Background Events - September 1939-March 1940
Battle of Atlantic
starts, 'Phoney War' on land, Battle of
Sunday, 1 October
REVENGE of the Channel
Force at Portland were ordered to join the
South Atlantic Command at
Freetown. The orders were cancelled
on the 5th before sailing. On the 7th, both battleships sailed for Halifax and duty in the North
Atlantic Escort Force.
SUFFOLK departed Portsmouth on 29 September escorted by
destroyer EXPRESS. The cruiser arrived at Scapa Flow on the 1st to relieve light
cruiser EDINBURGH in Cruiser Squadron 18.
EDINBURGH was then attached to Cruiser
Squadron 2 of the Humber Force. Heavy cruiser
NORFOLK arrived at Rosyth on the
3rd. After completing the replacement of a gun at Rosyth, both heavy cruisers
proceeded to the
NORFOLK departed Rosyth on the 7th
and SUFFOLK departed
Scapa Flow on the 8th. En route in
heavy weather on the 11th, NORFOLK's Walrus was washed off the
catapult and lost and her catapult trolley badly damaged. Both cruisers
arrived at Gibraltar on the 12th and departed on the 14th. They
arrived at Alexandria on the 18th.
REPULSE, aircraft carrier
cruiser NEWCASTLE (above, postwar - Navy Photos) and destroyers ASHANTI, MASHONA, MATABELE, SOMALI, FAME,
FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and FIREDRAKE departed Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe where they
arrived at 0700/2nd.
DUNEDIN, which departed Scapa Flow on 30 September, were on
Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes. Light cruisers
DRAGON, which departed Scapa Flow on 28 September, were also
on Northern Patrol.
Convoy OA.13 departed
Southend escorted by destroyers JACKAL and JANUS, and dispersed in
48-50N, 13-40W on the 4th.
Convoy OB.13 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers
WARWICK to 4 October.
Convoy DB.10 departed Southampton with two personnel ships,
escorted by destroyers ARROW and INTREPID, and arrived at Brest on the 2nd.
Convoy MB.10 departed Southampton with six cargo ships,
escorted by destroyers ACHERON and ACHATES, and also arrived at Brest on the 2nd.
Portland for a work up at
Scapa Flow, which was
completed on the 21st.
Destroyer ECLIPSE attacked a
submarine contact in 51‑12N, 4‑22W.
Convoy BC.6F of steamers
FENELLA, ST JULIEN,
and ULSTER PRINCE departed the Loire without escort, and
safely arrived in
the Bristol Channel.
U.35 stopped Belgian steamer
SUZON (2239grt, Lejeune, Master) 42 miles 330° from
Ushant Island. She was abandoned, sunk by U.35,
and the entire crew picked up by destroyer ACHERON.
Early on the 2nd, 15 miles 296° from Ushant, ACHERON was attacked
unsuccessfully by U.35. (Note: Hans Mair,
www.u-35.com, who has the log of U.35, reports that she did not make an
attack on ACHERON. If an attack was made, it would have been another U-boat)
KENT departed Hong Kong, and arrived back on the
21st. She was docked on the 24th and was in dock until the end of the month.
ORION departed Kingston for patrol in the Curacao area.
destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, MOHAWK and SIKH departed Alexandria on patrol duties. AFRIDI
refuelled at Malta arriving on the 4th and
departing on the 5th to return to patrol. SIKH arrived at Malta on the 5th, was found to
have stripped a turbine and began long repairs there. MOHAWK refuelled at
Malta, arriving on the 6th and
departing on the 7th for
Gibraltar. GALATEA refuelled at
Malta arriving on the 7th and
departing the same day to return to patrol. AFRIDI and GURKHA refuelled at
Malta arriving on the 7th and
departing on the 10th for
Destroyers NUBIAN and ZULU
attacked a submarine contact in 32-00N, 30-08E.
Orders to return to the Home
Fleet were suspended for destroyers HAVOCK and HOTSPUR of the South America
Station and HYPERION and HUNTER of the Freetown Force. Due to the threat of
raiders operating in the
South Atlantic, they were ordered to remain
on station and the remaining units of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean were ordered to join them in
At the beginning of October,
Mediterranean destroyer escort groups were as follows:
1st Large Destroyer Division
- VAUBAN, LION, AIGLE
7th Large Destroyer Division
- VAUTOUR, GERFAUT, ALBATROS
9th Large Destroyer Division
- MAILLÉ BRÉZÉ, KERSAINT, CASSARD
11th Large Destroyer Division
– ÉPERVIER, MILAN
Group G.1 - LA PALME, LE MARS,
Group G.2 – TRAMONTANE,
TORNADE, British GLOWWORM
Group G.3 - TIGRE, TEMPÊTE, TYPHON
In mid-October, the
destroyers departed the escort group, but were relieved by destroyers LE
LA RAILLEUSE of the 3rd
Destroyer Division. At the beginning of November, the forces were
The German Navy sustained its
only loss of the Polish campaign when minesweeper
M.85 of the 7th Minesweeping Flotilla struck a mine at 1440
northeast of Heisternest in 54-45N, 18-45E and sank. This mine was laid by
Polish submarine ZBIK on 9 September. Twenty four men on M.85 were lost.
German minesweeper M 122 and some R boats rescued 47 survivors.
Monday, 2 October
The Admiralty received their
first notice that a German raider was operating off Pernambuco when news of
the sinking of the CLEMENT by pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE reached
England. They responded with the
immediate dispatch of aircraft carrier
ROYAL and battlecruiser
RENOWN to Freetown. ARK ROYAL and destroyers
ASHANTI and FORESIGHT departed Loch
Ewe on the evening of the 2nd, while RENOWN and destroyers TARTAR and BEDOUIN
left Scapa Flow the same day, and joined at sea. Following their escort
the destroyers returned to
Scapa Flow on the 4th. To relieve ARK ROYAL,
which was being used as a training aircraft carrier at Rosyth, was ordered to
join the Home Fleet for operations at Loch Ewe. FURIOUS departed Rosyth on
the 1st escorted by destroyers JERVIS, JUPITER, JAGUAR and STURDY. On the 2nd,
JERVIS and JAGUAR attacked a submarine contact off Bell Rock, River Tay.
Scapa Flow for Plymouth, where they arrived late on
the 3rd. At Plymouth, EMERALD and ENTERPRISE embarked gold for transfer
while EFFINGHAM underwent repairs completed on the 9th.
The first of the UK to Gibraltar convoys, OG.1, of 37 ships was formed from two convoys. Light cruiser
departed Plymouth on the 1st to escort
OG.1 to Gibraltar and act as convoy commodore.
(1) OA.12G was escorted by CERES and destroyers IMPERIAL and ISIS,
(2) OB.12G was
escorted by destroyers ILEX and IMOGEN. The four destroyers were detached on
the 3rd and joined convoy HG.1. On the 8th, the convoy was joined by
destroyer VELOX from
Gibraltar, when, still escorted by CERES, it arrived
Convoy FN.15 departed
Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 4th. There was no convoy FN.16.
Convoy FS.16 departed Methil,
and arrived at Southend on the 4th.
Destroyers KEITH and MONTROSE
attacked a submarine contact in 50‑17N, 1‑30W.
Submarine SEAHORSE reported a
submarine contact off the Firth of Tay in 50-31N, 2-22W.
Submarine H.34 and
minesweeping trawler EURYALUS (renamed HOVERFLY, 242grt) departed Scapa Flow in an exercise together to
see if trawlers could effectively patrol with submarines. The exercise
French sloop AMIRAL MOUCHEZ,
escorting French tanker LOT under tow, was missed by torpedoes 20 miles WNW
of Cape d'Antifer, and counter-attacked at 2337.
Convoy BC.6S of steamers
ADJUTANT, BAHARISTAN, BARON KINNAIRD, BARON MINTO, BELLEROPHON (Commodore),
BIELA, CARINGORM, CUSTODIAN, DALEMOOR, DIPLOMAT, GOLDFINCH, HARMATTAN,
JACINTH, MERKLAND, SANDHILL and TELAWNY departed the Loire escorted by destroyers
VIVACIOUS, VISCOUNT, VANESSA, ELECTRA andESCORT. The convoy safely arrived in
Bristol Channel on the 3rd.
