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

NAVAL EVENTS, NOVEMBER 1939 (Part 2 of 2)
Wednesday 15th - Thursday 30th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net 

HM S/M Oxley (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

on to Naval Events, DECEMBER 1939 

 

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

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

 

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


 

 

1939

 

 

Wednesday, 15 November

 

Convoy HN.2 of eight British and one Finnish steamer departed Bergen and was joined by destroyers ICARUS, IMOGEN and IMPULSIVE. The convoy was covered by battleships NELSON and RODNEY and accompanying forces which departed Rosyth on the 12th. ICARUS was relieved by destroyer IMPERIAL and then proceeded to Rosyth for boiler cleaning.

 

Destroyers ASHANTI and PUNJABI getting underway to join the battleships collided at Rosyth on the 15th, but the damage was not serious, and they and sister ship SOMALI, which departed Rosyth with them, joined the battleships at sea as planned. Destroyer MASHONA departed Loch Ewe on the 16th and joined the Home Fleet in 62-15N, 00-04W and TARTAR, completing the escort of steamer MARYLYN to Stromness,joined them at the same location as sister ship MASHONA.

 

Destroyers ISIS and KANDAHAR were assigned to escort the three steamers of the west coast section of HN.2 when it arrived off the Shetlands. KANDAHAR had departed on the 15th to join the Home Fleet at sea, but was recalled for this escort duty. Destroyer WALLACE was assigned to escort the Tyne section of HN.2 but because of fog, had to anchor off the Tyne for an hour.

 

A submarine contact on the 17th did not hamper the convoy's progress and HN.2 arrived safely on the 18th with IMOGEN, IMPERIAL and IMPULSIVE. The battle force arrived at Loch Ewe on the 17th, departed on the 19th and arrived in the Clyde on the 21st.

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On Northern Patrol, three cruisers were between the Orkneys and the Faroes, two cruisers and one AMC between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait.

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The deep minefield in the Clyde was begun and completed on the 18th in Operation CP.

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Destroyer FURY completed her repairs in the Clyde, but was retained in the Clyde to escort base ship MASHOBRA.

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Destroyer INGLEFIELD completed her repairs at Liverpool and departed for Scapa Flow.

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Sloop PELICAN and submarine TRIAD departed Rosyth to exercise outside May Island with RAF personnel. Both ships arrived back at Rosyth later that day.

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Polish destroyer GROM rendezvoused off North Goodwin Light with destroyers EXPRESS and ESK, which had sailed from Harwich.

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Destroyers BROKE and ECLIPSE were submarine hunting in 53‑50N, 5‑25W.

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Convoy FN.37 departed Southend for Methil, escorted by sloops GRIMSBY, FLAMINGO, WESTON. Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, destroyers JUNO and JUPITER departed Grimsby in support.

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Convoy FS.37 departed Methil escorted by escort ships VIVIEN, VALOROUS and sloop BITTERN. Minesweeper TEDWORTH sailed with the convoy for the passage south. VALOROUS developed condenser problems, was replaced by destroyer JAGUAR, and began repairs in the Tyne, which were completed on the 16th.

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Convoy BC.15 of ten steamers, including BARON CARNEGIE, BLACKHEATH, DEVON COAST and NIGERIAN (Commodore) departed Bristol Channel, escorted by destroyers VIVACIOUS, VESPER and VANESSA, and safely arrived in the Loire on the 17th.

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U.20 was attacked nine miles 90° from Tongue Light Vessel by British aircraft which called up destroyers KEITH and GRIFFIN. Destroyer GREYHOUND later joined in the search, but U.20 escaped serious damage and was able to lay mines off Newarp Light Vessel on the 22nd.

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French destroyer SIROCCO attacked a contact in 25‑50N, 7‑20W after a submarine was reported by an aircraft. Destroyers VELOX and VIDETTE, after leaving convoy HG.7, also searched the area.

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Australian light cruiser HOBART (top - NavyPhotos/Mark Teadham) departed Colombo and arrived at Bombay on the 18th.

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Heavy cruiser SUSSEX arrived at Durban.

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German pocket battleship DEUTSCHLAND arrived in German waters and was renamed LÜTZOW to prevent the possibility of a ship bearing the name of the Fatherland being sunk. She anchored at Gdynia on the 17th.

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German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE sank steamer AFRICA SHELL (706grt) 10½ miles SW by S of Cape Zavora Light in Mozambique Channel in 24-40-42S, 35-12E. Submarine OLYMPUS on patrol in the Indian Ocean set off in pursuit, but failed to make contact.

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Admiral Wells of Force K transferred his flag to battlecruiser RENOWN, and aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL departed Freetown for England to refit and receive new aircraft. When news of the sinking of AFRICA SHELL reached the Admiralty on the 17th, ARK ROYAL was ordered back to Freetown.

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Light cruiser LIVERPOOL departed Colombo on the 15th and arrived at Singapore on the 19th for patrol duties on the China Station. She proceeded to Saigon and arrived at Hong Kong on 10 December.

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Canadian destroyers OTTAWA and RESTIGOUCHE departed Esquimalt, Canada, for Halifax on the east coast after being relieved in the Pacific by British light cruiser CARADOC. They refuelled on the 25th off the Isla del Coco off the Costa Rican coast from Australian light cruiser PERTH, which had entered the Pacific through the Panama Canal, refuelled again at Kingston and reached Halifax on 7 December.

 

These movements were to allow Canadian destroyers FRASER and OTTAWA to join the America and West Indies Station, and Canadian destroyer SAGUENAY which had been operating in the Caribbean since late September to return to Canada. However, heavy demands for convoy escorts caused OTTAWA to be retained at Halifax and FRASER did not arrive in the Caribbean at Kingston until 31 March 1940.

 

Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE arrived at Halifax on the 17th from Plymouth, and departed Halifax on 5 December for Jamaica, arriving at Kingston on the 8th to relieve SAGUENAY.

 

SAGUENAY arrived back at Halifax in mid-December and resumed convoy duties from that port.

 

ASSINIBOINE remained in the Caribbean until 31 March 1940 when she arrived back at Halifax after being relieved by FRASER.

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German trawler ELSE (141grt) was lost near Skargaard.

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Lithuanian steamers PANEVEZYS (1607grt) and NIDA (945grt) were sunk on mines near Tallinn.

 

 

Thursday, 16 November

 

Sloop FLAMINGO, escorting convoy FN.37, was damaged in a collision with steamer LOWLAND (974grt) in 54‑38N, 0‑46W. She arrived at Leith on the 17th and was docked for repair, completed on 10 December.

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Destroyer FORESTER completed her refit in the Clyde.

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On Northern Patrol were three cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, two cruisers and two AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait.

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Light cruiser CALYPSO captured a merchant ship (SISALMANN ?) and was en route with her to Loch Ewe. She requested a trawler to meet her in West Ray Firth to take over the escort. Armed boarding vessel KINGSTON JACINTH was delayed by weather, but did so, and both ships arrived at Loch Ewe at 1700/17th.

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Light cruiser CARDIFF departed Sullom Voe and arrived at Loch Ewe on the 20th to repair weather damage.

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

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Destroyer KASHMIR at Scapa Flow was ordered to join Forbes at sea, but had mechanical defects and was unable to sail.

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Destroyers KEITH and GIPSY were ordered to rendezvous with destroyer GRIFFIN off Kentish Knock Light Vessel.

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Minelaying operation FE was completed on the 15th/16th and 16th/17th between the English end of the Folkestone-Cape Griz Nez field and the shore off Dover by auxiliary minelayer HAMPTON escorted by two destroyers. Survey ship FRANKLIN laid the navigational buoys.

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Convoy OA.36G of 19 ships departed Southend on the 16th escorted by destroyers WAKEFUL and WHITEHALL on the 16th and 17th, and destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY on the 18th and 19th.

 

Convoy OB.36G departed Liverpool on the 17th, escorted by destroyers WALKER and VANOC, which remained with the convoy until the 19th. Anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN SPRAY (655grt) was with the convoy on the 17th only. The Bristol section of OB.36G was escorted by destroyer MONTROSE which remained until the 20th.

 

Accompanying OA.36G were anti-submarine trawlers ARCTIC RANGER (493grt), KINGSTON CORNELIAN (449grt), LORD HOTHAM (464grt) and LEYLAND (452grt) on passage to Gibraltar for local anti-submarine duties, which were with the convoy from the 17th to 24th. OA.36G rendezvoused with OB.36G on the 19th and became convoy OG.7 with 43 ships. It was then escorted by French destroyers CHACAL and MISTRAL from the 19th and destroyer KEPPEL from the 20th. The convoy reached Gibraltar on the 24th.

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U.43 sank steamer ARLINGTON COURT (4915grt) from convoy SL.7A, 320 miles 248° from Start Point in 48-14N, 11-42W. Five crew were lost, but Dutch steamer ALGENIB (5483grt) rescued 22 survivors from a lifeboat, and on the 22nd, Norwegian tanker SPINANGER (7429grt) picked up another seven.

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U.28 sank Dutch tanker SLIEDRECHT (5133grt) 200 miles south of Rockall Bank; twenty six crewmen were missing but trawler MERISIA (291grt) rescued five survivors during the night of the 23rd/24th.

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Italian steamer VELOCE (5464grt) ran aground near Dungeness Light.

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When steamer HOPESTAR (5257grt) was attacked by a submarine in 48‑47N, 8‑28W, destroyers BROKE and ECLIPSE searched in the area.

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Destroyer WATCHMAN boarded Italian liner VULCANIA (24,469grt) outside Portuguese territorial waters.

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French destroyers TIGRE and PANTHÈRE arrived at Gibraltar for convoy escort duty.

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Convoy SL.9 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser SALOPIAN. Disabled destroyer HAVOCK travelled with them and detached to Gibraltar on the 25th, arriving on the 27th. At 0800/2 December, destroyers MACKAY, VIMY, ACASTA, and ARDENT met the convoy in Home Waters, which arrived later that day.

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

 

 

Friday, 17 November

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE sustained damage to her breakwater and aircraft carrier FURIOUS had engine trouble which limited her speed to 23 knots while at sea from Halifax.

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Light cruisers EDINBURGH, BELFAST, GLASGOW, SOUTHAMPTON and AURORA arrived at Rosyth.

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Light cruiser NEWCASTLE departed Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe, leaving there on the 21st for Northern Patrol.

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Light cruiser CARDIFF departed Loch Ewe after refuelling and repairing damage sustained in heavy weather, and arrived back on the 20th.

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Light cruisers DIOMEDE and DUNEDIN departed Loch Ewe on Northern Patrol duties, with DIOMEDE arriving back on the 21st.

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Armed merchant cruiser AURANIA departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol duties.

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On Northern Patrol were two cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, two cruisers and two AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait.

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Polish destroyers BLYSKAWICA, BURZA, GROM arrived at Rosyth for a visit by the Polish Prime Minister, and left on the 18th to return to Harwich.

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Destroyers ESK and EXPRESS arrived at Harwich for minelaying in the Thames approaches in operation RG. They departed Harwich at 0815, accompanied by minesweepers SKIPJACK and LEDA.

