Background Events - September 1939-March 1940
Battle of Atlantic
starts, 'Phoney War' on land, Battle of
Friday, 1 September
Germany invaded Poland
Baltic - the first shots of the war were fired by German
battleship SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN at the Polish Gdansk (Danzig) fortifications of
Westerplatte. She had arrived six days earlier when Hitler seized the Polish
port of Gdansk for Germany, renaming it Danzig.
German naval forces - for the invasion of
Poland were under the Command of
Naval Group Command East (Adm Conrad Albrecht):
Reconnaissance Force (Vize Adm Hermann Densch) had under his command light
cruisers KÖLN, LEIPZIG, NÜRNBERG.
Torpedo Boats (Konter Adm Gunther Lutjens) commanded destroyers BERND VON
ARNIM, BRUNO HEINEMANN, ERICH STEINBRINCK, FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT, FRIEDRICH IHN,
GEORG THIELE, LEBERECHT MAAS, RICHARD BEITZEN, WOLFGANG ZENKER and the 1st
MTB Flotilla with S.10, S.11,
S.12, S.13, S.18, S.19 and depot ship TSINGTAU.
BRUNO HEINEMANN had
a water feed pump break down and was forced to withdraw for repairs at Wilhelmshaven.
Minesweepers (KptzS Friedrich Ruge in old torpedo boat T.196) commanded escort
ships F.7, F.8, F.9, F.10, the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla with minesweepers M.1,
M.3, M.4, M.5, M.7, M.111, M.132, the Experimental Barrage Command with old minesweepers
ARKONA, NAUTILUS, OTTO BRAUN, PELIKAN, SUNDEWALL and the 3rd Motor Minesweeping
Flotilla with motor minesweepers R.33, R.34, R.35, R.36, R.38, R.39, R.40.
German submarine forces - Officer Commanding U-boats
East (FKpt Oskar Schomburg) commanded U.5, U.6, U.7, U.14, U.18, U.22, U.31,
U.32, U.35, U.57.
U.5, U.6, and U.7
patrolled the Kattegat near Laeso.
inside the Irben
U.31, U.32, U.35
were off the Gulf of
Danzig for minelaying and U.14 and
U.18 on patrol off the
Gulf of Danzig.
U.57 patrolled off
On the 2nd, U.22
and U.57 were withdrawn to provide relief for the other patrols. Both boats
proceeded to Memel for refuelling, then departed on the 3rd. U.57 arrived at
Kiel on the 5th and departed that
day for patrol off Laeso.
On the 7th, the
Gulf of Danzig U-boats were ordered to the
On the 10th, the
Baltic patrols were cancelled and the submarines returned to patrols and the
U-boat Training School.
Polish naval operations - the Polish Fleet sortied from
Gdynia, but not before Polish torpedo
boat MAZUR was sunk in German air
attacks. Destroyer WICHER, minelayer GRYF, and minesweepers CZAJKA, CZAPLA,
JASKOLKA, MEWA, RYBITWA, ZURAW were able to leave port to conduct the mining of
Bay, code named Exercise RURKA.
Puck Bay, near
Gdynia, the Polish force was attacked
by German dive bombers, and minelayer GRYF and minesweeper MEWA seriously
damaged. GRYF was forced to jettison her mines to prevent the explosion of
those still on deck and was unable to begin Exercise RURKA. MEWA was towed to
Hela by RYBITWA.
ORZEL and WILK departed
Gdynia for patrol in the Gulf of Gdansk and RYS, SEP, ZBIK also sailed
from Gdynia for patrol in
Puck Bay off Hela to attack German
WILK attacked German destroyer ERICH STEINBRINCK
unsuccessfully and was then damaged by depth charges dropped by her and
FRIEDRICH IHN, but was able to continue on patrol.
British Home waters - battleship
RAMILLIES (above - Maritime Quest)
for escort duties from Devonport.
carrier COURAGEOUS with destroyer STURDY, after departing
Portsmouth on 31 August, arrived at Portland at 1700. Destroyers ARROW
arrived there at 1550, ACASTA, which had departed Portland at 0640 that morning, and
ANTHONY arrived at 1615, and ACHATES at 1745.
carrier HERMES, sailing from
Plymouth, arrived at Portland at 2015, and destroyer ACHERON
on the 2nd. Here they joined destroyer ANTELOPE which was already at Portland.
Central and South Atlantic – Destroyers DOUGLAS and
Gibraltar for patrol. French destroyer BASQUE also left
cruiser EXETER arrived at
Freetown from Devonport and later the
same day, departed for
Cape Verde Island.
CUMBERLAND, which had departed Plymouth on 31 August after EXETER, was also en route for Freetown.
Mediterranean - destroyer ICARUS was damaged
in collision with Greek steamer MICHALIS (4680grt) off Alexandria, while they were alongside
each other at sea. ICARUS's hull was stove in, and she and the Greek steamer
were escorted to
Alexandria by destroyer INTREPID.
Following temporary repairs, ICARUS proceeded on the 10th for repairs at Malta completing on 8 October.
British Home waters - battlecruiser
escorted by destroyer SARDONYX departed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow, arriving on the 4th.
carrier COURAGEOUS escorted by destroyer STURDY departed
Portland before dawn, and arrived at
Plymouth later that day.
Portland at 0545 and arrived at Plymouth.
Baltic - Polish naval auxiliary ships
GYDNIE (538grt) and
were sunk by German bombing in the Gulf of Gdansk.
submarine SEP unsuccessfully attacked German destroyer FRIEDRICH IHN at 1238
with one torpedo, north of Heisternest. SEP was damaged in the counterattack,
but able to continue on patrol.
German waters - Commander Reconnaissance
Forces with light cruisers KÖLN, LEIPZIG, NÜRNBERG in the Baltic was
ordered to the North Sea.
U-boat movements - U.31, U.32, and U.35 were in
the Baltic near Hela to mine the approaches to the Gulf of Danzig. However, the escape of the
Polish destroyers made these operations unnecessary and they were transferred
from the Baltic to the
Atlantic, first arriving at
Wilhelmshaven. From there:
set out on patrol on the 5th,
and U.35 on the 9th,
and U.35 were ordered to patrol areas west and south of England, respectively, and U.32 to lay
mines off the Bristol Channel on the 17th.
French Force de Raid,
- the Brest-based Force of
STRASBOURG, light cruisers GEORGES
LEYGUES, GLOIRE, MONTCALM and large destroyers L'AUDACIEUX, LE FANTASQUE, LE
MALIN, LE TERRIBLE, LE TRIOMPHANT, L'INDOMPTABLE, MOGADOR, VOLTA was ordered to Casablanca at high speed to protect the
North African ports from attack from the sea, departing at 2000/2nd. The 2nd
Destroyer Division of destroyers FOUGUEUX, FRONDEUR, L'ADROIT and 5th Division
BRESTOIS, BOULONNNAIS, FOUDROYANT left Brest on the 2nd as local escort and to
carry out an anti-submarine sweep in the local approaches. The local escort
returned to Brest on the 3rd.
cruiser LA TOUR D'AUVERGNE (former PLUTON), also at Brest, sailed with the Force de Raid
to lay a defensive minefield off the Moroccan coast. She was detached on the
4th and arrived, unescorted, at Casablanca on the 5th, where she remained
until her loss on the 13th.
When intelligence revealed the threat did not exist, the operations
were cancelled and the forces arrived back at
Brest at 0740 on the 6th. They
received an additional escort from the 4th Destroyer Division with destroyers
BOURRASQUE, ORAGE, OURAGAN, which departed Brest on the 5th.
French naval forces,
Mediterranean - The French 2nd Second
PROVENCE, BRETAGNE, LORRAINE with the nine destroyers of
the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, which had departed Toulon 31 August, arrived at Oran on the 2nd. The Squadron
carried on and arrived at
Gibraltar on the 3rd.
French 3rd Squadron arrived back at Toulon on the 2nd after covering
that day, heavy cruisers, ALGÉRIE,
COLBERT, DUPLEIX, FOCH, TOURVILLE with destroyers CHEVALIER PAUL, TARTU, VAUQUELIN of the 5th Large
Destroyer Division, GERFAUT and VAUTOUR of the 7th Large Division, and CASSARD,
KERSAINT,MAILLÉ BRÉZÉ of the 9th Large Division departed Toulon and arrived at Oran on the 3rd.
ARETHUSA and the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla (less IMOGEN and ICARUS)
departed Alexandria to patrol between
Cape Matapan and Crete.
destroyers arrived at Malta on the 4th, where they joined
IMOGEN which earlier had been sent to Marseilles with dispatches, reaching
Malta on the 3rd. All the destroyers
then carried on to
Gibraltar, arriving on the 5th to operate out of there on anti-submarine duties
in the Atlantic.
Central and South Atlantic - Convoy AB.1 of British
tankers BRITISH ARDOUR (7124grt, Cdre Mr H Fulcher), BRITISH LOYALTY (6993grt),
BRITISH PRINCESS (7019grt), BRITISH MOTORIST (6891grt), BRITISH PROGRESS
(4581grt) and steamers
CITY OF HEREFORD (5105grt),
CITY OF SHANGHAI (5828grt)
ROWANBANK (5102grt) departed Gibraltar for Capetown. BRITISH FAITH (6955grt)
had broken down just after weighing anchor and did not proceed with the convoy.
DESPATCH (9th Cruiser Squadron) departed
Gibraltar at 1930 and proceeded with the
DOUGLAS, WATCHMAN, WISHART, WRESTLER of the 13th Destroyer Flotilla joined the
convoy at 2200/2nd and carried out anti-submarine sweeps, before leaving at
Gibraltar for Freetown where she arrived on the 8th
with seaplane tender ALBATROSS.
was detached on the 11th and arrived at Freetown on the 13th.
the 13th DESPATCH turned the convoy over to DURBAN which had departed Freetown on the 12th.
reached Freetown on the 14th.
DURBAN reached Capetown on the 29th.
Indian Ocean - destroyers DECOY, DEFENDER,
DELIGHT, DUCHESS which had departed
Hong Kong on 28 August, left Singapore on the 2nd en route to join
the Mediterranean Fleet.
Pacific - New Zealand light cruiser
route to the West Indies from
New Zealand received orders to patrol off
the west coast of
Declarations of war - Great Britain and France declared war on Germany at 1115 and 1700 respectively.
Australia, New Zealand, and British India also declared war.
Home Fleet, including German
shipping - Adm
Forbes was some 400 miles west of the Hebrides having just completed a sweep to
the west to cover the trade routes with his battlefleet and destroyers were
SOMALI, ASHANTI, BEDOUIN (defects corrected), ESKIMO, PUNJABI, TARTAR of the
6th Destroyer Flotilla and FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FIREDRAKE, FORTUNE, FOXHOUND of
the 8th Flotilla.
ASHANTI and SOMALI had refuelled at
Scapa Flow on the 2nd and the rest of the
destroyers departed earlier on the 3rd, also after refuelling at Scapa.
MASHONA and MATABELE of the 6th Flotilla and FAME, FORESIGHT, FORESTER, FURY of
the 8th departed Scapa Flow that evening to join Forbes at sea., FORESTER and
FURY carried out anti-submarine attacks at 2140, WNW of Rockall in 58-53N,
Forbes was also looking for German liner BREMEN (51,656grt) which was known to
have departed New York on 30 August. However, BREMEN evaded British patrols and
arrived at Murmansk on the 6th.
