H.M.S. SUNFLOWER  
                                                                                                                   MAY - 1943.
  APPENDIX A(3)  
     
 
REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS - CONVOY ONS 5 - WITH B 7 GROUP
 
     
 
April 22nd to 26th. First few days marked by many failures of material - R.D.F., Asdics, etc.  These, however, were successfully coped with by the Ship's staff, who worked very well, sometimes through the night.
                     24th  Station "R" 1512 - Carried out search to depth of 10 miles on orders from B.7 to investigate HF/DF bearings.  Search revealed nothing.  Returned to station.  Wind - S.E. 6 Sea and Swell - 57.
                     28th  Station "P" 2140 - (Course 238) R.D.F. picked up echo, 270 degrees 3,800 yards.  Altered course towards bearing, which commenced to close and then opened.  We proceeded to gain shortly before 2150.
  2400 - Echo disappeared.  Having passed over point at which submarine submerged, proceeded to carry out box search at 2157.
See incident Sun I. 2204 - Picked up doubtful contact on Asdics.
  2208 - Dropped 2 depth charges on what had been by then classified as non-sub, principally to scare any submarine in the vicinity.  Unfortunately a calcium flare had been dropped with the charges and, as this stage of the proceedings it was decided to turn back and extinguish it.  This was accomplished on the second attempt by going hard to starboard and drawing it through the propeller stream.  With these delays, the time that would be necessary to complete the box search, with the increased area to search, would have involved too long a delay away from the screen, considering the number of submarines known to be in the vicinity.  The possibility of the submarine having got between Sunflower and the convoy had also to be considered.  In view of this a course and speed was made to resume station.  Wind S.S.E.4, Sea and Swell - 44.
                     29th  0310 - Passed large oil slick.
Station "M" 0527 - No. 42 in convoy torpedoed.
  0530 - Carried out operation "Artichoke".
  0550 - Altered course to 243 degrees and proceeded to position Monkey.  Wind - S. by W. 4, Sea and Swell - 24.
  1626 - Commenced sweep on bearing of 170 degrees to depth of 10 miles to investigate HF/DF bearings received by B.7.
Station "N" 1747 - Having sighted nothing nor had any contacts, dropped 5 pattern depth charges at distance of 8 miles approx. from convoy.  Maximum distance swept from convoy 12 miles.  Depth charges dropped for propaganda purposes.  Wind - W. 6, Sea and Swell - 47/48.
                     30th  Station "M" 2314 - Snowflake reported R.D.F. contact and fired starshell at about 10 o'clock 3 from convoy.  In spite of repeated attempts by Sunflower's best operator we were unable to pick up contact.  The only contact picked up was Snowflake who had left his position to investigate.  Sunflower at first altered course towards, but, on identifying target, altered course back to station.
  2323 - Snowflake plainly visible 2,000 yards ahead.  Wind - S.W. by W. 8, Sea and Swell - 64.
 
     
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                May 1st.   Station "M" Convoy scattered owing to bad weather.  By 1500 only six ships were in sight.  Asdic oscillator housed during worst part of storm.  Attempt was made to keep a plot of the stragglers on the port side by R.D.F. so that when they were finally out of range an approximate area to search for them could be estimated if the storm had abated by morning.  This was partially successful as one was found in the area anticipated when the search was made at 0455/2.  Wind - W'ly, 8/9; Sea and swell - 66/76.
                May 2nd. Pack ice and growlers were sighted during the day.
                May 4th. 2050 - Tay dropped depth charges.  HF/DF activity by U-boats reported.
  2250 - No. 81 torpedoed.
        Station "M" 2300 - Convoy attacked starboard side.  Starshell observed on port side, and some tracer.
  2316 - Sunflower commenced starshell search.
  2326 - Ceased fire as nothing visible, and set course to return to station.
  2325 - U-boat reported some distance ahead on starboard bow.
  Wind - W x S. 5.  Sea and swell 34.
                May 5th. 0006 - Picked up R.D.F. contact 150 4,000 yards, and proceeded to investigate.
  0012 - Picked up A/S contact - doubtful.
        Station "M"         See incident Sun. 2. 0020 - Dropped two charges of which one failed to detonate, ran out, turned and dropped two more when over contact with better results (Note. The key was withdrawn in the charge which failed to explode.  Primers for a first pattern were kept in at all times).  Echo classified as non-sub.  Returned to station.
  0130 - Snowflake firing starshell.
  0135 - Sunflower fired starshell to right of Snowflake.  Two failed to ignite, possibly due to water damage in rough weather.
  0153 - Underwater explosions heard, source unknown.
  0157
  0314 - Two further heavy underwater explosions heard.
  Wind SSW.4.  Sea and swell - 34.
  0850 - Picked up A/S contact on port bow at 1800 yards, counter-attacked, dropped 5-charge pattern.  Contact classified as non-sub.  Returned to station.
  Wind - SW. 3.  Sea and swell - 33.
  1040 - No. 21 (Dolius) torpedoed in engine room on starboard side.  Turned and ran down between columns 2 and 3 at emergency full speed.
See incident Sun. 3. 1049 - (approx.) Picked up A/S contact 1,200 yards in centre of the columns, slightly astern of the torpedoed ship, which had stopped immediately and was settling by the stern.  The contact was most difficult to hold as there were several non-sub echoes.  Mr. Pidler, Bosun A/S. was of invaluable assistance here in helping the operator to hold contact.  A 10 charge pattern was dropped (150 ft. settings).  Throw-off and timing of pattern are judged to have been correct.  Pattern was dropped by voice-pipe orders as buzzers had been out of action for some time.  Contact could not then be regained.  Tay closed the area, but could not regain contact either.  The position of U-boat is partially confirmed by the Captain of the Dolius who considers that the torpedo was fired from close range; his reasons being the position of the other ships, the torpedo tracks not being seen, and the accuracy of the shot.  Due to shortage of steam at having closed at emergency full speed, the explosion of the depth charges shook the ship considerably.
 
