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ADMIRALTY WAR DIARIES of WORLD WAR 2

 

NORTH ATLANTIC COMMAND, GIBRALTAR - April to July 1942

 

Transcribed by Don Kindell

Gibraltar from the Straits (Gordon Smith, click to enlarge)

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North Atlantic, Gibraltar area, September 1939 to March 1942

 

 

 

 
 

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NORTH ATLANTIC LETTER OF PROCEEDING – No. 28

 

APRIL 1942

 

SECTION I

 

General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding North Atlantic

 

RICHELIEU

 

A report graded A.2 from N.O.I.C. Bathurst reported that RICHELIEU, GEORGES LEYGUES, GLOIRE, and MONTCALM were leaving Dakar for France on 3rd April, and that STRASBOURG was leaving Casablanca for Dakar on 5th April. Ships were warned of this possibility, but I pointed out to Admiralty that as STRASBOURG was believed to be at Toulon, the ship at Casablanca might be JEAN BART.

 

2. Admiralty's 0046/3 required every endeavour to be made by air and surface patrols to locate RICHELIEU with a view to attacking her by all means at out disposal should she endeavour to enter the Mediterranean. All available T.B. aircraft from EAGLE and ARGUS were to be held ready at North Front as a striking force, and all submarines in the Gibraltar area except UPRIGHT and CLYDE were to be employed. Admiralty's 0131A/3 ordered Flag Officer Commanding Force F to spread all available in an endeavour to locate RICHELIEU. If met she was to be reported and then shadowed pending further instructions.

 

3. The following action was taken on 3rd April: TAKU and P 42 were ordered to return to Gibraltar forthwith; EXMOOR and CROOME were ordered to spread to visibility distance and to report if RICHELIEU was sighted, then shadow to prudent limit of endurance; M.L. 172 was brought to four hours' notice for shipping torpedoes; ship on U patrol was ordered to report if STRASBOURG was sighted and shadow her pending further instructions; ARGUS was brought to four hours' notice for full speed at noon; of the Swordfish at North Front 6 were to be kept at hour's notice, and the remainder at three hours' notice; a Swordfish patrol within a radius of 25 miles of Cape Spartel from 000 degrees through West to territorial waters was instituted. In response to an enquiry of the War Officer, H.E. the Governor was given authority to engage RICHELIEU with Fortress Guns and transit aircraft should she enter the Mediterranean.

 

4. On 4th April, the six Swordfish at North Front remained at hour's notice, but the remainder were brought to two hours' notice, while TAKU and P 42 were brought to one hour's notice and P 611 to two hours' notice until 1800 and after that at one hour's notice. Reports of reconnaissance received during the day indicated no abnormal movements were taking place in the French Fleet, and I asked Admiralty in my 1254A/5 whether submarine movements could be resumed. The reply was contained in Admiralty's 0125B/6 which ordered normal movements to be resumed. Aircraft at North Front were therefore brought to normal notice, and TAKU was sailed to resume her interrupted working up patrol.

 

OPERATION CALENDAR

 

5. U.S. Aircraft carrier WASP, having embarked 47 Spitfires at King George V Dock, Glasgow, Force W consisting of RENOWN (Commodore C.S. Daniel, S.O., Force W), W, WASP, INGLEFIELD (Captain D 3), ECHO, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, and U.S. destroyers LANG and MADISON sailed from Greenock at 0700B/14.

 

6. At 2000B/17, WESTCOTT, WISHART, VIDETTE, ANTELOPE, and WRESTLER, who had left Gibraltar at 0001/16, met Force W in position 39-13N, 14-20W, and Captain D 3 in INGLEFIELD proceeded with the screen at best speed to Gibraltar to fuel. The remaining units of the Squadron to fuel. The remaining units of the squadron remained to the westward of the Strait out of sight of land.

 

7. These units passed Cape Spartel at 0001/19 and set course to pass North of Alboran Island. Captain D.3 in INGLEFIELD and destroyers, together with CHARYBDIS and CAIRO joined at daylight, when WESTCOTT, WISHART, ANTELOPE, and WRESTLER were detached to Gibraltar to refuel and rejoin as soon as possible. VIDETTE was retained with Force W until 1900/19. Formentera Light was passed at 2350/19 and at 0530A/20 WASP commenced flying off aircraft in position 37-30N, 03-20E. The evolution was carried out extremely quickly, 58 aircraft being flown off in 61 minutes.

 

8. Force W returned North of Alboran Island, being met in the forenoon by WESTCOTT, WISHART, ANTELOPE, and WRESTLER. The force was shadowed intermittently by aircraft, but no attack developed. CAIRO, INGLEFIELD, ECHO, LANG, and MADISON were detached at 1800/20 to Gibraltar to fuel, CAIRO was also to embark stores and personnel for No. 812 Squadron. The passage of the Strait was made by the remainder of the force during the night of the 20th/21th, and in a position 40 miles west of Cape Spartel, aircraft of 812 Squadron were flown from Gibraltar to WASP. Ships had refuelled at Gibraltar rejoined at 1030 and at 1100 WASP and CAIRO escorted by INGLEFIELD, ECHO, LANG, and MADISON were detached to the US, the remaining units, RENOWN, CHARYBDIS, WISHART, WRESTLER, WESTCOTT, ANTELOPE, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, and VIDETTE returned to Gibraltar arriving at 1630/21st.

 

RESCUE OF SWORDFISH CREW BY ANTELOPE

 

9. While proceeding to rejoin Force W, on 19th April, ANTELOPE was detached to assist a Swordfish aircraft forced landed on Alboran Island. The aircraft could not take off and was destroyed by its crew, who embarked in ANTELOPE. From 0345 to 645/20, ANTELOPE hunted, without success, a U boat which had fired a torpedo at her. Two shadowing aircraft were also sighted. A full report of ANTELOPE's proceedings while detached have been forwarded in my No. X 185/394 of 7th May 1942.

 

AIR ATTACK ON GIBRALTAR

 

10. An air attack was carried out between the hours of 0435 and 0530 on the 1st April. Three or more aircraft nationality unknown, approached from the Eastward to within range, then separated and came over separately in the vicinity of the aerodrome at a height of 10,000 feet to 13,000 feet. Four bombs fell near the Frontier Gate, damaging a water main; one failed to explode. Other objects fell into the sea to the Eastward of the Rock and in the Bay. H.D.A. reported five explosions at 0455. A G.L. set picked up a big bomb or mine bearing 360 degrees from North end of Rock at 6000 yards range; it landed at 4000 yards. Time taken to fall was 4 minutes, the height of the aircraft being 12,000 feet. No further damage was reported and there were no casualties. The aircraft returned to the Eastward. Spanish batteries opened fire.

 

ATTEMPTED SABOTAGE

 

11. An attempt to introduce a time bomb concealed in a basket of eggs on board the Dockyard Water Boat BLOSSOM which was berthed at Algeciras to take on water, was frustrated and the saboteur, one Alfredo Domingo Sanchez, was arrested. This man was suspected in connection with the incident of a bomb explosion to the R.A.F. station on 22nd April 1941. A full report of the Algeciras incident is contained in my letter No. X 153/04210, and of the R.A.F. Station incident in my No. X 129/361 of 29th June 19412, para. 22 (b).

 

BOARDING PARTY EX MARON

 

12. The prize crew of six ex the A.B.V. MARON, which had been overpowered by the crew of the French JOSEPH ELISE and interned in Casablanca in May 1941, arrived at Gibraltar in the Portuguese NEREIDA on 27th April 1942. In accordance with Admiralty Letter X 0201202/41 of 31st May 1941, a Board of Inquiry was held and the findings were forwarded in my letter No. X 189/1029 of 8th May 1942.

 

REPATRIATION OF ITALIANS

 

13. The Italian tankers ARCOLA and TEIGETE arrived at Gibraltar at 1155/6, were searched and sailed again for Cadiz for bottom cleaning at 1830 the same day. The liners SATURNIA and VULCANIA arrived at Gibraltar at 1540/6, and after examination, sailed at 1830/7 to St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands. DUILO and GUILO CESARE arrived at Gibraltar at 0830/11, and sailed after examination at 1900/11. Full reports of the examination of these vessels by the Contraband Control Service at Gibraltar are contained in Section IV of this report. (n.b. not contained in my holdings)

 

 

 

SECTION II – GENERAL NARRATIVE

 

April 1942

 

April 1st

 

Rear Admiral Syfret in MALAYA, HERMIONE, LAFOREY, ANTHONY, ACTIVE, LIGHTNING (to be known as Force F) sailed in accordance with A.M. 0003A/31.3.42. The title of Force H lapsed and EAGLE and ARGUS come under my direct administration.

 

AURORA sailed for U.K. at 1830.

 

EXMOOR and CROOME sailed at 1030 for Freetown, en route to join the Mediterranean Fleet in accordance with A.M. 1922A/28.3.42

 

COREOPSIS and COLTSFOOT arrived escorting tanker BENEDICK.

 

ANTELOPE arrived from the U.K.

 

On completion of their A/S sweep, WISHART and WRESTLER altered course to rendezvous with M.V.s PORTSEA and NAROCZ off the Tagus and escort them to Gibraltar

 

Transit aircraft reported sighting a submarine in position 50N, 06W at 0700, course 090 degrees, speed 8 knots. The submarine dived shortly after being sighted.

 

A transit aircraft reported a submarine periscope wake in position 36-56N, 08- 45W, course 012 degrees at 1658A. WISHART and WRESTLER were sailed to investigate, but no contact was made.

 

At 0156, a Catalina aircraft of 202 Squadron, at a height of 2500 feet, made A.S.V. contact with a submarine, later sighting its wash at a range of 400 yards, in position 37-37N, 06-22E. A large patch of oil was seen 4 hours later. It is possible that this was the same submarine as was attacked the previous day by another Catalina.

 

April 2nd

 

TAKU and P 42 sailed at 1700, TAKU to patrol in an area between latitude 36-25N and the Coast of Spain and between longitudes 2-00W and 2-35W, and P 42 to patrol between latitude 36-25N and the Coast of Spain and between longitudes 02-45W and 03-15W.

 

UPRIGHT sailed at 1430 for U.K.

 

STONECROP and LA MALOUINE arrived escorting the tanker SANDAR.

 

BRILLIANT arrived in the U.K.

 

A transit aircraft reported a disturbance similar to a wash or swirl in position 36-58N, 08-55W, at 1336A. No ship was in sight at the time.

 

At 1355, an aircraft observed an unidentified submarine entering Oran harbour. She was described as a fairly large ocean going type, gray black hull with a reddish brown deck. There appeared to be two jagged holes abaft the conning tower.

 

It was learned from Tangier that the Portuguese Consul General stated that three German seaplanes flew to Casablanca from occupied France, and on arrival were dismantled and placed on a cargo ship and sent to Dakar. Others were said to be following.

 

April 3rd

 

In view of the possibility of the RICHELIEU attempting to pass into the Mediterranean, V.A.C.N.A. ordered TAKU and P 42 to return to Gibraltar forthwith in his signal times 0738A.

 

WISHART and WRESTLER arrived escorting S.S. PORTSEA

 

M.L. 27 accompanied by six M.L.s of the 27th Flotilla sailed to carry out an A/S sweep in the vicinity of Alboran Island.

 

Turkish submarine P 611 arrived. P 612, who was on passage with P 611 from U.K. was ordered to remain west of 07-00W until 0630A/4.

 

P 42 arrived at Gibraltar at 2048.

 

AVONVALE sailed at 2100 for U.K.

 

April 4th

 

TAKU arrived at 0110.

 

COREOPSIS sailed at 2000A to rendezvous with PONTYPRIDD, PHILLIP M., KINGSLAND, and EDENCRAG in the vicinity of Cape St Vincent, and escort them to Gibraltar. WISHART sailed at 2300A to rendezvous with COREOPSIS and provide additional cover.

 

Turkish submarine P 612 arrived.

 

M.L. 27 reported an oil streak 300 yards long by 50 yards in position 35-29N, 03-21W at 1540A

 

N.C.S.O., Lisbon, reported that a submarine had signalled to the Greek MOUNT ETNA at 2115 in position 38-19N, 14-18W. Submarine had asked for name, destination, and cargo of Greek ship, and then made off in a W.S.W. direction.

 

April 5th

 

Convoy H.G. 81A (Commodore Mackay) sailed at 1700, escorted by BLACK SWAN, BLUEBELL, MALLOW, LA MALOUINE, and with local escorts STONECROP (till daylight on 10th), COLTSFOOT (till dark on 8th), WISHART and WRESTLER (the latter two to part company at daylight on 9th).

 

TAKU sailed at 1800 on a working up patrol in an area between latitude 36-25N and the coast of Spain and between longitudes 02-45N, 03-15W.

 

N.C.S.O. Ponta Delgada reported that the Governor of San Miguel had ordered a blackout of the island. This entailed the impossibility of sending cables between 2100 and 0700.

 

April 6th

 

LLANGIBBY CASTLE with H.M. tug SALVONIA in company and escorted by WHITEHALL and BLANKNEY sailed at 0800 for U.K.

 

WISHART and COREOPSIS arrived escorting S.S. PHILLIP M. and KINGSLAND.

 

Catalina aircraft reported sighting a U boat in position 37-55N, 00-02E at 1715A.

 

An aircraft reported sighting a submarine which dived in position 068 degrees Cape Palos, 43 miles. No British or Allied submarines was in the vicinity at the time.

 

B.N.A. Madrid reported that an aircraft, believed Swordfish had crashed and sunk mile off the Moroccan coast near Punta Pescadores. The crew of three were safe ashore.

 

April 7th

 

COREOPSIS and MYOSOTIS sailed with the tankers BENEDICK and SANDAR at 1700 to escort them until tanker SAN ADOLFO was met – SAN ADOLFO to be escorted to be escorted to Gibraltar.

 

M.L. 121 sailed escorting S.S. FLAMINIAN to Cape Palos.

 

M.L. s 175 and 172 sailed escorting S.S. PHILLIP M. to Almeria and S.S. SPERO to Cape Palos.

 

GERANIUM and CAMPION arrived escorting tanker ATHELSULTAN.

 

P 611 sailed at 1800A for Alexandria.

 

AVONVALE arrived at Plymouth at 1334.

 

EXMOOR and CROOME arrived at Freetown.

 

A despatch from Consul General, Tangier, quoted American Consul, Tangier's report that HAVOC had beached near Tunis, the ship had been destroyed and there were 260 survivors.

 

April 8th

 

CAMPION sailed at 1000A at best speed to overtake and provide additional cover for convoy H.G. 81

 

The American Consul General, Algiers, reported that 250 internees (mostly from HAVOC) were arriving at Algiers.

 

April 9th

 

WISHART and BOREAS sailed at 1900A to meet and escort PENELOPE to Gibraltar. PENELOPE had been attacked by aircraft en route from Malta to Gibraltar and was seriously short of ammunition.

 

Swedish Red Cross ship SILICIA left Gibraltar at 1830B for Ustica Island.

 

April 10th

 

CLYDE sailed at 1830 with stores for Malta.

 

WISHART and BOREAS were ordered to return to Gibraltar, having to rendezvous with PENELOPE.

 

PENELOPE arrived from Malta at 1500.

 

M.L.s 290, 285, and 296 sailed a.m. to patrol off Malta in an endeavour to intercept Spanish HIS AFRICA.

 

COLTSFOOT arrived at 1800 from escorting convoy H.G. 81.

 

A British civil aircraft reported a large French tanker in position 39-22N, 09-22W, course 360 degrees, speed 12 knots at 1457Z.

 

April 11th

 

WESTCOTT and WRESTLER arrived from escorting convoy H.G. 81.

 

WISHART and BOREAS arrived at 1700, having failed to meet PENELOPE.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT sailed at 1025, escorting the tankers ATHELSULTAN and SANDAR, thence to meet tanker THORSHOLM and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

A transit Hudson reported 10 merchant ships in line ahead one mile apart, course 340 degrees, 7 knots, and in position 42-22N, 09-32W. Five of the ships were of over 5000 tons and the escort was a large merchant vessel. The aircraft's height was 9000 feet. Recognition signals were fired by the aircraft, but no acknowledgment was received.

 

B.N.A. Lisbon reported that a ship of unknown nationality had been attacked by an unidentified aircraft at 1700 off Algarve Coast, near Tavira. The ship was apparently undamaged and made off in company of several warships which had come up during the engagement.

 

P 42 sailed at 1700 for patrol in the Mediterranean.

 

April 12th

 

LLANGIBBY CASTLE escorted by WHITEHALL and BLANKNEY arrived in U.K.

 

Higher rates of pay were introduced for locally entered Dockyard workmen, also a system of free food coupons and a revised system of sick leave with pay.

 

April 13th

 

TAKU arrived from patrol.

 

BOREAS sailed for Freetown.

 

M.L.s 301, 285, and 296 sailed to patrol in area of Cape Tres Forcas in an endeavour to intercept the Spanish motor schooner HIS AFRICA, on passage to Melilla to Malaga with contraband cargo.

 

ALOUETTE, in position 275 degrees Cape Espichel, 13 miles, reported an enemy aircraft bearing 120 degrees, 6 miles, course 180 degrees.

 

It was learned through Consul General, Tangier that the American Consul at Tunis had reported on the 23rd March that he had confirmatory evidence regarding stoppage of traffic from Tunisia to Libya by rail and road. He suggested watch be kept for tugs towing barges from Gabes to Tuara close inshore in shallow waters.

 

Dockyard Canteen for Gibraltar workmen commenced operations.

 

April 14th

 

COREOPSIS and MYOSOTIS arrived, from escorting tanker SAN ADOLFO.

