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ADMIRALTY WAR DIARIES of WORLD WAR 2

 

EASTERN FLEET - April to June 1942

(July to November 1942 not available)

 

Transcribed by Don Kindell

HMS Warspite, battleship (Maritime Quest, click to enlarge)

on to Eastern Fleet, December 1942 only
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China, East Indies, Australia & New Zealand Stations September 1939 to March 1942

 

       
  Areas of Operations (click to enlarge). Only some locations in text are shown  

 

Click for Convoy Route Codes, Operation Code Names and Royal Navy  Minelaying


Please Note:

(1) None of the monthly appendices are complete and some are totally missing, but all available contents have been transcribed.

(2) The original typist did not have a good grasp of grammar or punctuation with some sentences running on, but the contents have been transcribed as they are.

(3) Some of the abbreviations are not known and cannot be deciphered without further research.

Don Kindell

 
 

 
 

East Indies Fleet became the Eastern Fleet at the end of March 1942 with the arrival of Admiral Somerville

 

EASTERN FLEET WAR DIARY

 

APRIL 1942

 

 

April 1st

 

HMS ALSEY arrived at Addu Atoll from Colombo

HMS DECOY arrived at Colombo from Addu Atoll

HMS CORFU arrived at Bombay from Colombo

 

April 2nd

 

HMS GLASGOW arrived At Mombasa from escort duty and left for Durban on passage to U.S.A. to refit

HMS MANCHESTER CITY arrived Mauritius from Cape

British SS GLENSHIEL torpedoed and sunk in position 00-48S, 78-32E. Survivors picked up by HMS FORTUNE

British SS CLAN ROSS sunk in position 15-55N, 68-26E. Survivors were picked up by Norwegian SS L.A. CHRISTENSON

HMS ENGADINE arrived at Seychelles from Addu Atoll and left for Mombasa en route to Cape

HMS EXPRESS left Colombo for Addu Atoll

HMS RANCHI (with garrison reliefs) arrived at Seychelles from Bombay

HMS NEWCASTLE left Durban for Seychelles and the to join Force “A”

 

April 3rd

 

HMS PANGKOR left Colombo with reliefs for Minnikoi Lighthouse, proceeding thence to Bombay before leaving for the Persian Gulf

HMS RANCHI left Seychelles for Mauritius

HM Ships TULIP and ASTER left Addu Atoll for Colombo

USS BOISE left Bombay for Fremantle

 

April 4th

 

HMS WARSPITE (Flag of Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet) with Force “A” in company, and HMS RESOLUTION (flag of Vice Admiral Second in Command, Eastern Fleet) with Force “B” in company arrived Addu Atoll from exercises in that area.

HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL, detached from Force “A” arrived at Colombo (see Appendix 4) and HMS HERMES and HMAS VAMPIRE detached from Force “B” arrived at Trincomalee to fuel

HM Ships CHITRAL and FALMOUTH, escorting convoy SU 4 left Bombay for Colombo

HMS EXPRESS arrived at and left Addu Atoll escorting R.F.A. DERWENTDALE

(all times G.M.T.) 

 

1005

Catalina (A) on patrol reported a large enemy force in position 00-30N, 83-10E, steering 330 degrees. No amplifying report was received and it was presumed the aircraft was intercepted and shot down.

1029

CinC, Eastern Fleet, informed of this report.

1320

HNethMS COLOMBIS (in company with three Dutch submarines at anchor off Mannar, east coast of Ceylon) informed of this report.

1329

HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL ordered to raise steam and proceed to sea at 1600 (See Appendix 4).

1405

Admiralty informed of the above report

1431

HMS HERMES and HMAS VAMPIRE (at Trincomalee – No 814 Squadron, ex HERMES, landed) ordered to proceed to sea on completion of fuelling and to proceed to the northeastward, embarking aircraft at earliest possible time after leaving harbour. HMS TEVIOTBANK (at anchor in Palk Bay, north of Ceylon, in company with HMS HOLLYHOCK and four auxiliaries) ordered to raise steam and proceed with ships in company to the northward.

At Colombo, all possible merchant ships were ordered to proceed to anchor outside the harbour in the Examination Anchorage. They were later ordered to proceed to sea to the westward keeping north of a line 250 degrees from Colombo and to return to Colombo in groups of four, first group, to arrived at 0745, 5th April. Escort was provided by HM SHOREHAM and MARGUERITE and HMIS CLIVE

1455

Deputy CinC, Eastern Fleet, sent his intention signal regarding movement of ships to CinC, Eastern Fleet.

1600

HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL (see Appendix 4) left Colombo and the HERMES and VAMPIRE left Trincomalee

1637

Catalina (R) sighted one destroyer in position 1-59N, 82-20N, course 315 degrees, speed 20 knots.

1825

No. 814 Squadron (ex HERMES at China Bay) ordered to arm with torpedoes in view of possible requirements as Striking Force against enemy carriers. In view of the strong possibility of an enemy air attack on Colombo or Trincomalee or both, it was decided to retain No. 814 Squadron on shore and HERMES was informed accordingly.

1845

Catalina (R) sighted six destroyers in position 02-54N, 82-10E, course 325 degrees, speed 21 knots. Elements of the enemy force were shadowed during the night until the next morning when weather conditions prevented observation.

      

April 5th

 

Forces “A” and “B” left Addu Atoll to endeavour to intercept the enemy forces in the Ceylon area

British SS HARPASSA, GANDARA, and DARDANUS attacked and sunk by enemy aircraft in the Bay of Bengal

0048

Catalina (L) reported sighting one battleship and two cruisers in position 04-00N, 80-40E, course 290 degrees.

0200

Colombo and harbour attacked by enemy aircraft. HMS HECTOR bombed, set on fire and burnt out. HMS TENEDOS sunk. HMS LUCIA hit (see Part II, paragraph 5)

0225

Catalina (L) corrected her 0048 report to two battleships, two cruisers, and destroyers.

0404

Catalina (L) reported enemy course 282 degrees, 12.5 knots

0521

Deputy CinC ordered HERMES to return to Trincomalee.

0657

HMS DORSETSHIRE reported being shadowed in position 2-12N, 77-47E

0746

Deputy CinC instructed the DORSETSHIRE to report position, course, and speed.

1132

Deputy CinC ordered the HERMES and VAMPIRE to carry out same procedure on night 5th April as on night 4th April. No. 814 Squadron to remain ashore as a striking force.

1405

Deputy CinC ordered HNethMS COLOMBIA to day return to Colombo until p.m. 6th April

1511

HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL from evidence available, considered to have been attacked by enemy aircraft in approximate position 02 North, 078 East before making contact with Force 'A'and one or both ships sunk. (See appendix 4 for details of the events, as known at Colombo, which preceded the loss of these ships.)

 

April 6th

 

HMIS INDUS sunk by enemy aircraft off Fakir Point Light (22-08N, 92-35E.)

British SS SINKAING, SILKSWORTH, MALDA, SELMA CITY, Norwegian DAGFREB, and Dutch VAN DER CAPEELEN attacked by enemy aircraft in Bay of Bengal. SILKSWORTH abandoned and the remainder sunk.

U.S. SS WASHINGTONIAN torpedoed and sunk in Eight Degree Channel.

HERMES and VAMPIRE returned to Trincomalee from the northeastward.

HMS COLOMBO arrived at Aden escorting convoy W S 16 A

HMS RANCHI arrived at Mauritius from Seychelles and having embarked garrison reliefs left for Rodriguez and Diego Garcia

 

April 7th

 

British SS BAHADUR attacked by torpedo, gunned, and sunk in position 19-44N, 68-28E

British SS ELMDALE gunned by submarine in position 06-31N, 78-27E. Escaped with slight damage.

 

April 8th

0907

Catalina reported sighted three battleships and one aircraft carrier in position 09-18N, 84-40E, course 350 degrees, speed unknown

1128

Flag Officer in Charge, Trincomalee, ordered to sail the following ships independently to the southward in view of possible dawn air attack on Trincomalee on 9th April. HMS HERMES and HMAS VAMPIRE, HM Ships TEVIOTBANK and HOLLYHOCK, R.F.A. PEARLEAF, A.S.I. and tankers ATHELSTANE and BRITISH SERGEANT

1447

HMS TRUANT (returning to Colombo on Patrol in the Malacca Straits) diverted to position 10 N, 90E.

1807

HMS TRUANT replied that in view of her distance from this position she was proceeding to 11N, 87E

Forces “A” and “B” returned to Addu Atoll to fuel

HMS VALIANT, on passage from Durban from Mediterranean to refit, arrived at and left Aden.

HMS NEWCASTLE arrived at Seychelles and left for Bombay

HMS RANCHI arrived at Rodriguez from Mauritius

HMS CORFU escorting convoy B A 20 left Bombay

HM Ships CHITRAL and FALMOUTH, escorting convoy S U 4, arrived at Colombo

HM Ships ALAUNIA and WORCESTERSHIRE, escorting Convoy W S 16 B arrived at Bombay

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at Calcutta from operations off the Burma Coast

           

9th April

0116

Catalina (Y) reported a large enemy force steering 330 degrees. The signal faded and contained no position or time of origin and it is probable that the Catalina was shot down while making it. The position was estimated to be 09-20N, 84-40E.

0130

Trincomalee and China Bay attacked by carrier borne aircraft. HMS EREBUS hit and British SS SAGAING set on fire and beached. (See Part II)

0140

Twelve Blenheim aircraft ordered to proceed immediately to position 9-20N, 84-40E to attack. Primary objectives the carriers.

0155

Air raid warning at Colombo due to the presence of two enemy reconnaissance aircraft, possibly on P.R.U. duties. Warning was of short duration.

0353

HMS HERMES (off Batticaloa) ordered to proceed with utmost dispatch towards Trincomalee. An emergency R.A.F. message was sent to China Bay information them that the HERMES had been located by the enemy; the position was given and they were ordered to render such fighter support as the situation would admit.

0405

Seven Fulmars from Ratmalana were ordered to carry out patrol over the HERMES, a further seven Fulmars being ordered to leave one hour later for the same duty.

0406

HMS HERMES was informed that Fulmar aircraft were being send from Ratmalana to her assistance. On crossing the coast these aircraft were engaged by the fighter escort of the enemy bombers then bombing the HOLLYHOCK, ATHELSTANE, and BRITISH SERGEANT. All three vessels were sunk.

0445 to 0500

HMS HERMES and HMAS VAMPIRE were attacked and sunk by fighter dive bombs in position 07-35N, 82-05E. A full report on the loss of these ships has been forwarded to the CinC, Eastern Fleet for transmission to the Admiralty (East Indies Letter No. 3181 off 22nd April 1942)

HMS TEVIOTBANK, having jettisoned her load of mines, and R.F.A. PEARLEAF returned to Trincomalee. Force “A” and HMS SCOUT left Addu Atoll for Bombay and Force “B” (less HMS DRAGON) for Kilindini

HMS RANCHI left Rodriguez for Diego Garcia

 

April 10th

 

Hospital ship VITA arrived Colombo with survivors from the HERMES and VAMPIRE

HMS PALADIN was detached from Force “A” to proceed to Colombo

 

April 11th

 

HMS PALADIN arrived Colombo to embark Chief of Staff, Eastern Fleet, and Staff Officers, and left for Bombay to rejoin the flag.

HMS EXPRESS, escorting R.F.A. DERWENTDALE, arrived at Mauritius and left for Durban. The EXPRESS will repair action damage at Simonstown

 

April 12th

 

HMS SCOUT arrived at Cochin from Addu Atoll

HMS TRUANT arrived at Colombo from patrol.

HMS CHITRAL with HM Ships FALMOUTH and ASTER as A/S escort, left Colombo escorting convoy S U 4 to Mombasa

HMS RANCHI arrived at Diego Garcia from Mauritius

HMS TEVIOTBANK left Trincomalee for Colombo

HMS NEWCASTLE arrived at Bombay from Seychelles

Dutch submarine K 11 arrived Trincomalee from patrol.

 

April 13th

 

Title of “Senior Officer, Force T” lapsed and Rear Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, assumed command of the 4th Cruiser Squadron comprised of NEWCASTLE (flag), BIRMINGHAM, EMERALD, ENTERPRISE, and HNethMS HEEMSKERK

Force “A” arrived at Bombay from Addu Atoll

HMS RANCHI left Diego Garcia for Mauritius

Dutch submarine K 11 left Trincomalee for Colombo

HMS TRUSTY left Colombo for patrol in the northern section of the Malacca Straits.

 

April 14th

 

Force “B” (less HMS DRAGON) arrived at Mombasa from Addu Atoll

HMS CERES after refit left Durban escorting convoy C M 27

HMS TEVIOTBANK arrived Colombo from Trincomalee

HMIS SUTLEJ left Calcutta for Ceylon

BDVs BARONIA, BARSTOKE, GRAAF CAN VLAANDEREN, and PRINCE DE LIEGE left Addu Atoll, each towing two MLCs.

 

April 15th

 

Convoy M B 1 (HM Ships TEVIOT BANK and SPRINGTIDE) left Colombo for Bombay, escorted by HM Ships VERBENA and TULIP

HMS CORFU left Aden escorting H.T. BURMA to Mombasa

HHellMS PAUL KONDOURIOTIS left Bombay for Karachi

HMS ATHENE left Fremantle for Trincomalee

HMS COLOMBO, escorting H.T. FELIX ROUSSEL, arrived at Mombasa from Aden

U.S. S. BOISE arrived at Fremantle from Bombay

 

April 16th

 

HHellMS PAUL DONDOURIOTIS arrived at Karachi

HNethMS SUMATRA left Trincomalee for Colombo

HM Ships RAMILLIES and HOTSPUR left Mombasa for Durban

HMS JAY sailed for Mauritius from the Cape

HM Ships FALMOUTH and ASTER arrived at Colombo from escort duty with S U 4.

 

April 17th

 

HMS DECOY left Colombo for Bombay

HMS RANCHI arrived at Mauritius from Diego Garcia

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at and left Trincomalee escorting R.F.A. PEARLEAF to Colombo

HNethMS SUMATRA arrived Colombo from Trincomalee

HMS DRAGON arrived Mombasa from Addu Atoll.

 

April 18th

 

HMAS LISMORE arrived Colombo, escorting H.T. DEVONSHIRE

HMS ALAUNIA left Bombay for Colombo

HMS RANCHI left Mauritius for Seychelles

HHellMS PAUL KONDOURIOTIS left Karachi for Aden

HNethMS SUMATRA left Colombo for Bombay

HMS ENGADINE left Capetown for Mombasa

 

April 19th

 

HMS DECOY arrived Bombay and left for Colombo

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived Colombo escorting R.F.A. PEARLEAF

HMS ATREUS arrived at Fremantle for Addu Atoll

 

April 20th

 

Force “A” left Bombay for Colombo

HMS ALSEY arrived Fremantle for Addu Atoll

HNethMS SUMATRA arrived at Bombay

Dutch submarine O 19 left Colombo for patrol

HMAS BATHURST arrived at Colombo from escort duties in the Cochin area.

 

April 21st

 

HMS CERES escorting C M 27 arrived Mombasa

HMS KIRRIEMOOR (with casualty cases) arrived Mombasa from Addu Atoll

HMS RANCHI arrived at Seychelles from Mauritius

HMS FALMOUTH and HMAS LISMORE left Colombo, escorting convoy M B 2

Convoy C 12 (with HMS KELANTAN) left Colombo, escorted by HMS MARGUERITE and HMIS SONAVATI

HMS RAMILLIES arrived at Durban from Mombasa

HMS ALAUNIA arrived at Colombo from Bombay

HMS CHITRAL left Mombasa escorting convoy S U 4 towards Durban. HMS COLOMBO left Mombasa to overtake and escort this convoy.

