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

NAVAL EVENTS, OCTOBER 1939 (Part 2 of 2)
Sunday 15th-Tuesday 31st

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Loyalty, minesweeper (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

on to Naval Events, NOVEMBER 1939

 

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, 15 October

 

Admiral Forbes departed Loch Ewe with battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruiser HOOD, aircraft carrier FURIOUS, light cruisers BELFAST, AURORA and destroyers BEDOUIN, FEARLESS, FOXHOUND and FURY.

 

 After light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and destroyer MATABELE finished escorting steamer ST CLAIR (1637grt) from Lerwick to Aberdeen, arriving at 0945/14th, MATABELE left on the 14th and called at Scapa Flow. Destroyers MASHONA, PUNJABI, FIREDRAKE left Loch Ewe, also on the 14th, arrived at Scapa Flow later the same day, and then with MATABELE, sailed from Scapa Flow on the 15th to join Forbes at sea.

 

Destroyer FORESTER departed Scapa Flow on the 16th and also joined Forbes, FAME was boiler cleaning until the 22nd, and TARTAR repairing defects until the 23rd, both at Scapa Flow.

 

The sortie took the Fleet north of Iceland, 150 miles into the Arctic Circle, to block a reported sortie into the Atlantic by pocket battleship DEUTSCHLAND and to support the Northern Patrol. The destroyers refuelled from the capital ships on the 17th.

 

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE (above - Navy Photos) with destroyers JERVIS, JERSEY, COSSACK and MAORI departed Rosyth on the 18th, with COSSACK and MAORI arriving back on the 19th and REPULSE, JERVIS and JERSEY joining Forbes at sea on the 20th. The two destroyers were detached for refuelling at Sullom Voe on the 21st and afterwards carried out an anti-submarine patrol off Muckle Flugga. They then left the patrol area to search off the Norwegian coast for American steamer CITY OF FLINT.

 

JERVIS and JERSEY arrived at Rosyth on the 25th without making contact.

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Five cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, four AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and four AMCs in the Denmark Strait. The armed merchant cruisers were ASTURIAS, AURANIA, CALIFORNIA, CHITRAL, RAWALPINDI, SALOPIAN, SCOTSTOUN and TRANSYLVANIA. Following this patrol, ASTURIAS proceeded to Halifax for escort duty and SALOPIAN to Plymouth en route for the South Atlantic.

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Convoy HN.0 of five Polish, one French and one Greek steamer had departed Bergen on the 14th, and was met in the North Sea on the 15th by light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON, which left Rosyth on the 13th, and destroyers JERVIS, JERSEY, JACKAL, JANUS. Early on the 16th, SOUTHAMPTON, JERSEY, JACKAL and JANUS detached and destroyer MOHAWK joined. JERVIS and MOHAWK then escorted the convoy into Methil arriving on the 16th with SOUTHAMPTON reaching Rosyth the same day.

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Light cruiser EDINBURGH was escorted by destroyer WHITLEY from the 15th to 23rd.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD arrived at Loch Ewe.

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Destroyer BROKE and sloop FLEETWOOD were U-boat hunting off Blyth and on the 16th, attacked a contact.

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Destroyers COSSACK and MAORI attacked a submarine contact 6 miles 83° from Coquet Island.

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Destroyer MOHAWK attacked a submarine contact 4 miles 340° from Flamborough Head.

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Sloop STORK attacked a submarine contact 6.5 miles 15° from Scarborough Rock.

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Patrol sloops KINGFISHER and PC.74 were submarine hunting off Liverpool, and were relieved on the 16th by escort vessel/minesweeper GLEANER.

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Convoy OA.20G departed Southend escorted by destroyers KELLY and KINGSTON from the 15th to 17th, and by destroyers AMAZON and ANTELOPE from the 17th to 18th. Convoy OB.20G also left Liverpool escorted by destroyers WHIRLWIND and WALPOLE, the two convoys merging on the 17th as OG.3.

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Convoy AXS.1 of one steamer departed Fowey, escorted by destroyer WAKEFUL and arrived at Brest on the 17th.

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U.37 sank French steamer VERMONT (5186grt) 360 miles SW of Fastnet in 48‑01N, 17‑22W, with the loss of two crew, the 43 survivors being rescued by destroyer INGLEFIELD. Because of the submarine activity in the area of arriving convoy KJ.2, French destroyers L’INDOMPTABLE and LE MALIN conducted a sweep, and were joined by destroyers CYCLONE and MISTRAL sailing from Brest to assist. On the 17th, CYCLONE attacked a submarine contact. On the same day, destroyer VENOMOUS left Plymouth with the survivors of VERMONT for passage to Havre.

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Battleship RAMILLIES departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT for duty with the 1st Battle Squadron at Alexandria.

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Convoy SL.5 departed Freetown escorted by destroyers HASTY and HOSTILE, and joined by French cruiser PRIMAGUET, destroyers MAILLÉ BRÉZÉ and VAUQUELIN, which left Dakar on the 19th and arrived at Casablanca on the 25th. Destroyers TIGRE, TARTU and CHEVALIER PAUL departed Toulon, also on the 19th, and reached Casablanca on the 22nd ready to relieve the French destroyers already with SL.5. They left on the 25th and joined that day. British destroyer GRENADE sailed from Gibraltar on the 24th, also to join the convoy. PRIMAGUET, escorted by CHEVALIER PAUL detached and reached Lorient on the 28th, while TIGRE and TARTU after being relieved by British destroyers, reached Brest on the 30th. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 3 November.

 

 

Monday, 16 October

 

German aircraft attacked anchored ships in the Firth of Forth. Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON was hit by a 1000 pounder that passed through three decks and came out of the bottom without exploding, but injuring three crew, one rating dying of wounds. Light cruiser EDINBURGH was slightly damaged by splinters from the near miss of three 500 pound bombs with eight crew wounded and Gunner G J Mitchell and one rating dying of wounds. SOUTHAMPTON's damage required only three days to repair while EDINBURGH remained in service. Destroyer MOHAWK, just arriving in the Firth from convoy duty, was bombed one and a half miles from May Island and sustained much topside damage. Commanding officer Cdr R F Jolly was fatally wounded (and awarded the Albert Medal), the ship's first officer Lt E J O'Shea and ten ratings killed and 33 crew, including her navigator, Lt A L Harper, wounded. MOHAWK berthed at Rosyth for temporary repairs and then repaired at Newcastle from 22 October to 9 December. Battlecruiser REPULSE was still at Rosyth on the 16th boiler cleaning, but German bombing restrictions forbidding bombing that endangered civilian lives were still in effect.

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Four light cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, four AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait.

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Destroyer AFRIDI attacked a submarine contact in the Firth of Forth off Inchkeith Light, and was joined by destroyers WOOLSTON, VALOROUS and sloop HASTINGS.

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Destroyers INGLEFIELD and IVANHOE attacked a submarine contact in the Western Approaches in 51‑00N, 18‑00W.

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Destroyers INTREPID and ICARUS attacked a submarine contact in 49‑42N, 9‑59E.

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Destroyer MOHAWK and sloop STORK attacked a submarine contact ESE of Scarborough.

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Destroyer COSSACK attacked a submarine contact north of Blyth.

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Destroyer BEAGLE attacked a submarine contact in 51‑20N, 01‑40E.

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Destroyer BROKE and sloop FLEETWOOD attacked a submarine contact off Blyth.

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Minesweeper/escort ship GLEANER attacked a submarine contact 17 miles 184° from Great Ormes Head.

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Convoy OG.3, totalling 33 merchant ships, was formed from OA.20G which departed Southend on the 15th escorted by destroyers KELLY and KINGSTON, relieved by destroyers AMAZON and ANTELOPE, and OB.20G which departed Liverpool on the 16th escorted by destroyers WHIRLWIND and WALPOLE.

 

AMAZON was damaged in a collision on the 18th and the other destroyers remained with the convoy until the 19th. French destroyers FOUGUEUX and L'ADROIT, which departed Brest on the 17th, joined the convoy on the 19th which arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.

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Convoy BC.11 of steamers ADJUTANT, BALTARA, BARON CARNEGIE, BARON KINNAIRD, BLACKHEATH, BOTHNIA, COXWOLD, HARMATTAN, JADE, KINGSBOROUGH, LOCHEE, LOTTIE R, MARSLEW, NIGERIAN (Commodore) and SODALITY departed Bristol Channel, escorted by destroyers EXMOUTH, ESK, WESSEX, and arrived safely in the Loire on the 18th.

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Convoy SA.13 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by destroyers ACHATES and VENOMOUS, and arrived on the 17th.

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Convoy FN.22 departed Southend and arrived at Methil on the 18th. There was no convoy FN.22, nor convoys FS.22 and FS.23.

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U.23 laid mines off Cromarty near Invergordon.