SOMALI did capture German steamer HANNAH
BOGE (2372grt) which had departed Shediac Bay in New Brunswick on 26
August. She was intercepted at 63‑20N, 16‑35W, taken to Kirkwall, arriving on the 5th, and
later renamed CROWN ARUN in British service.
evening at 1840, on report of German warships leaving Schillig Roads, the Home
Fleet was deployed to the east of the Fair Isle Channel, arriving on station at
0600 on the 5th.
the evening of 3 September, destroyer ESKIMO experienced a turbine problem and
was returning to
Scapa Flow alone when she encountered FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE and
FOXHOUND. She was at first taken for German, but no shots were fired and the
encounter ended uneventfully. ESKIMO safely arrived at
Scapa Flow and the defects were corrected
on the 11th.
Loss of British liner Athenia - U.30 torpedoed ATHENIA
(13,581grt) south of Rockall Bank in 56‑44N, 14‑05W. Soon on the
scene were destroyers ELECTRA, ESCORT, American steamer CITY OF FLINT (4963grt), Norwegian
steamer KNUTE NELSON (5749grt), Swedish pleasure yacht SOUTHERN CROSS.
with ATHENIA, which sank on the 4th, were 93 passengers and 19 crew members.
The 376 survivors were picked up by SOUTHERN CROSS and of these, 220 were
transferred to CITY OF
FLINT and the other 156 to the
Forbes had also dispatched destroyer FAME from his screen at 2300 to
assist. When she was not needed to lift survivors, FAME carried out anti-submarine
sweeps in the area.
NELSON took the survivors to
Galway and the rest were taken to
FLINT later took 223 American
survivors to Halifax, arriving on the 13th, and
escorted into port by US Coast Guard cutters BIBB (WPG.31) and CAMPBELL
British northern waters
arrived at Scapa Flow at 1030/3rd, escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR, FORTUNE,
VALOROUS and sloop ENCHANTRESS departed Rosyth on the 2nd for patrol in the
British east coast - coastal minelayer
laid mines off Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth in Operation BRM.
WHITEHALL of the 15th Destroyer Flotilla
departed Rosyth for patrol on the 1st. WANDERER and WHITEHALL carried out an anti-submarine
sweep off Blyth, both destroyers arriving at
Scapa Flow on the 4th.
trawler SOPHIE BUSSE (215grt) was
seized by British forces at
Grimsby and renamed ELSIE CAM in British service.
WITCH, 17th Flotilla departed Rosyth for Harwich on 31 August. (30th Destroyer
Division, 17th Flotilla was at Milford Haven for escort duties.)
vessel/destroyer WHITLEY and sloop PELICAN departed Harwich on the 3rd
steamer POMONA (3457grt) was seized by
British forces at
London. Although the crew set her on
fire, the ship was saved and renamed EMPIRE MERCHANT in British service.
- light cruisers GLASGOW,
SOUTHAMPTON and destroyers JERVIS, JACKAL, JAVELIN,
JERSEY had departed the Humber on the 1st and were sweeping
off the Norwegian coast for German shipping.
JANUS and JUNO arrived in the
Humber for operations on the 3rd
after working up.
JUPITER was at Grimsby repairing defects and arrived
at Rosyth on the 6th.
Humber Force arrived at Rosyth on the 7th after this patrol.
North Sea submarine patrols - began off Horn Reef, in the
approaches to the
Kiel Canal and
Wilhelmshaven, and on the extension of the
Montrose-Obrestad air patrol line - the last sixty miles of which was beyond
the range of the Anson aircraft then in service.
off the Norwegian coast and stationed twelve miles apart were 2nd Flotilla
submarines SEAHORSE, which had departed from Dundee on 24 August, SPEARFISH from
Portland on 25 August, STURGEON from
Portland on 27 August, SWORDFISH, also
was attacked by a U-boat on the 3rd but dived when torpedo tracks were seen and
was bombed by friendly aircraft in 56-34N, 01-04W at 1620 and 1642/4th.
was also attacked by friendly aircraft, a RAF Coastal Command Anson of 233
Squadron, east of
Dundee, at 2007/5th. She sustained minor damage, a claim made by the
aircraft, but the Anson herself crashed into the River Eden because of fuel
leaking from a damaged tank. The crew were rescued from their dinghy.
STERLET, OXLEY, and TRITON departed
Dundee on patrol on 3, 4, and 5 September, respectively.
H.32, L.26, L.27, UNDINE, UNITY, URSULA of the 6th Flotilla departed Blyth on 31 August for patrols in
the Heligoland Bight, being withdrawn for refuelling at dusk on the 11th and
arriving back at
Blyth after dawn on the 13th.
Danish waters - Danish fishing vessel
NORDSTRAND (30grt) was sunk 70 miles
west of Horn Reef Light by a mine.
German waters - after being arrested for a
debt on 28 August, steamer NAPHTHA
SHIPPER (5897grt) was seized by German forces at Hamburg and renamed ALTENGAMME in
Baltic - U.14 attacked Polish
submarine SEP south of
Aland Island in the Baltic without success.
U.18 also encountered a Polish boat on the 3rd, but was unable to attack.
destroyer WICHER and minelayer GRYF, along with other smaller Polish units,
were anchored at Hela, when they were attacked and damaged by German destroyers
LEBERECHT MAAS and WOLFGANG ZENKER.
MAAS sustained some damage and four dead from a shore
based battery hit and the German ships were forced to withdraw without
destroying the Polish ships.
MAAS was repaired at Swinemünde, completing on the 10th and
Norwegian steamer BJORNVIK (812grt) was damaged by the German ships gunfire at
Gdynia. Failing to deal with the
Polish ships, the German destroyers called in the Luftwaffe which sank
GRYF, minesweeper MEWA,
and gunboat GENERAL HALLER two hours
later. German forces later raided GRYF, which was sunk as a target ship ten
miles north of Gydnia.
MTB S.23 sank Polish pilot vessel
LLOYD BYDGOSKI (80grt) at 54-35N,
19-08E near Hela.
submarine WILK laid twenty mines east of Hela at 54-31N, 18-48E.
German minelaying operations - Beginning on the 3rd and
continuing through to the 17th, German light cruisers EMDEN, KÖLN, KÖNIGSBERG, LEIPZIG, NÜRNBERG and sloop GRILLE
covered minelaying operations from Terschelling 150 miles northward into the
HANS LODY was damaged on the 4th by
an explosion of her anti-sweep device while loading mines. Her stern was
first operation departed late on the 4th with three groups: First group – KÖLN,
KÖNIGSBERG and destroyers DIETHER VON ROEDER and HANS LÜDEMAN; second group - sloop
GRILLE with destroyers HERMANN KÜNNE and KARL GALSTER; third group - minelayers
COBRA and ROLAND with destroyers ERICH GIESE and THEODOR RIEDEL.
F (Martha Hans) was laid by COBRA, ROLAND, GIESE and RIEDEL from Cuxhaven on the 4th, where they
returned after the operation.
A (Martha Ida) was also laid COBRA, ROLAND, GIESE and RIEDEL sailing from Cuxhaven on the 5th.
barrages of Martha Gustav were laid on the 8th by COBRA and ROLAND, this time
with destroyer FRIEDRICH IHN. After the operation, the ships proceeded to Emden.
B (Martha Eins), was laid on the 13th by minelayers COBRA, KAISER, ROLAND from
Wilhelmshaven and by HANSESTADT DANZIG with
destroyers BERND VON ARNIM, FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT, THEODOR RIEDEL. Torpedo boats
of the 6th Flotilla escorted the operation.
C (Martha Zwei), was laid on the 15th by COBRA, HANSESTADT DANZIG, KAISER,
ROLAND, and destroyers ARNIM, STEINBRINCK, ECKHOLDT, RIEDEL with Torpedo and
S-boats screening the operation.
G (Martha Drei), was laid on the 17th by COBRA and HANSESTADT DANZIG, escorted
by torpedo boats of the 6th Flotilla.
U-boat operations - U.12, U.36, U.56, U.59, U.58
were on a patrol line off Great Fisher Bank and U.13, U.15, U.17, U.21, U.23 in
the southern North Sea.
which departed Wilhelmshaven on the 2nd, laid mines in
Tees Bay off Hartlepool on the 5th. Before returning
Wilhelmshaven on the 8th, she reconnoitred the approaches to
Scapa Flow in the Pentland Firth.
was on passage for patrol in the northern North Sea off Utsire.
off Flamborough to lay mines, was recalled to Wilhelmshaven before the minefield was laid.
They were laid by U.15 on the 6th.
had departed Wilhelmshaven on the 2nd to lay mines off
Dunkirk, but the operation was
cancelled, and she returned to Kiel on the 5th.
off Dover and
Calais had already been cancelled due
to shortage of boats.
Dover Straits - destroyers CODRINGTON,
BASILISK, BEAGLE, BLANCHE, BOADICEA, BOREAS, BRAZEN, BRILLIANT departed Dover on 31 August for patrol in the
The patrols were divided into two sectors - a north patrol area between Goodwin Sands and Sandetti Bank, and a south
patrol area between the South Goodwins and Ruytingen Bank.
English Channel - in
the Western Approaches Command, destroyers ESCORT and ELECTRA of the 12th
Destroyer Flotilla departed
Portland for patrol on the 2nd.
Portland on the 2nd to join sister ship
ECLIPSE at Plymouth, and EXMOUTH and ESCAPADE,
also of the 12th Flotilla departed Portland on the 3rd.
KEITH, 17th Destroyer Flotilla departed Plymouth on the 3rd.
French Channel coast - destroyers MALCOLM,
VANSITTART, WIVERN, 16th Flotilla from Portsmouth arrived at Le Havre on the 3rd.
Central and South Atlantic - light cruisers
COLOMBO departed Gibraltar for patrol west of Portugal in the area of 38N, 20W,
and arrived back on the 12th.
Freetown for Simonstown, arriving on
cruiser AJAX sailed from Rio de Janiero on 30 August and on the 3rd
in 33‑30S, 53‑30W captured German steamer
OLINDA (4576grt) which had departed
Montevideo on the 2nd. As AJAX could not spare a prize crew,
OLINDA was sunk with scuttling
charges after the crew was placed aboard British tanker SAN GERALDO (12,915grt). AJAX had the distinction of firing
the first British shots of the war.
Australian Navy - heavy cruiser
CANBERRA departed Garden Island, Sydney for patrol late on the 2nd,
followed by light cruiser HOBART and destroyer VOYAGER on the 3rd.
HOBART patrolled the trade route
Island and Wilson's Promontory and VOYAGER in
the vicinity of
VENDETTA, also after departing Garden Island, and on patrol 100 miles east of
Port Stephens sighted steamer SPEYBANK (5154grt).
VAMPIRE was on patrol off Cape Otway looking for Italian steamer
ROMOLO (9780grt) which later arrived at Brisbane.
SWAN and YARRA were on anti-submarine patrol off Sydney.
Western Atlantic - German steamer
CHRISTOPH V DOORNUM (3751grt) was
seized by Canadian forces at Botwood, Newfoundland, and renamed EMPIRE COMMERCE
in British service.
Faeroes - destroyer FORTUNE attacked a
submarine contact 30 miles south of Munken Rock in 61-11N, 07-39W.