           

April 22nd

 

HMS SCOUT left Cochin to join Force “A” on passage to Colombo

HHellMS PAUL KONDOURIOTIS arrived Aden

HMS CERES left Mombasa escorting convoy C M 27 for Aden

HMS CORFU arrived at Mombasa from Aden

HNethMS WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN and Dutch submarine K 14 left Colombo for Bombay

 

April 23rd

 

Force “A” and HMS SCOUT arrived Colombo

 

April 24th

 

Force “A” with HMS ALAUNIA, carrying the first flight of the Eastern Fleet Base Staff, left Colombo for Seychelles en route to Mombasa

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE, escorting convoy B A 21, left Bombay for Aden

 

April 25th

 

HMS EREBUS escorted by HMS BALTA, left Trincomalee for Colombo. HMS BALTA was later relieved of escort duty by HMS SHOREHAM and returned to Trincomalee

HMS LUCIA, HMIS HINDUSTAN, and BDV BARLANE left Colombo for Bombay

HMIS JUMNA and HMS TULIP, escorting convoy B M 16, left Bombay for Colombo

HHellMS IERAX, after refitting, left Calcutta for return passage to the Mediterranean Station

HMS JAY arrived at Mauritius from the Cape

HMS ENGADINE arrived at Mombasa from the Cape

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting the faster ships of Convoy M B 2, arrived at Bombay

 

April 26th

 

HMIS SUTLEJ, escorting V.S.I.S. DEMODUCUS, and having embarked stores for Diego Garcia, left Colombo for Addu Atoll

BDV BARLANE, on passage to Bombay in company with the LUCIA and HINDUSTAN, parted company and proceeded at 5 knots owing to engine trouble

HNethMS WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN and Dutch Submarine K 14 arrived Bombay from Colombo

 

April 27th

 

Force “B” left Mombasa for Zanzibar

HM Ships ALDERHAM and GROVE, on passage from Durban to the Mediterranean, arrived at and left Mombasa

HMS COLOMBO escorting Convoy S U 4 arrived Durban

HMS ATHENE arrived Trincomalee from Fremantle

HMS EREBUS arrived at Colombo from Trincomalee escorted by HMS SHOREHAM

 

April 28th

 

Force “F” left Durban for Operation IRONCLAD

Force “B” arrived at Zanzibar

HMS CERES arrived Aden escorting convoy C M 27

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting H.T. ELLENGA, left Bombay for Colombo

HMS REVENGE arrived at Durban

HMS EREBUS, in convoy C 13, left Colombo for Seychelles, escorted by HM Ship ASTER and HMIS SONAVATI to 70 degrees East

 

April 29th

 

Force “B” left Zanzibar for Mombasa

HMS CERES, escorting H.T. TALMA left Aden for Bombay

HMS INDOMITABLE arrived and left Seychelles for Operation IRONCLAD, HM Ships PANTHER and PALADIN in company

Convoy M B 5, escorted by HMS SHOREHAM and HMAS BATHURST, left Colombo for Bombay

HMIS SUTLEJ, escorting V.S.I.S. DEMODOCUS, arrived at Addu Atoll

HMS RAMILLES left Durban on escort duty for Operation IRONCLAD

 

April 30th

 

Force “A” and HMS ALAUNIA arrived at Seychelles and left for Mombasa. HNethMS HEEMSKERK proceeding to Durban

HMS TRUSTY arrived at Colombo from patrol.

Convoy B M 16, escorted by HMIS JUMNA, arrived at Colombo

HMIS SUTLEJ left Addu Atoll, escorting V.S.I.S. DEMODOCUS to 02S, 70-45E, where the DEMODOCUS was detached and proceeded to Mombasa, SUTLEJ proceeding to Diego Garcia

HMS ATHENE left Trincomalee and was met by HMS SCOUT in position 06-03N, 81-18E for escort to Colombo

BDV BARLANE arrived at Cochin with engine trouble (see 26th April)

HMAS LISMORE arrived at Karachi from escort duty

HMS ENGADINE left Mombasa for Durban

HHellMS IERAX arrived at Colombo from Calcutta, having called at Vizagapatam, Madras, and Trincomalee

 

 

 

Part II – General Survey and Appreciation

 

General

 

1. The opening days of April saw Allied Sea Power in the Indian Ocean driven back on the defensive. With Singapore, Java, Sumatra, Malaya, and the Andaman Islands and the Burma Coast as far as north of Rangoon in Japanese hands, it was only a matter of time before the enemy would make a strong attack on the shipping in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, coupled with the probability of air attack on Ceylon and the east coast of India and the possibility of an invasion of one or both of these areas. The 4th and 5th saw this attack develop, when a force of carriers, escorted by cruisers and possibly by battleships, arrived off the south of Ceylon and an air attack was delivered on Colombo. The same force delivered a similar attack on Trincomalee on the morning of 9th April. Concurrently with the attacks on Ceylon another Japanese force of carriers and cruiser appeared in the Bay of Bengal and attacked shipping off the east coast of India. The remainder of the month produced no further activity by Japanese surface surfaces, with the exception of one sighted by aircraft (apparently well authenticated, but doubted at the time and made still less likely by subsequent lack of enemy activity) of a force consisting of one battleship, one cruiser, and one merchant ship south of Ceylon on 15th April, steering east.

 

Merchant Shipping

 

2. The Japanese threat to Calcutta and the east coast of India made it necessary to limit shipping on that coast to essential cargoes. ON the 16th April, I appreciated the situation as follows:

 

(a) Colliers, tankers, and important war cargoes have still to pass along the east coast of India.

 

(b) The submarine menace on the east coast of India cannot be discounted, especially during the south west monsoon which renders the calmer waters of the east coast favourable to the tactics of the Japanese U boat.

 

(c) Troop convoys on the African coast and between Bombay and Africa, Middle East, or Basra are likely to continue and absorb all the ocean escorts

 

(d) The recurrence of German and the appearance of Japanese raiders in the Indian Ocean must be considered a growing likelihood.

 

(e) Weather conditions during the south west monsoon will hamper the assembly of convoys in the open roadsteads on the west coast of India, and if the existing harbour congestion continues May even frustrate them.

 

The conclusions to be drawn were:

 

(i) Outward bound convoys from Bombay and Colombo should be formed whenever possible and given A/S escort for 300 or 400 miles before dispersal.

 

(ii) Inward bound convoys to Colombo and Bombay were impracticable because there were insufficient escorts to enable them to be escorted throughout the ocean passage to the

(n.b. line chopped at top)

 

Colombo should be instituted at once and sailed as frequently as the provision of escorts would allow.

 

3. The virtual closing down of ports on the east coast of India and the reduction in the amount of shipping allowed to come to Colombo has necessitated much diversion of shipping and transshipment of cargoes. The tremendous congestion at ports like Bombay and Karachi has not made things easier and the necessary dispersal of valuable Naval stores from Ceylon had added more difficulties. On the whole, however, after some initial confusion, the flow of shipping has been quite well maintained.

 

Submarines

 

4. Enemy submarine activity increased at the beginning of the month, timed, presumably to coincide the thrusts by surface and air forces. Eight attacks on merchant shipping occurred, resulting in the sinking of four ships and two dhows. All these attacks occurred in the first week of the month and thereafter none have been reported. None of the ships attacked were escorted and no successful counter attacks on submarines were carried out.

 

5. With a view of guarding against threat to oil traffic from the Persian Gulf, a cruiser was sent to strengthen the force at the disposal of the Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf, and has been used to back up a patrol by A/S craft in the Straits of Hormuz.

 

Air Raids on Ceylon

 

6. A striking force of about seventy Naval type 99 2 seater dive bombers from Japanese aircraft carriers attacked Colombo just before 0800 on Easter Sunday, 5th April. Both high level and dive bombing attacks were made, the targets being the harbour area, the shipping, and the Racecourse and Ratmalana aerodromes. The recently strengthened air and ground defences at Colombo went into action with success, the R.A.F. and Naval Air Arm accounting for 24 certains, 5 probables, and 25 damaged, while A.A. Fire brought down two. Our losses in aerial combat were 16, and in addition two Catalinas on reconnaissance and six Swordfish on passage from Trincomalee to Colombo were shot down. Blenheims were sent off as a striking force to the south of Ceylon, but failed to make contact.

 

7. When, towards the end of March, the first intelligence was received of the probability of an attack on Colombo, the harbour and examination anchorage were completed congested with shipping. Drastic steps were therefore necessary to reduce the immense target officered, and there were planned and put into effect on 31st March. Eight anchorages were selected, two off the northwest of Ceylon and six round the southern tip of India, and to these places thirty six ships were sailed in groups. It was not possible to give A/S protection in more than one anchorage. In addition to this, 25 ships were important cargoes were sent for refuge to Cochin. By the 4th April, six ships had returned to Colombo for working cargo or through lack of fuel and water. On the afternoon of the 4th April, intelligence of an imminent attack was received and steps were taken to reduce still further the number of ships remaining. Another 25 ships were sailed during the night 4th/5th April, with orders to sail to the westward, keeping to the northward of a line 250 degrees from Colombo and under orders to return after 1400 (local time) on 5th April. These ships were given A/S protection. As a result of the above dispersals, only 21 merchant ships, plus eight small auxiliaries and Fleet (n.b. word obscured) were left in the harbour. There were in addition HM Ships TRUSTY, TENEDOS, and DECOY – all unable to move from defects – HMS HECTOR about to revert to trade, and HMS LUCIA.

 

In view of the heavy and accurate bombing directed on the harbour and examination anchorage during the raid, there can be no doubt the dispersal of shipping put into effect saved what would have been a serious loss of tonnage. In the event the losses were small. HMS HECTOR was hit, set on fire, and will probably be a total loss; HMS TENEDOS was hit and sunk but May be salvable; HMS LUCIA was hit forward by one bomb but was patched up locally and sailed for Bombay for permanent repairs. The only merchant ship hit was the SS BENLEDI, which was set on fire; but the fire was soon extinguished by some gallant work on the part of the ship’s officers and those of SS BRITISH SERGEANT.

 

The bombing was accurate and directed at military objectives, and civilian casualties were slight. The effect of the raid was an enormous exodus of people from Colombo, and the work in the harbour, workshops, etc suffered badly in consequence.

 

At report on the raid has been forwarded to the Admiralty in my letter No. 663/E.I. 2705 of 20th April.

 

8. Trincomalee was attacked at about 0800 on the 9th April, the enemy this time consisting of about 40 fighters and 27 bombers. The objectives were the harbour, the Dockyard, and China Bay aerodrome, which was bombed accurately from high and low levels. The defenses again did well, the R.A.F. accounting for 21 certain, 14 probables, and 2 damaged. Our losses were eleven in aerial combat and one Catalina on reconnaissance. A flight of five Blenheims went out as a striking force, but all were shot down by fighters from the carriers before they could press home their attack.

 

9. In view of the success of the dispersal policy at Colombo and as the number of fighters at Trincomalee was small, the policy of dispersal was carried out here also and damaged in the harbour was slight. HMS EREBUS was hit, but not badly damaged and the SS SAGAING was set on fire and had to be beached.

 

10. Unfortunately, two Japanese aircraft returning from a reconnaissance over Colombo sighted, about 70 miles south of Trincomalee, HM Ships HERMES and HOLLYHOCK and HMAS VAMPIRE, together with tankers BRITISH SERGEANT and ATHELSTANE. The sighting report was intercepted at Colombo, and at 0330 (G.M.T.), the HERMES was ordered to return at best speed to Trincomalee as the attack there had passed it was hoped that time would permit some of the fighter escort being sent to her assistance. Less than two hours from the reporting signal, a striking force of between sixty and seventy aircraft delivered a very determined attack on the above mentioned ships and sank them all. Our fighters were not in time to provide assistance but even if they had been they would have been so hopelessly outnumbered that there could have been little probability their being able to save our ships.

 

As the enemy carriers were 180 to 200 miles from the HERMES it is deduced that the Japanese had held a complete striking force in reserve. Time would hardly have allowed for bombing up and refueling the force which had attacked Trincomalee.

 

The hospital ship VITA, on passage from Trincomalee to Colombo, was in the vicinity and picked up over 600 survivors. Others were rescued by local craft or swam ashore, all receiving great assistance from locally organized relief parties.

 

The other ships which had been sent to sea from Trincomalee were unmolested. These included HMS TEVIOTBANK, R.F.A. PEARLEAF, and loaded Armament Store Issuing Ships.

 

11. A report has been forwarded to the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, in my letter No. E.I. 3181 off 22nd April. A board of Enquiry was convened to enquire into the circumstances in which HMS HOLLYHOCK was without her full complement of H.A. weapons, and the report forwarded to Their Lordships.

 

12. Damage to the Dockyard was fairly serious, but luckily the Armament Depot was not hit. The Oil Fuel installation was not attacked, but one tank was set on fire by a shot down Japanese aircraft which crashed into it.

 

The effect on the civilian population was even worse than at Colombo and work in the Dockyard virtually ceased owing to lack of labour and the breakdown of the food supply organization.

 

Loss of HM Ships CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE

 

13. HM Ships CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE had been at Colombo on the 4th April, latter at long notice to complete defects. Both were sailed at 1600 (G.M.T.) 4th April to join the flag of the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet. At 0657 (G.M.T.) 5th April, HMS DORSETSHIRE reported she was being shadowed, and between 0700 and 0800 both ships were attacked by Japanese aircraft and sunk. An account of the events, as known at Colombo, which preceded the loss of these ships is attached as Appendix 4.

 

Eastern Fleet

 

14. As a result of the operations between the 29th March and 7th April, the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, decided that his primary objective of keeping the Fleet “in being” could not be achieved by remaining in the Addu Atoll – Ceylon area with his Fleet as constituted, by reason of the inferior fire power, protection, and endurance of the “R” class battleships, coupled with the greater superior numbers and performance of the aircraft in the enemy carriers.

 

Our decision was therefore made to leave the area, the “R” class battleships withdrawing to Mombasa, while HMS WARSPITE and the carriers proceeded to Bombay – Colombo being considered too unsafe with its existing defects.

 

Indian Ocean Bases

 

15. In view of this it was decided not to press on with the further defences of Addu Atoll which the M.N.B.D.O. were about to undertake. Seychelles has been given first priority instead and a combined reconnaissance is being carried out there, after which the intention that he M.N.B.D.O. shall proceed there to do the work.