 

ESK and EXPRESS laid more mines in this field on the 29th assisted by minesweepers HARRIER and HUSSAR, followed on 1 December by auxiliary minelayer HAMPTON and four destroyers which laid another line of mines, assisted by minesweepers SKIPJACK and LEDA.

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Destroyer FURY departed the Clyde with base ship MASHOBRA on the 16th. FURY was relieved by destroyer INGLEFIELD at 1735/17th which took MASHOBRA on to Rosyth, arriving on the 19th. FURY proceeded to Loch Ewe, and after refuelling, joined the Main Fleet at sea.

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Convoy FN.38 departed Southend, escorted by escort vessels/destroyers VIVIEN, VALOROUS and sloop BITTERN. On passage, VIVIEN was damaged in collision with an unknown merchant ship, which carried on without stopping, arrived at Harwich on the 17th and was later taken to North Shields for repairs completed on 5 December. Destroyer JERVIS, which had been searching the Outer Dowsing area joined the convoy on the 18th from dawn to dark, and the convoy arrived at Methil on the 19th.

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Convoy FS.38 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, WALLACE and sloop STORK. Seaplane carrier PEGASUS travelled in company. Destroyers JAGUAR and JUNO operated in the area of FS.38 from dawn to dark on the 18th, and the convoy arrived at Southend on the 19th.

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German steamer HENNING OLDENDORFF (3986grt), which had departed Huelva, Spain, on the 2nd disguised as a Russian ship, was captured by light cruiser COLOMBO near Iceland in 62‑59N, 10‑44W. The German ship, the Royal Navy's 19th prize of the war, was taken in to Kirkwall by a prize crew commanded by Lt Cdr L A Lambert on the 19th due to insufficient coal for the voyage to Leith. She was later renamed EMPIRE INDUSTRY for British service.

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GERMAN DESTROYER MINELAYING IN THE THAMES ESTUARY

 

German destroyers HERMANN KÜNNE and WILHELM HEIDKAMP of the 5th Destroyer Division, escorted by destroyer BERND VON ARNIM, laid 180 magnetic mines in the Thames Estuary during the night of the 17th/18th. Returning to Wilhelmshaven, they were met off Terschelling by light cruisers LEIPZIG, NÜRNBERG and torpedo boats LEOPARD, ILTIS, and SEEADLER. Seven merchant ships grossing 27,565 tons were sunk and one more damaged in the field:

 

On the 18th, Dutch steamer SIMON BOLIVAR (7906grt) in 51‑49N, 01‑41E; 84 passengers and crew went missing. Survivors were rescued by destroyer GREYHOUND, anti-submarine trawlers MAN O'WAR (517grt), CAPE WARWICK (516grt), DANEMAN (516grt), WELLARD 514grt), LADY ELSA (518grt), and tug FAIRPLAY II (282grt).

 

On the 18th, steamer BLACKHILL (2492grt), 7½ cables 145° from Longsand Head Light Vessel in 51‑47N, 01‑39E; one crewman was lost and destroyer GIPSY rescued the survivors.

 

On the 18th, tanker JAMES J MAGUIRE (10, 525grt) of convoy OA.37 was severely damaged in 51‑46N, 01‑40E.

 

On the 19th, steamer TORCHBEARER (1267grt), two miles 25° from Shipwash Light Vessel; four crew were lost and destroyer GREYHOUND rescued the eight survivors.

 

On the 20th, naval trawler MASTIFF (520grt, Lt Cdr A A C Ouvry) one mile off the Tongue; five ratings went missing and one rating died of wounds. The survivors were rescued by the Margate lifeboat and minesweeping trawler CAPE SPARTEL (346grt).

 

On the 21st, Japanese liner TERUKUNI MARU (11, 930grt) in 51‑50N, 01‑30E; all 206 passengers and crew were picked up by trawler GAVA (256grt) and other small craft.

 

On the 22nd, steamer GERALDUS (2495grt), three miles WNW of Sunk Light Vessel; destroyer WIVERN rescued the survivors.

 

On the 22nd, steamer LOWLAND (924grt) two miles ENE of Northeast Gunfleet Buoy; nine crew were lost and minesweeping trawler MYRTLE (550grt) rescued three survivors.

 

On 10 December, auxiliary minesweeper RAY OF HOPE (98grt, Skipper W Hayes RNR) off Ramsgate; four crew were killed and five missing. Auxiliary minesweeper SILVER DAWN (85grt) sweeping in company with RAY OF HOPE picked up Cdr C E Hamond DSO, DSC Rtd of VERNON, Hayes and the mate.

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U.19 laid mines off Orfordness during the night of the 17th/18th. Destroyer GIPSY and one merchant ship was lost in the field. The merchantman was Yugoslav steamer CARICA MILICA (6371grt), sunk on the 18th, 3½ miles 005° from Shipwash; the entire crew was rescued.

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Anti-submarine trawler DRANGEY (434grt) was damaged in a collision at Rosyth.

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Destroyers BROKE and ECLIPSE were submarine hunting in 48‑05N, 6‑32W, and joined by destroyers VANESSA, VESPER and VIVACIOUS, released from the escort of convoy BC.15.

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Minesweeping trawler CORENA (352grt) reported sighting a U-boat in 50N, 4-35W, and destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY sailed to investigate.

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Destroyer WALLACE attacked a submarine contact 10 miles NE of Blyth.

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Anti-submarine trawler CAPE ARGONA (494grt) attacked a submarine contact 1½ miles 010° from Outer Dowsing.

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Steamer COREA (751grt) sighted a submarine in 57‑44N, 5‑52W, and destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY were ordered to carry out a search.

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U.57 sank Lithuanian steamer KAUNAS (1566grt) 6½ miles WNW of Noordhinder Light Vessel; one crewman was lost and 15 survivors picked up.

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U.15 laid mines off Lowestoft during the night of the 16th/17th, on which one merchant ship was sunk.

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Convoy HXF.9 departed Halifax at 1200 escorted by Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT until detached on the 18th. Ocean escort was armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA, and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 29th.

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Aircraft carrier ARGUS, and destroyers STURDY and GALLANT arrived at Gibraltar. GALLANT left to return to Plymouth and was ordered en route to search for German merchant ships reported leaving Vigo.

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Convoy SLF.9 departed Freetown escorted by sloop AUCKLAND, and was joined on the 29th by destroyers ESCAPADE, GALLANT and GRAFTON. The convoy arrived later that day and AUCKLAND reached Portsmouth on the 30th.

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Light cruiser CARADOC arrived at San Diego, California, for refuelling, the first foreign warship to visit a US port since the start of the war.

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Light cruiser DESPATCH (Captain Allen Poland DSC), which entered the Pacific through the Panama Canal on the 1st, arrived at Callao, Peru with steamer LOBOS (6479grt).

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Light cruiser GLOUCESTER, attached to Force I from the 16th, departed Rangoon, and on the 18th sailed from Colombo to patrol north of Madagascar.

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Swedish steamer VALAPARISO (3759grt) was seized by German warships for contraband violations in the Baltic.

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French submarine SIDI FERRUCH departed Port of Spain for Martinique.

 

 

Saturday, 18 November

 

On Northern Patrol were two cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes three cruisers and three AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and two AMCs in the Denmark Strait.

 

Light cruisers CALEDON, CERES, CALYPSO arrived at Loch Ewe from Northern Patrol.

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Armed boarding vessels NORTHERN PRINCESS, NORTHERN FOAM, NORTHERN ISLE departed the Fair Isle Patrol.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW departed Grimsby on escort duties.

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German merchant ship BORKUM (3670grt), which had departed Montevideo on 9 October, was captured by armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA on 18 November in the Denmark Strait. Under a prize crew commanded by Lt Cdr B Moloney RNR, BORKUM headed for Greenock via Kirkwall, but on the 23rd was attacked by U.33 and damaged by torpedo and gunfire near the Orkneys in 59‑33N, 03‑57W. Four German crew members were killed, but the rest of the Germans and British were rescued by armed boarding vessels KINGSTON BERYL and KINGSTON ONYX. The steamer was abandoned, drifted ashore in Papa Sound on the 25th and refloated on 18 August 1940, but as a total loss. She was taken to Rosyth and scrapped.

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German merchant ship EILBEK (2185grt), which had departed Ponta Delgada in the Azores on the 10th, was captured by armed merchant cruiser SCOTSTOUN in the Iceland Faroes-Channel in 58‑45N, 14‑10W. Destroyer PUNJABI departed Greenock at daylight on the 20th to join SCOTSTOUN as she escorted EILBEK to the Clyde. SCOTSTOUN arrived at midday on the 20th and PUNJABI and the German ship on the 21st. EILBEK was renamed EMPIRE SCOUT for British service.

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Following a D/F report, destroyers ACASTA, ARDENT, WINCHELSEA and WALPOLE, on their way to meet a homecoming Halifax convoy, conducted a search 150 miles SW of Berehaven.

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Destroyers ECHO and WANDERER were searching for a submarine in 49‑40N, 12‑00W.

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Destroyers ILEX and ICARUS began boiler cleaning at Rosyth.

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Destroyer ISIS departed Rosyth to collect tanker ATHELKING (9557grt) at Invergordon and escort her to Methil to join convoy FS.40. ISIS arrived on the morning of the 19th and departed that afternoon with the tanker and destroyer KELLY, en route to the Tyne for refit. Destroyer INGLEFIELD, after delivering MASHOBRA to Rosyth, relieved KELLY.

 

ISIS and the tanker arrived at Methil on the 20th, while KELLY reached the Tyne on the 21st.

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Convoy OA.37 of 24 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyer GRAFTON and ENCHANTRESS from the 18th to 20th. The convoy was dispersed on the 21st.

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Convoy OB.38 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MACKAY and VIMY to the 21st.

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GERMAN DESTROYER MINELAYING OFF THE HUMBER

 

German destroyers ERICH STEINBRINCK and FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, escorted by destroyer HANDS LODY, laid mixed contact and more magnetic mines off the Humber during the night of the 18th/19th. Returning, they were met by light cruiser LEIPZIG and torpedo boats ILTIS, SEEADLER, LEOPARD and WOLF. The British were still not aware that the Germans were using magnetic mines, against which they had no defence or sweeping capability, and it was not until the 23rd that a magnetic mine was recovered at Shoeburyness. Seven merchant ships grossing 38,710 tons were sunk and one more damaged in the field.

 

On the 19th, Swedish steamer B O BORJESSON (1586grt) in 53‑46N, 00‑21E; six crewmen were lost, and the survivors rescued by minesweeping trawler ROSE OF ENGLAND (222grt) and trawler FRASCATI (220grt).

 

On the 19th, French steamer RHUYS (2921grt) 2½ miles south of the Humber Light Vessel; sixteen crewmen were lost and 17 survivors rescued.

 

On the 24th, steamer MANGALORE (8886grt), 1½ miles 288° from Spurn Light House.

