In Memory: Ernest Bramwell HMS Wild Goose. Died 6 September 2006. RIP
In Memory: Tom Clisham HMS Wild Goose on the 2nd of May 2008 aged 83, died peacefully. RIP
In Memory: Ernie Woods HMS Wild Goose, aged 91, died March 2009 RIP
In Memory: Tom Briody RIP. In Memory: Eric Smith RIP
The Wild Goose & Her Men
The majority of these images
are from Terry Briody. His dad, Tom, served on HMS Wild Goose.
The War Diary of HMS Wild Goose is reprinted below, and below that, email messages.
CHRONOLOGICAL RECORD OF WAR SERVICE FOR H.M. ESCORT SLOOP WILD GOOSE
ADOPTED BY THE CIVIL COMMUNITY OF WORSELEY, LANCASHIRE
Compiled by G.B. Mason Lieutenant Commander Royal Navy (Rtd.)
General Information: Escort Sloops.
H. M. Escort Sloop Wild Goose.
Copyright : G.B. Mason, Bristol June 1997.
|March||Contractors Trials and Commissioning|
|11th||Accepted into service with 2nd Escort Group as Senior Officer’s ship|
On completion of work – up at Tobermory joined Group based at Liverpool for escort and support of Atlantic convoys. (For details of improved weapons and tactics see SEEK AND STRIKE by W.Hackmann, THE TORPEDOMEN by A Poland and RELENTLESS PURSUIT).
Deployed with HM Sloops WREN, WOODPECKER, CYGNET, STARLING and KITE of Group for anti- submarine operations in support of passage of ONS8 Convoy in North Atlantic. (For details of operations by Group see FIGHTING CAPTAIN by Burns.)
|Transferred to Plymouth Command for offensive operations in the Bay of Biscay to intercept U-Boats on passage to and from base ports in conjunction with Coastal Command aircraft and covered by HM Cruiser SCYLLA. (Operation ‘MUSKETRY’ – For details see ‘CONFLICT OVER THE BAY’ by N. Franks.)|
Sank U449 with H.M.Sloops WOODPECKER, WREN and KITE in position 45.00N 11.59W. There were no survivors from the submarine.
|July||Bay of Biscay operations in continuation|
Sank U504 with HM Sloops WOODPECKER, KITE and WREN in position 45.33N 0.47W. There were no survivors from the submarine.
Bay of Biscay operations in continuation
Directed by Catalina aircraft to dinghy with survivors from crew of RAF Liberator aircraft of 224 Squadron RAF shot down by Ju 88’s over Bay of Biscay on 2nd August. Two of the six rescued airmen died on passage to Liverpool.
Deployed with Group for Bay of Biscay and Atlantic convoy support. Subjected to air attacks. Supported passage of HX258.
|October||Deployed with escort for Convoy ON207 with ships of 1st (Canadian) and 2nd British Escort Groups|
|21st||Joined escort for Convoy HX262 with HM Sloops STARLING, MAGPIE, KITE and WOODCOCK of Group supported by HM Escort Aircraft Carrier TRACKER|
Convoy diverted because of known threat by SIEGFRIED group of U-boats and passage safeguarded. (For details of U-Boat operations in the Atlantic see U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO) and THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D.Macintyre.)
|November 1st||Detached to support escort of HX264 with same ships of EG2 and HMS TRACKER. Convoy is threatened by attacks from TIRPITZ group of U-Boats.|
Located U842 and carried out A/s attacks with HMS STARLING. Submarine sunk in position 43.42N 42.08W without survivors.
|8th||During passage to refuel in Argentia under acoustic torpedo attack by U648. This failed|
|27th||Reinforced escort for military Convoy MKS31/SL/140 with ships of 4th Escort Group. Convoy, on passage to \ Gibraltar, was under threat from WEDDIGEN group of U-Boats|
|28th||Took part in anti-submarine hunt with Group during which U843 driven off|
Atlantic convoy support in continuation.
