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

NAVAL EVENTS, FEBRUARY 1940 (Part 1 of 2)
Thursday 1st - Wednesday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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

on to FEBRUARY 1940, Part 2

 

Note: all vessels and aircraft are British or Dominion unless otherwise identified - click for abbreviations

Corrections with thanks to Donald Bertke

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

 


Background Events - September 1939-March 1940

Battle of Atlantic starts, 'Phoney War' on land, Battle of River Plate


  

 

1940

 

 

Thursday, 1 February

 

The Northern Patrol sighted 49 eastbound merchant ships from the 1st to 14th and sent 21 into Kirkwall for inspection.

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Destroyers were transferred to the Rosyth Command to assist in anti-submarine patrols. BRAZEN and BOREAS of the 19th Destroyer Flotilla arrived at Rosyth from Harwich on the 1st. GRIFFIN was delayed in her departure due to DG fitting, but both she and GALLANT of the 1st Flotilla departed Harwich on the 2nd and arrived at Rosyth on the 3rd. INTREPID and IVANHOE of the 20th Flotilla arrived on the 8th.

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Destroyer BASILISK departed Dover for Boulogne with Lord Gort, and came back later that day carrying the Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Imperial General Staff and other staff members.

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Destroyer JACKAL and JAVELIN arrived at Rosyth escorting  tanker ATHOLLKNIGHT (8940grt).

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON departed the Tyne for Scapa Flow after her refitting.

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Sloop FLAMINGO arrived at Rosyth escorting minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA, which had departed Immingham at 0200/1st and joined convoy FN.83, escorted by FLAMINGO and sloop WESTON.

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Destroyers KASHMIR and KHARTOUM departed Rosyth, escorting A.S.I.S. SARDIS (970grt) to Aberdeen, where steamer CYPRIAN PRINCE was to join for the passage to Scapa Flow. However, because of bad weather, CYPRIAN PRINCE was unable to join.

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Destroyer JUNO, escorting convoy HN.9B, made an attack on a submarine contact.

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Heavy cruiser BERWICK (above - Navy Photos) and armed merchant cruisers TRANSYLVANIA and CARINTHIA arrived at the Clyde after Northern Patrol duties.

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Submarines URSULA and H.34 departed Rosyth for Blyth and were escorted as far as the Longstones by destroyer ENCOUNTER. The submarines arrived at Blyth on the 2nd and ENCOUNTER back at Rosyth also on the 2nd.

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Two Royal Marines were lost at sea in light cruiser CARLISLE, en route to Gibraltar to work up.

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French destroyer OURAGAN was damaged in a collision with French patrol vessel/trawler LOUISE MARIE which was lightly damaged. OURAGAN was temporarily repaired at Boulogne, departed on the 14th, and arrived at Brest on the 25th for completion of work.

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Convoy FN.84 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN, and arrived in the Tyne on the 2nd.

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Convoy FS.84 departed Methil for the Thames escorted by escort vessel/destroyer WHITLEY and sloop EGRET. The convoy consisted of 27 ships, but two more joined at Middlesborough and nine more in the Humber. Off Blea Wyke Point on the 2nd, a submarine contact was made at 0820 by EGRET. WHITLEY dropped depth charges and was later relieved at the scene by destroyer GLOWWORM and escort vessel/destroyer WESTMINSTER, both of which attacked the contact. Destroyer GREYHOUND also joined the hunt, but the search was abandoned at 1400. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 3rd.

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Convoy MT.1 departed Methil, escorted by escort vessel/destroyer WESTMINSTER and sloop STORK, and arrived in the Tyne on the 2nd.

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Destroyers VETERAN and VESPER, on an anti-submarine sweep, attacked a submarine contact west of Scilly Island, in 49‑56N, 08‑07W.

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U.48 departed Wilhelmshaven for, during which she laid mines off Weymouth. No shipping was sunk or damaged in this minefield.

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U.13 sank Swedish steamer FRAM (2491grt) in 57‑43N, 02‑06W off Rosehearty Buoy in Aberdour Bay with the loss of six crew. The thirteen survivors were picked up by destroyer KHARTOUM and armed patrol trawler VIKING DEEPS (226grt).

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U.59 sank steamer ELLEN M. (498grt) in 52‑33N, 02‑15E.

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Convoy HG.17 departed Gibraltar with 20 ships, escorted by destroyers VIDETTE, the French CHACAL and French patrol vessel CAPITAINE ARMANDE. CHACAL later detached and arrived in Brest on the 9th and the patrol vessel on the 10th. The convoy was escorted in Home Waters by destroyer VIMY from the 8th to 11th when the convoy arrived.

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Convoy SL.19 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE from the 1st to 16th, merged with SLF.19 on the 16th, and the two convoys arrived at Liverpool on the 20th.

