Convoy HX-150 and ON-18
16 September, 1941
The Convoy:: 44 merchantmen
Uboats:: none sighted
Convoy HX-150, with 44 merchantmen underway from Halifax on September 16, 1941, was the first to use US escorts, which relieved Canadian escorts 350 mileseast of Halifax on September 17. The escort screen was commanded by Captain Morton L. Deyo in Ericsson DD440. Convoy was disposed in nine columns, with distance between columns set at 600 yards. Ericsson's station was 2,000 yards directly ahead. The other four destroyers, a mix of one Benson class and three 4-pipers, patrolled 500-2000 yards from the outer ships in the convoy. Column distances were tightened at night. On clear nights the destroyers continued their patrols, but on foggy nights they were to "keep station". No U-boats were encountered to the point in mid-ocean (MOMP) where British destroyers took over. Stragglers were a constant challenge.
On the night of September 24-25, nearing a point in the Atlantic called "Torpedo Junction", destroyer Eberle DD430 of the screen was dispatched by Captain Deyo to the aid of the SS Nigaristan manned by a crew from the Levant. She was afire. A smolder had suddenly fired up in the ship's bunkers. The barometer read 28.6 inches of Mercury (very low), and a gale wind was blowing. Eberle, the other Benson class ship in the screen, closed at high speed. The freighter's crew had taken to the lifeboats and in this raging sea, Eberle managed to get all 63 Nigaristan crewmen safely aboard. This was accomplished despite the fact that a member of the Nigaristan's black gang had gone overboard from one of the lifeboats. Ensign L.C. Savage of Eberle went into the water between the lifeboat and Eberle, with a bow-line, secured the distressed seaman, fended off the lifeboat, and both were hauled aboard Eberle.
Convoy ON-18 westbound from relieving a British convoy screen, passed HX-150 that night. Escorts in ON-18 were Madison DD425, Gleaves DD423, C. F.Hughes DD428, Simpson and Lansdale DD426. ON-18, too, made the passage without encountering enemy submarines which was because Germany was still positioning their Uboats in the channel and around the British Isles. All to soon , America would see the results of the Uboat as Doenitz moved them off the Atlantic seaboard of the US for "easy pickins".
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Information received from Frank Dailey USS Edison DD439 and my own files.--Richard Angelini