 

It has been decided that a base is required for the Eastern Fleet in the Arabian Sea, and reconnaissance is being made of Salaya (which is to be called Port “F”

 

Commands

 

16. Consequent on the altered orientation of the Fleet, the question of changes of command and bases have been under discussion during the month. The matter has not yet been finally decided, but as a first step, the Administrative Staff of the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, has moved from Colombo to Kilindini

 

17. On the 30th April 1942 Naval forces on the East Indian Station were disposed as follows:

 

Arabian Sea

HMS CERES                
WORCESTERSHIRE        

 

Mauritius area

HMS MANCHESTER CITY             
JAY        

 

Persian Gulf

HMS DANAE             SEAMEW    
SCARAB   COCKCHAFER    
SEABELLE   ARTHUR CAVENAGH    
MILFORD COUNTESS   FULLMOON    
FLICKRIVET   IMPALA    
HNethMS   SOEMBA    

                          

West Coast of India

HMS PANTHER            CENTURION   CAPETOWN
NUBIAN   NIZAM   ISIS
KIMBERLEY   PANGKOR   PROTECTOR
ROVER   TEVIOTBANK   SPRINGTIDE
VERBENA   ATMOSPHERE   BILLOW
KEDAH   NAPIER   LUCIA
BARLANE   SHOREHAM    
HMAS   LISMORE   BATHURST
HHellMS   GEORGIOS AVEROFF    
HNethMS   SUMATRA   WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN
    K 14 (Submarine)    
Portuguese   GONCALVES ZARCO    
Persian   Three  Gunboats    

                                         

Ceylon area

HMS FALMOUTH            FARA   SCOUT
TULIP   SAMBHUR   MARGUERITE
OVERDALE WYKE   OKAPI   BALTA
HOXA   BARBOUR   ATHENE
BARRIER   BARRICADE   BARSTOKE
BARONIA   PRINCE DE LIEGE   GRAAF VAN VLAANDERAN
HMIS   JUMNA    
HHellMS   IERAX    
HNethMS   COLOMBIA   Submarine K 11
    Submarine K 15    

                                                 

Addu Atoll area

HMS BARMILL            HAITAN   JAN DE WAELE
TEAL   EREBUS   ASTER
HMIS   SONAVATI   SUTLEJ

                                             

Seychelles area

HMS WARSPITE (flag of CinC, Eastern Fleet)    
FORMIDABLE   ENTERPRISE   ALAUNIA
DECOY   FOXHOUND   NEWCASTLE
EMERALD   RANCHI   INDOMITABLE
PANTHER   PALADIN    
HMAS   NESTOR   NORMAN
HNethMS   HEEMSKERK    

 

East African Coast

HMS RESOLUTION (flag of V.A. 2nd in Command)             
ROYAL SOVEREIGN   CALEDON   FORTUNE
DRAGON   GRIFFIN   ALDENHAM
HOTSPUR   ARROW   ENGADINE
GROVE   CORFU   BARFOAM
KIRRIEMOOR   BARCLOSE    
BARFORD   LORD GREY    
HNethMS   ISAAC SWEERS    

 

At Durban

HMS REVENGE            RAMILLIES    VALIANT
DAUNTLESS   DEVONSHIRE   COLOMBO
CHITRAL   JAVELIN   EXMOOR
CROOME   HERMIONE   FREESIA
CROMER   POOLE   FRITILLARY
ADAMANT   BACHAQUERO    

                                       

                                         

 

 

APPENDIX I

 

PARTICULARS OF CONVOYS ESCORTED DURING APRIL 1942

 

 

Convoy SU 4 (Bombay to Fremantle)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
HOLBROOK   Fremantle   1264 troops from Bombay
1739 troops from Colombo
DUNTROON   Fremantle   703 troops from Bombay
627 troops from Colombo
KATOOMBA   Mauritius (21/4)   640 troops from Bombay
212 troops from Colombo
PARDO   Durban (28/4)   Ballast. Joined convoy at Colombo
KENMAR   Durban (28/4)   Ballast. Joined convoy at Colombo
FELIX ROUSSEL   Fremantle   2054 personnel. Joined at Mombasa
MENDOZA   Durban   Personnel

  

Narrative:

Convoy sailed from Bombay 4th April, escorted by HM Ships CHITRAL and FALMOUTH and arrived Colombo 8th April.

Convoy, joined by PARDO and KENMAR, left Colombo on 12th April, escorted by HMS CHITRAL and HM Ships FALMOUTH and ASTER as A/S escort to about 70 degrees East.

KATOOMBA, PARDO, and KENMAR parted company in about 70 degrees East and proceeded independently.

Convoy, less Durban and Mauritius portions, arrived Mombasa 20th April. FELIX ROUSSEL and MENDOZA joined convoy which left 21st April, escorted by HMS CHITRAL. HMS COLOMBO sailed Mombasa to overtake and escort convoy.

Convoy arrived Durban 27th April.

Convoy sailed Durban 1st May, escorted by HMS CHITRAL. Speed 15 knots.     

 

 

Convoy B A 20 (Bombay – Aden)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
TALMA   Aden   Troops and stores

 

Narrative:

Sailed 8th April, escorted by HMS CORFU. Speed of advance 11 knots.

 

 

Convoy B P 38 (Bombay – Basra)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
EL MADINA   Basra (13/4)   Personnel
NEURALIA   Basra (20/4)   Personnel

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed independently, unescorted. EL MADINA left Bombay on 8th April, NEURALIA on 14th.

 

 

Convoy C M 27 (Durban – Aden)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
EMPIRE TROOPER   Aden   Personnel

 

Narrative:

Convoy left Durban 14th April, escorted by HMS CERES. Speed 12 knots.

Arrived Mombasa 21st April. Left 22nd April. Arrived Aden 28th April.

 

 

Convoy M B 1 (Colombo – Bombay)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
HMS TEVIOTBANK   Bombay (26/4)     
HMS SPRINGTIDE   Bombay   straggled. Parted company 16th
GOGRA   Bombay (26/4)   ballast
PROME   Bombay (26/4)   mines
NELLORE   Bombay (26/4)   ballast
SAIDJA   Bombay (26/4)   oil
MATANG   Bombay (26/4)   explosives
STANMORE   Cochin (17/4)   general
ARKTIKA   Karachi (22/4)   rubber and jute

                                  

Narrative:

Convoy left Colombo 15th April, escorted by HM Ships TULIP and VERBENA. Speed 8 knots (VERBENA proceed on one boiler)

 

 

Convoy B P 39 (Indian ports – Basra)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
ROHNA   Basra   from Bombay
DUNERA   Basra    from Karachi

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed 18th April, unescorted.

 

 

Convoy C 12

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
HMS KELANTAN   Mombasa via Seychelles    
KWAI SANG   Aden    
LIVATHO   Aden    
MICHAEL LIVANOS   Durban    
BRITISH LOYALTY   Seychelles    
DORYSSA   Seychelles    

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed from Colombo 21st April, escorted by HMS MARGUERITE and HMIS SONAVATI to about 70 degrees East when the convoy dispersed and proceeded independently.

 

 

Convoy M B 2 (Colombo to Bombay)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
DEVONSHIRE   Bombay    
SHENGKING   Bombay    
VAN OUTHOORN   Bombay    
VALDEMOSA   Abadan    
STEAUS ROMANA   Abadan    
BRITISH ENERGY   Cochin    

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed from Colombo 0600Z, 21st April, escorted by HMS FALMOUTH and HMAS LISMORE. LISMORE was detached after passing Cochin with VAN OUTHOORN, VALEDMOSA, and STEAUS ROMANA to proceed to Bombay. VAN OUTHOORN detached off Bombay and LISMORE escorted the tankers onwards for approximately 300 miles.

 

 

Convoy B A 21 (Bombay – Aden)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
SANTHIA   Aden   Personnel
CHANGTE   Aden   Stores

 

Narrative:

Convoy left Bombay 24th April, escorted by HMS WORCESTERSHIRE, and arrived Aden 1st May.

 

 

Convoy B P 40 (Karachi – Basra)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
ISLAMI   Basra   Troops
EKMA   Basra   Troops
EMPIRE RANI   Basra   M. T.
LANCASHIRE   Basra   Troops

 

Narrative:

First three ships left Karachi 24th April. LANCASHIRE left Bombay 25th April.

 

 

Convoy B M 16 (Bombay – Colombo)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
JALAYAKRISHNA   Colombo    

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed 25th April, escorted by HMIS JUMNA and HMS TULIP. Speed 8 knots. Arrived 30th April

 

 

Convoy W S 17 and A S 2

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks

Capetown section

       
CITY OF EDINBURGH   Aden   M.T.
CITY OF LINCOLN   Aden   M.T.
GLAUCUS   Aden   M.T.
NIEUW HOLLAND   Bombay   Personnel

JOHAN VAN    

 OLDENBARNEVELT

  Bombay   Personnel
DUNEDIN STAR   Bombay   M.T.
KINA II   Bombay   Personnel
ALMANZORA   Mombasa   Personnel
SAMARIA   Mombasa   Personnel
CAMERONIA   Mombasa   Personnel.
Durban section        
ELIZABETHVILLE   Aden   Personnel
NOVA SCOTIA   Mombasa   Personnel
MENDOZA   Mombasa   Personnel
KHEDIVE ISMAIL   Mombasa   Personnel
WINDSOR CASTLE   Bombay   Personnel
A S 2        
MORMACTIDE   Karachi   joined convoy off Port Elizabeth
BRAZIL   Karachi   joined convoy off Port Elizabeth
MONTEREY   Abadan   joined convoy off Port Elizabeth
CHANTILLY   Aden   Personnel. Joined convoy at Mombasa

                             

Narrative:

Capetown section left 27th April escorted by HMS DAUNTLESS to meet Durban section escorted by HMS REVENGE. Section known as A S 2 joined off Port Elizabeth

HMS ADAMANT sailed with convoy from Mombasa and arrived on 8th May

HMS DAUNTLESS detached 8th May with ships for Mombasa

HM Ships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and CORFU sailed Mombasa 8th May to meet the convoy in position 04-02S, 40-55E on 8th May

HM Ships REVENGE and DAUNTLESS with Mombasa section arrived 9th May.

Mombasa section, joined by CHANTILLY, left 10th May, escorted by HMS RANCHI.

HMS CORFU detached in position 5-30N, 50-02E to escort Aden section to Aden. HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN continued with the Bombay section.

MENDOZA and CHANTILLY detached in position 9040N, 58-15E to proceed independently.

MONTEREY detached after passing through longitude 60 degrees east to proceed independently to Abadan

 

 

Convoy C 13

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
HMS EREBUS   Seychelles and Mombasa    
BENLEDI   Durban    
BRITISH JUDGE   Durban    
UFFINGTON COURT   Lourenco Marques    

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed from Colombo 28th April, escorted by HMS ASTER and HMIS SONAVATI.

Merchant ships detached in position 1-31N, 70-03E to proceed independently and ASTER and SONAVATI returned to Colombo

 

 

Convoy M B 3 (Colombo – Bombay)

 

Ship           Destination   Remarks
DILWARA   Bombay    
NEVASA   Bombay    
RAJULA   Bombay    
ST GOBAIN   Bombay    
CROMARTY   Karachi    

 

Narrative:

Convoy sailed from Colombo 29th April, escorted by HMS SHOREHAM and HMAS BATHURST.

 

 

 

APPENDIX 2

 

HIRED TRANSPORT MOVEMENTS (NOT IN CONVOY)

 

Ship

From/To

Remarks

WINGSANG

Akyab (1/4)/Calcutta

940 refugees

DILWARA

Adelaide (2/4)/Colombo(25/4)

210 personnel

KUTSANG

Calcutta (2/4)/Akyab (5/4)

Personnel

HEINRICH JESSEN

Calcutta (2/4)/Akyab (5/4)

Personnel

ROHNA

Colombo (2/4)/Bombay

31 personnel

ELLENGA

Kyaukpyu (2/4)/Calcutta (5/4)

2300 refugees

MAURETANIA

Suez (4/4)/Durban 13/4)

535 personnel, 1400 prisoners

THYSVILLE

Mombasa (6/4)/Durban

762 personnel

NIEUW AMSTERDAM

Durban (6/4)/Suez (16/4)

5624 personnel

ISLAMI

Aden (6/4)/Bombay (13/4)

1210 personnel

NOVA SCOTIA

Berbera (7/4)/Mombasa

2000 Italian evacuees

GLENGYLE

Aden (8/4)/Durban (16/4)

550 personnel. HMS VALIANT giving cover

FELIX ROUSSEL

Aden (9/4)/Mombasa

2054 personnel, escorted by HMS COLOMBO

ILE DE FRANCE

Durban (9/4)/Suez (19/4)

4776 personnel

ETHIOPIA

Kyaukpyu (10/4)/Calcutta (11/4)

Approximately 4000 refugees

ERINPURA

Kyaukpyu (10/4)/Calcutta (11/4)

Approximately 4000 refugees, plus 17 deserters, Burma Military Police

VARELA

Aden (11/4)/Bombay (17/4)

696 personnel

KUTSANG

Kyaukpyu (11/4)/Calcutta (13/4)

48 personnel, 1600 refugees

JOHAN DE WITT

Bombay (12/4)/Karachi (14/4)

personnel

BERGENSFJORD

Suez (12/4)/Durban

370 personnel, 1000 prisoners

VOLENDAM

Suez (13/4)/Durban(28/4)

400 personnel, 1000 prisoners

PRESIDENT DOUMER

Bombay (14/4)/Karachi (16/4)

personnel

STRATHEDEN

Bombay (14/4)/Capetown (26/4)

175 personnel, 100 civilians

CAP ST JACQUES

Aden (14/4)/Bombay (21/4)

995 personnel

DEVONSHIRE

Bombay (15/4)/Colombo (18/4)

1567 personnel, escorted by HMAS LISMORE

BURMA

Aden (15/4)/Mombasa (22/4)

508 personnel and Italian evacuees, escorted by HMS CORFU

RAJULA

Adelaide/Colombo (24/4)

252 personnel

EMPIRE PRIDE

Bombay (17/4)/Capetown (30/4)

260 personnel

NIEUW AMSTERDAM

Suez (17/4)/Durban (27/4)

personnel

SONTAY

Durban (18/4)/Mombasa (26/4)

748 personnel for Mombasa, 363 personnel for Middle East

SIBAJAK

Bombay (18/4)/Capetown (2/5)

100 personnel, 100 civilians

NEA HELLAS

Suez (19/4)/Port Sudan (21/4)

 

same ship

Port Sudan (22/4)/Durban (4/5)

730 personnel, 1700 prisoners

KAROA

Addu Atoll (20/4)/Bombay (25/4)

281 personnel

ILE DE FRANCE

Suez (20/4)/Durban

 

DUCHESS OF YORK

Bombay (21/4)/Capetown (3/5)

100 personnel

CHANTILLY

Berbera (22/4)/Mombasa (30/4)

32 personnel, 1300 Italian evacuees

PLANCIUS

Karachi (24/4)/Colombo (29/4)

 

DUNERA

Bandar Shapur (25/4)/Aden (3/5)

Polish troops

PRESIDENT DOUMER

Basra (26/4)/Aden (2/5)

Polish troops

TAKLIWA

Colombo (26/4)/ Bombay (29/4)

241 personnel

JOHAN DE WITT

Bandar Shapur (27/4)/Aden (6/5)

Polish troops

AWATEA

Bombay (27/4)/Capetown (8/5)

personnel

TALMA

Aden (29/4)/ Bombay (6/5)

personnel, escorted by HMS CERES

ELLENGA

Bombay (28/4)/Colombo (1/5)

personnel, escorted by HMS FALMOUTH

 

 

 

APPENDIX 3

 

STATION INTELLIGENCE

 

International Policy

 

On the 17th April, the Admiralty announced that the Soviet Naval Staff wished to send five Naval Officers to Iran to act as Liaison Officers between their ships and our Naval Control Service organization. The Admiralty considered two would be sufficient. On the 27th April, the Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf, stated that in his opinion, there was no need for any liaison officers and that it was much simpler for Russian ships to be on the same footing as other Allied ships as no difficulties had been experienced to date; but if, for other reasons, Liaison officers must be sent, two would be ample.

 

French shipping

 

2. CONDE At Tamatave. Sailing date postponed to about 18th May. (Chief Censor Mauritius)

Sloop D’IBERVILLE. Reports indicate that this ship was at Reunion on 20th April, at Tamatave on 28th April, and at Diego Suarez on 30th April. (Chief Censor Mauritius)

 

German shipping

 

3. WARTENFELS On 22nd April, the Staff Officer (Intelligence) Capetown reported that this ship, which has been refugeeing at Diego Suarez, was expected to sail shortly for Germany.

RUFIDJI There have been a number of reports from the British Consul at Beira that this vessel was preparing to leave Beira. There is a possibility that some alterations to her appearance may be effected.

 

Madagascar

 

4. On the 28th March, the Staff Officer (Intelligence) at Aden reported that the following information had been obtained from a Vichy French Officer.