British northern waters - battleships
SOVEREIGN departed Scapa Flow, escorted by destroyers BROKE WANDERER,
WHITEWALL for patrol in the North Sea.
attacked a submarine contact at 1945, 90 miles east of the Orkneys, southeast
of Sumburgh Head in 59-23N, 00-11W. WHITEHALL rejoined the escort at
FORESIGHT, FORESTER, FURY departed
Scapa Flow on the 5th and joined the
battleships at 1330/6th.
force arrived back at
Scapa Flow at 1709/6th.
British east coast -
Destroyer JACKAL attacked a
submarine contact NE of Flamborough Head in 54-29N, 00-05E.
laid mines off Orfordness during the night of 4/5 September. Two merchant ships
were sunk and one damaged in this field. U.17 laid mines in the Downs.
Norwegian waters -
coaster LIANNE (125grt) was lost between Graverne, Sweden, and
Hamburg about this time. She reportedly scuttled herself after sighting
British light cruisers GLASGOW and
SOUTHAMPTON sweeping in the area.
However, it appears she was lost in a German minefield on the 7th, as
reported by Greek steamer KOSTI (3933grt) herself damaged earlier in
the same field. There were no survivors from LIANNE.
(Corrections thanks to Mark
steamer JOHANNES MOLKENBUHR
(5294grt) was intercepted by
SOUTHAMPTON and scuttled herself 17 miles west of Stadlandet
in 61‑40N, 03‑51E. Destroyer JERVIS took off the crew, landing them
at Invergordon on the 6th, while
JERSEY finished off the sinking ship.
German waters - U.3 and U.4 departed Wilhelmshaven for patrol in the Skagerrak, and U.21 and U.23 arrived
assigned to the Eastern Area for the Polish campaign transferred to the North Sea to cover minelayers laying the
"West Wall" minefield in the Heligoland Bight.
MTB S.17 of the 2nd Flotilla was
badly damaged by rough seas during
North Sea operations, paid off on the
8th and used for spares. A number of other S-boats were less severely damaged
in these operations.
RAF attacks on German naval
units – were
carried out at Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel. Five
Blenheims each of Nos 107, 110, and 139 Squadrons and six Wellington bombers each of Nos 49 and 83
targetted Schillig Roads, while six Wellingtons of 9 Squadron and eight from
149 Squadron targetted Brunsbüttel.
SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU at Brunsbüttel were attacked but escaped any damage.
Wilhelmshaven, light cruiser EMDEN, just entering port followed
by U.23, was damaged by splinters from two near misses and a Blenheim crashing
into her bows. Nine crew were killed but EMDEN was completely repaired on the
Schillig Roads, pocket battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER was hit by three 250 pound
bombs which failed to explode and caused no damage. SCHEER had problems with
her main engines, but was ready for sea on 10 October. She continued to have
difficulties and started an extensive overhaul in February 1940 lasting into
DIETHER VON ROEDER, close by SCHEER was near missed, but not damaged.
the aircraft involved, ten, including all five of 139 Squadron failed to find
the target and returned to base, one bombed Esbjerg, Denmark, and three attacked HM ships
in the North
without success. Losses amounted to seven - two Wellingtons of 9 Squadron, four
Blenheims of 107 Squadron, and one Blenheim of 110 Squadron shot down.
Baltic - Polish submarine SEP on
patrol east of Hela fired two torpedoes at German minesweeper M.4 of the 1st
Minesweeping Flotilla. M.4 was not hit, counter-attacked with depth charges and
damaged SEP, which was able to continue her patrol.
minelayers HANSESTADT DANZIG and TANNENBERG, escorted by motor minesweepers
R-boats of the 5th Motor Minesweeper Flotilla laid minefield Undine II the
southern entrance to the Sound. Training ship BRUMMER, escorted by minesweepers
M.75, M.84, and M.85, laid minefield Undine III. On the 5th, TANNENBERG laid
PREUSSEN laid mines in minefield Grosser Bar at the entrance to the Great Belt.
Greek steamer KOSTI (3933grt) was damaged on a mine in this field, two miles SE
of Falsterbo Light Vessel after ignoring warnings from German patrol boats.
English Channel - Destroyer ACHERON departed
Portland with a MA/SB on anti-submarine
exercises with submarine H.31. Later that day at 1350, destroyer KELLY, which
was working up nearby in Weymouth Bay, reported being attacked by a
submarine. KELLY and ACHERON attacked a contact at 1550. H.31 was not damage
WESSEX made two anti-submarine
attacks off Eddystone Light during the day - in 50-13N, 03-32W at 1215 and in
50-09N, 3-59W at 1538.
carrier COURAGEOUS departed
Plymouth at 0845 on anti-submarine
patrol with destroyers ANTHONY, ACASTA, AMAZON, ARDENT. Destroyer ECLIPSE
attacked a submarine contact near COURAGEOUS off the Eddystone in 50-01.5N,
4-09W at 0940. After the attack, she joined the screen. ECLIPSE made another
attack at 50-10.5N, 4-02E at 1915. The force returned to Plymouth the same day at 1720.
French Channel coast - destroyer CODRINGTON, French
torpedo boat L'INCOMPRISE and a French seaplane attacked a submarine contact
Destroyers VENOMOUS, WREN, 16th Destroyer Flotilla
embarked an advance party of the GHQ of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF),
arrived at Cherbourg and disembarked their troops
that evening, returning to
Portsmouth on the 5th. On the 7th at
0015, the two destroyers again sailed from Portsmouth and joined a convoy which was
escorted to Cherbourg. They arrived back at Portsmouth at 1100.
St George’s Channel - steamer BLAIRBEG
(3509grt) was abandoned after a submarine attack, although no damage was done.
Destroyer WALKER attacked a contact SW of The Smalls at 51-10W, 6-32W. WALKER, now with VANQUISHER stood by
the steamer while the crew re-embarked and continued their passage to Glasgow.
Mediterranean - heavy cruiser
SUSSEX and destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, NUBIAN, ZULU departed Alexandria at 1930 to relieve light
cruiser ARETHUSA and her destroyers on patrol. The patrol was discontinued on
the 7th, and SUSSEX was instructed to send her
destroyers to convoy Green 1.
South Atlantic - German steamer CARL
FRITZEN (6594grt) departed
Rotterdam on 10 August for Buenas Aires.
She was due to make landfall off Cabo Polonio on the 4th, but was intercepted
by light cruiser
AJAX in 34‑19S, 48‑29W.
As with OLINDA on the 3rd,
AJAX was forced to scuttle CARL
Tuesday, 5 September
British northern waters - while entering Scapa Flow to refuel, destroyer MATABELE
found Switha Gate closed and instead headed through the emergency gate, running
aground at 2025 and damaging her propellers. She was refloated by the boom
vessels at 2130, and departed on the 6th for repairs at Chatham.
SOMALI operating with battlecruiser HOOD attacked a submarine contact in Fair
Isle Channel in 59-40N, 2-50W. Destroyer FURY, also in company, dropped depth
Scottish west coast -
patrol sloop KINGFISHER attacked
a submarine contact off Ailsa Craig in the Clyde estuary.
British east coast - sloop PELICAN was involved
in a minor collision with steamer STARLING (1320grt) in the Thames, but was able to continue her
Norwegian waters - Three torpedoes were fired
at light cruisers
GLASGOW 20 miles north of Utvaer, which were
in company with destroyers JAVELIN,
SOUTHAMPTON carried out her own depth
steamer FREIBURG (5165grt) had departed El Ferrol on 29 August disguised as
Russian steamer EBRO and now reached
Bergen, before continuing and
arriving safely at
Kiel on the 18th.
German waters - U.24 arrived at Wilhelmshaven.
Baltic - Polish submarine WILK on patrol in the Baltic was
damaged by depth charges from a minesweeper of the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla,
but was able to continue patrol.
Dover Straits - destroyer BLANCHE made an
attack on U.17 laying mines off the North Goodwins. After investigating the
area, a floating mine was sighted 8½ miles north of the Goodwins and the
minefield reported back.
English Channel – destroyer SHIKARI departed
Devonport and arrived at
Portsmouth the same day.
STURDY departed Devonport escorting outward-bound American steamer CAPPER, and
arrived back on the 6th.
KEITH, VENETIA, WESSEX, investigating a submarine
contact off Eddystone, carried out an attack.
French Channel coast - French large destroyers
JAGUAR, LÉOPARD, and PANTHÈRE of the 2nd Large Destroyer Division departed
Brest, called at Cherbourg and arrived at Dunkirk on the 7th to cover minelaying
operations off the
Pas de Calais. PANTHÈRE arrived three hours after the first two after
suffering a propeller problem en route.
Bay of Biscay - U.47 sank steamer
to the north of Cape Finisterre in 45‑29N, 09‑45W. One crewman was lost and
the survivors picked up by Norwegian tanker EIDANGER (9432grt) and taken to
Lisbon. They returned to England in steamer HIGHLAND
U.48 sank steamer
ROYAL SCEPTRE (4853grt)
NW of Cape Finisterre in 46‑23N, 14‑59W. One crewman was lost.
Danish steamer ERRIA (8786grt) and Norwegian tanker PETROFINA (10095grt)
searched for survivors, but they were picked up by steamer BROWNING
(5332grt), deliberately spared by U.48 to save them. BROWNING's crew had taken
to their boats when the submarine was sighted, but reboarded when she left the
scene. The crew of ROYAL SCEPTRE was landed at Bahia on the 24th.
- U.40 unsuccessfully attacked an Allied convoy west of Gibraltar.
WRESTLER sent Yugoslav steamer JURKO TOPIC (5160grt), carrying a cargo of
bauxite for Germany, into Gibraltar for contraband control - the
first ship sent into
Gibraltar during the war.
Atlantic and Mediterranean, Convoy GC.1 - of eleven passenger liners departed the
Clyde escorted by destroyers
VIVACIOUS, VANESSA, VANQUISHER, WAKEFUL. As they headed south, they were joined
by destroyers VERITY, VOLUNTEER, WITHERINGTON, WOLVERINE of the 30th Division sailing
from Milford Haven.
RAMILLIES and destroyers EXMOUTH and ESCAPADE departed
Portland on the 5th to join them as the
ocean escort group. Next day, destroyers ECLIPSE and ENCOUNTER left Plymouth to
join them at sea, and all met up with the local escort NW of the Scillies on
the 6th/1845. The
Clyde destroyers then detached and returned.
The ocean escort destroyers
made a number of attacks on suspected U boat contacts. ECLIPSE in 48‑05N,
11‑26W at 1140/7th, ECLIPSE again in 45‑27N, 16‑26W at
0900/8th, ENCOUNTER in 44‑44N, 16‑38W at 1223/8th, and finally
ECLIPSE and EXMOUTH in 39‑36N, 16‑48W, 240 miles west of Cape St
Vincent at 1118/9th.
the 8th, the Milford Haven destroyers detached and returned to Plymouth.
1100/10th, French destroyers FORTUNE, RAILLEUSE, SIMOUN, which departed Gibraltar on the 9th, joined the convoy
350 miles west of
1236/11th, north of Europa Point, the convoy was joined by French destroyers
TORNADE, TRAMONTANE, TYPHON, which departed Gibraltar on the 11th. TRAMONTANE was
sent six hours ahead of the convoy with dispatches for Gibraltar to avoid breaking radio
convoy, less liner
SCYTHIA (19,761grt) which had detached off
Gibraltar at 1300/11th, arrived safely
at Gibraltar later on the 11th. RAMILLIES
and destroyers FORTUNE, RAILLEUSE, SIMOUN also arrived.
convoy was then escorted into the Mediterranean from Gibraltar on the 11th by
light cruiser GALATEA and French destroyers FORTUNE, RAILLEUSE, SIMOUN,
TORNADE, TRAMONTANE, TYPHON, all of the French 1st Flotilla.
