Naval History Homepage and Site Search

 

World War 2 at Sea

 

BRITISH and OTHER NAVIES DAY-BY-DAY - Ship Movements, Actions, Losses, August 1939-March 1942

Researched & compiled by Don Kindell

Partial editing and Maps by Gordon Smith      

HMS Penelope, light cruiser - "HMS Pepperpot" (Ship Pictures, click to enlarge)

on to Royal Navy Ships, August 1939  

 

Contents

 

Main contents by Month, with  Warship Summaries

Admiralty War Diaries

Reading Notes

Background and Dedications

 

 
 

1939

 

 

 

August summaries - Royal Navy ships - British construction

August

September summaries - Royal Navy shipsFrench, German, Polish & US (in Europe) Navies

September - October - November - December

 

 

 

1940

     

January - February - March - April - May

June summaries - Royal Navy ships  - French Navy -  German Navy Royal Italian, Greek & Yugoslavian Navies

June - July - August - September - October - November - December

 

 

 

1941

     

January summaries - Royal Navy Ships  - British Construction  - German Navy Ships & Construction

January - February - March - April - May - June

July summaries - Royal Navy Ships

July - August - September - October - November - December

 

 

 

1942

     

January summaries - Royal Navy Ships, Home Waters Part 1  - Home Waters Part 2 - Western Approaches - Overseas and Commonwealth

January - February - March

 

and in outline

 

 

 

1942 - 1945

 

April-December 1942 - January-December 1943 - January-December 1944 - January-April 1945

   

 

 

the 1942-45 outlines are being expanded in:

 

ADMIRALTY WAR DIARIES

     
     
HOME FLEET, Commander-in-Chief

 

  April-December 1942
January-December 1943
January-December 1944
January-July 1945
(including destroyers)
     
Home Fleet, BATTLECRUISER SQUADRON
mainly covering 1940 Norwegian Campaign
  March-December 1940 (including detailed account of HMS Renown's engagement with German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, 9 April 1940)
     
Home Fleet, CRUISER SQUADRONS (CS)
mainly covering 1940 Norwegian Campaign
  CS1 - March-August 1940
CS2 - March-December 1940
CS10 - September-December 1940
CS15 - July-December 1940
CS18 - March-December 1940
CS20 (or AA Ships) - May-June 1940
     
Home Fleet, DESTROYER COMMAND   April-December 1942
January-December 1943
January-December 1944 
     
NORTH ATLANTIC COMMAND, GIBRALTAR    April-December 1942
     
WEST AFRICA COMMAND, FREETOWN   April-December 1942
January-April 1943
     
SOUTH ATLANTIC COMMAND, CAPETOWN   January-February 1942
     
MEDITERRANEAN FLEET   April-December 1942
     
MALTA COMMAND   April-December 1942
     
LEVANT COMMAND
(including Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Seas)
  September-November 1943
     
EAST INDIES FLEET
(including Diary of Admiral Layton, Commander-in-Chief, China who commanded the Station from Singapore at this time.)
  December 1941-March 1942 (Admiral Layton diaries)
January-March 1942
     
EASTERN FLEET
(formerly East Indies Fleet)
  Report of Proceedings 1942 (covers missing months of 1942)
April-June, December (only) 1942
January-December 1943
January to April 1944 (May to November 1944 not available), December 1944
January to October 1945
     
BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET   February-July 1945 (excluding Operation Iceberg)
August-October 1945 (Occupation of China coast) - December 1945
June 1946
     
REPORTS
 
 

Norwegian Campaign - Allied Landing Plans, Operation R.4, April 1940

Bombing attack on HMS Glasgow, 9 April 1940

Bombing attack on HMS Gurkha and sinking, 9 April 1940

Stavanger Bombardment (Operation Duck) and near loss of HMS Suffolk 17 April 1940

Operation Aerial, June 1940 (transcribed by Roy Martin)

HMS Khartoum - Loss due to defective air vessel, 23rd June 1940

 

     
 

 
 

Reading Notes

 

1. Royal Navy (above) includes Dominion and Indian Navy ships

 

2. Ships lost are in BOLD

 

3. Whenever possible in the loss of a warship or a merchant ship, the ship responsible for the rescue of survivors of the crew is shown. However, when no rescue ship is shown, this does not infer that there were no survivors, but merely that no information is available.