 

BOREAS was ordered by V.A.C.N.A. to return to Gibraltar with moderate despatch.

 

April 15th

 

STONECROP arrived from escorting convoy H.G. 81.

 

P 612 sailed for Alexandria at 1700, having been delayed in Gibraltar by defects.

 

BOREAS arrived.

 

Information was received that an attack on ships in the harbour by 2 men submarines might take place during the present moonless period. ARGUS and MAIDSTONE were warned to have steam up for slow speed between 2100 and 0600 daily, and be ready to run their engines astern at slow speed. A boat with small explosive charges was to be ready to go away from the ships at short notice during dark hours.

 

A transit aircraft reported sighting a periscope wake at 1230A in position 36-29N, 07-25W, course 290 degrees; and at 1246A, in position 36-27N, 07-12W, on the same course.

 

S.S. CRESSADO was attacked by a Focke Wulf aircraft in territorial waters off Aveiro at 1930. She sustained no damage or casualties.

 

Two German aircraft were reported one mile west of Peniche on a southerly course at 2030.

 

A French Seaman, Jan Camours, jumped overboard from French trawler KEROMAN, which was proceeding westward through the Strait in convoy at 1300. He was picked up by SAYONARA.

 

April 16th

 

WESTCOTT, WISHART, VIDETTE, ANTELOPE, and WRESTLER sailed at 0001 through 36-01N, 06-01, thence 287 degrees 13.

 

BOREAS was sailed for Freetown at 1700.

 

A U boat was sighted off Viana at 0800 steering south. It was thought that this submarine was covering the passage of Finnish S.S. ERGO.

 

An American report stated that during the nights of 14th and 15th lighthouses and shipping at Casablanca were blacked out. The city itself remained lighted.

 

April 17th

 

MIRROR, escorted by LORD NUFFIELD sailed at 1000 to carry out repairs to the Lisbon-Gibraltar No. 1, and Lisbon-Madiera No.2 cables.

 

COREOPSIS sailed at 1530 in rendezvous with SCOTTISH in position 200 degrees Cape Razo, 5 miles, at 1430/18 to endeavour to intercept Finnish S.S. ERGO.

 

Cable vessel EMILE BAUDOT, with COWSLIP was escort, sailed at 1515 for Freetown.

 

A submarine painted black or grey was sighted at 0935 approximately 30 miles northwest of Cadiz headed westward (graded B 2)

 

April 18th

 

CAIRO and CHARYBDIS arrived at 0730.

 

INGLEFIELD (Captain D 3), PARTRIDGE, ECHO, ITHURIEL, and U.S. destroyers LANG and MADISON arrived at 1500.

 

Captain D 3 in INGLEFIELD sailed at 2100 accompanied by ECHO, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, LANG, and MADISON to carry out an A/S sweep to the eastward of Gibraltar and later to rendezvous with CHARYBDIS and CAIRO.

 

M.L.s 176 and 285 sailed fro Cape Tres Forcas in an endeavour to intercept Spanish HIS AFRICA sailed from Malaga with contraband.

 

SCOTTISH reported having stopped and boarded Portuguese S.S. TRANSPORTADOR, the crew of which had abandoned ship when SCOTTISH depth charged a possible contact. The ship was sent into Gibraltar under armed guard, and SCOTTISH later reported that the crew of the ship had landed safely.

 

It was reported by B.A.D. Washington that 12 Italian U boats might endeavour to pass from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic in three groups of four at 24 hour intervals. It was reported that the first group would pass on the night of 18th/19th. An A/S sweep by Captain D 3 and four destroyers, another sweep by 9 M.L.s, and a Swordfish A.S.V. patrol were organized, and Force W was warned.

 

An aircraft reported a possible periscope in position 090 degrees Europa Point, 17 miles, course east at 1550.

 

SCOTTISH reported a Focke Wulf aircraft in position 335 degrees Capa Espichel, 37 miles. No attack developed.

 

A German aircraft was reported 2 miles west of Peniche on a southerly course at 2030.

 

April 19th

 

CHARYBDIS and CAIRO sailed at 0145 to rendezvous with Captain D 3 in INGLEFIELD and four destroyers in position 180 degrees Europa Point, 5 miles at 0230/19. The force was then to proceed in accordance with orders issued by Senior Officer, Force W.

 

WESTCOTT, WISHART, WRESTLER, and ANTELOPE arrived at 1110 and refuelled, WESTCOTT and ANTELOPE sailing again at 1415 and WISHART and WRESTLER at 1545, to rejoin Force W.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT arrived escorting the tanker THORSHOLM.

 

B.N.A. Lisbon reported what appeared to be a submarine cruising in approximate position 38-35N, 09-25W. (graded D.O.)

 

An aircraft reported three submarines, in course west, in the following positions:

 

(a). At 1215 – 37-15N, 04-36E.

 

(b). At 1711 – 36-46N, 01-17E.

 

(c). At 1755 – 37-09N, 03-24E.

 

April 20th

 

Convoy O.G. 82 arrived (Commodore Cdre. Baxter) escorted by STORK (E.G.36), PENTSTEMON, VETCH, and CONVOLVULUS.

 

GERANIUM, MYOSOTIS, and STONECROP sailed at 2000 to carry out an R.D.F. and A/S sweep in the Strait to westward, returning a.m. on 21st.

 

GARDENIA arrived at 1700 from escorting convoy O.G. 82 – she had been delayed by defects.

 

VIDETTE arrived at 1620 to refuel – she had been detached from Force W.

 

M.L.s 121 and 134 sailed p.m. to institute a patrol off Malaga to endeavour to intercept Spanish HIS AFRICA. M.L.s 176 and 285 had been patrolling in the same area with the same object, returned to Gibraltar.

 

BOREAS arrived at Bathurst at 1530.

 

Consul Huelva reported that a two engined aircraft believed British was thought to have crashed 25 kilometers from Huelva. It was later reported that plane and bodies were unidentifiable.

 

A report from American sources, graded B.1, stated that Casablanca harbour was cleared for action. Destroyers and PRIMAGUET, GLOIRE had been shifted to clear fire path. Submarines had been moved to facilitate their departure.

 

An aircraft reported a submarine in position 35-50N, 02-28W at 1835, course 180 degrees, speed 6 knots. It was not possible for an attack to be made.

 

Mobile wiping-deperming unit FRANCISCO ANTONIO QUARTO commenced operating at Gibraltar.

 

April 21st

 

MANXMAN arrived at 0800 en route for Durban via Freetown, Takoradi, and Simonstown.

 

CAIRO, INGLEFIELD, ECHO, LANG, and MADISON arrived at 0250 and sailed again at 0625 to rejoin U.S. Aircraft Carrier WASP.

 

RENOWN, CHARYBDIS, WISHART, WRESTLER, WESTCOTT, ANTELOPE, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, and VIDETTE arrived at 1630 from Operation CALENDAR.

 

GERANIUM, MYOSOTIS, and STONECROP sailed at 1900A to carry out an R.D.F. and A/S sweep in the Strait to westward, returning a.m. 22nd.

 

VIDETTE sailed at 0130 in accordance with orders issued by Senior Officer, Force W.

 

TARANA was ordered by signal to endeavour to intercept the Spanish HIS AFRICA which left Malaga which left Malaga at 2300A.

 

UNBEATEN arrived at 1800B.

 

A transit aircraft sighted at 0948A a merchant ship, old cargo, of 2500 tons, escorted by three trawlers in position 43-19N 09-26W steering 017 degrees at 10 knots.

 

SCOTTISH left patrol to rendezvous with S.S. CRESSADO and S.S. OPORTO off Oporto at 2000A/21 and escort them coastwise to the Tagus, where S.S. SWITZERLAND would meet them.

 

April 22nd

 

COREOPSIS and ALOUETTE met SCOTTISH (who was escorting S.S. CRESSADO, OPORTO, and SWITZERLAND) to take over the escorting of the three M.V.s to Gibraltar. SCOTTISH proceeded to Y.1 patrol, and ALOUETTE parted company with COREOPSIS off Spartel and proceeded to Y.1 patrol.

 

STONECROP and MYOSOTIS sailed at 1945 as escort to tankers SAN ADOLFO and THORSHOLM to part company at 2000/26 and sweep back to Gibraltar.

 

MANXMAN sailed at 1130A for Freetown.

 

TAKU sailed at 1700 for Alexandria.

 

WESTCOTT, WISHART, and WRESTLER sailed at 2000A to carry out an R.D.F. and A/S sweep in the Strait to westward, returning a.m. on the 23rd.

 

SCOTTISH reported on enemy aircraft, type unknown, in position 39-32N, 09-12W at 0820, and two off Cape Carvoceiro at 0942.

 

 

(n.b. there were no entries on April 23rd)

 

 

April 24th

 

COREOPSIS arrived escorting the merchant ships CRESSADO, OPORTO, and SWITZERLAND

 

SCOTTISH reported a Focke Wulf aircraft in position 39-05N, 09-34W at 1900. At 1956, she reported being attacked, and at 2005 another Focke Wulf attacked. Both aircraft approached on a course of 180 degrees and continued in that direction.

 

April 25th

 

WRESTLER sailed at 1800 to meet LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE – and provide additional escort to Gibraltar.

 

OLYMPUS sailed at 1800 for Malta with stores.

 

WIVERN sailed at 1930 for Bathurst.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT sailed at 2008 to pass through a position 090 degrees Almins, 4 miles, and carry out an R.D.F. and A/S sweep along the coast of Morocco, returning to Gibraltar at 1900.

 

GEORGETOWN and SALISBURY arrived from U.K. – owing to weather and defects they had been unable to rendezvous with U.S.S. WASP and had put into Ponta Delgada, finally arriving at Gibraltar at 1900.

 

It was reported from Cartagena that A/S defences had been fixed outside that port and that ships were instructed to switch on lights and take on a pilot before entering port.

 

April 26th

 

CLYDE arrived from Malta at 1000.

 

April 27th

 

Convoy H.G. 82 (Commodore Baxter) sailed at 1700 escorted by STORK (E.G. 36), PENTSTEMON, GARDENIA, CONVOLVULUS, GERANIUM, AND COLTSFOOT, the two latter to part company at daylight on May 2nd and return to Gibraltar.

 

MANXMAN arrived at Freetown.

 

COWSLIP escorting Cable Vessel EMILE BAUDOT arrived at Freetown.

 

N.C.S.O., Lisbon reported that a reliable source stated that German aircraft frequently flew over the lighthouse at Carvoeiro at 1900 G.M.T. from North to South at a considerable height.

 

French S.S. PROVIDENCE passed Gibraltar westbound in convoy with many soldiers on board.

 

April 28th

 

ANTELOPE sailed at 0930 to provide additional escort for convoy H.G. 82 until prudent limit of endurance or further orders. She later returned to harbour with defects.

 

Polish submarine SOKOL arrived at 1500 from Malta.

 

VETCH sailed at 2300A to provide additional escort for convoy H.G. 82.

 

LOCH OSKAIG sighted a Spanish cruiser or minelayer in position 38-36N, 09-31W at 2000A, course south.

 

A transit aircraft reported a periscope in position 40-30N, 08-53W, course 360 degrees at 1215, and another aircraft reported sighting at 1803 two submarines on the surface in position 42-00N, 09-43W, course 090 degrees. They dived shortly after being sighted.

 

April 29th

 

STONECROP and MYOSITIS arrived at 2000 from escorting tankers SAN ADOLFO and THORSHOLM.

 

ST NECTAN sailed at 1645 to escort S.S. BARON YARBOROUGH to Melilla for loading, thence back to Gibraltar.

 

An aircraft reported sighting at 1355, in position 21-00N, 17-10W, one destroyer and two large ocean type submarines, course 360 degrees, speed 8 knots. No colours or identification marks could be seen.

 

At 1415 an aircraft reported sighting a Vichy convoy of 7 merchant ships accompanied by a sloop or escort vessel in position 20-30N, 17-10W, course 360 degrees at 10 knots.

 

A transit aircraft reported a light cruiser or large destroyer in position 43-36N, 08-50W, course northwest, speed 15 knots, at 1030A.

 

Two men, Dimitri Filippakis and Rene Arnault, jumped overboard from French M.V. BELLE ISLE which was proceeding eastward through the Strait at 1200. They were picked up by SAYONARA.

 

At 1700 two R.A.F. aircraft in position 160 degrees Tarifa, 7 miles, were fired on from the south side of the Strait.

 

April 30th

 

VELOX and WRESTLER arrived, escorting LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE from U.K. at 2030.

 

An aircraft reported sighting 6 motor vessels, heavily laden in position 22-15N, 17-00W, at 1312, course 020 degrees, speed 10 knots.

 

Two German aircraft were reported to have passed Cape Roca at 1950 and Peniche at 2000, both on a southerly course.

 

 

 

SECTION III

 

Naval Control Service

 

Organisation of convoys, routeing of ships independently, reporting, issuing of latest Admiralty Orders to individual ships, issuing of necessary C.B.s and correction thereto, and all other work of a Naval Control Service, carried out as requisite.

 

2. 5th April - Convoy H.G. 81 sailed consisting of 17 ships Commodore A.S. Mackay - in S.S. LUBLIN.

 

3. 17th April - Admiralty direct that consideration be given to the sailing of H.G. convoys before programme date in view of quicker passages being made by O.G. Convoys (A.M. 1231B/17/4/42).

 

4. 20th April - Convoy O.G. 82 arrived – Commodore Baxter

 

5. 23rd April - Admiralty direct that British managed tankers bound for West Indies or Gulf of Mexico should be routed to Trinidad for orders (1401B/23/4/42).

 

6. 26th April - Prohibited area (32 North – 38 North, 66 West to 72 West) for Merchant ships ordered by Admiralty. (A.M. 0008B/26/4/42).

 

7. 27th April - Convoy H.G. 82 sailed consisting of 29 ships Commodore Baxter in ARDEOLA. Attempt was made to tow trawler L'ORAGE to U.K. by S.S. TADORNA, but tow parted in heavy weather off Cape Spartel and L'ORAGE returned to Gibraltar. TADORNA continuing with convoy.

 

8. 28th April - Revised instructions received to Routeing Instructions for shipping in the Atlantic (Amendment 5 to M.A.R.I.)

 

9. Tankers Arrived Gibraltar During April.

 

BENEDICK (2/4), SANDAR (Norw.) (3/4)

 

ATHELSULTAN (8/4), SAN ADOLFO (14/4)

 

THORSHOLM (Norw.) 17/4

 

Tankers sailed during April.

 

7th April - Tanker BENEDICK sailed to Trinidad escorted by COREOPSIS and MYOSOTIS until 11th April.

 

11th April - Tankers SANDAR (Norw.) and ATHELSULTAN sailed to Trinidad and Curacao respectively, escorted by GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT until 15th April.

 

22nd April - Tankers THORSHOLM (Norw.) and SAN ADOLFO sailed to Trinidad and Curacao, escorted by STONECROP and MYOSOTIS to approx. 23 degrees West

 

10. During the month, 29 vessels have been routed independently from Gibraltar of which 20 were routed into the Mediterranean.

 

 


 

 

 

NORTH ATLANTIC LETTER OF PROCEEDING – No. 29

 

MAY 1942

 

 

SECTION I

 

General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding North Atlantic

 

 

 

Operation IRONCLAD and Repercussions

 

1. In view of the possible repercussions resulting from our occupation of Madagascar, shore establishments were ordered to take up sheltered night accommodations as from 2000A/4th, and consequent on Admiralty's request that the harbour should be cleared as far as possible by daylight on the 5th. LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE, escorted by STONECROP, MYOSOTIS, and VELOX sailed at 2200A/4.

 

2. Two aircraft on passage reported sighting one battleship and two destroyers in position 33-30N, 08-25W at 0823/3, course 220, and at 0835 on a course of 044. The battleship was reported to resemble STRASBOURG, and the two destroyers the FANTASQUE class. A reconnaissance of Dakar at 1400/3 showed ships in their usual positions.

 

3. At 0138A/5, RENOWN, CHARYBDIS, ARGUS, and EAGLE were ordered to raise steam for full speed at 2 hours' notice; at 1942 a torpedo striking force of six Swordfish was ordered to be at 1 one's notice until further orders; instructions were given to all ships that A.A. armament was to be at 10 minutes' notice, and full speed at 1 hour's notice from 0600/5. A reconnaissance of Dakar at 0845/5 showed ships in usual positions, as also did a further reconnaissance on the 6th.

 

4. An American report on 6th, reported that JEAN BART might be moved to the Grand Jetty – she had taken on fuel and it appeared as though she was getting into sea trim. A further American report of the 7th stated that JEAN BART might leave Casablanca that night. Shore leave had been cancelled and officers and men told to be on board over night. A reconnaissance of Casablanca at 1920B/7 showed JEAN BART in her usual berth, one cruiser, and three destroyers.

 

5. Events on the 8th May were as follows: the Swordfish striking force at North Front was ordered to be at 15 minutes notice from 0300B, but this was extended to 1 hour notice at 1204B. H.M. Submarine P 42 was ordered to come to 15 minutes notice from steam from 0400B and was reverted to 2 hours notice at 1214B; an attempt to reconnoiter Casablanca by a Fulmar p.m. was frustrated, the plane being driven off and damaged by four French fighters; reconnaissance at 0940 showed JEAN BART in her usual place.

 

6. An American report, graded fact, received through Tangier, said that cruiser PRIMAUGUET left Casablanca a.m. on the 9th with three submarines, direction southwest.