 

On the 26th, Polish liner PILSUDSKI (14,294grt), 26 miles 314° off Outer Dowsing in 53-15N, 0-30E; ten crewmen were lost, and destroyer VALOROUS rescued 79 survivors.

 

On the 30th, Norwegian steamer REALF (8083grt) in 53‑55N, 00‑22E; one crewman was lost and the survivors rescued by Italian steamer SANTAGATA (4299grt). The wreck did not sink until 1 December.

 

On 4 December, steamer HORSTED (1670grt) in convoy, in 53‑48N, 00‑16E; five crewmen were lost and destroyer JACKAL picked up the survivors.

 

An additional vessel of 1270 tons was lost on this minefield. This could possibly be Norwegian steamer GIMLE (1271grt), reported lost on 3 December off the east coast of England, although her sinking is generally credited to U.31

 

On 28 December, tanker SAN DELFINO (8072grt) was damaged off Holme Ridge Buoy in the Humber Estuary, but refloated and berthed on 1 January 1940.

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U.18 sank fishing trawler WIGMORE (345grt) 25 miles N by W of Rattray Head in 57‑59N, 02‑06W. Sixteen crewmen were lost.

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U.22 sank steamer PARKHILL (500grt) in 58‑07N, 02‑18W.

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Force K of aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser RENOWN, light cruiser NEPTUNE, and destroyers HARDY, HERO, HOSTILE and HASTY departed Freetown to operate south of Freetown along the convoy route.

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Battleship RAMILLIES and destroyer DELIGHT joined Force J in the Indian Ocean. RAMILLIES was to relieve battleship MALAYA which was due to go to Malta for rearming. However, these plans were suspended after the sinking of steamer AFRICA SHELL in the Indian Ocean. DELIGHT was also to relieve destroyer DARING which was to return to the Mediterranean for refit, but her return too was suspended.

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Aircraft carrier ARGUS, and destroyers STURDY and DOUGLAS departed Gibraltar for Toulon. DOUGLAS arrived back on the 23rd.

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Light cruiser CAPETOWN departed Gibraltar and arrived at Malta on the 20th.

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French destroyer BORDELAIS and submarines CAIMAN, MORSE and SOUFFLEUR passed Gibraltar westbound.

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Convoy HX.9 departed Halifax at 1000 escorted by Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE and ST LAURENT until they detached on the 20th. Ocean escort was battleship WARSPITE, which detached on the 24th. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 2 December.

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French large destroyer CHEVALIER PAUL and torpedo boats FLORE and BOUCLIER were on patrol in the area of 43N, 13.5W.

 

 

Sunday, 19 November

 

Destroyers FURY and MASHONA departed Loch Ewe to hunt for a U-boat, and were joined by destroyers PUNJABI and ASHANTI which also departed Loch Ewe later.

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On Northern Patrol were two cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers and three AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and one AMC in the Denmark Strait.

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Destroyer BOADICEA departed Harwich to investigate a Belgian steamer in the North Sea reported to have “cylindrical objects” on her after deck.

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Destroyer KEITH and one other destroyer from convoy HG.7A dropped depth charges on a submarine contact.

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Convoy BC.14 of eleven steamers, including ADJUTANT, BATNA, BELLEROPHON (Commodore), BRIARWOOD, HARMATTAN, JADE, LOCHEE, OUSEL and PEMBROKE COAST departed the Loire, escorted by destroyer VESPER, and safely arrived in the Bristol Channel on the 21st.

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Convoy FN.39 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WALLACE, WHITLEY and sloop STORK. The convoy was met off Cromer Knoll by destroyer JERSEY on the 20th, and arrived at Methil on the 21st.

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Convoy FS.39 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloops HASTINGS and PELICAN, and was met off Flamborough by destroyer JUPITER on the 20th. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 21st.

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After a submarine was reported four miles north of St Abb's Head, destroyer VIVIEN was sent to search.

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A submarine was reported off Wicca Cove near St Ives. Destroyers ESCAPADE and ENCOUNTER were ordered to search the area, but ENCOUNTER suffered damage to her forecastle in heavy seas.

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Patrol sloops KINGFISHER and WIDGEON arrived at Ardrossan.

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U.57 sank steamer STANBROOK (1383grt) in the North Sea between Antwerp and the Tyne.

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Finnish steamer TORAS (1016grt) was captured by a German warship in the Baltic, taken in prize, and renamed FIDUCIA for German service.

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U.41 sank steamer DARINO (1351grt) west of Biscay in 44‑12N, 11‑07W. Sixteen crew were lost, but U.41 picked up the survivors and later transferred them to Italian steamer CATERINA GEROLINICH (5430grt).

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U.43 sank steamer PENSILVA (4258grt), a straggler from convoy OG.7, west of Biscay in 46‑51N, 11‑36W. Destroyer ECHO attacked U.49 which was nearby, badly damaged her, and made two more attacks before picking up the survivors from PENSILVA. Destroyer WANDERER joined ECHO at 1530. U.49 arrived back in Germany on the 29th and was under repair until 8 March 1940.

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Convoy HG.7 was escorted by French large destroyers TARTU and VAUQUELIN when a U-boat was reported shadowing the convoy.

 

French large destroyers CHACAL and MISTRAL were investigating a contact 120 miles 315° from Cape Finisterre, and destroyers GALLANT, WALKER, VANOC, WOLVERINE, VERITY were ordered to join them.

_____

 

Steamer ROTHESAY CASTLE (7016grt) was attacked 300 miles WSW of Ushant. Destroyers ECHO and WANDERER were hunting in the area and were joined by destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY detached from convoy OA.36G.

_____

 

Light cruiser EFFINGHAM departed Halifax and arrived at Bermuda on the 21st.

_____

 

Light cruiser DAUNTLESS departed Singapore on patrol, and arrived back on the 28th.

_____

 

Steamer CLAN BUCHANAN (7266grt)) was approached by a French auxiliary cruiser 250 miles west of Portugal. Both, unsure of each other's identity, regarded the other as an enemy. The auxiliary attempted to stop, then chased the British ship for some time. CLAN BUCHANAN finally outdistanced her and later discovered what had actually happened.

_____

 

French destroyer BORDELAIS and submarines LA PSYCHÉ, MÉDUSE and LE GLORIEUX which had departed Casablanca, passed Gibraltar. They arrived at Oran on the 20th, where LE GLORIEUX started repairing.

 

 

Monday, 20 November

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW and destroyers ZULU and MAORI departed Rosyth in an attempt to intercept German liner BREMEN as she slipped down the Norwegian coast to Germany. ZULU, experiencing mechanical problems at the start, was delayed seven hours and joined the force at sea.

_____

 

Light cruiser BELFAST with destroyers GURKHA and AFRIDI departed Rosyth for gunnery exercises, and arrived back later that day.

_____

 

Convoy SA.18 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by destroyer WINDSOR, and arrived at Brest on the 21st.

_____

 

German merchant ship BERTHA FISSER (4110grt) was intercepted by armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL, SE of Iceland in 64‑10N, 15‑14W. She had departed Pernambuco on 24 October, in mid-Atlantic in 42N, 35W was intercepted and challenged by a British warship, but her disguise as Norwegian steamer ADA was successful and she was allowed to continue. This time, she scuttled herself and her 32 man crew was picked up by CHITRAL.

_____

 

Destroyer BEDOUIN departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyer KASHMIR departed Scapa Flow to intercept a reported suspicious merchant ship near the Faroes.

_____

 

Destroyer KANDAHAR departed Scapa Flow to patrol off Shapinsay.

_____

 

U.18 attacked destroyer INGLEFIELD off Rattray Head without success at 0010.

_____

 

Destroyers IMOGEN, IMPERIAL and IMPULSIVE departed Rosyth and searched for U-boats in the Rattray Head area.

_____

 

Destroyer EXMOUTH, ECHO and MONTROSE were hunting in the area of 46-20N, 6-00W for a reported damaged U-boat.

_____

 

Steamer BENGUELA (534grt) reported sighting a submarine in 46-17N, 6-03W.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawler MAN O WAR (517grt) reported a U-boat and attacked it in 51‑55N, 1‑46E. Destroyers GRIFFIN and GIPSY joined her in the search.

_____

 

Destroyer BOADICEA, carrying out a submarine sweep with destroyer KEITH in the North Sea, was near missed in a German bombing attack, but escaped damage.

_____

 

Destroyers EXMOUTH, ECHO and MONTROSE were ordered to search for a reported submarine in 40N, 6W.

_____

 

Minesweeper HUSSAR, sweeping near Humber Light Vessel, exploded a mine in her sweep, and sustained some damage.

_____

 

German aircraft laid parachute mines in the Thames Estuary.

_____

 

Submarine STURGEON (Lt G D A Gregory) fired four torpedoes at 1555 at two German anti-submarine trawlers in 54-32N, 5-10E. One of them sank Vp.209 (trawler GAULEITER TELSHOW, 428grt) northwest of Helgoland in the Heligoland Bight, the first sinking of an enemy vessel by a British submarine in World War 2.

_____

 

Convoy OA.38 of 14 ships was escorted on the 20th by destroyers WREN and WITCH, and dispersed on the 23rd.

_____

 

Convoy OB.39 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and WITHERINGTON until the 23rd, when they detached to join convoy SL.8.

_____

 

Convoy FS.40 departed the Tyne escorted by escort ships VALOROUS and BITTERN. Included with the convoy were tanker ATHELKING and submarine STERLET, which was detached in the Tyne for refit, arriving on the 21st.

_____

 

Minelayer PLOVER laid mines in North Inchkeith Channel on the 20th, and on 14 and 16 December, laid more mines in South Inchkeith Channel. Netlayer BAYONET was lost in one of the South Inchkeith Channel fields.

_____

 

French auxiliary minesweeper SAINTE CLARE (57grt) was sunk on a mine laid by U.16, 10 miles SE of Folkestone on 22 October; eleven crewmen were lost.

_____

 

Sloops PELICAN and HASTINGS with convoy FN.40 attacked U.19 off Cromer Light. Destroyers KEITH and BOADICEA joined them, but U.19, which had laid mines in the Inner Dowsing area on the 17th, escaped.

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U-BOAT OPERATIONS

 

U.31, U.33, U.35, U.47, U.48 were deployed around the Orkneys to support German Fleet operations.

 

U.31 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 18th and returned on 11 December.

 

U.33 was returning from a minelaying operation off North Foreland on the 5th, and got back on the 29th.

 

U.35 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 18th and was lost on the 29th.

 

U.47 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 16th and arrived back on the 29th.

 

U.48 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 22nd and arrived back on 20 December.

 

On the 20th, U.33 sank trawlers SEA SWEEPER (329grt) 25 miles NNW of Tory Island, DELPHINE (250grt) 20 miles N by E of Tory Island, and THOMAS HANKINS (276grt) 14 miles NWof Tory Island. The crews of all three trawlers were picked up - SEA SWEEPER’s by trawler LOIS (286grt) at 0300/21st.

 

The next day, submarine U.33 sank trawlers SCULBY (287grt) and WILLIAM HUMPHRIES (276grt) 73 miles NW of Rathlin Island. Five crewmen were lost from SCULBY, and the seven survivors landed at Tobermory.