     
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May 5th contd.           Station "M" Some damage was done in the engine room - a cracked casting, the gyro was not usable for 24 hours afterwards, and the Asdic set developed small faults at intervals for the rest of the day.  The latter, however, was quickly remedied.  On losing contact, proceeded "Observant" on wreck.
  1120 - 1200 - Swept in vicinity of wreck, and when given permission to "save" picked up survivors Snowflake arrived to screen.  One boat was sent back to pick up two seriously injured gunnery ratings, one of which died coming over on the boat.  These two, on recovering consciousness, had, in spite of their severe injuries, dragged themselves from under a mess of debris and wreckage; the one dragging himself to the stern where he was observed from the Sunflower which had swept close to the wreck.  The ship's company of the Dolius had looked at the remains of the quarters which were right over the explosion, and had considered survival in the mass of debris impossible.  It is desired to note here that the conduct and bearing of the ship's company of the Dolius from the Master downwards was exemplary throughout.  C.B.'s were destroyed, a well-ordered discipline was maintained with the Chinese crew.  On board Sunflower Officers and Apprentices of the Dolius maintained look-out watches; hands assisted to clean quarters with energy, and a lot of small deck jobs were voluntarily and cheerfully done about the decks.  The ship was sorry to see them go in spite of the overcrowding involved.  On picking up all the survivors (66 out of 70) the Dolius was left sinking slowly, and on the Master's opinion, a signal was made to Tay that the ship was beyond salvage.  Course and speed was set to rejoin convoy.  The D.E.M.S. rating was buried with a short service as the ship rejoined the convoy.
  Wind - S.S.W. 3.  Sea and swell - 23.
  1747 - Gharinda, Selviston, and Bonde, torpedoed in quick succession on the starboard side of the convoy.
  1754 - Carried out operation "Artichoke".  There was some delay in this, as the Signalman neglected to report the signal from the W/T Office.  Fortunately Snowflake signalled this over immediately before there was even time to follow the other ships.
  1802 - Convoy did emergency turn to port - 90°.
  1806 - Passed through convoy at various courses.
  1915 - Turn to return to station.
  Wind - S.S.W. 3.  Sea and swell 31.
   
 
NIGHT OPERATIONS - MAY 5TH
Station "M" Throughout the night the magnetic compass, which had been most erratic since the refit, had become completely unreliable; since the attack carried out in the morning, the gyro did not settle until the morning.  The depth charge buzzers had not been in use for some days.  Consequently as regards the attacks the plot and maintaining relative positions to the convoy was done by R.D.F.  All attacks were carried out by relative bearings, both with R.D.F. and Asdics, and all depth charges were fired by voice-pipe.  This, it is considered, reflects well on the ability of the various departments concerned.  Sunflower's plot may in consequence be rather inaccurate, but it was the best that could be kept under the circumstances.
  2040 - R.D.F. contact picked up on port bow; closed to investigate at 14 knots.
  2047 - Echo faded on R.D.F. but picked up on Asdics.
  2048 - Counter attacked.
  2052 - Dropped 10-charge pattern.  In this attack the run in was the equivalent of an attack teacher.  Throw-off was
 