ENCOUNTER, ESCAPADE, EXMOUTH arrived at Gibraltar from Oran on the 14th.
French destroyers were relieved near Malta on the 14th by destroyers
GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM of the 1st Flotilla. French convoy L.2, which departed
Marseilles on the 12th, joined the convoy
for passage to Beirut.
Liner DURHAM CASTLE (8240grt) detached from the
convoy off Malta at 1000/14th and CLAN FERGUSON
(7250grt) at 1600/15th in 34‑41N, 22‑42E for Istanbul, escorted by destroyer
the 16th, the convoy was escorted by French destroyers CASSARD, KERSAINT,
MAILLÉ BRÉZÉ, TORNADE, TRAMONTANE, TYPHON.
BRITANNIC (26,943grt), DUCHESS OF BEDFORD (20,123grt), MONTCALM (16,418grt),
REINA DEL PACIFICO (17,702grt), STRATHAIRD (22,284grt) detached at 0700/16th in
ORCADES (23,456grt), ORFORD (20,043grt), ORION (23,371grt, Convoy Cdre Rear Adm
C A M Sarel, OBE Rtd) arrived at Alexandria at 2100/16th.
rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet with which she worked up from February to June
1939 after refitting.
Central and South Atlantic - German steamer INN (2867grt) departed Belem on 25
August for Hamburg and at 2000/5th, was captured by light cruiser
miles SW of Teneriffe, Canary Islands. After the crew was taken off, INN was scuttled and NEPTUNE arrived at Dakar on the 8th.
HUNTER, HYPERION and sloop
BRIDGEWATER attacked a submarine contact
24 miles west of Cape Sierra Leone Light House.
HAVOCK and HOTSPUR departed
Freetown for South America Station.
Indian Ocean - on the 18th, liners
BRITANNIC, DUCHESS OF BEDFORD, REINA DEL PACIFICO, STRAITHAIRD departed
Suez as convoy Red 1, escorted by sloop EGRET from the18th to 20th. On the
20th, EGRET was relieved by light cruiser
LIVERPOOL in 20N, 39E, which remained
with the convoy until the 27th. Aircraft carrier EAGLE joined on the 24th.
BRITANNIC and DUCHESS OF BEDFORD proceeded to Bombay, REINA DEL PACIFICO to Colombo, Calcutta and Singapore and STRAITHAIRD to the Cape.
Wednesday, 6 September
Declaration of war - South Africa declared war on Germany.
US Neutrality Patrol - The United States instituted the Patrol around
0 - Placentia Bay and Halifax south to 40° north, destroyers BENHAM (DD.397),
DAVIS (DD.395), ELLET (DD.398). JOUETT (DD.396) of the 18th Destroyer Division.
BENHAM and DAVIS departed
Rhode Island, on patrol on the 5th.
Area 1 - NW-SE line off Georges Shoal, destroyers HAMILTON (DD.141) 30th Division and
LEARY (DD.158) 22nd Division were based at Boston. HAMILTON departed Norfolk for patrol on the 10th.
2 - 43‑05N, 65‑30W to 37‑50N, 70‑20W, destroyers HOPKINS
(DD.249), GOFF (DD.247) 21st Division from Newport, and Patrol Squadron 54
embarked on minesweeper OWL (AM.2). GOFF departed Newport on patrol on the 10th.
3 - 37‑50N, 70‑20W to 34‑10N, 73‑05W, destroyers BARRY
(DD.248), DECATUR (DD.341)(Flagship, Destroyer Squadron 10), REUBEN JAMES
(DD.245) 21st Division, and MANLEY (DD.74) 22nd Division, operating from Norfolk, with Patrol Squadrons 52 and
53. BARRY and MANLEY departed Norfolk on the 6th for Miami and Jacksonville, respectively.
6 - Florida Straits, Yucatan Channel, and adjacent waters, destroyers BABBITT
(DD.128), CLAXTON (DD.140) 30th Division, departed Yorktown and Norfolk,
respectively, on the 13th for Key West.
7 & 8 - Eastern Caribbean, south of 23‑10N, heavy cruisers SAN FRANCISCO (CA.38), TUSCALOOSA
(CA.37) 7th Cruiser Squadron, destroyers BORIE (DD.215) BROOME (DD.210),
SIMPSON (DD.221), TRUXTON (DD.229) 27th Division, Patrol Squadron 33 embarked
on small seaplane tender LAPWING (AVP.1), Patrol Squadron 51 on
small seaplane tender GANNET (AVP.8), and small seaplane tender
THRUSH (AVP.3). On the 14th,
SAN FRANCISCO and TUSCALOOSA departed Norfolk for San Juan, Puerto Rico, via New London, and Guantanamo Bay, respectively.
9 - Within three hundred miles of the American coast between Newport and Cape Hattaras, heavy cruisers QUINCEY (CA
39), VINCENNES (CA 44) 7th Cruiser Squadron.
Reserve in Hampton Roads. Old battleships
YORK (BB.34), TEXAS (BB.35),
WYOMING (BB.32) and aircraft carrier RANGER (CV.4).
Northern Patrol and
Armed Merchant Cruiser Conversions
- the Patrol began with the 7th and 12th Cruiser
Squadrons given the task of enforcing the British blockade and contraband work.
Due to the age of the cruisers and arduous nature of the North Atlantic, only
an average of three cruisers were stationed between Iceland and the Faroes, and
two to the south of the Faroes. More ships were needed and armed merchant
cruisers began to be assigned in mid-October.
CALYPSO, 7th Cruiser Squadron and
DUNEDIN, 12th Squadron had already
on the 5th.
DIOMEDE, 7th Squadron left on the 9th and
12th Squadron on the 10th.
their first patrols, CALEDON and CALYPSO returned to Scapa Flow on the 11th,
DUNEDIN and CARDIFF on the 13th, DIOMEDE on the 16th, EMERALD on the 17th and
EFFINGHAM on the 20th.
the 28th, 108 eastbound merchant ships were sighted by the Northern Patrol of
which 28 were sent into
Kirkwall for inspection.
steamer MINDEN, intercepted by light cruiser
CALYPSO on the 24th, was the only German ship encountered in this period.
However, several neutral ships, including two large tankers carrying fuel to
Germany, were seized.
1 October, armed merchant cruisers ALAUNIA, ASCANIA, ASTURIAS, AURANIA, CALIFORNIA, JERVIS BAY,
MONTCLARE, SALOPIAN, SCOTSMAN
were allocated to the Northern Patrol.
merchant cruisers were also assigned to other duties - ASCANIA, ASTURIAS, LETITIA to the Halifax station by mid-November,
MONTCLARE to the
South Atlantic on 1 November, CICILIA arrived at
Freetown on 3 November, and SALOPIAN
was en route to
Freetown from Plymouth on 3 November. ARAWA and MORETON BAY, converted at Sydney, arrived on the China Station
in late October.
armed merchant cruisers completed their conversions as follows:
- ALAUNIA (27th),
ASTURIAS (28th), RAWALPINDI (19th), SALOPIAN (18th).
- ANDANIA (28th), ARAWA (17th), ASCANIA (16th),
AURANIA (2nd), CALIFORNIA
(15th), CARNARVON CASTLE (9th), CATHAY (11th), CHESHIRE (30th), CHITRAL (4th),
CILICIA (9th), DUNOTTAR CASTLE (22nd), JERVIS BAY (15th), LAURENTIC (15th),
MONTCLARE (15th), MOOLTAN (15th), MORETON BAY (13th), QUEEN OF BERMUDA (28th),
RANCHI (23rd), SCOTSTOUN (15th), TRANSYLVANIA (5th),
- ANTENOR (7th), AUSONIA (13th), CANTON (4th), CORFU (25th), FORFAR (6th),
Australian KAMIMBLA (20th) WORCESTERSHIRE (21st), LETITIA (6th), MALOJA (24th),
- ALCANTARA (20th), CARINTHIA (30th), CARTHAGE (26th), CIRCASSIA (20th),
COMORIN (30th), DERBYSHIRE (4th), DUNVEGAN CASTLE (20th), ESPERANCE BAY (5th),
HECTOR (20th), PRETORIA CASTLE (4th), RAJPUTANA (16th), Australian MANOORA
1940 - BULULO (4th),
LACONIA (6th), PATROCLUS (2nd),
VOLTAIRE (4th), WOLFE (10th), Australian WESTRALIA (17th).
1940 - Canadian PRINCE ROBERT (3rd), New Zealand MONOWAI (30th).
1940 - Canadian PRINCE DAVID (28th), PRINCE HENRY (4th).
- Adm Forbes returned to Scapa Flow to refuel his ships after
completing the patrol begun on 31 August.
British northern waters - heavy cruiser
NORFOLK, which departed Devonport on
the 3rd, arrived at
Scapa Flow after refitting.
cruiser AURORA was relieved by heavy cruiser
NORFOLK in 18th Cruiser Squadron.
AURORA continued to serve at Scapa Flow as flagship to Rear Admiral
Destroyers, Home Fleet.
Scapa Flow for Haugesand to embark the Polish political mission
and shortly after leaving, attacked a submarine contact off the Orkneys.
FEARLESS reached Haugesand on the 7th and embarked the political mission.
Scottish west coast - destroyers ELECTRA, ESCORT,
FAME departed Greenock after landing the survivors
from steamer ATHENIA.
British east coast - destroyers JERVIS and
JAVELIN attacked a submarine contact off Aberdeen.
destroyers BLYSKAWICA, BURZA, GROM, departed Rosyth for Plymouth, arriving on the 9th. On
passage through the Minches on the 7th in 56-55N, 07-05W, they depth charged a
SABRE departed Rosyth escorting steamer SHOAL FISHER (698grt).
first of the Methil-to-Thames convoys, FS.1, departed the Firth of Forth,
escorted by destroyer BROKE and sloops BITTERN, ENCHANTRESS, and arrived at
Southend on the 8th.
laid a minefield off Flamborough during the night of 5/6 September which sank
two merchant ships.
JACKAL, JANUS, JUNO departed the
Humber to meet Norwegian steamer
BATAVIA (962grt) in the North Sea bringing back the British
Berlin Embassy staff from
Rotterdam. JACKAL and JANUS made
anti-submarine attacks in the Thames Estuary at 51-36N, 01-38E and 51-29N, 01-26E.
BEAGLE made two attacks on a submarine contact off North Foreland.
- the two cruisers and four destroyers arrived at Rosyth to boiler clean after
operations in the
German waters - U.13 arrived at Wilhelmshaven, U.14 at Swinemünde, and U.36
English Channel - aircraft carrier
departed Portland escorted by destroyers KEMPENFELT, ACASTA, AMAZON,
ANTELOPE, ARDENT to cover the first BEF troop convoy, arriving at Devonport at
Southwestern Approaches/off Bay
of Biscay -
U.38 sank steamer MANAAR
(7242grt) NW of Cape St Vincent in 42-01, 14-38W. Seven crewmen were lost and the
survivors rescued by Dutch steamer MARS (1582grt), Italian liner CASTELBIANCO
(4895grt) and Portuguese liner CARVALHO ARAUJO (4560grt). The 3rd Destroyer
Flotilla, less ICARUS and INTREPID, reached the area from
Gibraltar on the 7th to protect shipping
and hunt for submarines. INTREPID sailed to join them on the 9th.