 

(a) Three French GLOIRE class cruisers were expected at Diego Suarez at the end of November 1941.

 

(b) A large amount of war equipment was landed by the SS BANGKOK and other ships, including A.A. guns, aeroplanes, and spare parts for lorries.

 

(c) Intensive production of synthetic petrol and vegetable oil is now in operation.

 

(d) Many Vichy warships have now removed their mainmasts to facilitate A.A. fire

 

(e) The following enemy ships were at Diego Suarez in November 1941: WARTENFELS (German), SOMALIA and DUCA DEGLI ABRUZZI (Italian).

 

5. On the 23rd April, the Chief Censor, Mauritius reported that in a broadcast from Tamatave, all officers and non commissioned-officers who were in the reserve may now return for active duty. A similar announcement was made in August 1939 when the police persuaded reservists to volunteer for training.

 

Marmagoa

 

6. On the 27th April, the Staff Officer (Intelligence), Bombay, reported that he had received information from the British Vice Consul at Marmagoa to the effect that the Axis ships refuging at that port had for some time not been swinging at the turn of the tide and they had remained stationary with their bows facing the harbour entrance.

 

Iraq

 

7. On the 25th March, the Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf, reported that Headquarters, Middle East, wished to use the Iraqi gunboats for police work on the Tigris, to protect I.W.T. craft, and after personal consultation with the British Ambassador and General Officer Commanding 10th Army he recommended that the Navy should withdraw application for them in favour of the Army.

 

Bahrain

 

8. On the 18th April, the Commander in Chief, East Indies informed the Commander in Chief, Middle East, that the Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf, reported that a recommendation had been made by General Beresford in March to the effect that a battalion should be stationed at Bahrein for the protection of the refinery against air borne or submarine borne commando raids. There is no doubt that a small party of determined men, properly equipped, could put the refinery out of action for a considerable time. In view of the vital importance of our oil refineries in the Persian Gulf for the prosecution of the war in the whole of the Eastern Theatre and in the Mediterranean, it is strongly urged that some troops be sent to Bahrain now.

 

A report received from Bahrain dated 31st March 1942 indicates that the people of Bahrain are frightened at the thought of any considerable number of military forces being stationed on the island, as they fear that troops stationed on Bahrain will bring war to the island.

 

Ceylon

 

9. On the 15th April, the Commander in Chief, East Indies, in reply to an enquiry from the Admiralty regarding labour troubles in Colombo harbour, informed them that there was a marked improvement in the discharging rate of essential food supplies and military stores, due to labour corps, working parties from the Services, and the return of native labour such as had left Colombo after the raid on the 5th April.

 

10. On the 29th March, the Commander in Chief, Ceylon, informed the Admiralty that he proposed making an order under the Ceylon Defense Regulations corresponding to the United Kingdom Regulation authorizing the destruction of river craft in the event of actual or apprehended attack or invasion.

           

The question of compensation was raised, as it is understood that in Malaya some craft were requisitioned but compensation though promised was not actually paid, with the result that many other craft were concealed.

           

The issue raised is not confined to river craft only, as the Indian Chambers of Commerce and the Ceylon National Congress are also protesting against the adoption of the “scorched earth” policy.

 

11. On the 17th April, the Commander in Chief, Ceylon, request that the Commander in Chief East Indies …. (n.b. bottom of page chopped)….. officer with suitable experience to visit all merchant ships arriving at Colombo with the object of ascertaining the nature and stowage of cargo carried in order that the turn round of merchant vessels calling at Colombo may be speeded up.

 

United States of America

 

12. On the 16th April, the Chief of Naval Operations instructed the U.S. Naval liaison Officer at Colombo that in order to avoid bunkering at ports involving long tanker hauls, all U.S. controlled merchant vessels returning homeward are to fuel to capacity in Indian ports, endeavouring to leave their last Eastern port full, so as to minimize (or, better still, eliminate) refueling at a South African port.

 

13. On the 16th April, the U.S. Naval Liaison Officer at Colombo informed the Chief of Naval Operations that, pending further advice and in concurrence with the Ministry of War Transport Representative, it is recommended that no further U.S. merchant ships call at Colombo except to discharge military, stores, or fuel.

 

14. On the 20th April, the Admiralty informed the Command in Chief, East Indies, that Lieutenant D. Wright, U.S.N.R. , had been assigned to the Naval Liaison Office at Calcutta. On the 21st April, the Secretary of State for the Colonies informed the Governor of Ceylon that Lieutenant W. Goldsborough, U.S.N.R. had been appointed as Naval Liaison at Colombo.

 

Submarine and convoy situation

 

15. On the 16th April, the Commander in Chief, East Indies, informed the Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, that the following was his appreciation of the submarine and convoy situation in the Indian Ocean.

 

Factors affecting the situation are:

 

(a). Colliers, tankers, and important war cargoes May still have to pass along the east coast of India.

 

(b). The submarine menace on the east coast of India cannot be discounted altogether, especially during the South west monsoon period which renders the calmer waters of the east coast favourable to the tactics of Japanese U boats.

 

(c). Troop convoys on the African coast and between Bombay and Africa, Middle East, or Basra are likely to continue and absorb all the ocean escorts.

 

(d) The recurrence of German the appearance of Japanese raider in the Indian Ocean must be considered a growing likelihood.

 

(e) Weather conditions during the south west monsoon will hamper the assembly of convoys in the open roadsteads on the west coast of India, and if the existing harbour congestion continues, May even frustrate them.

 

The following conclusions to be drawn are:

 

(i) Outward bound convoys from Bombay and Colombo should be formed whenever possible, to be escorted 300 or 400 miles before dispersal.

 

(ii) Inward convoys to Colombo and Bombay are impracticable since they are insufficient escorts to enable them to be escorted throughout the ocean passage to the point where the A/S escort needs to meet them.

 

(iii) Coastal convoys between Bombay and Colombo should be instituted now and sailed as frequently as availability of escorts will allow.

 

Station Boundaries

 

16. On the 16th April, the Admiralty announced that:

 

            Dividing line between Eastern and Pacific Theatres

 

From Cape Kami in the Luichow peninsula, around the coast of Tonkin Gulf, Indo China, Thailand, and Malaya to Singapore. From Singapore south to the north coast of Sumatra, thence round the east coast of Sumatra (leaving Sunda Strait to eastwards of the line) to a point on the coast of Sumatra at longitude 104 degrees East , thence south to latitude 8 degrees South, thence southeasterly towards Onslow, Australia, and on reaching longitude 110 degrees East, due south along that meridian. The Pacific Theatre extends eastward of this dividing line to the continent of North and South America.

 

17. On the 24th April, the Admiralty announced that as the eastern limit of the British area is close to the original limit of the East Indies Station, it is suggested that the term “Eastern Theatre” should now be dropped and “East Indies Station” reverted to when addressing ships in the Indian Ocean waters.

 

Activities of enemy submarines

 

18. On the 5th April, the Staff Officer (Intelligence) Capetown, reported that information, graded A 0, received from Lourenco Marques stated that an unknown submarine had been sighted 18 miles east of Mozambique Island a few days previously. On the 14th, the same officer reported that information received from another source stated that a submarine regularly visits a small island 1 mile off Mecufi (south of Port Amelia), embarks provisions and lands stores, possibly arms for Germans, in the Mecufi area. This information was graded C 3. It seems just possible that a Vichy submarine may be trading between Mecufi and Diego Suarez.

 

19. On the 27th April, the Staff Officer (Intelligence), Kilindini, reported that the Master of a Free French ship, SONTAY, in a report graded B 1, stated that at 1200 G.M.T. on the 23rd April, when in position 15-45S, 41-28E, course 340 degrees, a periscope and feather were sighted travelling on the same course. Seventeen rounds were fired, of which two were close to the periscope. The submarine did not submerge or surface.

 

20. On the 1st April the SS CLAN INNES reported she had sighted a submarine in position 07-01N, 75-45E.

 

21. The SS GLENSHIEL was torpedoed in position 00-48S, 78-32E on the 2nd April.

 

22. The SS CLAN ROSS was torpedoed in position 15-55N, 68-26E on the 2nd April.

 

23. The SS YENANG YUANG reported sighted a submarine in position 9-24N, 72-20E

 

24. On the 6th April, the Commander in Chief, East Indies, announced that submarines had been sighted in positions 02-08N 75-16E and 02-46N, 75-10E.

 

25. On the 7th April a submarine was sighted off Moretuwa, Ceylon, in position 06-51N, 78-27E.

 

26. On the 7th April the SS BAHADUR was attacked by torpedo and gunned in position 19-44N, 68-28E.

 

27. On the 7th April, SS ELMSDALE was gunned by submarine in position 6-31N, 78-27E.

 

28. On the 8th April, the Naval Officer in Charge, Karachi, reported that on the 4th April fisherman had sighted what appeared to have been a midget submarine close inshore off Ningor, 50 miles east of Ormara. The crew were thought to be Japanese.

 

29. On the 8th April, the Naval Officer in Charge, Cochin, reported that a submarine had been sighted off Cochin in position 9-24N, 75-09E.

 

30. The Staff Officer (Intelligence), Bombay, reports that on the 6th April, two Arab dhows, while proceeding to Kuwait from Calicut, were gunned and sunk by a submarine in position 200 miles, 270 degrees from Marmagoa.

 

31. A report received from the Maldive Islands stated that a Maldivian buggalow, while on passage from the Maldives from Colombo, was gunned by a submarine on the 10th April. Slight damage was inflicted.

 

32. The U.S. SS WASHINGTONIAN was torpedoed and sunk in the Eight Degree Channel on the 8th April. (n.b. narrative earlier stated 6th)

 

33. The SS LLANDAFF CASTLE reported on arrival in Durban that she had been attacked by a submarine in position 07-02N, 77-06E on the 5th March. One torpedo was fired, but missed.

 

Japanese air activities

 

34. Colombo was raided by a force of about 70 carrier borne aircraft on the 5th April. Harbour installations received some damage. HMS TENEDOS was sunk, HMS HECTOR set on fire, and H.M.C. LUCIA damaged by a hit. The majority of the enemy ‘planes in this raid have been identified as Navy type 99 ship borne two seater dive bombers. This type appears to be a modified type of Navy type 97 two seater reconnaissance bomber. The armament consists of two fixed Vickers .303 with two Lewis .303 on wooden mountings. They carried one bomb rack for 50 kilo bombs under each wing.

 

Special characteristics are:

 

            (i) Fixed undercarriage

            (ii) Detachable wings for ship stowage

            (iii) Split flaps with friction damped release

            (iv) Metal fuselage and wings, with fabric covered rudder and wing tips.

            (v) No protective armour or self sealing tanks.

            (vi) All aircraft brought down burnt fiercely, suggesting high magnesium content of alloy.

 

35. HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL were sunk in position 230 miles southwest of Dondra Head on the 5th April while on passage from Colombo to join the Eastern Fleet.

 

36. The following ships have been attacked by enemy aircraft in the Bay of Bengal and all sunk except SS SILKSWORTH, which was abandoned.

 

4th April: HMIS HAIDERA

 

5th April: SS HARPASSA, GANDARA, POINT CLEAR (Greek), GANGES, and DARDANUS

 

6th April: SS SILKSWORTH, BIENVILLE (USA), SINKIANG, MALDA, VA DER CAPELLEN (Dutch), ANGO CANADIAN, SELMA CITY, DAGFRED (Norwegian), HMIS INDUS

 

9th April: HMS HERMES, HMAS VAMPIRE, HMS HOLLYHOCK, SS ATHELSTANE, BRITISH SERGEANT, Armament Store Issuing Ship BAMORA

 

37. The following ships were attacked and sunk by Japanese surface vessels in the Bay of Bengal: SS HERMOD (Norwegian), BATAVIA (Dutch), EXMOOR (USA), AUTOLYCUS, BANJOEWANGI (Dutch), TAKSANG, ELSA (Norwegian), SHINKUANG, and the SS FULTALA off the west coast of India.

 

38. On the 9th April, a Japanese carrier borne air attack developed on Trincomalee in which 40 fighters and 27 bombers took part. China Bay aerodrome and Dockyard Installations were damaged. The SS SAGAING was set on fire and HMS EREBUS was hit.

 

39. On the afternoon of the 4th April, air reconnaissance reported a large enemy naval force 360 miles south of Ceylon. By 0545 on the 5th, this force had closed to within 110 miles of the island was known to contain, among other units, two battleships and two cruisers. These battleships were identified as one of the NAGATO class and either HUSO or YAMASIRO. The number of aircraft employed in the air raid on Colombo and the probable requirements for local protection of their carriers and fleet lead to the conclusion that not less that three but not more than four carriers were employed.

 

On the afternoon of 9th April an enemy force consisting of three aircraft carriers and nine large vessels, accompanied by destroyers, was observed in position 8-25N, 84-15E, course 180 degrees, speed 25 knots. This force was undoubtedly responsible for the raid on Trincomalee and shipping.

 

Events as known in Colombo which preceded the loss of HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL; Z = G.M.T., F= local time:

 

On the 3rd April, the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, detached HMS DORSETSHIRE and HMS CORNWALL to sail to Colombo after operating with the Eastern Fleet south of Ceylon. The ships arrived at Colombo on the 4th April at 1000F. (CinC, E.F.’s 1537Z/2)

 

2. The Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, had indicated that the CORNWALL would be available for escorting Convoy S U 4 but had made no indication of the purpose for the DORSETSHIRE’s visit. As, however, the DORSETSHIRE had been in dock when sent out to join the Commander in Chief’s operations, and as she had three major engine room defects, which it was very desirable, although not essential, to complete, HMS DORSETSHIRE was ordered to be at long notice to complete her defects (Deputy CinC., E.F.’s 0626Z/4)

 

3. At 1005Z/4 a Catalina on patrol reported a large enemy force in position 00-39N, 83-10E, steering 330 degrees. No amplifying report was received and it is presumed that the aircraft was intercepted and shot down. It was anticipated therefore that an attack on Colombo and/or Trincomalee was to take place early the next morning, Sunday, 5th April

 

4. The Commanding Officers of the DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL were called to the Naval Office and the information of the enemy was discussed with them by the Deputy Commander in Chief and the Chief of Staff, Eastern Fleet. It was pointed out to the Commanding Officers that in the bright moonlight of a clear night, it was quite out of the question that they could hope to deliver a night attack, even on an enemy transport convoy, and that their duty was to keep clear and join the Commander in Chief. Both Commanding Officers entirely agreed with this appreciation.

 

5. The Deputy Commander in Chief therefore ordered the ships to raise steam and sail in company under the orders of the Senior Officer (Captain A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, HMS DORSETSHIRE) at 1600Z/4 and proceed on a course 220 degrees, 22 knots to be made good (Deputy CinC, E.F.’s 1329Z/4). This course would take the ships towards Addu Atoll and the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, in HMS WARSPITE. The time ordered was selected to enable the DORSETSHIRE to assume complete readiness after having begun to take her engine room defects in hand, and to enable both ships to ensure the return of their libertymen. The Deputy, Commander in Chief informed the Admiralty and the Commander in Chief of the intended movements of the DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL in his 1405Z/4.

 

6. At 2111Z/4, the Deputy Commander in Chief received instructions from the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet to order the DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL to rendezvous with him at 1600F/5 in position 00-58N, 77036E. If the Fleet (which was steering 070 degrees, 18 knots) was not met, the DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL were to steer 090 degrees until 2200, then 270 degrees and subsequently to vicinity of rendezvous at 0800F/6.