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French destroyer CYCLONE with destroyer MISTRAL on escort duty in support of convoy KJ.2, attacked a U-boat in the Bay of Biscay, but without success

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS departed Suez for Colombo.

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Convoy Green 5 departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyer DUCHESS and sloop FOWEY until the 17th, when convoying in the Mediterranean was abandoned and the escorts withdrawn. DUCHESS arrived at Malta on the 20th.

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French destroyers MILAN and ÉPERVIER departed Marseilles with three troopships for Beirut.

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French light cruiser DUGUAY TROUIN encountered German steamer HALLE (5889grt) which had departed Bolama, Portuguese Guinea on the 12th and Bissao on the 14th for Las Palmas. HALLE scuttled herself to avoid capture SW of Dakar. Large destroyers LE FANTASQUE and LE TERRIBLE, operating from Dakar, had been searching for her from the 15th to 17th.

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German steamer UHENFELS (7603grt) departed Lourenco Marques on the 13th, shadowed from off the port by sloop EGRET which had to give up because of shortage of fuel. Light cruisers LIVERPOOL and DURBAN, also in the area were unable to find her, but because of the naval activity, UHENFELS returned to Lourenco Marques.

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German steamer TIJUCA (5918grt) arrived off Kopervik, Norway, encountered Norwegian submarine B.3 but continued on, reaching Hamburg on the 25th.

 

 

Tuesday, 17 October

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Loch Ewe for Northern Patrol in the Denmark Strait, arriving back on the 22nd after capturing German steamer GLORIA.

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Four light cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, four AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait. The armed merchant cruisers were ASTURIAS, AURANIA, CALIFORNIA, CHITRAL, RAWALPINDI, SCOTSTOUN, and TRANSYLVANIA.

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Convoy OA.21 of 21 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers VANSITTART and WIVERN, which remained with the convoy until it dispersed on the 22nd.

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Convoy OB.21 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WITHERINGTON.

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Convoy BC.10S of steamers BARON GRAHAM, BEAVERDALE, BELLOROPHON (Commodore), CITY OF DERBY DORSET COAST, EILDON, ERATO, FLORISTAN, GLAMIS, GLYCAON, MERLAND, PEMBROKE COAST, TASSO and VOLO departed the Loire, escorted by destroyers MONTROSE and VIVACIOUS, and arrived safely in the Bristol Channel on the 19th.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Grimsby and arrived back on the 18th.

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Destroyer BEAGLE attacked a submarine contact in 51‑07.5N, 01‑23.5E.

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French large destroyer LÉOPARD, which had been covering minelaying in the Pas de Calais area, returned to Brest on the 17th. Large destroyer JAGUAR sailed from Dunkirk on 1 November and with large destroyer PANTHČRE, which had been at Cherbourg under repair, also arrived at Brest, but on the 2nd.

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U.19 laid mines off Inner Dowsing near Yarmouth during the night of the 16th/17th, on which three merchant ships were sunk.

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Three German aircraft bombed Scapa Flow, one of which was shot down by destroyer ESKIMO. Two near misses damaged old battleship IRON DUKE which took a heavy list and bomb blast damaged her electrical installations. She was towed into shallow water, settled onto the sea bed and ESKIMO provided electric power. Destroyers SOMALI and ASHANTI were also at Scapa Flow at the time of the raid, and later in the day, four more aircraft attacked, near-missing ASHANTI, but causing no damage.

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Destroyer JUNO fired on German aircraft shadowing her SW of Farne Island. British aircraft came to her assistance and shot down a Dornier flying boat.

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German destroyers HERMANN KÜNNE, FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT, DIETHER VON ROEDER, KARL GALSTER and HANS LÜDEMAN, escorted by destroyer WILHELM HEIDKAMP sailed from Wilhelmshaven to lay mines in the North Sea off the Humber on the night of the 17th/18th. Seven merchant ships grossing 25,852 tons were sunk in the field.

 

On the 22nd, steamer WHITEMANTLE (1692grt) five to six miles east of Withernsea Light with the loss of 14 crew.

 

On the 23rd, Swedish steamer ALBANIA (1241grt) four miles north of Humber Light Vessel; two crew were lost and the survivors picked up by steamer CHANNEL FISHER (700grt).

 

On the 29th, Norwegian steamer VARANGMALM (3551grt) in 53‑50N, 00‑17E; one crew was lost and the survivors rescued by trawler CONIDA (413grt).

 

On the 30th, Finnish steamer JUNO (1241grt) in 53‑45N, 00‑17E with six crew lost.

 

On 3 November, Danish steamer CANADA (11,108grt) was mined in 53‑40N, 00‑17E and sank next day, two miles east of Holmpton; her survivors were rescued by Norwegian steamer RINGHORN (1298grt).

 

On 4 November, Norwegian steamer SIG (1342grt) was sunk in 53‑43N, 00‑17E, with the loss of three crew; her 16 survivors being picked up by fishing boat ELLEN M.

 

On 31 December, steamer BOX HILL (5677grt) from dispersed convoy HX.12, in 53‑32N, 00‑24E; twenty crew were lost, with five survivors rescued by destroyer IVANHOE and seven by another ship.

 

In addition to the losses by mines, two steamers were lost and one badly damaged when they collided with the sunken wreck of CANADA.

 

Steamer FIREGLOW (1261grt) hit the wreck on 12 November and was abandoned, but later refloated.

 

Steamer DRYBURGH (1289grt) departed Leith on 12 November and arriving off Withernsea on the 14th November, sank after colliding with the wreck; her crew was rescued by two destroyers.

 

On 15 November, Greek steamer GEORGIOS (2216grt) sank after hitting CANADA.

 

This was the first minelaying operation by German Commodore Bonte's destroyers between the Thames and the Tyne. By February 1940, 1800 mines had been laid, and destroyer JERSEY torpedoed and badly damaged during one of the minelaying operations. All the German destroyers, except LEBERECHT MAAS, GEORG THIELE, PAUL JACOBI, THEODOR RIEDEL and HERMANN SCHOEMANN were employed in at least one operation.

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German destroyers PAUL JACOBI, THEODOR RIEDEL, HERMANN SCHOEMANN and torpedo boats LEOPARD, ILTIS, WOLF conducted an anti-shipping patrol in the Skagerrak from the 17th to 19th.

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U.37, U.46, U.48 attacked convoy HG.3 off Cape Trafalgar while it was protected by aircraft. Steamer YORKSHIRE (10,184grt) was the convoy commodore ship with Rear Admiral D M T Bedford Rtd as commodore on board and she carried military families which had been embarked from steamer NEVASA (9213grt) at Gibraltar. U.46 attacked YORKSHIRE in 44‑54N, 12‑40W without success, but she was then sunk by U.37 in 44‑52N, 14‑31W with the loss of 58 lives, including 25 crew. Steamer CITY OF MANDALAY (7028grt) was also sunk by U.46, in 44‑57N, 13‑36W, with seven crew lost and 17 survivors being picked up by Norwegian whaler SKUDD IV. In 44-54N, 12-40W. Destroyers WAKEFUL, ELECTRA and ESCORT were ordered to attack a submarine reported near the convoy. The last steamer was CLAN CHISHOLM (7256grt), sunk by U.48, 150 miles 300° from Cape Finisterre in 45N, 15W with the loss of four crew. Survivors from all three ships, including Rear Admiral Bedford, were picked up by American steamer INDEPENDENCE HALL (5050grt) and taken to Bordeaux. ELECTRA and ESCORT had departed Dover on the 13th and joined the convoy on the 18th from OA.19. In addition, destroyers ARDENT and ACASTA left Dover on the 20th and joined.

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Convoy HX.5 departed Halifax at 0900 escorted by heavy cruiser YORK and Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT. RCAF flying boats accompanied the convoy until 1800/17th. ST LAURENT was detached at 0830/18th, FRASER at 1630/19th, and YORK at 1000/19th, arriving back at Halifax the same day. Light cruiser EMERALD departed Halifax on the 17th as ocean escort, and she arrived at Portsmouth on the 29th. YORK left Halifax again on the 22nd to support the convoy and search for German battleship DEUTSCHLAND. Destroyers GRAFTON, GALLANT, WESSEX escorted the convoy on the 28th and 29th, when it arrived at Liverpool.

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Convoying in the Mediterranean was discontinued: (1) destroyer DUCHESS and sloop FOWEY, awaiting convoy Green 5, were sent from Gibraltar to Malta, arriving on the 20th, (2) destroyer DIANA and sloop DEPTFORD, en route to Port Said from Blue 5, were sent to relieve destroyers GRENVILLE and GIPSY on contraband patrol, (3) destroyer DUNCAN from Blue 4 was sent to escort battleship RAMILLIES, relieving destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT, (4) destroyers DAINTY and DEFENDER departed Malta on the 18th to escort RAMILLIES, which reached Alexandria on the 20th, (5) French destroyers CASSARD and KERSAINT returned to Bizerte, and (6) destroyers DECOY and DELIGHT were at Malta. After refitting, DELIGHT reached Gibraltar on the 31st for escort duty, and DECOY, her refit completed on 3 November, left Malta to escort steamer NEVASA to Marseilles.