U.47 sank steamer
RIO CLARO (4086grt) SW of Ireland in
50-27N, 13-45W. All the were rescued.
Caribbean - French light cruiser JEANNE
D’ARC and submarine SURCOUF, escorting a merchant ship, arrived at Barranquilla, Colombia, to embark French citizens for
transport home for military service.
Mediterranean - light cruiser
destroyers HARDY, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, HOSTILE arrived at Alexandria.
GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM departed Alexandria for Malta for convoy duty with convoy
GC.1 and French convoy L.2.
AFRIDI, GURKHA, MOHAWK, SIKH departed Port Said to return to Alexandria after a brief stay in the
Indian Ocean - light cruiser
LIVERPOOL departed Masirah island in the
and arrived at
Aden on the 8th.
Atlantic - ten
German submarines on patrol in the
Atlantic were ordered to return to
Germany for replenishment.
Home Fleet - Adm Forbes returned to sea
at 0730 with battleships
NELSON (Flag) and
aircraft carrier ARK
ROYAL, light cruisers
SHEFFIELD, and destroyers FAULKNOR,
FIREDRAKE, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE, FURY, ASHANTI, BEDOUIN, MASHONA, PUNJABI,
SOMALI, TARTAR. Missing were ESKIMO and MATABELE repairing defects and FAME, FEARLESS, FORESTER, FOXHOUND
standing by at Scapa Flow..
attacked a submarine contact at 1730 and claimed a sinking, FORESIGHT returned
on the 8th with defects, and ASHANTI had turbine problems, arrived
at Greenock on the 8th and repaired at the
Denny yard at Dunbarton from the12th to 27th.
force patrolled off the Norwegian coast as far north as 63° north to intercept
any German shipping and returned to
Scapa Flow on the 10th without any
results partly due to poor visibility.
Hebrides - Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA
with destroyer BURZA attacked a submarine contact 10 miles south of Uist.
British east coast – destroyers JERVIS and JERSEY attacked a submarine contact
off Fidra island, Firth of Forth.
first of the Thames-to-Methil coastal convoys, FN.1, departed the Thames Estuary,
escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, WITCH and sloop PELICAN, and arrived at Methil
on the 9th.
JACKAL attacked a submarine contact in the Thames Estuary.
Norwegian waters -
VEGESACK (4061grt), which had departed
Santa Marta, Colombia, on 17 August, was lost when
she ran aground off Jaeren, near Flatoe in the Stavanger area.
steamer ALBERT (788grt) departed Bergen on the 5th. Although
challenged by destroyer FEARLESS off Kristiansand on the 7th, she was able to
escape into Norwegian waters and arrived safely at Hamburg on the 11th.
German waters - U.10 departed Kiel to patrol in the Kattegat, returning on the 17th, U.14
departed Swinemünde, while U.18 arrived there and departed later that day for
Kiel, arriving on the 8th.
Baltic - the Polish Westerplatte
fortifications, at which German battleship SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN had fired the
first shots of the war, fell to German forces, and the bombardment of the fort
submarine RYS laid ten mines off the Vistula Estuary at 54-42N, 19-04E.
in the Baltic unsuccessfully attacked Polish submarine ZBIK on patrol.
German submarines still in the Baltic for the Polish operations were withdrawn
for duty in the North Sea.
Dover Straits - destroyer BRAZEN attack a
submarine contact off South Foreland.
English Channel - destroyer WREN departed
Portsmouth and escorted submarine NARWHAL
as far as 4W.
Portsmouth escorting submarine OBERON to
join a convoy at Orfordness on the 10th.
STURDY departed Devonport on escort duty and arrived at Milford Haven on the
BEN LOWERS (5943grt) was attacked by a submarine off
Land's End. Destroyers KEITH and VENETIA were sent to hunt for U-boat.
UK-out convoys - The first of the Thames through the Channel-to-Halifax
convoys, OA.1, departed the Thames Estuary for Halifax. Escorting destroyers ACASTA,
AMAZON, ANTELOPE left Devonport at 0733/7th and at 1740 in the Downs, passed destroyers BASILISK,
BRAZEN, BRILLIANT. At 1855, the escorting destroyers met the 17 ships of the
Bay of Biscay - U.33 sank steamer
OLIVE GROVE (4060grt) 250 miles SW of Fastnet in 49‑05N, 15‑58W
and the survivors were picked up by American steamer WASHINGTON (7030grt)
U.34 sank steamer
(5809grt) 70 miles SW of Land's End in 49‑23N, 07‑49W, and the
entire crew was picked up by Dutch steamer BILDERDYK (6856grt).
U.47 sank steamer
(1777grt) 260 miles WNW from
Cape Finisterre in 47‑04N, 11‑32W,
and the entire crew of 22 were picked up by Swedish tanker CASTOR (8714grt) and
taken to the Azores.
unsuccessfully attacked steamer DEFENDER (8200grt) 170 miles SW from Cape Finisterre. steamer RICHMOND HILL (5491grt) and tanker DE TAMAHA
(6496grt) also reported being attacked by submarines (also U.37) 140 miles W by
N and 145 miles W by S of Cape Finisterre, respectively.
3rd Destroyer Flotilla,
UK - the 3rd Flotilla, less
ICARUS under repair at Malta, departed Malta on the 5th and arrived at
Gibraltar on the 6th. The rest of the
Flotilla, less INTREPID delayed by engine room defects at Gibraltar, departed on the 7th. INTREPID
was able to sail on the 9th.
IMOGEN, IMPERIAL, IVANHOE arrived at Plymouth on the 9th.
the 9th, 270 miles west of
Cape St Vincent in 36-47N, 14-16W, INGLEFIELD
and the 12th Destroyer Sub-Division attacked a submarine contact. IMPULSIVE,
ISIS arrived back at
Gibraltar on the 11th and then sailed
the 12th, INGLEFIELD and INTREPID attacked submarine contacts.
the 14th, INTREPID with destroyer VESPER, 17th Flotilla attacked a submarine in
the Bristol Channel 80 miles SW of Milford Haven and claimed a
steamer BAHARISTAN (5479grt) was attacked just before midnight in Mounts Bay, INTREPID, en route to Plymouth to refuel, attacked a
submarine contact at 0115/15th which destroyer AMAZON was also searching for.
INGLEFIELD, IVANHOE arrived at Plymouth late on the 14th for
refuelling, followed by INTREPID early on the 15th.
- convoying began with those
proceeding east called "Green", westbound called "Blue" and
troop convoys designated "Red". Escorted convoying continued only
until 16 October and was completely abandoned on 2 December.
AB.2 Slow departed
Gibraltar with 25 merchant ships on the 7th. Redesignated Green 1, it was
escorted by destroyers DOUGLAS, VELOX, VIDETTE, VORTIGERN from the
and also joined by French destroyers L'ALCYON and TROMBE. At 1845/9th, VIDETTE
attacked a submarine contact off Oran.
the 10th, the escorts were relieved by destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, NUBIAN, ZULU
which stayed until the 13th. French torpedo boats POMONE joined from 0745/10th
until 0700/12th and IPHEGENIA from 0700/12th to 1230/12th to assist the escort
between Algiers and
Malta. On the 11th, COSSACK and ZULU
attacked a submarine contact.
Malta on the 13th, the convoy was
escorted by destroyers
GARLAND, GIPSY, GRENADE, GRIFFIN, but GARLAND was damaged on the 16th and
detached to Alexandria with GRIFFIN. Sloop ABERDEEN joined on the 14th until the
16th, while GIPSY and GRENADE remained with the convoy until its arrival at
Alexandria on the 18th.
Central and South Atlantic - heavy cruiser
CUMBERLAND arrived at Freetown from Plymouth, then departed for Rio de
Janiero on the 9th, arriving on the 15th.
cruiser EXETER arrived at Rio de Janiero and at 0100/8th sailed for
Northern Patrol -
because Adm Horton, Vice
Admiral Northern Patrol could not coordinate the activities of his cruisers
from a flagship at sea, he left light cruiser
EFFINGHAM and transferred his
flag ashore at Kirkwall to new headquarters named HMS PYRAMUS. Rear Adm W F Wake-Walker OBE
hoisted his flag in EFFINGHAM, as Rear Admiral 12th Cruiser Squadron.
Home Fleet - battlecruisers
EDINBURGH, and destroyers FAME, FEARLESS, FORESTER departed
Scapa Flow for patrol between Iceland and the Faroes to reinforce
the blockade. Destroyer FURY which had departed Scapa Flow on the 7th with the NELSON
force joined the HOOD at sea on the 8th. This force returned to on the 12th,
and as with the NELSON ships, found that poor visibility led to a hlack of
sightings. The light cruisers were detached for patrol duties, refuelled at
Sullom Voe on the 15th and did not arrive back at Scapa Flow until the 20th.
- light cruisers GLASGOW,
SOUTHAMPTON and destroyers JAVELIN,
JERSEY, JERVIS, JUPITER left Rosyth to
search for German shipping departing Rotterdam for Hamburg in operation GH, which was
conducted during the night of the 8th/9th. No contact was made and the Humber
Force arrived in the
Humber on the 9th.
British east coast – convoy FS.2 departed Methil
for Southend and arrived on the 10th.
MATABELE was docked at
Chatham from the 8th
to replace two propellers damaged by grounding at Scapa Flow on the 5th. She left on the
11th to return to Scapa.
Danish waters - Finnish sailing vessel
OLIVE BANK (2795grt) sank on a mine in
the North Sea in 55‑53N, 05‑07E, 105 miles SW of Bouvbjerg,
Denmark. Fourteen crewmen were lost, with the survivors picked up by a Danish
fishing boat and taken to
German waters - U.3, U.14, U.17, U.36 arrived
at Wilhelmshaven and U.5, U.7, U.15, U.16, U.18, U.56 at
Kiel. U.16 then proceeded to Kiel.
Baltic - German steamers
HELFRID BISSMARK (727grt) sank in the
Sound between Sjaelland and Sweden and
HELGA SCHRODER (656grt) in the Baltic, both the victim of mines.
Dutch waters - Dutch minesweeper
WILLEM VAN EWIJK was lost off
Terschelling and minelayer WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN damaged off Den Helder when they struck Dutch mines.
Dover Straits - destroyers BLANCHE and
BRILLIANT attacked a submarine contact five miles NNE of North Goodwin.
English Channel - a flying boat made two
attacks on submarine contacts, one in Mounts Bay and one south of the Lizard.
Two destroyers departed
Plymouth to investigate.
Portsmouth and arrived at Devonport the
same day to begin rearming.
laid a minefield off
Portland on which three steamers were
Southwestern Approaches - destroyers JACKAL, JANUS,
JUNO, 14th Division, 7th Flotilla
arrived at Devonport for escort duties in the Western Approaches. Destroyer
ECHO, also 14th Division arrived
next day from
Chatham. Escorting continued until 8
October when JACKAL and JANUS arrived back at Grimsby. JUNO, delayed by defects, docked at
Devonport from 30 September to 14 October and did not arrive back in the
command until 17 October when she reached Rosyth. ECHO, having been relieved by new
destroyer JAGUAR in the 7th Flotilla, was transferred to the 12th Flotilla and
remained in the Western Approaches.
severely damaged British tanker
KENNEBEC (5548grt) 70 miles W by S of
the Bishops in 49‑18N, 08‑13W. She was scuttled by destroyer
WOLVERINE when found to be beyond salvage and her crew rescued by Dutch steamer
steamer CADILLAC (1262grt) was attacked by U.52, 180 miles SW of Cape Clear but
torpedoed British tanker REGENT TIGER
(10,177grt) 250 miles WSW of Cape Clear in 49‑57N, 15‑34W but she
did not sink until the 10th in 49-48N, 14-33W. The survivors were rescued by
Belgian steamer JEAN JADOT (5859grt).
trawler STAUNTON (283grt) 75 miles west of
Ushant took to their boats when
approached by a U-boat, but it did not attack. American steamer AMERICAN FARMER
(7430grt) assisted the crew.