Taken in hand for repair in Liverpool
|28th||On completion of post refit trials deployed with HM Sloops STARLING, WOODPECKER, KITE and MAGPIE supported by aircraft from HM Escort Carriers NAIRANA and TRACKER to safeguard passage of convoys west of Ireland from threat by IGEL group of U-Boats.|
|31st||Sank U592 in position 50.20N 17.29W with HMS STARLING and HMS MAGPIE. There were no survivors from the submarine|
|February 7th||Redeployed to support passage of merged Convoy SL147/MKS38 under threat from IGEL group with HM Sloops STARLING, MAGPIE, KITE, WOODPECKER and carrier aircraft|
|8th||Carried out hunting operations against IGEL group. Located U762 and sank it in position 49.02N 16.58W with WOODPECKER. There were no survivors from the submarine|
|9th||After unsuccessful attacks by acoustic torpedoes from U238 and U734 carried out extensive hunt operations with HM Sloops STARLING, KITE and MAGPIE. Initial contact was made with U734 10 miles from SL147 followed by a series of ‘Creeping’ attacks (See SEEK AND STRIKE). Submarine sunk after attacks lasting 3 hours and 25 minutes in position 45.44N 16.20W without any survivors. (U238 was later sunk by HM Sloops KITE, STARLING and HMS MAGPIE after series of attacks lasting 8 hours in position 49.44N 16.07W.)|
|11th||Carried out attacks with HMS WOODPECKER on U424 of IGEL group. Submarine sunk in position 50.00N 18.14W. There were no survivors.|
|17th||Deployed with 7th British Escort Group and own ships to support passage of Convoy ON224 against attacks by HAI group of U-Boats. Convoy is diverted|
|March||Carried out support operations with ships of Group and HM Escort Carrier VINDEX in NW Approaches|
|7th||Sank U653 in position 53.46N 24.35W with HMS STARLING and SWORDFISH aircraft of 825 Squadron from HMS VINDEX|
|15th||Returned to Liverpool with Group. Group transferred for duty with Home Fleet for convoy defence in Arctic|
|26th||Joined Russian Convoy JW58 with HM Sloops STARLING, MAGPIE and WHIMBREL of Group to supplement anti- submarine defence for passage to Kola Inlet. ( Note: This convoy included USS MILWAUKEE being handed over to Russian Navy)|
|29th||Under unsuccessful U-Boat attacks by THOR, BLITZ and HAMMER groups for 2 days.|
|April 2nd||Under unsuccessful U-Boat attacks by THOR, BLITZ and HAMMER groups for 2 days|
|7th||Provided A/S support for returning Convoy RA58 with Group, four Fleet destroyers and two corvettes|
|14th||Detached on arrival of convoy at Loch Ewe without interruption.|
|28th||Deployed with group and ships of 5th Support Group supported by aircraft from HMS VINDEX in series of A/S operations based on interception of U-Boat radio signals. (For details of all Russian convoy operations see ‘CONVOYS TO RUSSIA’ by RA Ruegg, ‘ARCTIC CONVOYS’ by R. Woodman, ‘THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS’ by B.Schoefield, ‘CONVOY!’ By P.Kemp and ‘ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY’ by Corelli Barnett)|
|May||Resumed Atlantic anti-submarine operation|
|5th||Carried out sustained A/s search lasting 18 hours with HMS STARLING and HMS WREN. Forced U473 to surface and sank it in position 46.29N 09.20W by gunfire despite acoustic torpedo attack. Some survivors were rescued from submarine which had been acting as weather station.|
|29th||Deployed in A/S support of convoys in Western Approaches|
|31st||Taken in hand for repair in Liverpool. Nominated for support of allied landings in Normandy (Operation Neptune). (For details of naval activities prior to and during NEPTUNE see the Naval Staff History ‘LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, JUNE 1944’ (HMO) and ‘OPERATION NEPTUNE’ by K.Edwards).|
|June||Under repair. On completion rejoined Group in Bay of Biscay and wet Channel area for operation to prevent U-Boat attacks against Invasion convoys. Remained in Channel area for A/S operations and escort duty|
|July 1st||On release from NEPTUNE returned to Liverpool|
|5th||Taken in hand for refit in Belfast|
Commander DEG Wemyss succeeded Captain F.J Walker, Royal Navy as Senior Officer of 2nd Escort Group (see above).
|September||On completion of post refit trials worked up for service|
|October - November||
Deployed in SW Approaches with Group for support and escort of convoys against a series of stacks by SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats especially in coastal waters. (See ‘BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS’ by J.Terraine ).
Coastal convoy defence with Group in continuation.
Sank U327 in position 49.46N 05.47W with HM Frigates LOCH FADA and LABUAN. There were no survivors from the submarine.
