Just need the ship's name

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Keith Burkitt, Mar 26, 2021.

  1. Keith Burkitt

    Keith Burkitt Member

    So found grandads shellback card when he was on a troop transport. If I could just find the name of this transport it would open up so many roadblocks for me. It's redacted prolly due to opsec,

    If I had to guess, based on what else I know, this is 12/27/40 or 41 and the ships final destination was Bombay

    The captain's name is J.A Macdonald and the ships prefix was H.M.T

    How can I use this information to find out the name of the ship, and possibly the movement of this ship

    Also, the 5 AASC is Royal Signals No 5 Army Air Support Control, Not Australian Army Service Corps

    Attached Files:

  2. graeme

    graeme Senior Member


    Are you sure of the Captain's name ??

    There is a Captain JA MacDonald here, cannot, at the moment, see another.
    Captain J A MacDonald



    PS HMT is His Majesty's Transport (ship)
  3. Keith Burkitt

    Keith Burkitt Member

    If you look at the bottom left of the shellback card that I attached, that is who is listed as the master.
  4. Keith Burkitt

    Keith Burkitt Member

    I've looked at the site you sent me, and was going to dismiss it as incorrect as it was an Army officer listed and not a naval officer, but there's three things that I'm keeping in mind
    1) "Master" in this context as listed on the card may have been master of the ceremony, which could have been an officer of the Regiment my grandad was attached to as a AASC signalman, as the regular naval personnel were too busy doing war stuff.
    2) Once grandad had told me they had "a guy who was from way up there (meaning north) that didn't make it". He was referring to northern Scotland; This guy's memorial is on the Isle of Skye and fits this but at the same time, a LOT of people were involved in that war and he wasn't the only highlander/Hebridean/Orcadian/Shetlander to die.
    3) There's a gentleman in another group picture with a Scottish type cap, I've attached this picture. Maybe someone here can tell me if it's specific to a certain Scottish unit

    Research signals, and these AASCs in general have been a pain as they typically didn't operate in their own formations

    Attached Files:

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  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    As per the other thread you have - if you obtain his service records it will include the date he sailed from 'X' and arrived at 'Y' which will help resolve which ship he was on, although finding names of troopships and who was on them is notoriously difficult

    timuk and Tony56 like this.
  6. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    No 'Master' is the ship's captain
    timuk likes this.
  7. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    I see this unit served in Italy? So did he continue to India.....or serve in Italy? Just trying to narrow the possibilities of ships and convoy’s etc
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    No point in postulating until service records are seen

  9. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Hmmmm.....”postulating”.......that’s doesn’t sound good, so I’ll stop doing it
  10. Keith Burkitt

    Keith Burkitt Member

    I've confirmed it was convoy WS14 as it's the only convoy that crossed the equator on December 27th with a final destination of Bombay. In this convoy, there's 6 troopships that went to Bombay, the rest continued onto Aden or Malaysia. When I get some spare time I'll research these ships.

    As for his records, they're on the way.

    He told me himself he shipped off to Bombay, then went around Iraq and Iran "showing the flag" then onto 8th army. He eventually went onto Italy.

    TD is correct, about half of my statements are trying to fill holes in and confirmation bias is a bitch. I've sent off for his records, and understand there's quite a wait for them at the moment.
    Roy Martin and JimHerriot like this.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Arnold Hague Ports database

    Convoy WS.14
    Departed OVERSAY on Dec 9, 1941. Arrived FREETOWN on Dec 21, 1941.

    It then split into 14A and 14B

    Convoy WS.14A
    Departed FORMED AT SEA on Jan 19, 1942. Arrived DISPERSED OFF ADEN on Jan 22, 1942.
    Port of Departure Date Vessel Port of Arrival Date
    EMPIRE EGRET Aden Jan 22, 1942
    EMPIRE ORIOLE Aden Jan 22, 1942
    EMPIRE PINTAIL Aden Jan 22, 1942

    Convoy WS.14B
    Departed FORMED AT SEA on Jan 19, 1942. Arrived BOMBAY on Jan 28, 1942.
    Port of Departure Date Vessel Port of Arrival Date
    ANDES Bombay Jan 28, 1942
    Durban Jan 13, 1942 CORFU Bombay Jan 29, 1942
    DILWARA Bombay Jan 28, 1942
    EMPIRE CONDOR Bombay Jan 28, 1942
    ESPERANCE BAY Bombay Jan 28, 1942
    NOVA SCOTIA Karachi Jan 26, 1942

    Roy Martin likes this.
  12. JohnH

    JohnH Member

  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If you use Arnold Hagues database and start searching for other ships within WS14 (leaving 14A & B to their own devices) and for example going to the Ship search section and selecting 'Athlone Castle' it then shows

    Clyde, Dec 8, 1941 WS.14 (Oversay - Freetown) Freetown, Dec 21, 1941
    Freetown, Dec 25, 1941 WS.14 (Oversay - Freetown) Durban, Jan 8, 1942
    Durban, Jan 13, 1942 CM.25A (Durban - Aden) Aden, Jan 21, 1942
    CM.25B (Det Off Aden ex CM 25A - Bombay) Bombay, Jan 26, 1942
    Bombay, Jan 30, 1942 Independent Fremantle, Feb 9, 1942
    Fremantle, Feb 12, 1942 Independent Auckland, Feb 20, 1942

    But how to find which ship your relative was on in amongst all those unless he made a personal diary record .......................................

    In fact the above details of that ship show that it docked in Freetown on 21st Dec 1941, so would have passed the equator before that and not on the 27th as mentioned previously


    WS 14 is also on here - scroll down to find it
    WS (Winston Specials) Convoys in WW2 - 1941 Sailings
  14. Keith Burkitt

    Keith Burkitt Member

    Thanks. I know the Captain was "J.A. MacDonald" so I'm going to see if I can find out which one he was the captain of
  15. Keith Burkitt

    Keith Burkitt Member

  16. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Ship's Movement cards at the National Archives under BT 389, I have looked at the Empire Woodlark and City of Canterbury, unfortunately neither gives the Master's name. All these can be downloaded free at the moment. The Empire Woodlark was so grotty that she was scuttled after ww2 - probably loaded with 'nasties' as she sailed from Cairn Ryan. Seamen's pouches BT 372, can't find a MacDonald J A
  17. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    I also looked at Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Database of World War II Medals issued to Merchant Seamen BT395.

    There are several J A MacDonald's. One looks promising

    MacDonald OBE, John Andrew McL Discharge number: 566885.

    Date of Birth: 19 January 1886

    I can't find his OBE in Gazette.

    Attached Files:

  18. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Ok.......since were allowed to “postulate”.......I’ve been looking for a ship’s master J.A. MacDonald and haven’t been able to find him anywhere, so far......I’ve tried the Navy Lists, Ship Movement Cards for some of the ships named in the Convoys mentioned above (and the Independants), HMS Conway records etc etc......and nada, nothing, no joy, can’t find him

    But JohnH has given some clues.....so will try those also
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Searching for something from a factual base is not postulating

    It is still worth waiting for his service records - but if you have lots of time on your hands be my guest - postulate away


    or are we going to dive deep into the meaning of the word ??
  20. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    From JohnH info I found this??

    JohnH likes this.

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