Background Events - September 1939-March 1940
Battle of Atlantic
starts, 'Phoney War' on land, Battle of
Wednesday, 1 November
Destroyers KELLY, ESKIMO, MATABELE, BEDOUIN, FEARLESS
and FOXHOUND refuelled at Sullom Voe and departed on 29 October to search for
American steamer CITY OF FLINT coming down the
Norwegian coast. They fuelled again at Sullom Voe on the 1st to
continue the search.
GLASGOW and NEWCASTLE, after convoy escort in the
Atlantic, departed Portsmouth on 31 October, escorted by
destroyers ANTHONY, BASILISK, BRAZEN, and arrived at Rosyth on the 1st. The
cruisers departed Rosyth that day to provide cover for these
NELSON (above - Navy Photos) (Forbes),
RODNEY, battlecruiser HOOD, and destroyers ICARUS, INTREPID, IVANHOE, IMPULSIVE, FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT,
FORTUNE and PUNJABI departed Loch Ewe at 0930/2nd to provide heavy cover for the
GLASGOW force and for convoy ON.1 which departed Methil on
the 5th. FEARLESS and FOXHOUND of the
CITY OF FLINT operation joined NELSON at
Destroyers FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, IMPERIAL and
KANDAHAR, after refuelling at Scapa Flow on the 4th, departed to
rejoin Forbes on the 5th. Destroyer FAME also departed Scapa Flow on the 5th to join Forbes.
ICARUS and IMPULSIVE were detached for refuelling at Kirkwall on the 7th.
Very early on the 9th, HOOD was detached with
FEARLESS, and passed Dunnet Head westbound as the rest of the fleet turned
south for Rosyth. HOOD arrived for refit at Devonport on the 11th escorted by
destroyers ISIS and ILEX, and completed on the 24th.
CAIRO departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived
back the same day.
Convoy BC.12S of fourteen
ships, including BALTRADER, BARON KINNAIRD, BARON NAIRN, CITY OF KEELUNG (Commodore), CLAN MONROE and TREVERBYN departed the
Loire, escorted by destroyer EXPRESS, and
safely arrived in
the Bristol Channel on the 3rd.
Convoy FN.30 departed
Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 3rd. There was no convoy FN.31.
Convoy FS.30 departed Methil,
escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WHITLEY and sloop STORK, and arrived at
Southend on the 3rd.
Destroyer JUPITER and sloop
FLEETWOOD dropped depth charges on a submarine contact in 52‑28N, 1‑59E.
Destroyers VERSATILE and
VOLUNTEER were submarine hunting in 53‑00N, 5‑00W after a
merchant ship in convoy reported a submarine 10 miles west of Holyhead.
Destroyer BROKE searched for
a submarine reported by D/F, 40 miles east of Buchan Ness in 57-20N, 0-30W.
Sloop GRIMSBY attacked a submarine contact
four miles east of
After a submarine was
reported by British fishermen off
Londonderry, patrol sloops WIDGEON and
SHELDRAKE unsuccessfully searched for it.
Four destroyers from Harwich
were on patrol off Smith's Knoll, NE of Yarmouth, searching for vessels
reportedly cooperating with U-boats.
MIM (4996grt) sent to Kirkwall by
COLOMBO under guard, ran aground on Reef Dyke Skerry,
and broke up the next day. Norwegian steamer HANSI (1028grt) which was going into Kirkwall voluntarily, also
ran aground at the same location; her crew was taken off by Swedish
steamer CASTOR (8714grt).
transferred his flag ashore at Malta from battleship
WARSPITE, which was
preparing to leave his command for the Home Fleet.
Rear Admiral N A Wodehouse
was relieved by Vice Admiral Sir Dudley North on the 1st as Vice Admiral
North Atlantic Station, based at Gibraltar. North departed England on liner
NARKUNDA (16,632grt) on the 10th and arrived at Gibraltar on the 17th.
Destroyer DELIGHT departed
Gibraltar for Marseilles escorting liner LANCASHIRE which had arrived at
Gibraltar in convoy OG.4. The two ships later departed Marseilles on the 6th
and arrived at Malta on the 8th.
French convoys 11.B of
steamers ANDRE MOYRAND, SENNEVILLE, ONTARIOLITE, DJURJURA, DOUAISIEN, ANGE
SCHAIFFINO and CAMBRADSIEN, which departed Brest on 26 October, and convoy 6.X of
steamers PRESCAGEL, PIERRE CLAUDE, PALLAS, OPHELIE and ENSEIGNE MAURICE PRECHAC,
escorted by sloop GAZELLE, from Le Verdon also on 26 October, merged
on the 27th. They were joined by steamer AIN EL TURK, escorted by sloop
COMMANDANT BORY. On 1 November, six steamers from 11.B were taken
into Gibraltar by the two sloops, which returned to the convoy as it
continued on to Casablanca. AIN EL TURK and 6.X
arrived at Casablanca on the 2nd.
departed Panama on patrol.
Destroyers HYPERION, HUNTER,
HOTSPUR and HAVOCK departed Pernambuco for Trinidad. HAVOCK stripped a turbine
and was diverted at sea to Freetown, arriving on the 9th. Destroyer HEREWARD
from Freetown was designated to replace her in the 4th Destroyer Division
on the South America Station. HAVOCK departed Freetown on the 16th with
convoy SL.9 and arrived at Gibraltar on the 27th. She then departed Gibraltar
on 12 December, arrived at Sheerness on the 16th, and was under
repair at Chatham until mid-March, arriving in the Clyde for duty on 26
French submarine REDOUTABLE
fired four warning shots at steamer EGBA (4989grt) at 0736 in 32-40N, 13-23W
thinking she was a German blockade runner. EGBA replied with gunfire forcing
the submarine to submerge. The attack was broken off when REDOUTABLE received
the steamer's distress signal revealing her identity.
Destroyer SCOUT departed
Singapore for duty at Hong Kong.
Thursday, 2 November
CITY OF FLINT at 2356/2nd and her escort, Norwegian minelayer OLAV TRYGGVASON, NW of Stavanger inside Norwegian waters.
The minelayer illuminated GLASGOW with searchlights and ordered her out of
the territorial waters. CITY OF FLINT put into Haugesand almost immediately.
A submarine was sighted east
of Margate Buoy and destroyers KEITH, BLANCHE and GURKHA spent some time
searching. After the search was abandoned, KEITH and BLANCHE
patrolled between North Goodwins and Edinburgh Channel.
Destroyers GREYHOUND and
GRENVILLE were searching for a U-boat 17 miles 213° from Start Point.
Belgian steamer BRUGES
(4984grt) reported at 1500 that she was stopped in 45-06N, 8-04W by a U-boat
with a skull and crossbones painted on the conning tower. At 0230/3rd, Greek
steamer KORTHION (2116grt) was stopped in 44-32N, 8-12W and reported she had
been stopped by the same submarine.
For East Coast Defence,
available ships of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla were ordered to Rosyth for
escort duties. MAORI proceeded direct and ZULU and GURKHA departed Grimsby
escorting convoy FN.30 en route. Destroyers JERVIS, JERSEY, JAGUAR, JACKAL and
JUPITER were in the Humber. Of the 19th, 22nd and 23rd Destroyer Flotillas,
eight British and one Polish destroyer were at Harwich, two were on patrol
off Lowestoft, two on East Coast convoy duty, and BASILISK, BEAGLE, BLANCHE, BOADICEA,
BRAZEN and VANSITTART were proceeding from Harwich to Dover to cover minelaying mission HW which took place at 1400/2nd.
Operation HW was carried
out by auxiliary minelayers HAMPTON, SHEPPERTON and
PLOVER laying 502 mines
between Tail of the Falls and Sandettie Bank. The 5th Minesweeping Squadron
swept ahead, screened by the D.19 destroyers.
CERES departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties, and arrived back on
On Northern Patrol, light
CALYPSO were between the Orkneys and the Faroes,
DIOMEDE and AMC SCOTSTOUN between the Faroes
and Iceland, and light cruiser
SOUTHAMPTON and AMCs CHITRAL,
and RAWALPINDI in the Denmark Strait.
CAIRO departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived back later
the same day.
departed Rosyth after covering the Narvik iron ore convoy passage and arrived
at Scapa Flow later the same day. She took over the duties of radar direction
finding while the Netherbutton radar station was out of service for 24 hours
for repair. The radar station resumed operation at 1505/8th.