 

7. I informed Admiralty in my 1534B/9 that if JEAN BART attempted to pass into the Mediterranean she would probably be escorted by cruisers, destroyers, and fighter aircraft, and action with escorts would appear to be inevitable. I intended Senior Officer, Force W to detach WASP and American destroyers before engaging.

 

8. At 1510B/9, an aircraft reported sighting one battleship and four destroyers in position 34-20N, 07-05W, course 030 degrees. The ships appeared to be having gunnery practice. In view of the previous reports received, this ship was thought to be the JEAN BART, and accordingly all H.M. Ships at Gibraltar were ordered to have steam for full speed by 1900, and merchant ships to have engines ready by the same hour, or as soon after as possible. All personnel were recalled from shore to rejoin their ships. On the return of the aircraft, it was established that the "battleship" was, in fact, a cruiser, and was engaged with the destroyers in gunnery practice, and that they had returned to Casablanca after the practice. Ships in Gibraltar were therefore ordered to revert to normal notice for steam at 1921/9. The operational staff returned to The Tower from offices in the Naval Battle Quarters at 1200/11.

 

9. Visual reconnaissance of Casablanca at 0730B/19 revealed that JEAN BART had been moved, was in the vicinity of the harbour entrance and moving seaward. Two Fulmars were flown off EAGLE to reconnoiter, and the photographs obtained at 1840B showed that the ship was lying parallel to, and about 200 feet from the Jetty Dellure, within the harbour, and facing eastward.

 

10. MALAYA and MAIDSTONE were ordered to have steam at 1 hours notice, P 44 at hour notice, and the Swordfish striking force at hours notice from 0430/20. A reconnaissance at 0830/20, however, showed that JEAN BART had returned to her normal berth, and ships and the Swordfish striking force at Gibraltar reverted to normal notice.

 

Operation BOWERY

 

11. U.S. Aircraft Carrier WASP loaded 50 Spitfires in the Clyde and sailed at 0400Z/2, escorted by INTREPID, ECHO, and U.S. Destroyers STERRET and LANG.

 

12. WESTCOTT, WISHART, WRESTLER, and ANTELOPE sailed from Gibraltar at 0001/5 to relieve INTREPID, ECHO, STERRET, and LANG who arrived at Gibraltar to fuel at 1800B/7.

 

13. Commodore C.S. Daniel, Senior Officer, Force W, in RENOWN, EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, STERRET, LANG, ECHO, INTREPID, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, SALISBURY, GEORGETOWN, and VIDETTE sailed at 0130B/8 to rendezvous off Europa Point at 0030A with WASP and escort. GEORGETOWN was detached from the force at 0930 on account of defects, and arrived at Gibraltar at 1630B.

 

14. On being joined by S.O. "W", and escort, WESTCOTT, WISHART, WRESTLER, and ANTELOPE were detached to Gibraltar to fuel. WESTCOTT, WISHART, and ANTELOPE arrived at 1250B and WRESTLER at 1425B. WESTCOTT and ANTELOPE sailed again at 1720, WISHART at 1800 and WRESTLER at 2206, to rejoin the Force.

 

15. 17 Spitfires were flown off EAGLE and 47 from WASP in mean position 37-48N, 01-06E between 0638 and 0735. One crashed on taking off, one force landed on WASP, one landed in Africa, and a fourth in the sea near Malta. The planes arrived at Malta in the middle of a raid and were refuelled and in action within 35 minutes of landing, destroying or damaging 30 enemy aircraft for the less of 3 Spitfires in their first sorties.

 

16. INTREPID, ECHO, STERRET, LANG, SALISBURY, and ITHURIEL were detached to Gibraltar during the night of the 9th/10th to refuel, and sailed again at 0600 to rejoin WASP and RENOWN and escort them to U.K. ITHURIEL sailed from Gibraltar at 0800 to provide additional escort until 1400B/12 when she was detached to join PARTRIDGE and escort MALAYA to Gibraltar. STERRET who was delayed at Gibraltar through a fouled propeller, sailed at 0100B/10 to rejoin WASP and RENOWN.

 

17. The remainder of the force arrived at Gibraltar at 0400/10.

 

Operation L.B.

 

18. Admiralty's 1817B/6 states that the 15 Spitfires remaining at Gibraltar, together with the six Albacores which were to have been flown off during Operation PICKET were to be flown off to Malta as soon as possible after the completion of Operation BOWERY.

 

19. Plans were made for the operation to start on the 14th, but it was delayed by the necessity for providing a destroyer escort from Freetown to Gibraltar.

 

20. WISHART, PARTRIDGE, and ITHURIEL sailed at 0950/17, ARGUS and CHARYBDIS at 1015, and EAGLE, ANTELOPE, WRESTLER, and WESTCOTT at 1330 and proceeded eastward at 17 knots. VIDETTE had been delayed by defects and sailed at 1535, but was sent back as being unreliable.

 

21. In position 36-30N, 01-50W, at 2358/17 CHARYBDIS dropped three depth charges on what appeared to be the swirl and was of a submarine diving. No contact was obtained.

 

22. At 0830/18 in position 37-07N, 01-50E, CHARYBDIS and PARTRIDGE sighted three torpedo attacks. PARTRIDGE gained a firm contact and carried out a depth charge attack, but with no visible results. At 1007, the doubtful report of a U Boat periscope resulted in ITHURIEL dropping one depth charge and an investigation by WESTCOTT, but no confirmation of the presence of a U boat was obtained.

 

23. At 1140 a Catalina aircraft on advance patrol for ARGUS was shot down by French aircraft 20 miles north of Algiers. A full report of this incident is contained in my letter to Admiralty No. X. 302/401 off 11th July 1942.

 

24. At 1320 an attempt was made to fly off the Spitfires, but low wind velocity precluded it. At 1440, the first flight of Spitfires was flown off in position 37-32N, 01-58E, and the second flight at 1515 in position 37-33N, 03-02E. The take offs were without incident.

 

25. The six Albacores were flown off at 1930 in position 37-39N, 04-02E, but they all returned and landed on defective.

 

26. The force had frequently been reported by enemy craft, and shadowing aircraft were intermittently seen and engaged when within range. Between 2130 and 2215 the force was attacked by torpedo carrying aircraft believed to be Italian S.M. 79s. EAGLE and ARGUS were near missed but avoiding action resulted in no casualties being sustained.

 

27. Enemy reconnaissance aircraft were sighted at 0949/19 and 1119/19, the latter aircraft being observed in the vicinity until 1315. They were engaged by gunfire when within range.

 

28. EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, ITHURIEL, and WESTCOTT arrived at Gibraltar at 0430; ARGUS, WRESTLER, ANTELOPE, WISHART, and PARTRIDGE at 0700; HYTHE and rescue tug SALVONIA (who had sailed at 0790/18 (n.b. time is given at 1790) to patrol in an area in the vicinity of Cape de Gata, out of sight of land) returned to Gibraltar at 0730.

 

SHIPMENT OF STORES TO MALTA IN WELSHMAN

 

29. WELSHMAN left Plymouth at 1600/1st May carrying passengers, ammunition, and stores for Malta. She was to embark at Gibraltar as such of the consignment of smoke containers (which had arrived at Gibraltar in the LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE) as could be carried. She arrived at Gibraltar a.m. on 4th and embarked 7 tons of smoke containers.

 

30. It was intended that WELSHMAN should proceed to Malta under cover of Operation BOWERY, but that she should not arrive at Malta before the completion of this operation, so that adequate air cover would be available from Malta. She was accordingly sailed from Gibraltar at 0200A/8, arriving at Malta at 0525/10. She cut two mines near Malta, but otherwise the passage was uneventful.

 

31. While at Malta there were three heavy air raids in the immediate vicinity of WELSHMAN, but a smoke screen, heavy A.A. fire, and a power fighter protection (as a result of the successful culmination of Operation BOWERY), prevented more than near misses being received. The resultant damage was slight, though one rating was killed and there were some injuries.

 

32. It was proposed to sail WELSHMAN to Alexandria to embark certain stores for Malta, prior to her return to Gibraltar but the disposition of enemy forces, coupled with the fact that the stores were not vitally necessary, did not warrant the risks so involved, and she was accordingly sailed for Gibraltar at 2120/10, having embarked 143 passengers.

 

33. During the return passage, she passed south of Sardinia in daylight, but her French disguise may have misled to JU 88s as they did not attack. She arrived at Gibraltar at 1900B/12 and sailed for Milford Haven 1030B/13.

 

USE OF VIGO AS A U BOAT REFUELLING BASE

 

34. The case of the use of Vigo as a refuelling and reprovisioning base for U boats, although now considerably more satisfactory from our point of view, still gives rise to a certain amount of uneasiness.

 

35. Rumours, increasing in persistence, have been current over a considerable time. Colour was lent to these rumours and reports by the presence of the German tankers ANTARKTIS and NORD ATLANTIC, and the cargo ship BESSED. The latter was fitted with tanker in No. 2 hold at Ferrol in September 1941.

 

36. It was not until a concrete case had been established that a U boat had entered Vigo on the night of the 14th/15th December, however, that promise of action to prevent this violation of neutrality was forthcoming from the Spanish government.

 

37. Personal investigations of the conditions existing in the port, were made by the British Naval Attache, Madrid, which revealed that, up to 30th January, 1942, no orders for the promised precautions had been received in Vigo.

 

38. According to a report from the British Naval Attache, the Minister of Marine was prevented from having the crews removed from the German ships, and from putting guards on boat by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Minister of Marine, however, is stated to have given orders for extra vigilance and to have stationed two torpedo boats at Vigo. He is further reported by the British Naval Attache to have expressed himself as being dissatisfied with the situation, and to have been openly and savagely against the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

39. On 14th February 1942, the British Naval Attache reported that the Minister of Marine had said that he had at last received satisfaction, and that armed guards would e placed on board each German ship as from 16th February. For various reasons, the Spanish Government were unable to agree to the removed of the crews, and he added tat he had only obtained guards in the face of opposition and German pressure.

 

40. In the meantime, reports continue to come to hand of quantities of supplies for these ships arriving at Vigo in German Embassy lorries, and that new German seaman had arrived.

 

41. On 15th May 1942, H.B.M., Consul, Vigo reported that the tankers were near the Naval Base with Spanish guards on board every night, and that he was assured by the Marine Commandante that no U boats could go alongside without his knowledge. On 17th May, he amplified his report by stating that guards were placed on board the two tankers only, and this only at night.

 

42. This matter was taken up with the British Naval Attache, Madrid, who reported on the 25th May that he had learned from the Minister of Marine that the Commanding Officer of the Spanish cruiser NAVARRO, who is responsible for the guards, had apparently misinterpreted his instructions and not placed guards on BESSEL, as he considered it unnecessary. Nothing could go alongside her without observation, either from the Naval Base of from the guards in the tankers. The Minister had now, however, given orders in his presence that guards should also be placed in BESSEL.

 

43. It was appear from the foregoing that it is not intended to sacrifice these facilities lightly, and that the situation should continue to be watched carefully.

 

OPERATION OF MOTOR LAUNCHES AT GIBRALTAR

 

44. The M.L. Flotillas at present at Gibraltar are

 

3rd Flotilla 121 (Senior Officer), 134, 135, 168

 

9th Flotilla 172 (Senior Officer), 170, 173, 174, 175, and 176

 

27th Flotilla 301 (Senior Officer), 278, 285, 287, 290, 296, 302, 305

 

29th Flotilla 469 (Senior Officer), 458, 459, 462, 463, 471, 480, 483

 

Admiralty's 1309/2.5.42 stated that the 27th Flotilla would shortly leave Gibraltar for West Africa. The employment of the remaining Flotillas will then be as follows:

 

(a). 3rd Flotilla Being fitted with deck thanks, these M.L.s have a long range and endurance, and would be used to extended sweeps, convoying and special duties. A training program has been drawn up and brought into force.

 

(b). 9th Flotilla Being fitted with torpedo tubes to form part of the Strait Defence Force; they will also be used for local patrols.

 

(c). 29th Flotilla To be used on local patrols, valuable working up practice being gained thereby.

 

Administration of Ships by V.A.C.N.A.

 

45. My signal times 1202A/2.5.42 asked Admiralty whether Force W should remain in being when not actually engaged in operations. Admiralty's reply, time 1855B/4 confirmed that Force W should remain in being only when engaged in operations, and that I should administer RENOWN, CHARYBDIS, EAGLE, and ARGUS at other times. Admiralty's 2242B/16 stated that MALAYA, ITHURIEL, and PARTRIDGE were to operate under my orders until further notice.

 

P 42's attack on VALE FORMOSA II

 

46. The VALE FORMOSA II, carrying approved Swiss cargo, was encountered by P 42 in position 43-45N, 07-53E at daylight on 26th April. As she was in a "free for all" area and 50 miles from her authorized route, she was not identified, and in the ensuing action she was hit once by the 3" gun and several times by machine guns. P 42 spoke to the ship in Italian only, and the VALE FORMOSA II, on arrival at Gibraltar, reported that she had been attacked by an Italian submarine. The only evidence that that the submarine was British was the fuze cap of the shell, which was recovered and is now in the hands of the naval authorities at Gibraltar.

 

ADOPTION OF BRITISH.....

 

47. (n.b. any page following page 6 of PART I is not held)

 

 

 

SECTION II – GENERAL NARRATIVE

 

May 1942

 

Friday, 1st May

 

WESTCOTT, WISHART, GEORGETOWN, VIDETTE, WRESTLER sailed at 1330 on an A/S patrol to the Eastward, returning to Gibraltar by 0600A in order to exercise with ARGUS.

 

M.L.s 135 and 305 sailed at 1645 to escort S.S. NEWTON PINE to Melilla to load, thence back to Gibraltar.

 

A U boat was estimated to be in the Western Mediterranean between longitude 00 and 02 West at 0214.

 

At 1330A a Hudson aircraft attacked a U boat in position 36-40N, 01-55W. The result of the attack was unknown.

 

At 1550A, a Hudson aircraft sighted a U boat on the surface course 090, speed 8 knots, in position 37-00N, 01-00E. A later report stated that the submarine was disabled on the surface. WISHART and WRESTLER were detached from the five destroyers on the A/S hunt, to attack her, and a further Hudson was despatched from Gibraltar at 1700. Search was made until 1030/2, but no contact was made.

 

P 42 reported at 2222, a U boat in position 36-32N, 01-01W, course 070, speed 14 knots. It was thought that this was the same submarine as that sighted by the Hudson at 1330. P 42 attacked with her two remaining torpedoes, but missed. The remaining three destroyers of the A/S hunt were searching in this vicinity by midnight.

 

Rescue tug SALVONIA left Campbeltown to rendezvous with convoy O.G. 83 for Gibraltar.

 

N.C.S.O. Lisbon reported that enemy aircraft were seen heading north off Peniche at 1800 and off Cape Roca at 2000.

 

At 1845, IMPERIALIST opened fire on a Focke Wulf aircraft 24 miles west of Cape Espichel, scoring hits with Bofors gun. This aircraft was last seen losing height rapidly and closing the shore; it later forced landed at Apulia Beach and was destroyed by the crew.

 

COREOPSIS sailed at 0900 to relieve LORD NUFFIELD who was escorting the Cable Ship MIRROR.

 

At 1900, S.S. LEADGATE sighted a Focke Wulf off Huelva. This aircraft came out over the land and proceeded south without attacking.

 

N.C.S.O. Ponta Delgada reported that tankers carrying aviation spirit are not allowed to enter inside the harbour, and consequently have to anchor outside in an exposed position.

 

Saturday, 2nd May

 

WISHART and WESTCOTT were ordered to discontinue the hunt for the damaged submarine until further notice.

 

It was reported from Cartagena that a German U boat which had been damaged by aircraft depth charges had been towed inside the reef at 1315. It had a defective dynamo causing loss of fuel, and damaged periscope and ballast pumps.

 

M.L.s 121 and 134 sailed at 0001 to meet and escort P 42 to Gibraltar.

 

P 42 arrived from patrol at 2000. She had obtained one torpedo hit on an unescorted 4000 ton merchant ship which probably sank.

 

Admiralty's 1309B detailed the 27th M.L. Flotilla for West Africa, and V.A.C.N.A. was requested to sail the Flotilla to the port indicated by R.A.W.A.

 

At 1412 an aircraft attacked a U boat in position 37-32N, 00-10E. WISHART and WRESTLER commenced searching at 1520, and at 1625 180 degrees, 2 miles from this position, a firm contact was obtained and attacks were carried out with Hedgehogs. Contact was lost at 1850. At 2130 WISHART gained a firm contact and made two attacks. A large patch of thin oil, similar to shale oil, was observed half a mile to windward of the attack. Subsequent search revealed nothing.

 

Sunday, 3rd May

 

OLYMPUS arrived at Malta

 

ANTELOPE arrived at 0600 from escorting convoy H.G. 82.

 

HAARLEM sailed at 1615 to escort PENCARROW to Melilla to load and thence back to Gibraltar.

 

STELLA CARINA sailed at 1415 to escort S.S. OGMORE CASTLE to Almeria to load, thence back to Gibraltar.

 

WESTCOTT, WISHART, VIDETTE, WRESTLER, and GEORGETOWN arrived at 2300 from the A/S sweep. A full report was signalled to Admiralty in V.A.C.N.A.'s 1330B/5th May.

 

A transit aircraft reported a Vichy convoy of 7 merchant ships and one escort in position 27-31N, 13-40W at 1229, course 010, speed 8 knots. A further convoy of 3 merchant ships and a sloop or destroyer was sighted in position 26-20N, 14-21W, course 200, speed 8 knots.

 

Monday, 4th May

 

WELSHMAN arrived a.m. from U.K.