Convoy BC.7F of steamers BEN
MY CHREE and LADY OF MANN departed
the Loire without escort, and safely arrived in
Barry Roads on the 3rd.
The U-boat service continued
its survey of the approaches to
Scapa Flow. On this date, U.10 was west
of the Orkneys, U.20 and U.23 were approaching the area for
patrol, and U.18 was departing Kiel for patrol in the area.
German Admiral Raeder removed
prize restrictions for U-boats off French and British ports. On the 4th, this
order was extended to include shipping as far west as 15°.
Steamer LINDISFARNE (1004grt) was challenged off
of Holland by Dutch seagoing torpedo boat Z.7. In the ensuing confusion, the
ships collided. Light damaged was sustained by
LINDISFARNE and Z.7 was undamaged.
The Polish base at Hel
surrendered to German forces. Polish sloop
KOMMENDANT PILSUDSKI, minesweepers
RYBITWA, CZAJKA, ZURAW
and three mine barges were
scuttled by Polish forces. German forces were able to raise CZAJKA and ZURAW
on the 3rd, renamed them WESTERNPLATTE and OXHOFT
respectively, and assigned them to the 7th Mine Flotilla. Later KOMMENDANT
PILSUDSKI, RYBITWA and MEWA were also raised and repaired as German HEISTERNEST,
RIXHOFT and PUTZIG, respectively.
Finnish sailing vessel
BALTIC (451grt) was sunk by a mine in
CAPETOWN, and destroyers KEPPEL and WATCHMAN departed
Gibraltar to join liner ATHLONE CASTLE and escort her to Freetown. After leaving harbour,
RAMILLIES suffered condenser problems and returned to Gibraltar with the destroyers.
CAPETOWN continued on for seven hours, then suffered rudder defects, but was able to meet the liner
and take her back to Gibraltar, both arriving on the 3rd.
CORNWALL departed Calcutta on escort duties to Singapore, and returned to Colombo, arriving on the 6th for
YORK departed Halifax on escort duties, and arrived back
on the 4th.
At this time, the South
America Station was composed of heavy cruisers
CUMBERLAND operating as a Hunter Force, and light cruiser
AJAX with destroyers HOTSPUR and
HAVOCK covering outbound shipping from Rio de Janiero. After a sweep in the
area of Ascension
CUMBERLAND, light cruiser
NEPTUNE, and destroyers HYPERION and
HUNTER arrived at
GRASSHOPPER, APHIS, COCKCHAFER and LADYBIRD on the Yangtse were ordered to
Singapore for duty as patrol boats and
minesweepers in a move to free manpower and ships for Europe. This freed the 2nd
Minesweeping Flotilla for transfer to the Mediterranean where they relieved the 3rd
Flotilla, which in turn, transferred to Home Waters. The transfer also satisfied a
Japanese government request of 5 September 1939 to remove these gunboats
from Chinese territorial waters, a possible war-zone, to prevent any more incidents
such as those involving CRICKET, SCARAB and the bombing of the USS PANAY in
December 1937. A full list of gunboat movements follows:
In late October, APHIS and
Shanghai for Hong Kong, arrived at Saigon on the 29th, but returned to
Shanghai as guardships in November where they stayed
until the end of 1939.
In December, TERN, PETEREL,
GNAT were also withdrawn from the Yangtse to Shanghai.
At the end of 1939,
COCKCHAFER was at
Nanking, GNAT at the Kiangyin Barrier, SCARAB at
Shanghai, APHIS and LADYBIRD at Singapore to convert, and DRAGONFLY
and GRASSHOPPER at Singapore.
2 January 1940, SCARAB and CRICKET were also withdrawn.
With the completion of this
movement, only FALCON remained at
Chungking, CRICKET and PETEREL at
Shanghai, and GANNET and SANDPIPER
laid up in January 1940 at
COCKCHAFER and GNAT had gone
to Singapore then to the East Indies, APHIS and LADYBIRD departed Singapore
on 1 March for the Mediterranean, and DRAGONFLY, SCORPION, GRASSHOPPER,
SCARAB, TERN were employed around Singapore.
ROBIN was used as a boom
defence vessel at
Hong Kong and MANTIS was laid up prior to disposal.
Convoy SLF.3 departed Freetown unescorted and arrived at
Liverpool on the 13th.
Tuesday, 3 October
CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on patrol and arrived back
on the 4th,
CAIRO departed and arrived back
later the same day.
Convoy OA.14 of seven ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers KELLY, KINGSTON, MONTROSE from the 3rd
Convoy OB.14 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC
and WHIRLWIND until the 5th.
Bristol Channel, escorted by destroyers EXMOUTH (S.O.) and
EXPRESS. The convoy was also escorted
by French large destroyers L'INDOMPTABLE, TRIOMPHANT and
MILAN on the 4th and 5th, and
arrived in the Loire on the 5th.
Convoy SA.10 of one cargo
ship departed Southampton, escorted by destroyer ANTHONY, and reached
Brest on the 4th.
Convoy FS.16 departed Methil,
arriving at Southend on the 5th. There was no FN.16 convoy.
German destroyers HERMANN
SCHOEMANN, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK and torpedo boats GREIF, FALKE and ALBATROS conducted anti-shipping patrols in the
Kattegat and Skagerrak from the 3rd
U.35 sank Greek steamer
DIAMANTIS (4990grt) southwest of
Ireland, 40 miles west of Skellig
Rocks in 49‑22N, 6‑46W, and then landed the crew at Ballymore,
Dingle Bay, Ireland.
SHROPSHIRE, which departed Alexandria on the 2nd, left Suez on the 3rd for the Red Sea. They reached
Aden on the 6th and departed the
same day for duty in the
Indian Ocean, arriving at Simonstown on
CUMBERLAND and light cruiser
departed Freetown for South America, with DESPATCH arriving at
Bermuda on the 15th for docking.
Destroyers GRENVILLE, GIPSY,
GRENADE, GRIFFIN from Convoy Green 3 and
DELIGHT and DECOY from other escort duties arrived at Malta. DELIGHT and DECOY departed
the next day, while GRENADE and GRIFFIN left on the 5th to relieve
destroyers DUCHESS and DEFENDER escorting convoy Blue 3. DUCHESS and DEFENDER
reached Malta on the 5th.
Convoy SO.19 of armed
merchant cruiser ALCANTARA (22,209grt) and steamers ATHLONE CASTLE (25,564grt), EMPRESS OF
AUSTRALIA (21,833grt) and
FRANCONIA (20,175grt) arrived at
Gibraltar. Destroyers INGLEFIELD and
IVANHOE arrived separately that day after being separated in heavy weather.
From there, the convoy proceeded as Convoy Red 2 escorted by destroyers
GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM, later joined by sister ships GRENVILLE and GIPSY.
HOEGH TRANSPORTER (4914grt) was sunk
on a British defensive minefield off St John Island at the entrance to Singapore with the loss of one member
of crew. The wreck and cargo were salved.
Wednesday, 4 October
Destroyers FEARLESS and
FOXHOUND arrived at
Submarine SWORDFISH began a
refit at Dundee completed on
12 February 1940, and arrived at Blyth on the 13th. The same day, she proceeded to Scapa Flow, via Rosyth, to work up.
French heavy cruisers
ALGÉRIE, DUPLEIX and destroyers MAILLÉ BRÉZÉ and VAUQUELIN departed Oran for Dakar, arriving on the 14th.
French submarine BÉVÉZIERS
departed Cherbourg for Brest, escorted by large destroyer
U.23 sank steamer
GLEN FARG (876grt) 60 miles SSW of
Sumburgh Head in 58‑52N, 01‑31W with the loss of one man.
Destroyers FAULKNOR and FIREDRAKE, submarine hunting in the area, were
dispatched to her location with FIREDRAKE picking up six survivors who were
taken to Kirkwall.