 

(n.b. bottom of page chopped)

 

7. ……………………………..DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL by the Deputy Commander in Chief in his 2209Z. It is probably that this signal was received by the DORSETSHIRE before the Catalina report 0048Z/5 (see next paragraph). It is a matter for speculation whether the Commanding Officer, HMS DORSETSHIRE, altered course direct for the rendezvous or carried on further on course 220 degrees. The latter appears more probable, as he was aware of the enemy’s approximate position as deduced from the first sighting report. Moreover this supposition is supported by the actual position of HMS DORSETSHIRE when she made the report that she was being shadowed at 0657Z (see paragraph 10 below). The position made in this signal seems to indicate that she was then steering about 180 degrees for the rendezvous. At this time no further information of the enemy has been received.

 

8. At 0048Z/5 a Catalina reported sighting one battleship and two cruisers in position 04-04N, 80-00E, steering 290 degrees (time of receipt (0102Z/5) This report was subsequently corrected by the Catalina to two battleships, two cruiser, and destroyers at 0225Z/5. Enemy’s course and speed were reported by Catalina at 0404Z/4 to be 282 degrees, 12.5 knots. These reports were immediately broadcast on Station wave lengths at 0103Z/5, 0249Z/5, and 0457Z/5 respectively.

 

9. At 0657Z/5 HMS DORSETSHIRE reported that she was being shadowed by enemy aircraft in position 2-12N, 77-47E.

 

10. At 0746Z/5, Deputy Commander in Chief instructed the DORSETSHIRE to report her position, course, and speed. This order was given since DORSETSHIRE had already broken W/T silence and it was thought important that the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet should know whether the DORSETSHIRE was being shadowed on an altered course or was still steering for the rendezvous. The Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, was himself keeping W/T silence.

 

11. In his 1130/5, the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, ordered HMS DORSETSHIRE to steer south. The Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet’s course and speed at that time were 210 degrees from position 00-45N, 77-39E, 18 knots.

 

12. At 1243Z/5, the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, informed DORSETSHIRE that his course was now 315 degrees and DORSETSHIRE was to conform.

 

13. At 1511Z/5, the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, reported that available evidence suggested by HM Ships DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL were attacked by enemy aircraft in position 02N, 78E, and one or both cruisers sunk.

 

14. It is considered probable that the DORSETSHIRE and CORNWALL continued on the course 220 degrees, 22 knots, until about 2300/4 and then altered course for the rendezvous. Taking into consideration the probable information available at the time to the Commanding Officer, HMS DORSETSHIRE, this is considered to have been a reasonable course of action.

 

 

 

APPENDIX 5

 

STAFF CHANGES ON THE EAST INDIES STATION DURING APRIL

 

2nd April - Rear Admiral V.H. Danckwerts, CMG, arrived at Colombo by air to assume duty of Chief of Staff (Ashore) to the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet.

 

5th April - Captain F. Howard, DSC, RN (retired), formerly Commanding Officer, HMS HECTOR , appointed LANKA addition as Captain Superintendent, Ceylon. Captain C.A. Merriman, RN (retired), who had formerly held the dual appointment of Captain in Charge, Colombo, and Captain Superintendent, henceforward held the former appointment only.

 

8th April - Rear Admiral A.D. Reed, appointed as Flag Officer in Charge, Addu Atoll, and Acting Captain W.O. Scrymgeour-Wedderburn, DSC, RN., his Chief of Staff, arrived at Colombo by air. The appointment to Addu Atoll being cancelled, Rear Admiral Read and Captain Scrymgeour-Wedderburn left for Mombasa in HMS ALAUNIA on 24th April.

 

12th April - Captain J.O.N. Wood, RN (retired), formerly Naval Officer in Charge, Trincomalee was reappointed Chief of Staff Officer to Flag Officer in Charge Trincomalee and Commander B.L. Clark, RN (retired) appointed temporarily was Deputy Chief of Staff Officer.

 

 Acting Surgeon Rear Admiral G.D.G. Ferguson, MRCS, LRCP, arrived in Colombo to assume duty in charge of the R.N. Auxiliary Hospital.

 

24th April - Commodore F. Elliott, OBE, Commodore in charge of Naval Air Stations, left Colombo in HMS INDOMITABLE for Kilindini.

 

 

 


 

 

EASTERN FLEET WAR DIARY

 


Area of operations, click to enlarge

 

 

MAY 1942

 

 

May 1st

 

Convoy W S 17 with HMS ADAMANT, escorted by HM Ships REVENGE and DAUNTLESS left Durban for Kilindini

HMS CHITRAL left Durban escorting convoy S U 4 to Fremantle

Convoy B A 21, escorted by HMS WORCESTERSHIRE arrived at den

HM Ships FORMIDABLE, NEWCASTLE, DECOY, FOXHOUND, and HM Australian Ships NESTOR and NORMAN left Seychelles

HMS KELATIN arrived at Seychelles en route to Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting H.T. ELLENGA and HMS SCOUT escorting HMS ATHENE arrived at Colombo

HMS LUCIA after temporary repairs at Colombo, arrived Bombay with HMIS HINDUSTAN for permanent repairs.

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at Diego Garcia

HHellMS IRERAX left Colombo for Cochin, Bombay, and Aden

HNethMS HEEMSKERCK left Seychelles for Mauritius and Durban

HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS arrived at Kilindini

 

May 2nd

 

HMS CARLISLE on passage to Durban from the Mediterranean left Aden for Kilindini

HM Ships RESOLUTION, CALEDON, DRAGON, FORTUNE, GRIFFIN, and HOTSPURE arrived at and left Seychelles for Kilindini.

H.M.S KELANTAN left Seychelles for Kilindini

HMIS JUMNA and HMS TULIP left Colombo escorting convoy C 14

HMS SCOUT left Colombo to locate and assist the rock breaker NAUTILUS, in difficulties south east of Ceylon

 

May 3rd

 

HMS ALAUNIA arrived at Kilindini from Seychelles

HMS RANCHI left Seychelles for Kilindini

H.N.M. Submarine K 15 left Colombo for patrol.

HMIS JUMNA, detached from escort duty with Convoy C 14, ordered to locate and assist the rock breaker NAUTILUS which she later took in tow.

 

May 4th

 

HMS EREBUS arrived at Seychelles

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE left Aden to locate and escort RELIANT to Kilindini

HHellMS IERAX arrived at Bombay from Colombo.

 

May 5th

 

Attack launched on Diego Suarez (Operation IRONCLAD – see Appendix 1)

HMS DANAE arrived at Bahrain for service in the Persian Gulf and HM Ships ATMOSPHERE and BILLOW left Bombay for Bahrein.

BDVs BARRICADE and BARRIER left Colombo for Addu Atoll and Seychelles.

HMS CERES, escorting H.T. TALMA, arrived at Bombay.

HMS ALAUNIA left Kilindini for Colombo

 

May 6th

 

HMS BALTA left Trincomalee to meet HMIS JUMNA, towing the NAUTILUS, and escort ships to Trincomalee. HMS SCOUT to return to Colombo.

HMS RANCHI arrived at Kilindini from Seychelles

HMIS SUTLEJ left Diego Garcia for Addu Atoll and Colombo.

HMS ASTER and HMIS SONAVATI returned to Colombo from escort duty.

HMS ENGADINE arrived at Durban from Kilindini

HM Ships BOSTON and SEAHAM (14th Minesweeping Flotilla) and Free French trawler REINA DES FLOTS left Durban on passage to the Mediterranean.

 

May 7th

 

Admiralty message received concerning the appointments of the Commander in Chief, East Indies, (to lapse) and other appointments in the Indian Ocean area.

Diego Suarez captured

HMS BIRMINGHAM arrived at Kilindini for Simonstown

HMS CARLISLE arrived at the left Kilindini, for Durban

HM Ships CROOME and EXMOOR, on passage to Mediterranean, arrived at Kilindini

Combined convoys B P 41 and B A 23 left Bombay escorted by HMAS LISMORE and HMIS DIPAVATI to position 20N, 68E.

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at and left Addu Atoll for Colombo

HMS KELANTAN arrived at Kilindini from Seychelles

HMS TULIP returned to Colombo from escort duty.

HHellMS IERAX left Bombay for Aden

Portuguese sloop GONCALVES ZARCO left Marmagoa to Lourenco Marques.

 

May 8th

 

HMIS JUMNA, towed NAUTILUS, and escorted by HMS BALTA arrived at Trincomalee

HM Ships CALEDON, DRAGON, EMERALD, ENTERPRISE, FORTUNE, and GRIFFIN arrived at Kilindini

HM Ships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and CORFU, HMS ARROW and HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS left Kilindini to meet HMS REVENGE, escorting Convoy W S 17, in position 4-02S, 40-55E, where the former two ships took over the escort of the Bombay and Aden Sections, respectively and the latter two ships escorted HMS REVENGE to Kilindini. HMS DAUNTLESS, escorting HMS ADAMANT and the remainder of convoy W S 17, proceeded to Kilindini.

HM Ships CROOME and EXMOOR left Kilindini for Aden

HMS WHITEHAVEN left Durban for Kilindini

HMS ATHENE left Colombo for Seychelles and Kilindini, escorted by HMS SCOUT as far as longitude 72-30E.

HMAS NAPIER left Bombay for Colombo           

           

9th May

 

HMS CERES left Bombay for duty in the Persian Gulf, relieving HMS DANAE

Arrivals at Kilindini: HM Ships REVENGE, AROW, DAUNTLESS, ADAMANT, HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS, Convoy W S 17

Convoy M B 4 (for Bombay) left Colombo escorted by HMIS SONAVATI (for Colombo) and HMS MARGUERITE

Convoy B M 17 (for Colombo) left Bombay escorted by HMS SHOREHAM and HMAS BATHURST           

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at Colombo from Addu Atoll.

BDV BARMILL left Addu Atoll for Colombo

 

May 10th

 

British ship NANKIN reported being gunned and bombed in position 26-43S, 89-56E. (See Appendix 1)

Arrivals at Kilindini: HM Ships WARSPITE (flag of CinC, Eastern Fleet), FORMIDABLE, NEWCASTLE, FOXHOUND, DECOY, HM Australian Ships NESTOR and NORMAN

Convoy W S 17 B 2, escorted by HMS RANCHI, left Kilindini for Bombay

HMS EREBUS left Seychelles for Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting R.F.A. SINGU, left Colombo for Addu Atoll

HMS MANXMAN left Durban for Diego Suarez

HMAS NAPIER arrived at Colombo from Durban

 

May 11th

 

HMS WUCHANG commissioned as submarine accommodation ship at Colombo

HMAS NAPIER left Colombo for Seychelles and Kilindini

HMS SCOUT returned to Colombo from escort duty.

 

May 12th

 

Rear Admiral C.G. Stuart, DSO, DSC, assumed duty as Flag Officer, East Africa and Zanzibar, with headquarters at Kilindini. He will operate and administrate local defence forces in his area and will be responsible for all East African bases and those in the Western Indian Ocean other than Addu Atoll which will continue to be administered from Ceylon

HM Ships RESOLUTION, ARROW, and FOXHOUND left Kilindini for Durban

HMIS SUTLEJ left Colombo for Cocos Islands

HM Ships BILLOW and ATMOSPHERE arrived at Bahrain for service in the Persian Gulf

 

May 13th

 

HMS ALAUNIA arrived at Colombo from Kilindini

HMS ATHENE arrived at Seychelles from Colombo

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting R.F.A. SINGU, arrived at Addu Atoll.

HMS MANXMAN arrived at and left Diego Suarez for Kilindini

HMS PANGKOR left Bombay for duty in the Persian Gulf.

HNethMS COLOMBIA, with submarines O 19 and O 23, left Colombo for Bombay, escorted by HMS SCOUT

 

May 14th

 

HMS CHITRAL, escorting Convoy S U 4, arrived at Fremantle.

HMS DANAE, on relief by HMS CERES, left the Persian Gulf for Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH sent to locate and assist BDVs BARRIER and BARRICADE, overdue at Addu Atoll from Colombo. A Catalina cooperated and located the ships. BARRICADE was taken in tow by FALMOUTH, BARRIER in company. BARRIER later proceeded to Addu Atoll independently.

BDV BARMILL arrived at Colombo from Addu Atoll and BDVs GRAAF VAN VLANDEREN and PRINCE DE LIEGE left Colombo for Addu Atoll and Seychelles.

HMS HOTSPUR sent to assistance of SS HERISLE which had broken off her rudder in the vicinity of Kilindini.

Convoy B M 17, escorted by HMS SHOREHAM and HMAS BATHURST, arrived at Colombo.

HMS ATHENE left Seychelles for Kilindini

 

May 15th

 

HMS PANGKOR (for the Persian Gulf) arrived at Karachi with defects.

HMS CORFU, escorting H.T. DUNERA, left Aden for Bombay

 

May 16th

 

HMS FALMOUTH, towing BDV BARRICADE arrived at Addu Atoll

HM Ships MANXMAN and EREBUS arrived at Kilindini

HMS KELANTAN left Kilindini for Durban

Convoy W S 17 , escorted by HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN, arrived at Bombay.

Convoy M B 5 (for Bombay) left Colombo escorted by HM Ships SHOREHAM and TULIP.

HNethMS COLOMBIA with submarines O 19 and O 23, escorted by HMS SCOUT arrived at Bombay.

 

May 17th

 

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at and left Cocos Islands for Colombo

HMAS NAPIER and HM Ships ATHENE and HOTSPUR arrived at Kilindini

HMS GAMBIA left Simonstown for Kilindini

 

May 18th

 

The following ships left Kilindini: HM Ships CALEDON, DRAGON, EMERALD, ENTERPRISE, DECOY, FORTUNE, GRIFFIN, HOTSPUR, and HMAS NORMAN

HM Ships RESOLUTION and FOXHOUND arrived at Durban from Kilindini

HMAS NIZAM arrived at and left Seychelles for Kilindini

BDVs GRAAF VAN VLANDEREN and PRINCE DE LIEGE arrived at Addu Atoll and BARONIA and BARSTOKE left Colombo for Addu Atoll.

HMS WHITEHAVEN arrived at Kilindini on passage to the Mediterranean.

 

May 19th

 

The following ships, dispersed from Operation IRONCLAD, proceeded to Kilindini: HM Ships ANTHONY, ACTIVE, JAVELIN, ILLUSTRIOUS, INDOMITABLE, HERMIONE, PAKENHAM, PALADIN, CROMER, CROMARTY, POOLE, and ROMNEY (escorting SS CITY OF HONGKONG and MAHOUT).

HM Ships CENTURION (on passage to the Mediterranean) and SCOUT left Bombay for Aden and Colombo respectively.

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting R.F.A. SINGU, left Addu Atoll to return to Ceylon

HMS ARROW, on passage to Durban, arrived at and left Beira.

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE, escorting H.T. BURMA to the vicinity of Berbera, and HM Ships BOSTON and SEAHAM (for Aden) left Kilindini

HMS TETCOTT left Durban for Kilindini

HMS RANCHI arrived at Bombay escorting convoy W S 17 B 2

HMS CHITRAL left Fremantle for Mauritius

HMS TRUANT left Colombo on patrol.

 

May 20th

 

British ship MUNDRA reported being attacked (without results) by an enemy bomber off Gopalpur.

HMS DEVONSHIRE, escorting convoy M B 1, left Diego Suarez for Bombay. HMS INCONSTANT left for Kilindini.

Convoy M B 5, escorted by HM Ships SHOREHAM and TULIP, arrived at Bombay

HMS RANCHI left Bombay for Colombo

 

May 21st

 

HMAS BATHURST, escorting Dutch submarine K 11, left Colombo for Bombay

HMS CORFU arrived at Bombay escorting H.T. DUNERA

HMAS NIZAM arrived at Kilindini and HMS ATHENE left for Capetown.