 

 

Wednesday, 18 October

 

Destroyer AMAZON, which departed Plymouth on escort duty on the 17th, was damaged in collision with steamer ARACATACA (5378grt) at 1448 in convoy OG.3 in 47-38N, 08-08W. AMAZON had closed to pass information and the steamer altered course without warning. She was under repair at Portsmouth from 20 October to 28 November.

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Destroyer BOREAS was attacked north of the Goodwin Sands by a German seaplane, but no damage was done.

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Light cruiser CALEDON departed Kirkwall, and arrived at Sullom Voe on the 20th.

 

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Destroyer AFRIDI attacked a submarine contact 3.2 miles 61° off St Abb's Head. Destroyer WHITEHALL was ordered to stand by the location where AFRIDI had buoyed the "sunken submarine."

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Steamer IMPERIAL STAR (10,733grt) was attacked by a U-boat, 60 miles west of the Scillies in 49‑54N, 7‑52W. Destroyer INTREPID was sent to assist.

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In submarine operations against convoy HG.3, steamers SAGAING (7968grt), GARBRATTAN (1811grt), CITY OF GUILDFORD (5157grt) and CLAN MCBEAN (5000grt) reported they were attacked on the 18th but undamaged. Destroyer ESCORT joined SAGAING and escorted her from the area.

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Convoy Blue 5 departed Port Said on the 18th, but was dispersed and travelled without escort.

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Light cruiser DANAE departed Lagos for St Helena, where she arrived on the 22nd.

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Convoy SLF.5 departed Freetown, unescorted, and arrived at London on the 30th.

 

 

Thursday, 19 October

 

While in dock at Devonport, destroyer KEMPENFELT was transferred to the Canadian Navy as HMCS ASSINIBOINE. She had been there since 29 September repairing collision damage from the day before. As ASSINIBOINE, she departed Plymouth for Halifax on 7 November.

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Light cruisers CARDIFF, DIOMEDE, DRAGON departed Sullom Voe for Northern Patrol.

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Two cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Shetland and the Faroes, AMCs AURANIA, CALIFORNIA, CHITRAL between the Faroes and Iceland, and light cruiser SHEFFIELD and AMCs RAWALPINDI, SCOTSTOUN, TRANSYLVANIA in the Denmark Strait.

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Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, IVANHOE arrived at Loch Ewe and sister ship IMPULSIVE at Scapa Flow on the 25th, all for duty with the Home Fleet. Destroyers ILEX, ISIS, IMPERIAL joined the 22nd Flotilla at Harwich on the 31st, were released from the Flotilla on 5 November and rejoined the 3rd Flotilla operating with the Home Fleet – IMOGEN, after completing repairs, and IMPERIAL on 8 November, ILEX and ISIS on the 14th, and INGLEFIELD, also after completing repairs, on the 16th.

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Destroyer WHITEHALL and sloop WESTON attacked a submarine contact three miles ENE of St Abb's Head.

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Convoy OA.22 of nine ships departed Southend escorted by destroyer VESPER, which stayed until the convoy dispersed on the 21st.

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Convoy OB.22 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MACKAY and VIMY, the destroyers detaching on the 22nd to escort SL.4.

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Prize regulations for U-boats were lifted for shipping as far west as 20°.

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German tanker BISKAYA (6386grt) had departed Hamburg on 13 August for Port Arthur, Texas, but with the start of war, found refuge at Las Palmas until 7 October when she attempted to return to Germany. She was captured on the 19th by armed merchant cruiser SCOTSTOUN on Northern Patrol in the Denmark Strait in 66‑30N, 23‑00W, taken to Leith by a prize crew commanded by Lt Cdr R H A Clark RNR, and renamed EMPIRE UNITY in British service.

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German tanker GONZENHEIM (4574grt), which had departed Buenas Aires on 14 September, was intercepted by armed merchant cruiser RAWALPINDI on Northern Patrol in the Denmark Strait in 63‑25N, 12‑00W, and scuttled.

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French destroyer FOUDROYANT had arrived at Casablanca on 13 September with convoy 9.B of steamers STRASBOURGEOIS, MAROC, JUMIEGES and POITIERS after leaving Brest on the 7th October, as well as SAINT NAZAIRE, escorted by sloop CHEVREUIL after leaving Quiberon, also on the 7th.

 

Quite separately, destroyer BOURRASQUE reached Casablanca on the 17th with convoy 3.K of steamers MARRAKECH and KERGUELEN. They had left Le Verdon on the 13th. Both destroyers then departed Casablanca and arrived at Gibraltar on this date.

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Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE departed Hong Kong for Singapore and duty with the 4th Cruiser Squadron in the East Indies Station. She left Singapore on the 22nd for Colombo.

 

 

Friday, 20 October

 

Light cruisers COLOMBO and DELHI departed Sullom Voe for Northern Patrol.

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Light cruiser DRAGON departed Sullom Voe for Northern Patrol and arrived back on the 25th.

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Two light cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Shetlands and the Faroes, light cruiser COLOMBO and AMCs AURANIA, CALIFORNIA, CHITRAL between the Faroes and Iceland, and light cruiser SHEFFIELD and AMCs SCOTSTOUN, RAWALPINDI, TRANSYLVANIA in the Denmark Strait.

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While escorting convoy BC.10S with destroyer VIVACIOUS from Quiberon Bay to Barry, destroyer MONTROSE attacked a submarine contact in 52‑16N, 4‑36W.

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Convoy FN.24 departed Southend. Shortly after, escorting sloop PELICAN was damaged when she struck submerged wreckage. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 22nd.

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Convoy FS.24 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer BROKE, sloops BITTERN and ENCHANTRESS, and arrived at Southend on the 22nd.

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U.34 sank steamer SEA VENTURE (2327grt) east of the Shetlands in 60‑50N, 00‑15E and Swedish steamer GUSTAF ADOLF (926grt) 50 miles NE of Sullom Voe in 61‑00N, 00‑48E. All the crew of GUSTAF ADOLF were rescued, while the survivors from SEA VENTURE rowed in their lifeboats to a nearby island.

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German auxiliary patrol boat Vp.701 (trawler ESTE, 426grt) was sunk on a mine between Moen and Falsterbo.

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German steamer BIANCA (1375grt) had departed Rotterdam pre-war for Lisbon, called at El Ferrol and refuelled in an attempt to return to Germany before the start of the war. She reached Reykjavik on 7 September and remained there until 18 October when she made her attempt. At 1150/20th in the Denmark Strait, in 67‑29N, 22‑15W, she was captured by armed merchant cruiser TRANSYLVANIA, taken to Kirkwall by a prize crew commanded by Lt Cdr D M MacLean RNR, and renamed EMPIRE WARRIOR in British service.

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Greek steamer OMONIA (3699grt) was seized in the Baltic by German warships, taken to Swinemünde and later renamed OLSA for German use.

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Light cruiser CARADOC arrived at Bermuda, and left the same day for Kingston, Jamaica.

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Light cruiser DESPATCH departed Bermuda and arrived at Kingston on the 26th.

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Light cruiser GALATEA departed Alexandria, reached Malta on the 27th, left again on the 28th and arrived back at Alexandria on the 30th.

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Light cruiser DURBAN departed Mauritius for Colombo to examine the Cargados, Caarajos and Chagos groups for German activity.

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The Admiralty ordered destroyers HOTSPUR and HAVOCK from the South America Station to the West Indies.

 

 

Saturday, 21 October

 

The crew of the Norwegian steamer LORENTZ W HANSEN arrived on Norwegian tanker KONGSDAL (9959grt) at Kirkwall and brought news proving that both German pocket battleships ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE and DEUTSCHLAND were at sea. It had been thought that all the sinkings to date had been due to a single battleship.

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Light cruisers GLASGOW and NEWCASTLE, at sea since the 12th, were sent to escort convoy KJ.3, then en route from the West Indies. They detached on the 24th and the convoy arrived at Land's End on the 25th. NEWCASTLE reached Portsmouth on the 26th and GLASGOW on the 27th.

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Destroyer FORESIGHT was boiler cleaning at Scapa Flow until the 26th.

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Anti-aircraft cruisers CAIRO and CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on escort duty and arrived back the same day.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY departed Immingham to support a convoy under air attack, and at sea, joined sister ships CAIRO and CALCUTTA with the convoy, which was escorted to Flamborough Head. COVENTRY experienced a steering gear defect and returned to Immingham, docking on the 26th for repairs completed on 14 November. She then left next day for duty at Sullom Voe.

