Operation FS (ii)

This was the British naval undertaking to ensure the safe passage of RA.54A convoy from Arkhangyel’sk to the UK (1/7 November 1943).

On 1 November the RA.54A convoy of 13 unladen ships departed Arkhangyel’sk under local escort of the Soviet destroyers Gromkiy and Kuybyshev and the British minesweepers Britomart, Harrier, Jason and Seagull. Under the command of Captain I. M. R. Campbell, the ocean escort was provided by the destroyers Milne, Mahratta, Matchless, Musketeer, Saumarez, Savage, Scourge, Scorpion and Westcott, corvette Eglantine, and minesweepers Britomart and Jason.

Under the command of Vice Admiral A. F. E. Palliser, cover was provided by the heavy cruisers Kent and Norfolk and the light cruiser Belfast. Under the command of Vice Admiral Sir Henry Moore, second in command of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser’s Home Fleet, distant cover was the task of the battleship Anson, fleet carrier Formidable, light cruiser Jamaica, and destroyers Onslow, Venus, Canadian Haida, Norwegian Stord, and US Capps and Hobson.

On 10 November the ocean escort was relieved by the western local escort, comprising the escort destroyers Brissenden and Middleton, and minesweeper Halcyon, and the convoy reached Loch Ewe on 14 November at the end of a passage that had gone entirely unremarked by German air and U-boat reconnaissance.