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  British and Other Navies in World War 2 Day-by-Day
by Don Kindell

NAVAL EVENTS, OCTOBER 1939 (Part 1 of 2)
Sunday 1st - Saturday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net 

HMS Resolution, battleship (Maritime Quest, click to enlarge)

on to OCTOBER 1939, Part 2 

 

Note: all vessels and aircraft are British or Dominion unless otherwise identified - click for abbreviations.
Corrections with thanks to Donald Bertke

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)

 

Background Events - September 1939-March 1940
Battle of Atlantic starts, 'Phoney War' on land, Battle of River Plate


 

 

1939

 

Sunday, 1 October

 

Battleships RESOLUTION and 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.

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Heavy cruiser 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 Mediterranean. 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.

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Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruisers HOOD, REPULSE, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light 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.

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Light cruisers DIOMEDE and DUNEDIN, which departed Scapa Flow on 30 September, were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes. Light cruisers CARDIFF and DRAGON, which departed Scapa Flow on 28 September, were also on Northern Patrol.

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Convoy OA.13 departed Southend escorted by destroyers JACKAL and JANUS, and dispersed in 48-50N, 13-40W on the 4th.

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Convoy OB.13 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and WARWICK to 4 October.

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Convoy DB.10 departed Southampton with two personnel ships, escorted by destroyers ARROW and INTREPID, and arrived at Brest on the 2nd.

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Convoy MB.10 departed Southampton with six cargo ships, escorted by destroyers ACHERON and ACHATES, and also arrived at Brest on the 2nd.

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Light cruiser CURLEW departed Portland for a work up at Scapa Flow, which was completed on the 21st.

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Destroyer ECLIPSE attacked a submarine contact in 51‑12N, 4‑22W.

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Convoy BC.6F of steamers FENELLA, ST JULIEN, TYNWALD and ULSTER PRINCE departed the Loire without escort, and safely arrived in the Bristol Channel.

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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)

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Heavy cruiser 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.

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Light cruiser ORION departed Kingston for patrol in the Curacao area.

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Light cruiser GALATEA and 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 Gibraltar.

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Destroyers NUBIAN and ZULU attacked a submarine contact in 32-00N, 30-08E.

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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 the South Atlantic.

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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, British GREYHOUND

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 FORTUNE, SIMOUN, LA RAILLEUSE of the 3rd Destroyer Division. At the beginning of November, the forces were redistributed.

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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 ARK 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 duties, the destroyers returned to Scapa Flow on the 4th. To relieve ARK ROYAL, FURIOUS, 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.

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Light cruisers EFFINGHAM, EMERALD, ENTERPRISE departed Scapa Flow for Plymouth, where they arrived late on the 3rd. At Plymouth, EMERALD and ENTERPRISE embarked gold for transfer to Canada, while EFFINGHAM underwent repairs completed on the 9th.

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The first of the UK to Gibraltar convoys, OG.1, of 37 ships was formed from two convoys. Light cruiser CERES 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 at Gibraltar.

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Convoy FN.15 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 4th. There was no convoy FN.16.

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Convoy FS.16 departed Methil, and arrived at Southend on the 4th.

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Destroyers KEITH and MONTROSE attacked a submarine contact in 50‑17N, 1‑30W.

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Submarine SEAHORSE reported a submarine contact off the Firth of Tay in 50-31N, 2-22W.

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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 proved ineffective.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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°.

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Steamer LINDISFARNE (1004grt) was challenged off Hook 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.

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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.

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Finnish sailing vessel BALTIC (451grt) was sunk by a mine in the Sound.

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Battleship RAMILLIES, light cruiser 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.

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Heavy cruiser CORNWALL departed Calcutta on escort duties to Singapore, and returned to Colombo, arriving on the 6th for docking.

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Heavy cruiser YORK departed Halifax on escort duties, and arrived back on the 4th.

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At this time, the South America Station was composed of heavy cruisers EXETER and 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 Island, CUMBERLAND, light cruiser NEPTUNE, and destroyers HYPERION and HUNTER arrived at Freetown.

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Gunboats DRAGONFLY, 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 LADYBIRD departed 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.

 

On 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 Chungking and Changsha, respectively.

 

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.

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Convoy SLF.3 departed Freetown unescorted and arrived at Liverpool on the 13th.

 

 

Tuesday, 3 October

 

Anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on patrol and arrived back on the 4th, while CAIRO departed and arrived back later the same day.