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Four former British anti-submarine trawlers arrived at Brest for duty as the French 13th Patrol Squadron. They were CANCALAISE (ex-ST AMANDUS, LV R R L Birot), HAVRAISE (ex-ST ATTALUS, EV Harduin), LORIENTAISE (ex-ST ANDRONICUS, LV F Drogou) and NANTAISE (ex-ST ARCADIUS, LV L M A Jaume). They went into service on 17 January 1940.

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German steamer GLORIA (5896grt), which had departed Buenos Aires on the 6th, was captured by light cruiser SHEFFIELD on Northern Patrol in the Denmark Strait, six to ten miles off the north coast of Iceland in 65‑30N, 22‑05W. As GLORIA was being taken to Kirkwall by a prize crew commanded by Sub Lt S Phillips, three of her crew escaped in a lifeboat, but were later picked up and landed at Methil on the 28th. GLORIA was renamed EMPIRE CONVEYOR in British service.

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German steamer POSEIDON (5864grt) departed Rio de Janiero on 1 September to return to Germany, but was forced to put into Mar del Plata on the 5th to avoid contact with light cruiser AJAX. She was finally able to leave for Germany on 1 October, but was captured during the afternoon of the 21st by armed merchant cruiser SCOTSTOUN north of Iceland in the Denmark Strait in 67‑08N, 21‑18W. Heavy weather prevented a boarding party from being put aboard at that time, and it was not until the afternoon of the 22nd in 66‑27N, 22‑09W that Py/Lt C W Armstrong RNR and his men were able to go across. SCOTSTOUN then escorted POSEIDON for 29 hours before losing touch in thick snow. Armed merchant cruiser TRANSYLVANIA finally found the missing ship early on the 25th, but she was incapable of steaming, taken in tow and proceeded towards Reykjavik with cruiser SHEFFIELD in company. When Icelandic waters were reached, SHEFFIELD detached and returned to Sullom Voe, being relieved on Northern Patrol by light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON. However, before reaching Reykavik, TRANSYLVANIA’s tow line parted in a gale and she was forced to sink POSEIDON with gunfire on the 27th.

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Light cruiser DIOMEDE departed Sullom Voe for Northern Patrol between Shetlands and Faroes, and arrived back on the 25th.

_____

 

Destroyers KELLY and KINGSTON arrived at Loch Ewe for operations with the Home Fleet.

_____

 

Destroyer VALOROUS attacked a submarine contact six to seven miles east of Scarborough.

_____

 

Minesweeper/escort vessel JASON attacked a submarine contact 2 miles 105° from South Rock Light Vessel, Belfast.

_____

 

Convoy OA.23 of 15 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers ACASTA and ARDENT from the 21st to 23rd, and the convoy dispersed on the 26th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.23 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VOLUNTEER and VERSATILE, which detached to KJ.3 on the 24th.

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French steamer CAPITAINE EDMOND LABORIE (3087grt) was sunk two miles E of Inner Dowsing Light Vessel on a mine laid by U.19 on the 17th.

 

Norwegian steamer DEODATA (3295grt) was sunk 1˝ miles off Inner Dowsing Light Vessel in 53-19.50N, 00-38.20E, by a mine laid by U.19 on the 17th, without the loss of any crew.

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Steamer ORSA (1478grt) was sunk 15 miles 150° from Flamborough by a mine laid by U.15 on 6 September, with the loss of 16 crew.

_____

 

Light cruiser DAUNTLESS departed Aden en route to Colombo, and was ordered to examine the Cargados, Carajos, Chagos groups for German activity.

_____

 

Hunter Force M with French heavy cruisers DUPLEIX and FOCH, and Force N with French battlecruiser STRASBOURG and British aircraft carrier HERMES, were reassigned to cover the Dakar to Pernambuco route:

 

(1) Force X, which became effective in mid-November, consisted of HERMES, DUPLEIX and FOCH, while

 

(2) Force Y had STRASBOURG, with French light cruiser DUGUAY TROUIN and the British NEPTUNE.

 

 

Sunday, 22 October

 

American merchant ship CITY OF FLINT, captured by German pocket battleship DEUTSCHLAND on the 9th, arrived at Murmansk.

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Light cruisers DUNEDIN, DELHI and CALYPSO departed Sullom Voe for the Northern Patrol, CALYPSO proceeding to the Iceland-Faroes Channel. This brought the numbers of ships on patrol to two cruisers between the Shetlands and the Faroes, four cruisers between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.

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Destroyer JAVELIN was badly damaged at 0200 in collision with steamer MOIDART (1262grt) off Whitby. Destroyer AFRIDI, escorting convoy FN.24 nearby, was sent to assist, and two tugs and two anti-submarine trawlers left the Tyne at 0400. JAVELIN was towed by destroyer JUPITER to Middlesbrough and repaired until 1 January.

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Convoy FN.25 departed Southend and escorting destroyer GURKHA attacked a submarine at 2130 contact 13 miles 68° from Orfordness on the 22nd. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 24th.

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Convoy FS.25 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers MAORI, WHITEHEAD and sloop WESTON and arrived at Southend on the 24th.

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Admiral Forbes arrived at Loch Ewe with the Main Fleet at 0800.

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Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruiser HOOD, and destroyers INTREPID, IVANHOE, ICARUS, KELLY and KINGSTON sortied from Loch Ewe at 1830/22nd to cover the movement of convoy NV.1 of twelve British iron ore ships from Narvik.

 

Destroyers IMPULSIVE left Plymouth on the 23rd, reached Scapa Flow on the 25th, and left next day to join Forbes at sea, KINGSTON detached from the force to Scapa Flow with defects, and FIREDRAKE joined on the 29th.

 

Light cruisers EDINBURGH departed Rosyth on the 23rd and joined the escort off Muckle Flugga at noon on the 24th, and AURORA departed Loch Ewe, also on the 23rd, and joined off the Norwegian coast at 0130/26th. Destroyers SOMALI, ASHANTI, TARTAR and FAME also joined from Scapa Flow.

 

En route to the Firth of Forth, destroyer FAME and two merchant ships were detached to join an Atlantic convoy.

 

At 0630/30th, SOMALI depth charged a submarine contact near Kinnaird Head in 57‑45N, 1‑02W. TARTAR also joined in the attack before catching up with ASHANTI which by now was shepherding the convoy away from the area. FAME later rejoined, stood guard on the contact which remained stationary and dropped more depth charges at 0915/30th. NV.1 arrived safely on the 31st.

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Convoy BC.12 of steamers ANGLIAN COAST, BALTRADER, BARON NAIRN, CISCAR, CITY OF KEELUNG (Commodore), CLAN MONROE, DEVON COAST, FABIAN, KERMA, MARGALAU, PACIFIC COAST, PIZARRO, RONAN, TREVERBYN and YEWMOUNT departed the Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer EXPRESS and WESSEX, and arrived safely in the Loire on the 24th.

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Convoy AXS.2 of one steamer departed Fowey, escorted by destroyer WAKEFUL, and reached Brest on the 24th.

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German destroyers MAX SCHULTZ, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK, HANS LODY, BERND VON ARNIM and ERICH GIESE carried out an anti-shipping sweep in the Skagerrak from the 22nd to 24th.

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U.16 laid mines in the Straits of Dover, on which one auxiliary minesweeper was sunk.

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Destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT departed Gibraltar for Alexandria on the 15th and after calling there, returned to Gibraltar. Sister ships GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM, also sailing from Alexandria to Gibraltar, called at Toulon on the 18th, after which all four left Gibraltar on the 19th for the UK. En route they were ordered to search for a lifeboat from CLAN CHISHOLM (7256grt), lost on the 17th, and reached Plymouth on the 22nd. Assigned to duty at Harwich, they were due to be joined by Polish destroyers GROM, BURZA and BLYSKAWICA.

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Convoy HG.4 of 41 ships left Gibraltar, escorted by destroyers GRENVILLE, GIPSY and minesweeper LEDA, and by French destroyers BOURRASQUE and FOUDROYANT from the 22nd until their arrival at Brest on the 29th. Destroyers WISHART and VIDETTE provided local escort, detached on the 23rd and patrolled off Cadiz. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 29th, with GRENVILLE, GIPSY and LEDA arriving on the 30th.

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French battlecruiser DUNKERQUE, light cruisers GEORGES LEYGUES, GLOIRE, MONTCALM and large destroyers MOGADOR, VOLTA, L'INDOMPTABLE, LE MALIN and LA TRIOMPHANT left Brest, escorted in the local approaches by destroyers CYCLONE and MISTRAL, which arrived back on the 25th. The main force then patrolled the Antilles-English Channel route, to cover the movement of convoy KJ.4 until the 30th when they arrived back at Brest.

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Heavy cruiser YORK departed Halifax to support convoy HX.5 which had left on the 17th, and to search for German battleship DEUTSCHLAND.