Convoy OA.29 of 12 ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY from the 2nd to
the 7th. Destroyer ARDENT was with the convoy on the 2nd only.
Convoy OB.29 departed
Liverpool escorted by destroyers WREN and ESK on the 2nd, and destroyers
WARWICK and WHIRLWIND to the 5th, when they detached to convoy HX.6.
Convoy HX.7 departed Halifax
at 0700 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT, which detached on the 3rd. Ocean escort was cruiser
departed Halifax with the convoy. The convoy was joined on the 14th by
destroyer GRAFTON and sloop ENCHANTRESS which remained until its arrival on
the 17th. ENTERPRISE arrived at Portsmouth on the 15th and the convoy at
Liverpool on the 16th.
attached to the 5th Cruiser Squadron, departed Singapore on patrol duties.
Singapore for Hong Kong, arriving on the 6th for refit and docking, which was
completed on the 24th.
Simonstown for Mauritius.
Destroyers GRENADE and GRIFFIN
departed Gibraltar on 25 October to escort convoy SL.5 to England. However,
GRIFFIN returned to Gibraltar on the 26th to await convoy SL.6. GRENADE
arrived at Plymouth on the 2nd for duties with the 1st Destroyer Flotilla at
Friday, 3 November
American steamer CITY OF FLINT (4963grt) departed
Murmansk during the night of 26/27 October, called at Tromso on the 30th and was ordered to leave, escorted by Norwegian destroyer SLEIPNER.
On the 3rd, she was interned at Haugesand by Norwegian
minelayer OLAV TRYGGVASON after entering the port without
permission, arrived at Bergen on the 4th and was later set free after the
German prize crew was removed.
CITY OF FLINT departed Bergen on
the 27th and arrived at Haugesand later that day to discharge her cargo,
departed there on 20 December and Bergen on the 22nd, arriving at Narvik on
German steamer NEW YORK (22,337grt) successfully ran the blockade while the Home Fleet was involved with
CITY OF FLINT. She departed
Murmansk on 31 October and successfully used the Indreled, arriving at Hamburg
on the 12th escorted by three minesweepers and aircraft.
GLASGOW and destroyers KELLY,
BEDOUIN, ESKIMO and MATABELE had been involved in trying to
intercept CITY OF FLINT and NEW YORK as they came
down the Norwegian coast. All four destroyers arrived back at Scapa Flow on
the 5th after sustaining severe weather damage. GLASGOW arrived at Rosyth
that day with her forecastle dropped by two inches from the effect of the
arrived at Sullom Voe on the 3rd for refuelling, then went off on Northern
KELLY, after emergency repairs
at Kirkwall departed with destroyer ICARUS for temporary repairs from depot
ship GREENWICH at Scapa Flow, before going on to Hebburn for permanent
repairs. She was back in service on 14 December. ESKIMO departed Scapa Flow
on the 6th and arrived at Newcastle on the 7th, repairing until the 24th. MATABELE and BEDOUIN departed Scapa Flow on the 7th, MATABELE
arriving at Rosyth on the 8th and reaching Newcastle on the 10th, where
she repaired until the 25th, while BEDOUIN arrived at Rosyth on the 8th for boiler
cleaning and repairs.
Convoy OA.28G departed
Southend on 31 October escorted by destroyers ACASTA and ARDENT, while OB.28G
departed Liverpool on the 1 November escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and
VOLUNTEER. On the 3rd, the convoys with 33 ships merged as
OG.5, and were joined in the Western Approaches by French large
destroyers VAUQUELIN and TARTU the same day. The British escorts were relieved
and returned to England. The convoy and the French escorts arrived at Gibraltar
on the 9th.
DIOMEDE arrived at Sullom Voe.
On Northern Patrol were light
CERES between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers
and one AMC between the Faroes and Iceland, and three AMCs in the
Denmark Strait. Light cruiser
SOUTHAMPTON was returning to Scapa Flow from
Denmark Strait patrol.
CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived back later the same
Convoy FS.31 departed Methil
escorted by destroyers VALOROUS, WOOLSTON and sloop HASTINGS, and arrived
at Southend on the 5th. There was no convoy FN.31.
German steamer SCHWABEN
(7773grt) had departed Santos on 26 September and passed through the Denmark
Strait on 21 October. She entered Haugesand shortly after the CITY OF FLINT and
was allowed to continue, arriving safely in the Weser on the 8th.
French torpedo boat BRANLEBAS
reported the track of a torpedo in 49-38N, 2-50W.
SUFFOLK departed Alexandria and
NORFOLK Malta on the 5th. All three
cruisers called at Gibraltar on the 7th and 8th, and left on the 8th,
escorted by destroyers DOUGLAS and KEPPEL. The destroyers were relieved in 44N
by destroyers ISIS and ILEX which had escorted battleship
Gibraltar on the 6th. DEVONSHIRE and NORFOLK arrived at Plymouth on the 11th
and SUFFOLK at Portsmouth on the 12th. NORFOLK reached the Clyde on the
18th and departed the same day on Northern Patrol duties. SUFFOLK arrived in
the Clyde on the 19th and also departed later the same day for Northern
Patrol. DEVONSHIRE repaired at Devonport until the 21st, and then arrived at
the Clyde on the 22nd for duty with the Home Fleet.
Destroyer DECOY departed
Malta after refitting, and escorted steamer NEVASA to Marseilles. The
destroyer returned, escorting ocean boarding vessel VAN DYCK and reached
Malta on the 7th.
Destroyers ISIS and ILEX,
which had departed Plymouth, arrived at Gibraltar for escort duties with
battleship WARSPITE and later, with cruisers of the 1st Cruiser Squadron.
Submarine OSIRIS was damaged
by a motor room fire at Alexandria. She departed Alexandria on the 8th
escorted by anti-submarine trawler CORAL and arrived at Malta on the 13th,
where she was under repair and refit until 30 December.
departed Kingston for duty in the Pacific Ocean.
Saturday, 4 November
Destroyers BEDOUIN, ESKIMO, MATABELE
were to ordered to rendezvous with light cruiser
GLASGOW off Stadtlandet in
the search for German liner
On Northern Patrol, two light
cruisers were on patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three light
cruisers and one
AMC between the Faroes and Iceland, and three AMCs
in the Denmark Strait. When a London flying boat from depot ship MANELA was
reported missing, the five Northern Patrol cruisers carried out a search.
departed Grimsby and arrived at Rosyth on the 6th.
The first of the
Methil-Bergen ON convoy series departed Methil with five British merchant
ships at 1710. Convoy ON.1 put to sea escorted by destroyers FAME, TARTAR, ASHANTI and SOMALI. At
sea, FAME was relieved by destroyer PUNJABI, which had been
refuelling at Scapa Flow. The convoy was given anti-aircraft support by
CURLEW, which departed Scapa Flow on the 5th, and close
cover by light cruiser EDINBURGH,
which departed Rosyth, later refuelled at Scapa Flow,
departed on the 6th, joined the Home Fleet at sea. and arrived
back at Rosyth on the 9th. En route
to Bergen, ASHANTI was detached from the convoy for refuelling and to repair
defects at Sullom Voe and did not rejoin until the start of the return
convoy. ON.1 arrived at Bergen on the 7th without incident.
Convoy OA.30 of 12 ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers GREYHOUND and GALLANT from the 4th
to 6th, and dispersed on the 7th.
Convoy OB.30 departed
Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC and WHIRLWIND to the 7th.
ASSINIBOINE, working up prior to departing for Canada, attacked a submarine
contact northwest of Guernsey at 0200.
SPEEDWELL were involved in a minor collision. SPEEDWELL repaired in the Tyne,
completing on 10 December.
U.21 laid mines in the Firth
of Forth during the night of the 4th/5th, on which one merchant ship and one netlayer
were sunk, and light cruiser
BELFAST badly damaged . U.61
later tried to reinforce the minefield, but could not get through the patrol
Steamer BRANDON (6668grt) was
attacked by a U-boat 120 miles W of the Hebrides. Submarines TRIUMPH and
TRIDENT were sent to investigate and carry out a search.
NICOLAOS M EMBIRICOS (5295grt) was
sunk on a British defensive minefield off the Goodwins, 15 miles east of
Dover near the Sandettie Light Vessel. One crewman was lost and the survivors
picked up by the North Goodwin Light Vessel and a Dutch boat. They were
transferred to British lifeboats.