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Convoy OA.14 of seven ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers KELLY, KINGSTON, MONTROSE from the 3rd to 6th.

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Convoy OB.14 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC and WHIRLWIND until the 5th.

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Convoy BC.8S departed 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.

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Convoy SA.10 of one cargo ship departed Southampton, escorted by destroyer ANTHONY, and reached Brest on the 4th.

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Convoy FS.16 departed Methil, arriving at Southend on the 5th. There was no FN.16 convoy.

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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 to 5th.

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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.

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Heavy cruisers SUSSEX and 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 the 13th.

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Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND and light cruiser DESPATCH departed Freetown for South America, with DESPATCH arriving at Bermuda on the 15th for docking.

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Heavy cruiser BERWICK arrived at Halifax.

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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.

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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.

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Norwegian steamer 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 Scapa Flow.

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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.

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French heavy cruisers ALGÉRIE, DUPLEIX and destroyers MAILLÉ BRÉZÉ and VAUQUELIN departed Oran for Dakar, arriving on the 14th.

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French submarine BÉVÉZIERS departed Cherbourg for Brest, escorted by large destroyer JAGUAR.

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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.

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German destroyers HERMANN SCHOEMANN, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK and torpedo boats GREIF, FALKE, ALBATROS operated in the Skagerrak and 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 German service.

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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 NEWCASTLE and 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.

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Destroyers INGLEFIELD and IVANHOE departed Gibraltar to return to Plymouth after escort duty with convoy SO.19.

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Submarine SEAL arrived at Alexandria from the Red Sea.

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Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM departed Singapore on patrol and arrived back on the 22nd.

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Light cruiser DURBAN departed Capetown for Simonstown, arriving on the 6th.

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New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Wellington for Auckland.

 

 

Thursday, 5 October

 

Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruisers HOOD, REPULSE, and aircraft carrier FURIOUS and escorting destroyers departed Loch Ewe and arrived at Scapa Flow.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Scapa Flow for Invergordon, arriving on the 6th. She was back at Scapa the same day.

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Light cruisers CALYPSO and CALEDON departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol. CALYPSO arrived back on the 11th and CALEDON on the 13th.

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Destroyer ECHO departed Plymouth and arrived at Dover on the 6th.

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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.

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Convoy OA.15 of six ships departed Southend escorted by destroyer ANTELOPE from the 5th to 8th, when the convoy dispersed.

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Convoy OB.15 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WALPOLE and WINCHELSEA until the 8th.

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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 8th.

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After survey ship FRANKLIN sighted a submarine 9 miles 310° from Calais High Light, destroyer BRAZEN carried out an unsuccessful search.

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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.

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French destroyers CASSARD and KERSAINT arrived at Gibraltar to exchange convoy escort duty with British destroyers GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM.

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Steamers ALCANTARA (22,209grt) and 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.

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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.

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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 Liverpool.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Battleship 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 1940.

 

Heavy cruisers NORFOLK, SUFFOLK 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.

 

Light cruisers COLOMBO and CERES of the 11th Cruiser Squadron, previously attached to the Northern Atlantic Command at Gibraltar and the Channel Force based at 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 Plymouth.

 

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

 

Light cruisers CARDIFF and DELHI departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol, arriving back on the 13th. At this time, six cruisers were at sea on Northern Patrol.

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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.

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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.

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Convoy SA.11 of one steamer departed Southampton, escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS, arriving at Brest on the 7th.

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Convoy FN.17 departed Southend and reached Methil on the 8th, while FS.17 departed Methil and arrived at Southend on the 8th.

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Destroyer ICARUS departed Malta after completing her collision repairs, left Gibraltar on the 8th and arrived at Plymouth on the 11th.

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Light cruiser CAPETOWN, 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.

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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 Caribbean.

 

 

Saturday, 7 October

 

Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN departed Portsmouth at 0042, escorted by destroyers SALADIN and SCIMITAR and arrived at Devonport at 1240 to complete her refitting.

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Destroyer ECHO departed Dover and arrived at Devonport on the 12th.

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Destroyer ESKIMO arrived at Scapa Flow after repairs in the Tyne.

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Battleships REVENGE, RESOLUTION and aircraft carrier HERMES, escorted by destroyers WOLVERINE, WITHERINGTON, VOLUNTEER and VERITY departed Portland at 0930, and light cruisers EMERALD, ENTERPRISE, 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 Western Atlantic.

 

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.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived back the same day.