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Light cruiser ENTERPRISE departed Halifax on patrol duties and arrived back on the 29th.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK departed Alexandria and arrived at Malta on the 23rd.

_____

 

Australian light cruiser PERTH departed Bermuda.

_____

 

German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE sank steamer TREVANION (5299grt) in the South Atlantic in 19‑40S, 04‑02E.

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German steamer EMMY FRIEDRICH (4372grt) departed Tampico, Mexico, during the night of the 19th/20th to act as a supply ship for German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE. Allied warships began a search for her in the Gulf of Mexico, and joined by US aircraft carrier RANGER (CV.4) as part of the Neutrality Patrol, in the Caribbean. Light cruiser ORION, which departed Kingston on the 21st and Canadian destroyer SAGUENAY sighted EMMY FRIEDRICH on the 22nd in the Yucatan Channel and she turned away, back into the Gulf of Mexico. The contact report from ORION enabled light cruiser CARADOC, which departed Bermuda on the 20th, to intercept her early on the 23rd. EMMY FRIEDRICH was scuttled and CARADOC picked up her crew of 33 and took them to Bermuda, arriving on the 27th. ORION got back to Kingston on the 26th.

 

 

23 October, Monday

 

Aircraft carrier FURIOUS and battlecruiser REPULSE with destroyers BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, FORESTER, FIREDRAKE left Loch Ewe for the Clyde, arriving on the 25th.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW and destroyers FURY, FOXHOUND, FEARLESS and MASHONA departed Loch Ewe for Scapa Flow. The destroyers were assigned for convoy escort.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Loch Ewe for Northern Patrol and arrived back on the 26th.

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Light cruiser AURORA sailed from Loch Ewe and destroyers SOMALI, ASHANTI, TARTAR and FAME from Scapa Flow to escort an iron ore convoy from Narvik.

_____

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH departed Rosyth to rendezvous with Commodore D in light cruiser AURORA 20 miles north of Muckle Flugga.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Grimsby on escort duties, and arrived back on the 25th.

_____

 

Destroyer GALLANT attacked a submarine contact 90° off the Lizard, and was joined in the search by destroyers KANDAHAR, ACASTA, ARDENT, which made an attack 20 miles south of Portland. At 0828/23rd, ACASTA was missed by a torpedo in 49-48N, 5-22W, and on the 24th, she and ARDENT were searching for a reported submarine in 49-30N, 4-45W.

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Convoy OA.24G departed Southend escorted by destroyers ESCORT and ELECTRA, while OB.24G departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC and WARWICK. They merged on the 26th as OG.4.

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Convoy SA.14 of two steamers left Southampton, escorted by destroyers VANSITTART and VENOMOUS, and arrived at Brest on the 24th.

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A Roc fighter of 803 Squadron from aircraft carrier FURIOUS, but based ashore and flying from Hatston, failed to return from patrol off Wick. Petty Officer L R Tregillis and Naval Airman R E Eason were lost.

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Convoy SL.6 departed Freetown escorted by destroyers HYPERION and HUNTER, which left the convoy at 0400/26th to take twelve ships into Dakar where they arrived at 0700/27th. Before then, on the 26th, French light cruiser DUGUAY TROUIN left Dakar to join SL.6 on the 27th, not arriving back until 2 November, while destroyer GRIFFIN left Gibraltar on the 30th and joined on 8 November in Home Waters, escorting the convoy to the UK. In the Western Approaches, the convoy split into SL.6, escorted by destroyers ELECTRA and ESCORT, and SL.6B, escorted by WALPOLE and VANOC, the latter transferring to SL.6 on 8 November. Dispersed ships of the main convoy arrived at Liverpool starting on the 10th.

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German steamer CURITYBA (4969grt) sighted Norwegian destroyer DRAUG off Bergen where she arrived on the 24th. Setting out again, she arrived via Drogden, at Hamburg on the 30th.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser BERWICK departed Bermuda, and arrived back on the 26th for docking where she underwent repairs until 3 November.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser SHROPSHIRE departed Capetown on escort duty, and arrived back on the 24th.

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U.37 conducted a reconnaissance of the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of the 23rd/24th.

 

 

Tuesday, 24 October

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE departed Sheerness for the Humber to lay mines in the North Sea in Operation AD, arriving on the 25th at Grimsby. From there, she laid mines, escorted by two destroyers and minesweeper SPHINX, off Flamborough Head in operations completed on the 29th.

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON departed Sullom Voe for patrol SE of Norway, arrived at Scapa Flow on 6 November, then left for Rosyth, arriving on the 7th.

_____

 

Submarine PORPOISE arrived at Chatham for refitting completed on 18 January.

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On Northern Patrol were light cruiser CALYPSO and one other cruiser between the Faroes and the Orkneys, two cruisers between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait. Light cruisers COLOMBO and DRAGON had departed Sullom Voe on the 20th, DIOMEDE on the 21st, and DUNEDIN, DELHI, CALYPSO on the 22nd. DIOMEDE, DRAGON, CALEDON, COLOMBO, CARDIFF called there to refuel and left on the 25th. The armed merchant cruisers at sea were CHITRAL, SCOTSTOUN and TRANSYLVANIA.

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U-boats were deployed against the British Fleet west of the Orkneys from 21 October to 10 November - U.59 had left Wilhelmshaven on the 21st and returned on 9 November, U.56 and U.58 on the 22nd, returning on 10 November, and U.57 on the 24th, returning on 4 November.

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U.16 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 17th, and after completing a minelay off Dover, was detected by the St Margaret's Bay indicator loop station. Attacked by patrol sloop PUFFIN and anti-submarine trawler CAYTON WYKE (373grt), she was damaged and as she evaded further attacks, struck a mine and was even more badly damaged forward of the conning tower, running aground on the Goodwin Sands in 51‑09N, 01‑28E. The body of an officer was picked up off Folkestone by minesweeping trawler ST MELANTE (358grt), and on the same day U.16 was discovered with only the conning tower above water and the crew all dead. The 28 bodies of the crew were removed and taken to Dover for interment.

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Destroyer GURKHA, escorting FN.25, attacked a submarine contact 13 miles 68° from Orfordness.

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Convoy FN.26 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 26th.

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Convoy FS.26 departed Methil,and reached Southend on the 26th.

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Greek steamer KONSTANTINOS HADJIPATERAS (5962grt) was sunk off Inner Dowsing Light Vessel in 53-20-57N, 0-36-54E on a mine laid by U.19 on the 17th; four crew were lost and 27 saved.

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Finnish steamer RHEA (1424grt) was seized in the Baltic by German warships and taken to Kiel.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and battlecruiser RENOWN arrived at Freetown for refuelling, departing again on the 28th on patrol.

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U.37 sank three steamers to the west of Gibraltar - LEDBURY (3528grt) 100 miles off without the loss of any crew, MENIN RIDGE (2474grt) 90 miles off in 36‑01N, 07‑22W with the loss of 20, and TAFNA (4413grt) 84 miles off in 35‑44N, 07‑23W with the loss of two. All LEDBURY’s survivors and five from MENIN RIDGE were picked up by American steamer CROWN CITY (5428grt). Destroyer DOUGLAS, which was ordered from Gibraltar with KEPPEL, WATCHMAN and VIDETTE to search for the submarine, picked up 31 survivors from TAFNA and took them to Gibraltar. A London seaplane of RAF 202 Squadron also arrived to rescue survivors, landed in the sea but unable to take off, was towed to Gibraltar by DOUGLAS. A submarine contact was attacked by KEPPEL in 36-03N, 7-33W, and by WATCHMAN in 36-03N, 7-18W. The search continued until the 25th.

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Destroyers GRENADE and GRIFFIN departed Gibraltar to escort convoy SL.5, but GRIFFIN was ordered back to stand by for SL.6. She arrived there on the 26th and departed with the convoy on the 30th.

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German trawler SATURN (194grt) was sunk in a collision near Kiel.

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Australian light cruiser PERTH departed Kingston, and in 42‑25N, 43‑08W intercepted signals from a German warship. She altered course to intercept, but no contact was made. Halifax was reached on the 28th.

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Convoy HXF.6 departed Halifax at 0800, escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT, with battleship REVENGE as ocean escort. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 2 November.

 

 

Wednesday, 25 October

 

German steamer RHEINGOLD (5055grt), which had departed Bahia on 27 September, was captured in the Iceland-Faroes Channel by light cruiser DELHI, west of the Orkneys in 64‑00N, 11‑40W. RHEINGOLD arrived at Kirkwall with the prize crew, commanded by Lt Cdr FG Emley, on the 27th and later renamed EMPIRE MARINER for British service. DELHI arrived at Sullom Voe on the 28th.

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Light cruisers COLOMBO, CARDIFF, CALEDON departed Sullom Voe, with CARDIFF and CALEDON arriving back on the 31st.