OTAVA (1290grt) was seized in the
Gulf of Bothnia by German warships and taken to Swinemünde.
relieved by light cruiser
DAUNTLESS in the Sunda Strait on the 4th and
arrived at Singapore on the 6th.
Sunday, 5 November
On Northern Patrol, two
cruisers were between the Orkneys and the Faroes, two cruisers and an AMC between the Faroes and
Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait. Armed merchant
cruisers TRANSYLVANIA departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol duties and
AURANIA departed her patrol
station for the Clyde to overhaul her guns. Armed boarding vessels NORTHERN
ISLE, NORTHERN PRINCESS and NORTHERN
FOAM relieved armed boarding vessels NORTHERN CHIEF and KINGSTON BERYL on
patrol in the vicinity of Muckle Flugga.
Convoy FN.32 departed
Southend, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, WALLACE and sloop STORK. Destroyers
WOOLSTON, VALOROUS and sloop HASTINGS departed Harwich and relieved the
original escort which proceeded to Rosyth. The convoy arrived on the 7th.
Convoy FS.32 departed Methil,
escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloops BITTERN and FLEETWOOD. Six merchant
ships left at 1200, despite fog, and the rest departed later. Destroyers
JUNO and JUPITER were at sea to
act as a fighting force from daylight on the 6th. Destroyer JAGUAR remained
at Methil Roads until ordered to proceed at 1540 and overtook the convoy.
JUNO and JUPITER were detached at
dark on the 6th to proceed to Rosyth. There they joined minelaying cruiser
ADVENTURE and escorted her to the Humber. The convoy arrived at Southend on
the 7th. There was no convoy FS.33.
Danish steamer TEKLA
(1469grt) reported sighting a U-boat four miles SE of Flamborough Head.
Destroyer JUNO was sent to search.
After a D/F bearing on a
suspected submarine 150 miles SW of Ushant, destroyers ACASTA, ESCAPADE,
VERSATILE and GRENVILLE conducted searches in the area.
Destroyer ANTHONY, which had
departed the Clyde on the 4th, was escorting base ship MANCHESTER CITY to Rosyth, where they
arrived early on the 6th. Later that day, ANTHONY left for
Destroyer VANSITTART was sent
to the Tongue Light Vessel to investigate a report of a fast motor boat, but
the order was later cancelled and she returned to normal patrol.
Submarine L.26, on Dogger
Bank patrol, reported sighting a suspicious merchant ship in 54-32N, 3-26E.
The submarine was ordered by Rear Admiral Submarines to follow the ship.
U.33 laid mines off North
Foreland, on which two ships were sunk and one damaged.
Force K, consisting of
aircraft carrier ARK
RENOWN, light cruiser
and destroyers HARDY, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO and HOSTILE departed Freetown on 28
October. HERO was detached on escort duties shortly after the first of the
month. In 6N, 17 W, 300 miles WSW of Freetown on the 5th, ARK ROYAL aircraft
sighted German steamer UHENFELS
(7603grt) which had departed Lourenco Marques, Portuguese Mozambique, on her
third attempt to escape back to Germany and after evading sloop EGRET patrolling
off the port. HEREWARD was detached from the screen to investigate and
UHENFELS attempted to scuttle herself. However, she was captured, Force K and prize arrived at Freetown on the
6th, and UHENFELS was taken for British service and renamed EMPIRE ABILITY. She
arrived in the Thames for duty on 5 April 1940.
Australian light cruiser
PERTH departed Bermuda and arrived at Kingston on the 9th.
Monday, 6 November
Destroyer KHARTOUM (Cdr D T
Dowler) was completed. Following working up at Portland, she joined the 5th
Destroyer Flotilla operating with the Home Fleet on 1 December.
Destroyer AFRIDI, whose
defects were repaired in the Tyne, departed the Tyne and arrived at Rosyth on
the 7th for operations.
On Northern Patrol, there
were three cruisers on patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, two
cruisers and one
AMC between the Faroes and Iceland, and
one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
DRAGON departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties,
back on the 12th.
CALYPSO arrived at Sullom Voe from Northern Patrol.
Armed boarding vessel
NORTHERN DUKE received instructions to take over a merchant ship from light
CERES and escort her into Kirkwall.
and CALCUTTA arrived at Rosyth to strengthen the air defences at Rosyth while
the Home Fleet was refuelling there.
Sloop FLAMINGO, en route from
the Clyde to Rosyth, was ordered to attempt to locate an aircraft down in the
sea 20 miles northeast of Fraserburgh. She was unable to locate it and arrived at Rosyth on the 8th.
Polish submarine ORZEL,
escorted by destroyer WHITEHALL, departed Rosyth for Dundee for docking.
After the escort duty, WHITEHALL
arrived back the same day.
Destroyers INTREPID and
IVANHOE arrived at Scapa Flow, and after refuelling, departed for
Plymouth, arriving on the 11th. They departed later that day and anchored
in the Medway on the 12th, before reaching Chatham on the 13th for conversion
to minelaying destroyers. On 4 December, the conversions were completed and
both destroyers departed Chatham for Sheerness. At this time, INTREPID and
IVANHOE were detached from the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla and attached to the
Submarine SEALION on Dogger
Bank Patrol at 0943 fired six torpedoes at U.21 in 55-10N, 02-11E.
Convoy OA.31 of 16 ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers ANTELOPE and VISCOUNT from the 6th to 10th. When the convoy was dispersed, the destroyers joined inbound HXF.7.
Convoy OB.31 departed
Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WITHERINGTON to the 9th.
Convoy AXS.4 of one steamer
departed Fowey, escorted by destroyer WAKEFUL, and arrived at Brest on the
7th. Of the next three convoys, AXS.5 through 7, no information or dates are
available. Convoy AXS.8 arrived at Brest on 11 December.
Convoy SA.16 departed
Southampton with one steamer, escorted by destroyers SALADIN and SARDONYX,
and arrived at Brest on the 7th.
by destroyers DAINTY and DIANA arrived at Gibraltar from Malta. WARSPITE
departed Gibraltar the same day escorted by destroyers ISIS, ILEX, DAINTY and DIANA and
crossed the Atlantic arriving at Halifax on the 14th. She remained there
until the 18th when she left as heavy escort for convoy HX.9.
Convoy HX.6 of 52 ships,
escorted by battleship RESOLUTION was met in the Western Approaches by eight
destroyers, including WARWICK and WHIRLWIND. The convoy split on the 7th.
RESOLUTION with two destroyers proceeded directly to Plymouth, leaving the two convoy
sections each escorted by three destroyers.
Convoy HG.6 departed
Gibraltar with 34 ships, escorted by destroyers WATCHMAN, VORTIGERN and the
French CHACAL and MISTRAL. The French ships were escorts from the 6th and
patrolled in 43-30N, 12-30W on the 10th. On the 13th, they arrived at Brest. Destroyer ISIS, after joining with captured
German steamer LEANDER, was with the convoy from the 12th to 14th. Submarine
depot ship CYCLOPS travelled in convoy returning to England for duty in
Home Waters. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 14th.
departed Port Said, arrived at Haifa on the 7th, and Alexandria on the 8th.
Armed merchant cruiser
ASCANIA carrying £2,000,000 in gold bullion arrived at Halifax,
escorted into port by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT.
French large cruiser MILAN
passed Gibraltar east to west.
JESSIE (1405grt) was seized in the
Baltic by a German warship, and taken to Kiel.
Tuesday, 7 November
Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI and ZULU
departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow at 1745 to escort the west coast section of
convoy HN.1. COSSACK was damaged in collision with steamer BORTHWICK
(1097grt) off May Island in the Firth of Forth at 2015, and five ratings
killed. ZULU assisted COSSACK in rescuing one of the crew
trapped in plating curled back in the collision. Sister ship AFRIDI took
COSSACK's casualties ashore, while MAORI and sloop GRIMSBY assisted COSSACK.
She was towed stern first by two tugs to Leith where she repaired
until 15 January. MAORI and ZULU left to escort the convoy, joined later by
Destroyers GRENVILLE and
GRENADE collided at Devonport during the night of the 7th/8th. GRENVILLE's starboard side was damaged
below the water line and number three boiler room flooded; she repaired at
Devonport completing on 1 December.