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Destroyer WREN attacked a submarine contact in 50‑36N, 00‑14W, off Brighton.

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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.

_____

 

Dutch steamer 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 which reached 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 (4222grt) in the South Atlantic in 09S, 03W after the crew was put aboard captured steamer NEWTON BEECH.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser BERWICK called at Bermuda, departed again the same day, and arrived back on the 18th.

_____

 

Light cruiser 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.

 

VESPER was relieved by destroyer WIVERN on the 25th and the convoy arrived on the 26th, still with four destroyers.

_____

 

Light cruiser DANAE departed 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 Toulon.

_____

 

German trawler 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 Home Fleet.

 

Admiral Forbes, informed of these movements by a RAF Coastal Command Hudson sighting, went to sea from Scapa Flow with the Home Fleet. Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruisers HOOD, REPULSE, aircraft carrier FURIOUS, light cruisers AURORA, SHEFFIELD, 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 November.

 

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 movement.

 

Light cruisers SOUTHAMPTON, EDINBURGH, 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.

 

Battleship ROYAL OAK with 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 investigate.

_____

 

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 VISTULA (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 the 24th.

_____

 

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 Atlantic crossing.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Light cruiser 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.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived back on the 11th.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser 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 repair.

_____

 

French large destroyer PANTHÈRE collided with Belgian trawler VAN EYCK near Boulogne, and was repaired at Cherbourg, completing at the end of October.

_____

 

Convoy OA.17 of eleven ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers ACASTA and ARDENT from the 9th to 11th.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Greek steamer MOUNT IDA (5210grt) was lost after running aground on the east coast of England.

_____

 

German pocket battleship DEUTSCHLAND stopped 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 22nd.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL 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.

_____

 

Light cruiser DANAE departed 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 port.

 

Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruiser HOOD, and destroyers FAULKNOR, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, FURY, FORESTER and FIREDRAKE went directly to Loch Ewe, arriving on the 11th.

 

Destroyers FOXHOUND and FEARLESS departed 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 FURIOUS, light cruisers AURORA, 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.

 

Light cruiser 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.

 

Light cruisers DIOMEDE and DRAGON left 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.

_____

 

Light cruiser CERES departed Gibraltar with turbine defects and arrived at Plymouth on the 13th for repairs completed on the 27th.

_____

 

Light cruiser DAUNTLESS departed Gibraltar and arrived at Malta on the 13th, en route to the China Station.

_____

 

Destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT departed Alexandria for Gibraltar to escort battleship RAMILLIES, due to sail on the 15th for Alexandria.

_____

 

Australian heavy cruisers AUSTRALIA, CANBERRA and light cruiser ADELAIDE searched the Gabo Island area for German ships until the 13th.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES arrived at Valapariso for two day self maintenance to correct engine room defects.

_____

 

Forces disposed in the West Indies for patrol and escort duties were (1) Jamaica Force – British light cruiser ORION, the Australian PERTH 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 DUNDEE, PENZANCE and French submarine OUESSANT.

 

 

Wednesday, 11 October

 

Destroyer BEAGLE attacked a submarine contact in 51‑17N, 01‑42.7E.

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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.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser 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 RENOWN in 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 Mediterranean Fleet.

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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, SEAL departed 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.

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Convoy HGF.3 departed Gibraltar with steamer NARKUNDA (16,632grt) the only ship in the convoy.

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Petty Officer T E Clark was killed when his Sea Gladiator of 802 Squadron from aircraft carrier GLORIOUS crashed in Lake Maruit, Alexandria.

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Heavy cruiser CORNWALL departed Colombo on patrol and arrived back on 3 November.

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Light cruiser 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

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE, after degaussing at Kirkwall, departed Scapa Flow with destroyers FAME and FORESIGHT at 1734 for boiler cleaning at Rosyth.

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Light cruisers GLASGOW and 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 respectively.

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Light cruiser DUNEDIN departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol at 1810.

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Light cruiser EDINBURGH departed Rosyth.

_____

 

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.

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Destroyers FURY, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI were submarine hunting off the Hebrides.

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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.

_____

 

Minesweeper/escort ship JASON ran aground on Row Point and sustained minor damage which was soon repaired.

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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.

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Convoy FN.20 departed Southend and arrived at Methil on the 14th. There was no convoy FN.21.

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Convoy FS.20 departed Methil and arrived at Southend on the 14th.

