Royal Indian Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic 1941-44

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1830 – Present Day Royal Indian Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic 1941-44

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    Six RIN sloops were built in the UK in WW2 and spent some time in Home Waters. The official history describes this in a paragraph. But three were awarded Atlantic Battle Honours and all six took part in convoy battles, peripherally in the Bismarck Hunt and even in Winston Special convoys. Discovering their roles involves extracting small nuggets of information from literally dozens of sources. Any suggestions on sources, particularly of personal recollections much appreciated.
    Also any information on the Irish Sea Escort Force which has been little described


    Have you seen “‘Bombay Buccaneers’ Royal Indian Navy”? Edited by Commander D.J. Hastings RINVR. It has quite a few interesting vignettes – it’s a compilation of first hand accounts including AB Goord who drove GODAVARI.
    Also, are you in touch with anybody in India? I may be able to help with a naval connection.
    Direct email is
    Very best
    James Goldrick

    Sam Willis

    From Srikant Kesnur @srikantkesnur on Twitter:

    You are right sir. Neglected subject. From the little I could glean. Some RIN ships Commissioned in UK employed for duties in North Atlantic & Med before they rched Indian Ocean. HMIS Sutlej (Capt JEN Coope, RIN) & HMIS Jamuna (Cdr IBW Heanley, RIN) both built in UK in 1940 were Part of Clyde escort force & Irish sea escort force. They also were part of convoy force in Med during Op Husky, the Sicily invasion. Little before that the two ships were traversing between Alexandria, Malta & Tripoli building up logistics. After change of Cmd in Aug 43,Sutlej (Capt H Watt, RIN) was deployed in Aegean sea to land a British detachment on the Italian island of Kosterlorizo. Also, HMIS Cauvery, Kistna, Narbada, Godavari, built in UK in 1942-43, carried out convey duties in Med. Minesweepers HMIS Kathiawar & Kumaon, built 1942,Did some minesweeping in western Med in Feb 43. @johnsonindia has written a book on RIN & could throw more light. Also requesting following to add if they have more @zwerubae @probirpaymate @EmergingRoy @jasbirsrandhawa @theUdayB @arunp2810 @indiannavy @TheBrownBeagle We must recollect though that RIN established Oct 1934, was both young & extremely small force that saw hurried expansion in War years. And soon thereafter the Indo Pacific region beckoned. @w_karve @CaptDKS @MHSofIndia @subnut @JaggiBedi @shekhar19541 @SandeepUnnithan

    Sam Willis

    From Twitter: Johnson Odakkal @johnsonindia
    Replying to @NauticalHistory Will be honoured to share some stuff via mail even as Cmde @srikantkesnur has in a thread shared quite a few details. Common source is archives of RIN Association at #NMM Greenwich.


    Thanks for these helpful responses. I have managed to put together about 5000 words from about forty sources but these do little more than provide a fairly bare record of deployment. Their service didn’t differ much from hundreds of other escorts in the Atlantic – but the fact that they served there thousands of miles from home deserves to be recorded – especially if one can find some personal reminiscences. They certainly played an active role! I shall certainly try and get to the archives at Greenwich – if I’m ever able to leave Scotland during lockdown!


    Derek, got both your emails, but any response to you comes back as undeliverable (your email address doesn’t look right in any case). He’s already mentioned on this thread as being happy to help, but in any case (because you can order it online!) you might want to look at Commodore Oddakal Johnson IN(Ret)’s book
    ‘Timeless Wake: The Legacy of the Royal Indian Navy during World War II’ which was published in 2013.
    I gather that he is president of the Maritime History Society in India.
    Amazon link is:
    I hope that this helps!


    James, thanks very much. I don’t know Timeless Wake, so will follow that up.
    I did mail the Commodore but have had no reply and your post may explain why.
    I will try again. To add to the mystery, my mails to you have disappeared from my system!
    My address is:
    Thanks so much for taking the time to help.
    Much appreciated

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