The stem of GRENADE was
twisted and the fore peak flooded; her repairs at Falmouth were completed on 9
departed Devonport after boiler cleaning, and arrived at Halifax on the 15th.
On Northern Patrol, three
cruisers were on patrol between the Orkneys and the Faroes, two cruisers and
one AMC between the Faroes and Iceland, and light cruiser
NEWCASTLE and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
arrived at Rosyth after Northern Patrol duties.
Destroyer IMOGEN, her defects
corrected, departed Liverpool for Scapa Flow, arriving on the 8th.
departed Rosyth, was met by destroyers JUNO and JUPITER off Inchkeith,
and safely escorted to Grimsby.
Destroyer STURDY departed
Rosyth, via the Humber for Portsmouth to escort aircraft carrier
Convoy HN.1 of six British
and one Polish steamer departed Bergen and was joined just outside Norwegian
territorial waters by destroyers TARTAR, SOMALI and PUNJABI. Sister ship ASHANTI
joined the escort at daylight on the 8th. Four steamers were detached to
their destinations on the west coast and the convoy arrived safely at Methil on the
Convoy FN.33 departed
Southend escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloops BITTERN and FLEETWOOD. On the 8th, destroyers JERVIS and JERSEY of the 7th Flotilla and KEITH and
BOADICEA of the 22nd Flotilla departed Immingham, and Polish destroyers BLYSKAWICA, BURZA, GROM
from Harwich to reinforce the convoy, which was
being shadowed by German aircraft, and to counter an anticipated German surface
attack. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 9th without incident. Convoy
FS.33 was cancelled due to too few ships being ready.
Destroyers GRENADE, EXMOUTH
WREN were submarine hunting in 49‑37N, 5‑20W. GRENADE attacked a
contact at this location.
Convoy BC.14 of steamers
ADJUTANT, BATNA, BELLEROPHON (Commodore), BRIARWOOD, COXWOLD, HARMATTAN,
JADE, LOCHEE, OUSEL, PACIFIC
COAST and PEMBROKE COAST departed the Bristol Channel escorted by destroyers
EXPRESS, VIVACIOUS and VESPER. The convoy safely arrived in the Loire on the
In bad weather, convoy HG.5A
had difficulty making the Downs, and steamer CITY OF MELBOURNE (6630grt) ran
aground on the South Goodwins.
Convoy HXF.7 was delayed due
to bad weather, and during the afternoon of the 7th, only four
ships out of the 13 in
convoy were in company. Escorting armed merchant cruiser ASTURIAS
sustained minor weather damage which required dockyard repair.
On the 7th, Polish destroyers
BLYSKAWICA and GROM on patrol 70 miles east of Lowestoft were attacked by
German torpedo planes. No damage resulted in this first recorded aircraft torpedo
attack of the war. Returning to Harwich, they fouled the buoy, GROM's
port propeller was damaged, and she required docking. BLYSKAWICA was docked
for examination after GROM completed her repairs.
Submarine SEAL, returning
from Dogger Bank patrol, was bombed by a German seaplane while waiting for
submarines CACHALOT and L.26 off Orfordness.
Submarine H.28 reported
defects, and was repairing until 11 November.
departed Bermuda and arrived at Portsmouth for docking on the 14th, where she
was under repair until 9 December. She departed
Portsmouth the same day to join the 1st Cruiser Squadron.
Malta escorted by sloops ABERDEEN and DEPTFORD, and arrived at Gibraltar on the
10th. On the 12th, they departed Gibraltar, accompanied by light
CAPETOWN. West of Gibraltar, the sloops were detached and proceeded
to England for duty in Home Waters. CAPETOWN escorted MAIDSTONE halfway to
Freetown where she was relieved by light cruiser
to Gibraltar while MAIDSTONE and NEPTUNE proceeded to Freetown, arriving on
Sloop FOWEY arrived at Malta
en route to England from Alexandria. She was delayed by boiler defects and
did not leave for Gibraltar until the 12th, arriving on the
15th. She departed on the 16th, escorting ammunition stores issuing ship (ASIS) PACHECO to Freetown.
departed Singapore for Hong Kong and en route, investigated a Japanese
whaling convoy. She arrived at Hong Kong on the 10th.
departed Malta for Gibraltar where she arrived on the 9th.
French heavy cruiser SUFFREN
arrived at Singapore after departing Saigon on the 5th.
French heavy cruiser FOCH,
light cruiser LA GALISSONNIÈRE and destroyer LION, passed Gibraltar. The heavy
cruiser and destroyer had departed Oran on the 7th and the light cruiser,
Toulon on the 6th. FOCH was en route to Dakar, and LA GALISSONNÈRE to
Brest for repairs. All three arrived at Casablanca on the 8th. The light
cruiser arrived at Brest on the 12th for repairs, completed 3 March, and
arrived back at Oran on 7 March.
French submarine SIDI FERRUCH
arrived at Trinidad, and departed on patrol on the 8th.
Wednesday, 8 November
On Northern Patrol, were two
cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers and one AMC between the Faroes and Iceland,
and light cruiser NEWCASTLE and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
DIOMEDE departed Sullom Voe. DUNEDIN and DELHI relieved light cruisers
CERES which then returned to Sullom Voe on the 9th.
DUNEDIN, DELHI and DIOMEDE all arrived
at Loch Ewe on the 15th, DUNEDIN with rudder trouble
and DIOMEDE with weather damage to her upper deck. DIOMEDE and DUNEDIN reported sighting a periscope in Yell
Sound and DUNEDIN dropped a depth charge on the contact, after which destroyer KELLY
searched unsuccessfully for the U-boat. Coast watchers reported a submarine
in Yell Sound during the afternoon of the 9th and five destroyers were
eventually detailed to search. As a result of these sightings, the Northern
Patrol cruisers were ordered to use Loch Ewe instead of Sullom Voe.
Sloops GRIMSBY and FLAMINGO,
on passage to Harwich, were searching for a submarine six miles ENE of Hartlepool.
Convoy OA.32G of 23 ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers VENETIA and WIVERN from the 8th to
the 10th, and destroyers WAKEFUL and WHITEHALL from the 10th to 11th. On the
11th, the convoy merged with OB.32G, which was escorted by destroyers MACKAY
and VIMY until the 11th, becoming OG.6.
Steamers DUNKELD (4944grt)
and FERNPOOL in convoy SL.6B collided at 2350/8th. Destroyer WALPOLE escorted
the damaged ships to Bristol Channel, and then returned to the convoy at
Planned minelaying operations during the
night of the 8th/9th in the Thames and 10th/11th in the Humber by German
destroyers KARL GALSTER,
HANS LÜDEMAN and HERMANN KÜNNE of
the 5th Destroyer Division, FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT and FRIEDRICH IHN of the 6th
Destroyer Division, and PAUL JACOBI, THEODOR RIEDEL and HERMANN SCHOEMANN of the 2nd
Destroyer Flotilla, were cancelled due to defects in KÜNNE.
Convoy HXF.8 departed Halifax
at 1400 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT, which detached on the 10th. Ocean escort was armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA, which
detached on the 19th and then returned to Halifax. The convoy was escorted in
Home Waters by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WARWICK from convoy OB.35, and ACASTA
and ARDENT from convoy OA.35 from the 19th to 20th. The convoy arrived at Dover
on the 21st.
Australian light cruiser HOBART and destroyer WESTCOTT departed Singapore for
Colombo on convoy duty, arriving on the 12th.
SloopsEGRET departed Durban
and ROCHESTER from Aden, both to return to Home Waters, via Suez.
Destroyer DAINTY departed
Gibraltar for refitting at Malta, arriving on the 10th.
Convoy SL.8 departed Freetown
escorted by armed merchant cruiser CILICIA. On the 23rd, destroyers
VANQUISHER, VERSATILE and WITHERINGTON from convoy OB.39 joined the
convoy, which arrived next day.
French torpedo boats BALISTE
and LA POURSIVANTE arrived at Gibraltar from Toulon, departing on the 9th for
Thursday, 9 November
RODNEY, anti-aircraft cruiser
CAIRO, and destroyers FAULKNOR,
FAME, FORTUNE, FOXHOUND,
FORESIGHT, FEARLESS, KINGSTON and IMPERIAL arrived at Rosyth at 0700 for
refuelling. KINGSTON had developed a leak in her reserve fuel tank and
On Northern Patrol were two
cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, four cruisers and one AMC between the Faroes and
Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
departed Rosyth on patrol, and arrived at Loch Ewe on the 21st.