Sank U683 off Lands End (Position 49.52N 05..53W with HM Frigate LOCH RUTHEN. There were no survivors from the submarine.
|April||Coastal convoy defence with Group in continuation|
|May 6th||After VE Day nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet after refit|
Taken in hand for refit at Leith.
|July - August||
Post War Notes
HMS WILD GOOSE was not required for deployment in Far East after VJ and the ship paid off and reduced to Reserve on completion of refit on 17th September . However, in 1946 she was brought forward for service in the Persian Gulf. Apart from refit and re-commissioning period the ship was deployed in the Middle East until 1955 when she returned to UK to be placed on the Disposal List. Sold for breaking up in February 1956 this Sloop arrived at the breakers at Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh on 26th February. See page 4 for images of the period 1946 onwards.
Convoy Route To Russia
Small portions of the following are repeats of above information, but kept together for continuity
HMS Wild Goose was one of thirteen sloops of the Black Swan class which were built just prior to and during, WW2. These ships with their twenty four close sisters of the Modified Black Swan class were found to be amongst the most efficient ships for escort duties with the heaviest armament for ships of their size anywhere in the world. They were capable of all operations, having both a good anti-submarine and ant-aircraft armament. Wild Goose was built by Yarrow and Co. of Scotstoun, Glasgow, one of four ships of this class constructed by that company. She was laid down on 28th January 1942, launched on 14th October the same year and ,after fitting out, was completed on the 11th March 1943. She displaced over 1,300 tons, with a length overall of 299 ft. 6ins., an extreme beam of 38 ft. 6 ½ ins. And a draught of 10 ft. 6 ins. Her normal war complement was 180 officers and men. Her machinery consisted of two shaft geared turbines of 3,600 S.H.P. and two Admiralty three drum boilers, to give her a maximum speed of 19 ¼ knots. Although not as fast as destroyers, these sloops had a very useful built in range, and were employed to form the long range escort groups of “Hunter-Killer” ships at a time when the U boat was causing very serious losses to the convoys supplying our strategic industries. These ships with other similar types would seek the U boats rather than stay with a convoy and let the U boat seek them. They were also used to add additional weight to the convoy escort, when extra anti-submarine defences were required after the convoy had been located and the U boat pack were closing in.
Wild Goose has additional equipment that was not fitted to earlier ships of the class .Her main dual purpose main armament of three twin 4 inch, Mk.X1X high angle mountings was standard to the class, and could give a very good account of themselves. As designed she was to have received two twin 40mm Bofors (Hazemeyer) anti-aircraft guns amidships, but as these were not completed in time single Mk 1V 20mm Oerlikons were fitted until they became available. Single 20mm were fitted on the bridge wings, with two Mk.V 20mm power operated Oerlikons fitted aft on the quarter deck. The anti-submarine armament consisted of four depth charge throwers with their adjacent loading racks and depth charge rails aft. She carried Type 144 Asdic, for underwater search, and 272 surface search radar, in the lantern on the platform back aft. This could be placed higher than the earlier Type 271 having an improved power source to give slightly increased range for locating surfaced “U” boats. Thus, with everything operational, she could detect targets both above and below the surface. An additional assistance was the high-frequency direction finder (HF/DF) frame fitted at the masthead. With this she was able to pin-point radio signals from a transmitting “U” boat, and the target could be sought before it could get to the convoy, or home other “U” boats towards the convoy to form the hunting pack. Right forward are the chains for streaming parvanes, for minesweeping, if contact mines were thought to be present. Other extra items were the stabiliser fins, fittings intended to decrease the roll of the ship at sea, and provide a steadier gun platform. These fins were stowed when not required to reduce resistance, and in close company they were quite capable of penetrating any hull they came into contact with. Opinions varied as to their usefulness, as they were prone to mechanical trouble, and many Commanding Officers thought that the stabiliser space could be better utilised, to stow additional fuel, in order to increase the ship’s range. There was a tendency to be rather wet forward where the weight of “A” and “B” mountings tended to bury the bows in heavy weather. The handling covers to the 4 inch ammunition supply chutes were liable to leak and allow water to run into the forward mess decks.