_____

 

French convoy KS.27, en route from Oran and Casablanca to Brest and St Nazaire, and escorted by French destroyers SIROCCO, FRONDEUR and sloop CHEVREUIL, was attacked by U41, U.43 and U.49 off St Nazaire. ThE convoy had been sighted by U.53 on the 15th, but air support and the destroyers were able to hold off the submarines leading to the CO of U.53 being relieved of command after this patrol for not pressing home the attack. U.49 attempted an attack on the afternoon of the 16th November, but without success. French large destroyer CHEVALIER PAUL was sent out to reinforce the escort. None of the U-boats were able to do any damage to KS.27, but U.41 and U.43 were each able to sink four independents or stragglers while en route to the convoy. SIROCCO attacked U.49 on the 20th, and damaged her bow tubes in the depth charge attack. French destroyers INDOMPTABLE, MALIN and TRIOMPHANT were also searching the area.

_____

 

Light cruiser DANAE departed Colombo for Singapore, arriving on the 26th.

_____

 

Light cruiser CARADOC arrived at Esquimalt for refitting completed on 15 April 1940.

_____

 

Australian light cruiser PERTH departed Kingston for Colon.

_____

 

Australian heavy cruisers CANBERRA and AUSTRALIA arrived at Melbourne after patrol.

 

 

Tuesday, 21 November

 

Battleships NELSON and RODNEY with destroyers FURY, FAME, FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE and FORESIGHT arrived in the Clyde from Loch Ewe.

_____

 

Light cruisers SOUTHAMPTON and BELFAST with destroyer AFRIDI departed the Firth of Forth on gunnery exercises. At 1058 near May Island, BELFAST struck a mine laid by a U.21 on the 4th. Badly damaged and with a broken back, she was towed back to Rosyth by tug KROOMAN (230grt). Tug BRAMHAM soon joined and later, tugs GRANGEBOURNE, BULGER and OXCAR also met BELFAST. Twenty one crew, including Lt Cdr (E) F S. Ferguson, were wounded, with one rating dying of wounds on the 30th. Destroyers GURKHA and ICARUS put out from Rosyth to search off Fiora for the submarine thought responsible. They were joined by escort vessel WHITLEY and sloop STORK and later by destroyers ISIS and BEDOUIN. Destroyers IMOGEN, IMPULSIVE and IMPERIAL were also recalled from patrol off Rattray Head to assist in the search, refuelling at Invergordon on the 22nd en route. Escort vessel VIVIEN remained in company with BELFAST after she passed through the gate. After temporary repairs, BELFAST left Rosyth on 28 June 1940 for Devonport, arrived there on 3 July and was repairing until 3 November 1942 – almost three years later.

_____

 

Light cruiser AURORA advised she had leaking rivets in her stern, was seaworthy, but did require docking at the earliest possibility.

_____

 

On Northern Patrol were two 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. Armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA on reported she had a slightly damaged bow due to ice. Light cruisers DELHI, CALYPSO and CERES departed Loch Ewe on Northern Patrol duties.

_____

 

Destroyer GIPSY (Lt Cdr N J Crossley) and the Polish BURZA departed Harwich to rescue a downed German aircrew, who were picked up and returned to Harwich. That evening at 2100, destroyers GRIFFIN (D.22, Captain G E Creasy), KEITH, GIPSY, BOADICEA and Polish GROM departed Harwich for a sweep in the North Sea in operation GT.1. Leaving Harwich Harbour, the destroyers ran into a minefield laid by U.19 on the 17th and GIPSY struck a mine and was badly damaged. She was run aground a total loss and KEITH and GRIFFIN picked up the survivors. One crewman died of injuries, 29 crewmen were missing, and Lt Cdr Crossley died of injuries on the 27th. Py/Lt J B Rigg RNVR, Py/Midshipman M A J Landon RNR and nineteen ratings were wounded, one seriously. Consideration was given to salvaging and repairing GIPSY, but she had been too badly damaged.

_____

 

Destroyers JUNO, JAGUAR, JANUS and JERSEY departed Immingham and were on a patrol in the North Sea, designated operation BT.2. Following the patrol, JANUS joined convoy FS.40 and JAGUAR joined FN.40. JAGUAR was attacked by a German bomber in 53-33N, 00-48E, but was not damaged.

_____

 

Destroyers PUNJABI, ASHANTI, SOMALI and MASHONA departed Greenock for Belfast to escort the fleet tenders A (dummy battleship REVENGE - decoy ship PAKEHA) and B (dummy battleship RESOLUTION - decoy ship WAIMANA) to Rosyth to help divert the Luftwaffe's attention away from Scapa Flow. The group was designated Force W and included fleet tender C as dummy aircraft carrier HERMES – decoy ship MAMARI.

_____

 

Destroyers SOMALI, ASHANTI and MASHONA departed Belfast to search for a submarine 70 miles NW of Rathlin. They were joined by sister ship PUNJABI.

_____

 

Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA investigated suspicious vessels southwest of Shipwash.

_____

 

Destroyers IMOGEN, IMPERIAL and IMPULSIVE were searching for the U-boat responsible for sinking trawler WIGMORE on the 18th off Rattray Head.

_____

 

Destroyers ESCORT and ELECTRA were searching for a submarine one mile 180° from Rame Head.

_____

 

Destroyer WARWICK and patrol sloop GUILLEMOT were submarine hunting in 53‑49N, 3‑51W.

_____

 

Minesweepers SKIPJACK and LEDA were searching for a submarine one mile south of Cross Sands.

_____

 

On the 19th, destroyer WIVERN was relieved on patrol by destroyer BRILLIANT. Then on the 21st, WIVERN was ordered to make runs at high speed along the line from the wreck of the Dutch steamer SIMON BOLIVAR in 51‑49.6N, 01‑41E and that of British steamer BLACKHILL in 51‑47.6N, 01‑39E to detonate any magnetic mines. Anti-submarine trawlers WELLARD and LADY ELSA took off non-essential crewmen and stood by should WIVERN be mined in the attempt. Four runs were made, but no mines detonated. This was repeated on the 23rd with similar results, and after one run, a leak developed in the stern gland and she returned to Chatham.

_____

 

Convoy FN.40 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON, and sloops PELICAN and HASTINGS. Destroyer JAGUAR provided support on the 22nd, while WOOLSTON detached when the convoy was abreast the Tyne to join the escort of FS.41. FN.40 arrived at Methil on the 23rd.

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Convoy FS.40 departed the Tyne, escorted by escort ship VALOROUS and sloop BITTERN. Destroyer JANUS provided support on the 22nd, and the convoy arrived at Southend on the 23rd.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawlers BEDFORDSHIRE (443grt), WARWICK DEEPING (445grt) and CAMBRIDGESHIRE (443grt) attacked a submarine contact three miles from Bull Point.

_____

 

German merchant ship TENERIFE (2436grt), which had departed Vigo on the 9th, scuttled herself when intercepted by armed merchant cruiser TRANSYLVANIA west of Iceland in 62‑25N, 20W. The crew of 12 officers and 61 ratings were taken aboard the British ship.

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U.41 sank French steamer LES BARGES II (296grt) in 45‑35N, 03‑22W; survivors were picked up by Spanish fishing vessel PAZ Y TRABAJO, and landed at Pasajes.

_____

 

Italian steamer FIANONA (6660grt) was damaged on a mine near South Brade Buoy off Deal late on the 21st and taken to Calais for drydocking and repair.

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SORTIE BY GERMAN BATTLECRUISERS SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU

 

German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU departed Wilhelmshaven at 1310 hours under the command of Vice Admiral Marschall to raid in the North Atlantic and relieve pressure on the ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE in the South Atlantic. They were accompanied by light cruisers KÖLN, LEIPZIG and destroyers ERICH GIESE, BERND VON ARNIM and KARL GALSTER until late on the 21st. The escorting ships then joined pocket battleship LÜTZOW (former DEUTSCHLAND) and torpedo boats LEOPARD, SEEADLER, ILTIS for operations in the Skagerrak during the night of the 21st/22nd. However, heavy weather forced a cancellation of the Skagerrak operation and these ships returned to Wilhelmshaven.

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Escorted by Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE and ST LAURENT, light cruiser EMERALD arrived at Halifax with another shipment of gold bullion from England.

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FRENCH NAVY MOVEMENTS

 

French battlecruiser STRASBOURG and heavy cruiser ALGÉRIE of Force Y departed Dakar, escorted by destroyers LE FANTASQUE and LE TERRIBLE. They were joined by destroyers GUÉPARD, VALMY and VERDUN of the 3rd Large Destroyer Division, which had departed Toulon on the 17th. The destroyers, large destroyer LION and destroyer LA RAILLEUSE, departing Casablanca on the 23rd, joined them on the 24th and later arrived at Brest on the 30th.

 

Later on the 24th, ALGÉRIE, LE FANTASQUE, LE TERRIBLE, LION and LA RAILLEUSE separated from the group and arrived at Toulon on the 26th. LE FANTASQUE and LE TERRIBLE reached Brest on the 30th.

 

West of Spain on the 25th, STRASBOURG was joined by destroyers LE MALIN and LE TRIOMPHANT of the 8th Large Destroyer Division which had departed Brest on the 23rd. Destroyer L’INDOMPTABLE departed with her two sister ships, but was delayed by a storm on the 24th, then reassigned. GUÉPARD, VERDUN, VALMY, LE MALIN, and LE TRIOMPHANT escorted the battlecruiser, and on the 27th, there was an aerial mining alert. Still escorted by the five destroyers, she arrived at Brest on the 29th for refitting.

 

Destroyer L’AUDACIEUX departed Dakar with turbine defects on the 22nd escorting a convoy of steamers JAMAIQUE, LIPARI, and BELLE ISLE for Casablanca, and arriving on the 27th. She left there on the 30th, arrived at Oran on 1 December and Toulon on the 4th for repairs.

 

To relieve Force Y, Force X was formed with heavy cruisers FOCH and DUPLEIX.

 

A number of ships joined heavy cruiser DUPLEIX at Casablanca. Large destroyer MILAN departed Bizerte on the 2nd and arrived on the 6th. Large destroyer CASSARD departed Toulon on the 3rd escorting submarines LE HÉROS, LE CONQUÉRANT, ACHÉRON and arrived on the 7th. Finally heavy cruiser FOCH and destroyer LION departed Oran on the 7th to reach Casablanca on the 8th.

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Destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH, carrying MTB.3 and MTB.4 aboard, departed Malta for Portsmouth, escorted by sloop ROCHESTER, which had only reached Malta on the 20th from the East Indies. After reaching Gibraltar on the 25th, ROCHESTER left on the 28th for Freetown. Now with local escort by destroyers VELOX and WISHART, WOOLWICH departed Gibraltar on the 25th.

 

 

Wednesday, 22 November

 

On Northern Patrol were two cruisers between the Orkneys and the Faroes, three cruisers and three AMCs between the Faroes and Iceland, and one cruiser and three AMCs in the Denmark Strait. Light cruiser NEWCASTLE departed Loch Ewe for patrol in the Denmark Strait.