Convoy FN.34 departed
Southend, escorted by sloops GRIMSBY, WESTON, FLAMINGO, which had arrived
from Rosyth for this duty. Kites were flown from the sloops at 1000 feet to
hinder air attack. The convoy arrived at Rosyth on the 11th.
Convoy FS.34 departed Rosyth,
escorted by destroyers VALOROUS, WOOLSTON and sloop HASTINGS, and arrived
at Southend on the 11th.
Steamer ASHANTIAN (4917grt)
reported sighting a submarine in 48‑27N, 15‑40W, and destroyer
ECLIPSE was detailed to search.
Destroyer KANDAHAR departed
Scapa Flow to join destroyer KELLY submarine hunting in Yell Sound. They were
later joined by destroyer ICARUS and also searched in Colla Firth.
A U-boat was reported 250
miles SW of Fastnet, and destroyers BROKE and ECLIPSE were sent to search.
Submarine H.43 and trawler
COMET (formerly TAMURA, 301grt) departed Devonport and exercised off the west
coast of Ireland to see if submarines and trawlers could effectively work
together. The patrol ended on the 21st.
U.33 laid mines off North
Foreland in Bristol Channel, but no shipping was sunk or damaged.
U.34 seized Norwegian steamer
SNAR (3176grt) as a prize off
CARMARTHEN COAST (961grt) was sunk three miles east of Seaham
Harbour on a mine laid by U.24 on 27 October; two crewmen were lost.
GEISHA (5113grt) and
SUSANNA (810grt) were seized by
German warships in the Baltic for contraband violations.
departed Alexandria on patrol and arrived back on the 19th.
Destroyer GRIFFIN of the 1st
Destroyer Flotilla had departed Malta on 20 October and arrived at Gibraltar
on the 22nd. She left on the 25th with sister ship GRENADE to
escort convoy SL.5, but returned to Gibraltar. She left again with convoy SL.6 on the 30th and arrived at Plymouth on the 9th
November. This completed the transfer of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, now
based at Harwich with the three Polish destroyers. Convoy SL.6A was escorted
by destroyers ELECTRA and ESCORT into the Downs.
French destroyers TARTU and
VAUQUELIN arrived at Gibraltar to escort convoy HG.7.
LEANDER (989grt) departed Vigo to
return to Germany. At 0400, 100 miles west of Vigo in 42‑32N, 12‑46W,
she was captured by destroyer ISIS, joined convoy HG.6 which ISIS was
escorting, arrived at Falmouth on the 13th, and was renamed EMPIRE CRUSADER
for British service.
German steamers LAHN
(8498grt) and TACOMA (8268grt) departed Talcuhuana, Chile, and arrived
at Montevideo on the 23rd.
Friday, 10 November
Destroyers GIPSY and GLOWWORM
were searching 60 miles south of Milford Haven for a reported submarine.
On Northern Patrol were two
cruisers between the Orkneys and Faroes, three cruisers and one AMC between the Faroes and
Iceland, and one cruiser and one AMC in the Denmark Strait.
The Northern Patrol, from the
10th to 23rd, sighted 57 eastbound ships and sent 50 into Kirkwall for
inspection. Nine German ships were sighted and dealt with.
BELFAST and ten destroyers were formed as a Striking
Force under the command of Captain E de F Renouf CVO as a Commodore at
Following a refit, light
BELFAST departed the Clyde on the 8th and on the 10th transferred
from the 18th Cruiser Squadron to the Humber Force.
Armed merchant cruisers RAWALPINDI
arrived in the Clyde after Northern Patrol duty, and CALFORNIA departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.
Armed merchant cruiser
SCOTSTOUN was damaged by an ice flow which buckled her frame and started
plates, but she was able to continue patrol in the Iceland-Faroes Channel.
Destroyer IMPULSIVE departed
Scapa Flow for Aberdeen to escort steamer MARYLYN (4555grt), but when it was
found the steamer would not be ready to sail until the 13th, she returned to
Destroyers JUNO, JANUS, JAGUAR and JERSEY
Convoy OA.33 of 12 ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyers WREN and WITCH on the 11th and 12th.
Submarines CACHALOT and SEAL departed Gosport and escorted the convoy from
the 10th to 15th. The convoy was dispersed on the 15th and the submarines
proceeded independently to Halifax where they arrived on the 25th for escort
Convoy OB.33 departed
Liverpool escorted by destroyers VERSATILE, VOLUNTEER and MONTROSE until the
French submarines ORPHÉE and
ANTIOPE departed Brest escorted by auxiliary patrol vessel HEREUX.
YORK, repairing boiler defects at
Bermuda, began repairs to A-turret that were to be completed by the end of
Convoy BC.13S of steamers
ATLANTIC COAST, BARON GRAHAM, BRISTOL CITY, BRITISH COAST, CERVANTES,
CITY OF DERBY DELIUS (Commodore),
DORSET COAST, GRETA FORCE, GUELMA, LYCAON and SANDHILL departed the Loire
escorted by destroyers VIVACIOUS and VESPER. The convoy safely arrived in
the Bristol Channel on the 12th.
French light cruiser LA
GALISSONIÈRE departed Casablanca, escorted by large destroyer CHEVALIER PAUL
and later arrived at Brest; her escort being detached at sea.
Convoy HX.8 departed Halifax
at 1200 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT, which
detached on the 11th. Ocean escort for the convoy was battleship
the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 25th.
departed Bombay en route to the Home Fleet, calling at Aden on the 13th‑14th
and arriving at Port Said on the 17th. Vice Admiral Geoffrey Layton,
commanding the 1st Battle Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet, was ordered to the
Home Fleet to command the 18th Cruiser Squadron and embarked on MANCHESTER
which called at Malta on the 18th‑20th. She departed Gibraltar on the
22nd, with destroyer KEPPEL as local escort, and arrived at Portsmouth on the
25th to begin a refit lasting until 21 December. She departed Portsmouth on
22 December, arrived at Scapa Flow on the 24th, and left on the
26th on patrol.
departed Buenos Aires patrolling en route to Capetown, but was diverted on
the 18th to Rio de Janeiro, leaving there on the 22nd for the Rio de la
Mar del Plata to repair at Capetown, but was recalled for patrol in the Rio
New Zealand light cruiser
ACHILLES arrived at Rio de Janiero, then left on the 12th for local patrol.
She was ordered on the 17th to patrol in the Rio de la Plata area.
Mauritius for Colombo, where she arrived on the 18th.
and CORNWALL departed Colombo to join aircraft carrier
EAGLE and Australian
destroyers VENDETTA and WATERHEN on patrol at sea. The Force arrived back at
Colombo on the 18th.
Netlayer PROTECTOR arrived at
Freetown on the 10th to lay indicator nets. The lay was completed in
mid-February 1940 and she departed Freetown on the 17th to return to England.
Saturday, 11 November
On Northern Patrol were two
cruisers were between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers and one
AMC between the Faroes and
Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait. Light cruiser
GLASGOW was en route to patrol in the Denmark Strait while light cruiser
DIOMEDE was escorting Swedish steamer DROTTNINGHOLM (11, 055grt), which had
been intercepted in the Faroes-Iceland patrol, towards Kirkwall. (In the
Admiralty War Diary, the steamer is identified as above. In the Rosyth War
Diary, she is identified as Danish steamer MARTIN GOLDSCHMIDT, 2095grt). DIOMEDE requested a trawler to take over, and armed boarding vessels NORTHERN
ISLE and NORTHERN FOAM were
dispatched. DIOMEDE lost track of the steamer before they arrived,
but armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA located her late on the 11th. The
trawlers could not make the rendezvous due to bad weather.
Armed merchant cruisers
AURANIA and CHITRAL arrived in the Clyde after Northern Patrol duties.
Destroyer MAORI departed
Scapa Flow to rendezvous with submarines TRIUMPH and TRIDENT 10 miles due
north of the Butt of Lewis for escort. They arrived at Rosyth on the 12th.
Destroyer ZULU searched for a
submarine reported NW of Holbourn Head in 58-37N, 3-32W.
Convoy FN.35 departed
Southend, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloops PELICAN and HASTINGS.
