. Arrived Middlesbrough 11.02.1940.

Norwegian Kis
Sailed Bergen 28.01.1940. Arrived Middlesbrough 11.02.1940.

Norwegian Jernland
Sailed Bergen 28.01.1940. Arrived Sunderland 03.02.1940.

Norwegian Bessheim
Voyage from Oslo. Arrived Shields 03.02.1940.

Norwegian Ibis
Sailed Bergen 28.01.1940. Arrived Hartlepool 12.02.1940.

Swedish Aspen
Voyage from Gothenburg. Arrived Shields 06.02.1940. Sailed 07.02.1940. Arrived Surrey Commerical Docks London 10.02.1940.

Swedish Elgö
Voyage from Malmö. Arrived Shields 03.02.1940. Sailed 05.02.1940. Arrived Grimsby 07.02.1940.

Swedish Frans - scheduled for previous convoy, but did not sail.
Sailed Gothenburg. Arrived Shields 03.02.1940. Sailed 05.02.1940. Arrived Hull 07.02.1940.

Swedish Bifrost
Sailed Bergen 28.01.1940. Arrived Shields 06.02.1940.Sailed 07.02.1940. Arrived Millwall Docks London 10.02.1940.

Estonian Anu
Voyage from Gothenburg. Arrived Aberdeen/Dundee 02.02.1940.

Estonian Pollux (for info, there was also a Norwegian Pollux).
Voyage from Gothenburg. Arrived Leith 03.02.1940.

Panamanian Urania (for info, there was also an Estonian Urania, and I'm wondering if the wrong nationality is given here).
Arrived Surrey Commerical Docks London 14.02.1940.

Finnish Finlandia
Voyage from Raumo. Arrived Hull 14.02.1940.

Finnish Fritz S
Voyage from Gothenburg. Arrived Northfleet / London 14.02.1940.

British Vina
Arrived Aberdeen 02.02.1940.

British Vestra (for info, there was also a Norwegian Vestra).
Voyage from Trondheim. Arrived Aberdeen 02.02.1940.

British Hague
Sailed Bergen 28.01.1940. Arrived Dundee 02.02.1940. Sailed 06.02.1940 Arrived Grangemouth 07.02.1940.

Swedish Agne
Voyage from Gothenburg. Arrived Shields 03.02.1940. Sailed 07.02.1940. Arrived Surrey Commerical Docks London 10.02.1940.

Norwegian Log
Voyage from Kragerø. Arrived Shields 03.02.1940. Sailed 05.02.1940. Arrived Grimsby 07.02.1940.

Swedish Falkvik
Arrived Sunderland 14.02.1940.

Swedish Nicke
Voyage from Gothenburg. Arrived Shields 07.02.1940. Sailed 10.02.1940. Arrived Hull 11.02.1940.

Swedish Oddevold
Arrived Inverness 04.02.1940.

Swedish Gundborg Segrell
Voyage from Malmö. Arrived Hartlepool 07.02.1940.

Swedish Balticia
Voyage from Halmsted. Arrived Hartlepool 13.02.1940.

Finnish Regulus
Voyage from Halmsted. Arrived Leith 05.02.1940. Sailed 06.02.1940. Arrived Millwall Dock London 13.02.1940.

Finnish Marita (for info, there was also a Norwegian Marita).
Voyage from Klinkstet. Arrived Ridham Dock London 15.02.1940.

Finnish Ostrobotnia
Voyage from Björneborg. Arrived Shields 06.02.1940. Sailed 07.02.1940. Arrived Surrey Commerical Docks London 10.02.1940.

Norwegian Audun
Sailed from Oslo, arrived Burntisland 03.02.1940. Sailed 05.02.1940. Arrived Rochester 12.02.1940.

Comparing the above to a list of ships received from Don Kindell, based on Arnold Hague's research, I find that A. Hague has also included the British Baron Kelvin (which had previously arrived Norway with Convoy ON 8) and a ship named Rossheim in this convoy (this makes it more than 29 ships).

Note that all ships listed as Norwegian in this convoy are discussed on this website - see the Ship Index.

