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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

What convoy were GROSBEAK & BLACKWHALE escorting?


Ted Huffman

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We know that this convoy was assembled at the Humber and Tyne and proceeded to Scandinavia on 1 Jan 1918. Can this convoy be identified by name, or number? Can we learn who was the commanding officer of the escorts, and on which ship he was? Is there any way to learn of the deployment of the escorts following the sinking of the BLACKWHALE? What was the cargo of the merchantmen, and what was their specific destination? Any information, or directions to sources would be appreciated.

Cheers,

Ted

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Hi Ted

You might find the information you seek, or at least, some of it, through the records of the Auxiliary Patrol for the area in question. Tyne Auxiliary Patrol area is Area VIII and Humber is Area IX. The records are held at the National Archives - you'll be able to tie down the dates you want by checking the NA catalogue. Fortunately, the reports are held in weekly sections bound together in large volumes, so it would be easy to find the dates you want. Although much of what's contained is fairly routine and mundane (numbers of patrols, machinery breakdowns, defects remedied etc) there are records included which lists, by week, the names of ships escorted as well as which Auxiliary Patrol vessels were involved. You are also likely to find reports concerning more notable incidents such as you describe which may not be replicated elsewhere. I've only researched the records of the Southern Auxiliary Patrol Force (mainly Portsmouth and Portland) but from what I've seen the reports are quite standard throughout, and I've had some success with what I was looking for.

Dave W

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Good morning Dave

Many thanks for responding to my question. I have made some preliminary efforts to find further information, but it seems that the Plymouth information is more readily avalable than that for the Humber or Tyne areas. Fortunately you have given me the patrol area numbers for both these areas and this will give me additonal searchwords to try. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that neither Blackwhale nor Grosbeak were particularly significant vessels in the wider scheme of things and that few records about them have survived. Blackwhale had a pretty short life, after all, laid down in 1915 and sunk in 1918. I'll keep fishing, just in case my suspicions are wrong....

Thanks again.

Cheers,

Ted Huffman

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