Destroyers JUNO and JUPITER were at sea as a fighting force for this
convoy and for FS.35. Seven steamers became detached from FN.35 and
Polish destroyers GROM and BURZA escorted them into the Humber. GROM afterwards
returned to Harwich. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 13th, WOOLSTON and
PELICAN at Rosyth mid-day, and HASTINGS which had lost touch, two
Convoy FS.35 departed Methil,
escorted by destroyers WALLACE, WHITLEY and sloops STORK and STORK which attacked a
submarine contact 9.9 miles off St Abbs Head. The convoy arrived at Southend
on the 13th.
Trawler SOUTHWARD HO (204grt)
reported a submarine five miles SE of the Tyne. Anti-submarine trawlers
OLVINA (425grt) and CAPE COMORIN (504grt) carried out a search and during the
night of the 11th/12th, CAPE COMORIN ran aground near the Tyne. She was refloated and repaired.
Destroyers KEITH and BOADICEA
were on East Coast patrol. BOADICEA was detached to Harwich to refuel and
KEITH was relieved by Polish destroyers BURZA and GROM on the 11th.
Destroyers IMOGEN, ICARUS and
IMPULSIVE departed Scapa Flow on anti-submarine patrol and returned the next
The Humber Force, consisting
of 2nd Cruiser Squadron, the 7th Destroyer Flotilla, and destroyers MASHONA, BEDOUIN,
TARTAR, GURKHA of the 4th Flotilla, were placed under direct Admiralty
control to counter a possible sea invasion of Holland thought to be due.
Light cruisers GLASGOW,
BELFAST, with MASHONA, TARTAR and GURKHA departed Rosyth on the 11th to join the Humber Force at Immingham.
BEDOUIN was delayed three hours and arrived later. On the 12th, MASHONA,
BEDOUIN and TARTAR were relieved by destroyers AFRIDI, MAORI and ZULU, with MASHONA
departing Rosyth on the 14th, escorting submarine H.34 and tanker WAR PINDARI
to Scapa Flow and Loch Ewe, respectively. BEDOUIN proceeded to Scapa
Flow, while TARTAR escorted steamer
MARYLYN (4555grt), departing Aberdeen on the 14th for Scapa Flow.
Patrol sloops KINGFISHER and
WIDGEON departed Belfast and arrived in the Clyde later the same day.
departed Portsmouth with another shipment of gold for Canada, called at
Plymouth on the 12th, and arrived at Halifax on the 21st.
Destroyer WIVERN arrived at
Chatham after boiler cleaning at Plymouth.
destroyer STURDY departed Devonport for Toulon where the carrier could
conduct training exercises for new pilots. Destroyer GALLANT departed
Portsmouth on the 13th and joined the ships. STURDY was to carry on and join
the local defence destroyer flotilla on the China Station, but was retained
in the Mediterranean as attendant destroyer for ARGUS. The three ships
arrived at Gibraltar on the 17th with GALLANT leaving on the 17th and
reaching Plymouth on the 21st.
Convoys OA.32G, which had
departed the Thames on the 8th, and OB.32G, which had departed Liverpool,
merged on the 11th as OG.6 with 43 ships. They were escorted by destroyers
MACKAY, VIMY, WHIRLWIND, WREN and WAKEFUL from the 8th to 11th, and French
destroyers TIGRE and PANTHÈRE from the 11th to 16th, when the convoy arrived
at Gibraltar. Anti-submarine trawlers SPANIARD (455grt),
TURCOMAN (455grt) and KELT (455grt) were with the convoy from the 11th to 16th.
SHROPSHIRE departed Simonstown and Capetown respectively, to sweep towards
St Helena. While departing, SUSSEX was in a minor collision with tanker ATHELPRINCE (8782grt) at Simonstown. The cruisers arrived back on the 23rd.
destroyer DELIGHT departed Port Said to relieve battleship
destroyer DARING off Aden.
departed Alexandria on patrol, and arrived at Malta on the 25th.
The 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla
left Malta on the 11th with base ship VULCAN (trawler, 623grt) for Bizerte
and Ajaccio, en route to Portsmouth. The Flotilla consisted of the same units
it had at the beginning of the war. Destroyer DAINTY followed the flotilla to
MTB.3 and MTB.4 broke down and returned to
Malta, were freighted in depot ship WOOLWICH, which departed Malta on
the 21st, and later arrived at Portsmouth. DAINTY and seven MTBs reached
Bizerte on the 15th and
MTB.14, MTB.15, MTB.16, MTB.18 were sent on to Ajaccio.
On the 16th in heavy
weather off Sardinia,
MTB.6 broke down and was taken in tow by DAINTY.
However, she was lost when the ring of the towing spar fractured and DAINTY
rammed her. MTB.1 and
MTB.19 remained with DAINTY and
arrived at Ajaccio before noon on the 19th, after which DAINTY returned to
Liner FRANCONIA, carrying
MTB.2, MTB.5, MTB.17, departed Malta on the
16th escorted by destroyer DUCHESS. The liner was damaged by heavy seas and
forced to heave to, but was able to reach Marseilles on the 19th. On the
24th, the flotilla departed Marseilles, travelled up the Rhone River, and was then
towed through the canals to the Seine. In the Seine, once again under their
own power, they sailed through Paris and out to sea finally arriving at
Portsmouth on 6 December. After refitting, the Flotilla was based at
Felixstowe and became operational in January 1940.
departed Freetown on patrol, met depot ship
and returned on
the 16th to join aircraft carrier ARK
French submarine SIDI FERRUCH
arrived at Port of Spain after patrol in the Caribbean.
A group of German steamers
escaped from Vigo to attempt to return to Germany.
CORDOBA (4611grt) passed through the Denmark
Strait on the 22nd, sighted an armed merchant cruiser but was not seen
and arrived at Narvik on the 28th.
LAHNECK (1663grt) successfully passed
through the Denmark Strait and arrived at Hamburg on 16 December.
LIVADIA (3094grt) passed through the
Iceland-Faroes passage on the 16th, arrived in Honningsvaag on the 27th, and reached Hamburg on 9 December.
LUDOLF OLDENDORFF (1953grt) passing the
Iceland-Faroes passage on the 24th was sighted and stopped by light cruiser
SHEFFIELD. However, she was able to convince SHEFFIELD she was Danish steamer
EDITH and in the confusion following the sinking of the RAWALPINDI, was
not questioned further and arrived at Haugesand on 6 December.
PALOS (997grt) passed through the Denmark
Strait on the 23rd, and arrived at Hamburg on the 29th.
SEBU (1894grt) passed through the Denmark
Strait on the 24th, and arrived at Hamburg on 18 December.
TANGER (1742grt) passed the Iceland-Faroes
Passage on the 20th, and arrived at Hamburg on 9 December.
Finally, the last ship of the
group, KONSUL HENDRICK FISSER
(4458grt) was captured attempting to pass the Iceland-Faroes Passage on the
Sunday, 12 November
RODNEY, and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORTUNE, FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND,
FAME departed Rosyth to carry out
full calibre firings before proceeding on patrol between the Faroes and
Norway to cover convoys ON.2/HN.2. The force was joined by destroyer FURY at
sea. ON.2, consisting of just one British ship, departed Methil escorted by destroyers
IMOGEN, ICARUS and IMPULSIVE. Light cruiser
AURORA left Immingham to provide
near cover and anti-aircraft cruiser
CURLEW was ordered to guard ON.2,
but the order was changed and
CAIRO was assigned. CAIRO joined at daylight on
the 14th and arrived at Rosyth on the 17th after this duty. ICARUS, IMOGEN and
IMPULSIVE refuelled at Sullom Voe on the 14th, and ON.2 arrived without
incident at Bergen on the 15th. The big ships arrived at Loch Ewe on the
17th, departed on the 20th after refuelling and reached the Clyde on the
destroyers AFRIDI and MAORI departed Rosyth for the Humber, arriving that
Destroyer KINGSTON departed
Rosyth for repairs at Leith, completed on the 19th.
Destroyer IMPERIAL departed
Rosyth for boiler cleaning.
Submarine SEAHORSE departed
Blyth for a patrol off Terschelling, arriving back on the 28th.
On Northern Patrol were two
cruisers between the Orkneys and Faroes, three cruisers and one AMC between the Faroes and
Iceland, and light cruiser NEWCASTLE and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
CERES departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duty. CALEDON suffered
damage to her upper deck in heavy weather on the 15th.