German destroyers HERMANN
SCHOEMANN, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK and torpedo boats GREIF, FALKE,
ALBATROS operated in the
Kattegat on contraband control
duties. Swedish steamers BRITT (1544grt)
and MERCIA (1184grt) were taken in
prize by German warships 12 miles south of Hano in the Baltic and taken to
Rendsburg. They were renamed LEBA and TRAUTE FAULBAUM, respectively, for
Convoy KJ.3 departed Kingston escorted by light cruiser
ORION, which was relieved by heavy cruiser
BERWICK on the 8th, and later
Australian light cruiser PERTH, both of which were relieved
on the 15th in 39‑58N, 43W by cruiser
EFFINGHAM. PERTH then proceeded towards Bermuda, suffering weather damage in a hurricane en
route , but arriving safely. Light cruisers
GLASGOW joined the
escort on the 22nd and remained until the 24th.
On the 22nd, French
battlecruiser DUNKERQUE, light cruisers GEORGES LEYGUES, MONTCALM, and destroyers L’INDOMPTABLE, LE MALIN
and LE TRIOMPHANT departed Brest, with local escort by
destroyers CYCLONE and MISTRAL. The battleship group joined the convoy on the
24th, but later that day, the cruisers were detached to escort convoy HX.5.
On the 25th, the battleship and destroyers arrived back at Brest, again with local escort by
CYCLONE and MISTRAL. The cruisers arrived back on the 28th, this time local
escort was by destroyers MOGADOR and VOLTA.
British destroyers WOLVERINE
and VERITY joined the escort on the 24th, GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM from the
25th to 26th, and VOLUNTEER and VERSATILE from convoy OB.23 on the 25th. KJ.3
arrived off southern Ireland on the 25th, with EFFINGHAM
reaching Devonport on the 26th for boiler cleaning, and the convoy arriving
on the 28th with WOLVERINE, VERITY, VOLUNTEER and VERSATILE.
Destroyers INGLEFIELD and
Gibraltar to return to
Plymouth after escort duty with
Submarine SEAL arrived at
Alexandria from the Red Sea.
BIRMINGHAM departed Singapore on patrol and arrived back
on the 22nd.
DURBAN departed Capetown for
Simonstown, arriving on the 6th.
New Zealand light cruiser
departed Wellington for Auckland.
Thursday, 5 October
REPULSE, and aircraft carrier
FURIOUS and escorting
destroyers departed Loch Ewe and arrived at Scapa Flow.
SHEFFIELD departed Scapa Flow for Invergordon, arriving on
the 6th. She was back at Scapa the same day.
CALEDON departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol. CALYPSO
arrived back on the 11th and CALEDON on the 13th.
Destroyer ECHO departed Plymouth and arrived at Dover on the 6th.
Submarine SEAWOLF fired two
torpedoes at German torpedo boat FALKE in 57-39N, 9-28E, but missed. The
target was reported as a light cruiser of the NÜRNBERG class.
Convoy OA.15 of six ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyer ANTELOPE from the 5th
when the convoy dispersed.
Convoy OB.15 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers
WALPOLE and WINCHELSEA until the 8th.
Convoy BC.7S of 17 steamers including
NEW TEXAS (Commodore), departed Quiberon Bay escorted by destroyers
EXPRESS, ESK, ESCAPADE and ECLIPSE, and arrived safely in Barry Roads on the
After survey ship
FRANKLIN sighted a submarine 9 miles
310° from Calais High Light, destroyer BRAZEN carried out an unsuccessful
Steamer MARWARRI (8063grt)
was damaged in the
Bristol Channel, 3½ miles 190° from
Scarweather Light Vessel, on a mine laid by U.32 on 17 September. She was run
aground in Mumbles Bay to prevent her sinking and
salved the following month.
French destroyers CASSARD and
KERSAINT arrived at
Gibraltar to exchange convoy escort duty with British destroyers
GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM.
FRANCONIA (20,75grt) of convoy Red 2 collided between
Gibraltar and Malta. The convoy proceeded to
Malta where FRANCONIA was repaired completing on 14 November, while ALCANTARA
after temporary repairs and escorted by destroyer GRIFFIN, was able to
proceed on the 13th for Alexandria, arriving on the 16th. Destroyer GRENVILLE
continued with steamer EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, and destroyer GIPSY, no longer
needed to escort ALCANTARA, headed for Alexandria.
Convoy HGF.2 departed Gibraltar with liners CIRCASSIA (11,136grt) and DERBYSHIRE
(11,660grt), and arrived at
Liverpool on the 9th. Both liners were taken in hand for
conversion to armed merchant cruisers.
Convoy HG.2 of 13 ships
departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyers DOUGLAS and VELOX. Ocean
escort was provided by armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA which sailed with the
convoy from the 5th to 13th, when it arrived at
German pocket battleship
ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE captured steamer NEWTON
BEECH (4651grt) in the
South Atlantic in 09‑35S, 06‑30W.
After her cargo and crew were transferred, she was scuttled late on the 8th.
German pocket battleship
DEUTSCHLAND sank steamer STONEGATE
(5044grt) east of
Bermuda in 31‑10N, 54‑00W after the crew
had been taken off. Later, when
American steamer CITY OF FLINT was captured,
STONEGATE’s crew was transferred to her.
As a result of the sinkings
by German pocket battleships, the British Admiralty ordered the organization
of further Hunter Groups along the lines of the ARK ROYAL-RENOWN force.
RAMILLIES in the Mediterranean was ordered to join the
North Atlantic Escort Force, departed Gibraltar at 1215, escorted by
destroyers WISHART and VORTIGERN, but was recalled at 2233/6th to replace
battleship MALAYA, due to leave the
Mediterranean. RAMILLIES, WISHART and
VORTIGERN arrived back at
Gibraltar on the 8th. RAMILLES stayed in the
Mediterranean until November when she was
transferred to the
East Indies, serving with the 3rd Battle Squadron at
Aden from November until May
and light cruiser EFFINGHAM were detached from the Home Fleet to operate in
the Denmark Strait against any raider threat to the convoy routes in the
South Atlantic (at that time only GRAF SPEE had been identified. They were there to keep other raiders from
going into the
South Atlantic or returning to
Germany). EFFINGHAM proceeded to
Plymouth to repair defects, and left
again on the 9th.
CERES of the 11th
Cruiser Squadron, previously attached to the Northern Atlantic Command at
Gibraltar and the Channel Force based
Portland respectively, replaced EFFINGHAM in the
Northern Patrol. The 12th Cruiser Squadron, Northern Patrol was redesignated
the 11th Cruiser Squadron, and COLOMBO became Flagship of Captain R J R Scott
AM, Commodore, 2nd Class at Plymouth on the 9th. She arrived on station on
the 13th and CERES on the 31st after refitting at
NORFOLK and SUFFOLK proceeded to the Mediterranean, where they served in the
1st Cruiser Squadron until arriving back in England on 11 November. They left
Portsmouth on 16 and 18 November
respectively, called at the
Clyde, and were both on Northern Patrol on the 22nd.
Friday, 6 October
DELHI departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol, arriving back on the 13th.
At this time, six cruisers were at sea on
Steamer LOCHGOIL (9462grt),
carrying anti-aircraft guns, was damaged five miles off Scarweather Lightship
(Swansea) in 51‑24N, 04‑00W on a mine laid by U.32 on 17
September. She ran herself aground in Mumbles Bay to prevent sinking, was
salved on 28 November and drydocked at Swansea.
Convoy BC.9S of nine steamers,
including BARON GRAHAM (Commodore), CERVANTES and TASSO, departed the
Bristol Channel escorted by destroyers WESSEX, VANESSA (SO), VENETIA and VISCOUNT, and
safely arrived in the
Loire on the 8th.
Convoy SA.11 of one steamer
departed Southampton, escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS, arriving at
Brest on the 7th.
Convoy FN.17 departed
Southend and reached Methil on the 8th, while FS.17 departed Methil and
arrived at Southend on the 8th.
