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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

134 — The Admiralty to the Australian Commonwealth and New Zealand Naval Boards

The Admiralty to the Australian Commonwealth and New Zealand Naval Boards

3 May 1940

If it is found necessary to divert US 2 and US 3 to the United Kingdom via the Cape of Good Hope, the Admiralty's intentions for escort are as follows:

US 2. From the Arabian Sea to Freetown, via the Cape—Ramillies and Kent.

page 100

US 3. From Fremantle to Capetown: to rendezvous ‘A’ in midway position, Canberra and Australia; from rendezvous ‘A’ to the Cape, Shropshire1 and Australia. From the Cape to Freetown: two 8-inch cruisers of the South Atlantic Command.

It appears from Admiralty data that the endurance of HMS Leander will not allow her to make the passage from Fremantle to the Cape in company of US 3 at 20 knots.2 It is proposed, therefore, that in the circumstances under consideration, her future employment with the Imperial Forces should be reviewed.

The escort onward from Freetown for both convoys will not be less powerful than two 8-inch cruisers, and it will be strengthened as necessary in the light of prevailing circumstances. Anti-submarine escorts will be provided for the passage through the submarine danger area.

Their Lordships are satisfied that the convoys will be given full security by the above measures.

1 HMS Shropshire, 8-inch cruiser, 9830 tons.

2 Note on telegram by Staff Officer, Operations, reads:

  • Fremantle to Capetown, 4700 miles approximately.

  • Fremantle to Durban, 4200 miles approximately.

  • Leander's endurance at 20 knots—4520 miles. (CB 1815)

  • Leander's endurance at 18 knots—5350 miles. (CB 1815)

  • [CB—Confidential Book listing warships of the British Commonwealth with details of speed, endurance, &c.]