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Two cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, four cruisers between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait. Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON was sailing to relieve sister ship SHEFFIELD in the Denmark Strait.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Grimsby for Harwich, and arrived on the 26th.

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Destroyer MASHONA was docked at Newcastle for repairs from 25 October to 10 November.

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Destroyer PUNJABI brought Panamanian tanker PHOEBUS (8863grt) into the Clyde, but after examination, she was allowed to continue.

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Destroyer FURY was damaged by heavy weather, and repaired in the Clyde, completing on 17 November.

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Convoy OA.25 of 19 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers ANTELOPE and VISCOUNT from the 25th to 28th.

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Convoy OB.25 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WHIRLWIND and WALPOLE until the 28th.

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Convoy BC.11 of steamers ADJUTANT, BALTARA, BARON CARNEGIE, BATNA, BLACKHEATH, BOTHNIA, BRIARWOOD, COXWOLD, ERATO, FRAMLINGTON COURT, HARMATTAN, JADE, LLARNARTH, LOCHEE, LOTTIE R, LURIGETHAN, MARSLEW, NIGERIAN (Commodore) and PEMBROKE COAST departed the Loire escorted by destroyer EXPRESS, and arrived safely in the Bristol Channel on the 28th.

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At 0600/25th, a convoy departed Portsmouth consisting of submarine TRIDENT for Oban, steamer BONIFACE (4928 tons), and base ships MANCHESTER CITY and MASHOBRA, escorted by destroyers SALADIN, VANSITTART, VENOMOUS and SCIMITAR as far west as the Eddystone Light. Destroyer VANESSA relieved the Portsmouth destroyers at 1650 and was joined by sister ship VIVACIOUS after a short delay. On the 27th, TRIDENT and VIVACIOUS detached to Oban.

 

Destroyer WIVERN had escorted convoy SL.4A into Dover with trawlers ARCTIC RANGER and KINGSTON CORNELIAN, before leaving Southend on the 27th in company with destroyer WITCH as escort to convoy OA.26. When a submarine was reported, WIVERN was detached to search for what was later determined to be TRIDENT.

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Destroyer VIVIEN completed conversion to fast escort ship, and following working up, was attached to Convoy C in the Rosyth Command.

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French battlecruiser STRASBOURG, heavy cruisers ALGÉRIE, DUPLEIX, destroyers LE TERRIBLE and LE FANTASQUE and British aircraft carrier HERMES departed Dakar to carry out a sweep to the southwest. They arrived back on the 29th.

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Convoy HX.6 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT. They detached on the 27th and the convoy continued with battleship RESOLUTION as ocean escort. On 6 November, destroyers WHIRLWIND and WARWICK joined HX.6 from OB.29, and destroyers GRENVILLE, GRENADE, GIPSY and GLOWWORM from Plymouth. Next day, RESOLUTION, GRENVILLE and GRENADE detached to Devonport, and the convoy reached Liverpool on the 10th.

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Battleship RAMILLIES and destroyers DAINTY, DIANA, DEFENDER departed Alexandria on a 15-inch gun shoot, with the Queen Bee target operated from light cruiser PENELOPE. The exercise was repeated on the 27th with the same ships less DAINTY.

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Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE departed Colombo on patrol duties, and arrived back on the 28th.

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Three U-boats were assigned for operations in the Mediterranean between 25 October and 15 November – U.25 which departed Wilhelmshaven on the 18th October, U.53 on the 23rd, and U.26 on the 26th. Only U.26 was able to enter the Mediterranean for a patrol lasting from 8 to 18 November. A planned minelay off Gibraltar was prevented by gales, and at 0015 and 0150/12th she carried out attacks off Oran. Then at 0300/13th, she claimed to have sunk a steamer in 36-16N, 2-13W, but this is not confirmed. However French steamer LOIRE (4285grt) departed Oran for Dunkirk on 12 November and was not heard from again, possibly a victim of U.26, which arrived back at Wilhelmshaven on 5 December. Of the other two submarines, U.53 left her patrol area off Gibraltar on 13 November to refuel, and U.25 after patrolling off Gibraltar, reached Wilhelmshaven on 27 November in a damaged condition.

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German steamer SANTA FE (4627grt), which had departed Rio de Janiero on the 13th, was captured in 5N, 34W by French large destroyers LE FANTASQUE and LE TERRIBLE, supported by Force M heavy cruiser DUPLEIX. Battlecruiser STRASBOURG, British aircraft carrier HERMES, heavy cruisers ALGÉRIE, DUPLEIX together with LE FANTASQUE and LE TERRIBLE put to sea from Dakar to search for SANTA FE from the 23rd to 29th. She was renamed SAINT ANDRE in French service, but returned to German service after the fall of France.

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German steamer TOGO (5042grt) departed Duala, and evading patrols by French submarines AJAX and CENTAURE in the vicinity, reached Hamburg on 23 November.

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Destroyers THANET and THRACIAN laid mines off Hong Kong in the West Lamma and North Lantau Channels, and again on the 26th and 27th. THANET carried out a lay southwest of Papai Island on the 31st.

 

 

Thursday, 26 October

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE and aircraft carrier FURIOUS, escorted by destroyers FORESTER, FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE departed the Clyde at 0430 to cover the Atlantic convoy routes, including Halifax convoys already at sea. Following these convoys' safe passage, they were stationed to the south and the east of Newfoundland to continue covering the route, the destroyers arriving back in the Clyde on the 28th.

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Two cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and AMC TRANSYLVANIA in the Denmark Strait. Meanwhile, light cruiser SHEFFIELD was returning to Sullom Voe. From the 13th to 26th, Northern Patrol sighted 56 eastbound ships, sent 53 into Kirkwall for inspection and dealt with six German merchant ships.

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Light cruiser BELFAST arrived at Clyde for Refitting completed on 8 November.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Harwich and arrived at Grimsby on the 27th.

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Destroyer KASHMIR (Cdr H A King) completed, and after working up at Portland, joined the 5th Destroyer Flotilla operating with the Home Fleet on 12 November.

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Convoy FN.27 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 28th. There was no FN.28.

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Convoy FS.27 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers JUNO, WALLACE, WHITLEY and sloop STORK, reaching Southend on the 28th.

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Swedish steamer JUPITER (2152grt) was seized in the Baltic by German warships and taken to Kiel.

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Greek steamer MARIETTA NOMIKOU (5241grt) was seized in the Baltic by German warships and taken to Pillau.

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Convoy OG.4, totalling 40 ships, was formed from OA.24G, escorted by destroyers ESCORT and ELECTRA, and OB.24G which departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WARWICK and VANOC. The convoy safely arrived at Gibraltar on 1 November, escorted by French destroyers CHACAL and MISTRAL, which departed Brest on the 26th and joined on the 27th.

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Destroyer DUCHESS abandoned her Kithera patrol 24 hours early to take an injured man to Malta.

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Convoy Blue 6 of 15 ships departed Port Said and proceeded without escort.

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MTB.11 was accidentally hit by a round from a 6-inch shore battery at Hong Kong, fired to warn her to keep clear of a newly mined area. She was towed into harbour between MTB.9 and MTB.10.

 

 

Friday, 27 October

 

Two cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, one cruiser between the Faroes and Iceland with three cruisers en route to the area, and one light cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait. Between 27 October to 9 November, 26 eastbound ships were sighted and 20 sent into Kirkwall for inspection. Light cruisers COLOMBO and DIOMEDE departed Sullom Voe for Northern Patrol duties, both arriving back on 3 November.

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Light cruiser CERES departed Plymouth for duty with the Northern Patrol, and arrived at Kirkwall on the 31st.

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

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Submarine TRIDENT departed Oban for patrol off the west coast, and arrived at Rosyth on 11 November.

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Convoy OA.26 of nine ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers WITCH and WIVERN from 27 October to 2 November.

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Convoy OB.26 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WITHERINGTON until the 30 October.

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U.24 laid mines in Hartlepool Bay, on which one steamer was sunk.

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U.34 badly damaged steamer BRONTE (5317grt) from convoy OB.25, west of Ireland in 49‑30N, 12‑15W ; no crew were lost. U.34 also attacked another merchant ship but did no damage. Destroyers WHIRLWIND dropped depth charges on the 28th on a contact near the convoy, and WALPOLE of the escort also searched. BRONTE was taken in tow by tug ENGLISHMAN, but on the 30th, destroyer ESK of the 12th Destroyer Flotilla from Plymouth scuttled her in 50-07N, 10-36W.

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French large destroyer VAUQUELIN departed Casablanca escorting submarine CENTAURE, and arrived at Brest on the 30th.

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Heavy cruisers SUSSEX and SHROPSHIRE departed Simonstown and Capetown respectively, to sweep towards St Helena. They returned to Capetown on 7 November.