Destroyer ICARUS departed
Malta after completing her
collision repairs, left
Gibraltar on the 8th and arrived at
Plymouth on the 11th.
due to be assigned to the Northern Patrol, left
Gibraltar for Malta at 1730/6th, and arriving on
the 8th, commenced repairs which completed on the 21st.
American destroyer BORIE (DD
215, LCDR R M Morris) off the north coast of St Thomas, Virgin Islands, reported a submarine on the
surface, which submerged on her approach. It turned out to be one of the
French submarines in the
Saturday, 7 October
departed Portsmouth at 0042, escorted by destroyers
SALADIN and SCIMITAR and arrived at Devonport at 1240 to complete her
Destroyer ECHO departed Dover and arrived at Devonport on
Destroyer ESKIMO arrived at
Scapa Flow after repairs in the Tyne.
RESOLUTION and aircraft carrier
HERMES, escorted by destroyers WOLVERINE, WITHERINGTON, VOLUNTEER
and VERITY departed
Portland at 0930, and light cruisers
CARADOC, escorted by
destroyers INGLEFIELD and IVANHOE, departed Plymouth, all on 7th. At 1910/7th
both forces rendezvoused for passage to Halifax for escort duty. CARADOC had
been at Plymouth since 25 September repairing
defects prior to leaving station. Her refit completed on the 6th.
HERMES and CARADOC proceeded
to Brest and en route, HERMES was met by French destroyers BOURRASQUE,
ORAGE, and MISTRAL, which had also departed
Brest on the 7th. The French ships
arrived back on the 8th.
CARADOC rejoined the force at
0735/10th, and all ships arrived safely at Halifax on the 16th escorted into
port by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT which joined on the 15th. In
addition to their convoy escort duties, REVENGE and RESOLUTION were carrying
a large amount of British silver for safekeeping in Canada. The Halifax Escort Force
was commanded by Rear Admiral L E Holland who was relieved by Rear Admiral
Stuart S Bonham-Carter on 1 January 1940. From Halifax, the Force could offer
convoy protection in the
French battleship STRASBOURG and destroyers LE FANTASQUE,
LE TERRIBLE and L'AUDACIEUX left Brest, still on the 7th, to join
HERMES for operations as Hunter Group N and set out that evening for Dakar. Heavy cruisers ALGÉRIE and
DUPLEIX joined en route and Group N arrived at Dakar on the 14th, where after
refuelling, the Force was due to proceed to the West Indies.
CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived
back the same day.
Destroyer WREN attacked a
submarine contact in 50‑36N, 00‑14W, off Brighton.
Convoy OA.16G of 27 ships
departed Southend, escorted by destroyer ECHO from the 7th to 9th, and merged with
OB.16G escorted by destroyer VIMY and patrol ship/minesweeper GLEANER to the
10th, on the 11th to form OG.2. This convoy reached Gibraltar on the 17th.
French patrol vessel BELFORT attacked a submarine six
miles 100° from
Cape Barfleur, Cherbourg.
Minesweepers SELKIRK and
NIGER sweeping mines 35 miles ENE
of Cromer were strafed by German flying boats, but were not damaged.
BINNENDIJK (6873grt) was badly
damaged two miles SE of Shambles Light Vessel on a mine laid by U.26 on 8
September. She sank one mile north of the Light Vessel at 0200/8th.
On the 7th, the Admiralty
ordered the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, anti-aircraft cruiser
COVENTRY, and sloops FLEETWOOD and
GRIMSBY, now serving in the Mediterranean to sail for Portland with moderate dispatch.
Meanwhile, light cruiser
GALATEA and destroyers MOHAWK, AFRIDI, GURKHA, SIKH had departed
Alexandria on the 1st on patrol. The
destroyers called at Malta in turn to refuel, in order
AFRIDI, SIKH, MOHAWK, GURKHA. In addition, SIKH entered the dockyard at Malta on the 5th for turbine
repairs. MOHAWK departed Malta on the 7th and Gibraltar on the 9th to return
to England, reached Portland on the 11th, refuelled at Harwich and arrived at
Humber on the 12th to join Rosyth Command.
GALATEA departed Malta on the 7th for Alexandria, arriving on the 10th.
AFRIDI and GURKHA reached Malta on the 7th, left next day en
route to England, departed Gibraltar on the 10th and arrived at
Portland on the 13th for duty with
the Home Fleet.
COSSACK, MAORI, ZULU, NUBIAN
arrived at Alexandria on the 2nd from escorting
convoy Green 2, and after refuelling left Alexandria on the 7th for Malta.
COVENTRY left Alexandria on the 7th and arrived at
Malta on the 9th. All five ships
then sailed from Malta on the 9th, arrived at Gibraltar on the 11th and left the
same day, arriving at
Portland on the 14th without NUBIAN
Portsmouth the same day.
COVENTRY departed Portland on the 14th, and
arrived at Portsmouth that night, left on the
19th for the Humber and reached Immingham on the 20th. COSSACK, MAORI, ZULU departed
Portland immediately after refuelling
and proceeded to the
North Sea for escort duties.
FLEETWOOD departed Gibraltar on the 7th and arrived at
Portland on the 11th. GRIMSBY was with convoy Blue 3,
arrived at Gibraltar on the 11th and departed that day for
Portland. In 36-02N, 6-50W, she
attacked a submarine contact.
German pocket battleship
ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE sank steamer ASHLEA
in the South
Atlantic in 09S, 03W after the crew was put aboard captured steamer NEWTON
at Bermuda, departed again the same
day, and arrived back on the 18th.
LIVERPOOL departed Colombo and arrived at Bombay on the 9th.
Convoy SL.4 departed Freetown escorted by light cruiser
NEPTUNE, and on the 23rd was joined by destroyers MACKAY,
VENETIA, VESPER and VIMY.
relieved by destroyer WIVERN on the 25th and the convoy arrived on the 26th,
still with four destroyers.
Capetown on escort duties.
French submarines FRESNEL, LE
GLORIEUX and REDOUTABLE departed Toulon and arrived at Gibraltar on the 10th escorted by
destroyer LA RAILLEUSE. They departed that day, escorted by destroyer LYNX and
arrived at Casablanca on the 13th. LA RAILLEUSE left
Gibraltar on the 11th to return to
SKOLPENBANK (381grt) was lost.
Sunday, 8 October
Sortie by German battlecruiser
GNEISENAU, light cruiser KÖLN, and destroyers PAUL JACOBI, MAX SCHULTZ, BERND VON
ARNIM, WILHELM HEIDKAMP, FRIEDRICH IHN, DIETHER VON ROEDER, ERICH
STEINBRINCK, FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT and KARL GALSTER from Kiel to operate off the
south coast of Norway. They were to sink Allied shipping and entice the
British Home Fleet into the range of Luftwaffe bombers. Destroyers HANS LODY
and ERICH GIESE were to have sailed but suffered equipment defects. In
addition, U.10, U.18, U.20, U.23 were deployed in a patrol line to attack the
Admiral Forbes, informed of
these movements by a RAF Coastal Command Hudson sighting, went to sea from
Scapa Flow with the Home Fleet.
REPULSE, aircraft carrier
FURIOUS, light cruisers
NEWCASTLE and destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ASHANTI, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, FAULKNOR, FURY, FORESTER, FAME,
FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and FIREDRAKE. Heavy weather damaged FORTUNE at the start and
she detached to the
Clyde arriving on the 9th, and repairing until 2
HOOD, REPULSE, AURORA and SHEFFIELD with SOMALI, MASHONA, ESKIMO, ASHANTI sailed for a position 50
miles NW of Stadlandet in 63‑00N, 04‑00E. At the same time,
NELSON, RODNEY, FURIOUS and NEWCASTLE with FAULKNOR, FURY, FORESTER, FAME,
FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE, PUNJABI and BEDOUIN sailed for a position north of Muckle
Flugga in 61‑00N, 00‑00E,. Both forces were to reach their
positions by dawn on the 9th, then steam towards each other in a pincer
GLASGOW with destroyers JERVIS, JUPITER, JAGUAR departed Rosyth,
while destroyers JACKAL and JANUS departed Grimsby and joined at sea to
operate off the mouth of the Skagerrak in 57‑45N, 05‑00E, before
sweeping north. At 0605/9th, JAGUAR was detached to Rosyth for refuelling and
en route, was attacked by German bombers, but not damaged. JERVIS and JUPITER
were ordered to search for Danish steamer TEDDY (557grt) which had picked up
the crew of a German Dornier flying boat shot down on the 8th. They too were
attacked by German bombers at 1518, but again without damage. However,
JUPITER broke down at sea at 1650 and was taken in tow by JERVIS.