 

LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE sailed for U.K. at 2200A , escorted by STONECROP, MYOSOTIS, and VELOX. VELOX was to part company in position 40-01N, 18-59E and proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel, thence to Bathurst.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT arrived at 1800 from escorting convoy H.G. 82.

 

During blasting operations at North Front at 2000, a rating who was sitting in the sleeping quarters of the R.N. Air Section, was injured by a piece of falling rock. Fortress Headquarters was asked to define an area which might be dangerous owing to blasting operations.

 

Tuesday, 5th May

 

A Hudson aircraft reported sighting a U boat in position 25-38N, 14-58W at 1105, course 135. Submarine crash dived while the aircraft was still two miles distant, and no attack was made.

 

Wednesday, 6th May

 

VIDETTE, GEORGETOWN, SALISBURY, and ITHURIEL sailed at 1630 for an A/S sweep to westward.

 

Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that the A/S net in the boom outside Cartagena harbour is 8 metres in depth and stretches from Santa Ana Buoy to Western Navidad breakwater. A passage 60 meters wise is left at nights. A naval tug is available to give assistance to vessels entering.

 

A U boat was reported by a Fulmar aircraft at 1355 in position 36-36N, 07-12W. The U boat crash dives. Search by surface craft revealed nothing, and it is considered that the sighting was doubtful.

 

A Swordfish aircraft of 824 Squadron forced landed in the sea off Tarifa Point at 0159.

 

Thursday, 7th May

 

VIDETTE, GEORGETOWN, SALISBURY, and ITHURIEL returned to Gibraltar at 1430 from the A/S sweep to westward.

 

R.A.W.A. reported that the destination of the 27th M.L. Flotilla was to be Freetown.

 

N.C.S.O. Lisbon reported that 7 aircraft had been seen heading north at 1000.

 

A German aircraft was seen off Sagres at 0835, course northwest. Similar aircraft was seen later off Cape Roca and Peniche on a northerly course.

 

It was learned through Naval Attache, Madrid, that the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the German U boat in Cartagena would require two or three months for repairs.

 

IMPERIALIST in position 318 degrees Cape Espichel, 24 miles, reported one enemy aircraft bearing 045 degrees, 3 miles, steering north.

 

Friday, 8th May

 

LORD NUFFIELD sailed at 1700 to relieve COREOPSIS who was escorting Cable Ship MIRROR, operating in approximate position 37-31N, 10-11W.

 

COLTSFOOT sailed at 1600 to carry out an R.D.F. and A/S search between the Spanish Coast and Alboran Island.

 

VELOX left Ponta Delgada at 1330Z and proceeded to Bathurst.

 

Saturday, 9th May

 

MALAYA sailed from Freetown at 1900, escorted by BOREAS and WILD SWAN. She sailed in the direction of Cape Verde Islands so as to be available in case RICHELIEU should break out to northwards.

 

COLTSFOOT arrived at 1610 from the A/S and R.D.F. sweep to the eastward.

 

Two French submarines (one identified as VENGEUR) escorted by the Armed Trawler LA HAVRAISE, passed through the Strait, eastbound at 1405.

 

Sunday, 10th May

 

PENELOPE sailed at 2300B for New York, via Bermuda for refit.

 

COREOPSIS arrived at 2010B from escorting Cable Vessel MIRROR.

 

The minesweeping trawlers HYTHE and RYE left Londonderry p.m. for Alexandria, via Gibraltar and the Cape.

 

British Naval Attache, Lisbon, reported that the British Overseas Airways aircraft CHAMPION had sighted submarines on the surface 40 miles west of Cape St Vincent, course 128 degrees, at 0638 G.M.T. They replied correctly to the aircraft's challenge. They appeared to be damaged.

 

Monday, 11th May

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT sailed at 1420 to meet the tanker SANDAR and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

Convoy O.G. 83 escorted by BLACK SWAN, CAMPION, MALLOW, and JONQUIL arrived at 0015.

 

PARTRIDGE sailed at 0100 to rendezvous with ITHURIEL in position 28-50N, 13-02W at 1400B/12 and proceed to meet MALAYA (who was being escorted by BOREAS and WILD SWAN) at 0100B/13, and escort her to Gibraltar. BOREAS and WILD SWAN were detached to Bathurst on arrival of PARTRIDGE and ITHURIEL.

 

STONECROP and MYOSOTIS arrived at 0735, having provided escort for LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE.

 

P 44 arrived at 1500 from U.K. She had attacked a homeward bound U boat in position 45-08N, 12-58W on 7th May, on broad track angle, running range 9000 yards. One explosion was heard after 9 minutes, though no proof of his was obtained.

 

Tuesday, 12th May

 

VELOX arrived at Bathurst at 1815Z.

 

British Naval Attache, Lisbon reported that the Secretary to the American Naval Attache in Rome had stated that 10 Axis U boats, mostly new ones, had been ordered to leave Trieste on 1st May for Bordeaux, and that they would be used for operations in ......(n.b. page chopped).

 

Wednesday, 13th May

 

WELSHMAN sailed at 2200B for U.K.

 

A report from the British Consul, Cartagena, stated that it was probable that the German U boat which had entered Cartagena on the 2nd May could not be repaired at that port. The local Admiral was insisting on the internment of the crew.

 

Thursday, 14th May

 

JONQUIL and ST NECTAN sailed at 0200 to meet the tanker COWRIE and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT arrived at 0400 from endeavouring to meet the tanker SANDAR. The information that the tanker, had, in fact been sunk on 2nd May, was unknown to V.A.C.N.A. at the time the escort vessels were sailed from Gibraltar. The undesirability of escort vessels being kept to sea for three days unnecessarily as the result of the non receipt of this information, was stressed in V.A.C.N.A.'s signal timed 1020B/13.

 

LADY HOGARTH sailed at 1400/14 to relieve LORD NUFFIELD who was escorting Cable Ship MIRROR.

 

COREOPSIS on "T" patrol was ordered to leave patrol as necessary to rendezvous with S.S. CITY OF LANCASTER, EMPIRE SNIPE, and GUIDO off Lisbon and escort them to Gibraltar.

 

BLACK SWAN, CAMPION, MALLOW, STONECROP, MYOSOTIS, and GEORGETOWN were sailed at 1500B to rendezvous with convoy S.L. 109 in position 34-22, 19-01W. BLACK SWAN and the 37th Escort Group were to take over the escorting from LANDGUARD (n.b. LANGUARD in text) and the 40th Escort Group, and were to take the convoy to U.K. the 40th Escort Group returning to Gibraltar. GEORGETOWN was to be fuelled at sea if possible, and remain with the convoy to U.K. If oiling at sea was not practical, she was to return at prudent limit of endurance to Gibraltar.

 

HYTHE reported an Asdic contact at 2010B in position 37-58N, 13-17W. An attack was carried out, but contact was lost and no results were seen.

 

Friday, 15th May

 

MALAYA, escorted by PARTRIDGE and ITHURIEL arrived at 2000B.

 

A Hudson aircraft engaged an enemy aircraft in position 270 degrees Cape Palos, 10 miles at 1735. The enemy broke off the engagement – no damage having been received by the Hudson.

 

At 1230Z, A Sunderland sighted a merchant ship in company with a submarine in position 44-07N, 09-09W, course 100 degrees, speed 17 knots. The Sunderland attacked but the results are unknown.

 

Saturday, 16th May

 

Minesweeping trawlers HYTHE and RYE arrived from U.K. at 1300.

 

A transit aircraft reported a submarine with a large conning tower in position 43-40N, 08-25W at 1117 G.M.T. steering south.

 

British Consul, Cartagena, reported that the damaged U boat at that port could not be repaired, and that the crew would be interned.

 

At 1300, a man jumped from Vichy French S.S. HOGGAR which was proceeding westward through the Strait in convoy. He was picked up by the French escort vessel, and was seen to be manhandled for his pains.

 

Sunday, 17th May

 

M.L.s 290 and 285 sailed at 2200 through 090 degrees Europa 4 miles, to carry out an A/S sweep along the Spanish coast as far East as Estepona Light, thence back to Gibraltar, keeping just outside territorial waters.

 

LOCH OSKAIG reported beating off two Focke Wulf aircraft at 1845 G.M.T. 4 miles north of Cape Roca. The aircraft were last seen flying south at 300 feet. An unreliable report received later stated that one aircraft had crashed.

 

The British Consul, Cartagena, reported that a large German submarine had entered Ferrol on 17th, gone in to the Naval Yard and left again later the same day.

 

ALOUETTE, in position 308 degrees Cape Espichel, 15 miles, sighted a Focke Wulf aircraft four miles distant, course south at 2030, and another at 2045 also flying south at a height of 50 feet.

 

Monday, 18th May

 

COREOPSIS and RYE sailed at 1230 to west and escort tanker COWRIE to Gibraltar. JONQUIL and ST NECTAN had sailed on the 14th to meet the tanker, but had failed to do so. JONQUIL and ST NECTAN were ordered to alter course to meet and escort tanker BENEDICK to Gibraltar.

 

M.L.s 285, 287, 290, 296, 301, 302, 305 sailed at 1200 to meet merchant ships VANELLUS, KERMA, and BLAIR ESK off Cape St Vincent at daylight on 19th and escort them to Gibraltar.

 

British Consul Cartagena reported that the number of the damaged German submarine was 232. (Note: Latest reports state that the number is four hundred and something, not 232).

 

Tuesday, 19th May

 

Cable Vessel MIRROR, escorted by LADY HOGARTH, arrived at 1100.

 

M.L. 168 sailed at 2200 to carry out an A/S sweep along the Spanish coast was far as Estepona Light, keeping just out of sight of land, thence back to Gibraltar.

 

Two men, Louis Sanceau and Gilbert Levay, jumped overboard from the Vichy French S.S. LORRAIN which was passing westbound through the Strait in convoy at 1330. They were picked up by SAYONARA and landed at Gibraltar.

 

GERANIUM, in position 160 degrees Cape Trafalgar, 8 miles, sighted an enemy aircraft bearing 160 degrees, distant 7 miles, course 090 degrees at 1514.

 

Information was received that a submarine of unknown nationality had been seen 3 miles north of Cape Villano.

 

Wednesday, 20th May

 

LANGUARD (E.G. 40), BIDEFORD, HASTINGS, and LULWORTH arrived at 1830. They had been detached from convoy S.L. 109 on the arrival of BLACK SWAN and the 36th Escort Group.

 

LOCH OSKAIG, escorting BLAIRDEVON from Oporto, arrived at 2300.

 

M.L.s 302 and 305 sailed at 2200 to carry out an A/S sweep along the Spanish coast as far as Estepona Light, thence back to Gibraltar.

 

IMPERIALIST, in position 300 degrees Cape Espichel, 9 miles, sighted a Focke Wulf aircraft bearing 260 degrees distant 2 miles, course 180 degrees, flying at 300 feet at 2115.

 

Thursday, 21st May

 

COREOPSIS and RYE arrived at 0800.

 

Convoy H.G. 83 (Commodore G.N. Jones) sailed at 1800 escorted by LANGUARD (E.G. 40), BIDEFORD, COREOPSIS, (to U.K. for refit), LULWORTH, and VIDETTE. HASTINGS was delayed by defects.

 

M.L.s 301, 290, 278, 302, and 305 sailed at 2200 – M.L.s 302 and 278 to carry out a continuous/surface sweep between Europa Point and Marbella, keeping with 4 miles of the coast, and the remaining M.L.s to carry out an A/S coastwise along the Moroccan coast from Gibraltar to longitude 04-30E, keeping within four miles of the coast.

 

It was reported that the Portuguese S.S. LUANGO had been stopped by a German U boat at 2100 G.M.T. in position 37-25N, 30-54W.

 

Friday, 22nd May

 

WRESTLER sailed at 0600 to overtake and provide additional escort for convoy H.G. 83 until daylight 24th, when she and VIDETTE were to part company and sweep back to Gibraltar.

 

HYTHE and RYE sailed at 0810 to meet the 29th M.L. Flotilla and S.S. EMPIRE CONRAD and escort them to Gibraltar. HYTHE was later ordered to proceed to "T" patrol, as SPIRAEA (who was escorting the M.L. Flotilla and the merchant vessel from U.K.) was instructed to continue to Gibraltar on being joined by RYE.

 

HASTINGS sailed at 0900 to join convoy H.G. 83 and provide escort to U.K. She had been delayed at Gibraltar with defects.

 

ALOUETTE in position 180 degrees Cape Espichel, 6 miles, sighted three enemy aircraft, probably Focke Wulfs, course 180 degrees, height 1000 feet.

 

Saturday, 23rd May

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT sailed escorting the outward bound tanker COWRIE, thence to meet the tanker ANDREA BROVIG and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

STELLA CARINA and LORD NUFFIELD sailed at 1600 to meet the tanker SLEMDAL and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

M.L.s 278 and 185 sailed at 0001, for an A/S sweep along the Spanish coast to Estepona Light, thence back to Gibraltar.

 

Consul General, Lisbon, reported that S.S. SUELVA would probably be sailing from Oporto on the night of the 23rd. She carried a valuable cargo for Germany, including 400 tons of coffee.

 

Sunday, 24th May

 

P 44 sailed for working up patrol south of Alboran Island at 1800.

 

ARGUS, escorted by PARTRIDGE and ITHURIEL sailed at 0200. ARGUS was to proceed to the U.K. and PARTRIDGE and ITHURIEL to return to Gibraltar on relief.

 

TRAVELLER arrived at 1230 from U.K.

 

VIDETTE and WRESTLER arrived at 0700 from providing additional escort to convoy H.G. 83.

 

Monday, 25th May

 

MALAYA, VIDETTE, ANTELOPE, WRESTLER, and WESTCOTT sailed at 1500 for night firing practice, returning at 2220.

 

A transit aircraft reported sighting a U boat in position 36-22N, 01-12W at 0531Z, course 250 at 110 knots. It crashed dived on being sighted. It resembled the Italian GALVANI class.

 

Tuesday, 26th May

 

P 44 reported sighting one French destroyer escorting two submarines, course 290 degrees, in position 35-50N, 03-00E.

 

UNBEATEN sailed at 1500 for U.K.

 

P 43 arrived at 1016 and P 211 at 1440, both from U.K.

 

Wednesday, 27th May

 

M.L.s 301, 278, 296, 302, and 305 were sailed at 1400 to rendezvous with ALOUETTE who was escorting EMPIRE TERN, MERKLAND, FINLAND, and EMPIRE KESTREL and provide additional escort to Gibraltar.

 

JONQUIL and ST NECTAN arrived escorting the tanker BENEDICK.

 

SPIRAEA and RYE arrived escorting S.S. EMPIRE CONRAD and the 29th M.L. Flotilla.

 

PARTRIDGE and ITHURIEL were ordered to part company with ARGUS and return to Gibraltar at best speed to arrive, if possible, by p.m./28th.

 

TORBAY arrived from Alexandria.

 

At 2345 a Catalina aircraft sighted and attacked a U boat in position 37-38N, 02-05E.

 

Thursday, 28th May

 

ARGUS arrived at Clyde at 1600.

 

PARTRIDGE and ITHURIEL arrived from escorting ARGUS at 2030.

 

At 1645, a Sunderland attacked a U boat in position 38-04N, 02-22E; the U boat was left damaged on the surface. CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, and WRESTLER were sailed at 2000 to endeavour to intercept and destroy the submarine, no contact was made however.

 

The Master of S.S. EGYPTIAN reported that in an encounter with an enemy plane at 2230, approximately three miles south of Cezimbra, three flares were dropped, but no bombs. He considered that the plane, which flew off low in a Northerly direction, was damaged by ship's gunfire.

 

Friday, 29th May

 

TORBAY sailed for U.K. at 1700, escorted by MINNA to position 38-05N, 11-10W.

 

VIDETTE sailed at 0800 to meet tanker KENTUCKY and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

STELLA CARINA and LORD NUFFIELD arrived escorting the tanker SLEMDAL.

 

P 44 was ordered to leave patrol p.m./30th and return to Gibraltar.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT arrived escorting the tanker ANDREA BROVIG.

 

A transit aircraft reported a U boat in position 37-09N, 00-47E at 0735B, course unknown. This submarine was not considered to be the one for which CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, and WRESTLER were searching.

 

CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, and WRESTLER were ordered to abandon the hunt for the damaged U boat at 1700 if nothing had been sighted, and return to Gibraltar.

 

N.C.S.O. Lisbon reported enemy aircraft off Peniche at 1800 G.M.T. heading south.

 

Saturday, 30th May

 

CLYDE sailed for Malta with stores at 1750.

 

CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, and WRESTLER arrived at 2000.

 

LOCH OSKAIG reported engaging a Focke Wulf aircraft in position 38-45N, 09-34W. The aircraft was believed hit, and was last seen losing height and flying inland north of Cape Espichal.

 

A Frenchman Jean Le Cloarec, jumped overboard from S.S. AISNE, a French ship proceeding escorted westbound through the Strait. He was picked up by SAYONARA.

 

British Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that in a "note verbale" the Minister of Foreign Affairs had stated that the German submarine at Cartagena had been granted three months from 1300/3.5.42 in which to complete repairs.

 

N.C.S.O. Lisbon reported a plane heading south off Cape Roca at 1900 G.M.T.

 

Sunday, 31st May

 

JONQUIL, GERANIUM, and SPIRAEA sailed at 2130 escorting the tankers BENEDICK, COWRIE, and ANDREA BROVIG until dark/4th June, thence sweeping back to Gibraltar.

 

P 44 arrived from patrol off Melilla at 1030.