U.48 sank steamer
(5055grt) 500 miles west of
Ushant in 48‑06N, 18‑12W. Her survivors were
rescued by Dutch liner STATENDAM (28,291grt).
Gibraltar - light cruiser
arrived at Gibraltar.
Mediterranean - the Mediterranean Fleet
instituted contraband control patrols in the Aegean, the approaches to the Adriatic, and south of the Messina Strait.
Central Atlantic - French large destroyers LE
TARTU, VAUQUELIN of the 5th Large
Destroyer Division departed
Casablanca for Dakar for escort duties. On the
13th, convoy Number 39 with steamers AURIGNY, KERQUELEN, KILISSI left Dakar, escorted by the destroyers
and arrived at Casablanca on the 18th. VAUQUELIN, TARTU and CHEVALIER PAUL departed
Casablanca on the 20th, 24th and 25th
respectively, escorting different convoys to Marseilles.
South Africa - German steamer
HAGEN (5988grt) was seized at Durban by South African authorities,
and renamed EMPIRE SUCCESS in British service.
Indian Ocean - heavy cruiser
CORNWALL arrived at Penang.
Australian waters - Australian destroyers VAMPIRE
and VOYAGER sailed from Port Philip to reinforce light cruiser
Fremantle on the west coast of Australia.
British northern waters - the Admiralty received
reports that exaggerated the capability of German bombers and decided that for
the time being, Scapa Flow was too vulnerable to air attack.
Scapa Flow on the 9th to put down an anti-submarine net in Loch
British east coast –destroyers made a number of
depth charge attacks on contacts off Norfolk, starting with JERVIS and JUPITER
at 1042, 40 miles west of Orfordness, JAVELIN and JERSEY at 1400, one mile west
of Haisborough, JERSEY at 1453, 16 miles west of Cromer, and JUPITER 1510, 24
miles north of Cromer.
Convoy FN.2 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 10th.
Norwegian waters - two German steamers ran
aground - CLARE HUGO STINNES I (5294grt) on Raftsund in the Lofotens, refloated
on the 17th and BALDUR (5805grt) near Lister, later salved
North Sea –Dutch steamer
MARK (1514grt) sank on a mine in 56‑45N,
URSULA on patrol in the Heligoland Bight 35 miles NW of Borkum Island in
53-52N, 06-05E fired four torpedoes at U.35 at 1912 and one more at 1933, but
all missed. U.23, also in the area, reported being missed by three torpedoes at
1950 and U.21 reported sighting submarine URSULA.
German waters - U.22 arrived at Kiel. U.58 arrived at Kiel.
Baltic - Polish submarine ZBIK laid
20 mines NE of Heisternest, at 54-45N, 18-44E, one of which accounted for German
Dover Straits - minelayer
auxiliary minelayers HAMPTON and SHEPPERTON arrived at Dover for operations.
British Expeditionary Force - the first BEF convoy arrived
in France and by 7 October, 161,000 men,
24,000 vehicles and 140,000 tons of stores had reached France. Troops and vehicles were
convoyed from Southampton, tanks, guns, ammunition and stores from Newhaven and
petrol from Poole and Fawley. Among the British merchant ships involved were
(11,404grt), BELLEROPHON (9019grt), EURYMEDON (6223grt), GLENEARN (8986grt).
GLENSTRAE (9460grt), LYCAON (7350grt), MARON (6487grt), RHESUS (6530grt).
Steamer GLOUCESTER CITY (3071grt) was among six fitted
to carry ammunition.
Engish Channel - Destroyer KEITH attacked a
submarine contact near Wolf Rock.
UK-out convoys - OA.2 sailed from Southend
and destroyers JACKAL, JANUS,
JUNO from Devonport on the 9th to
escort the convoy, but
JUNO returned on the 10th. JACKAL and JANUS joined up
on the 11th, the convoy dispersed at 1600/12th in 49-30N, 12-30W and the
destroyers returned to Devonport on the 13th.
departed Liverpool on the 9th escorted by
WALKER, WINCHELSEA, but WINCHELSEA
was soon detached to escort convoy OB.3 on the 11th.
Southwestern Approaches - aircraft carrier
with destroyers KEMPENFELT, ARDENT, ECHO left Plymouth for anti-submarine duties in
the Western Approaches in Operation AS.2. At 1030/10th, COURAGEOUS’ aircraft
attacked a submarine contact 280 miles W by S of Ushant and at 1250/10th made
another attack 270 miles west of Ushant. During these operations, a Swordfish
of 822 Squadron was unable to locate the carrier at the end of its patrol on
the 10th and lost with its crew,
W A H
Playfair, Sub Lt (A) H A Wheatman, Naval Airman 1/c F Frizzel.
at Milford Haven late on the10th, departed on the 11th and all ships arrived
back at Plymouth on the 14th.
unsuccessfully attacked steamer JAMAICA PROGRESS SW of Ireland.
Mediterranean - destroyer GRENVILLE made a
submarine contact at 0508, but was relieved by destroyers MOHAWK and SIKH so
she could continue on to Malta.
WISHART attacked on a submarine contact off Gibraltar.
Blue 1 departed
Alexandria and Port Said with twenty ships, escorted by
destroyers HARDY, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, HOSTILE and sloop ABERDEEN which all departed Port Said on the 9th. On reaching Gibraltar on the 19th, the convoy was
redesignated HG.1 for passage to England.
Indian Ocean - destroyer STRONGHOLD had
left Plymouth on 26 August for duty with the China Force. She then
departed Malta on the 2nd, Suez on the 6th, and reached Aden on this date, the 9th.
Arriving at Bombay on the 13th, she departed on
the 15th, reached
Colombo on the 17th, left the 18th and
arrived at Singapore on the 23rd.
cruiser GLOUCESTER departed
Mombasa on patrol and arrived back on
cruiser MANCHESTER departed
Colombo on patrol and arrived back on
Chinese waters - heavy cruiser
departed Shanghai and arrived at
Hong Kong on the 18th.
Australian waters - Australian destroyer STUART
on patrol off Terrigal in Broken Bay, north of Sydney, attacked a submarine contact
which later proved to be rocks. On the 10th, she continued the hunt with destroyer
WATERHEN, both of which had just completed recommissioning trials.
Declarations of war - Canada declared war on Germany.
Northern Patrol - light cruiser
for Northern Patrol and arrived back on the 17th.
Northern waters - destroyer FEARLESS at sea
with battlecruiser HOOD was detached from the screen to investigate a merchant
ship which proved to be Swedish.
British west coast – patrol sloop PUFFIN attacked
a submarine contact off Barmouth in
British east coast - convoy FS.3 departed Methil
and arrived at Southend on the 12th.
GOODWOOD (2796grt) was sunk
by a mine, one mile southeast of Flamborough Head, laid by U.15 on the 6th. One
member of the crew was lost.
MAGDAPUR (8641grt) sailing
in ballast to Southampton to embark BEF equipment for
France was sunk on the 10th in 52‑11N,
01‑43E off Orfordness by a mine laid by U.13 on the 4th. Six crew were
North Sea - the
British submarine force suffered its first loss of the war. On the
Montrose-Obrestad air patrol line, SW of Stavanger, TRITON sighted
OXLEY. After repeated challenges to
which OXLEY failed to respond, TRITON fired two torpedoes at 2100 believing her
to be an enemy. One torpedo struck and sank OXLEY at 58‑30N, 05‑42E.
Only the commanding officer Lt Cdr H.G. Bowerman and AB H S Gluckes survived.
The casualties were Lt R P Coppinger, Lt FK Manley RNR, Sub Lt W H Palmer, Warrant
Engineering Officer R W C Robertson and forty nine ratings. Lt Cdr Bowerman was
not held at fault for the loss and assumed command of destroyer WALPOLE on 21
German waters - U.17 arrived at Kiel.
Baltic - a small German
fishing vessel was sunk on a mine off
Trelleborg, S Sweden and the survivors rescued by another German trawler.
Dutch waters - minelaying destroyers ESK
and EXPRESS left Portsmouth early on the morning of the 10th and laid 120 mines
that night in minefield AA off Terschelling in 53-32N, 5-07E before returning
to Immingham. Next night, the 11th/12th, they laid field QQ in the Bight at
English Channel – destroyer JACKAL attacked a
submarine contact 10 miles S by W of the Needles, Isle of Wight.
carrier HERMES and destroyers ILEX, IMOGEN, ISIS departed
Portland on anti-submarine patrol,
Plymouth on the 12th.
UK-France convoys and sailings - convoy of steamers BRIGHTON, CANTERBURY, MAID OF ORLEANS, PARIS departed Southampton on the 9th and anchored in the
Solent overnight before setting of
with troops for
Cherbourg. MAID OF ORLEANS was damaged
in a minor collision with the escort at the start, but was able to continue.
MB.1 of six slow cargo ships departed
Southampton escorted by destroyers
SARDONYX and two others (possibly VENOMOUS and WREN) from Portsmouth Command,
arriving at at Brest on the 12th.
Bay of Biscay - U.34 was attacked by an
Allied aircraft with a single bomb in the Bay, but no damage was done.
destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, NUBIAN, ZULU had departed Alexandria on the 4th and after a patrol
off Crete reached Malta. Leaving there on the 8th,
they joined the escort of convoy AB.2 (Green 1) on this date, the 10th. Sister
ships AFRIDI, GURKHA, MOHAWK, SIKH sailed from Alexandria on the 11th for escort duties
and returned on the 17th. AFRIDI, GURKHA, SIKH left again on the 19th and
headed for Malta. These duties continued until
7 October when 4th Flotilla was ordered to return to England.
Caribbean - light cruiser
Australian waters - Australian heavy cruisers
CANBERRA and light cruiser
ADELAIDE searched for suspected German
minelayers off Gabo
Island until the 13th.
Pacific - Canadian destroyers FRASER
and ST LAURENT, which departed
Vancouver on 31 August, passed through
en route to Halifax where they arrived on the
steamer TACOMA (8268grt) arrived at
Talcuhuano, Chile to avoid New Zealand light cruiser
patrol off the west coast of Chile. There she joined steamers
OSORNO (6951grt) which had arrived on the 1st and FRANKFORT (5522grt) on the 6th. ACHILLES
made a 70 mile dash on this date to intercept LAHN (8498grt), but the German
steamer escaped into territorial waters and later arrived at Talcuhuano on the
16th. Meanwhile, ACHILLES arrived at Valapariso late on the 10th.
Monday, 11 September
Northern Patrol - light cruiser
ENTERPRISE, which departed Portsmouth on the 9th, arrived at Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol duty with
the 12th Cruiser Squadron.
CALEDON arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol duty.
