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

NAVAL EVENTS, NOVEMBER 1939, Part 1 of 2
Wednesday 1st - Tuesday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net 

HMS Tartar, destroyer  (CyberHeritage, click to enlarge)

on to NOVEMBER 1939, Part 2 

 

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

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

 

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


 

 

1939

 

 

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.

 

Light cruisers 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 destroyers.

 

 

Battleships 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 sea.

 

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.

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

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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.

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Convoy FN.30 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 3rd. There was no convoy FN.31.

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Convoy FS.30 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WHITLEY and sloop STORK, and arrived at Southend on the 3rd.

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Destroyer JUPITER and sloop FLEETWOOD dropped depth charges on a submarine contact in 52‑28N, 1‑59E.

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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.

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Destroyer BROKE searched for a submarine reported by D/F, 40 miles east of Buchan Ness in 57-20N, 0-30W.

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Sloop GRIMSBY attacked a submarine contact four miles east of Whitby.

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After a submarine was reported by British fishermen off Londonderry, patrol sloops WIDGEON and SHELDRAKE unsuccessfully searched for it.

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Four destroyers from Harwich were on patrol off Smith's Knoll, NE of Yarmouth, searching for vessels reportedly cooperating with U-boats.

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Norwegian steamer MIM (4996grt) sent to Kirkwall by light cruiser 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).

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Admiral Cunningham transferred his flag ashore at Malta from battleship WARSPITE, which was preparing to leave his command for the Home Fleet.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Light cruiser DESPATCH departed Panama on patrol.

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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 March.

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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.

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Destroyer SCOUT departed Singapore for duty at Hong Kong.

 

 

Thursday, 2 November

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW located American steamer 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.

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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.

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Destroyers GREYHOUND and GRENVILLE were searching for a U-boat 17 miles 213° from Start Point.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Light cruisers CALEDON and CERES departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties, and arrived back on the 9th.

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On Northern Patrol, light cruisers DELHI, DUNEDIN and CALYPSO were between the Orkneys and the Faroes, light cruisers COLOMBO, DRAGON, DIOMEDE and AMC SCOTSTOUN between the Faroes and Iceland, and light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and AMCs CHITRAL, AURANIA and RAWALPINDI in the Denmark Strait.

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

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW 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.

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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.

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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.

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Convoy HX.7 departed Halifax at 0700 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT, which detached on the 3rd. Ocean escort was cruiser ENTERPRISE which 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.

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS, now attached to the 5th Cruiser Squadron, departed Singapore on patrol duties.

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Light cruiser DURBAN departed Singapore for Hong Kong, arriving on the 6th for refit and docking, which was completed on the 24th.

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Light cruiser DANAE departed Simonstown for Mauritius.

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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 Harwich.

 

 

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 the 28th.

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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.

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Light cruiser 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 weather.

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE arrived at Sullom Voe on the 3rd for refuelling, then went off on Northern Patrol.

 

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.

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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.

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Light cruisers DRAGON, COLOMBO, DIOMEDE arrived at Sullom Voe.

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On Northern Patrol were light cruisers CALEDON and 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.

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

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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.

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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.

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French torpedo boat BRANLEBAS reported the track of a torpedo in 49-38N, 2-50W.

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Heavy cruisers DEVONSHIRE and 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 WARSPITE from 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Light cruiser CARADOC 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 NEW YORK.

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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.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Grimsby and arrived at Rosyth on the 6th.

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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 anti-aircraft cruiser 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.

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Convoy OA.30 of 12 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers GREYHOUND and GALLANT from the 4th to 6th, and dispersed on the 7th.

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Convoy OB.30 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC and WHIRLWIND to the 7th.

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Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE, working up prior to departing for Canada, attacked a submarine contact northwest of Guernsey at 0200.

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Minesweepers HUSSAR and SPEEDWELL were involved in a minor collision. SPEEDWELL repaired in the Tyne, completing on 10 December.

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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 line.

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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.

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Greek steamer 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.

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Finnish steamer OTAVA (1290grt) was seized in the Gulf of Bothnia by German warships and taken to Swinemünde.

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Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM was 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.

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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.

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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.

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Danish steamer TEKLA (1469grt) reported sighting a U-boat four miles SE of Flamborough Head. Destroyer JUNO was sent to search.

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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.

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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 Plymouth.

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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.

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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.

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U.33 laid mines off North Foreland, on which two ships were sunk and one damaged.

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Force K, consisting of aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser RENOWN, light cruiser NEPTUNE, 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.

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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.

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Destroyer AFRIDI, whose defects were repaired in the Tyne, departed the Tyne and arrived at Rosyth on the 7th for operations.

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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.

 

Light cruisers CARDIFF, COLOMBO and DRAGON departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties, and arrived back on the 12th.

 

Light cruisers DUNEDIN, DELHI, CALYPSO arrived at Sullom Voe from Northern Patrol.