     
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  made at
See incident Sun. 4. 2052 cont. - 700 yards.  The throw-off was about 10° too much, and at 400 yards this was corrected.  At 200 yards the bearing began moving right.  The 10 charge pattern was dropped set at 150 feet.  This was considered a most promising attack. 
  2051 - Immediately before firing depth charges, R.D.F. contact was picked up ahead at 3400 yards.  Course was continued to attack the next submarine.
  2055 - Asdics reported torpedo fired from Red 20.  Turned towards.  Torpedo passed down port side.  R.D.F. again picked up contact at 2,800 yards about 30° from the other bearing.  Continued in pursuit of nearest submarine which had just fired the torpedo.
  2058 - Submarine became visible.
See incident Sun. 5. 2100 - Opened fire with H.E.  Only two rounds fired.  On third round cartridge jammed in breach.
  2105 - As target had gained and was now still gaining on us, and as gun was still jammed, turned to starboard towards other submarine to try and drive him under.
  2107 - Full salvo of torpedoes reported by Asdics from the submarine that we had been pursuing.  Helm was put to hard-a-port to point back.  Ship was 30° off pointing when the torpedoes passed down port side.  With the gun out of action, decided to hold off at 2212 until it was cleared, and altered course away.  Shortly afterwards reported by R/T "Returning to station".  Later, another R/T message was received that Snowflake was coming to assist.
  2114 - Gun reported clear.
  2115 - Picked up R.D.F. contact 3,800 yards ahead.  Altered course to close.  (Convoy now bearing 7,000 yards, approx. 235 estimated.).
  2123 - Closed contact.
  2125 - Lost contact.  Ran towards bearing.
  2129 - Flash observed on starboard side, turned towards to investigate.
  2132 - Found Snowflake firing starshell.  Altered course towards station.
  2134 - Asdics obtained contact on starboard bow, range 700 yds. pointed.
  2140 - Classified non-subs.  Altered course towards screening position.
  2150 - Gyro showing signs of beginning to settle again.
  2215 - Closing screen when Asdic contact obtained on starboard bow.  Classified as "Sub" carried out hedge-hog attack.  See Fore 1203 incident Sunflower No. 6.  No detonations heard.
  2230 -  Asdic contact obtained of second U-boat at maximum range closed but lost contact immediately.
  2250 - Fired starshell on R.D.F. contact.  Nothing seen, but pointed ship and closed.  R.D.F. faded at 1,000 yards.
  2255 - Asdic contact gained at 900 yds. bearing 095°, closed and fired five charge pattern.  (See Form 1203, incident Sunflower No. 7).
  2258 - Asdic H.E. report up on new contact ahead.  Pointed at target and fired starshell.  There appeared to have been some confusion about this contact as Asdic contact was obtained shortly after and was classified as "non-sub" on different bearing.
  2308 - Altered course.  Shortly afterwards several reports that a submarine had been sighted.  By this time Sunflower was headed away at full speed.  This was an error of the C.O.s who should have waited for a more thorough investigation of the contact.  Before investigating the Asdic contact.  R.D.F. range was 3,200 yds.
  2344 - Tool up position "N".
 
     
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May 6th 0135-0150 - Ordered by Tay to assist Snowflake.
  0200 - Snowflake reported ramming submarine.
  0213 - Heavy explosion felt.
  0214 - Snowflake sighted close astern on same course.  Altered away.
  0220 - Altered course to screen.
  0243 - Obtain Asdic contact at 1,200 yds. R.D.F. picked up range at 1,000 as submarine surfaced.  H.E. later became marked.  Drew up abeam gaining bearing and submarine began to submerge.  Altered course and rammed.  (See incident Sunflower No. 8).
  0255 - Proceeded back to station.
  No further submarine activities to report for the voyage.  The ramming upset the gyro compass again which had just settled before the attack.  However, it settled again by 0900/6th.  The magnetic compass continued to be unreliable.  Heavy fog and many icebergs were encountered on the passage to St. John's, Newfoundland.  Sunflower followed the remainder of the Group with S.S. "EMPIRE GAZELLE" which she had detached from the convoy.  Some difficulty was located in finding this vessel as it was thick fog and the ship was far from her correct station.
  At midnight the other merchant vessels that had been detached were caught up.  Empire Gazelle joined up and Sunflower continued ahead to rejoin Tay.  However due to the short head sea and the ice, speed was reduced to nurse the damaged fore-peak.  St. John's was reached at 2000/8th.
 
  Personnel.  
          Mr. J.H. Piddler, Bos'n., A/S (Group A/S Officer) took passage in the ship.  At all times he conducted himself both keenly and intelligently.  He located and repaired an A/S defect in the power pack which might otherwise have put the A/S out of commission for the voyage.  The efficiency of the D/C organisation, efficiency started by Mr. Sanders, Bos'n.  A/S Londonderry was continued by him in a most satisfactory manner.  His advice on the classification and holding of contacts was invaluable.  Altogether he was a great asset to the ship throughout the voyage.  
          The Asdic team from A/S C.O. downwards were most keen and efficient at all times and were a credit to Osprey's training and themselves personally.  The H.S.D., L/Sea. R.H. Ireland in particular is all that an H.S.D. should be.  
          The depth charge team were a close second in the way they carried out their duties.  
          The engine room, which is the most efficient department in the ship, met every occasion magnificently.  The Chief Mechanician B.S. Stephenson, combines to a high degree executive with technical ability.  (The Stoker D/C thrower has always been the fastest in drill or in action).  
          The Coxswain, P.O. O. Nunn (see ramming incident No.    ) used his head in an emergency which in all probability added to the gratifying results.  He has, with the Chief Bos'n. P.O. E.C. Hills, acted as junior watchkeeper on the bridge at night at sea, a duty they performed in a keen seamanlike manner.  
     
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          The R.D.F., who excepting one, had never been to sea before were woefully inexperienced.  Their shortcomings were somewhat compensated for by their zeal.  
          The ship's company of which only 27% remained previous to the refit and of whom a high percentage were at sea for the first time and although the ship had not been able to work up at Tobermory, behaved to the best Service traditions.  The Chief Bos'n's mate, the Coxs'n being largely responsible for this by their powers of leadership.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
                                                                                            
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     


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