 

 

 

SECTION III

 

Naval Control Service

 

Organisation of convoys, routing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty Instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of C.B.s and routine work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual

 

Convoys

 

O.G. 83 arrived 10th May

 

H.G. 83 consisting of 20 ships (with Commodore G.N. Jones in S.S. OUSEL) sailed 21st May, after postponement due to escorts being required to take over another convoy.

 

Tankers

 

May 20th, Tanker COWRIE arrived from Trinidad

 

May 27th, Tanker BENEDICK arrived from Trinidad

 

May 29th, Norwegian tanker SLEMDAL arrived from Trinidad

 

May 29th, Norwegian tanker ANDREA BROVIG arrived from Curacao.

 

COWRIE, BENEDICK, and ANDREA BROVIG sailed 31st May for Trinidad after delay to COWRIE caused by engine defects. SLEMDAL on Admiralty orders sailed for Lisbon on 4th June.

 

Independent Ships

 

May 27th S.S. EMPIRE CONRAD arrived from U.K. with government stores and service personnel. During the month 22 vessels in addition to the tankers mentioned above have been routed independently – 16 into the Mediterranean.

 

General

 

4th May, Admiralty abolished use of reference positions and Convoy secret positions in certain cases where secure recoding tables are held by merchant ships.

 

13th May, Admiralty promulgated new organisation for broadcast to merchant ships to be known as B.A.M.S. (Broadcast to Allied Merchant Ships) to take over the place of the G.B.M.S. organisation.

 

20th May, Admiralty gave instructions that, in future, ships whilst in Spanish or Portuguese waters need have only 20, instead of 26, days bunkers.

 

CHANGES IN PERSONNEL

 

1st May, Commander Pegler, Pay Lieutenant Amery arrived.

 

4th May, Commander Heycock, Lieutenant Commander Skinnard, Pay Lieutenant Commander Wright, Pay Lieutenant Stocks left for U.K.

 

25th May, Commander Pegler took over duties of Naval Control Service Officer from Captain Byron.

 

Lt. Thompson who also arrived on 1st May, is attached to the Naval Control Service as Convoy Signal Officer.

 

 

(sgd) E.W. Pegler

Commander, R.N.

Naval Control Service Officer

Gibraltar.

 

 


 

 

NORTH ATLANTIC LETTER OF PROCEEDING – No. 30

 

JUNE 1942

 

 

SECTION I

 

General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding

 

North Atlantic Station

 

 

 

Operation STYLE (the second of this name)

 

1. EMPIRE CONRAD, who left the Clyde on 20th May, brought 32 cased Spitfires and R.A.F. personnel to Gibraltar. The aircraft were assembled aboard EAGLE, and EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, WISHART, ITHURIEL, PARTRIDGE, and ANTELOPE sailed at 0445/2 to the eastward at 17 knots. Position 37-48N, 02-47E was reached at 0600/3, and in this area four flights of Spitfires totaling 31 machines, were flown off between 0600 and 0827. 27 aircraft arrived safely at Malta, four having been lost in action against a force of ME 109s off Pantelleria.

 

2. On the return journey, the Force was shadowed and reported intermittently by enemy aircraft, which were fired on when within range. An alteration of course was made to avoid U boats which might have been homed by the shadowing aircraft, and the Force entered Gibraltar Harbour at 0615/4 without further incident.

 

Operation SALIENT

 

3. 32 cased Spitfires and R.A.F. personnel were brought to Gibraltar in S.S. HOPETARN which sailed from U.K. on 26th May, the aircraft being assembled on board EAGLE on arrival.

 

4. CAIRO, who had been sailed for Gibraltar from U.K. for the operation, arrived at 0900/7.

 

5. CHARYBDIS sailed at 2130/7 and feinted to the westward, later returning to the east and joining EAGLE, CAIRO, WESTCOTT, WISHART, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE and WRESTLER (who had left Gibraltar at 0920/8), in position 090 degrees Europa Point, 40 miles, at 1200/8. All the aircraft were flown off in position 37-18N, 02-30E between 0600 and 0730/9, and all 32 aircraft landed safely at Malta.

 

6. The Force was shadowed by an enemy aircraft, and reported by a U boat, but nothing eventuated, and the Force arrived safely back at Gibraltar at 0730 and 0930/10.

 

Operation HARPOON

 

7. This operation was to pass five merchant ships and the oiler KENTUCKY through the Western Mediterranean to Malta. Another convoy of 10 ships, CENTURION, and a fast oiler was to be sailed simultaneously from the Eastern End of the Mediterranean (Operation VIGOUROUS).

 

Preliminary Arrangements

 

8.

 

(a). Oiler KENTUCKY. U.S.A. Tanker KENTUCKY arrived at Gibraltar from Philadelphia on 2nd June and was fitted with paravanes and scuttling charges.

 

(b). Motor Launches. On 21st May, Admiralty asked CinC Mediterranean if he wished eight M.L.s to be passed through with the convoy. CinC Mediterranean considered that there was little prospect of getting them from Malta to Alexandria and asked V.A.M. for his remarks. V.A.M. was not enthusiastic about their capabilities, and suggested that not more than two should accompany the convoy. CinC Mediterranean asked for four to be sent to enable V.A.M. to keep two serviceable. Admiralty agreed, but later ordered two additional boats to be sent. Before leaving, four of the M.L. had their 3 pdrs replaced by a second Oerlikon, and the remaining two, who were fitting with Rolls 2 pdrs, had a second Oerlikon fitted after. All six were also fitted with one leg of Mark V Oropesa Minesweeping outfit. A proposal to fit armour plating as a protection against air attack was turned down by Admiralty.

 

(c). Minesweepers. HYTHE and RYE had been sailed for Gibraltar, and WHITEHAVEN, SEAHAM, and BOSTON for Suez early in May, so that they could accompany a convoy from either direction. Admiralty stated that it was impracticable to send the small craft for which V.A.M. had asked, and HEBE and SPEEDY were sailed from Greenock for Gibraltar at 2359 on 3rd June.

 

(d). Submarines. The following submarines were sailed to establish patrols in connection with the operation:

 

(i). P 42 sailed at 1700/3 to patrol in vicinity of position 38-10N, 11-50E.

 

(ii). P 44 sailed at 1135/4 to patrol in vicinity of position 38-30N, 11-10E.

 

(iii). P 43 sailed at 1715/4 to patrol in vicinity of position 38-55N, 09-40E.

 

(iv). P 211 sailed at 1845/5 to establish a patrol in the vicinity of position 37-10N, 09- 30W.

 

(e). Departure of Main body of convoy from U.K. The convoy, consisting of S.S. BURDWAN, TROILUS, ORARI, CHANT (U.S.A.) and TANIMBAR (Dutch) left U.K. on 4th June, escorted by KENYA (Vice Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, Senior Officer, Force T), LIVERPOOL, ONSLOW (Captain D 17), ICARUS, ESCAPADE, MARNE, MATCHLESS, BADSWORTH, MIDDLETON, BLANKNEY, KUJAWIAK, and BEDOUIN.

 

9. The passage of the convoy from Gibraltar onwards was as follows:

 

8th June

 

CLYDE arrived at Malta carrying supplies of smoke containers.

 

11th June

 

0015 - KENYA, BEDOUIN, and KUJAWIAK arrived at Gibraltar.

 

0400 - KENYA departed

 

0900 -WESTCOTT, WISHART, VIDETTE, ANTELOPE, ITHURIEL, and PARTRIDGE sailed from Gibraltar.

 

1250 - WRESTLER sailed from Gibraltar.

 

2230 - GERANIUM, COLTSFOOT, and BROWN RANGE (Force Y) sailed

 

2320 - ONSLOW, BADSWORTH, MARNE, and MATCHLESS arrived.

 

2330 - BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, ICARUS, and ESCAPADE arrived at Gibraltar

 

12th June

 

0120 - Oiler KENTUCKY escorted by HEBE, SPEEDY, HYTHE, and RYE, and M.L.s 121, 134, 135, 168, 459, and 462 sailed from Gibraltar.

 

0215 - BEDOUIN and KUJAWIAK departed.

 

0350 - MALAYA, EAGLE, ARGUS, CAIRO, and WELSHMAN sailed.

 

0400 - CHARYBDIS, LIVERPOOL, ONSLOW, BADSWORTH, MATCHLESS, MARNE, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, ICARUS, and ESCAPADE sailed from Gibraltar

 

13th June

 

0915 - Rescue tug SALVONIA sailed escorted by LADY HOGARTH

 

1831 - P 43 claimed a hit on a cruiser of the EUGENIO DI SAVOIA class.

 

June 14th

 

1028 - H.L.B. attack on ARGUS

 

1110 - T/B attack on Port Quarter of Force T

 

1126 - H.L.B. attack on EAGLE

 

1127 - H.L.B. and T/B attacks on starboard side of Force T. LIVERPOOL torpedoed. TANIMBAR probably torpedoed.

 

1131 - LIVERPOOL detached with ANTELOPE to Gibraltar.

 

1136 - TANIMBAR, badly afire amidships, sunk

 

1136 - H.L.B. attack on ARGUS

 

1239 - WESTCOTT detached to join LIVERPOOL and ANTELOPE

 

1425 - MATCHLESS picked up Italian airmen from the sea.

 

1825 - D/B attack. ARGUS, EAGLE, KENYA, KENTUCKY, and TROILUS near missed.

 

2000 - WELSHMAN detached to Malta

 

2005 - H.L.B. and D.B. attack ahead and on starboard bow of screen and convoy.

 

2022 - T/B attack on starboard quarter and beam of Force T.

 

2100 - Beaufighter protection from Malta arrived.

 

2130 - Force X was detached from Force T in position 37-38N, 10-13E. After dark, flares were dropped by enemy aircraft in the vicinity of Zembra and Cape Bon.

 

2205 - 8 J.U. 88s dive bombed Force X. SPEEDY reported having sunk a U boat in position 37- 39N, 09-35E.

 

15th June

 

0615 - Beaufighters sighted and reported enemy cruisers.

 

0620 - CAIRO sighted Italian cruisers. BEDOUIN and 11th Destroyer Division attacked and fired torpedoes without effect. CAIRO and 12th Destroyer Division made smoke, and CAIRO closed the enemy. BEDOUIN and PARTRIDGE were damaged by shell fire.

 

0625 - First Italian salvoes fell amongst the convoy but did no damage.

 

0630 - CHANT sunk during air attack by three direct hits. KENTUCKY damaged by near misses.

 

0730 - Attack by J.U. 87s. KENTUCKY and BURDWAN immobilized by near misses.

 

0835 - VIDETTE picked up 5 Italian airmen from the sea.

 

0936 - Convoy altered course to southwest towards territorial waters and later to a northwesterly course.

 

1130 - SPEEDY took KENTUCKY in tow, but S.O. X decided to cut his losses and sink KENTUCKY and BURDWAN. Enemy aircraft arrived and obligingly did this with torpedoes.

 

1320 - T/B attack on Force W by three aircraft.

 

1340 - CAIRO sighted Italian cruisers and destroyers

 

1400 - WELSHMAN sailed from Malta to reinforce Force X, having unloaded, oiled, and reammunitioned.

 

1430 - BEDOUIN sunk in T/B attack. Survivors picked up by Italian ships.

 

1700 - PARTRIDGE was ordered by V.A.C.N.A. to return to Gib.

 

1730 - WELSHMAN rejoined Force X

 

1910 - Heavy J.U. 87 and 88 attack – no damage done.

 

2040 - Light air attack driven off by gunfire and fighters.

 

16th June

 

Dawn - During entry to Malta, KUJAWIAK, MATCHLESS, BADSWORTH, HEBE, and S.S. ORARI were mined. KUJAWIAK sank within three minutes, but the remaining ships were able to berth safely.

 

0800 - MALAYA, ARGUS, ESCAPADE, WISHART, WRESTLER, and VIDETTE were detached to Gibraltar.

 

1900 - WELSHMAN and Force X left Malta for Gibraltar

 

2300 - WELSHMAN was detached from Force X to proceed ahead to Gibraltar.

 

17th June

 

Intermittent bombing throughout the day until 2025.

 

1030 - MALAYA, EAGLE, ARGUS, ONSLOW, ICARUS, WISHART, ESCAPADE, WRESTLER, VIDETTE, and PARTRIDGE arrived at Gibraltar.

 

1730 - LIVERPOOL, escorted by WESTCOTT, ANTELOPE, PANTHER, SPIRAEA, JONQUIL, LADY HOGARTH, SALVONIA, and M.L. 458 arrived at Gibraltar. LIVERPOOL had been intermittently attacked by all types of aircraft attack from time of leaving Force T until 1430/15

 

2025 - CAIRO, MARNE, MIDDLETON, BLANKNEY, and ITHURIEL met. Desultory H.L.B. and T/B attacks on the force continued until 2130.

 

18th June

 

1703 - KENYA (Senior Officer, Force T) arrived

 

1815 - WELSHMAN arrived at Gibraltar

 

1820 - CHARYBDIS arrived

 

2100 - CAIRO, MARNE, ITHURIEL, BLANKNEY, and MIDDLETON arrived at Gibraltar

 

2230 - ARGUS, ONSLOW, ESCAPADE, ICARUS, and PANTHER sailed for U.K.

 

19th June

 

1830 - BROWN RANGER, GERANIUM, and COLTSFOOT arrived.

 

2300 - KENYA, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, MARNE, and PARTRIDGE sailed for the UK.

 

20th June

 

2215 - WELSHMAN sailed for Milford Haven

 

 

10. A summary of the losses and ships damaged is as follows

 

SUNK

KUJAWIAK - mined in Malta Channel

 

BEDOUIN - sunk by aircraft torpedo attack.

 

KENTUCKY - damaged by near misses then sunk by torpedo

 

BURDWAN - damaged by near misses then sunk by torpedo

 

TANIMBAR - sunk during H.L.B. and T/B attack

 

CHANT - sunk during H.L.B. and T/B attack

DAMAGED

LIVERPOOL - extensive torpedo damage

 

PARTRIDGE - shell hit on torpedo tubes – minor damage

 

CAIRO - damage from shell hits

 

BLANKNEY - slight hull damage from near misses

 

ITHURIEL - slight hull damage from near misses

 

MATCHLESS - mined in Malta Channel – damage unknown

 

BADSWORTH - mined in Malta Channel – damage unknown

 

HEBE - mined in Malta Channel – damage unknown

 

ORARI - mined in Malta Channel – damage unknown

WELSHMAN

 

11. WELSHMAN sailed from Clyde on 28th May with Spitfire engines, smoke containers, and ammunition, and R.A.F. personnel. It was intended that she should arrive on 1st June and sail for Malta on the night of 1st June, so as to fit in with Operation STYLE. On entering harbour at Gibraltar, however, she collided with the boom and the tug SALVONIA damaging her propellers and bows, so that she could not steam at high speed or run paravanes. The finding of the board of Inquiry into this mishap was forwarded in my latter No. 446/3701 of 25th June. Admiralty considered transferring her stores to oiler KENTUCKY, but eventually decided that she was to take port in Operation HARPOON, a proportion of her stores being transferred to KENTUCKY and the minesweepers.

 

ITALIAN RAID ON 29th JUNE

 

12. Three Italian aircraft attacked Gibraltar in this raid. The alert was sounded at 0120 and the all clear at 0224/29. The planes, one of which was believed to be a P 108 were picked up bearing 050 degrees, 60 miles at 0113B. They approached in a westerly direction, crossed Spanish territory and then approached Gibraltar from the north west. Objects fell into the sea in the vicinity of the Northern Entrance, apparently part of a stick of 100 kg bombs, two of which fell on the Western Arm of the North Mole and exploded, causing slight damage. What appeared to be anti personnel bombs were dropped at North Front aerodrome. One Hudson was burnt out, one Fulmar badly damaged, and one Swordfish slightly damaged. Casualties to naval personnel and civilians were nil. Personnel injured were 4 R.A.F. 8 Army, 1 U.S. Air Force. British Consul, Almeria, reported that three aircraft flew low over Almeria at 0030, and the British Consul at Palma, Majorca, reported that a four engined bomber landed at Majorca at 0430, refuelled, and took off at 1300. This aircraft showed signs of having been in action.

 

DAMAGE TO THE H.D.A. UNIT

 

13. The "D" unit of the Harbour defence Asdic Installation was rendered partially inoperative due to grappling by a Spanish trawler whilst repairing the Algeciras/Ceuta telegraph cable in approximately position 060 degrees, Carnero, 2 miles. The....(n.b. page 6 of Section I is not held).

 

 

 

SECTION II – GENERAL NARRATIVE

 

JUNE – 1942

 

Monday, 1st June

 

A report from Almeria stated that it was possible that "Spanish" reconnaissance aircraft fly off from Malaga and change their Spanish markings to Italian or German whilst in the air. A later report from Naval Attache, Madrid, stated that there was no confirmation of, or foundation for, such a report.

 

Tuesday, 2nd June

 

Tug SALVONIA, escorted by RYE, sailed at 0630 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata in connection with Operation STYLE.

 

EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, WISHART, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, and ANTELOPE sailed at 0445 for Operation STYLE.

 

ARMERIA and ROTHER arrived, escorting S.S. HOPETARN.

 

Tanker KENTUCKY arrived at 1500.

 

A report from British Naval Attache, Madrid, graded B 2, stated that two attacks had been made by German aircraft on two British ships off Cape Roca at 1600. Neither ship was damaged and the aircraft flew off to the North.

 

Irish S.S. CITY OF BREMEN was attacked at 1745 by German aircraft and sank in position 49-57N, 11-35. The entire crew landed at Vigo on 6th June.

 

Wednesday, 3rd June

 

TRAVELLER sailed at 1900 for working up patrol South of Alboran Island.