After her completion and a very short work up Wild Goose was allocated to the 2nd Escort Group under overall command of the famed Captain F.J. "Johnnie" Walker, CB DSO and three bars. He was soon to become senior officer, when in June 1943, his own ship Starling was damaged after ramming a U boat, and had to undergo repairs. On 9th July 1944 Captain Walker died in hospital, as a result of illness brought about by overwork. Wild Goose had an exceptionally fine record of 10 confirmed U boat kills to her credit. On 24th June ,1943, in company with her sisters Woodpecker, Wren and Kite, U-449 was destroyed. Six days later the same group sank U-504. On 6th November with Starling back in service, U-842 was sunk. 1944 was a month old when on the 31st January, again in company with Starling, and assisted by Magpie U-592 was destroyed. On 9th February, with Starling again, U-734 was sunk, and two days later, this time with the help of Woodpecker, it was the turn of U-424. On the 15th March, with Starling and assisted by aircraft, U-653 was destroyed.. With Starling yet again, and Wren to add power, U-473 was sunk on the 5th March
On the 28th February with the help of the American built HMS Labuan, and Loch Fada, and assisted by aircraft, U-327 came to her end. The final sinking for Wild Goose came to be on the 12th March, when with Loch Ruthven, the U-683 was destroyed. These battles all took place in the Atlantic, with the exception of the last two which took place in the English Channel, covering the invasion forces. A gap appears in the tally when the 2nd Escort Group took part in the Normandy Invasion, in June 1944. In March 1945, our Wild Goose, subdued for the occasion, had the honour to be inspected by The King and Queen, in Liverpool. After the war a period of peace, until the “Mad Duck” as she was affectionately known by her ship’s company, was transferred to the East Indies Station, joining the Persian Gulf Division.
For this she underwent some considerable conversion to fit her for the role of showing the flag. Her wartime colour schemes have been replaced by a white coat and a buff funnel. Back aft, “X” turret has been changed to a cabin used to entertain Oil Sheiks and dignitaries on that station. Forward “A” and “B” guns remained, but the old twin 40mm mountings have been replaced by more modern 40mm’s and saluting guns have been added. The depth charge throwers had been reduced by 50% but the rails have been retained. The mast had been replaced and re-designed with new radar fitted. The old 272 radar had been overtaken by modern development. She served with distinction on that station until 1954, when on her return to Chatham in December that year the “Mad Duck” was finally certified, and reduced to the Reserve. Sold for breaking up in February 1956 this Sloop arrived at the breakers at Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh on 26th February.
Wild Goose Award
My name is Commander Stuart Robinson RN and following 26 years active service I now work for Thales Underwater Systems based in Templecombe, Somerset. We are the UK manufacturer of Royal Navy Anti-Submarine (Sonars 2050 & 2087), Submarine (Sonar 2076) and Minehunting (Sonars 2093 and 2193) systems. During my previous existence, I served in the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) ships HMS ARETHUSA, HMS PHOEBE and HMS MARLBOROUGH and ashore was at various times the Staff ASW Officer to Flag Officer Sea Training, Flag Officer Surface Flotilla and latterly Commander-in-Chief Fleet. As you can imagine, the exploits of Walker, Weymss and the 2nd Support Group were required study for a career ASW Officer like myself.
Now to the reason for the contact. The annual award of trophies for effectiveness in all manner of disciplines, be it boxing, boatwork or bunting tossing, has been a long-standing tradition in the Royal Navy - in recent years some of these awards have been sponsored by industry and we at Thales are proud to support the Anti-Submarine trophy.
I was recently contacted by Navy Command Headquarters who suggested that, as the existing trophy was getting somewhat scruffy, we might like to choose another from the Royal Navy Trophy Centre in HMS NELSON, Portsmouth. I was initially shown a whole range of large, ornate silver cups and salvers - not quite what I had in mind - and I asked if I could browse the display cabinets. Right at the back of one cabinet I saw, to my delight, a large silver cigar box bearing the engraving "HMS WILD GOOSE" on the lid. Although not a wartime trophy, there were very few of those, the fact that it has a direct link to a very famous ASW ship meant I had to look no further. For those who may have information about the trophy itself, the inscription on the front of the box reads:
In Appreciation of Services Rendered To
At Bahrein in July 1953
The HMS WILD GOOSE Trophy is currently being renovated, but I will provide you with a photograph as soon as possible. It will be awarded each year in January to the best ASW ship in the Fleet and will be permanently on display in the foyer of the Navy Command Headquarters in HMS EXCELLENT, Whale Island, Portsmouth. I plan to produce a supporting document, outlining the service record of "HMS WILD GOOSE", to accompany the trophy and this will also be framed and awarded to the winning ship. I hope that you will be able to pass on this information to the "WILD GEESE" and I would be delighted to hear from any who would like to correspond. Best Regards
Ocean House, Templecombe, Somerset, BA8 0DH