by Don Kindell, Sydney, Ohio, USA
In the past, a reader would have to read dozens of books to get even a
small amount of data on the early operations of the Royal Navy. This volume is
a compilation of thousands of sources, official and unofficial, published and
unpublished. These include, to name just a few: Navy Lists, Pink
Lists, Red Lists, Admiralty Officer and Rating Death Ledgers,
War Diaries, including the Admiralty War diary, as well
ships logs and reports of proceedings etc, of the Home Fleet,
Rosyth, Destroyers, Submarines, Northern Patrol, South Atlantic,
Indian Ocean, Far East.
It is not that every activity, every ship is included. However, a
thorough outline of early war activities is presented and will give the reader
an idea of just how sweeping and continuous the Royal Navy's activities were. It
will also give the serious student a base and hopefully clues for further
Some errors will exist. After extensive research, gaps and discrepancies
persist despite considerable lengths to resolve them. The years past and
destruction or loss of a great many official records and logs make some points
impossible to resolve.
The real credit goes to the late Commander W. Edward May, R.N.
(retired), Janice Kay, Mary Z. Pain, Allen Cooper, the late Commander Charles
M. Stuart, R.N. (retired), CDR Arnold Hague, RNR (retired), and Ken Thomas who
gave me innumerable hours at the Public Record Office in Richmond, the late
John Burgess and Ken MacPherson for their work on the Canadian Navy and their
help and friendship, J. David Brown, Christopher Page, Arnold Hague, Kate
Tildersley, Jenny Wraight, and Robert M. Coppock who gave assistance beyond
numeration, George Ransome of Old Traffod with his splendid collection of
scrapbooks and papers, Pat Best of the Flesh Public Library of Piqua, Ohio,
where it all started, and countless others who I hope will not be offended by
my not naming them specifically; their assistance invaluable but space
prohibits inclusion of them all.
This is the first of two volumes of work (and
eventual book), the culmination of
a project begun in the 1970s and covering some 4000 pages of text. It started
because of my interest in the Royal Navy and its operations in the Second World
War. I was always dismayed to find so many sources would mention an operation
and a movement describing the forces as “cruisers and destroyers” or “three
destroyers.” It was always important to me to find which ships were
In this research work, you will find a very
continuous flow of operations, many times giving ships’ day to day activity. My
love was always the destroyers and I have tried to include everything of note,
and frequently not of note, that involved them. Of course, the main thrust you
will find is the Home Fleet and the Mediterranean Fleet, but every theatre is
covered to the extent it could be researched.
The Fleet lists for August 1939, September 1939 and
10 June 1940 give Commanding Officers
of the respective commands and ships, organizations, and locations of the ships
for not only British forces, but German, Italian, and USN.
Lost or damaged ships are given with Officers
killed named and the ratings shown as number killed or missing. Flight crews of
Fleet Air Arm aircraft killed or missing are also named.
Looking back, I have said that years ago I would
have given anything to have a fraction of information. Here it is for you to
study and enjoy.