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Armed boarding vessel NORTHERN DUKE received instructions to take over a merchant ship from light cruiser CERES and escort her into Kirkwall.

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Anti-aircraft cruisers CAIRO and CALCUTTA arrived at Rosyth to strengthen the air defences at Rosyth while the Home Fleet was refuelling there.

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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.

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Polish submarine ORZEL, escorted by destroyer WHITEHALL, departed Rosyth for Dundee for docking. After the escort duty, WHITEHALL arrived back the same day.

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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 20th Flotilla.

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Submarine SEALION on Dogger Bank Patrol at 0943 fired six torpedoes at U.21 in 55-10N, 02-11E.

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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.

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Convoy OB.31 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WITHERINGTON to the 9th.

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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.

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Convoy SA.16 departed Southampton with one steamer, escorted by destroyers SALADIN and SARDONYX, and arrived at Brest on the 7th.

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Battleship WARSPITE escorted 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.

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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.

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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.

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Light cruiser GALATEA departed Port Said, arrived at Haifa on the 7th, and Alexandria on the 8th.

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Armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA carrying £2,000,000 in gold bullion arrived at Halifax, escorted into port by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT.

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French large cruiser MILAN passed Gibraltar east to west.

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Finnish steamer 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 sloop FLAMINGO.

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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 December.

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Light cruiser EFFINGHAM departed Devonport after boiler cleaning, and arrived at Halifax on the 15th.

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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.

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON arrived at Rosyth after Northern Patrol duties.

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Destroyer IMOGEN, her defects corrected, departed Liverpool for Scapa Flow, arriving on the 8th.

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Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE departed Rosyth, was met by destroyers JUNO and JUPITER off Inchkeith, and safely escorted to Grimsby.

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Destroyer STURDY departed Rosyth, via the Humber for Portsmouth to escort aircraft carrier ARGUS to Toulon.

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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 10th.

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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.

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Destroyers GRENADE, EXMOUTH and 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 10th.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser BERWICK 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.

_____

 

Depot ship MAIDSTONE departed Malta escorted by sloops ABERDEEN and DEPTFORD, and arrived at Gibraltar on the 10th. On the 12th, they departed Gibraltar, accompanied by light cruiser 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 NEPTUNE.

 

CAPETOWN returned to Gibraltar while MAIDSTONE and NEPTUNE proceeded to Freetown, arriving on the 16th.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM departed Singapore for Hong Kong and en route, investigated a Japanese whaling convoy. She arrived at Hong Kong on the 10th.

_____

 

Light cruiser CAPETOWN 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.

_____

 

Light cruisers DUNEDIN, DELHI and DIOMEDE departed Sullom Voe. DUNEDIN and DELHI relieved light cruisers CALEDON and 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 1530/9th.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier EAGLE, 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 Casablanca.

 

 

Thursday, 9 November

 

Battleships NELSON, 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 required repair.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD 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 southern Norway.

_____

 

Steamer 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.

_____

 

Norwegian steamers GEISHA (5113grt) and SUSANNA (810grt) were seized by German warships in the Baltic for contraband violations.

_____

 

Light cruiser GALATEA 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.

_____

 

German steamer 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.

_____

 

Light cruisers GLASGOW, SOUTHAMPTON, AURORA and BELFAST and ten destroyers were formed as a Striking Force under the command of Captain E de F Renouf CVO as a Commodore at Rosyth.

_____

 

Following a refit, light cruiser 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 Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyers JUNO, JANUS, JAGUAR and JERSEY departed Immingham.

_____

 

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 duty.

_____

 

Convoy OB.33 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VERSATILE, VOLUNTEER and MONTROSE until the 13th.

_____

 

French submarines ORPHÉE and ANTIOPE departed Brest escorted by auxiliary patrol vessel HEREUX.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser YORK, repairing boiler defects at Bermuda, began repairs to A-turret that were to be completed by the end of the month.

_____

 

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 REVENGE, and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 25th.

_____

 

Light cruiser MANCHESTER 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.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND 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 Plata area.

 

Heavy cruiser EXETER departed Mar del Plata to repair at Capetown, but was recalled for patrol in the Rio area.

 

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.

_____

 

Light cruiser DANAE departed Mauritius for Colombo, where she arrived on the 18th.

_____

 

Heavy cruisers DORSETSHIRE 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 hours later.

_____

 

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 day.

_____

 

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, SOUTHAMPTON, AURORA, 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.

_____

 

Light cruiser EMERALD 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.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARGUS and 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.

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Heavy cruisers SUSSEX and 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.

_____

 

Battleship RAMILLIES and destroyer DELIGHT departed Port Said to relieve battleship MALAYA and destroyer DARING off Aden.

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Light cruiser PENELOPE 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 escort.

 

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 Malta.

 

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.

_____

 

Light cruiser NEPTUNE departed Freetown on patrol, met depot ship MAIDSTONE, and returned on the 16th to join aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL.