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Armed merchant cruiser LAURENTIC intercepted German merchant ship ANTIOCHIA (3106grt) which had departed Ponta Delgada on the 12th. First sighted south of Iceland in 62‑30N, 16‑30W, LAURENTIC chased ANTIOCHIA to 62‑15N, 15‑08W where she scuttled herself.

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Destroyers IMOGEN, IMPULSIVE and IMPERIAL arrived at Invergordon to refuel after their Rattray Head patrol.

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Destroyers KASHMIR and KANDAHAR arrived at Scapa Flow.

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Two flights of German aircraft attacked Sullom Voe and seaplane depot ship MANELA, but were driven off by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY. One London flying boat was destroyed but there was no other damage. Incendiary bombs were also dropped over Lerwick Harbour.

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Minesweeping trawler ARAGONITE (315grt, CO - Lt Cdr F G Rogers RNR, Chief Skipper P J Miles RNR) was mined and sunk near South Brade Buoy off Deal, one mile 49° from the Deal Coast Guard Station; four men were wounded in the explosion.

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Destroyer FOXHOUND left Greenock at 2315 during a submarine alert and shortly after, at 0008/23 ran aground near Black Point Light, suffering minor hull damage. She was able to get off by herself at 0713, but was in dock at Greenock until 11 December.

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Destroyers WIVERN and Polish GROM and BLYSKAWICA departed the Nore for Kentish Knock to search for for moored mines.

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Destroyer MASHONA was searching for a submarine located by D/F.

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Destroyer MONTROSE made anti-submarine attacks in 48‑46N, 06‑35W.

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Sloop PC.74 and patrol sloop SHELDRAKE with two anti-submarine trawlers were searching for a submarine contact off northern Ireland in 56-39N, 7-31W.

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Former destroyer leader BRUCE, which had been paid off and disarmed prior to the war, was sunk as an aircraft torpedo target south of the Isle of Wight.

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Convoy OA.39 of four ships departed Southend escorted by destroyer ARDENT from the 22nd to 24th.

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Convoy OB.39 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VOLUNTEER and WARWICK until the 25th.

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Greek steamer NICOLAOS PIANGOS (4499grt) was sunk in a collision with Norwegian steamer BRARENA (6996grt) in the North Sea.

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U.43 sank French steamer ARIJON (4374grt) in 45‑40N, 04‑50W.

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U.20 laid mines during the night of the 21st/22nd near Newarp Light Ship, east of Yarmouth, on which two merchant ships were lost.

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Greek steamer ELENA R (4576grt) was sunk two miles south of Shambles Light Vessel on a mine laid by U.26 on 4 September; the crew of 24 reached the Light Vessel.

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After being relieved by destroyer DELIGHT, sister ship DARING departed Aden on the 10th and arrived at Suez after operations in the East Indies which started on 13 October. DARING departed Port Said on the 23rd and proceeded to Malta where she arrived on the 25th for refitting.

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Convoy HG.8, which departed Port Said on the 11th, left Gibraltar on the 22nd, escorted by destroyers KEPPEL, VIDETTE and the French TIGRE and PANTHÈRE from the 22nd. The French ships arrived at Brest on the 29th. Cable ship MIRROR departed with the convoy and escorted by VIDETTE carried out cable repairs in 36-16N, 7-24W. These ships arrived back at Gibraltar on the 26th. The convoy reached Liverpool on the 30th.

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French destroyers L’INDOMPTABLE, LE MALIN and LE TRIOMPHANT were patrolling in 44‑30N, 9‑30W.

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Destroyer HOTSPUR departed Kingston to intercept German steamer ARAUCA (4354grt), reported leaving Vera Cruz.

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German liner ADOLPH WOERMANN (8577grt) departed Lobito on the 16th, and Forces H and K were involved in trying to intercept her. Steamer WAIMARAMA (12,843grt) reported sighting a suspicious merchant ship at 0842/21st and light cruiser NEPTUNE of Force K was detached to investigate. On her approach, ADOLPH WOERMANN scuttled herself off Ascension Island in 10-39S, 5-44W and NEPTUNE picked up the crew. Destroyers HARDY, HASTY, HERO and HOSTILE, also of Force K accompanied NEPTUNE to Freetown for refuelling, arriving on the 25th. The German crew was taken to England by armed merchant cruiser CARNAVON CASTLE, which departed Freetown on the 25th in convoy SLF.10.

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Light cruiser AJAX and New Zealand sister ship ACHILLES searched for German merchant ships off Cape San Antonio. Both refuelled from tanker OLYNTHUS at San Boroborn Bay on the 23rd and then set off northwards.

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Heavy cruiser EXETER departed Rio de Janiero for the Rio de la Plata, then left the area on the 26th for the Falklands, arriving on the 30th.

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Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM departed Hong Kong on the 22nd after submarine RAINBOW reported a darkened ship leaving Kobe. No contact with the ship was made and BIRMINGHAM returned to Hong Kong.

 

 

Thursday, 23 November

 

German merchant ship KONSUL HENDRIK FISSER (4458grt), which had departed Vigo on the 11th, was captured north of the Faroes in 63N, 07W by light cruiser CALYPSO, which had left Loch Ewe on the 23rd. She was taken to Leith by a prize crew commanded by Lt Cdr G R H Smith Rtd, and renamed EMPIRE SOLDIER for British service.

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During the afternoon of the 23rd, Northern Patrol was disposed as follows: (1) Denmark Strait - heavy cruisers NORFOLK, SUFFOLK and armed merchant cruisers CALIFORNIA, TRANSYLVANIA and AURANIA; (2) Iceland-Faroes Channel - light cruisers NEWCASTLE, DELHI, CERES, CALYPSO and armed merchant cruiser RAWALPINDI (AMC CHITRAL departed the Clyde on the 14th for this station, but was now returning with the crew from German steamer BERTHA FISSER). Meanwhile DELHI was pursuing German steamer LUDOLF OLDENDORFF (1953grt) but was unable to stop her. She was stopped the next day by light cruiser SHEFFIELD, but disguised as a Danish steamer, was allowed to continue; and (3) south of the Faroes - light cruisers CALEDON, CARDIFF and COLOMBO.

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SORTIE BY GERMAN BATTLECRUISERS SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU - LOSS OF RAWALPINIDI

 

German battlecruiser SCHARNHORST came upon armed merchant cruiser RAWALPINDI (Captain E C Kennedy Rtd) southeast of Iceland at 1507. She tried to outrun SCHARNHORST and at 1551 radioed that an enemy battlecruiser had been sighted, adding a few minutes later that the warship was the DEUTSCHLAND which was still believed to be at sea.

 

At 1603, SCHARNHORST came within range and opened fire, followed by GNEISENAU at 1611. RAWALPINDI was soon wrecked and set afire, but SCHARNHORST was hit in return by one of RAWALPINDI's six inch shells which exploded on the quarter deck causing some splinter casualties among the crew. SCHARNHORST picked up six survivors from RAWALPINDI and GNEISENAU another twenty-one. Ty/Lt Cdr (E) B J Dyer RNR, Midshipman D Dugdale RNR and 25 ratings were made prisoners of war.

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE on Northern Patrol next to RAWALPINDI picked up the SOS and steamed to her position. NEWCASTLE actually sighted GNEISENAU at six and a half miles, but both German ships escaped unharmed. RAWALPINDI was still afloat, although afire when NEWCASTLE and light cruiser DELHI located her. She finally sank around 2000.

 

Lost with her were Captain E C Kennedy Rtd, Lt Cdr G H E Molson Rtd, Lt Cdr K D Morgan RNR, Lt J A W French Rtd, Lt M F Shute RNR, Ty/Lt H J Cholerton RNR, Sub Lt O V Pickersgill RNR, Sub Lt R L Pallister RNR, Ty/Sub Lt F H J Orton RNR, Py/Sub Lt T B Quinn RNR, Act/Sub Lt H W Raymont RNR, Ty/Act/Sub Lt A D Seabrook RNR, Ty/Cdr (E) C C Sangster RNR, Ty/Lt Cdr (E) A J Burge RNR, Ty/Lt (E) T H C H Fee RNR, Ty/Lt (E) H Turner RNR, Ty/Lt (E) J Shields RNR, Ty/Act/Sub Lt (E) H J Arbin RNR, Ty/Act/Sub Lt (E) L E Bevington RNR, Ty/Act/Sub Lt (E) A W Briden RNR, Ty/Act/Sub Lt (E) W A Lambert RNR, Ty/Act/Sub Lt (E) J MacDonald RNR, Ty/ Act/Sub Lt (E) A MacKie RNR, Ty/ Act/Sub Lt (E) E G Meredith RNR, Ty/ Act/Sub Lt (E) R H Taylor RNR, Ty/Paymaster Lt Cdr J B Dickinson RNR, Ty/Paymaster Lt P E Sparks RNR, Py/Midshipman D W Bean RNR, Py/Midshipman J A Blackledge RNR, Py/Midshipman W Middleton RNR, Py/Commissioned Electrician G P Johnson RNR, Py/Commissioned Electrician R Main RNR, Py/Surgeon Lt F H J Weston RNVR and two hundred and forty six ratings.

 

Armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL, returning to the Clyde, picked up eleven more survivors from a lifeboat 36 hours later.

 

In response to RAWALPINDI's contact report, Admiral Forbes with battleships NELSON, RODNEY, heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FORTUNE, FIREDRAKE and FURY of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla departed the Clyde for a position off the Norwegian coast to intercept the German ships, still believed to be DEUTSCHLAND, as they returned to Germany. Destroyers FAME and FORESIGHT joined the force at sea, off the Clyde.

 

Heavy seas badly battered FORTUNE, FAME and FORESIGHT, and FORTUNE was detached to Pentland Firth Patrol, arrived at Scapa Flow on the 28th and was later taken to Liverpool for repairs, completed on 5 January. FAME and FORESIGHT returned to the Clyde arriving on the 24th and were under repair there until 28 December.

 

Light cruisers SOUTHAMPTON, EDINBURGH and AURORA with destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, BEDOUIN, ISIS and KINGSTON departed Rosyth for Fair Island Channel.

 

South of the Faroes on Northern Patrol were light cruisers CALEDON of the 7th Cruiser Squadron, and CARDIFF and COLOMBO of the 11th. They were joined by light cruisers DIOMEDE of the 7th Squadron and DUNEDIN of the 11th from Loch Ewe and all took station off North Rona to patrol the approaches to the Fair Island Channel. However, DIOMEDE and DUNEDIN had just arrived in Loch Ewe from patrol and both soon had to detach for refuelling.

 

Light cruisers CALYPSO and CERES were stationed five miles due north of Kelso Light to act as a night attack striking force.

 

Light cruiser DRAGON of the 7th Squadron had just arrived at Loch Ewe on the 19th to repair weather damage and boiler clean, and did not depart until the 24th.

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Loch Ewe and proceeded towards the reported position of the German battleships.