HMS ARROW arrived at Durban

 

May 22nd

 

The following ships arrived at Kilindini: HM Ships ANTHONY, ACTIVE, ILLUSTRIOUS, INDOMITABLE, JAVELIN, HERMIONE, PAKENHAM, PALADIN, CROMER, CROMARTY, POOLE, and ROMNEY.

HM Ships JASMINE and FRITILLARY left Diego Suarez for Durban

HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN left Bombay for Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH, escorting R.F.A. SINGU, arrived at Trincomalee

HMIS SUTLEJ arrived at Colombo

Portuguese sloop GONCALVES ZARCO arrived at Port Amelia.

 

May 23rd

 

HM Ships GAMBIA and INCONSTANT arrived at Kilindini. HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS left for Durban

BDVs BARONIA and BARSTOKE arrived at Addu Atoll.

Portuguese sloop GONCALVES ZARCO left Port Amelia.

 

May 24th

 

Commodore, Burma Coast, arrived at Colombo from Burma.

HMS KELANTAN arrived at Durban

HMS WHITEHAVEN, on passage to the Mediterranean, left Kilindini for Aden.

HMS TETCOTT, arrived at Kilindini

HMS SCOUT arrived at Colombo

Convoy B M 18, escorted by HM Ships SHOREHAM and TULIP, left Bombay for Colombo.

 

May 25th

 

HMAS BATHURST escorting Dutch submarine K 11, arrived at Bombay

HM Ships FALMOUTH and ASTER, escorting a tanker convoy, left Trincomalee. R.F.A. PEARLEAF met convoy south of Ceylon when convoy split, FALMOUTH and ASTER escorting the Addu Atoll and Colombo sections respectively.

HMS MANXMAN left Kilindini for Seychelles

HMS TETCOTT, on passage to the Mediterranean, left Kilindini

HMS RANCHI left Colombo

Convoy M B 6, escorted by HMIS SUTLEJ, left Colombo for Bombay

 

May 26th

 

Dutch ship DAISY MOLLER reported being unsuccessfully bombed by an enemy flying boat in position 7-48N, 82-30E.

Convoy B A 23 left Bombay for Aden, escort in the Bombay area being provided by HMS MARGUERITE

 

May 27th

 

Rear Admiral Danckwerts assumed duty as Deputy Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, ashore at Kilindini

HMS MANXMAN arrived at Seychelles

HM Ships MANCHESTER CITY and JAY left Mauritius for Diego Suarez

HMAS BATHURST, escorting V.S.I.S. TAIPING, left Bombay for Colombo

HMS ASTER arrived at Colombo escorting section of a tanker convoy from Trincomalee

HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS arrived at Durban and HNethMS VAN GALEN left for Kilindini

 

May 28th

 

B M 18, escorted by HM Ships SHOREHAM and TULIP, arrived at Bombay.

HMS MANXMAN left Seychelles for Colombo

HMS TRUSTY left Colombo on patrol

HMS CHITRAL arrived at Mauritius

HMS CORFU left Bombay for Kilindini

HMS MARGUERITE returned to Bombay from escort duty.

HM Ships JASMINE and FRITILLARY arrived at Durban

 

May 29th

 

HMS DANAE arrived Kilindini from the Persian Gulf

HMS DEVONSHIRE, escorting Convoy M B 1, arrived Bombay

HMS FALMOUTH arrived at Addu Atoll escorting section of tanker convoy from Ceylon

HMS FROBISHER, after escort duty with Convoy W S 18, arrived at Diego Suarez escorting H.T. LLANDAFF CASTLE

 

May 30th

 

HMS RAMILLIES and the tanker BRITISH LOYALTY torpedoed in Diego Suarez harbour. The latter sank with the fore part above water. Destroyers detached from the Eastern Fleet were sent to Diego Suarez (See Appendix 2)

HM Ships MANCHESTER CITY and JAY arrived at Diego Suarez and HMS FROBISHER left for Durban

HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Kilindini and HM Ships ENTERPRISE and EMERALD left for escort duty with Convoy WS 18. EMERALD to rejoin Eastern Fleet on relief by HMS WORCESTERSHIRE.

HMS FOXHOUND left Durban for Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH left Addu Atoll to return to Colombo.

 

May 31st

 

Appointment of Commodore, Burma Coast, lapsed.

HMS DEVONSHIRE left Bombay for Kilindini

HM Ships LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, and LOOKOUT arrived at and left Seychelles.

HMAS BATHURST escorting V.S.I.S. TAIPING arrived at Colombo

Convoy B M 19, escorted by HMS MARGUERITE, left Bombay for Colombo

HMS CYCLAMEN left Durban for Diego Suarez.

(n.b. bottom of page chopped).

 

 

Annex and Appendices for 1 May to 18 June 1942 follow the June list.

             

 


 

 

EASTERN FLEET WAR DIARY

 


Area of operations, click to enlarge

 

 

JUNE 1942

 

 

June 1st

 

Captain, Escort Group, Colombo, and staff established in offices at Colombo for the administration of all vessels of the East Indies Escort Group.

HM Ships MANXMAN and FALMOUTH arrived at Colombo

HMS PANGKOR, on completion of repairs at Karachi, resumed passage from Bombay to the Persian Gulf.

HNethMS VAN GALEN left Kilindini for Seychelles.

 

June 2nd

 

HMS FROBISHER arrived at and left Durban escorting Convoy C M 28 to Kilindini

HMAS LISMORE, escorting A.S.I.S. BAMORA (for Kilindini) left Bombay.

HNethMS VAN DER ZAAN, escorting convoy B M 20, left Bombay for Colombo.

 

June 3rd

 

HM Ships RAMILLES, ACTIVE, DECOY, and DUNCAN left Diego Suarez for Durban

Convoy K M 1, escorted by HM Ships DAUNTLESS and ANTHONY, left Kilindini for Diego Suarez.

HNethMS VAN GALEN arrived at and left Seychelles for Colombo.

 

June 4th

 

Captain FS Bell, CB, RN, assumed duty as Naval Officer in Charge, Trincomalee

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE arrived at Aden escorting convoy W S 18 A.

HMS CORFU arrived at Kilindini.

HMS ASTER left Trincomalee on escort duty.

 

June 5th

 

Arrivals at Colombo: HM Ships WARSPITE (Flag of CinC, Eastern Fleet), ILLUSTRIOUS, FORMIDABLE, GAMBIA, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, and LIGHTNING. The air striking forces of Ceylon and the carriers were exercised during the approach.

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE left Aden escorting H.T. DEVONSHIRE for Karachi.

HMS MARGUERITE returned to Colombo from escort duty.

British SS ELYSIA attacked and sunk by submarine in the vicinity of position 27-32S, 37-05E. (See appendix 2). HMS EMERALD was detached from the Eastern Fleet to investigate.

Panamanian SS ATLANTIC GULF attacked and sunk by submarine in position 20S, 38-03E.

British SS BENGLOE was attacked by submarine in position 11-19S, 45-02E.

U.S. S. MELVIN H. BAKER torpedoed and sunk in position 21-44S, 36-06E.

Panamanian SS JOHNSTOWN torpedoed and sunk in position 13-12S, 42-06E.

HM Ships CANTON and CHITRAL left Simonstown and Mauritius respectively to meet HMS EMERALD and with her patrol the southern entrance of the Mozambique Channel.

 

June 6th

 

Yugoslav SS SUSAK torpedoed and sunk in position 15-42S, 40-58E.

HMS DANAE left Kilindini to meet HM Ships DRAGON and DEVONSHIRE and patrol northern entrance of Mozambique Channel.

Convoy K M 1, escorted by HM Ships DAUNTLESS and ANTHONY, arrived at Diego Suarez, DAUNTLESS sailing later on patrol. HMS CYCLAMEN arrived from Durban

Convoy C 17 (Including R.F.A. SINGU and CLAN FORBES for Addu Atoll) left Colombo escorted by HM Ships SHOREHAM and FALMOUTH.

Arrivals at Colombo: Convoy B.M. 20, escorted by HNethMS VAN DER ZAAN. HMS TRUANT from patrol

HMAS LISMORE, having detached A.S.I.S. BAMORE to proceeded independently, returned to Bombay from escort duty.

 

June 7th

 

Convoy W S 18 B, escorted by HMS ENTERPRISE, arrived at Bombay.

HMS MANXMAN left Colombo for Bombay.

HMS ASTER arrived Colombo from escort duty.

 

June 8th

 

Greek SS AGIOS GEORGIOS IV shelled in position 16-12S, 41E and Greek SS CHRISTOS MARKETTOS torpedoed and sunk in position 5-05S, 40-53E.

HM Ships DANAE and DAUNTLESS to patrol on line Diego Suarez/Farquhar Island, CALEDON off Kilindini.

HMS DEVONSHIRE arrived at Kilindini

HMS ANTHONY left Diego Suarez for Kilindini

Convoy B A 24, escorted by HMIS SONAVATI, left Bombay for Aden.

HMS RANCHI arrived at and left Addu Atoll for Colombo.

Portuguese sloop GONCALVES ZARCO left Beira for Durban.

           

9th June

 

HM Ships RAMILLIES, ACTIVE, DECOY, and DUNCAN arrived at Durban from Diego Suarez. Approaches to Durban covered by HM Ships JASMINE and FRITILLARY

HMS DRAGON arrived at Kilindini from patrol.

HMS MANXMAN arrived at Bombay from Colombo

 

June 10th

 

HMS INDOMITABLE left Kilindini to meet HMS FROBISHER (from escort duty) and proceed in company to the north east.

HM Ships SHOREHAM and FALMOUTH escorting R.F.A. SINGU arrived at Addu Atoll.

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE escorting H.T. DEVONSHIRE arrived at Karachi.

 

June 11th

 

HM Ships RESOLUTION and CORFU left Kilindini escorting Convoy C M 28 and HMS DANAE arrived at and left Diego Suarez escorting convoy K M 1, convoys to meet and proceed to Bombay.

HMS DRAGON left Kilindini to relieve CALEDON on patrol, the latter arriving at Kilindini.

HMS GUARDIAN left Kilindini with convoy C M 28 to be detached to Diego Suarez to lay nets.

HMS Ships ACTIVE and DUNCAN left Durban for Kilindini.

HMS FALMOUTH escorting R.F.A. SINGU left Addu Atoll for Diego Garcia

Convoy B P 26, escorted by HMIS HINDUSTAN, left Bombay.

Portuguese sloop GONCALVES ZARCO returned to Beira.

 

June 12th

 

HM Ships WARSPITE (flag of CinC, Eastern Fleet), ILLUSTRIOUS, FORMIDABLE, GAMBIA, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT, and HNethMS VAN GALEN left Colombo to carry out a search of Chagos Bank, proceed to Addu Atoll for fuel and return to Colombo. Air striking forces of Ceylon and carriers were exercised during their departure.

HMS CALEDON relieved DRAGON on patrol off Kilindini.

HMS SHOREHAM, escorting Fleet Collier MARIT MAERSK, left Addu Atoll for Ceylon

HMAS LISMORE left Bombay escorting Convoy B M 21 to Colombo

R.A.F. Depot Ship MANELA left Durban for Kilindini

Portuguese sloop GONCALVES ZARCO left Beira for Lourenco Marques.

 

June 13th

 

HMS DEVONSHIRE arrived at Diego Suarez from patrol and left to meet HMS MAURITIUS escorting Convoy W S 19 W (From Capetown)

HMS DRAGON relieved CALEDON off Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH escorting R.F.A. SINGU arrived at Diego Garcia.

HMS ENTERPRISE left Bombay for Colombo

Accommodation ship CLAN FORBES (detached from convoy C 17) arrived at Seychelles

HMS ROSALIND left Colombo to relieve HMS SHOREHAM escorting MARIT MAERSK south of Ceylon.

 

June 14th

 

HM Ships REVENGE, ANTHONY, and FOXHOUND left Kilindini for Durban, DRAGON joining company from patrol off Kilindini

HMS FALMOUTH escorting R.F.A. SINGU left Diego Garcia for Addu Atoll.

HMS DANAE arrived at Kilindini from escort duty.

HMS WORCESTERSHIRE left Karachi for Aden.

HMS SHOREHAM arrived at Colombo from escort duty.

 

June 15th

 

Convoy W S 19, escorted by HMS EMERALD, left Durban. HM Ships HURSLEY and BELVOIR arrived at and left Durban to overtake and reinforce convoy escort.

HMS GUARDIAN arrived at Diego Suarez

Convoy B.P. 47 left Bombay escorted by HMIS SONAVATI.

Arrivals at Kilindini: HMS CALEDON from patrol; HM Ships ACTIVE and DUNCAN from Durban

A convoy of local defence vessels left Colombo for Seychelles escorted as far as 71 degrees east by HNethMS VAN DER ZAAN.

Portuguese sloop GALCALVES ZARCO arrived at Lourenco Marques

 

June 16th

 

HM Ships WARSPITE (flag of CinC, Eastern Fleet), ILUSTRIOUS, FORMIDABLE, GAMBIA, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT, and HNethMS VAN GALEN arrived at Addu Atoll for fuel and left for Colombo

HMS FALMOUTH arrived at Addu Atoll escorting R.F.A. SINGU

HM Ships INDOMITABLE and FROBISHER arrived at Kilindini, escorted escort being provided by HM Ships ACTIVE and DUNCAN.

HMS MAURTIUS arrived at Mauritius from escort duty with Convoy W S 19 W and left for escort duty with Convoy W S 19.

Convoy B M 21, escorted by HMAS LISMORE, arrived at Colombo

Convoy C 18, escorted as far as 71 degrees E. by HMS SHOREHAM, left Colombo

HMS ENTERPRISE arrived at Colombo from Bombay

HMIS HINDUSTAN left Bombay escorting Convoy B A 25.

HMS CHITRAL arrived at Durban from patrol.

HMS ROSALIND escorting MARIT MAERSK arrived at Trincomalee.

 

June 17th

 

HMS TRUSTY arrived at Colombo from patrol

HMS ALAUNIA left Colombo for Addu Atoll.

HMS MANXMAN left Bombay for Colombo

 

June 18th

 

At 0200 GMT, the Flag Officer, Ceylon (Rear Admiral A.D. Read) assumed duty at Colombo and the appointment of Commander in Chief, East Indies Station, lapsed.

 

 

 

East Indies Station 

 

War Diary for the Period 1 May to

18th June 1942

 

Part II – GENERAL BRIEF SURVEY AND APPRECIATION OF EVENTS

 

General

 

The Admiralty message promulgating changes in Flag Officers’ and other appointments as a result of new conditions in the Indian Ocean was received early in May. These forthcoming changes overshadowed this find period reviewed her, during which the Flag Officers concerned assumed their duties. The reallocation of Staff officers was decided on and the necessary adjustments made, the Eastern Fleet (shore) operational and administrative staffs and a proportion of the East Indies staff transferred from Colombo to the new Fleet headquarters at Kilindini in three flights. The balance of the East Indies staff remained at Colombo to serve the Flag Officer, Ceylon

 

2. Rear Admiral Stuart assumed duty as Flag Officer, East Africa and Zanzibar, on the 12th May. Rear Admiral Read then proceeded to Colombo in HMS MANXMAN, arriving on the 1st June and hoisted his flag ashore as Flag Officer, Ceylon, on the 18th June. On this date, I struck my flag and the appointment of Commander in Chief, East Indies Station, lapsed. Rear Admiral Danckwerts at Kilindini had already assumed by additional duty of Deputy Commander In Chief, Eastern Fleet on the 27th May.