Northwestern approaches - U.47 sank steamer
FIRBY (4869grt) 300 miles WNW of Cape
Wrath in 59‑40N, 13‑50W. The survivors were rescued by destroyer
FEARLESS, detached from HOOD’s screen.
ROYAL and destroyers FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND, FURY left
Scapa Flow at 2030 for an anti-submarine
patrol NW of Ireland. Destroyer FORTUNE was replaced by destroyer ESKIMO at
2100 on the 11th and aircraft carrier
HERMES was assigned to relieve ARK ROYAL
as soon as possible.
U.30 sank steamer
(4425grt) west of
Ireland in 54‑59N, 15‑08W,
but remained with the crew until American steamer AMERICAN SHIPPER (7430grt)
was sighted. She rescued them.
British east coast -
Convoy FN.3 departed Harwich on
the 11th escorted by destroyer BROKE and sloops BITTERN and ENCHANTRESS.
Sweeping ahead of the convoy, BROKE attacked a submarine contact seven miles
ENE of Orfordness and BITTERN,
also escorting submarine OBERON in FN.3 made another attack on a contact off
Cromer Knoll Light Vessel. Destroyers MATABELE and SOMALI joined in the latter
attack. Then 14 miles east of Orfordness, BROKE made yet another, all this
still on the 11th. BROKE's asdic set went out of action and required repair,
and the convoy arrived at Methil on the 12th.
North Sea - U.4 at 54-30N, 7-40E sighted
a British submarine, but lost contact when she submerged to approach. There is
no report to indicate which submarine this was.
departed Wilhelmshaven for patrol off Orfordness.
U.59 sighted a British submarine at 0655 near Samso before arriving at Kiel at 1735.
Baltic - Polish submarine WILK in the Baltic was ordered to
England. She was sighted by German
destroyer RICHARD BEITZEN on the 14th, but identified as Swedish and left
alone. WILK carried on and arrived on the 20th.
Dover Straits - destroyer BLANCHE made a
submarine attack five miles NNE of North Goodwins in 51-24N, 1-39E.
Dover Straits minefields - British minelaying began
with a mine barrage GR laid across the Straits of Dover with a channel left
open for Allied ship use off the Goodwins. Navigational markers were laid
between the Goodwins and Dyck by survey ships
FRANKLIN and SCOTT from 7 to 10
field was laid from the 11th to 16th between Galloper and North Hinder by
ADVENTURE, coastal minelayer
PLOVER and converted train
ferries HAMPTON and SHEPPERTON. Minesweepers
accompanied the force and anti-aircraft cruiser
CAIRO and 19th Destroyer Flotilla
(less BULLDOG in the
Mediterranean) provided escort.
was given by light cruisers
GLASGOW and destroyers JAVELIN,
JERSEY, JERVIS, JUPITER of the Humber
Force, which departed the
Humber at 1830/10th for Sheerness, where they arrived on the
11th. They remained at Sheerness until 14 September when they returned to the
Humber, arriving the same day.
English Channel - light cruisers
Portland to cover a BEF troop convoy,
and arrived at Plymouth on the 14th.
UK-France convoys - BC.1F of steamers FENELLA
and TYNWALD departed Barry Roads escorted by destroyers KEITH and VIVACIOUS,
and arrived safely in the
Loire on the 12th.
of steamers BARON MINTO, BELLEROPHON, TRELAWNY departed Bristol Channel at the same time and arrived
in the Loire on the 13th.
UK-out convoy - OA.3 of three ships and
OA.3A with 12 ships, departed Southend. Destroyers AMAZON and JUNO sailed from Plymouth and joined the convoys as
escorts the same day, the 11th. The convoys dispersed in 47-31N, 12-30W and
JUNO returned to Plymouth on the 15th.
- had departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MACKAY and WINCHELSEA until this date, the 11th
when they joined convoy OB.2 (see following). On the 12th, escort for OB.3 was
provided by destroyer VANESSA and sloop PC.74.
VANQUISHER and WALKER, escorting convoy OB.2, collided at 2240, 200 miles SW of
Cape Clear with both ships badly damaged. Initial reports indicated VANQUISHER,
with 14 ratings killed, was probably sinking and WALKER was unseaworthy.
carrier COURAGEOUS and her destroyers provided cover for the damaged
destroyers, with KEMPENFELT detached to assist at 0540/12th, rejoined
COURAGEOUS at 1000, detached again at 1430 and returned to COURAGEOUS at 1730.
MACKAY and WINCHELSEA of OB.3 (see above) then joined the convoy, and MACKAY
attacked a submarine contact at 53-00N, 5-07W, NW of Bardsey Island.
assist the damaged destroyers, tugs NEPTUNIA and SALVONIA departed Falmouth at 0100/12th.
WALKER in company, destroyer ARDENT
took VANQUISHER in tow stern first on the 13th, arriving still under tow at
Plymouth on the 14th, where she was
under repair until 3 January.
WALKER arrived at Plymouth on the 14th, escorted by
destroyers IMPULSIVE and IVANHOE, and she repaired until 11 November.
and WINCHELSEA arrived back at
Liverpool on the 16th.
French waters - French aircraft carrier
BÉARN departed Brest escorted by destroyers
FOUGUEUX, FRONDEUR, L'ADROIT, and arrived back on the 27th.
Southwestern Approaches - U.38 sank British tanker
INVERLIFFEY (9456grt) 270 miles WSW of
Land's End in 48‑14N, 11‑48W,
whose crew was rescued by American steamer R G STEWART (9229grt).
Destroyer WRESTLER was slightly damaged in collision with Spanish steamer NURIA
R (2733grt) at Gibraltar, departed on 16 December and arrived at
Malta on the 19th for refitting and
repair to the collision damage. She was under repair from 29 December to 6
March, leaving Malta on 9 March for Gibraltar.
Mediterranean Fleet - battleships
MALAYA, heavy cruisers
SUSSEX, light cruisers
PENELOPE, and destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, MOHAWK, SIKH of the 4th Flotilla
departed Alexandria for gunnery exercises. That evening, BARHAM and
PENELOPE returned to
Alexandria and aircraft carrier
joined the fleet from
Alexandria, when they proceeded to the
west end of Crete to cover the passage of convoys GC.1 and Green 1.
at sea were destroyers HASTY HARDY, HERO, HEREWARD, HOSTILE of the 2nd Flotilla
from Port Said on the 9th to escort Blue 1. Heavy cruiser
SHROPSHIRE arrived at Malta on the 11th, departed Malta that day for Gibraltar, and arrived on the 13th with
personnel for RAF No 202 Squadron. She left the same day and reached Marseilles on the 15th. Meanwhile heavy
cruiser SUSSEX arrived at Malta on the 13th for docking.
troop convoy GC.1 escort duty, light cruiser
GALATEA had departed
Alexandria on the 5th and arrived at
Gibraltar on the 8th. Destroyers
GLOWWORM and GREYHOUND of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla arrived at Malta on the 7th and departed on the
13th escorting GC.1 and French convoy L.2 to Alexandria.
GALLANT, GRAFTON, GRENVILLE arrived at Malta on the 10th for the same duty.
GRAFTON and GALLANT went on to
GARLAND, GIPSY, GRIFFIN, GRENADE departed Alexandria on the 10th, arriving at Malta on the 12th, and departing the
next day as escorts to Green 1.
heavy units of the Fleet patrolled to the west of Crete until 16 September to cover
Central Atlantic - German pocket battleship
ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE and accompanying supply ship ALTMARK had a near encounter
with heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND, which was sighted by GRAF
SPEE’s aircraft only 30 miles away on an intercepting course. However, CUMBERLAND was en route from Freetown to Rio de Janiero and did not
even sight the aircraft.
Tuesday, 12 September
Destroyer JAGUAR – commanded by Lt Cdr J F W
Hine was completed, and following working up at Portland, joined the 7th Flotilla at
Rosyth, arriving on the 28th.
Northern Patrol - light cruisers
CALYPSO left Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol duties,
and arrived back on the 19th.
Northwestern approaches - aircraft carrier
aircraft attacked a submarine 150 miles NW of Cape Wrath. Destroyers FAULKNOR
and FIREDRAKE were detached to search, but failed to make contact. Destroyers
FAME and FORESTER from were
despatched to search the area. The destroyers returned to Scapa Flow later that day.
Home Fleet units - battleship
REPULSE, and destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, MASHONA, PUNJABI, TARTAR
of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla departed Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe at 1915, and
SHEFFIELD for Sullom Voe, the latter arriving on the
REPULSE, MASHONA and SOMALI arrived at Loch Ewe (the small port of Aultbrea, designated Port A for
security reasons) at 0730/13th. BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, TARTAR were detached on
anti-submarine patrol, joined by ESKIMO which departed Scapa on the 11th did
not reach Loch Ewe until the 15th.
cruiser NEWCASTLE departed
Plymouth following a refit, arrived at
Scapa Flow on the 13th to work up and
joined 18th Cruiser Squadron on the 15th.
British east coast - Convoy FS.4 departed Methil,
escorted by destroyers VALOROUS, WALLACE, WANDERER. WANDERER attacked a
submarine contact near Inner Dowsing, and the convoy arrived at Southend on the
BITTERN attacked a submarine contact 18 miles off Flamborough.
ENCHANTRESS attacked a submarine contact off Flamborough Head.
on patrol in the central
North Sea near Orfordness picked up four men from a downed
German Do.18 aircraft.
of the 19th Flotilla attacked a submarine contact near Kentish Knock.
BRAZEN’s condenser problems were repaired at Chatham beginning on the 12th and
completing on the 19th.
Kattegat - German destroyer RICHARD
BEITZEN and torpedo boat T.107 conducted an anti-shipping patrol in the Kattegat from the 12th to 14th, without
departed Kiel to patrol off the east coast of Laeso island,
German waters - U.40 arrived at Wilhelmshaven.
- German experimental ship OTTO
BRAUN was damaged by a Polish coastal defense battery at Hela. Reports in
contemporary Allied press reports identified her as battleship SCHLESWIG
- destroyer BRILLIANT struck
the Dover breakwater on the 12th, docked at
Dover to make her seaworthy before
proceeding to Chatham, where she arrived on the
15th. Repairs completed on 16 October.
UK-France convoy - DB.1 of one fast steamer,
escorted by destroyers SCIMITAR and VANSITTART departed Southampton for Brest, arriving on the 13th.
French waters - French destroyer SIROCCO
departed Brest escorting submarine SIDI FERRUCH to
Cherbourg, arriving on the 13th. SIROCCO
arrived back on the 16th.
French destroyers BORDELAIS, L'ALCYON, TROMBE of the 8th Destroyer Division
departed Marseilles escorting Convoy Number 14 to
Oran, arriving on the 14th.
Caribbean - light cruiser
Australian light cruiser PERTH departed Kingston on patrol and arrived back on
Central Atlantic - light cruiser
DURBAN departed Freetown for Capetown, arriving on the
28th to repair defects.
Indian Ocean - aircraft carrier
Colombo on raider hunting duties for a
Ceylon, the Maldives, and Seychilles.
Pacific - New Zealand light cruiser
at Valparaiso for refuelling and then departed on the 13th on
Wednesday, 13 September
Northern Patrol - light cruiser
DELHI arrived at Scapa Flow for duty with the 12th Cruiser
Squadron on Northern Patrol.
Northwestern approaches - U.27 sank British trawler
DAVANA (291grt) 21 miles NW by N from
Tory Island. Survivors were rescued by
steamer WILLOWPOOL (4815grt).