 

Heavy cruisers NORFOLK and SUFFOLK in the Denmark Strait were ordered to proceed towards Bill Bailey Bank.

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW and destroyers MAORI and ZULU, at sea since the 20th, looking for German liner BREMEN, were to the northeast of the Shetlands. Convoy ON.3 left the Firth of Forth at 1530, but was recalled, and its escorts, destroyers INGLEFIELD, IMPERIAL, IMPULSIVE and IMOGEN joined the GLASGOW force off Muckle Flugga.

 

Destroyer BEDOUIN of the SOUTHAMPTON force was detached to patrol Pentland Firth until relieved by destroyer FORTUNE.

 

Destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ASHANTI and PUNJABI, recently departed Belfast with Force W, the dummy battleships, were ordered to join Forbes at sea off the Mull of Kintyre. Force W returned to Belfast.

 

Destroyers TARTAR, KANDAHAR and KASHMIR sortied from Scapa Flow with orders to locate and shadow the German force.

 

Armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL arrived in the Clyde on the 24th with survivors from the RAWALPINDI.

 

Armed merchant cruisers TRANSYLVANIA, CALIFORNIA, AURANIA rendezvoused at the Butt of Lewis and returned to the Clyde. They arrived at Loch Ewe on the 24th. CALIFORNIA then reached the Clyde on the 27th and the other two on the 28th.

 

Battleship WARSPITE escorting convoy HX.9, which had departed Halifax on the 18th with Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE as local escort, was ordered to leave the convoy and take station in the Denmark Strait.

 

Aircraft carrier FURIOUS and battlecruiser REPULSE departed Halifax on the 24th to cover convoys HXF.10 and HX.10, but when REPULSE sustained damage to her Y turret in heavy weather, both ships returned to Halifax.

 

Battlecruiser HOOD with destroyers EXMOUTH, ECHO and ECLIPSE departed Plymouth on the 25th and rendezvoused with French battlecruiser DUNKERQUE, light cruisers MONTCALM, GEORGES LEYGUES and large destroyers MOGADOR and VOLTA which departed Brest on the 25th to relieve aircraft carrier FURIOUS and battlecruiser REPULSE on the Halifax station. This force swept for the German battleships through to the end of November. At sea, EXMOUTH, ECHO and ECLIPSE were detached and returned to the Clyde on the 29th, while MOGADOR and VOLTA arrived at Belfast for fuelling, also on the 29th.

 

After refuelling at Sullom Voe on the 28th, SOMALI, PUNJABI and MASHONA joined HOOD, and arrived at Loch Ewe late on 2 December.

 

Submarines in the North Sea failed to make contact with the German force. THISTLE was on patrol off the Skaw, TRIAD off Lindesnes, STURGEON off Horn Reef, and L.23 southwest of Lister Light. UNDINE and STARFISH departed Blyth, and TRIUMPH and TRIDENT from Rosyth, all on the 23rd to reinforce the Patrol Line.

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In all the confusion searching for the German battleships, German steamer ENTRERIOS (5179grt), which had departed Natal on 24 October, was able to pass through the Denmark Strait unobserved, and arrived safely at Narvik on the 29th.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW departed Grimsby on escort duties, and arrived back on the 24th.

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Convoy BC.16S of steamer BARON KINNAIRD departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyers MONTROSE and VESPER, and arrived in the Loire on the 24th.

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Convoy FS.41 departed Methil, escorted by sloops GRIMSBY and WESTON and was joined off the Tyne by destroyer WOOLSTON. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 25th. Convoy FN.41 was delayed and did not depart until the 25th.

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Heavy cruiser KENT arrived at Nancowrie.

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Australian light cruiser SYDNEY arrived at Geraldtown.

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German steamer GERRIT FRITZEN (4128grt) was lost by grounding near Borkum.

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ALLIED HUNTING GROUPS

 

Status of Allied Hunter Groups searching for German raiders.

 

Force F - Heavy cruiser YORK at Bermuda preparing to sail for Halifax. YORK had sustained damage to her A-turret in heavy weather and had been under repair at Bermuda since early November. (Heavy cruiser BERWICK had been detached on the 7th and arrived at Portsmouth for docking on the 14th prior to joining the Home Fleet.) Destroyers HUNTER, HYPERION, HOTSPUR and HEREWARD were attached to this force as convoy escorts. The four destroyers were respectively at Bermuda with defects to complete repair on the 29th, at Halifax, at Kingston, and at Trinidad on this date.

 

Force G - Heavy cruisers EXETER and CUMBERLAND were along the east coast of South America, with light cruiser AJAX off Montevideo and the New Zealand ACHILLES off Rio de Janiero.

 

Force H - Heavy cruisers SUSSEX and SHROPSHIRE were stationed along the west and south coast of Africa.

 

Force I - Aircraft carrier EAGLE and heavy cruiser CORNWALL were at Colombo, heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE was at sea in the Ceylon area, and Australian light cruiser HOBART was south of the Arabian Sea. Light cruiser GLOUCESTER and French sloop RIGAULT DE GENOUILLY, due to be joined by Australian destroyer STUART from Colombo on the 25th, were north of Madagascar sweeping towards the Seychelles Islands. In addition, Australian destroyers VENDETTA and WATERHEN were operating as convoy escorts, and submarine OLYMPUS was in the Maldives and Chagos Archipelago area.

 

Force J - Battleship MALAYA and aircraft carrier GLORIOUS with attendant destroyer BULLDOG departed Aden on the 10th and were at sea in the area. Battleship RAMILLIES and destroyer DELIGHT departed Aden on the 16th and were at sea off Aden near Socotra.

 

Force K - Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and battlecruiser RENOWN were en route to Madagascar.

 

Force L - Aircraft carrier FURIOUS and battlecruiser REPULSE were refuelling at Halifax.

 

Force M - Heavy cruiser KENT, French heavy cruiser SUFFREN, and Australian destroyers VAMPIRE and VOYAGER were escorting convoys off Sumatra in the Nicobar Islands area.

 

Force X - Aircraft carrier HERMES and French heavy cruisers FOCH and DUPLEIX were patrolling between Pernambuco and Freetown.

 

Force Y - Relieved by Force X and en route to France.

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Sloop WELLINGTON arrived at Port Said from the Indian Ocean, en route to England, departing next day for Malta. Sloop LEITH arrived at Port Said on the 24th and left on the 25th for Malta. Both ships were on station in New Zealand at the start of the war.

 

 

Friday, 24 November

 

HOME FLEET DISPOSITIONS AGAINST GERMAN BATTLECRUISERS

 

On the evening of the 24th at 1600, Admiral Forbes redisposed his fleet off Utvaer, Norway, to intercept the German battlecruisers. Light cruisers CERES, CALYPSO, CARDIFF, CALEDON, COLOMBO, NEWCASTLE, SHEFFIELD, GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, SOUTHAMPTON and destroyer KINGSTON, which was deployed just off the Norwegian coast, were disposed in a patrol line respectively, west to east, . Meanwhile light cruiser AURORA and destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, INGLEFIELD, BEDOUIN, ISIS, IMPERIAL and IMPULSIVE were stationed as a strike force to the south of the patrol line. Destroyer MAORI was detached to Scapa Flow on the the 24th to refuel and returned to patrol that day. KINGSTON patrolling just off shore was relieved by destroyers ZULU and IMOGEN.

 

Destroyers TARTAR, KANDAHAR, KASHMIR were ordered to join the AURORA group late on the 24th, but fears of mistaken identity caused their rendezvous to be delayed until daybreak on the 25th. En route TARTAR's rudder was damaged by weather and she was sent to Scapa Flow and then on to the Clyde for repair late on the 24th.

 

Battleships NELSON, RODNEY and destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, PUNJABI, FAULKNOR, FURY, FIREDRAKE and FORESTER remained at sea.

 

At 1201/25th, a direction finding bearing NNW of the Faroes caused heavy cruisers NORFOLK, SUFFOLK and light cruiser DELHI to be sent to investigate. However, DELHI was low on fuel and could not take part in the search.

 

The patrol line, joined by NORFOLK, SUFFOLK and light cruisers DRAGON, DIOMEDE and DUNEDIN early on the 25th, was moved north at 0700/25th, but all these efforts were unsuccessful and SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU arrived at Wilhelmshaven on the 27th with only storm damage.

 

Refuelling of the cruisers began on the 25th. One cruiser from each of the squadrons were sent in turn to refuel - ships of the 1st, 2nd, 18th Cruiser Squadrons to Scapa Flow and those of the 7th and 11th Squadrons to Sullom Voe.

 

GNEISENAU was repaired at Kiel, completing on 4 February 1940 and SCHARNHORST with similar defects returned to service shortly thereafter. Both ships immediately went to Wilhelmshaven on completion of repairs to prepare for Operation NORDMARK.

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Northern Patrol from 24 November to 7 December sighted 34 eastbound ships and sent 23 into Kirkwall for inspection.

_____

 

Destroyers ICARUS and ILEX departed Rosyth to investigate a submarine report six miles 320° from Rattray Head, and returned to Scapa Flow the next day.

_____

 

Destroyer JUNO was damaged in a collision alongside an oiler at Immingham, repaired there and returned to service on the 30th.

_____

 

Motorship SUSSEX (13,647grt) was damaged SE of Southend in North Channel on a mine laid by U.33 on the 5th.

_____

 

Depot ship CYCLOPS and submarines SHARK, SEALION, SNAPPER, SALMON departed Sheerness for Harwich where they arrived that day. 3rd Submarine Flotilla began operations next day when SNAPPER departed Harwich on a patrol off Terschelling. CYCLOPS also served as the headquarters of Captain G E Creasy (D.22) from 27 November to 1 December.

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Convoy OA.40G of 21 ships departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VERITY and WOLVERINE from the 24th to 26th. The convoy merged on the 26th with OB.40G, escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA, WALPOLE, VIVACIOUS and sloop ENCHANTRESS, to form OG.8 with 44 ships. OG.8 was escorted by WALPOLE from the 24th to 26th when she detached to SL.10, and WINCHELSEA and VIVACIOUS from the 24th to 28th. ENCHANTRESS was with the convoy from the 24th to 27th. Other escorts were French destroyers TARTU and CHEVALIER PAUL from 27 November to 3 December after they had departed Brest on the 26th, and destroyer VORTIGERN from 2 to 3 December. OG.8 arrived at Gibraltar on 3 December.

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German pocket battleship LÜTZOW, light cruisers KÖLN, LEIPZIG, destroyers BERND VON ARNIM, BRUNO HEINEMANN, FRIEDRICH IHN, ERICH STEINBRINCK, KARL GALSTER and torpedo boats LEOPARD, SEEADLER, ILTIS and WOLF operated in the Skagerrak during the night of the 24th/25th.

_____

 

Light cruiser EFFINGHAM departed Halifax and arrived at Kingston on 1 December with Australian light cruiser PERTH.

_____

 

Light cruiser GALATEA departed Alexandria and arrived at Malta on 3 December.