Summary of HMS Jervis report (Captain Mack):
3 British and 26 neutral ships met escort off Aspø fjord at 08:55 on Jan. 29, course 278°, 7 knots, the Vice Admiral Commanding, 2nd Cruiser Squadron, with Edinburgh and Glasgow in company providing cover during daylight hours. The weather was fine, easterly force 1 wind, sea 02, excellent visibility, and at noon speed of convoy was 8 knots. Course was altered to 252° at 13:25 that day, then to 230° at midnight. At that time the wind started to blow from the southeast, sea 34.

At 04:30 (Jan. 30) course was altered 204°, and by 08:00 that morning the wind and sea were increasing, southeast force 6, sea 44. Course altered 230° at 09:00, all the ships were present, though scattered. Contact was made with Vice Admiral Commanding, 2nd Cruiser Squadron and escorting aircraft. At 10:34, the Outer Skerries Lighthouse was sighted, bearing 280°. At noon they had a force 8 wind, convoy speed 6 knots - course altered 190° in moderate visibility, however, by 20:00 that evening, as course was altered 185°, visibility had become poor, sea 44, wind force 8. Speed of convoy throughout the subsequent night was 4 1/2 knots.

At 07:30 the next morning (Jan. 31) Jervis proceeded to locate ships in the convoy. Half an hour later seas were found to be 54, with a southeast wind force 8. At 08:30 convoy altered course 165°. At noon that day only 15 ships were in company, with one hull-down over the Northern horizon, and at 16:00 that afternoon sea had increased to 64. An hour later, 10 ships remained, speed 2-3 knots.

At 07:45 on Febr. 1, Juno obtained a firm contact and fired depth charges, however, contact was lost and was later described as "doubtful". Mean speed throughout the night had been 3 1/2 knots. At 08:00, wind was southeast force 7, sea 47. Aircraft made contact with the convoy. Half an hour later, 7 ships remained. At 09:15 that morning course was altered 220°, and at 10:30 Buchan Ness Light was sighted, bearing 240°. Course was altered again at 11:15 (195°), speed 4 knots. The convoy was joined by air fighter escort. By noon the wind was starting to show signs of moderating, but was still force 7 with seas 54. At 15:00, course was altered 185°, speed 7 knots, while the Estonian Anu was detached for Aberdeen. Jervis took up station ahead of the convoy at 16:30 that afternoon. Speed at 18:00 was 6 1/2 knots. At 22:51, Bell Rock Lighthouse was sighted abeam to starboard, 9 3/4 miles.

Course was altered 255° at 01:30, Febr. 2, and again 250° at 02:00. At 03:10 May Island Lighthouse was abeam to starboard, 1 1/2 miles, and convoy altered course 270° for Methil, following instructions from May Island. At 04:45 the convoy was ordered to anchor in Methil Roads, as no examiniation vessel or pilots were met. At that time only 6 ships were in company, namely the Norwegian Jernland, Bessheim and Log, and the Swedish Aspen, Frans and Bifrost.

The Senior Officer is not at all happy with the conduct of the ships in this convoy, even taking into consideration the bad weather conditions. He states that several times it seemed as if ships deliberately broke away from the convoy. On one occasion, after he had made a signal for the convoy to follow him, and his signal had been answered by all the leading ships, a neutral ship eastward bound from Kirkwall crossed the bows of the convoy, and 3 of the leading ships turned and followed her, resulting in quite a bit of confusion.

Captain Mack adds:
"Having spent two nights and a day on the Norwegian coast prior to meeting the convoy, there was a shortage of oil fuel and I was unable to send destroyers for extended searches for stragglers. I should like to draw attention to Imperial, who was the only ship of the escort with any oil to spare. The Commanding Officer of HMS Imperial did his very best and was untiring in his endeavours to control and collect stragglers."

HMS Jervis (S.O., F. J. Mack - 7th Destroyer Flotilla) and Juno - on port and starboard bows respectively.
HMS Jupiter and Imperial - on port and starboard quarters respectively. For additional info, see this document, listing escorts for all HN and ON convoys.

Also, the text under Jan. 29 on this external page, has some information on Convoy HN 9B escorts.

Back to Convoy Index

To the next HN convoy in my list HN 10
To List of all Norway-U.K. Convoys


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