SS Wind Rush


SS Wind Rush

This is from research in the Admiralty, Convoy Files, at the Public Record Office in London thanks to William Maynard.
doing research on the SS Wind Rush because his father was the Chief Engineer on the ship 1942-43. His name is Cecil Darwin Maynard, but, he called himself Bill. At Loch Ewe, Scotland, in December 1943 the voyage to Murmansk in convoy JW 51A (outbound) and RA 52 (return)
Wind Rush's return voyage to the US from Liverpool to NY and some details of the battle that was fought with the German U-boats south of Iceland and the US destroyer that rammed a U-boat during the general action that took place. I discovered in the Admiralty files that while at Loch Ewe the chief engineer (my father) reported that the water condenser on the Wind Rush was faulty and has to be repaired/replaced before the convoy sailed to Russia. I have also discovered that the Commodore of JW 51A was Commodore Charles Thurle, Royal Navy Reserve, and the that the Commodore of RA 52 was an R. A. Millhouise, Royal Navy Reserve and the Vice Commodore of the return convoy was the master of SS Empire Meteor. The return convoy consisted of 17 merchant ships and the Wind Rush was number 33. Its position on the outbound leg from Murmansk was number 3 in the portside column, if a two column formation was used, number 5 when in a single line, but if sailing on a broad front (three rows 6,6,5 sailing one behind the other) the Wind Rush was in the last row which numbered only 5 ships. The designated speed of the convoy was to have been 7 knots. The admiralty instructions included directions that 'columns to be 5 cables apart by day and night unless otherwise ordered. Ships in column to be 2 cables apart'. The convoy call sign was 'UH' and the convoy code word was 'Skunk'.
One Admiralty report I have states under 'General Remarks': 'JW 51A, Left Loch Ewe 15th December, 1942. Arrived Kola Inlet 25th December, 1942. Captain (D), 8th Destroyer Flotilla, remarks that there is nothing of interest to report on the passage of this convoy. Excellent weather was enjoyed and nothing untoward occurred. So far as is known this convoy was not detected by the enemy, and no attacks were made. 'RA 51 Left Kola Inlet 30th December, 1942. Arrived Loch Ewe 11th January, 1943. This convoy was at sea during the action on New Year's Eve, and was sighted by enemy aircraft on that day. Although U-boats were known to be in the vicinity during 31st December and 1st January, they did not succeed in making contact with the convoy which proceeded to its destination without further incidents. Although the passage of RA 51 and JW 51 were both uneventful, the safe escort of two convoys in artic winter conditions reflects credit on the Senior Officer (Captain (D), 8th Destroyer Flotilla and Escort.'
If you were on the Wind Rush when my father was chief, do you remember him? He died when I was very young in the early 1950s - in Okinawa on a voyage to Viet Nam. Do you remember that he purchased a Scottie dog in Glasgow (John Lewis's) and that the dog made the voyage to Russia with you? I would be very grateful if you could tell me anything that you can remember about the Wind Rush and especially about my father as I did not know him very well at all. Oh, while I am at it, did you ever meet a A.C. Hunt? He was a very good friend of my dads, and of our family. He subsequently became a captain of his own ship. Also, did you happen to know a man called William Saunders who was also at sea with my dad, but, I don't know what ship or when they were together, but, he was my god father. Also, attached is a picture of the Wind Rush.
William Maynard

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