_____

 

Convoy SL.10 departed Freetown escorted by sloop LONDONDERRY, and was joined on 10 December by destroyers WALKER, WHIRLWIND, WHITEHALL and sloop ENCHANTRESS. The convoy arrived later that day, while LONDONDERRY reached Devonport on the 12th.

_____

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER departed Diego Suarez on patrol duties and arrived back on the 29th.

 

 

Saturday, 25 November

 

Light cruiser AURORA and destroyer INGLEFIELD were attacked by German bombers off southwest Norway, 100 miles east of Scapa Flow, but neither ship was damaged. Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE and light cruiser COLOMBO also reported they were being shadowed by German aircraft.

_____

 

Destroyers INGLEFIELD, IMOGEN and IMPERIAL were ordered at 1015 to Scapa Flow to refuel. IMOGEN lost a rating overboard in heavy weather.

_____

 

Light cruiser DELHI departed Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Light cruiser DUNEDIN departed Scapa Flow and arrived at Loch Ewe on the 28th.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser LAURENTIC arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW arrived at Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Light cruiser DIOMEDE departed Loch Ewe on Northern Patrol duties and arrived back at Loch Ewe on 2 December.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Grimsby on escort duties and arrived in the Thames on the 28th.

_____

 

Destroyers IMOGEN, INGLEFIELD, IMPERIAL arrived at Scapa Flow to refuel prior to escorting convoy ON.3 from Methil.

_____

 

Convoy BC.15 of nine steamers, including BARON CARNEGIE and NIGERIAN (Commodore) departed the Loire escorted by destroyers VANESSA and VESPER, and safely arrived in the Bristol Channel on the 26th.

_____

 

Convoy OA.41 of 17 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT on the 25th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.41 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers ESCAPADE and MONTROSE until the 27th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.41 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS and sloop BITTERN. Minesweeper HALCYON sailed with the convoy for the passage north and it arrived at Methil on the 27th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.42 departed Methil, escorted by sloops PELICAN and HASTINGS, arriving at Southend on the 27th.

_____

 

U.28 sank steamer ROYSTON GRANGE (5144grt) from convoy SL.8B, south of Ireland in 49‑15N, 09‑16W. The survivors were rescued by another ship in the convoy, and destroyers VERSATILE and WITHERINGTON made six depth charge attacks on a submarine contact, resulting in light damage to U.28. Destroyers WANDERER, VISCOUNT and a British flying boat also searched the area.

_____

 

U.43 sank steamer USKMOUTH (2483grt) off Cape Finisterre in 43‑23N, 11‑27W. Two crew were lost, with French destroyer L’INDOMPTABLE rescuing one survivor and Italian steamer JUVENTUS (4920grt) the rest on the 26th. L’INDOMPTABLE counter-attacked U.43 in 43-30N, 11-30W and was also missed by a torpedo. U.43 arrived back at Wilhelmshaven on 14 December and began repairs that continued until March 1940.

_____

 

British air reconnaissance reported sighting four outbound U-boats escorted by two destroyers and four aircraft off the Hook of Holland. Destroyers KEITH, BRILLIANT, JUPITER and the Polish BLYSKAWICA patrolled in the North Sea for these ships without success.

_____

 

Destroyer ESCORT attacked a submarine contact SW of Land's End in 49‑17N, 07‑14W.

_____

 

Destroyers ICARUS and ILEX hunted for a submarine after a merchant ship reported being attacked 20 miles SE of Aberdeen. Destroyer ESKIMO joined them.

_____

 

Destroyers MONTROSE and WALKER hunted for a submarine in 53-26N, 3-51W reported by D/F.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawler SEDGEFLY (520grt) attacked a submarine contact off Harwich in 51-53N, 0-43E.

_____

 

German auxiliary patrol boat Vp.301 (trawler WESER, 650grt) was sunk on a defensive minefield near Langeland Island in the Belt.

_____

 

Convoy HXF.10 departed Halifax at 0900 escorted by Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE and SKEENA, which left Halifax at 0800/25th and turned the convoy over to the ocean escort, armed merchant cruiser LETITIA at 2359/25th. Destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY from OA.44 were escorts from 4 to 9 December and destroyers VERSATILE and WITHERINGTON from convoy OB.44, from 4 to 6 December. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 9th.

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Convoy SLF.10 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE, and was joined on 7 December by destroyers BROKE, ESCAPADE, VETERAN, WALPOLE. The convoy arrived in the UK next day.

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Australian light cruiser PERTH carried out a reconnaissance in the southwestern Caribbean, and arrived at Kingston on 1 December.

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Heavy cruiser CORNWALL departed Colombo on patrol duty in Force I.

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Light cruiser NEPTUNE departed Freetown on patrol duty.

_____

 

French heavy cruiser ALGÉRIE and destroyers LE TERRIBLE and LE FANTASQUE which departed Dakar on the 21st passed Gibraltar and arrived at Toulon on the 26th. The third member of the 10th Large Destroyer Division, L’AUDACIEUX left Dakar on the 22nd and arrived at Toulon on 4 December for repairs.

_____

 

In operations in the South Atlantic in 23-48S, 3-29E, two Swordfish aircraft of 810 Squadron from aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL collided. Lt H Pardoe was rescued, but Leading Airman E H Shayler and LAC A Lawson RAF were lost in one aircraft. Lt A W Stewart, Leading Airmen L M Lloyd and A B W Freik from the other were rescued.

 

 

Sunday, 26 November

 

Convoy ON.3 of six British ships departed Methil escorted by destroyers ESKIMO, ICARUS and ILEX. Destroyer MATABELE departed Newcastle on the 27th and joined the convoy at sea, while anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO provided close cover. The convoy arrived at Bergen on the 30th.

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Light cruiser CARDIFF arrived at Scapa Flow.

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Light cruiser DRAGON departed Loch Ewe on Northern Patrol duties, and arrived back on 2 December.

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Light cruiser CERES departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Rosyth on escort duty and arrived in the Thames on the 28th.

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During the night of the 26th/27th, submarine TRIAD was crippled off Lindesnes by a fractured hydroplane shaft. Submarine TRIUMPH soon joined to assist and submarine UNITY was ordered into the area. Destroyer MAORI also arrived on the scene and took TRIAD in tow, escorted by destroyer INGLEFIELD, but both destroyers had defective asdic installations. TRIAD arrived at Fosteroey, south of Bergen, on the 30th, but the destroyers were obliged to leave Norwegian territorial waters which they did on 1 December. Tug BANDIT was dispatched to assist TRIAD, but due to extremely heavy weather, was recalled to Scapa Flow. After emergency repairs, TRIAD was able to leave Fosteroey at 1315/2 December under her own power, escorted by Norwegian torpedo boat TRYGG and was joined outside Norwegian waters by INGLEFIELD and MAORI. All arrived safely at Rosyth at 0700/4 December. TRIAD repaired in the Tyne, completing on 12 December and returned to service.

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During a gale at Ardrossan, destroyer GRIFFIN and patrol boat PC.74 moored alongside were damaged by bumping. GRIFFIN was holed and required docking, and PC.74 was later drydocked.

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Convoy OA.42 of nine ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers BROKE and ANTELOPE on the 26th and 27th. Destroyer BOREAS was with the convoy on the 27th and destroyer WREN on the 28th.

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Convoy OB.42 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WALKER and VANOC until the 29th.

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Convoy FN.42 departed Southend, escorted by sloops GRIMSBY and WESTON, and arrived at the Tyne on the 28th.

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U.48 sank Swedish steamer GUSTAFE REUTER (6336grt) 14 miles WNW of Fair Island. One crewman was lost and eight survivors picked up by Northern Patrol armed boarding vessel KINGSTON BERYL. The steamer was taken in tow but broke in two, the fore part sunk, while the stern was towed towards Kirkwall but scuttled by HM ships on the 28th, when it was decided salvage would be too difficult.

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Steamer LOCH LOMOND (5452grt) was attacked in the Bristol Channel, 10 miles west of Lundy Island. Destroyers MONTROSE and WALPOLE were submarine hunting in the same area and WALPOLE attacked a contact in 51‑08N, 4‑50W.

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Danish steamer CYRIL (2116grt) was seized by German warships in the Baltic for contraband violations and taken to Swinemünde.

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Convoy HX.10 departed Halifax at 1000 escorted by Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE and SKEENA, which detached on the 28th. Ocean escort was heavy cruiser YORK which joined at 0800/28th and proceeded through with the convoy. Destroyer WAKEFUL escorted the convoy in the Western Approaches from 8 December and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 10th. YORK reached Liverpool on the 9th and started a refit completed on 10 February 1940. She then left on 21 February for Scapa Flow and the 1st Cruiser Squadron for duty with the Northern Patrol.

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Light cruiser EMERALD departed Halifax for Bermuda, and arrived back on 7 December.

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In training operations in the Mediterranean, a 770 Squadron aircraft from aircraft carrier ARGUS crashed, killing the pilot Act/Sub Lt (A) M R Pike.

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Light cruiser CAPETOWN departed Malta on escort duty and arrived back on 5 December.

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Australian light cruiser SYDNEY arrived at Fremantle.

 

 

Monday, 27 November

 

A Swordfish of 818 Squadron from aircraft carrier FURIOUS failed to return from patrol, but Lt S G J Appleby and his crew were rescued and returned to the ship.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow to refuel and departed the next day to rejoin the Main Fleet at sea.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD arrived at Scapa Flow to refuel.

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Light cruiser GLASGOW departed Scapa Flow and proceeded to Rosyth to boiler clean from 28 November to 5 December.

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Light cruiser COLOMBO departed Sullom Voe on Northern Patrol duties and arrived at Loch Ewe on 2 December.

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Light cruiser CARDIFF departed Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol.

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Light cruiser CALEDON arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol in the Faroes-Shetland passage.

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Light cruiser MANCHESTER was used for degaussing tests on the 27th while at Portsmouth for refit.

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Destroyers ECHO and ECLIPSE spent the day off Northern Ireland unsuccessfully searching for a U-boat.

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Destroyer VIVACIOUS on patrol in the Western Approaches developed an urgent engine room defect and was forced to return to Plymouth.

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Destroyer ASHANTI on Fair Isle Channel Patrol developed a leak in her reserve fuel tank which reduced her speed.

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Destroyer KELVIN (Lt Cdr J L Machin) was completed and after working up, joined the 5th Destroyer Flotilla operating with the Home Fleet on 10 January 1940.

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Destroyer VEGA completed conversion to a fast escort vessel. Following working up at Portland, she joined Convoy C operating from Rosyth.

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Convoy SA.19 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by destroyers VENOMOUS and WINDSOR, and arrived at Brest on the 29th.

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Starting on the 27th, the East Coast FN and FS convoys would run only between Southend and the Tyne. Ships going further north would then proceed independently the following night.

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Steamer STANGATE (1289grt) was damaged in a collision in English waters.

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U.58 laid mines off Lowestoft.

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Battlecruiser REPULSE and aircraft carrier FURIOUS, her turbine defects corrected, departed Halifax with destroyer HYPERION to cover convoys HXF.10 and HX.10.

