The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

The forgotten fleets that fought the Japanese in the Pacific and Indian Oceans


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Destroyer Depot Ship/Fleet Train Headquarters Ship


No badge issued for this vessel

Pennant No. BB381

 

Battle Honours


Atlantic 1939-41
 

 

 

 

Specifications

Builder: John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

Displacement: 16,314 tons

Length: 570 ft

Beam: 70 ft

Draught: 28 ft

Speed: 18 Knots

 Crew complement: Not known

 

Commanding Officers

Captain. G. W. Hoare-Smith

 

 

 

 

 

Related items

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Reminiscences


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Gallery


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H.M.S. MONTCLARE

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Early history

Launched December 1921 for service with the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company the S.S. MONTCLARE made her maiden voyage, on 18 August 1922, operating, initially on the Liverpool-Québec-Montréal service, switching to the Antwerp and Hamburg services in 1929. From 1933 until being requisitioned for war service she operated various cruises and transatlantic services; her final commercial passenger voyage in  July 1939, a Liverpool-Montréal roundtrip.

The S.S. MONTCLARE was taken over as an armed merchant cruiser in August 1939; she was purchased by the Admiralty in 1942 and converted into a destroyer depot ship H.M.S. MONTCLARE.

Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet

She joined the BPF in May 1945 when she arrived on station at Manus. MONTCLARE was unusual in that she was to have dual roles as Fleet Train Headquarters ship carrying the Flag of Rear Admiral Fleet Train (RAFT), Rear Admiral D. Fisher and as a Destroyer Depot Ship she carried the Flag of Rear Admiral Destroyers (RA(D))  Rear Admiral J.H. Edelsten.   MONTCLARE relieved the existing Headquarters Ship, HMS Lothian upon her arrival on station at Manus. MONTCLARE  relocated to Hong Kong harbour in October 1945. .

Post War

MONTCLARE resumed her role as Destroyer Depot Ship after the break up of the BPF before she was decommissioned in 1954.  She was laid up at Gareloch and later at Portsmouth. She was scrapped in 1958.

Last modified: 16 June 2020

 


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Marion Horton
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May 2020
Marion Horton (York) says...
In Southhampton we were at the berth that the Queen Mary docked fitting out the HMS Montclare. Shipyard men were working and we were scrubbing and polishing the Galley and the Bakery. We where Canteen Messing so each Mess drew his stores and I cooked for them separately. We worked hard and ate all we could get our hands on. As the crew was only five of us we all got an allowance. Then when everyone joined the ship we got a big cash bonus because we had not drawn all our rations. The Montclare, the old liner served us well until we got into the Red Sea. One of our crew had a heart attack and we 'bust our boilers' to get him to Aiden fo for treatment. In the Suez Canal we climbed the bankside and blocked it. Hilter could not do this but we did! On to the Indian Ocean and Hong Kong via Australia. (These are my dads words and I think he was talking about 1945).
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Christine Barber
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May 2020
Christine Barber (Cowes) says...
My dad Eric Barber was on the Montclare and his job was in signals (he wrote out the morse code for us in later years) and visited Manus, Australia and Hong Kong. I recall him telling us he was the tallest man on board ship at 6ft 5ins!
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karen harris
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May 2020
karen harris (penryn) says...
My father in law, David Harris, was a stoker mechanic on the HMS Monteclare around 1947-1949 not in wartime? He was on other ships too. He said it was the best years of his life and proud of serving in the Navy. Rothesay, Scotland is a place he talks of fondly. He is 90 this year. Love to hear from others and their stories.
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Roel verboven
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Jul 2019
Roel verboven (Rijkevorsel) says...
The Brother of my grandfather sailed with the SS Montclare in 1929 from Antwerp to Canada. Are there any passengerslists or more info from those commercial trips the Montclare did?
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Sarah Davies
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Mar 2019
Sarah Davies (Cardiff) says...
My father was a radar operator on the HMS Montclare. We have a photo of him in uniform with a note on the back ’Me Hong Kong 1945’
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At the end of June 1945, the Admiralty implemented a new system of classification for carrier air wings, adopting the American practice one carrier would embark a single Carrier Air Group (CAG) which would encompass all the ships squadrons.

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Sturtivant, R & Balance, T. (1994) 'Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ list 899 squadron as conducting DLT on the Escort Carrier ARBITER on August 15th. It is possible that the usual three-day evolution was cancelled due to the announcement of the Japanese surrender on this date and was postponed for a month.

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The reminiscences of

Gordon served with the radio section of Mobile Repair UNit No.1 (MR 1) at Nowra, he was a member of the local RN dance band, and possibly the last member of MONAB I to leave Nowra after it paid off. .

Drafted to

Coming home

In March 1946 I joined 812 squadron, aboard HMS Vengeance, spending some time ditching American aircraft north of Australia. Eventually we sailed for Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) landing at Trincomalee and setting up a radio section at Katakarunda. In the belief that we were exhausted we were sent to a rest camp at Kandy for a few weeks. We moved down to Colombo to pick up Vengeance and returned to Portsmouth via the Suez Canal . I was discharged in November 1946.

Gordon Theaker