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U.37 sank Greek steamer ARIS (4810grt) in 53‑28N, 14‑30W; two crew were lost and 27 survivors rescued by Danish steamer SICILIEN (1654grt).

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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.

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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 MIGUET's crew.

_____

 

Convoy SLF.4 departed Freetown unescorted and arrived at Liverpool on the 20th.

 

 

Friday, 13 October

 

Aircraft carrier FURIOUS sailed at 0140 from Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe, escorted by destroyers FEARLESS and FOXHOUND, and arrived later that day.

_____

 

Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and destroyers MATABELE, JERVIS, JUPITER, JACKAL and JANUS departed Scapa Flow for patrol at 1016.

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Light cruiser BELFAST arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500.

_____

 

Light cruiser CALYPSO departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol, and arrived at Sullom Voe on the 20th.

_____

 

Light cruisers DELHI and 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.

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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 Vessel.

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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.

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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 destroyers reached 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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anti-submarine trawlers BLACKBURN ROVERS (422grt) and GRIMSBY TOWN (422grt) attacked a submarine contact in 51-16N, 5-48W.

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Patrol sloops PC.74, KINGFISHER and anti-submarine trawler LADY BERYL (417grt) were submarine hunting off Liverpool.

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Norwegian steamer 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.

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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.

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Aircraft carrier GLORIOUS, battleship MALAYA, destroyers BULLDOG and DARING were detached from the Mediterranean Fleet for operations in the East Indies, arriving at Aden on the 13th.

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Heavy cruisers SUSSEX and SHROPSHIRE arrived at Simonstown after sailing from the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

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Light cruiser DURBAN departed Simonstown for Mauritius.

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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 List)

 

Anti-submarine operations 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.

 

Light cruisers AURORA at 0829 and BELFAST at 0730 and most of the fleet auxiliaries in the Orkneys left for Loch Ewe, arriving on the 14th. Anti-aircraft ship CURLEW 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 CALEDON, CARDIFF, DELHI and COLOMBO at 0730 and armed merchant cruisers CALIFORNIA, MONTCLARE, SCOTSTOUN, SALOPIAN and CHITRAL departed Scapa Flow on the 14th, and AMCs AURANIA, RAWALPINDI and TRANSYLVANIA on the 15th.

 

Remaining at Scapa Flow were: base ship IRON DUKE, accommodation ship VOLTAIRE, destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ESKIMO, ASHANTI which were standing by for convoy duty, destroyer TARTAR with serious defects and minesweepers HAZARD, HEBE, SEAGULL, SHARPSHOOTER, SPEEDY.

 

Light cruiser CALEDON arrived at Kirkwall on the 18th, and COLOMBO at Sullom Voe on the 18th.

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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.

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Submarine STURGEON fired three torpedoes at U.23, 20 miles E of the Skaw in 57-50N, 9-59E at 1452.

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Polish submarine ORZEL, which escaped internment at Tallinn on 18 September, was met in the North Sea 30 miles east of May Island by fast escort ship/destroyer VALOROUS and escorted into Rosyth.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Aircraft carrier HERMES and French battlecruiser STRASBOURG arrived at Dakar having departed Plymouth and Brest, respectively, on the 7th.

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS departed Malta and reached Port Said on the 16th.

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Destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT reached Gibraltar to escort battleship RAMILLIES, and DUCHESS to escort convoy Green 5.

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Destroyers HAVOCK and HOTSPUR arrived off Montevideo for refuelling and left again that evening.

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Heavy cruisers SUSSEX and 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.

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Australian light cruiser HOBART departed 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.

 

Australian 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 destroyers left Singapore for Colombo.

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German steamer MARION TRUBER (2334grt) was lost by grounding near Oxelosund.

 

 

Mid-October

 

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 BERWICK and 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 CUMBERLAND and EXETER stationed off South America with New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES detailed on the 5th to join them.

 

Force H - heavy cruisers SUSSEX and SHROPSHIRE near the Cape of Good Hope.

 

Force I - aircraft carrier EAGLE, heavy cruisers CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE off Ceylon.

 

Force J - aircraft carrier GLORIOUS and battleship MALAYA off Aden in the approaches to the Red Sea.

 

Force K - aircraft carrier ARK 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 battlecruiser STRASBOURG, aircraft carrier HERMES, 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 Dakar.

 

Force N was never formed. FOCH did not arrive at Dakar until mid-November, then as Force X with DUPLEIX.

 

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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

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