British northern waters - Destroyer MATABELE escorting
tanker MIXOL departed Rosyth for
Scapa Flow. Submarine OBERON proceeded in
company and was detached at
Dundee. MATABELE and MIXOL arrived at
Scapa Flow on the 14th.
U-boat operations, Scottish
east coast -
the last two of six submarines departed Germany to operate off the Scottish
coast against British warships. On the 7th, U.36 had left Kiel for Wilhelmshaven, and then with U.21, U.23,
U.31 and U.35 left that port on the 9th. On the same day, U.36 sighted
the 13th, both U.14 and U.24 left Kiel, initially for operations in
area. U.14 went on to reconnoitre
Scapa Flow until the 25th and U.24 stayed
in the Moray
area until the 27th. By then, of the total seven U-boats– three were deployed
off the Firth of Forth, one east and one southeast of Moray Firth, one in the North Sea between Shetlands and Norway, and U.24 in the Moray Firth area.
attacked a destroyer off the Firth of Forth on the 22nd, U.14 a submarine off
Duncansby Head on the 24th, and U.24 destroyer FORESIGHT off the Shetlands,
also on the 24th, but all failed due to torpedo defects.
British east coast - destroyer WALLACE was badly
damaged in a collision with steamer REDRIFF (1577grt) off Lowestoft and reported in danger of
sinking. WALLACE was attended by destroyer WANDERER and met by tugs,
temporarily repaired at
Yarmouth, then taken to Hull where repairs were completed
on 23 October.
WESTON ran aground on the Shipwash, was refloated without assistance and was
able to proceed to Rosyth. The only damage was to her anti-submarine dome and
she was soon back to duty.
Convoy FN.4 departed Southend and arrived at Methil on the 14th.
North Sea - German trawler
STOLP (122grt) was sunk in accidental
collision with torpedo boat LUCHS in the North Sea.
Dutch waters - U.3 departed Wilhelmshaven for patrol off Terschelling.
steamer RONDA (5136grt) was mined
and sunk off Terschelling in 54-10N, 4-34E, with 17 crew lost. The survivors
were rescued by Italian steamer PROVVIDENZA (8459grt).
German waters - U.6 arrived at Kiel.
was in dock in Wilhelmshaven from 13th to 29th for repair
to her electrical system.
Baltic - Greek steamer KATINGO HAJIPATERA
(3661grt) was damaged on a mine off Falsterbo, Sweden and ran aground. She was
refloated and proceeded the same day to Copenhagen escorted by a Swedish
the night of the 13th/14th, Polish minesweepers JASKOLKA, RYBITWA, CZAJKA laid
60 mines south of Hela to prevent German battleship SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN shelling
the Hela Peninsula.
Dover Straits - destroyer JAVELIN, with
sister ship JERSEY in company, attacked a submarine contact near the East Goodwin Light
BLANCHE attacked a submarine contact five miles east of Dungeness.
English Channel - destroyer MALCOLM attacked a
submarine contact 22 miles east of
UK-France convoy - Destroyers VENOMOUS and WREN
escorted convoy MB.2 from
Brest from the 13th to 14th. The
following convoy, MB.3 was cancelled.
UK-out convoys - Convoys OA.4 and OB.4A of 31
ships, departed Southend. Destroyers ANTELOPE and ACASTA departed Plymouth and escorted the convoys from
North Foreland from the 13th to 16th, before arriving back at Plymouth on the 17th.
OB.4 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WHIRLWIND and WARWICK until the 16th.
Southwestern Approaches – U.35 was attacked by a
British aircraft which dropped three bombs west of Ireland. No damage was done.
U.29 sank tug
NEPTUNIA (798grt) SW of Ireland at 49‑20N, 14‑40W. She
was en route to tow destroyer WALKER. Her 21 man crew was rescued by steamer BRINKBURN (1598grt) after spending 28-30 hours in the ship's boat.
sighted a submarine, presumably French, south of Ireland, but was not able to attack.
Casablanca, Morocco - French minelaying cruiser
LA TOUR D'AUVERGNE (CV H J E Dubois)
was offloading mines at
Casablanca when a mine being disarmed
accidently exploded, setting off a chain reaction that blew up and destroyed
the ship at anchor.
1/c A E H Pugliesi-Conti was killed and CV Dubois, LV H G E O L'Hertier,
Commander of Marine Detachment Lt Marc, Doctor 1/c Tarello CH MO, Reserve
Officer EV 1/c Merlen, IGM 2/c Salle, Supply Officer 2/c Levaique, Reserve
Officer EV 1/c Lepeque and Doctor 3/c F Brunet went missing. Two officers were
wounded and some two hundred ratings killed or missing. Many of the rest of her
crew of 17 officers and 407 ratings were wounded.
ETOILE DU MATIN, SULTAN, MARIE MERVEILLEUSE were lost and a number of other
ships in the harbour damaged by the explosion. Auxiliary minesweepers CHELLAH
(70grt), GOSSE (300grt), and CHARCOT were badly damaged and not repaired. ALCOR
and GRODIN were damaged.
Mediterranean - destroyers GRENADE, GRIFFIN, GARLAND, GIPSY, of the 1st Destroyer
Malta to escort Convoy Green 1 en
route to Alexandria. On the 16th,
GARLAND was damaged by the explosion
of one of her depth charges dropped while steaming at slow speed. The explosion
not only damaged her stern but wrenched loose another depth charge on the depth
charge thrower. The second depth charge was thrown into the water and exploded
under the ship.
GARLAND was towed to Alexandria by GRIFFIN, arriving on the 17th.
Additionally, four of
GARLAND's more seriously wounded
crewmen were transferred to light cruiser
GALATEA which also arrived at Alexandria on the 17th. After emergency
repairs, GARLAND was taken to
Malta in October for repair, which
lasted until 16 May 1940.
cruiser SUSSEX struck a submerged wreck with
her propeller in the
Ionian Sea and docked at
Malta on the 13th.
Chinese waters - Heavy cruiser
KENT departed Hong Kong on patrol, and arrived back on
KINGSTON – commanded by Lt Cdr P
Somerville was completed, and after working up at Portland, joined the 5th Flotilla on 19
United States - 68 old destroyers were
ordered to be recommissioned from mothball reserve status for Neutrality Patrol
British northern waters - battleship
HOOD, and destroyers TARTAR, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI departed
Scapa Flow on the evening of the 14th and
arrived at Loch Ewe next morning. En route, three of the destroyers detached to
Scapa Flow and arrived at Loch Ewe later the same day.
ARK ROYAL group, NW approaches -
TARTAR, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI joined the screen of aircraft
ROYAL at daylight on the 14th.
attacked steamer FANAD HEAD (5200grt) 280 miles WNW of Malin Head in 56‑43N,
15‑21W. Her contact report was received and ARK ROYAL launched three
Skuas of 803 Squadron at 1440 and dispatched TARTAR, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI to
assist. FANAD HEAD was sunk before help arrived.
Skuas attacked U.30, but two of them were lost from the explosion of their
own bombs in the sea. Both gunners, PO Airman J Simpson (Griffiths' aircraft) and PO Airman G V
McKay (of Thurston's) were killed, but both 803 Squadron pilots, Lt R P
Thurston (aircraft L 2957) and Lt G B K Griffiths RM (L 2873), were picked up by U.30 and made prisoners.
was damaged, headed for Reykavik while making emergency repairs and arrived on
the 19th, landing a wounded crewman. Next day, the 20th September, she departed
picked up the survivors from the steamer and ARK ROYAL launched six more
Swordfish at 1655 - three each from Nos 818 and 821 Squadrons. One of 821’s
aircraft attacked a submarine contact. Destroyers FAME and FORESTER later arrived on the
scene after the survivors of FANAD HEAD had already been rescued.
towards FANAD HEAD's position, ARK ROYAL escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR,
FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FIREDRAKE was attacked by U.39 NW of Ireland at 1507, but
the torpedoes exploded prematurely. FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FIREDRAKE
counter-attacked and sank U.39 at 1546 in 58‑29N, 11‑50W. FAULKNOR
picked all the submarine's 42 man crew.
1750, 60 miles SW of Rockall, seven aircraft bombed a submarine contact, and
TARTAR, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN, and PUNJABI, which were hunting in the area, were
dispatched to join this hunt. They arrived at Loch Ewe on the 15th.
British east coast - Convoy FS.5 departed Methil
and arrived at Southend on the 16th.
North Sea - British trawler
HAWARDEN CASTLE (210grt) was lost to the
gunfire of U.17.
Norwegian waters - on patrol off Norway at 56-22N, 1-28W, submarine
STURGEON sighted SWORDFISH, which like OXLEY on the 10th, was off station.
Failing to identify SWORDFISH as friendly, STURGEON fired three torpedoes at
0043 which all missed. As a result of these potentially fatal problems, the
distance between patrol stations was increased to 16 miles.
Baltic - German Stuka bombers
attacked Jastarnia Harbour and sank Polish minesweeper
JASKOLKA, damaged minesweepers CZAPLA
and RYBITWA, and caused minor splinter damage to minesweepers CZAJKA and ZURAW.
submarine ORZEL arrived at
Estonia, escorted by Estonian torpedo
boat SULEV, to land Lt Cdr Kloczkowski to hospital. The submarine was interned.
English Channel - light cruiser
departed Plymouth on patrol and arrived back on the 16th.
KEMPENFELT and ECHO departed
Plymouth on escort duties at 0703 on
SKATE arrived at
Southwestern approaches - aircraft carrier
departed Plymouth with destroyers IMOGEN and
ISIS for anti-submarine duty in the
Western Approaches west of 12-00W and south of 250° from Land's End. They were joined on the 16th
by destroyers IMPERIAL and ILEX. On the 17th, IMOGEN attacked a submarine
contact. The group was designated to relieve ARK ROYAL’s, but they returned to
Plymouth on the 18th when these
operations were suspended.
U.28 sank steamer
CITY (4955grt) SW of Ireland in 51‑23N,
07‑03W, with three crew lost. American steamer PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT
(13,869grt) headed for her to rescue survivors, but received a signal that a
Dutch tanker had picked them up and continued on her way.
U.29 sank steamer
(8431grt) SW of Ireland in 49‑43N, 12‑49W. Norwegian steamer IDA BAKKE (5455grt) rescued her
Freetown, Sierra Leone-UK (SL) convoys - the first of the convoys, SL.1, departed
Freetown, escorted by light cruiser
DAUNTLESS. She was relieved on the 21st in 25‑30N, 21‑40W by light
CAPETOWN, which had departed
Gibraltar on the 17th. CAPETOWN
continued as escort until the 24th when she returned to Gibraltar. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 1 October.
Central and South Atlantic - from 14 September to 12
October, French submarines PERSÉE and PONCELET, 6th Submarine Division and
AGOSTA and OUESSANT, 8th Division from Admiral West patrolled the Azores area
for German blockade runners. Following this operation, PERSÉE and PONCELET
headed for Cherbourg for long overhauls lasting
until mid-June 1940, while AGOSTA and OUESSANT proceeded to Martinique, arriving on the 29th.
DANAE departed Simonstown on patrol.
Indian Ocean - Destroyer DARING arrived at
Singapore on the 3rd while sister ships
DUNCAN and DAINTY, which had departed
on the 10th, arrived on the 13th. All three departed Singapore on the 14th to join the