 

Eastern Fleet

 

3. Units of the Eastern Fleet visited Colombo from the 5th to the 12th June, when Admiral Somerville and I had an opportunity to discuss the many and varied aspects of my duty, vis a vis the new organization. During this same period conferences were also held with the Commander in Chief, Ceylon, and senior representatives of the Services from India, General Wavell himself arriving at Colombo with the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, in HMS WARSPITE

 

Operation IRONCLAD

 

4. The main event during the period was the successful operation in Madagascar resulting in the capture of Diego Suarez. An outline of these operations is included in Appendix 1.

 

Shipping

 

5. On the 30th May, HMS RAMILLIES and the tanker BRITISH LOYALTY were torpedoed in Diego Suarez harbour by that is thought to have been a midget submarine operation from a Japanese I class submarine. In the Mozambique Channel area a number of attacks were made on shipping. On the 5th June two British, two Panamanian, and one United States ship were torpedoed; four sank. Two further attacks were reported on the 8th June, both on Greek ships, one of which sank.

 

Finding that the control and rapid diversion of shipping in the Mozambique Channel could not be exercises from Ceylon, I requested that the Deputy Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, to take over in that area.

 

These attacks had not been unexpected, and I had given the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, my view that we must be prepared to expect attacks in the Mozambique area if our objective in the Madagascar operation was limited to capturing Diego Suarez.

 

6. The threat to shipping the Bay of Bengal eased, and it was decided to increase the number of ships using Calcutta to fifty, which would allow of an maximum of eighteen ships at sea in the Bay of Bengal at any one time.

 

7. I requested the Deputy Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, to take over the control of all shipping on the Station as from the 14th June.

 

Burma

 

8. Naval activities off the Burma coast temporarily ceased at the beginning of May with the evacuation of Akyab and the withdrawal of the Burma R.N.V.R. to Calcutta where their reorganization for further operations is now in progress. The Commodore, Burma Coast, came to Colombo where he was able personnel to submit his report before returning to the United Kingdom. The appointment of Commodore, Burma Coast, lapses at the end of May.

 

Indian Ocean Bases

 

11. Routine convoy work throughout the station was carried on without incident.

 

Disposition

 

12. The disposition of Naval Forces on the East Indies Station on the 31st May was as follows:

 

Persian Gulf         HMS CERES   SEABELLE
    SEAMEW   SCARAB
    COCKCHAFER   HNethMS SOEMBA
         
Arabian Sea   HMS CORFU   PANGKOR
    HMIS HINDUSTAN    
         
Indian ports and west coast of India    
    HMS DEVONSHIRE   HMS KIMBERLEY
    NUBIAN   ISIS
    ROVER   CAPETOWN
    PANTHER   VERBENA
    MARGUERITE   HMAS LISMORE
    HMIS SUTLEJ    
    HNethMS COLOMBIA and submarines O 19, O 23, K 14, K 11
    HNethMS SUMATRA    
    HNethMS WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN
         
Ceylon area   HMS MANXMAN   HMS FALMOUTH
    ASTER   SCOUT
    SHOREHAM   TULIP
    ALAUNIA    HMAS BATHURST
    HMIS JUMNA    
         
East Coast of India   HM Submarines TRUSTY and TRUANT
    Dutch submarine K 15    
         
Addu Atoll   HMS HAITAN and BDVs BARRIER and BARRICADE
         
Seychelles area   HMS ANTHONY   DUNCAN
    LAFOREY   LOOKOUT
    LIGHTNING    
    BDVs PRINCE DE LIEGE and GRAAF VAN LLANDEREN
         
Mauritius   HMS CHITRAL    
         

East African coast (Cape Guardafui to Durban)

   
    HMS WARSPITE (flag of CinC, Eastern Fleet)
    ILLUSTRIOUS   HMS INDOMITABLE
    FORMIDABLE   ROYAL SOVEREIGN
    RESOLUTION   REVENGE
    DAUNTLESS   NEWCASTLE
    HERMIONE   EMERALD
    ENTERPRISE   WORCESTERSHIRE
    DRAGON   PAKENHAM
    PALADIN   JAVELIN
    HOTSPUR     GRIFFIN
    FORTUNE   DECOY
    INCONSTANT   CALEDON
    GUARDIAN   EREBUS
    KIRRIEMOOR   BIRMINGHAM
    GAMBIA   DANAE
    ENGADINE    ARETHUSA
    ACTIVE   FOXHOUND
    CYCLAMEN    
    HMAS NAPIER   HMAS NORMAN
    NESTOR   NIZAM
    RNethMS VAN GALEN    
         
Diego Suarez   HMS RAMILLIES    MANCHESTER CITY
    JAY    

 

 

 

Appendix No. 1

 

Station Intelligence, 1st to 31st May 1942

 

On the 9th May, the Admiralty announced that it had been decided that two Russian Liaison Officers could be accepted for Iran, but on the explicit understating that their functions will be to supervise the turn round of Russian ships in Persian Gulf ports, and they will not sit on the Basra War Transportation Committee. It is essential that on all questions of inland routing, clearance, and berthing of ships with cargo for Russia, the Russians should deal with the Director of Transportation, Teheran, as hitherto.

 

French Shipping

 

2.

ANDRE LEBAON     

 

At Marseilles 23/3

ARAMIS and DARTAGNAN

 

At Saigon 21/3, Yokohama 16/4

BERNADINE DE ST PIERRE

 

At Yokohama 16/4

BOUGANVILLE

 

At Yokohama 16/4

CAP VARELLA

 

At Saigon, bound for Shanghai, return to Saigon

CONDE

 

At Tamatave 17/3 to 25/3. Reunion 3/5 expected to sail 5/5 for Diego Suarez

FORMALAUT

 

At Marseilles

GOVERNOR GEN. VARENNE

 

Under repair at Shanghai 21/3

JEAN DUPUIS (ex VINETA)

 

Coasting Indo China 18/3

KONTUM

 

Coasting Indo China 18/3

LE CONTE DE LISLE

 

At Saigon 23/3 and reported loading for Shanghai

MARECHAL GALLIENI

 

At Tulear 15/5; at Comoro Is. 20/5

MARUOUSSIO LOGOTHETI (renamed GENERAL GUCENGNE)

 

Expected to Djibouti 12/5

PROVIDENCE

 

At Marseilles 23/3 from East Africa

SAGITTAIRE

 

Left Casablanca 24/3 for Martinique. Part of a convoy expected at Tamatave about 12/4 to load, call at Majunga, thence to France

SONG GIANG and TRANNINH

 

Coasting Indo China 18/3

VILLE DE VERDUN

 

Has been at Haiphong. Was at Saigon 10/3 and sailed 27/3 destination not known. Called Osaka, loaded for Nagoya, and arrived there 16/4. Thence Saigon

YIANNIS

 

Left Reunion 6/2, called at Tamatave. Was at Morandava 29/4, thence to Tamatave

KINDIA

 

Now Japanese Teikin Maru

TAISEUNGHONG

 

Now Japanese Teishun Maru

GOUV. GEN. A. VARENNE

 

Now Japanese Teiren Maru

                                   

 

 

GENERAL INTELLIGENCE

 

Madagascar

 

3. On the 5th May, the Governor General of Madagascar signified his intention not to yield to our ultimatum and on attack on Diego Suarez was therefore launched. The Senior Officer in charge of operations reported that on the 5th May that a landing had been made in Courrier Bay and that our advance was proceeding to plan. Diego Suarez North was captured by the 29th Brigade on Day One of the Operation. A hanger reported to be full of aircraft was bombed and set on fire. An attack which failed was made on Antsirana on the morning of the 6th May, and on the same day the 13th Brigade disembarked in Courrier Bay.

 

4. On the night of 6th/7th May, an assault on Antsirana made by the 17th and 29th Brigade was 100 % successful and casualties were extremely slight. To back up this attack and cause a diversion, 50 Marines were landed from a destroyer at Antsirana. The effect of this diversion was out of all proportion to the numbers involved.

 

5. The work of the aircraft carriers was admirable and their quick co operation provided great moral and well as practical results.

 

6. On the 7th May, enemy troops on the Oronja Peninsula surrendered and we entered Diego Suarez harbour.

 

7. After the capture of Diego Suarez, Staff Officer (Intelligence), Capetown, in a report graded A 1 and dated 7th May, stated that French troops from Antananarivo were removed from the neighbourhood with the apparent intention of declaring Antananarivo an open city. No action was being taken against British subjects.

 

8. On the same day, the Chief Censor, Mauritius, reported that since our attack on Diego Suarez broadcasts from Madagascar and Reunion had been cautiously non committal, revealing nothing of intelligence value.

 

9. The French G.O.C. at Antananarivo issued instructions for the recall of all men on leave from Fort Dauphin on the 12th May.

 

10. On the 11th May, Antananario broadcasts a strong exhortation against rumour mongering and advised the population that arrangements had been made to meet air borne attacks. At the same time greetings messages were being broadcasts between French subjects in Diego Suarez and Antiananarivo.

 

11. Information received on the 13th May stated that in the capital the general feeling that the situation was hopeless, but it was to expected an attitude of resistance would be maintained as long as the British forces held off. The general opinion, including that of the rank and file, that the sooner the matter was settled by Great Britain the better.

 

12. In a broadcast on the 15th May, the Governor General drew the attention of the French G.O. CinC to the necessity of continuing economic life of the country despite the present situation. The G.O.C. was instructed to get in touch with the principal industrialist and merchants to ensure that the trade could be resumed without delay when the present restrictions were relaxed.

 

13. On the 20th May, Antananarivo Radio was continuing to publish Vichy news and to maintain amicable relations with Diego Suarez. At the same time, Saint Denis (Reunion) Radio was broadcasting anti British propaganda.

 

14. During the operations at Madagascar the following French and Axis ships were sunk of scuttled.

                       

  French submarines   HEROS and BEVEZIERS
  French sloop   D’ENTRECASTEAU
  French A.M.C.   BOUGAINVILLE
  Italian Steamship   DUCA DEGLI ABRUZZI and SOMALIA
  German Steamship   WARTENFELS

  

Merchant Shipping

 

15. The Commander in Chief, Ceylon, in a signal to the Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, dated 26th May, stated that in the present situation, while the menace of enemy surface attack in the Bay of Bengal has temporarily eased, it is hoped an increase of shipping traffic from Calcutta can be made to permit adequate shipments of coal to Ceylon

 

16. On the 30th May, the Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, informed the Admiralty that the East Coast shipping had been reviewed, and a month’s experience shows it is impracticable to :

           

(a). export through West Coast ports all commodities required to the United Kingdom and the U.S.A.

 

            (b) maintain essential coal supplies ex Calcutta

 

            (c) maintain supply of salt to Eastern India

 

The increased use of West Coast ports for military imports has aggravated these difficulties.

 

It is therefore intended to increase the number of ships using Calcutta to about 50 a month. This will mean a maximum of 18 ships at sea in the Bay of Bengal at any one time. The embargo on the use of valuable ships will be maintained. It addition, it is proposed to utilize a few small and older vessels for coastal coal and salt trades.

 

India

 

17. The Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, reported to the Admiralty on the 5th May that in 1922 a detailed investigation was made as to the practicality of cutting a canal through Rameswarm Islands between India and Ceylon, and it was now considered that with the use of modern giant excavating machinery a cut could be completed within a reasonable time. The advantage of such a naval in warfare could be great.

 

18. The Admiralty replied on the 24th May that unless capital ships could be passed through the canal the work involved would be incommensurate with the strategic advantages gained, and to achieve this a dredged channel though Palk Strait Channel would be necessary, which, together, would occasion an undertaking far beyond the resources which could at the present be mad available. It is not therefore considered that the chances of undertaking the scheme within a reasonable time limit for completion are such that justify a further detailed investigation.

 

Japanese air attacks on HM Ships CORNWALL, DORSETSHIRE, HERMES, and HMAS VAMPIRE

 

19. On the 27th May, the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, reported to the Admiralty that the attack on the CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE was made by 50 to 60 aircraft, some of which may have been escorting fighters. Our gun opposition was slight as the aircraft were not sighted until they were in the attacking dive and the first salvoes had hit. The attack was executed with skill and pressed home………………

(n.b. bottom of page chopped)                  

 

The attack developed from the general direction of the sun, which was ahead and aircraft continued to attack from ahead as the ships altered course. Enemy aircraft were organized in sub flights of three and attacked in quick succession, with slightly longer intervals between sub-flights. The approach was made at 10, 000 feet or higher and the dive was between 60 and 80 degrees, while the bombs were released at about 500 feet.

 

20. The attack on HERMES and VAMPIRE was made by 60 to 70 aircraft, some of which May have been escorting fighters. Enemy aircraft were sighted outside gun range shortly after Japanese R/T had been heard fairly close.

 

The attack was carried out with precision and determination in spite of maximum gun opposition the HERMES could put up. The attack developed from the general direction of the sun and was generally similar to that made on the CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE.

 

HMAS VAMPIRE was not attacked until the HERMES was clearly sinking.

 

Portuguese East African Ports

 

21. The Commander in Chief, South Atlantic Station, stated that on 1st May that the congestion of merchant shipping in Cape Town and Durban is serious and that during the past week there were never less than 30 ships in the outer roads, both at Cape Town and Durban. The situation is likely to get worse at Durban which is developing as a Naval Base, and stores for the Eastern Fleet are unloading at both ports. A practical solution is to use Lourenco Marques and Beira to a much greater extent than now. These Harbours are the natural ports of the Transvaal and Rhodesia and have good inland railway connections. The South African Railways are anxious for more employment of these communications, to ease the congestion of their other lines. There may be diplomatic or security reasons against full exploitation of these neutral ports for our purposes, but the matter is of such importance that is it urgent that they should be used to the maximum possible extent for landing cargo, fuel, and merchant ship repairs.

 

Intelligence Areas

 

22. On the 5th May, the Admiralty proposed that Colombo should assume the responsibility for intelligence of the old Shanghai and Hong Kong Intelligence areas and the small portion of the Wellington Intelligence area north of the equator and west of 180 degrees.

 

23. The Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, in a signal dated 25th May, agreed to the above suggested limits and proposed that Major H.A. Bass, RM, Staff Officer (Intelligence), Colombo, should become Staff Officer (Intelligence) East Indies Station with headquarters at Mombasa, and that sub centres should be Kilindini, Aden, Basra, Bombay, and Colombo. It was proposed that Madagascar be included in the East Indies area.

 

24. Naval Officer in Charge, Diego Suarez, assumed responsibility for Intelligence Duties at Diego Suarez on the 27th May.

 

Station Appointments

 

25. Rear Admiral Danckwerts assumed duty as Deputy Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, ashore at Kilindini on the 27th May.

 

Enemy reports

 

26. Aircraft reported a submarine in position 19019N, 69-03E on the 30th April. A subsequent search failed to confirm the sighting.

 

27. HMS SONAVATI attacked a possible submarine at 2240 GMT on the 30th April in position 1-59N, 17-48E.

 

28. SS FELIX ROUSSELL, en route to Fremantle, reporting having intercepted on the 10th May a QQQQ and AAA message from the SS NANKIN. The NANKING was in position 26-43S, 89-56E and reported being gunned and bombed and abandoning ship. The SS MULBERA reported having heard the NANKIN’s distress signal and also hearing a continuous wave on 500 kc/s on the afternoon of the 10th, 11th, 14th, 16, and 17th May. This suggests homing of an aircraft.

 

29. D/F bearings indicated the presence of a Japanese submarine in the Mozambique Channel at 1900 GMT on the 19th May.

 

30. The SS MUNDRA reported being attacked by a four engine bomber off Gopalpur on the 20th May. A later report stated the attack was discontinued and the voyage resumed.

 

31. The Master of the Norwegian SS TARIFA reported that on the 8th May at 0900 GMT in position 25-40S, 75-25E, he observed two tall masts about 8 miles off the ship. Nothing could be seen between the masts which appeared to him to be the wireless masts of a submerged submarine. Four rounds were fired after which it disappeared. The position given is in the vicinity in which SS NANKIN was attacked.