CALCUTTA departed Rosyth and arrived in the Humber on the 13th.
On East Coast patrol,
destroyer KEITH was off Orfordness and the Polish BURZA off the Sunk.
Destroyers GRIFFIN (D.1),
GIPSY, GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM arrived at Harwich from Plymouth, when Captain
Creasy's designation changed from D.1 to D.22. GIPSY and GREYHOUND were in a
collision which caused minor damage to both ships. GIPSY repaired at
Harwich and GREYHOUND at Sheerness.
convoy HXF.7A to the Sunk.
Destroyer VIMY on patrol
reported a split in her hull which contaminated her fuel, and was forced
to return to port.
Steamers APPLEDORE (5218grt),
CLAN MACGILLIVRAY (6464grt), DEERPOOL (5167grt) SAINT MARGARET (4312grt),
MAIHAR (7563grt) and tanker ATHELKING (9557grt) of convoy FN.35 all ran
aground off Lowestoft, each following the next one on to the shore. Steamer
FLIMSTONE (4674grt), managed to avoid this fate but only after colliding with
MECKLENBURG (7892grt) had left
Pernambuco on 14 October disguised as Dutch steamer HOOGKERK. She was
intercepted on the 12th in 62‑37N, 10‑36W by light cruiser
and scuttled to avoid capture NW of the Faroes in 63‑09N, 11‑38W.
DELHI arrived at Sullom Voe with her 56 man crew on the 15th.
departed Rosyth and arrived at Grimsby on the 13th.
Destroyers ESK, EXPRESS, BLANCHE
BASILISK departing Rosyth for the Humber, were held up by fog near Outer
In a German air attack on
Sullom Voe and Lerwick, two Sunderland flying boats at Lerwick were
Sloop FLAMINGO departed
Rosyth with submarines SEALION, SHARK, SNAPPER and SUNFISH for passage to
Harwich, arriving on the 14th.
Convoy OA.34 of 14
ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers ELECTRA and ESCORT from the
12th to 14th.
Convoy OB.34 departed
Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANESSA until the 13th, and destroyers
WARWICK and WHIRLWIND until the 15th.
U.41 badly damaged Norwegian
tanker ARNE KJODE (11,019grt) in
58‑51N, 08‑07W and five crew were lost. Destroyer ISIS and net
layer GUARDIAN took the stern portion of the ship in tow and were later
joined by destroyer KASHMIR. However, the tanker was beyond saving. ISIS
rescued the survivors and sank the stern in 59-20N, 7-12W on the 15th, while
armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL sank the fore section with gunfire in 59-06N,
U.41 sank trawler
CRESSWELL (275grt) 18 miles NW by N
of Flannan Island, Outer Hebrides, 40 miles WSW of the Butt of Lewis; six
crew were lost, her survivors rescued by the U-boat and later transferred to
trawler PHYLLISIA (324grt).
DESTROYER MINELAYING IN THAMES ESTUARY
German destroyers KARL
GALSTER, HERMANN KÜNNE and
HANS LÜDEMAN, escorted by
destroyer WILHELM HEIDKAMP laid 288 magnetic mines in the Thames Estuary
during the night of the 12th/13th. Destroyers ERICH GIESE, THEODOR RIEDEL and HERMANN SCHOEMANN also sailed, but when RIEDEL and SCHOEMANN broke down, they
were escorted back by GIESE. On their return, they were met at sea by light
cruisers KÖLN, NÜRNBERG and torpedo boats LEOPARD, SEEADLER, WOLF, ILTIS.
Destroyer BLANCHE and thirteen merchant ships for 48,725grt were sunk in this
On the 12th, cruiser
ADVENTURE (Captain A R Halfhide) escorted by destroyers BLANCHE (Lt
Cdr R M Aubrey) and BASILISK (Cdr M Richmond) departed Grimsby en route to
Portsmouth. At 0518/13th, three miles 120° from the Tongue Light Vessel,
ADVENTURE struck a mine laid by the German destroyers that morning and was
badly damaged; Nine ratings were killed, fifteen missing and 67 wounded.
She was able to proceed under her own power at five knots to Chatham assisted
by tugs DORIA and SALVA from Ramsgate and LADY BRASSEY from Dover. Sixty two
wounded were transferred to BASILISK, which led ADVENTURE in to Sheerness.
She was taken to Chatham for temporary repairs, departed on 19 December for
Plymouth and arrived there on the 21st for permanent repairs lasting until 18
At 0825, near the same spot
at one mile 80° from North East Spit Buoy,
BLANCHE towing one of the rescue tugs, struck another mine.
BLANCHE had one rating killed, one rating missing, and Midshipman C L Byrne
RNR, Act/Sub Lt D L Davenport,
Warrant Engineer G F D Dunn and nine ratings injured. survivors were
rescued by tugs FABIA (151grt), LADY BRASSEY (362grt) and trawler KESTEREL
(75grt). BLANCHE sank two hours after striking the mine.
Destroyer GLOWWORM was
stationed east of the Tongue Light Vessel to redirect Thames-bound shipping,
and trawler MYRTLE redirected shipping coming out of the river, but the
following vessels were mined and sunk in the field.
On the 13th, steamer
PONZANO (1346grt) in 51‑29N, 01‑25E;
Her crew was rescued by two Norwegian trawlers.
On the 13th, steamer
MATRA (8003grt) from convoy HXF.7,
one mile east of Tongue Light Vessel; Sixteen crewmen were lost and she was
beached in Shingles Patch.
On the 15th, steamer
WOODTOWN (794grt) 3/4 mile off North
East Spit Buoy, Margate; eight crewmen were lost.
On the 19th, Italian steamer
GRAZIA (5857grt), five miles north of
North Foreland; six crewmen were lost and 24 survivors picked up by
destroyers GRIFFIN and GIPSY.
On the 23rd, steamer
HOOKWOOD (1537grt) in convoy FS.40,
3½ miles ENE of Tongue Light Vessel; two crewmen were lost and 15 survivors picked up by sloop BITTERN.
On the 27th, Dutch liner
SPAARNDAM (8857grt), two miles NE of Tongue
Light Vessel; seven crewmen were lost and the survivors rescued by a pilot
On the 28th, steamer
RUBISLAW (1041grt), 1½ miles ENE of Tongue Light Vessel, four
cables SW of Knock South Buoy; thirteen crewmen were lost and survivors
rescued by a minesweeping trawler.
On the 30th, steamer
SHEAF CREST (2730grt) in 51‑32N,
01‑26E; one crewman was lost, 12 survivors picked up by Polish
destroyer BLYSKAWICA and taken to Harwich, and 15 other survivors picked up
and taken to Ramsgate.
On 1 December, steamer
DALRYAN (4558grt), 2½ miles SW of
Tongue Light Vessel in 51-31N, 1-19.5E; the crew was rescued and taken to
On 2 December, tanker
SAN CALISTO (8010grt), 2½ miles NNE of
the Tongue Light Vessel; six crew were lost and 36 rescued.
On 6 December, Greek steamer
PARALOS (3435grt), two miles ENE of Tongue Light Vessel in
51-31N, 1-37E; three crewmen were killed and 22 rescued by British steamer ROEK (1041grt).
On 8 December, steamer
MEREL (1088grt), 270° from Gull Light
Vessel, one cable north of No. 22 North Gull Buoy near Ramsgate; sixteen
crew were lost and only two saved.
On 15 December, Swedish
steamer URSUS (1499grt), off
Margate in 51-35N, 1-36E; nine crew were lost and 11 survivors rescued by
Dutch trawler BRINDA (200grt).
German destroyers BRUNO
HEINEMANN, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK and FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT conducted an
anti-shipping sweep in the Skagerrak from the 13th to 15th.
KENT departed Hong Kong and
arrived at Singapore on the 15th.
bumped and damaged while alongside a tanker near Montevideo.
arrived at Singapore after patrol in the Sunda Strait.
departed Gibraltar on escort duty and arrived back later the same day.
Monday, 13 November
On Northern Patrol were three
cruisers between Orkneys and the Faroes, two cruisers between the Faroes and
Iceland, and two cruisers and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
Two German air raids on
Sullom Voe and the Northern Patrol cruisers there did not cause any damage.