 

LEYLAND sailed at 1815, escorting tanker SLEMDAL to Lisbon, parting company off the Tagus and returning direct to Gibraltar.

 

VIDETTE arrived at 0800, having escorted tanker KENTUCKY to Gibraltar.

 

CARADOC arrived from U.K. at 0830.

 

Convoy O.G. 84, escorted by STORK, GARDENIA, MARIGOLD, and CONVOLVULUS arrived at 1200.

 

P 42 sailed at 1700 to establish a patrol in the vicinity of position 38-10N, 11-50E, in connection with forthcoming operation HARPOON.

 

A Beaufighter on passage from U.K. forced landed at 1345 at Redelmar (30 kilometers from Malaga). The two airmen were uninjured, and they destroyed the plane and all papers by fire.

 

When the Spanish S.S. CABO DE BUENA ESPERAZA was proceeding through the Strait, after being examined and cleared, 4 Dutchman jumped overboard and were picked up by ANGLIA and landed at Gibraltar. All were passengers booked to Curacao.

 

Thursday, 4th June

 

EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, WISHART, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, and ANTELOPE arrived at 0615 from Operation STYLE.

 

Tug SALVONIA escorted by RYE arrived at 0715.

 

P 44 sailed at 1135 to establish patrol in the vicinity of position 38-30N, 11-10E and P 43 sailed at 1715 for patrol in position 38-55N, 09-40. These were preliminary moves in connection with Operation HARPOON.

 

It was reported by Naval Attache, Lisbon, that in an engagement between German aircraft and a British merchant vessel off the Tagus at 2030 no damage was suffered by either the ship or the aircraft.

 

A transit aircraft reported what appeared to be a periscope wake, course 350 degrees, in position 42-42N, 09-15W at 1400.

 

Two German aircraft were seen flying off Sagres at 2130 in south easterly direction.

 

Friday, 5th June

 

LEYLAND sailed at 0100 to escort the tanker SLEMDAL to Lisbon being joined in position 35-58N, 06-01W at 0500/5 by ARMERIA to provide additional escort. From Lisbon, LEYLAND and ARMERIA were to return direct to Gibraltar.

 

CARADOC sailed at 2300 for Freetown.

 

P 211 sailed at 1845 to establish patrol in the vicinity of position 37-10N, 09-03W.

 

An enemy aircraft was reported off Peniche at 2000 heading south.

 

A Hudson aircraft reported that the French destroyer L'ALCYON and one other destroyer were seen exercising in position 36-59N, 01-08W at 2025.

 

Saturday, 6th June

 

Cable Vessel MIRROR, escorted by STELLA CARINA, sailed at 1700 to effect repairs to the Lisbon/Gibraltar and Lisbon/Madeira cables.

 

LADY HOGARTH and ST NECTAN sailed at 1700 to meet tanker MOSLI and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

Sunday, 7th June

 

CAIRO arrived from U.K. at 0900.

 

At 0405, a Sunderland aircraft on A/S patrol sighted and attacked a U boat on the surface in position 37-25N, 02-57E, course 045 degrees, at 12 knots. No hits were obtained. A second Sunderland was sent to continue the search.

 

At 1150, a Sunderland sighted and attacked a U boat on the surface at 37-52N, 04-05E, course 080 degrees speed 14 knots. It was estimated that two hits with depth charges were obtained. After a further depth charge attack, oil and bubbles were seen. A Catalina was sent to continue the search but did not make contact.

 

ARMERIA arrived, escorting S.S. SHETLAND, at 1700.

 

ARGUS, escorted by WILD SWAN and BEAGLE arrived from U.K. at 1800.

 

CARADOC returned to Gibraltar at 1800 with defects.

 

CHARYBDIS sailed at 2130 for Operation SALIENT.

 

The British Consul, Satander, reported that an Italian U boat had entered harbour there at 1000 with damage inflicted by British aircraft.

 

Monday, 8th June

 

Tug SALVONIA, escorted by COLTSFOOT, sailed at 0900 to patrol off Cape de Gata in connection with Operation SALIENT.

 

EAGLE, CAIRO, WESTCOTT, WISHART, PARTRIDGE, ITHURIEL, WRESTLER, and ANTELOPE sailed for Operation SALIENT at 0920.

 

JONQUIL, GERANIUM, and SPIRAEA arrived at 1030 from escorting the outward bound tankers BENEDICK, COWRIE, and ANDREA BROVIG.

 

British Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that the Italian U boat which had entered Santander had been interned. She had been attacked by a British 3 engine plane on 2nd June about 80 miles from Finisterre, and sustained severe damage. She grounded near Gijon and then entered Aviles where he effected repairs, sailing at 2400/6. She was then attacked by three British planes and finally fled into Santander harbour. Name or number of the U boat had not yet been ascertained. The crew numbered 60, of which eight were seriously injured.

 

CLYDE arrived at Malta at 1610C.

 

PARTHIAN left Bermuda at 0900P for Gibraltar.

 

Tuesday, 9th June

 

Convoy H.G. 84 sailed, escorted by the 36th Escort Group (STORK, MARIGOLD, GARDENIA, and CONVOLVULUS) at 1800.

 

Minesweepers HEBE and SPEEDY arrived at 0700.

 

At 1129, a Catalina of 240 Squadron sighted and attacked a U boat of the PERLA class in position 38-21N, 02-13E. Four 450 pound depth charges were dropped and the U boat's crew were seen waving white flags and abandoning ship. The U boat finally sank by the stern, leaving a large patch of brown oil. The aircraft was unable to pick up survivors owing to weather conditions, but confirmatory photographs were obtained.

 

Another Catalina attacked a U Boat at 1242 in position 38-12N, 02-00E, course 136 degrees, at ten knot, but no hits were registered.

 

At 1645 a Sunderland aircraft sighted a U boat in position 37-46N, 00-36E course 305 degrees at eight knots. The U boat dived before an attack could be made.

 

At 2045, an H.M. ship reported a possible periscope in position 205 degrees Cape de Gata, 26 miles.

 

A German aircraft was sighted off Cape Roca at 0915 flying south.

 

Wednesday, 10th June

 

ROTHER and JONQUIL sailed at 0600 to meet and escort the Lisbon section of the H.G. convoy to join the main body of the H.G. 84 – ROTHER to continue with the convoy to U.K. and JONQUIL to return to Gibraltar.

 

BEAGLE and WILD SWAN sailed at 1800 to overtake and provide additional escort to H.G. 84 to U.K. WILD SWAN was proceeding to the U.K. to refit.

 

EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, and destroyers arrived at Gibraltar from Operation SALIENT between 0730 and 0930. EAGLE flew on 12 Hurricanes in the approaches to the Strait.

 

COLTSFOOT and SALVONIA arrived at 1030.

 

PARTRIDGE arrived at 1650.

 

The 27th M.L. Flotilla (M.L.s 278, 285, 296, 301, 302, 305, and 287) escorted by (n.b. in text as ALMERIA) ARMERIA sailed at 2230 for Bathurst.

 

The Swedish Red Cross ship VEGA arrived from Marseilles on 10th June with 3 Norwegian and 4 Spanish stowaways. The Norwegians (ex members of the Norwegian tanker PRESIDENT HURMSCHMIDT)(n.b. PRESIDENT HERRENSCHMIDT ?) were landed at Gibraltar, but the Spanish continued to Lisbon.

 

Flag Officer Submarines' 1447B proposed that PARTHIAN and REGENT be transferred to 8th Submarine Flotilla on arrival at Gibraltar. This was approved in Admiralty's 1025/11.

 

A Sunderland aircraft sighted a submarine on the surface in position 36-59N, 01-15W, course 244 degrees, speed 4 knots at 1200. The submarine submerged and was not attacked.

 

Thursday, 11th June

 

WESTCOTT, WISHART, VIDETTE, ANTELOPE, ITHURIEL, and PARTRIDGE sailed at 0900 to rendezvous with W.S. 19Z (the HARPOON convoy). WRESTLER sailed at 1250.

 

Senior Officer, Force T (Vice Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, K.C.B.) in KENYA, BEDOUIN, and KUJAWIAK arrived at 0015. KENYA sailed again at 0400.

 

TRAVELLER arrived from the U.K. at 1100.

 

BROWN RANGER, escorted by GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT sailed at 2230 for Operation HARPOON.

 

ONSLOW, BADSWORTH, MARNE, and MATCHLESS arrived at 2230.

 

BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, ICARUS, and ESCAPADE arrived at 2330.

 

A German aircraft was reported off Cape Roca at 1142 and off Peniche at 1255.

 

Friday, 12th June

 

BEDOUIN and KUJAWIAK sailed at 0215; MALAYA, ARGUS, EAGLE, CAIRO, and WELSHMAN at 0350; CHARYBDIS, LIVERPOOL, ONSLOW, BADSWORTH, MATCHLESS, MARNE, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, ICARUS, and ESCAPADE at 0400 – all for Operation HARPOON.

 

U.S. oiler KENTUCKY, SPEEDY, HEBE, HYTHE, RYE, and M.L.s 121, 135, 459, 134, 168, and 462 sailed at 0120 for HARPOON.

 

Norwegian tanker MOSLI escorted by LADY HOGARTH and LEYLAND arrived at 0825.

 

Saturday, 13th June

 

Rescue tug SALVONIA escorted by LADY HOGARTH sailed at 0915 in connection with Operation HARPOON. She was to establish a patrol in an area between 36-38N and 36-23N and longitude 02-30W and 02-11W.

 

JONQUIL arrived from escorting the Lisbon section of the convoy to rendezvous with H.G. 84.

 

A report from Santander stated that it was likely that the Italian submarine at Santander would complete temporary repairs on 14th. A later despatch said she was the LUIGI TORELLI and that thought she was said to be interned, no confirmation of this had been forthcoming from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

A report from Coruna stated that a German U boat (painted grey with 4 painted blue stars) entered Ferrol on 12th June and dry docked. Seven wounded and 2 or 4 dead were landed. A large hole in the bows was being repaired.

 

A German aircraft was reported off Cape Roca at 1600, steering south.

 

Sunday, 14th June

 

V.A.C.N.A.'s 1258B ordered SALVONIA and LADY HOGARTH to proceed immediately to position 360 degrees Cape Caxine, 30 miles, to rendezvous with LIVERPOOL who had been torpedoed.

 

STORK and GARDENIA escorting convoy H.G. 84 were shadowed by a Focke Wulf aircraft at 1345 and later they sighted a U boat on the surface at 1710, bearing 303 degrees, 10 miles from position 42-15N, 17-37W. The U boat was chased for 2 hours and engaged at long range by gunfire. When the U boat finally submerged she was attacked 7 times. There was no definite evidence of destruction. Further U boats were sighted at 1800, bearing 080 degrees, 10 miles from position 42-36N, 17-18W, and at 2125 bearing 002 degrees from the position of the convoy. In both cases, the U boats were chased away by the escorts.

 

Monday, 15th June

 

JONQUIL sailed to rendezvous with SPIRAEA at 1300 in position 180 degrees Europa Point 2 miles, thence to proceed towards position 36-52N, 00-01W at best speed to meet and escort LIVERPOOL who was in company with ANTELOPE and WESTCOTT (LADY HOGARTH and SALVONIA were also proceeding towards LIVERPOOL).

 

PANTHER arrived from Bathurst, and after refuelling she sailed to meet and provide additional escort for LIVERPOOL.

 

Five M.L.s were detailed and sailed at 2026 to proceed to LIVERPOOL's position and provide advances A/S screen.

 

At 0121, convoy H.G. 84 was attacked and at least two ships sunk. At 0645, an escorting A/S aircraft sighted a U boat in position 43-19N, 17-39W; no contact was made by a corvette of the escort which was sent to investigate.

 

Tuesday, 16th June

 

CARLISLE and ISAAC SWEERS arrived from Bathurst at 0730 on route for U.K. and sailed again at 2230.

 

SCOTTISH, in position 300 degrees Cape Espichel, 15 miles, sighted a Focke Wulf aircraft steering south at 1324.

 

45 survivors of the British tanker DINSDALE, which was torpedoed on 13th May, 120 miles S.S.W. of St. Paul's Rock, arrived at Gibraltar in the Spanish S.S. CUIDAD DE VALENCIA.

 

Wednesday, 17th June

 

ST NECTAN sailed at 1000 to relived STELLA CARINA escorting Cable Vessel MIRROR.

 

MALAYA, EAGLE, ARGUS, ONSLOW, ICARUS, WISHART, ESCAPADE, WRESTLER, VIDETTE, and PARTRIDGE arrived a.m. from Operation HARPOON. Entry into the harbour was delayed on account of a thick fog in the Bay.

 

LIVERPOOL, WESTCOTT, ANTELOPE, PANTHER, SPIRAEA, JONQUIL, LADY HOGARTH, SALVONIA, and M.L. 458 arrived at 1730.

 

Thursday, 18th June

 

ARGUS, ONSLOW, ESCAPADE, ICARUS, and PANTHER sailed for the UK at 2230B.

 

Transit aircraft reported a submarine on the surface which crash dived in position 45-38N, 05-25W at 0650 G.M.T.

 

Senior Officer, Force T (Vice Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, K.C.B.) in KENYA arrived at 1703; WELSHMAN at 1815, and CHARYBDIS at 1820 – all from Operation HARPOON.

 

CAIRO, MARNE, ITHURIEL, BLANKNEY, and MIDDLETON arrived at 2100.

 

British Naval Attache, Lisbon, reported a German aircraft seen two miles off the coast in position 40-10N, 08-52W at 0945B.

 

IMPERIALIST, in position 320 degrees Espichel, 12 miles, reported sighting a Focke Wulf aircraft steering south at 1026.

 

Friday, 19th June

 

TRAVELLER sailed for Alexandria at 1830.

 

BROWN RANGER, escorted by GERANIUM, and COLTSFOOT (Force Y in Operation HARPOON) arrived at 0230.

 

Senior Officer, Force T, in KENYA escorted by BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, MARNE, and PARTRIDGE sailed at 2300 for U.K.

 

Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that 12 days from a.m. on June 20th had been allowed to the German U boat at Ferrol, in which to complete repairs to make her seaworthy.

 

Major General F.N. Mason-Macfarlane arrived and was sworn in as Governor and Commander in Chief, Gibraltar.

 

Saturday, 20th June

 

CLYDE arrived at Malta at 1000B.

 

PARTHIAN arrived from Bermuda at 1100.

 

WELSHMAN sailed at 2215B for Milford Haven.

 

UTMOST arrived at 1130 from U.K.

 

STELLA CARINA sailed at 1445 with tanker MOSLI, rendezvousing with LADY HOGARTH in position 35-58N, 06-01W at 1900 and thence escorting MOSLI until tanker BRITISH PRINCESS was met.

 

WESTCOTT and ANTELOPE sailed at 1700 to carry out a hunt for a U boat sighted by a transit aircraft in position 36-22N, 07-08W at 1332. Four Hudson aircraft were also engaged in sweeping the area in cooperation.

 

Sunday, 21st June

 

SOKOL sailed at 1800 for U.K. escorted until 0200/22 by MINNA.

 

WESTCOTT and ANTELOPE returned from the A/S hunt at 1800. No contact had been made with the enemy submarine.

 

WESTCOTT sailed at 2300 to meet and provide additional escort for convoy O.G. 85 to Gibraltar.

 

At 2328, P 43 attacked a U boat in position 38-01, 03-24E, course 045 degrees, 5 knots. No hits were estimated.

 

British Naval Attache, Lisbon, reported that a British Blenheim forced landed at Portobello Aerodrome (39-20N, 09-10W) at 1600B. Crew and aircraft were uninjured. The aircraft was seized by the Army and the crew by the International Police.

 

N.C.S.O. Ponta Delgada reported a submarine in position 38-13N, 27-20W at 1610 G.M.T. steering 225 degrees.

 

Monday, 22nd June

 

SPIRAEA and COLTSFOOT sailed to meet and escort the Norwegian tanker SPINANGER to Gibraltar.

 

British Naval Attache, Lisbon, reported a statement of the Captain of CHAMPION (Flying Boat) that at 0920 G.M.T. in position 214 degrees, 35 miles Lisbon, he sighted a northbound 6 or 7 thousand ton ship flying the Spanish flag. She was heavily laden and carried a deck cargo of 40 gallon drums.

 

Tuesday, 23rd June

 

P 211 arrived at 0900 from patrol in the Mediterranean.

 

P 222 arrived at 1100 from U.K.

 

MALAYA, escorted by WISHART and VIDETTE and ANTELOPE sailed at 1900 for exercises, thence (at 0300/24) to join convoy W.S. 20. MALAYA was to provide ocean escort to Freetown, and the three destroyers to provide escort to the convoy till position 38-05N, 22-24W, where they were to be detached to escort NARKUNDA to Gibraltar.

 

N.C.S.O. Funchal reported that an aircraft of unknown nationality was seen passing Porto Moniz at 2045 G.M.T. on 22nd June. It appeared to drop an object into the sea off Pargo Point.

 

Reporting Officer, Fayal, reported through Horta that the pilot of a Pan American Clipper had sighted a submarine just south of San Mattheus Point, Pico Island at 1600 G.M.T.

 

A British merchant vessel reported sighting a U boat periscope in position 40-56N, 28-42W, course 290 degrees at 1815 and another in position 41-47N, 28-19W, course 230 degrees at 2153.

 

Wednesday, 24th June

 

P 44 arrived at 1700 from Mediterranean Patrol.

 

A civil aircraft reported sighting, at 2104Z, a submarine in position 35-56N, 12-13E. Submarine was seen to submerge. Its course and speed were not observed.