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French submarine SIDI FERRUCH arrived at Port of Spain after patrol in the Caribbean.

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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 23rd.

 

 

Sunday, 12 November

 

Battleships NELSON, 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 21st.

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Light cruiser EDINBURGH and destroyers AFRIDI and MAORI departed Rosyth for the Humber, arriving that afternoon.

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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.

 

Light cruisers CALYPSO, CALEDON and CERES departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duty. CALEDON suffered damage to her upper deck in heavy weather on the 15th.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser 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. GLOWWORM escorted 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.

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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 SAINT MARGARET.

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German steamer 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 DELHI 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.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW departed Rosyth and arrived at Grimsby on the 13th.

_____

 

Destroyers ESK, EXPRESS, BLANCHE and BASILISK departing Rosyth for the Humber, were held up by fog near Outer Dowsing.

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In a German air attack on Sullom Voe and Lerwick, two Sunderland flying boats at Lerwick were destroyed.

_____

 

Sloop FLAMINGO departed Rosyth with submarines SEALION, SHARK, SNAPPER and SUNFISH for passage to Harwich, arriving on the 14th.

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Convoy OA.34 of 14 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers ELECTRA and ESCORT from the 12th to 14th.

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Convoy OB.34 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANESSA until the 13th, and destroyers WARWICK and WHIRLWIND until the 15th.

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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, 6-55W.

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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).

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GERMAN 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 field.

 

On the 12th, cruiser minelayer 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 September 1940.

 

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 vessel.

 

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 Margate.

 

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).

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German destroyers BRUNO HEINEMANN, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK and FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT conducted an anti-shipping sweep in the Skagerrak from the 13th to 15th.

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Heavy cruiser KENT departed Hong Kong and arrived at Singapore on the 15th.

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Heavy cruiser EXETER was bumped and damaged while alongside a tanker near Montevideo.

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS arrived at Singapore after patrol in the Sunda Strait.

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Light cruiser CAPETOWN departed Gibraltar on escort duty and arrived back later the same day.

 

 

Monday, 13 November

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Rosyth.

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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.

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Convoy SA.17 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by destroyers SKATE and SCIMITAR, and arrived at Brest on the 14th.

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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.

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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 15th.

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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.

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German steamer 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 survivors.

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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.

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Sloop ENCHANTRESS attacked a submarine contact in 49-40N, 12-04W.

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U.28 laid mines in Bristol Channel, on which one merchant ship was lost.

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German minesweeper 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.

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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.

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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.

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Steamer SIRDHANA (7745grt) was sunk on a British defensive minefield in Singapore Roads, 3½ miles 148° from Fort Canning Light; twenty crew were killed.

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In operations in the South Atlantic, a Swordfish of 814 Squadron from aircraft carrier HERMES crashed into the sea on landing. Lt J H Dundas and crew were picked up by French large destroyer LE FANTASQUE.

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French sloop D'ENTRECASTEAUX reported sighting a submarine in 12-56N, 22-24W.

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French large destroyer LION arrived at Gibraltar at 0800 and departed at 1025 eastward.

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French submarine L'ESPOIR departed Colombo for Djibouti and Toulon.

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French submarine SIDI FERRUCH departed Port of Spain on patrol.

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Light cruiser ORION departed Kingston on patrol and arrived back at Kingston on the 25th.

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Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM 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.

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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.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW departed Grimsby on FN.36 escort duties with destroyers JERVIS and JUPITER, and arrived back later the same day.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA with destroyers JERSEY and JAGUAR departed the Humber on FS.36 escort duties and arrived at Grimsby later the same day.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser 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.

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Destroyer KEITH and the Polish BURZA replaced destroyer GLOWWORM and Polish GROM on East Coast patrol.

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Light cruisers DRAGON and COLOMBO departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties, and arrived at Loch Ewe on the 20th.

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Destroyer GLOWWORM dropped depth charges on a submarine contact off North Foreland.

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Destroyer TARTAR investigated a contact 59° off Rattray Head, later determined to be the wreck of CAIRNMONA, sunk by U-boat on 30 October.

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Anti-submarine trawler IMPERIALIST (520grt) attacked a submarine contact off Kentish Knock in 51-42N, 1-48E.

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Anti-submarine trawler LOCH TULLA (423grt) attacked a submarine contact in Hoy Sound.

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 Act/Sub Lt (A) E S Woodford was killed when his Skua of 758 Squadron from RAVEN crashed near Saverlake Forest.

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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.

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Convoy OB.35 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and WALPOLE until the 17th.

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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 15th.

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Belgian fishing vessel MAURICE MARGUERITE (28grt) was sunk on a mine off Dyck Light Vessel, outside Gravelines, with the loss of three crew.

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Finnish steamer VERNA H (983grt) was seized in the Baltic by German warships and taken to Swinemünde.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

on to NOVEMBER 1939, Part 2
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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

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