JAGUAR, refuelling completed
and JERSEY, which just finished repairs
after her 22 September collision, were ordered to join the Humber Force off
the Pentland Skerries to screen the withdrawal of JERVIS and JUPITER.
Departing Rosyth, JAGUAR struck a small islet above the Forth bridge and damaged her
starboard propeller shaft, arriving at Leith on the 11th for repairs.
Just as unfortunate was
JERSEY. Leaving at the same time she struck the Rosyth
boom, and her repairs at
Leith were not completed until the 16th.
SOUTHAMPTON, GLASGOW, EDINBURGH and JACKAL and JANUS of the
Humber Force were heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe between 1120 and 1645/9th
off the mouth of the
Skagerrak. SOUTHAMPTON and GLASGOW were near missed, but
neither was damaged. Shortly before arriving at
Scapa Flow on the 10th, JUPITER was
able to proceed on her own, screened by SOUTHAMPTON, GLASGOW, JACKAL and JANUS.
destroyers MATABELE and STURDY sortied from Scapa Flow on the 9th to patrol to the
west of the Shetlands in Fair Island Channel, but in heavy seas, ROYAL OAK's
destroyers lost touch and she returned to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 10th.
Home Fleet destroyers
FOXHOUND and FEARLESS undergoin minor repairs at Scapa Flow were absent from this
operation. Destroyer TARTAR with major machinery defects was repairing at
Scapa Flow until the 23rd.
After a possible periscope
was sighted six miles 180° from St Catherines, destroyer SALADIN was sent to
Convoy BC.8S of steamers
BARON MACLAY, CLAN MONROE and TRELAWNY departed the Loire escorted by destroyers WESSEX, VISCOUNT and VENETIA, and arrived safely in the
Bristol Channel on the 10th.
Convoy OG.2 was formed from
the merging of OA.16G and OB.16G. The 30 ships proceeded to Gibraltar without an ocean escort, but
were met by destroyers WATCHMAN and VELOX and escorted into Gibraltar on the 17th.
Convoy FN.18 departed
Southend and arrived at Methil on the 10th. There was no convoy FN.19.
Convoy FS.18 departed Methil
and arrived at Southend on the 10th. There was no convoy FS.19.
U.15 completed a survey of
the English east coast and Straits of Dover lightships and buoys.
Finnish steamer INDRA
(2026grt) was badly damaged by a mine near Terschelling; six crew were
injured and they, together with 14 other crew were taken to Ymuiden, where
INDRA was towed for repairs.
U.37 sank Swedish steamer
(1018grt) 45 miles north of
Muckle Flugga, NNE of Unst, with the loss of nine crew men.
U.12 was mined and sunk off
Dover with the loss of her 27
crew. The body of commanding officer, Kptlt von der Ropp was found near
Bleriot Plage near
Calais on the 29th.
Convoy HX.4 departed Halifax at 0900, escorted by heavy
cruiser YORK and Canadian destroyers FRASER and
ST LAURENT, the latter detaching on the
8th. YORK and FRASER detached on the 10th with YORK arriving back on the 13th.
The bulk of the dispersed ships of the convoy reached Liverpool on the 22nd and one ship on
Convoy KJ.4, the last of the
KJ series which only began on 15 September, departed Kingston. Because of German raiders
in the Atlantic, ships from the Caribbean now went north along the American
coast and joined the HX convoys from Halifax before beginning the
Convoy Green 4 departed Gibraltar with 39 ships, including 14
from OG.1, escorted by French destroyers CASSARD, KERSAINT and British sloop
ABERDEEN. The French ships were
relieved on the 13th by British destroyer GRENADE, and the convoy reached
Port Said on the 17th escorted by
GRENADE and ABERDEEN.
Monday, 9 October
Destroyer WOOLSTON completed
conversion to a fast escort vessel, and following working up at Portland, was assigned to Convoy C of
the Rosyth Command.
Six British cruisers were on
their Northern Patrol stations.
BELFAST had departed Scapa Flow on the 1st for Northern
Patrol. On the 8th, she stopped Swedish steamer LILJEVALCH (5492grt) but
allowed her to continue after inspection, and next day, stopped Norwegian
steamer TAI YIN (7077grt), sending her into Kirkwall to check for contraband.
Shortly after sending off TAI
YIN, BELFAST sighted another steamer which proved to be German
liner CAP NORTE (13,615grt)
carrying German reservists from
South America. She was captured 50 miles
NW of the Faroes in 63N, 10W and light cruiser
CALYPSO, also on Northern
Patrol in the area, arrived to assist. CAP NORTE was sent off towards
Kirkwall under a prize crew consisting of Lt Cdr A G L Seale in command,
Gunner (T) D E Wright and twenty ratings, and at 0730/10th, was turned over
to light cruiser
DELHI. They were joined off the Orkneys by armed boarding
vessel NORTHERN ROVER (655grt) and CAP NORTE, DELHI, and NORTHERN ROVER reached
Kirkwall on the 12th. CAP NORTE was
renamed EMPIRE TROOPER for British use as a troopship. After dealing with
her, BELFAST, her prize crews depleted, returned to
Scapa Flow, arriving at 1500/13th.
From 29 September to
12 October, 64 ships were sighted by the Northern Patrol. Of these
26 were eastbound and 20 of them were sent to
Kirkwall for inspection. CAP NORTE
was the only German ship intercepted in this period.
CAIRO departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived
back on the 11th.
CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived
back on the 10th.
Destroyers VIVACIOUS and
ESCAPADE were involved in a minor collision leaving Milford Haven. ESCAPADE
was docked at
Newport completing repairs on the
20th, while VIVACIOUS was only very slightly damaged and did not require
French large destroyer
PANTHÈRE collided with Belgian trawler VAN EYCK near Boulogne, and was repaired at Cherbourg, completing at the end of
Convoy OA.17 of eleven ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers ACASTA and ARDENT from the 9th
Convoy OB.17 escorted by
destroyers IMOGEN and ILEX departed
Liverpool, the destroyers remaining
with the convoy until the 12th.
Convoy BC.10F of troopship
ULSTER PRINCE departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyers
EXPRESS and ENCOUNTER, and arrived safely in the Loire on the 11th.
Convoy BC.10S of steamers
BEAVERDALE, BELLEROPHON (Commodore), BRIARWOOD, CITY OF DERBY, DORSET COAST,
EILDON, ERATO, FLORISTAN, LYCAON, MERKLAND, PEMBROKE COAST, RAMON DE
LARRINGA and VOLO departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyers EXMOUTH,
ECLIPSE, MONTROSE and VIVACIOUS. The convoy safely arrived in the Loire on the 11th.
Convoy SA.12 of two steamers
departed Southampton, escorted by destroyers VENOMOUS and ANTHONY, and
reached Brest on the 10th.
Destroyers WALPOLE, AMAZON and WINCHELSEA departed Milford Haven to escort convoy KJ.1B.
MOUNT IDA (5210grt) was lost after
running aground on the east coast of England.
German pocket battleship
American steamer CITY OF FLINT (4963grt) in the
North Atlantic off the Newfoundland Banks.
Captured British crew from steamer SOUTHGATE were put aboard, and
disguised as Danish steamer ALF, she sailed towards Murmansk, arriving at Tromso on the
20th and the British crew put ashore. She continued on to Kola Bay where she arrived on the
and battlecruiser RENOWN,
sailing as Force K and en route to
Freetown, encountered a merchant ship
which identified herself as the American DELMAR. Lacking destroyers, the
merchant ship could not be boarded and she was allowed to go on her way.