 

Thursday, 25th June

 

P 46 arrived at 1000 from U.K.

 

ABDIEL arrived from Bathurst at 1600 and sailed again for U.K. at 2359.

 

CLYDE sustained damage to after free flooding space and oil feed group, during manoeuvres in the harbour. Damage necessitated docking for an estimated period of 14 days to effect repairs. A full report of the accident was forwarded to Admiralty in my submission No. X 318/04700 of 17th July.

 

Convoy O.G. 89, escorted by FOWEY, STONECROP, CARNATION, CAMPION, and WESTCOTT (local escort) arrived between 1700 and 1900.

 

P 43 arrived at 1800 from Mediterranean Patrol. She claimed to have obtained one hit on an Italian cruiser and had made an unsuccessful attack on a U boat.

 

A report from British Consul, Santander, stated that in view of the serious damage to the Italian submarine there, it was unlikely that repairs could be completed before 1st July.

 

Friday, 26th June

 

LOCH OSKAIG sailed to rendezvous with S.S. ARDOELA and escort her to Lisbon, thence proceeding to Y.1 patrol.

 

Boom defence vessel PHYLLISIA arrived at 0900.

 

P 42 arrived from Mediterranean patrol.

 

Saturday, 27th June

 

LADY HOGARTH and STELLA CARINA sailed at 1200 to meet and escort tanker MALMANGER to Gibraltar.

 

Norwegian tanker SPINANGER, escorted by SPIRAEA and COLTSFOOT arrived at 2100.

 

Two U boats were reported southbound between Oporto and Lisbon at 1200.

 

MALAYA reported sighting 2 or 3 submarines in position 31-23N, 22-27W.

 

Sunday, 28th June

 

S.S. NARKUNDA, escorted by WISHART, VIDETTE, and ANTELOPE, arrived with Naval, Army, R.A.F., and W.R.N.S. personnel at 1834.

 

A report from British Naval Attache, Madrid, said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs had stated that the German U boat sailed from Ferrol at 0450.

 

LOCH OSKAIG sighted a Focke Wulf aircraft in position 230 degrees Cape Espichel, 5 miles, at 1350.

 

Monday, 29th June

 

ABDIEL arrived at Greenock at 1500.

 

Tuesday, 30th June

 

Convoy H.G. 85 sailed at 1900 escorted by FOWEY, CARNATION, STONECROP, CAMPION, COLTSFOOT, and GERANIUM. VIDETTE, JONQUIL, and SPIRAEA sailed at 1800. VIDETTE, GERANIUM, and COLTSFOOT were to escort the convoy to prudent limit of endurance, thence sweep back too Gibraltar. JONQUIL and SPIRAEA were to part company at 2330/4 unless otherwise ordered and sweep back along the convoy's route for 6 miles, thence to Gibraltar.

 

WESTCOTT and ANTELOPE sailed at 0600 and after meeting WRESTLER and ITHURIEL in position 360 degrees Spartel, 5 miles, at 0815, proceeded to carry out an A/S and R.D.F. sweep along H.G. 85's route.

 

Madrid reported that all hope of repairing U boat at Cartagena had been abandoned.

 

 

 

SECTION III

 

NAVAL CONTROL SERVICE

 

MONTHLY REPORT – JUNE 1942

 

Organisation of Convoys, routeing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of confidential books and route work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual.

 

CONVOYS

 

O.G. 84 arrived 3rd June

 

O.G. 85 arrived 25th June

 

H.G. 84 consisting of 23 ships (Commodore H.T. Hudson, RNR) sailed 9th June.

 

H.G. 85 consisting of 21 ships (Commodore L.G.E. Crabbe, RNR) sailed 30th June. S.S. COMO returned with engine defects.

 

TANKERS

 

12th June, Norwegian tanker MOSLI arrived from Trinidad with Admiralty fuel and lubricating oil. Sailed for Curacao via Trinidad 20th June.

 

22nd June, British tanker BRITISH PRINCESS, bound for U.K. arrived after having failed to join S.L. convoy. Sailed in H.G. 85 on 30th June.

 

27th June, Norwegian tanker SPINANGER arrived from Trinidad to discharge Admiralty fuel oil.

 

INDEPENDENT SHIPS

 

2nd June, S.S. HOPETARN arrived from U.K. with Government Stores and service personnel, loaded iron ore and cork at Huelva and Lisbon, respectively, and sailed as Commodore's Ship in H.G. 85. During the month 18 vessels in addition to the tankers mentioned above had been routed independently – 9 into the Mediterranean.

 

GENERAL

 

6th June, Admiralty promulgated new form of recognition procedure for merchant ships to come into force 15th July.

 

6th June, Admiralty requested the views of Commanders in Chief on the possibility of H.M. ships keeping an approximate plot of allied merchant vessels as an additional safeguard against enemy vessels simulating allied recognition procedure.

 

29th June, Admiralty promulgated diverting authorities for merchant ships in various areas, consequent on BUSRA (British United Stated Routeing Agreement) coming into force.

 

CHANGES IN PERSONNEL

 

N I L

 

 

 (sgd) E.W. PEGLER

 Commander, R.N.

 Naval Control Service Officer.

 

 


 

 

NORTH ATLANTIC LETTER OF PROCEEDING – No. 31

 

JULY 1942

 

 

SECTION I

 

General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding

 

North Atlantic Station

 

Operation PINPOINT

 

S.S. EMPIRE SHACKLETON arrived at Gibraltar in convoy O.G. 85 on 25th June, carrying 32 cased Spitfires.

 

2. It was originally intended that the operation should start on 2nd July, but Admiralty's 2327B/1st July, ordered the operation to be postponed until 12th July. D 1 was eventually decided upon as 14th July.

 

3. EAGLE embarked six Sea Hurricanes for fighter protection of the force, and together with CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE, and VANSITTART sailed at 0500/14th July.

 

4. ST DAY, escorted by HAARLEM, had already sailed at 2200/13 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata. ST DAY was carrying a portable salvage pump.

 

5. The force was reported by enemy aircraft at 0830B and again at 0845B. 32 Spitfires were flown off in approximate position 37-59N, 03-05E in four flights between 0613 and 0753 on 15th July. One plane crashed on taking off, the pilot being saved, but the plane was jettisoned. Four flights of Spitfires numbering 31 in all landed safely at Malta.

 

6. EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE, and VANSITTART arrived back at Gibraltar during the morning of 16th. EAGLE arriving at 1025. A full report of the operation was forwarded in my submission No. X 336/401 of 25th July 1942.

 

Operation INSECT

 

7. S.S. EMPIRE DARWIN, EMPIRE KESTREL, and EMPIRE TERN brought cased Spitfires to Gibraltar, arriving in convoy O.G. 86 on 14th July. Between them, they carried 32 aircraft. Several cases were damaged, as reported to Admiralty in my signal timed 1248B/18.

 

8. Tug ST DAY, escorted by LORD HOTHAM, sailed at 2335/19 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata in case she was required for rescue operations.

 

9. Having embarked 31 Spitfires, and six Sea Hurricanes for protection, EAGLE, accompanied by CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE, and VANSITTART sailed between 0415 and 0445 on 20th July.

 

10. On 21st July, in position 37-48N, 02-05E four heavy underwater explosions were heard, one very close to EAGLE, and a green flash was seen. It was presumed that these were caused by torpedoes from a U boat attack.

 

11. 29 Spitfires were flown off in position 38-01N, 03-05E, between 0726 and 0850 on 21st. One was unserviceable and did not take off, and the long range petrol tank of another developed a defect after the plane had taken off. The pilot was ordered to bail out, but his parachute failed to open and he was killed. The 28 Spitfires flew in four flights and landed safely on Malta.

 

12. On the return passage, the force was sighted by enemy aircraft at 0830 and 0900 on 21st. The former was engaged by gunfire and the latter was damaged by Sea Hurricane flown off from EAGLE. The force passed Alboran Island and entered harbour at 1035. A full report of the operation was forwarded in my submission No. X. 342/401 of 29th July, and a report on the death of the pilot of the Spitfire in my No. X. 343/03500 of 29th July.

 

STORES TO MALTA IN WELSHMAN

 

13. WELSHMAN left Greenock at 2030/9th July, carrying personnel and stores (mainly edible oils, powdered milk, kerosene, and vitamin concentrates) for Malta.

 

14. She arrived at Gibraltar at 0040/14, speed having been adjusted so that she remained out of sight of land to the westward until after dark. She was refuelled from the tanker SAN CLAUDIO in the Bay, and sailed again at 0500, thus taking advantage of the cover afforded by Operation PINPOINT.

 

15. WELSHMAN was probably reported by aircraft at 1323B/15 and was later attacked by 29 planes, including high level pattern bombing by S 79s and dive bombing by J.U. 87s and 88s. There was several near misses and one bomb exploded under the keel; no damage was sustained, however, and WELSHMAN arrived at Malta at 0600/16th.

 

16. During her stay at Malta, WELSHMAN was not subjected to air attack, and bad weather was the sole cause of her departure being delayed until 1950B/18. Her departure was thought to have be unobserved by the enemy, though she was reported by enemy aircraft at 0920B/19. An attack by 5 J.U. 88s and 15 S.M. torpedo bombers developed at 1415, and two very near misses from bombs and a near miss close ahead from a torpedo were sustained. There were no casualties, and the resultant damage was such as not to affect steaming. WELSHMAN arrived at Gibraltar at 1430B/20th, and sailed again for U.K. at 1000/22.

 

MINING OF MERCHANT SHIPS IN THE COMMERCIAL ANCHORAGE

 

17. On 14th July, between 0430 and 2000, four ships were damaged by Italian "limpet" mines, most probably attached by persons working from fishing vessels and wearing D.S.E.A. gear. My submissions Nos. X 320/04519 of 17.7.42, X 323/04519 of 19.7.42, and X 327/04519 of 19.7.42 refer.

 

18. The finding of the Board of Inquiry into the incident was forwarded under my submission No. 351/04903 of 2nd August 1942.

 

FURTHER RESULTS OF THE AIR RAID ON GIBRALTAR – 29.6.42

 

19. British Air Attache, Madrid, has reported that one Piaggio 108 returning from the raid on Gibraltar on 29th June crash landed on the beach near Puig, Valencia. The Spanish Air Minister has stated that the crew of seven (one wounded) have been interned.

 

20. British Vice Consul, Cartagena, reported that a four engine bomber forced landed at Alcazares aerodrome in the early hours of 29th June, and five members of the crew were wounded. The plane had received serious damage from A.A. fire.

 

21. British Consul, Palma, Majorca, stated that a four engine Italian bomber landed there at 0430/29. It refuelled and took off again at 1300 the same day. It had signs of damage.

 

SPANISH SHIPS – W/T RESTRICTIONS

 

22. British Naval Attache, Madrid, states that by a Spanish Government Order, now in force, ship owners are forbidden to communicate with Spanish ships at sea when in Spanish waters, and ships' Masters may not use W/T to anybody except the Spanish authorities. Owners are also forbidden to cable Masters when in foreign ports, though they may cable the ships' agents.

 

SPANISH TRAWLERS SENT IN TO GIBRALTAR

 

23. The Spanish trawlers PRIMER ENRIQUE, SEGUNDO ENRIQUE, and MARIA LUISA were intercepted in position 36-00N, 06-50W close astern of convoy H.G. 85 at 1015/1st July, and were sent in to Gibraltar under armed guards. A full report of the occurrence was forwarded to Admiralty under my submission number X 282/1071 of 3rd July 1942.

 

ATTEMPTED INTERCEPTION OF FRENCH S.S. MITIDJA

 

24. P 222 sailed to carry out a patrol off the West Coast of Sardinia at 1915/18 and was recalled on 20th July as she was required to be available at Gibraltar.

 

25. Admiralty's 1341/23 ordered P 222 to establish a patrol on the probable route of French S.S. MITIDJA (suspected of carrying a cargo of cobalt for Germany) in the region 30 miles from Cape Palos on a line joining that point with Oran. All available information concerning this ship was passed to P 222 in my 1530B/23.

 

26. Air search did not reveal any trace of the ship, so I ordered P 222 in my signal times 1106B/25 to return to Gibraltar. Admiralty's 1313B/25, however instructed P 222 to remain on patrol, and I directed her to comply with this order in my 0106B/26. Admiralty's 2311B/25 instructed me to recall P 222 at noon on 26th if MITIDJA had not been located.

 

27. At 1055/26 aircraft located the ship, and I ordered P 222 to intercept (My signal 1136B/26).

 

28. P 222's 2020B/26 reported that the ship had been boarded, but that search was impossible. MITIDJA had been able to warn Oran by W/T of her interception. The Master refused to continue to Gibraltar unless the boarding party remained. My 0008B/27 ordered the submarine to remove the boarding party after dismantling the French Ship's wireless, order her to proceed to Gibraltar, and to sink her if she did not comply. Admiralty's 0056B/27 instructed me to send a corvette or a destroyer to assist P 222 and I according informed P 222 that WRESTLER was being sent, and that MITIDJA should not be sunk. My 0240B/27 ordered WRESTLER to proceed with despatch and take over the escorting of MITIDJA.

 

29. P 222's 0725B/27 reported that the French destroyer "T 21" had taken over the escorting of the French ship, and WRESTLER and P 22 were accordingly ordered to return to Gibraltar, but Admiralty's 1041B/27 ordered them to shadow them and await further instructions. This was cancelled in Admiralty's 1336B/27, which ordered the ships to return to Gibraltar. WRESTLER arrived at 2230B/27 and P 222 at 0830/28.

 

30. A report of the incident was forwarded to the Admiralty under submission No. X 363/395 of 8th August 1942.

 

ATTACKS ON SUBMARINES IN NEUTRAL TERRITORIAL WATERS

 

31. Admiralty's signal times 1031B/21st July, promulgated revised rules concerning the right to attack U boats in neutral territorial waters.

 

32. The main features of the new policy are:

 

(a). The territorial waters of Portugal and Portuguese possessions might be entered, in addition to those of Spain, Spanish territories and Tangier.

 

(b). U boats in harbour (in sight or in contact) are not to be attacked by H.M. Ships or aircraft except on express orders from the Admiralty

 

(c). After completion of attack on a U boat, aircraft are not to remain over Spanish territorial waters longer than is essential to observe the results of the attack.

 

(d). H.M. Ships can, by night, enter territorial waters in areas where their presence is unlikely to be observed.

 

(e). A U boat which has put into a Spanish port for repairs or for any other reason, is not be attacked within territorial waters on leaving, with express authority from Admiralty.

 

(f). The importance of avoiding unnecessary infringement of Spanish Sovereignty was stressed

 

33. These revised rules were promulgated on the North Atlantic Station, Gibraltar War Orders Nos. 5, 35, and 92 being suitably amended.

 

 

 

SECTION II

 

Wednesday, 1st July

 

WESTCOTT and WRESTLER arrived at 1415, ITHURIEL at 1550, and ANTELOPE at 2000 from A/S and R.D.F. sweep along the route of H.G. 85.

 

Rescue tug SALVONIA, escorted by LORD NUFFIELD, sailed at 2230 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata in connection with Operation PINPOINT. The operation was later postponed and the ships recalled.

 

VANSITTART arrived at 2030 from U.K.

 

CARADOC sailed at 2300 for Freetown.

 

A neutral vessel reported having sighted an Italian U boat lying off Tarifa.

 

PAQUITA, of the Gibraltar Coast Watching Flotilla, reported sighted the German ATLAS in position 40-32N, 03-40E, course 140 degrees at 1700 G.M.T.

 

Thursday, 2nd July

 

P 46 sailed at 2045 and P 222 at 1830 for working up patrols in the vicinity of Alboran Island.

 

SCOTTISH left Y patrol at 0700B to relieve ST NECTAN who was escorting the Cable Vessel MIRROR, and on relief by LORD NUFFIELD (who left Gibraltar at 1200) proceeded to Y.1 patrol.

 

ITHURIEL and ANTELOPE sailed at 1740 to provide additional escort to convoy H.G. 85 to prudent limit of endurance.

 

Focke Wulf aircraft were reported to be in the vicinity of convoy H.G. 85. Three German aircraft were seen off Peniche at 1055, one at 1210, and another at 1300.

 

A report from Santander stated that the Italian U boat which had entered that port had completed repairs and was ready to sail.

 

LORD HOTHAM and Rescue tugs CHARON and PRUDENT sailed from Greenock in convoy O.G. 86.

 

Friday, 3rd July

 

UTMOST sailed at 1930 for working up patrol in the vicinity of Alboran Island.

 

Saturday, 4th July

 

P 211 sailed at 1930B for patrol off east coast of Sardinia.

 

VIDETTE was ordered to return to Gibraltar forthwith, to arrive, if possible, by 2000B/5. She was providing additional escort for convoy H.G. 85.

 

GERANIUM, COLTSFOOT, ITHURIEL, and ANTELOPE who were acting as local escort for H.G. 85 were ordered to return to Gibraltar as soon as BOADICEA and GEORGETOWN joined the convoy.

 

Sunday, 5th July

 

P 222, P 46, and UTMOST left their patrol areas and proceeded to the northward.

 

VIDETTE arrived at Gibraltar at 1900.

 

At 1150, a transit Halifax sighted an unidentified vessel in position 44N, 09W. She had one funnel and a low slender hull, and was proceeding fast in a northerly direction.

 

Sunday, 6th July

 

NARKUNDA, escorted by WISHART, VIDETTE, and WRESTLER sailed at 1300 for U.K. VIDETTE and WRESTLER were to part company in position 45-00N, 17-30W at 0900/9 and escort LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE to Gibraltar.