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Light cruiser CAPETOWN departed Malta on patrol, and arrived back on 3 November.

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Destroyers HUNTER and HYPERION arrived at Dakar at 0700/27th, refuelled and sailed to Trinidad.

 

 

Saturday, 28 October

 

Two British cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers on patrol between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and two armed merchant cruisers in the Denmark Strait.

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A British submarine anti-invasion patrol off the Dogger Bank was in effect from 29 October to 6 November. L 26, STARFISH, SUNFISH and THISTLE, departed Rosyth on patrol on the 28th. There they were joined by CACHALOT and SEAL, which had already come directly from Portsmouth, also departing on the 28th, and by SEALION, SALMON and SHARK, again sailing from Portsmouth. UNDINE, which had left Rosyth on the 22nd, was ordered to reconnoiter north from Heligoland. Her patrol ended on 4 November.

 

Other submarines on patrol, all of which departed Rosyth on the dates given, were - L 27 on the 20th, off Utvaer; L.23 on the 21st, off the southwest coast of Norway; and SEAWOLF on the 26th and URSULA on the 28th, both in the Skagerrak. UNDINE assumed patrol off Horns Reef.

 

TRIAD, which had departed Rosyth on the 14th, returned to Blyth and SEAHORSE, also from Rosyth but on the 17th returned there on the 31st as this deployment began.

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Destroyer FORESTER arrived in the Clyde for repairs which were completed on 23 November.

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Convoy FS.28 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers MAORI, WHITEHALL and sloops GRIMSBY and WESTON, and arrived at Southend on the 30th. There was no convoy FN.28.

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U.31 laid mines in Loch Ewe during the night of the 27th/28th, on which two auxiliary minesweepers were sunk and battleship NELSON badly damaged.

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U.59 sank trawlers ST NIDAN (565grt) and LYNX II (250grt) northwest of the Orkneys in 59‑50N, 04‑20W; the entire crews of both trawlers being saved by trawler LADY HOGARTH (472grt). Destroyers ESKIMO, MATABELE and BEDOUIN were involved in searching for the submarine.

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Destroyers ZULU and GURKHA attacked a submarine contact off St Abbs Head.

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Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA attacked a submarine contact off the Mull of Galloway in 54-45N, 5-12W.

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Patrol sloop SHELDRAKE and aircraft were searching for a reported submarine off Oban, which was in fact British submarine TRIDENT.

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Destroyers EXMOUTH and GREYHOUND were attempting to intercept a reported submarine in the Western Approaches.

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German destroyers MAX SCHULTZ, FRIEDRICH IHN and ERICH STEINBRINCK of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla and BERND VON ARNIM, HANS LODY and KARL GALSTER of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla attempted a shipping sweep into the Skagerrak. However, they encountered heavy weather and were forced to abandon it. SCHULTZ was badly damaged by the weather and mechanical breakdown, lost power and IHN and STEINBRINCK unsuccessfully attempted to tow her. However, SCHULTZ was finally able to regain partial power and returned to Wilhelmshaven for repairs completed in late January 1940.

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In operations in the Indian Ocean, a Swordfish of 825 Squadron from aircraft carrier GLORIOUS was lost in a forced landing at sea; the crew were rescued.

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Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM departed Singapore for patrol in the Sunda Strait, was relieved by light cruiser DAUNTLESS on 4 November, and arrived back at Singapore on the 7th.

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Light cruiser DANAE arrived at Simonstown, escorting troopship ATHLONE CASTLE (25564grt) from St Helena where they departed on the 22nd.

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Light cruisers DAUNTLESS and DURBAN departed Colombo and arrived at Singapore on the 31st.

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Australian light cruiser HOBART departed Singapore on patrol, and arrived back on 4 November.

 

 

Sunday, 29 October

 

Destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, JUNO, JERSEY, JUPITER, JACKAL departed the Humber on operation AG. They swept off the Dutch coast, but made no contact with enemy shipping, although JERSEY was near missed by German bombing. The ships arrived back in the Humber on the 30th.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD arrived at Rosyth for refit, and departed on 9 November.

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Light cruisers CARDIFF and CALEDON were on Northern Patrol duties between the Orkneys and the Faroes, light cruisers DRAGON, DIOMEDE, COLOMBO between the Faroes and Iceland, and light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL and AURANIA in the Denmark Strait.

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

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The 22nd Destroyer Flotilla was formed at Harwich for East Coast Defence with destroyers EXMOUTH, KEITH and the Polish BURZA, GROM and BLYSKAWICA. On the 31st, destroyers ILEX, ISIS, IMPERIAL joined after completing repairs. The Flotilla was briefly composed of EXMOUTH as leader, ILEX, ISIS, IMPERIAL in the 43rd Division and KEITH and the three Polish ships in the 44th Division.

 

ILEX and ISIS were at Harwich at the end of the month and IMPERIAL at Plymouth preparing to depart. ILEX and ISIS departed Harwich on 2 November, arrived at Plymouth on the 3rd and departed the same day for Gibraltar to escort battleship WARSPITE. After this duty, they arrived at Scapa Flow on the 14th. Meanwhile IMPERIAL departed for Harwich on 1 November, but was ordered to Scapa Flow for duty with the Home Fleet, arriving on the 4th.

 

Captain R S Benson (D.12) in EXMOUTH was named Captain of the 22nd Flotilla on 2 November and continued in this capacity until the 11th, when he and EXMOUTH returned to Devonport.

 

Destroyer BOADICEA joined the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla on 5 November.

 

The three I's of the 22th Destroyer Flotilla and all the destroyers, except BOADICEA, of the 23th Destroyer Flotilla were released on 5 November to return to their respective commands. The B's returned to the 19th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

On 11 November, Captain G E Creasy in destroyer GRIFFIN was named D.22. On the same day, the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla was composed of GRIFFIN (D.22), GREYHOUND, GIPSY, GLOWWORM, KEITH, BOADICEA and Polish GROM, BURZA, BLYSKAWICA.

 

On the 22nd, GRAFTON and GALLANT replaced KEITH and BOADICEA in the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla.

 

On the 27th, D.22 transferred to submarine depot ship CYCLOPS, on 1 December, to BOADICEA, which had returned to the Flotilla, and on the 5th, to destroyer GRENVILLE, which completed repairs of her collision damage on the 7th.

 

Also, at Harwich, the 23rd Destroyer Flotilla was formed with CODRINGTON (Captain Simson, D.19) as leader, BOADICEA, ANTHONY, VANSITTART, VENOMOUS as the 45th Division, and BASILISK, BLANCHE, BEAGLE, BRAZEN as 46th Division.

 

In addition, destroyers BOREAS, which was repairing at Portsmouth until 13 November, and BRILLIANT were assigned to the 19th Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich.

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Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA attacked a submarine contact in 54‑45N, 5‑12W.

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Convoy OA.27 of thirteen ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers WANDERER and WAKEFUL from the 29th to 31st.

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Convoy OB.28 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VIMY and MACKAY to 1 November.

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U.34 sank steamer MALABAR (7976grt, Commodore Rear Admiral G W Taylor (Rtd) aboard) from convoy HX.5A, 50 miles NW of the Scillies in 49‑57N, 07‑37W; five crew were lost. Destroyer GRAFTON rescued the survivors. U.34 attempted to sink another merchant ship of the convoy without success.

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American steamer CRANFORD (6096grt) and Italian steamer MANZONI (3955grt) collided off Deal with light damage to CRANFORD and extensive damages to MANZONI .

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Battleship WARSPITE departed Alexandria escorted by destroyers DAINTY and DIANA, and arrived at Malta on the 31st. After a brief docking, she left on 4 November with the same escort , which was relieved by destroyers ISIS and ILEX east of Gibraltar on the 6th and WARSPITE arrived at Gibraltar later that day.

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Convoy HG.5 of 40 ships departed Gibraltar escorted by French destroyers FOUGUEUX and L'ADROIT, from 29 October until their arrival at Brest on 6 November, and British destroyers DOUGLAS and VORTIGERN. The convoy arrived at various English ports on the 6th.

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Light cruiser DESPATCH departed Kingston.

 

 

Monday, 30 October

 

Two cruisers were on Northern Patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and three armed merchant cruisers in the Denmark Strait.

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U.59 sank armed boarding vessel NORTHERN ROVER (655grt, Lt M H Macpherson Rtd) on patrol in Fair Island Channel near Kirkwall. She had brought Danish steamer NAJADEN (1963grt) in to Kirkwall for examination on the 30th, left her at the gate and returned to patrol. There was no further contact and she was lost with Lt Macpherson, A/Sub Lt G B Grey, RNR, T/Lt A E White, RNVR, T/Sub Lt G A R Darlow, RNVR and twenty three ratings.