Later intelligence revealed that the genuine DELMAR was in New Orleans and this had been German
supply ship ALTMARK.
The 1st Battle Squadron -
aircraft carrier GLORIOUS, light cruiser
PENELOPE, and destroyers DUNCAN, DARING,
DAINTY, GRAFTON, GIPSY, GALLANT and BULLDOG exercised off Alexandria. Battleship
MALAYA with GLORIOUS, BULLDOG and
DARING were then detached to
Socotra to arrive on the 16th.
Destroyer DEFENDER arrived at
Malta on the 5th and was out of
service for 7 days with perforated boiler tubes.
Capetown on escort duties.
Tuesday, 10 October
Destroyer WALPOLE, en route
to join convoy KJ.1B, blew a joint in the main pipe to her starboard high
pressure receiver, but was able to continue and arrived at Liverpool on the 17th, repairing until the 21st.
Destroyer KANDAHAR (Lt Cdr W G A Robson) was
completed and after working up at Portland, joined the 5th Destroyer
Flotilla with the Home Fleet on 3 November.
At 0100/10th, the GNEISENAU
force arrived back at
Kiel after accomplishing nothing,
with destroyer FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT arriving separately at Swinemünde. Upon
receiving news of the German's return at 1454, Admiral Forbes returned to
HOOD, and destroyers FAULKNOR, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, FURY, FORESTER
FIREDRAKE went directly to Loch Ewe, arriving on the 11th.
Destroyers FOXHOUND and
Scapa Flow on the 10th to escort the fleet into
Scapa Flow, which arrived on the 11th.
The ships concerned were battlecruiser
REPULSE, aircraft carrier
NEWCASTLE and destroyers ESKIMO, SOMALI, MASHONA,
ASHANTI, FAME, FORESIGHT, MATABELE, STURDY, FOXHOUND and FEARLESS, plus the
Humber Force, less light cruiser EDINBURGH which had been detached and went
directly to Rosyth.
SHEFFIELD had detached from the main
force late on the 9th to patrol in the Denmark Strait and arrived back at Loch Ewe
on the 15th. Destroyer FAULKNOR was weather damaged and repaired in the Clyde until 2 November, while
JANUS and JACKAL were in a minor collision at Kirkwall.
Scapa Flow on Northern Patrol duties.
The first attempt to conduct
a U-boat group operation with a tactical commander on board (KKpt Werner
Hartman, Commander of Submarine Flotilla 6, on U.37) was begun. Of the nine
submarines designated, only three finally took part. (1) U.25 and U.34 could
not complete repairs in time, (2) U.47 was detached for the operation against
British units at Scapa Flow, and (3) U.42 departed Wilhelmshaven on 30
September, U.48 on the 4th, U.37 on the 5th, U.46 on the 8th, U.45 on the
10th, and U.40 on the 11th. However, U.42, U.45 and U.40 were lost before the operation could be mounted. Only U.37, U.46
and U.48 were left to attack convoy HG.3 on the 17th.
German pocket battleship
ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE captured steamer HUNTSMAN
(8196grt) in the
South Atlantic in 08‑30S, 05‑15W. HUNTSMAN and German
supply ship ALTMARK met on the 16th, her cargo was transferred, and crew taken
off on the 17th, after which HUNTSMAN was scuttled in 16S, 17W.
CERES departed Gibraltar with turbine defects and
arrived at Plymouth on the 13th for repairs
completed on the 27th.
departed Gibraltar and arrived at
Malta on the 13th, en route to the
Destroyers GRAFTON and
Alexandria for Gibraltar to escort battleship
RAMILLIES, due to sail on the 15th for
Australian heavy cruisers
CANBERRA and light cruiser
ADELAIDE searched the Gabo Island area for German ships until
New Zealand light cruiser
arrived at Valapariso for two day self maintenance to correct engine room
Forces disposed in the West Indies for patrol and escort duties
were (1) Jamaica Force – British light cruiser
ORION, the Australian
and Canadian destroyer
SAGUENAY, (2) Antilles Force - French training cruiser
JEANNE D'ARC, sloop VILLE D'YS, submarine AGOSTA, (3) Oil Supply Protection
Force – British sloops
PENZANCE and French submarine
Wednesday, 11 October
Destroyer BEAGLE attacked a
submarine contact in 51‑17N, 01‑42.7E.
Destroyers WINCHELSEA and
WALPOLE with convoy KJ.1B attacked a submarine contact 11 miles from Great
Ormes Head, later determined to be a wreck.
Convoy OA.18 of nine ships
departed Southend and dispersed on the 17th, possibly escorted by destroyers
MONTROSE and VIVACIOUS which departed Milford Haven on the 9th.
Convoy OB.18 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers
VERSATILE and MACKAY until the 14th.
Convoy BC.10F of troopship
ULSTER PRINCE departed the Loire escorted by destroyers
EXPRESS and ENCOUNTER, and arrived safely in the Bristol Channel on the 12th.
Three cruisers were on
Northern Patrol duty, while light cruiser
SHEFFIELD was on a special patrol
between Iceland and Greenland.
DEVONSHIRE departed Alexandria for Malta, arriving on the 13th for
repairs to her rudder, which were completed on the 21st. She left on the 24th and
arrived back at
Alexandria on the 26th.
Destroyers HARDY, HASTY,
HOSTILE, HEREWARD and HERO departed Malta on the 2nd and Gibraltar on the 5th for duty with the
South Atlantic Command at
Freetown. HEREWARD and HERO,
escorting liner ATHLONE CASTLE, arrived at Freetown on the 11th, while HARDY,
HASTY, HOSTILE joined aircraft carrier ARK
ROYAL and battlecruiser
11-50N, 21-00W, also on the 11th. These ships arrived at Freetown on the 12th and after
replenishment put back to sea on the 14th for patrol duties.
Convoy Blue 4 departed Port Said with 29 ships on the 11th,
escorted by destroyers DAINTY and DUNCAN. Minesweeper SUTTON brought two
ships from Alexandria on the 12th to join the
convoy. DUNCAN departed at 0545/16th to
refuel at Malta and rejoined in the Malta
Channel at 1415/16th with French destroyer KERSAINT.
DAINTY and minesweeper
SUTTON left in the Malta Channel on the 16th, and DUNCAN and KERSAINT were
relieved by destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT on the 17th. The two G-class
destroyers remained until the 18th when Mediterranean convoying was
discontinued. The convoy arrived safely at Gibraltar on the 21st.
Destroyer DIANA arrived at
Suez from Singapore to reinforce the
Submarine SEAL, passing
through the Mediterranean en route to the Home Fleet, escorted damaged
destroyer GARLAND which was towed by netlayer PROTECTOR, from
Alexandria to Malta where they arrived on the
11th. General submarine movements at this time follow:
Group 1, PORPOISE, CACHALOT,
Malta on the 11th, escorted by
PROTECTOR as far as
Galita Island. PROTECTOR returned to Malta to meet Group 2, SEALION,
SALMON, SHARK and SNAPPER and escorted them later the same day to Galita Island. Both groups reached Gibraltar on the 15th and left on the
16th for Portsmouth, with Group 1 arriving on
the 20th and Group 2 on the 22nd.
SNAPPER went directly into
dock with engine problems which had caused problems on passage from Gibraltar. Repairs completed on the
28th and she went to Sheerness for docking from 2 to 11 November. CACHALOT
and SEAL were shortly sent to Halifax to escort convoys, while
PORPOISE arrived at
Chatham on the 24th for refitting.
SEALION, SALMON, SHARK were
almost immediately deployed off the
Dogger Bank on a patrol line, which
ended on 4 November when they were ordered to Rosyth. SEALION, SALMON, SHARK,
SNAPPER, along with SUNFISH, STERLET of the 2nd Submarine Flotilla and depot
ship CYCLOPS, formed the 3rd Submarine Flotilla. The Flotilla was based at
Harwich and began operations in late November.
Convoy HGF.3 departed Gibraltar with steamer NARKUNDA
(16,632grt) the only ship in the convoy.