 

32. The SS DAISY MOLLER reported being attacked unsuccessfully by a four engine flying boat at 0516 GMT on the 26th May in position 7-48N, 82-30E. Two bombs were dropped: both missed the ship.

 

33. HMS RAMILLIES and the SS BRITISH LOYALTY were torpedoed by a submarine in the Diego Suarez harbour on the 30th May. The latter sank with the fore part still above water.

 

Air Reconnaissance Reports of Enemy Occupied Ports

 

34. Two flying boats were sighted at Port Blair on the 29th April. Very heavy A.A. fire was encountered.

 

35. Aircraft attacking Rangoon on the 29th April observed 14 ships of 5,000 to 7,000 tons

 

36. No ships were seen at Rangoon on the 1st May. Aircraft attacking Rangoon on the 2nd May sighted 15 ships of 5,000 to 7,000 tons alongside and one of 15,000 tons in the stream.

 

37. Photographic reconnaissance over Rangoon on the 16th May showed one large merchant ship in the middle of the river and smaller merchant ships in the river and alongside.

 

38. One 3,000 ton transport was sighted to Akyab on the 17th May.

 

 

 

 

Appendix No. 2

 

Station Intelligence 1st to 18th June 1942

 

General Intelligence

 

Madagascar

 

On the 2nd June, the Senior Officer, Force “F” reported that two Japanese had been killed by a patrol on the north west coast in position 12-00S, 49-12E, and the following day a further reported stated that natives in the vicinity were of the opinion that an aeroplane had crashed in the vicinity, but no wreckage had been found. The clothing found on the two Japanese was such as might have been used by members of aircraft or submarine crews, but did not include any goggles or flying helmets. One page of notes written on a scrap from a note book was recovered as well as a watch, and packets of cigarettes, all of which had naval markings. When translated, it was found that the above mentioned notes were a rough log of a successful torpedo attack at Diego Suarez at 0228 GMT on the 31st May (the attack on HMS RAMILLIES and the BRITISH LOYALTY). Mention was made of grounding on Diego Suarez outer reef owing to a rudder defect at 0300 GMT and the envelope containing the notes was addressed to the Captain of Submarine I 20.

 

The conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing is that the attack on Diego Suarez harbour was made by a midget submarine to which the I 20 acted as parent ship.

 

2. In this connection, the Admiralty announced on the 12th June that it had been definitely established that the latest Japanese I class submarines are fitting to carry midget submarines or aircraft on occasions required, and that I class submarines have a probably endurance of 15, 000 miles. On the 14th June, the Admiralty pointed out that as I 20 appears to have been in the Madagascar area and the attacks on Sydney and Diego Suarez synchronized, it is possible that the advanced detachments consisted of two separate forces, one for Australia and on for the Indian Ocean. It was also pointed out that as three submarine divisions had been mentioned and only one midget appeared to have attacked Diego Suarez, the Indian Ocean Force May be divided and a third attack intended on another place in the Indian Ocean.

 

3. The Staff Officer (Intelligence) at Cape Town reported that on the 14th June that an intercepted W/T message from Vichy to the Governor General of Madagascar indicated that aircraft had left Vichy for Madagascar on or about the 10th June.

 

4. The Admiralty have decided in order to avoid delay I the ultimate provision of personnel and equipment for Diego Suarez pending a final decision as to its use, that for the present administration and planning arrangements should proceed on the basis of the following requirements:

(a). As a repair base for cruisers and below to the maximum capacity of existing docking facilities.

           

(b). As a fuel and refuge port to all classes of ships

            

(c). As a convoy assembly port. Additional protection other than that normally provided for the occupation forces and certain minor underwater defences will not, however, be available in the near future.

5. The Commander in Chief, South Atlantic, was informed Indian Ocean operational bases.

 

Portuguese East Africa

 

6. On the 14th June the Admiralty announced that it May be assumed that all information regarding allied shipping to and from Lourenco Marques, together with ports of origin and destination and details of cargo, will be accurately repeated to the enemy, as the port is one of the most active enemy intelligence centres in the world and is protected from Allied countermeasures by political considerations. The Port of Beira provides a leak of almost equal proportions. The Security authorities are occupied with anti sabotage measures and with reducing the leakage of information to these ports from inside the Union of South Africa. All possible steps are to be taken to increase the security consciousness of the crews of Allied ships visiting these ports, particularly in view of their increasing operational importance.

 

Portuguese India

 

7. The British Vice Consul at Marmagoa reported that on the 4th June that he had received information that a submarine had visited Marmagoa secretly at night in March, again on the 15th April, and in the second week of May. The source from whom the information was obtained stated that the March and April visits are definite, but the confirmation of the May visit is lacking. Certain Portuguese officials at the port are emphatically stated to have been aware of these visits and the Vice Consul considers that if this is the case the Governor General must be in possession of the information.

 

Bahrain

 

8. In a signal to the Middle East dated 4th June, the Commander in Chief, East Indies, stated that he would be glad if the matter of the defence of Bahrain is raised again when the pressure of present events permit, as the defence of this refinery is regarded of the greatest importance. It is clear that action is considered essential

 

U.S.A.

 

(n.b. paragraph 9 is deleted in the original)

 

10. On the 13th June, the Secretary of State for the Colonies intimated that Lieutenant Clifton E. Perry, USNR, had been assigned as a Naval Liaison Officer at Colombo.

 

Ceylon

 

11. The Admiralty informed the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, on 8th June, that at the present time the long range G.R. Squadron working from Ceylon is operated by the Air Officer Commanding, Ceylon, in accordance with a directive from the Commander in Chief, Ceylon, laid down by the War Office in a communication……..(n.b. top of page chopped)….March. It is not, however, clear whether the Air Officer Commanding, Ceylon operates Catalina Squadrons which are based outside Ceylon.

 

It is hoped to build up some long range shore based G.R. Squadrons and gradually to increase the number of T/B Squadrons. These squadrons will be distributed over a very large area, but it is obvious that if we are to get the best results their activities must be controlled by one person.

 

It seemed to the Admiralty that the only satisfactory arrangement would be for all aircraft whose normal function was to operate over the sea to be under the operational control of the Air Officer Commanding, Ceylon, who would operated his aircraft under a general directive from the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet.

 

Mauritius

 

12. The Chief Censor, Mauritius, informed London on the 4th June that owing the exhaustion of funds he was unable to maintain a W/T watch on the internal Madagascar stations as well as covering Far East Stations. The military authorities value the information derived from the former and Eastern Intelligence information derive from the latter. A request for 60 pounds a month, to pay the salaries of 12 additional operators, was put forward.

 

The Staff Officer (Intelligence), Colombo, and the Captain on the Staff, Colombo, both informed London that enemy shipping intelligence in eastern waters, obtained through the organization at Mauritius, is of the greatest value.

 

East Africa

 

13. The Admiralty announced on the 13th June that the name “Kilindini” is always to be used when referring to the combined ports of Kilindini and Mombasa, and that the latter name is not to be used for this purpose.

 

Station Appointments

 

14. At 0800 L.T., on the 18th June, the appointment of the Commander in Chief, East Indies Station, lapsed and the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, assumed command of all HM Ships and establishments in the Indian Ocean area.

 

 Rear Admiral A.D. Read hoisted his flag at Colombo on the 18th June as Flag Officer, Colombo. He is responsible for:

(a). All naval matters respecting Ceylon and Addu Atoll.

 

(b). R.N. establishments and Naval Air Stations in Ceylon and India.

 

(c) The Ceylon Escort Group

 

(d) Control and routing of Indian and Ceylon coastal convoys.

 

(e) Liaison with the Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, for matters affecting Ceylon, Addu Atoll, and coastal shipping.

Enemy Reports

 

15. The SS SILVERBEECH reported that on the 5th June, she had passed two lifeboats full of men who stated their ship had been torpedoed in position 13-08S, 42-12E.

 

16. The SS BENGLOE made a submarine distress signal in position 11-19S, 42-02E on the 5th June.

 

17. The SS ELYSIA made a submarine distress signal and reported being shelled in position 27-32S, 37-05E on the 5th June. Survivors from this ship were picked up by the Hospital Ship DORSETSHIRE states the ELYSDIA was sunk by two Japanese raiders which were described as fast motor vessels carrying seaplanes and about 8 guns. One of the raiders was estimated to have been of 15, 000 tons and the other 8,000 tons.

 

18. The Panamanian SS ATLANTIC GULF was attacked and sunk by a submarine in position 20S, 38-03E on 5th June.

 

19. The SS EDAM made a “suspicious vessel” signal in position 8-58S, 41-48E on the 6th June

 

20. The SS WILFORD made a “raider distress” signal in position 20-20S, 36-47E on the 6th June

 

21. The Greek SS AGIOS GEORGIOS IV made a “raider distress” signal from position 16-12S, 41E on 8th June

 

22. The Greek SS CHRISTOS MARKETTOS made an enemy submarine report from position 5S, 40-53E on the 8th June. She was later reported as sunk.

 

23. The SS MAHRONDA made a submarine distress signal from 23-22S, 35-47E on the 9th June.

 

24. The American motor vessel MELVIN H. BAKER was torpedoed and sunk in position 21-44S, 36-30E on the 5th June. Survivors were picked up and taken to Kilindini by the SS TWICKENHAM.

 

25. The Yugo Slav ship SUSAK was sunk by a Japanese submarine in position 15-42S, 40-58E on the 6th June.

 

26. The SS COPTIC reported being followed by two suspicious ships in position 22-32S, 79-18E. It is possible these two ships were the Japanese raiders which left the Mozambique Channel about 5th June.

 

27. The Dutch ship TJANDI reported that on 11th June that when in position 14-40S, 40-30E, two ships in sight of her had been sunk by enemy submarine action.

 

28. The SS REAVELEY reported that a submarine attack in position 15-07S, 41-36E on the 5th June. A huge explosion was observed one mile distant and dark objects were seen scattering outwards on the edge of the explosion. A torpedo track was then observed approaching from the direction of the explosion, but missed through an alteration of course.

 

 

 

Appendix No. 3

 

Development of Indian Ocean Bases

 

Addu Atoll

 

After the completion of the provisional defences, i.e., laying of the controlled minefields and indicator nets and the installation of the coast defences, a combined reconnaissance of Addu Atoll was carried out by representative of the Navy, Army, and the Civil Engineer in Chief’s Department. This report was considered by the Commander in Chief, India, Air Officer, Commanding in Chief, India, and myself, and a general agreement was reached. A representative of the Superintending Civil Engineer, Ceylon, was flown to the Untied Kingdom with a copy of the report in order to give whatever further explanation was necessary.

 

2. The principal features of the report were that very serious difficulties were to be expected in regard to major developments, such as the boom defence depot, the deep water approach for small craft, and the building of adequate piers. Recommendations for the deterrent scale were also formulated.

 

3. Before these projects could be put in hand, however, the strategical situation in the Far East and the appearance of Japanese naval forces in the bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean resulted in a change of policy in regard to the base, and the first action was to cease all further developments at Addu Atoll, and the Naval Officer in Charge and the Defence Commander were instructed to concentrate on maintaining existing defences and on improving the general health and recreational conditions. The Naval Officer in Charge was further instructed to prepare a denial scheme.

 

4. At a meeting held in June 1942 between the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, representatives of the Commander in Chief, India, and the Air Officer Commanding in Chief, India, and myself, it was agreed that India should be in the first instance undertake the construction of piers, roads, bridges, and aerodrome on Gan Island and the installation of anti motor torpedo boat defences for the defence of the entrance. It was also agreed to lay A/T nets inside the lagoon.

 

Diego Garcia

 

5. By March 1942, the defences at Diego Garcia had reached a stage where the coast defences had been installed by M.N.B.D.O. and an indicator net laid in the entrance o the harbour. The anchorage had been reconnoitered by a combined reconnaissance party and their report submitted to the Commander in Chief, India, myself, and the Air Officer Commanding in Chief, India.

 

6. A survey was carried out by HMIS CLIVE, although not completed, has shown that the anchorage cannot be used by heavy ships.

 

7. The coast defences are manned by Mauritian troops, and I had received numerous reports which show these troops are inadequately trained and of poor physique.

 

8. No further developments have taken place.

 

Seychelles

 

9. In view of the decision of the Commander Chief, Eastern Fleet, to use Kilindini as a temporary main fleet base, Seychelles has become of increased importance as a fuelling base for the Fleet, and its defences have consequently been given first priority after Kilindini. The M.N.B.D.O. is now engaged on the installation of 2 inch and 4 inch guns, and the re sitting of the 6 inch battery.

 

10. The general sense of the recommendations of a recently completed reconnaissance is that the proposed defences are wholly inadequate for the scale of attack.

 

11. The underwater defences present a serious problem since the anchorage is almost wholly exposed. I have asked for Admiralty Recommendations on this matter.

 

12. The Commander in Chief, India, having stated that he is unable to man the addition coast defences at present, I have arranged for personnel from the Coast Artillery Regiment, Royal Marines, to man these guns as a temporary measure.

 

Mauritius

 

13. A combined reconnaissance has been completed, but the report has not yet been received.

 

14. Controlled minefields have been laid at Grand Port by HMS MANCHESTER CITY and certain constructional projects, e.g. water supply by pipe line to Grand Port, have been port in hand by local authorities.

 

15. The situation with regard to Mauritius is affected by our capture of Diego Suarez, and the use to which it is intended to put this base is not yet fully decided.

 

Kilindini and Associated Anchorages

 

16. The importance of Kilindini has been very greatly increased by the general war situation. The Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, has directed that it is to be prepared as a temporary main fleet base and as a repair base for the Eastern Fleet.

 

17. HM Ships GUARDIAN and KIRRIEMOOR have been withdrawn from Addu Atoll and are now engaged in laying the underwater defences. An improvised A/S A/B boom had been laid at Kilindini and an indicator net in the entrance to Manza Bay.

 

Colombo

 

18. Developments in Colombo have been chiefly of a constructional nature, such as those required for increased storage, dispersal, etc.

 

Trincomalee

 

19. In this case also events have been chiefly constructional, severely hampered by the dispersal of native labour after the air raid of the 9th April.

 

20. I have received on the 11th June, Their Lordships directions that Trincomalee is to be developed as a main fleet base.

 

Salaya

 

21. As a result of the Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet’s direction that a base for operations in the North Arabian Sea was to be established on the west coast of India, it was arranged, in conjunction with the Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, and the Commander in Chief, India, for a combined reconnaissance party to be sent to reconnoiter Salaya, Beyt, and Okha. It was clear from the preliminary reports that Salaya was the best of various indifferent possibilities, and it was accordingly selected.

 

22. Work is in hand on an extension of the railway, the construction of a road, and a certain amount of dredging, but it is not intended to go beyond the essentials for an operational base.

 

Boom Defence Equipment

 

22. Steps have been and are being taken to remove boom defence equipment from Ceylon to East African and Red Sea ports.

 

24. The construction of A/T spar defence nets has been put in hand at Trincomalee Boom Depot. Progress has been disappointingly slow, chiefly because of the irregularities in the shipment of the required equipment and as a result of the Trincomalee air raid, after which a great deal of the local labour absconded and has not returned.

 

Underwater Defences of Indian Ports.

 

25. At the request of the Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy, I have sent an experienced boom defence officer (Commander B.L. Clark, RN, late of HMS LAOMEDEN) to advise on the underwater defences of Cochin, Madras, and Bombay. On this officer’s recommendations, improvised defences have been made up in Ceylon for Cochin and Madras and these are now being shipped to India. It was not found possible to make improvised defences for Bombay.

 
 

on to Eastern Fleet, December 1942 only
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