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Sloop EGRET arrived at Port Said from the Indian Ocean and departed for Malta, en route to England.

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A Swordfish of 824 Squadron from aircraft carrier EAGLE crashed into the sea on anti-submarine patrol off Colombo. The pilot Sub Lt M R Maund, Leading Airman J Manning, and Telegraphist Air Gunner J C Mardlin were picked up by destroyer WATERHEN.

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French large destroyer AIGLE arrived at Gibraltar and left for Oran that afternoon.

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Australian boom defence vessel KOOKABURRA lost Lt N B Skottowe RAN, killed in an accident.

 

 

Tuesday, 28 November

 

Destroyers SOMALI, PUNJABI and MASHONA after refuelling at Sullom Voe left to join battlecruiser HOOD. Destroyers ZULU and IMOGEN were still on patrol off Stadlandet, AFRIDI, GURKHA and ISIS refuelling at Sullom Voe, TARTAR departed Scapa Flow for repairs in the Clyde, and ASHANTI, after experiencing defects, was assigned to Fair Isle Channel patrol.

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West of Bergen, heavy cruiser NORFOLK was attacked by U.47, but the torpedoes exploded in the cruiser's wake and no damage was done.

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Destroyer FEARLESS, her repairs completed, departed Plymouth for Liverpool to return to the Home Fleet. She left Liverpool on the 29th escorting tanker ADELLEN (7984grt) for Scapa Flow.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW arrived at Chatham.

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Light cruiser NEWCASTLE arrived at Scapa Flow, departed the same day for Northern Patrol and arrived back on 6 December.

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Destroyer GLOWWORM attacked a submarine contact after it was sighted by aircraft in the North Sea.

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A submarine was sighted by aircraft in 59-04N, 03-30W. Destroyer KANDAHAR and two anti-submarine trawlers were dispatched to hunt for her.

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Minesweeper LEDA attacked a submarine contact in 51-49N, 1-50E near convoy FN.43. Submarine TRIBUNE was in the area.

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Tankers BIRCHOL and BROOMDALE departed the Clyde for Loch Ewe escorted by patrol sloops KINGFISHER and SHELDRAKE.

 

SHELDRAKE was a replacement for escort ship PC.74, damaged by heavy weather at Ardrossan on the 26th before departing. On the 29th, BIRCHOL ran aground on Uist in the Hebrides. Tug ENGLISHMAN was dispatched, but BIRCHOL was lost.

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Convoy OA.43 ships of 13 ships departed Southend, escorted by destroyers ESCORT and ELECTRA from the 28th to 30th, and dispersed on 1 December.

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Convoy OB.43 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MACKAY and VIMY until 1 December. Anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN DAWN (655grt) and NORTHERN GEM (655grt) provided local escort from Liverpool.

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Convoy FN.43 departed Southend, escorted by sloops PELICAN, HASTINGS and destroyer JANUS departed the Humber to cover this convoy and FS.43. FN.43 arrived at the Tyne on the 29th. There was no FN.44.

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Convoy FS.43 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WOOLSTON, which had left Rosyth on the 27th for this duty, and arrived at Southend on the 30th.

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Battleship BARHAM departed Malta after a dockyard visit to correct defects, then proceeded to Port Said escorted by destroyers DAINTY and DEFENDER.

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Minesweepers DUNOON and DUNDALK arrived at Gibraltar, then departed on the 29th for Plymouth, and duty in Home Waters.

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French destroyers LA PALME and LE MARS collided near Salins d'Hyers during exercises. LE MARS was escorted by destroyers TORNADE and LA PALME to Salins.

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Force K rendezvoused with Force H off South Africa to sweep towards Mozambique.

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Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA departed Melbourne on the 23rd and sister ship AUSTRALIA left Sydney on the 25th, escorting steamer KATOOMBA (9424grt). They patrolled off Cape Leeuwin from 28 November to 2 December.

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Australian light cruiser SYDNEY departed Fremantle to patrol off the northwest coast of Australia.

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Light cruiser DURBAN departed Hong Kong on patrol.

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Light cruiser ORION departed Kingston on patrol and arrived back on 5 December.

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Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM arrived at Hong Kong escorting French liner ANDRE LEBON (13,682grt).

 

 

Wednesday, 29 November

 

Admiral Forbes with battleships NELSON, RODNEY, heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE and seven destroyers was sweeping north off the Norwegian coast when RODNEY suffered a serious rudder defect. She was ordered to the Clyde, arriving on 1 December with destroyers GURKHA, PUNJABI and KANDAHAR. Escorted by destroyers IMPULSIVE, IMPERIAL and GURKHA, RODNEY left on the 6th for Liverpool to repair, and arrived on the 8th. IMPERIAL and IMPULSIVE remained at Liverpool until RODNEY was safely docked, when it was found that about one third of her rudder had been torn away. GURKHA went on to Southampton, arriving on the 10th for repairs to her turbines lasting into January 1940. IMPERIAL was to have undergone repairs at Liverpool, but returned to the Clyde on the 9th. Later, when battleship NELSON was docked for mine damage, she was found to have sustained storm damage similar to RODNEY during the sweep.

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U.35 on her second war patrol, was sighted near convoy ON.3 and destroyer ICARUS delivered an unsuccessful attack. Forbes detached destroyers KINGSTON and KASHMIR and they sank U.35 northwest of Bergen in 60‑53N, 02‑47E. None of the crew were lost, with KINGSTON picking up the commanding officer and 11 ratings and KASHMIR three officers and 28 ratings.

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Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK departed the Clyde and arrived at Scapa Flow later the same day.

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Light cruiser CARDIFF, which had departed Sullom Voe on the 28th, arrived back after heavy weather carried away her main topmast and part of her main mast port antenna.

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Convoy FS.44 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WHITLEY and sloop STORK, and arrived at Southend on the 30th. There was no convoy FN.44.

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Polish submarine WILK departed Rosyth on her first war patrol from England.

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Destroyer KELVIN departed the Clyde for Portsmouth, arriving on the 30th.

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Armed merchant cruiser FORFAR departed Portsmouth for the Clyde, escorted by destroyer MALCOLM.

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Destroyer VANESSA was sent to search in Bally Cotton Bay, 51-50N, 8-00W for a reported submarine.

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Destroyers JUPITER and JAGUAR attacked a submarine contact in 55‑05N, 1‑33E.

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Steamer IONIAN (3114grt) from convoy FS.43 was sunk 1½ miles 132° from Newarp Light Vessel on a mine laid by U.20 on the 22nd; sloop HASTINGS rescued the entire crew. Steamer WILLOWPOOL (4815grt) was lost on 10 December, three miles east of Newarp Light Ship in the same field; her 36 survivors were rescued by lifeboat.

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Light cruiser DANAE departed Singapore for Hong Kong, and arrived on 3 December for refitting, completed 14 February 1940.

 

 

Thursday, 30 November

 

The cruiser line searching for the reported German ships off Norway, were to be in 66‑10N at 0800, steer west until 1300 and then head south. During this time (1) battleship NELSON, light cruiser AURORA and nine destroyers were 100 miles to the SW of the western end of the cruiser line, (2) battleship RODNEY, and destroyers ASHANTI and GURKHA were to the west of Fair Isle Channel, (3) battleship WARSPITE to the west of the cruiser line, and (4) battlecruiser HOOD, the French DUNKERQUE and destroyers SOMALI, PUNJABI and MASHONA 100 miles west of the Faroes.

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Light cruiser CALEDON departed Scapa Flow for the Tyne and arrived on 1 December for docking. After repairs, she left on the 19th and reached Plymouth on the 21st.

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Armed merchant cruisers ANDANIA, AURANIA, SCOTSTOUN and WORCESTERSHIRE departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol duties.

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Destroyer FORTUNE attacked a submarine contact in 59N, 4W.

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Admiral Forbes turned south with his fleet on the 30th and on 1 December ordered the resumption of normal shipping movements.

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Destroyer NUBIAN departed Portsmouth after repairs and following kite balloon trials, which were conducted on the 28th/29th. She rejoined the Main Fleet at Loch Ewe.

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Convoy OB.44 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and WITHERINGTON until 3 December, when they detached to convoy HXF.10.

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Convoy HN.3 of 11 British ships, one Finnish, and two Estonian departed Bergen escorted by destroyers ILEX, ICARUS, ESKIMO and MATABELE. Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK, which left Scapa Flow on the 30th and light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON provided close cover. Later when SUFFOLK was relieved for refuelling, light cruiser GLASGOW took her place. The convoy arrived safely at Methil on 4 December. Before then, on the 2nd, destroyers KANDAHAR and ISIS departed Scapa Flow to escort the four ships of the west coast portion of the convoy.

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Convoy FN.45 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WHITLEY and sloop STORK, and arrived at the Tyne on 1 December.

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Convoy FS.45 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops GRIMSBY and WESTON, and arrived at Southend on 1 December.

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Steamer ASTRONOMER (8401grt) arrived at Rosyth from the Tyne escorted by destroyer WALLACE.

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Dutch steamer BEVERWIJK (2948grt) was damaged by grounding off Terschelling in the declared mine area.

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German auxiliary patrol boat Vp.704 (trawler CLAUS WISCH, 256grt) was badly damaged in a defensive minefield off Trelleborg and run aground, a total loss.

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Finnish motor vessels JAAMERI (299grt) and SYVARI (237grt) were lost at Liinahamari.

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Convoy HG.9, which departed Port Said on the 19th, left Gibraltar with 53 ships, escorted by destroyers VORTIGERN and WISHART, and also the French CHACAL and MISTRAL from the 30th November until they arrived at Brest on 8 December. Trawler VULCAN of the 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla proceeded to England with the convoy, which arrived at Liverpool, also on the 8th.

 

 

November, miscellaneous

 

At the end of November, the following destroyers were under repair - ACHERON at Portsmouth repairing, ACTIVE at Gibraltar repairing, ARROW at Portsmouth with defects, BRAZEN at Falmouth refitting, BROKE at Plymouth refitting, COSSACK at Leith repairing, DARING at Malta refitting, DIAMOND at Singapore repairing, ENCOUNTER at Plymouth with defects, FAME at Clyde repairing, FORESIGHT at Clyde repairing, FORTUNE at Liverpool repairing, FOXHOUND at Greenock repairing, GARLAND at Malta repairing, GRENADE at Falmouth repairing, GRENVILLE at Devonport repairing, GRIFFIN at Woolwich repairing, INTREPID at Chatham refitting, IVANHOE at Chatham refitting, JAVELIN at Middlesbrough repairing, JERVIS at Grimsby refitting, KELLY at Tyne repairing, MOHAWK at Newcastle repairing, SHIKARI at Plymouth refitting, SIKH at Malta with turbine defects, VANQUISHER at Plymouth repairing, VENETIA at Liverpool repairing, VISCOUNT at Plymouth with defects, VIVACIOUS at Plymouth boiler cleaning, WALPOLE at Liverpool with defects, WESSEX at Cardiff refitting, WHIRLWIND at Liverpool with defects, WIVERN at Sheerness repairing.

 

on to Naval Events, DECEMBER 1939
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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

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