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Destroyers GRENVILLE and GIPSY of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla arrived at Plymouth after departing Alexandria on the 14th, reaching Malta on the 19th, and leaving Gibraltar on the 22nd with convoy HG.4.

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As Admiral Forbes was returning to Loch Ewe after escorting a group of iron ore ships from Narvik to the Firth of Forth, battleships NELSON and RODNEY, battlecruiser HOOD, and destroyers ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, IVANHOE, INTREPID and KELLY ran into a U-boat line west of the Orkneys. U.56 fired three torpedoes at NELSON and while all three struck the target, none exploded. U-boats U.57, U.58, U.59, also in the area, did not contact the Home Fleet units. Admiral Forbes arrived back at Loch Ewe on the 31st without further interference.

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Convoy BC.13S of fifteen ships, including DELIUS (Commodore), GRETA FORCE, GWENTHILLS and SANDHILL departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyers EXPRESS and VIVACIOUS, and safely arrived in Quiberon Bay on 1 November.

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Convoy AXS 3 of one steamer departed Fowey, escorted by destroyer VESPER, and arrived at Brest on the 31st.

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Convoy SA.15 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by destroyers SCIMITAR and SARDONYX, and arrived at Brest on the 31st.

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Convoy FN.29 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on 1 November.

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Convoy FS.29 departed Methil escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloops BITTERN and FLEETWOOD, and arrived at Southend on 1 November.

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U.13 torpedoed steamer CAIRNMONA (4666grt) out of convoy HX.5B west of the Orkneys in 57‑38N, 01‑45W. She was taken in tow by tug ENGLISHMAN, and sank, still in tow at 1638/30th. Three crew were killed.

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U.37 sank Greek steamer THRASYVOULOS (3693grt) in 49‑25N, 11‑18W; twenty two crew were missing and six survivors rescued by Norwegian steamer HAVMOY (1342grt).

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Heavy cruiser EXETER arrived in the Falkland Island after leaving her patrol on the South American east coast on the 27th.

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Light cruiser ORION departed Kingston, and arrived back on 8 November.

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On the 30th, the 8th Submarine Flotilla was formed at Colombo with submarines OLYMPUS, OTUS and ODIN under the command of Commander S M Raw for operations against German raiders and supply ships thought to be operating in the Indian Ocean. The three submarines departed Singapore on the 24th and arrived at Colombo. Submarine REGENT departed Singapore to join the Flotilla on the 30th. However, on arrival at Colombo, she was found to have defects and was ordered back to Singapore. She departed Colombo on 6 November and arrived back on the 11th. The final submarine of the Flotilla, ORPHEUS, was under repair at Hong Kong, left there on 5 December and joined them at Colombo on the 14th.

 

 

Tuesday, 31 October

 

Light cruisers CALYPSO, DELHI, DUNEDIN departed Sullom Voe. CALYPSO was in a minor collision with Admiralty drifter SEA BREEZE, but there no damage to her, and she arrived back at Sullom Voe on 6 November.

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Three cruisers were on Northern Patrol duties between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers between the Faroes and Iceland, and cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL and AURANIA in the Denmark Strait.

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Light cruiser EDINBURGH began repairs at Rosyth, which were completed on 3 November.

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Light cruisers GLASGOW and NEWCASTLE, escorted by destroyers ANTHONY, BASILISK, BRAZEN departed Portsmouth for Rosyth, and arrived on 1 November.

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Light cruiser CERES departed Kirkwall for Scapa Flow.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW departed Scapa Flow, and arrived at Rosyth on the 31st.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Grimsby, and arrived back on 1 November.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Grimsby, and arrived back later that same day.

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Convoy OA.28G of 14 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers VENETIA and ACASTA from 31 October to 2 November. Destroyer ARDENT joined the escort on 1 November and remained until the 2nd. On the same day, OA.28G merged with OB.28G, escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and VOLUNTEER to the 3rd, to become OG.5.

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Steamer STARCROSS (4662grt) in a Norwegian convoy off Rattray Head, reported she rammed what she thought was a U-boat. Destroyer BROKE was sent to investigate.

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Coastal steamer KINDIESEL (339grt) reported she was being chased by a submarine in 53‑49N, 0‑11E, and destroyer JUPITER was detached from convoy FS.29 to assist.

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Convoy HXF.7 departed Halifax at 0200 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT. Ocean escort was armed merchant cruiser ASTURIAS, which detached on 11 November. She was in collision with a merchant ship while leaving Halifax, but able to continue. The convoy was joined on 10 November by destroyers ANTELOPE and VISCOUNT from convoy OA.31 and WINCHELSEA and WITHERINGTON from OB.31. The latter remained with the convoy until it arrived at Liverpool on the 12th, the same day ASTURIAS reached the Clyde.

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U.25 sank French steamer BAOULE (5874grt) from convoy 20.K, en route from Casablanca to Brest, in 43‑48N, 09‑08W, 45 miles WNW of Corunna; two crew were killed and eleven missing. U.25 sustained damage to her torpedo hatch caused by the blast of her own gun, and was forced to return to Germany.

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Heavy cruiser SUSSEX on patrol in the South Atlantic lost her Walrus reconnaissance aircraft when it failed to return from patrol. A three and a half day search for the aircraft was set in motion, but the aircraft was never found. The crew of three, pilot Lt (A) S M Bird, observer Lt C H E Osmaston and the telegraphist air gunner, Airman W H Brown, were lost.

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Submarine depot ship MAIDSTONE, escorted by destroyer DEFENDER, departed Alexandria and arrived at Malta on 3 November.

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Convoy SL.7 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MONTCLARE. Destroyer WREN joined the convoy on 16 November and it arrived later that day with both escorts.

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Heavy cruiser KENT departed Hong Kong on patrol, and arrived back on 8 November.

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Heavy cruiser YORK and Australian light cruiser PERTH departed Halifax for Bermuda, and arrived on 5 November. YORK remained for the repair of boiler defects completed on 13 November.

 

 

October, Miscellaneous

 

In mid-October, the 9th Cruiser Squadron of the Freetown Force was reassigned, with light cruiser DESPATCH to the South America Station and ordered to patrol in the Pacific off South America. Sister ships DAUNTLESS, DANAE, DURBAN and the 9th Cruiser Squadron "designation" proceeded to the China Station. After the first of the year, the 9th Squadron command was disbanded and the cruisers assigned to the 5th Cruiser Squadron whose ships had left the China Station.

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British armed merchant cruisers ARAWA and MORETON BAY, following conversion at Sydney, arrived on the China Station in October 1939. Australian armed merchant cruisers KANIMBLA, also following conversion at Sydney, arrived there in November, followed by MANOORA (which commissioned on 12 December 1939 after conversion at Melbourne) in March 1940 and WESTRALIA (which commissioned on 17 January 1940) in April 1940.

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German steamer ANATOLIA (2446grt) had departed Rosario on 25 August for Hamburg, and arrived at Montevideo on 5 September, while steamer NIENBURG (4318grt) had departed Durban on 18 August and arrived at Buenas Aires on 8 September. ANATOLIA joined NIENBURG at Buenos Aires to await the opportunity to escape back to Germany. However, when the Chinese crew members mutinied rather than attempt to break the British blockade, the plans were abandoned. Later, in October 1940, ANATOLIA and NIENBURG were taken over by Argentina and renamed RIO CARCARANA and BELGRANO, respectively.

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At the end of October, the following destroyers were out of service – AFRIDI at Newcastle for repairs, AMAZON at Portsmouth for repairs, ARROW at Portsmouth with defects, BOREAS at Portsmouth for repairs, DIAMOND at Singapore for repairs, DIANA at Malta for repairs, ECHO at Plymouth with damage, ECLIPSE at Plymouth with defects, ENCOUNTER at Plymouth for repairs, FAULKNOR at Clyde for repairs, FORESTER at Clyde with defects, FORTUNE at Clyde for repairs, FURY at Clyde with defects, GARLAND at Malta for repairs, GRAFTON at Plymouth for boiler cleaning, IMOGEN at Liverpool for repairs, INGLEFIELD at Liverpool for repairs, JAVELIN at Middlesbrough for repairs, MASHONA at Tyne for repairs, MOHAWK at Newcastle for repairs, MONTROSE at Plymouth for boiler cleaning, NUBIAN at Southampton with defects, SABRE at Grangemouth for repairs, SIKH at Malta for repairs, VANOC at Liverpool for repairs, VANQUISHER at Plymouth for repairs, VETERAN at Chatham for repairs, VISCOUNT at Plymouth for boiler cleaning, WALKER at Plymouth with defects, WALPOLE at Liverpool for boiler cleaning, WARWICK at Liverpool for repairs, Canadian OTTAWA at Esquimalt refitting, RESTIGOUCHE at Esquimalt refitting, SKEENA at Halifax refitting.

 

on to Naval Events, NOVEMBER 1939
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revised 7/4/12
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