The air raids and the U-boats reported off Sullom Voe resulted in the 7th
and 11th Cruiser Squadron of the Northern Patrol being ordered to Loch Ewe.
Convoy SA.17 of two steamers
departed Southampton, escorted by destroyers SKATE and SCIMITAR, and arrived
at Brest on the 14th.
Convoy FN.36 departed
Southend, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, WALLACE and sloop STORK which had
arrived from Harwich. The convoy reached Methil on the 15th.
Convoy FS.36 departed Methil,
escorted by sloops GRIMSBY and WESTON. Sloop FLAMINGO, which had been on
other escort duty, joined off the Tyne, and the convoy arrived at Southend on the
Sub Lt D Copsey was killed
when his RAF Harvard of the RAF No.1 SFTS crashed near Netheravon
airfield. Flight Lt T I Hammond of the RAF was also killed.
PARANA (6038grt), which had departed
Buenos Aires on 7 October, was intercepted on the 12th by light cruiser
NEWCASTLE west of Iceland in 65‑48N, 25‑19W, and scuttled herself
in 65‑14N, 25‑22W. The wreck was sunk by gunfire from NEWCASTLE
and she left her Denmark Strait patrol station at 2000/13th with the German
German steamer HUGO
OSTENDORFF (3986grt), which had departed San Juan del Puerto on 25 October,
was not far astern of PARANA. Hearing her interception, she arrived
at Hafnarfjoedr (Hvammasfjord) on the south coast of Iceland, set off again
on the 24th and arrived at Stettin on 5 December.
Sloop ENCHANTRESS attacked a
submarine contact in 49-40N, 12-04W.
U.28 laid mines in Bristol
Channel, on which one merchant ship was lost.
M.132 was badly damaged by depth
charges from minesweeper M.61 in an anti-submarine hunt near List in the
North Sea, and was beached, a total loss.
Australian destroyers STUART,
VAMPIRE, VOYAGER, VENDETTA and WATERHEN departed Singapore for Colombo. On the
17th, VAMPIRE and VOYAGER detached to Trincomalee to join Force J (heavy
cruiser KENT and the French SUFFREN) in the Nicobar Island area.
STUART and WATERHEN arrived at Colombo on the 18th and VENDETTA on the 19th.
WATERHEN was attached to Force I, while VENDETTA was employed in
anti-submarine patrols off Colombo. On the 25th, STUART departed Colombo for
Madagascar to join light cruiser GLOUCESTER and French sloop RIGAULT DE GENOUILLY.
French tanker SAN JOSE (6013grt) was chased by
an unidentified submarine in 27‑34N, 57‑58W, seven miles from
Willemstad. The submarine was later identified as one of the French
submarines based at Martinique.
SIRDHANA (7745grt) was sunk on a British defensive minefield in
Singapore Roads, 3½ miles 148° from Fort Canning Light; twenty crew were
In operations in the South
Atlantic, a Swordfish of 814 Squadron from aircraft carrier
into the sea on landing. Lt J H Dundas and crew were picked up by French
large destroyer LE FANTASQUE.
French sloop D'ENTRECASTEAUX
reported sighting a submarine in 12-56N, 22-24W.
French large destroyer LION arrived at Gibraltar at 0800
and departed at 1025 eastward.
French submarine L'ESPOIR
departed Colombo for Djibouti and Toulon.
French submarine SIDI FERRUCH
departed Port of Spain on patrol.
Kingston on patrol and arrived back at Kingston on the 25th.
departed Hong Kong on patrol in Chinese waters.
Tuesday, 14 November
Carrying the first shipment
of French gold to the United States, French Force Z of battleship LORRAINE,
and light cruisers MARSEILLAISE and JEAN DE VIENNE departed Toulon escorted by
destroyers AIGLE, FORTUNE and LA RAILLEUSE in Operation MACARONI. The escort was
reinforced by destroyers
LION, which departed Gibraltar on
the 13th and SIMOUN from Oran. The French ships, less FORTUNE, LA RAILLEUSE
and SIMOUN which were detached en route for Casablanca, arrived at Mers el Kebir
on the evening of the 15th when U-boats were reported in the area. The Force,
escorted by LION and AIGLE, departed on the 17th and on the 19th
was joined by the three destroyers which had been detached to Casablanca.
Later on the 19th these three destroyers returned to Casablanca, followed by
LION and AIGLE on the 20th. Force
Z reached Bermuda at 0900/27th, remained until 1230/29th and arrived at
Halifax at 1400 on 1 December.
On Northern Patrol were three
cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers and one AMC between the Faroes and
Iceland, and one cruiser and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait.
departed Grimsby on FN.36 escort duties with destroyers JERVIS
and JUPITER, and arrived back later the same day.
CALCUTTA with destroyers JERSEY and JAGUAR departed the Humber on FS.36
escort duties and arrived at Grimsby later the same day.
COVENTRY departed Grimsby on the 14th,
and in heavy weather, in the Pentland
Firth, her power steering failed and she arrived at Sullom Voe under
hand control. From 16 November to 14 January 1940, COVENTRY was anti-aircraft
guard ship for Sullom Voe and depot ship MANELA which maintained the flying
boats operating over the Arctic Ocean. Light cruiser
CARDIFF was held at Sullom Voe until COVENTRY's arrival to provide anti-aircraft protection for MANELA.
Destroyer KEITH and the
Polish BURZA replaced destroyer GLOWWORM and Polish GROM on East Coast
COLOMBO departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties, and arrived at Loch Ewe
on the 20th.
Destroyer GLOWWORM dropped
depth charges on a submarine contact off North Foreland.
Destroyer TARTAR investigated
a contact 59° off Rattray Head, later determined to be the wreck of CAIRNMONA, sunk
by U-boat on 30 October.
IMPERIALIST (520grt) attacked a submarine contact off Kentish Knock in
Anti-submarine trawler LOCH
TULLA (423grt) attacked a submarine contact in Hoy Sound.
Act/Sub Lt (A) E S Woodford was
killed when his Skua of 758 Squadron from RAVEN crashed near Saverlake
Convoy OA.35 of six ships
departed Southend escorted by destroyer KEITH on the 14th and destroyers
ESCAPADE and ENCOUNTER on the 14th and 15th. Submarine NARWHAL departed
Gosport and escorted from the 14th to 19th, and destroyers ACASTA and
ARDENT from the 15th to 19th, when the convoy dispersed and NARWHAL proceeded
independently to Halifax for escort duties.
Convoy OB.35 departed
Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WALPOLE until the 17th.
British steamer DOTTEREL (1385grt)
and French steamer ALASKA
(5399grt) collided seven miles east of St Catherine. DOTTEREL was able to proceed to Southampton, but
ALASKA sank early on the
Belgian fishing vessel
MAURICE MARGUERITE (28grt) was sunk
on a mine off Dyck Light Vessel, outside Gravelines, with the loss of three
VERNA H (983grt) was seized in the
Baltic by German warships and taken to Swinemünde.
Convoy HG.7 departed Port
Said on the 3rd, Malta on the 5th, and left Gibraltar on the 14th with 31
ships, escorted by destroyers VELOX, VIDETTE and also French destroyers
TARTU and VAUQUELIN from the 14th to 21st when they arrived at Brest.
Destroyer WOLVERINE escorted convoy HG.7A – the east coast portion - from the
21st to 23rd, and on the 21st, 28 miles 200° off Start Point, steamers DUNBAR
CASTLE (10002grt) and CLAN MACFARLANE (6193grt) were in collision. DUNBAR
CASTLE proceeded to Southampton for repairs. HG.7 arrived at Liverpool on the
22nd, while HG.7A arrived in the Downs on the 23rd with WOLVERINE.
Canadian destroyer FRASER was
damaged in a collision with Canadian minesweeping trawler BRAS D'OR (221grt)
at Halifax. FRASER was repaired at Halifax completing on 4 December.
Off the Azores, French armed
merchant cruiser KOUTOUBIA captured German steamer TRIFELS (6198grt) which had departed Ponta Delgada on the 12th
carrying 21,000 cases of gasoline. TRIFELS was taken to Casablanca and
renamed SAINT LOUISE for French service, but later returned to German service
after the fall of France.
French submarines CASABIANCA,
SFAX, PASTEUR and ACHILLE of the 2nd Submarine Division departed Brest escorting
French armed merchant cruiser QUERCY, and arrived at Halifax for escort duty on the 25th.