Petty Officer T E Clark was
killed when his Sea Gladiator of 802 Squadron from aircraft carrier
crashed in Lake
CORNWALL departed Colombo on patrol and arrived back
on 3 November.
LIVERPOOL departed Bombay to search for German raiders
in the Seychelles area, Amirante Group, and
Providence, Farquhar, Aldabara
anchorages. The patrol ended on 13 November when she arrived at Colombo.
Thursday, 12 October
degaussing at Kirkwall, departed
Scapa Flow with destroyers FAME and
FORESIGHT at 1734 for boiler cleaning at Rosyth.
NEWCASTLE were detached from the Home
Fleet to cover convoys in the Western Approaches. They left Scapa Flow on the 12th at 1737 and 1915
DUNEDIN departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol at 1810.
Four light cruisers were on
Northern Patrol, with light cruiser
SHEFFIELD still on patrol in the Denmark Strait.
Destroyers AMAZON and WAKEFUL
were submarine hunting off Dover.
Destroyers ARROW, ACHATES,
ACHERON, WREN and sloop FLEETWOOD were submarine hunting off Newhaven.
Destroyers FURY, BEDOUIN,
PUNJABI were submarine hunting off the Hebrides.
Destroyer WOLVERINE attacked
a submarine contact 51‑31N, 5‑41W.
Destroyer ECHO ran aground as
she entered Plymouth in a heavy fog, damaged her
stern and repaired at
Plymouth, completing on 17 November.
ran aground on Row Point and sustained minor damage which was soon repaired.
Convoy BC.9S of six steamers,
including CERVANTES and GUELMA (Commodore) departed the Loire, escorted by destroyers
EXMOUTH and ECLIPSE, and arrived safely in the Bristol Channel on the 14th.
Convoy FN.20 departed
Southend and arrived at Methil on the 14th. There was no convoy FN.21.
Convoy FS.20 departed Methil
and arrived at Southend on the 14th.
U.37 sank Greek steamer
ARIS (4810grt) in 53‑28N, 14‑30W;
two crew were lost and 27 survivors rescued by Danish steamer SICILIEN
U.48 sank French tanker
EMILE MIGUET (14,115grt), a straggler
from convoy KJ.2, 190 miles SW of Fastnet in 50‑15N, 14‑50W. She
caught fire and was abandoned with one crewman killed and one missing.
Survivors were rescued by American steamer BLACK HAWK (4988grt) and she was
scuttled by gunfire from destroyer IMOGEN.
U.48 sank steamer
HERONSPOOL (5202grt), a straggler
from convoy OB.17, 260 miles SW of Fastnet in 50‑13N, 14‑48W.
American steamer PRESIDENT HARDING (13,869grt) picked up the SOS of EMILE
MIGUET (above) and sailing to rescue her survivors in 50‑08N, 14‑00W,
came upon HERONSPOOL's entire crew and rescued them. PRESIDENT HARDING
continued her rescue mission, but by that time BLACK HAWK had picked up EMILE
Convoy SLF.4 departed Freetown unescorted and arrived at
Liverpool on the 20th.
Friday, 13 October
sailed at 0140 from
Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe, escorted by destroyers FEARLESS
and FOXHOUND, and arrived later that day.
destroyers MATABELE, JERVIS, JUPITER, JACKAL and JANUS departed Scapa Flow for patrol at 1016.
BELFAST arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500.
departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol, and arrived at Sullom Voe on the
CALEDON arrived at Scapa Flow.
Convoy OA.19 of 13 ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers ELECTRA and ESCORT until the 17th,
when they detached to convoy HG.3.
Convoy OB.19 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC
and WARWICK from the 14th to 16th.
U.40, which departed
Wilhelmshaven on the 10th for her second
war patrol, was mined and sunk at 0200 in the Dover Strait in the Folkestone-Gris Nez
deep minefield. Thirty eight crew including commanding officer Kptlt Wolfgang
Barten were lost, with destroyers BRAZEN and BOREAS picking up three
survivors and five bodies at 0945/13th, 9 miles 155° from the S Goodwin Light
Destroyers ILEX and IMOGEN
encountered U.48 on the surface 400 miles west of Land's End at 1016, and
drove her down with gunfire, but without inflicting any damage.
U.42, which departed
Wilhelmshaven on 30 September for her
first war patrol, damaged steamer STONEPOOL (4803grt) from dispersed convoy
OB.17 with gunfire in 48‑40N, 15‑30W. The escorts had left to
join inward convoy HX.3, but returned and counter-attacked. Destroyers IMOGEN
and ILEX delivered the fatal attack, 290 miles SW of Fastnet in 49‑12N,
16‑00W at 1928. Twenty five crew were lost and ILEX picked up three
officers and 14 ratings. IMOGEN escorted the STONEPOOL to Barry, and both
Plymouth on the 15th
U.48 sank French steamer
LOUISIANE (6903grt) from dispersed
convoy OB.17, 240 miles SW of Fastnet in 50‑14N, 15‑05W, with one
crewman lost and survivors rescued by destroyer IMOGEN.
Destroyer KELLY, escorting a convoy in the
English Channel, attacked and claimed to
have sunk a submarine. She and sister ship KINGSTON arrived at Dover on the 15th.
Destroyer SABRE, at anchor at
Rosyth, was rammed by armed merchant cruiser JERVIS BAY and sank to deck level. She
was taken to Grangemouth for repairs, completing on
6 May 1940.
Destroyer AFRIDI, in company
with GURKHA, attacked a submarine contact 3.4 miles 173° off Beachy Head. Salvage ship TEDWORTH
conducted diving operations and discovered it had been a wreck.
Destroyer ECLIPSE, escorting
convoy BC.9S from
Quiberon Bay to Barry with sister ship
EXMOUTH attacked a submarine contact off the Lizard, in 49-38N, 5-45W.
BLACKBURN ROVERS (422grt) and GRIMSBY TOWN (422grt) attacked a
submarine contact in 51-16N, 5-48W.
Patrol sloops PC.74,
KINGFISHER and anti-submarine trawler LADY BERYL (417grt) were submarine
hunting off Liverpool.
GRESSHOLM (619grt) was sunk by a mine
90 miles NW of Texel in 53‑55N, 02‑55E; three crew were lost and
eight survivors rescued by Finnish steamer EMMI.
Convoy HG.3 of 25 ships departed
Gibraltar escorted by destroyers
KEPPEL and WISHART. After attacks on the 17th while it was only under
aircraft protection, destroyers ELECTRA and ESCORT joined the convoy on the
18th from OA.19, leaving on the 19th with the Channel section of HG.3 after
being relieved. Destroyer KEITH joined that same day, the 19th and stayed
until the 21st. Before then, French destroyers LE TRIOMPHANT and LÉOPARD had
been with the convoy from the 17th, arriving back at Brest on the 20th. Destroyers
ACASTA, WAKEFUL and anti-submarine trawler LORD WAKEFIELD joined on the 20th
and remained until the 21st, destroyer WREN joined the same day, and the
convoy arrived at
Liverpool, still on the 21st.
battleship MALAYA, destroyers BULLDOG and DARING were detached from the Mediterranean
Fleet for operations in the
East Indies, arriving at
Aden on the 13th.
SHROPSHIRE arrived at Simonstown after
sailing from the
Mediterranean via the
DURBAN departed Simonstown for
New Zealand light cruiser
ACHILLES left Valparaiso to join Commodore Harwood on
the South America Station. She refuelled from British tanker ORANGEMOOR off
Coquimbo on the 15th, passed the Straits of Magellan on the 19th and arrived
in the Falklands on the 21st. Leaving on the
23rd after refuelling; ACHILLES rendezvoused with heavy cruiser
EXETER off Lobito Island on the 26th. They joined
heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND on the 27th and all three
operated together until 5 November.