 

Tuesday, 7th July

 

ITHURIEL and ANTELOPE arrived at 0600 from escorting convoy H.G. 85.

 

JONQUIL and SPIRAEA arrived at 1435 from providing additional escort for convoy H.G. 85.

 

GERANIUM and COLTSFOOT were ordered to proceed to meet tanker ENSIS and escort her to Gibraltar.

 

CARADOC arrived at Freetown at 2200.

 

A transit aircraft reported a submarine on the surface travelling fast, course 212 degrees, in position 44-23N, 09-00W. The submarine which was of medium size, dived almost immediately.

 

Wednesday, 8th July

 

PARTHIAN sailed at 1900 with stores for Malta.

 

JONQUIL, LADY HOGARTH, and STELLA CARINA sailed at 2200 to escort tankers SPINANGER and MALMANGER until tanker ALEXIA was met, the latter tanker to be escorted to Gibraltar.

 

UTMOST, P 46, and P 222 were ordered to leave patrol at 2230/9 and return to Gibraltar.

 

A Catalina reported sighting a brilliantly lit 10,000 ton tanker 10 miles west of Burling Island, northbound at 0530B.

 

Thursday, 9th July

 

P 42 sailed at 1900 for Malta

 

COLTSFOOT and GERANIUM escorting tanker ENSIS arrived at 0900.

 

Portuguese CARVALHO ARAUJO, suspected of carrying contraband, who had left Funchal on 7th July, was intercepted and sent into Gibraltar for examination.

 

The Swiss S.S. ST CERGUE arrived with the crew (numbering 100) and 12 British passengers ex the Dutch S.S. JAGERSFONTEIN, which had been torpedoed at 0731 on 26th June in position 31-56N, 54-48W by a submarine of about 1000 tons. The submarine had a device of playing cards (aces) in a white circle on the conning tower. All U.S. nationals in JAGERSFONTEIN had been taken to Bermuda in a U.S. destroyer.

 

Friday, 10th July

 

P 44 sailed at 1830 for Malta.

 

M.L.s 471 and 463 sailed a.m. to overtake Spanish S.S. CASTILLO VERA and escort her into Gibraltar. She was intercepted and sent in.

 

P 46 arrived at 1910, P 222 at 1045, and UTMOST at 1750 all from Mediterranean working up patrols.

 

British Consul, Tetuan, reported (ungraded) that arrangements were being made at Ensanada apparently to refuel submarines during dark hours a.m. on 10th.

 

Saturday, 11th July

 

British Naval Attache, Lisbon, reported a German aircraft seen off Sagres at 0935, off Cape Roca at 1037, and off Peniche at 1055, flying north.

 

Sunday, 12th July

 

LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE, escorted by VIDETTE and WRESTLER arrived at 0700.

 

Rescue tug SALVONIA, escorted by ARCTIC RANGER, was sailed at 1800 to meet LOWESTOFT, who had been damaged in a collision with F.F.S. LEOPARD and tow her to Gibraltar.

 

IMPERIALIST, escorting three merchant ships, was attacked by a Focke Wulf aircraft in position 360 degrees Cape Vincent, 10 miles. The ships obtained hits with close range weapons and the aircraft flew off to the Northward. Gunfire was later heard. A Spanish merchant vessel was believed to be the only other ship in the vicinity.

 

German aircraft were sighted off Cape Roca at 1100 and 1220, both flying north.

 

Monday, 13th July

 

ST DAY, escorted by HAARLEM sailed at 2200 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata in connection with Operation PINPOINT.

 

P 37 arrived at 1200 from U.K.

 

Tuesday, 14th July

 

WELSHMAN arrived at 0030 and refuelled in the Bay, sailing again for Malta at 0430.

 

LORD HOTHAM arrived at 0830 escorting S.S. SOUTHGATE.

 

Convoy O.G. 86, escorted by STORK, DEPTFORD, MARIGOLD, CONVOLVULUS, SAMPHIRE, and RHODODENDRON. Tugs CHARON and PRUDENT arrived with the convoy.

 

DIOMEDE arrived at 1115 from Freetown and sailed again for U.K. at 2230.

 

SPIRAEA and GERANIUM sailed at 1900 to meet and escort tankers BRITISH YEOMAN and ORWELL to Gibraltar.

 

EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, WRESTLER, WESTCOTT, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE, and VANSITTART sailed at 0500 for Operation PINPOINT.

 

EMERALD left Freetown at 1800Z for U.K. via Gibraltar.

 

British Consul, Santander, reported that the Italian U boat LUIGI TORELLI interned there, had left dock, and after trials, had sailed at 1630 G.M.T.

 

Four ships were damaged in the Commercial Anchorage as a result of explosions caused by Italian "limpet" mines between 0430 and 2000. (See fuller details in Section I).

 

Wednesday, 15th July

 

ST NECTAN sailed at 1000 to relieve LORD NUFFIELD who was escorting the Cable Vessel MIRROR.

 

PHOEBE arrived at 0800 from U.K.

 

DANAE left Bathurst at 1500Z for U.K. via Gibraltar.

 

Thursday, 16th July

 

PHOEBE sailed at 0700 for Freetown.

 

Force H, consisting of EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, WRESTLER, WESTCOTT, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE, and VANSITTART arrived a.m. from Operation PINPOINT. (See fuller details in Section I).

 

ST NECTAN sailed at 2000 to meet and escort LOWESTOFT, who was in tow of RAJPUTANA.

 

LADY HOGARTH and STELLA CARINA arrived at 1400 escorting the tanker ALEXIA.

 

A transit aircraft reported a U boat, which later dived, in position 36-29N, 07-21W, course 116 degrees, at 1800.

 

Friday, 17th July

 

Cable vessel MIRROR arrived at 0930 escorted by LORD NUFFIELD.

 

A transit aircraft reported a submarine on the surface in approximate position 36-00N, 06-00W, course 090 degrees, speed 8 knots at 1625. Three destroyers, two sloops, and two corvettes were sailed to hunt, and the Strait patrols were reinforced.

 

RHODODENDRON attacked a submarine periscope sighted in position 35-59N, 05-49W at 2010. Contact was obtained, but lost again after a second attack, and no results were observed.

 

Saturday, 18th July

 

P 222 sailed at 1915 for patrol off coast of Sardinia.

 

IMPERIALIST sailed at 1445 escorting S.S. BARON FORBES to Lisbon, thence assumed Y.1 patrol.

 

Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that the German U boat at Cartagena would probably not be more than half repaired by August 3rd (the date on which the time limit expired), but that she would be able to navigate on the surface on one engine at 8 knots before that day.

 

PARTHIAN arrived at Malta at 2200B.

 

Sunday, 19th July

 

EMERALD arrived at 0900 from Freetown.

 

H.M.I.S. KONKAN arrived at 1500. She had been escorting the damage LOWESTOFT. H.M.I.S. RAJPUTANA, who had also been escorting arrived at 1930.

 

SENNEN was ordered to proceed to locate and stand by S.S. LAVINGTON COURT, who had been torpedoed and abandoned in position 42-38N, 25-28W at 0025 G.M.T. on 19th.

 

Tug ST DAY, escorted by LORD HOTHAM, sailed at 2335 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata in connection with Operation INSECT.

 

Monday, 20th July

 

CLYDE sailed for Malta with stores at 1900.

 

STELLA CARINA and LEYLAND sailed at 1000 to meet and escort tanker HALLANGER to Gibraltar.

 

EMERALD sailed at 0615 for U.K.

 

RHODODENDRON, escorting the tugs CHARON and PRUDENT sailed at 0530 to salvage S.S. LAVINGTON COURT.

 

EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, CAIRO, WRESTLER, WESTCOTT, ITHURIEL, ANTELOPE, and VANSITTART sailed between 0400 and 0500 for Operation INSECT.

 

HAARLEM sailed at 1200 to rendezvous with RHODODENDRON, PRUDENT, and CHARON, and endeavour to locate LAVINGTON COURT. She was to proceed in any case to U.K.

 

LOWESTOFT, escorted by ARCTIC RANGER and ST NECTAN and towed by rescue tug SALVONIA arrived at 1130.

 

WELSHMAN arrived at 1430 from Malta. A report of her passage is contained in Section I.

 

P 42 arrived at Malta at 2100B

 

A transit aircraft reported sighting a periscope in position 36-22N, 07-21W at 1618.

 

British Consul, Lisbon, reported that a U boat had grounded off the coast in position 41-45N, 08-54W at 1400B. She was last seen steering North at 4 knots on the surface and leaking oil.

 

A transit aircraft reported attacking a J.U. 88 aircraft in position 44-09N, 08-21W at 1215. The enemy aircraft was later seen in the sea.

 

Tuesday, 21st July

 

DANAE arrived at 0800 from Freetown.

 

Convoy H.G. 86 escorted by STORK (E.G. 36), DEPTFORD, SAMPHIRE MARIGOLD, and CONVOLVULUS sailed at 1830.

 

JONQUIL picked up 28 survivors of the S.S. SIRIS in position 23-48N, 18-59W at 1900.

 

British Consul, Lisbon, reported that further information confirmed that the U boat which ran aground off Montedor Light, grounded a second time 3 miles further north. She continued North at slow speed on the surface.

 

Wednesday, 22nd July

 

P 43 sailed for Malta at 1830.

 

DANAE sailed for U.K. at 0615.

 

WELSHMAN sailed for U.K. at 1000.

 

EAGLE, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER, ITHURIEL, and ANTELOPE arrived at 1030 and CAIRO, CHARYBDIS, and VANSITTART at 1200 from Operation INSECT. A full report is contained in Section I.

 

VIDETTE sailed at 1800 to overtake and provide additional escort to convoy H.G. 86 to prudent limit of endurance, thence returning to Gibraltar.

 

LORD HOTHAM and ST DAY returned from Operation INSECT.

 

P 44 arrived at Malta at 1200B.

 

Thursday, 23rd July

 

SENNEN and F.F.S. COMMANDANT D'ESTIENNE D'ORVES arrived escorting S.S. EMPIRE SPEY.

 

GERANIUM and SPIRAEA arrived at 1300 escorting the Norwegian tanker ORWELL.

 

EMERALD arrived at Plymouth at 1030B.

 

IMPERIALIST sighted a Focke Wulf aircraft steering south in position 300 degrees Cape Espichel, 10 miles, at 0808, and at 1055, in position 215 degrees Cape Espichel, 10 miles, 2 more Focke Wulf which circled but did not attack.

 

VIDETTE in position 36-32N, 10-03W, reported a Focke Wulf shadowing at 0900. The aircraft eventually flew off to the South East.

 

Friday, 24th July

 

LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE sailed at 0500 escorted to position 45-01N, 18-12W by ITHURIEL and ANTELOPE who were to return to Gibraltar, on relief by MALCOLM and SWALE at 1000/27.

 

SENNEN and F.F.S. COMMANDANT D'ESTIENNE D'ORVES sailed at 0800 with C.A.M. ship EMPIRE SHACKLETON to meet convoy S.L. 116.

 

P 211 arrived at 0730 from patrol off the east coast of Sardinia.

 

H.M.I.S. KONKAN sailed at 1830 for Freetown.

 

Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that repairs on the German U boat at Cartagena were proceeding slowly. There was possibility of the ship being sold to Spain.

 

STORK, with convoy H.G. 86, reported being shadowed by two Focke Wulf aircraft in position 37-52N, 14-18W at 1900.

 

Saturday, 25th July

 

H.M.I.S. RAJPUTANA sailed at 1100 for Freetown.

 

WELSHMAN arrived at Milford Haven at 0945B.

 

Sunday, 26th July

 

SPIRAEA and GERANIUM sailed at 1945 escorting the tankers ALEXIA and ORWELL until 2200/30, thence to sweep back to Gibraltar.

 

DANAE arrived at Greenock at 0706B.

 

Monday, 27th July

 

LORD HOTHAM sailed at 1400 to meet IMPERIALIST (who was escorting S.S. MERKLAND, GRODNO, and BARON FORBES and the trawlers PORT MADOC and PORT JACKSON) and provided additional escort to Gibraltar.

 

WRESTLER was ordered to proceed to assistance of P 222 who had intercepted French S.S. MITIDJA. (See Section I report)

 

VIDETTE arrived at 1700 from escorting convoy H.G. 86.

 

JONQUIL arrived at 1800.

 

WRESTLER arrived at Gibraltar at 2230.

 

Naval Attache, Lisbon, reported that in an engagement between a patrol vessel and an aircraft in position 37-00N, 08-20W, at 1355 G.M.T. it was believed the aircraft was shot down.

 

Tuesday, 28th July

 

P 222 arrived at 1830, having been ordered to return from patrol. She had been forced to release MITIDJA on arrival of a French destroyer (See report in Section I).

 

P 37 sailed at 1800 to patrol in area "P.P."

 

MANSFIELD, who had been searching for LAVINGTON COURT, arrived at 1300. GEORGETOWN, who had been similarly engaged, arrived at 2104.

 

O 24 arrived at 1500 from U.K.

 

Spanish S.S. ICLAR landed 22 survivors from the Yugo Slav S.S. TRIGLAV, which had been torpedoed and sunk in position 26-47N, 48-10W on 9th July.

 

Wednesday, 29th July

 

ITHURIEL arrived at 0800 and ANTELOPE at 1330. Both had been escorting LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE.

 

CLYDE arrived at Malta at 1300B.

 

A report from Las Palmas stated that a reliable informant had said that a loaded seaplane with French colours based at Port Etienne made frequent short flights out to sea and came back empty. It was presumed that she was carrying supplies, though the destination was unknown.

 

British Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that the U boat at Cartagena was still in the floating dock, and there was a possibility of her leaving before the time allowed expired, though an extension of time had been asked for. He suggested a daily air reconnaissance of Cartagena.

 

A delivery Beaufort sighted a submarine on the surface in position 37-40N, 09-45E at 1642B, course 310, speed 10 knots.

 

Thursday, 30th July

 

H.M.I.S. KONKAN arrived at Bathurst at 1800Z.

 

Friday, 31st July

 

P 34 arrived at Malta at 1200B.

 

 

 

SECTION III

 

NAVAL CONTROL SERVICE

 

MONTHLY REPORT – JULY 1942

 

Organisation of Convoys, routeing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of confidential books and route work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual.

 

CONVOYS

 

O.G. 86 arrived 14th July.

 

H.G. 86, consisting of 18 ships (Commodore E.K. Boddam-Whetham, RNR in S.S. ARDEOLA) sailed 21st July. Three ships damaged by enemy mines were unable to sail. S.S. OUSEL towing trawler GROUIN DU COU returned from convoy being unable to maintain convoy speed with trawler in tow. Sailed without tow, in company of EMPIRE SHACKLETON, 24th July to join S.L. convoy to the United Kingdom.

 

TANKERS

 

4th July, Norwegian tanker MALMANGER arrived from Trinidad with Admiralty fuel oil. Sailed for Trinidad 9th July.

 

9th July, Norwegian tanker SPINANGER sailed for Curacao via Trinidad.

 

9th July, British tanker ENSIS, bound for the United Kingdom, arrived from Curacao, having failed to contact S.L. Convoy. Sailed in H.G. 86 on 21st July.

 

16th July, British tanker ALEXIA arrived from Trinidad to discharge Admiralty fuel oil. Sailed for Trinidad 27th July, after being delayed by engine defects.

 

23rd July, Norwegian tanker ORWELL arrived from Curacao with Admiralty furnace oil. Sailed for Curacao via Trinidad 27th July.

 

29th July, Norwegian tanker HALLANGER arrived from Curacao with Admiralty fuel and Diesel Oil.

 

INDEPENDENT SHIPS

 

23rd July, S.S. EMPIRE SPEY arrived from the United Kingdom with Government Stores and Service personnel. Sailed 24th July to load iron ore at Huelva.

 

During the month 23 vessels in addition to the tankers mentioned above had been routed independently – 11 into the Mediterranean.

 

GENERAL

 

1st July, Admiralty gave instructions that, to assist in plotting positions of independently routed ships, Masters of ships fitted with H/F are to be told that, except when in convoy, they are to report by night every three days after leaving harbour their position by W/T as bearing and distance from the nearest lettered position on their route.

 

10th July, Admiralty gave instructions regarding the use of Admiral Net Defence (A.N.D.) Equipment by merchant ships.

 

15th July, Revised Recognition Procedure for Merchant Vessels, based on Identification Signals taken from S.P. 02296 M, came into force.

 

17th July, Admiralty instructed that Gibraltar convoys are to run on a 20 days' cycle, commencing with O.G. 88, H.G. convoys to sail 17 days after the sailing date of the O.G. convoys, subject to the Escorts having 4 days at Gibraltar.

 

18th July, Admiralty amended orders regarding the number of passengers allowed to be carried in ships under a speed of 12 knots, increasing the number permitted WHEN SHIP IS IN CONVOY to 50 passengers.

 

25th July, Admiralty stated that, in future, two C.A.M. ships will be included in each Gibraltar convoy.

 

27th July, Admiralty amended orders given on 1st July (see above) regarding ships fitting with H.F. reporting their position by W.T. to restrict such reports to time when ships are in British areas of strategic control only.

 

28th July, Admiralty gave orders that ships bound for Gibraltar or Freetown from Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean are, if fitting with H/F transmission, to report their position on the night after crossing 26 degrees West. If not fitted with H/F transmission and if not already met by an escort, they are to report their position, if bound for Gibraltar on crossing 15 degrees West.

 

9/8/42

 

 (sgd) E.W. PEGLER

 Commander, R.N.

 Naval Control Service Officer.

 
 

on to North Atlantic, August-December 1942
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revised 16/1/12