 

4. When fully edited, naval events and their locations are listed in the approximate order - Western and mid-Atlantic, Arctic, British Home Waters, NW Europe,  Mediterranean, Central and South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean.

 

5. In the case of the positions of attacked and sunken ships, frequently you will find a discrepancy between the reported location radioed in haste by the attacked vessel and the location given by the attacking submarine.  This variation could be many miles.  We have attempted to resolve this issue, as much as possible, by giving geographic location as well as latitude and longitude. 

 

6. All warships and convoys are British and Dominion unless otherwise identified.

 

7. Times given in the text are Greenwich Mean Time.

 

8. Ships are listed in the order given in the original source documents.

 

9. Royal and Dominion Navy officers lost in action are in order of seniority by rank as listed in the Navy List but with regular Royal Navy first, then RNR, followed by RNVR. In this manner a Commander RNVR was technically junior to a Sub Lieutenant RN

 

10. German destroyer names and longer Italian ship names are generally given in full when first listed in an operation, but abbreviated afterwards with the last name only e.g. LEBERECHT MAAS will appear as MAAS, etc.

 

11. Merchant ship tonnages are British Registered Tons per Lloyds Register, abbreviated to grt.

 

12. British east coast convoys between Southend and Methil and later only the Tyne were FN and FS convoys, respectively. On 20 February 1940, Commander-in-Chief Rosyth ordered that the hundreds be omitted in the numbering of future convoys. To avoid confusion, the convoys are shown by their actual number: ie FS.3 is listed as FS.203.   The actual "centuries" for the period 1940-42 are as follows:

 

Convoy  

FN sailed 

FS sailed

101 

23 Feb 40 

20 Feb 40

201  

21 Jun 40

21 Jun 40

301 

6 Oct 40 

5 Oct 40

401 

5 Feb 41

31 Jan 41

501

3 Aug 41

28 May 41

601

10 Jan 42

21 Sep 41

701

6 May 42

16 Jan 42

                            

13. Equivalent ranks in British & Dominion, French, German and United States Navies:

 

British

French

German

United States

Captain

(Capt)

Capitaine de Vaisseau (CV)

Kapitan zur See

(KptzS)

Captain

(CAPT)

Commander

(Cdr)

Capitaine de Fregate

(CF)

Fregatten Kapitan

(FKpt)

Commander

(CDR)

Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr)

Capitaine de Corvette

(CC)

Korvetten Kapitan

(KKpt)

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

Lieutenant

(Lt)

Lieutenant de Vaisseau

(LV)

Kapitainleutnant

(Kptlt)

Lieutenant

(LT)

Sub Lieutenant

(Sub Lt)

Ensigne

(ENS)

Oberleutnat zur See

(OzS)

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LT/JG)

 

 
 

Background

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 research.

 

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 specifically involved.

 

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.

 

Dedications

 

This work is dedicated to those who have done so much and have gone ahead:

 

 

Commander Charles M Stuart R N (retired) who passed away 2l January 1983

 

David Brindle RN (retired), friend who passed away 2 December 1988

 

Commander William Edward May RN (retired) who passed away 26 April 1989

 

John Burgess, friend and mentor who passed away 16 September 1997

 

J David Brown, friend and mentor who passed away 11 August 2001

 

George Ransome, friend and mentor who passed away 4 August 2004

 

Arnold Hague, close friend and mentor extraordinary who passed away 14 February 2006

 
 
 

on to Part 1 Royal Navy Ships, August 1939  
or back to Naval-History.Net

revised 7/4/12


 
 

Volume 1 of an expanded version of "British and Other Navies in World War 2 Day-by-Day"

is available as a printed book or PDF download

 
 
  WORLD WAR II SEA WAR:
Volume 1, The Nazis Strike First

by Donald A Bertke, Don Kindell, Gordon Smith.

Detailed record of world-wide naval actions and activities from August 1939 through March 1940. Based on the original researches of Don Kindell.

Click for Book or lower cost PDF download

 
 

 

 

if any ads offend, please contact Naval-History.Net