Saturday, 14 October
U.47 sank battleship
ROYAL OAK (right - Maritime Quest) (Flagship Rear Admiral H E
C Blagrove, Captain W G Benn) at 0058 at anchor in Scapa Flow and escaped unharmed. Rear
Admiral Blagrove, Lt Cdr S D Roper, Lt J E Moore, Captain H E Balls RM,
Instructor Lt H Stewart, Lt (E) R L W Clark, Lt (E) C H Cock, Lt (E) M P
Roupell, Surgeon Lt (D) W A Dickie, Surgeon Lt H J Cornelius RNVR, Sub Lt J L
T Graham Brown, Chaplain Reverend J D B Cree, Midshipmen P W C Graham, E J
Martin, N M Patterson, PG Piddington, S R M Wilson, Paymaster Midshipman W J
R Bowhay, Commissioned Gunner A Powell Rtd, Commissioned Telegrapher R Hughes
Rowlands, Warrant Engineer W H G Cheesley, Warrant Ordnance Officer R D Ward,
Naval Cadets V G U Jay, A D McDermott, and eight hundred and nine ratings
were lost. (Casualty
were conducted in the harbour by destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ASHANTI until
the 22nd, but without result as U.47 had escaped the area shortly after
sinking ROYAL OAK. The first attack made was by destroyer ASHANTI at 1030/13th, long after the
submarine had departed. Fortunately, most of the Fleet was at Loch Ewe.
However, old seaplane tender PEGASUS was in the berth next to ROYAL OAK and,
although identified by U.47 as battlecruiser
REPULSE, was not damaged.
AURORA at 0829
BELFAST at 0730 and most of the fleet auxiliaries in the
Orkneys left for Loch Ewe, arriving on the 14th. Anti-aircraft ship
was able to proceed there on the 16th.
The cruisers on Northern
Patrol were transferred to Sullom Voe which was only protected by an
anti-submarine net. Light cruisers
COLOMBO at 0730 and armed merchant
SALOPIAN and CHITRAL departed
Scapa Flow on the 14th, and AMCs
and TRANSYLVANIA on the 15th.
Remaining at Scapa Flow were:
DUKE, accommodation ship VOLTAIRE, destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA,
ESKIMO, ASHANTI which were standing by for convoy duty, destroyer TARTAR with
serious defects and minesweepers
Light cruiser CALEDON arrived at Kirkwall on the 18th, and COLOMBO at Sullom Voe on the 18th.
Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI,
ZULU which had departed
Gibraltar on the 11th, arrived at
Portland. Sister ship NUBIAN, left
with the other three, and reached Portsmouth on the 14th. Because of
turbine defects, she was towed to
Southampton on the 20th and was under
repair until 23 November, but did not leave Portsmouth until the 30th for duty with
the Home Fleet. The final unit of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, destroyer SIKH,
remained in the
Mediterranean with turbine defects until 20 December and did not
arrive at Dover until the 23rd.
STURGEON fired three torpedoes at U.23, 20 miles E of the Skaw in 57-50N, 9-59E at 1452.
Polish submarine ORZEL, which
escaped internment at
Tallinn on 18 September, was met in
30 miles east of
May Island by fast escort
ship/destroyer VALOROUS and escorted into Rosyth.
Convoy FS.21 departed Methil,
escorted by destroyers VIVIEN, WHITLEY, WITCH and sloop STORK, and arrived at
Southend on the 16th. There was no convoy FN.21.
French destroyers BRESTOIS
and BOULONNAIS departed
Brest for Cherbourg, where BRESTOIS began
refitting. The third destroyer of the 5th Division, FOUDROYANT, was on escort
duty in the Atlantic and joined the other two on 2 November.
U.48 sank steamer
SNEATON (3678grt) in 49‑05N, 13‑05W,
150 miles SW of Fastnet, with the loss of one crewman. The survivors were
picked up by Belgian tanker ALEXANDRE ANDRE (5261grt).
A group of merchant ships
from convoy KJF.3, en route to France and escorted by French submarine
SURCOUF, were attacked by U.37, U.45,
U.46, U.48, south of Ireland early on the 14th, after SURCOUF lost touch in a
storm. U.45, on her second war patrol, sank two ships from the group. French
liner BRETAGNE (10,108grt) went down 130
miles SW of Fastnet in 50‑20N, 12‑45W, and her survivors were
picked up by destroyers IMOGEN and ILEX, arriving Plymouth on the 15th. British steamer
LOCHAVON (9205grt) was torpedoed
230 miles SW of Fastnet in 50‑25N, 13‑10W early on the 14th,
sinking at 1800/16th, 150 miles SW of Fastnet. She lost seven crew with her
survivors rescued by destroyer ISIS, which had left Plymouth on the 8th for escort duty
with sister ship IMPERIAL. Steamer KARAMEA (8457grt) was also attacked by
U.45, 100 miles SW of Fastnet in 50‑30N, 12‑14W, but escaped
unharmed. U.45 was then sunk south
of Ireland in 50‑58N, 12‑56W by
destroyers INGLEFIELD, IVANHOE, INTREPID and ICARUS, which departed
Plymouth on the 13th for
anti-submarine patrol in support of KJF.3. All 38 crew were lost.
German pocket battleship
DEUTSCHLAND sank Norwegian steamer LORENTZ
W HANSEN (1918grt) east of Newfoundland in 49‑05N, 43‑44W,
with the loss of three crew. The survivors were put aboard Norwegian tanker
KONGSDAL (9959grt) stopped later the same day.
STRASBOURG arrived at Dakar having departed Plymouth and Brest, respectively, on the 7th.
departed Malta and reached Port Said on the 16th.
Destroyers GRAFTON and
Gibraltar to escort battleship
RAMILLIES, and DUCHESS to escort
convoy Green 5.
Destroyers HAVOCK and HOTSPUR
arrived off Montevideo for refuelling and left
again that evening.
SHROPSHIRE of British
Force H, departed Simonstown and swept the southern half of the Capetown to
Freetown route. On the 22nd, they
returned to refuel - SUSSEX at Simonstown and SHROPSHIRE at Capetown.
Australian light cruiser
Sydney late on the 13th, with
Australian destroyers STUART, VENDETTA and WATERHEN leaving at 0900/14th (local
time) and all four proceeded in company. HOBART reached Darwin on the 21st, left the same
day and proceeding via Lombok Strait, arrived at Singapore on the 26th. Meanwhile, the
three destroyers reached
Brisbane on the 15th to refuel and
shelter from heavy weather, departed on the 16th, refuelled at Townsville on
the 18th, arrived
Darwin on the 22nd, departed on the
23rd and reached Singapore on the 29th.
destroyers VOYAGER and VAMPIRE also left on the 14th, from Fremantle, and
proceeded to Singapore via the Sunda Strait, arriving on the 21st. All
six ships were initially assigned to convoy duty from Singapore. On 13 November, the
Singapore for Colombo.
MARION TRUBER (2334grt) was lost by
grounding near Oxelosund.
By mid October, the British
and French Admiralties had organized the following Hunter Groups which were formed
on the 5th in response to sinkings by German battleships:
Force F - heavy cruisers
YORK stationed in the
West Indies and North America. YORK was detached from the America and West Indies Station, but
did not serve in Force F. She was maintained for Halifax convoy cover)
Force G - heavy cruisers
EXETER stationed off South America with New Zealand light cruiser
detailed on the 5th to join them.
Force H - heavy cruisers
SHROPSHIRE near the Cape of Good Hope.
Force I - aircraft carrier
EAGLE, heavy cruisers
DORSETSHIRE off Ceylon.
Force J - aircraft carrier
GLORIOUS and battleship
Aden in the approaches to the
Force K - aircraft carrier
ROYAL and battlecruiser
RENOWN near Pernambuco.
Force L - French
battlecruiser DUNKERQUE, aircraft carrier BÉARN, light cruisers GLOIRE,
MONTCALM, GEORGES LEYGUES at Brest.
Force M - French heavy
cruisers DUPLEIX and FOCH at Dakar.
Force N - French
STRASBOURG, aircraft carrier
French heavy cruiser ALGÉRIE and light cruiser
NEPTUNE to be based at Jamaica, but reassigned to Dakar.
STRASBOURG, DUPLEIX and ALGÉRIE
travelled in company to
Force N was never formed.
FOCH did not arrive at
Dakar until mid-November, then as
Force X with DUPLEIX.