 

 

Friday, 2 February

 

Destroyers FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FURY, FOXHOUND, FAME, FORTUNE, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE, DELIGHT, DARING and DIANA departed Greenock for an anti-submarine sweep towards the Mull of Kintyre, before joining Canadian troop convoy TC 3 in the Western Approaches. DELIGHT was diverted after sailing to escort convoy ON.10 and was replaced by destroyers KINGSTON and KELVIN. The convoy of five liners had been escorted across the Atlantic by battleship VALIANT, which had completed working up the Caribbean, and supported in the Western Approaches by battlecruiser HOOD. The convoy was met at 1000/5th. Light cruiser ENTERPRISE had already been detached and arrived back at Halifax on the 4th. Convoy TC 3, battleships VALIANT and MALAYA and destroyers FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FAME, FURY, DIANA, DARING, KELVIN, KINGSTON and HUNTER arrived in the Clyde without event on the 7th.

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Light cruiser MANCHESTER departed Scapa Flow, and armed merchant cruisers CORFU and WORCESTERSHIRE from the Clyde, all for Northern Patrol

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Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE and armed merchant cruiser ANDANIA arrived in the Clyde, and armed merchant cruiser PATROCLUS at Liverpool, all from Northern Patrol.

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON arrived at Scapa Flow, and departed the same day for North Cape in Operation WR to intercept German merchant ships attempting to return to Germany. She was ordered to return to Scapa Flow at daylight on the 6th if no contact had been made.

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Destroyer ILEX departed Liverpool for Rosyth after refitting.

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Destroyers BOREAS and BRAZEN departed Rosyth for anti-submarine operations off Kinnaird Head.

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Destroyers VISCOUNT and WREN attacked a submarine contact south of the Scilly Island in 49‑25N, 06‑22W.

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Anti-submarine trawler KINGSTON CHRYSOBERYL (448grt) attacked a submarine contact off Owers Light Vessel in 50-36N, 0-40W.

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Submarine SHARK arrived at Sheerness to refit, and completed on 26 March.

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Submarine L.23 arrived at Blyth after patrol.

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Submarine THISTLE arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

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Convoy OA.84 departed Southend escorted by destroyer VERITY from the 2nd to 4th, and also destroyer ANTELOPE from the 2nd to 5th, when she joined HXF.18. Convoy SA.28 of two steamers departed Southampton on the 2nd and travelled with OA.82 until the 3rd, when it detached without escort and arrived at Brest on the 4th.

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Convoy OB.84 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer VANOC and sloop DEPTFORD from the 2nd to 3rd. DEPTFORD then joined HXF.18 and OB.84 dispersed on the 5th.

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Convoy FN.85 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN, and arrived in the Tyne on the 3rd.

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Convoy FS.85 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WESTMINISTER and sloop STORK, and with submarines UNITY and H.34 in company. Destroyer VEGA replaced WESTMINSTER shortly after sailing, and on the 3rd, He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) attacked the convoy, but were driven off by VEGA. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 4th.

 

Note: German X Air Corps flew He111's of KG26, Ju88's of KG30, and two reconnaissance squadrons flying He59's or Do17's.

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Convoys MT.2 and MT.3 departed the Methil. Weather had delayed sailing and the number of ships was too large for one convoy. Destroyers ESCAPADE and JACKAL escorted the convoys, which arrived in the Tyne on the 3rd.

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U.59 sank steamers CREOFIELD (838grt) in 52‑33N, 02‑25E, PORTELET (1064grt) in 52‑40N, 02‑13E, and attacked a third three to four miles SW by W from Smith's Knoll, but she escaped damage. PORTELET lost two crew killed, with eleven survivors, nine of them rescued by Finish steamer OSCAR MIDLING.

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Tanker BRITISH COUNCILLOR (7048grt) struck a mine laid by U.26 (Seekrieg) off Withernsea in 53‑48N, 00‑34E. Destroyers GALLANT and GRIFFIN stood by and took off the survivors. Forty three survivors were picked up by destroyer WHITLEY. Tug YORKSHIREMAN was dispatched to assist, but the tanker sank on the 3rd.

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Armed merchant cruiser VOLTAIRE arrived at Gibraltar from Portsmouth, sailed the same day for Malta and arriving, was in a collision with Danish steamer JENNY (843grt).

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Having previously arrived from Halifax, French steamers LEOPOLD LD (5267grt, carrying 47 aircraft for shipment to France), OREGON (7706grt, carrying 34) and SAN PEDRO (5947grt, carrying 26) left New York, escorted by heavy cruisers DUPLEIX and FOCH (Force X) for Bermuda, departing there at 0800/5th. Meanwhile, on the 4th, large destroyer MAILLE BREZE sailed from Algiers and on the 6th VAUTOUR and ALBATROS from Oran, arriving at Casablanca on the 6th and 7th respectively. The destroyers then left on the 11th to meet the convoy in 31-30N, 19W. Destroyers FORTUNE, SIMOUN and BASQUE departed Casablanca on the 12th also to meet the convoy. Late on the 15th, MAILLE BREZE, FORTUNE, BASQUE were detached to Casablanca with the merchant ships, arriving at 1000/16th. The other warships, DUPLEIX, FOCH, VAUTOUR, ALBATROS and SIMOUN, proceeded to the Mediterranean with SIMOUN later detaching to Casablanca and the other ships to Oran, arriving on the 16th. The cruisers carried on to Toulon reaching there on the 18th, while MAILLE BREZE arrived there on the 23rd after escorting a steamer from Casablanca.

 

 

Saturday, 3 February

 

Minesweeper SPHINX (Cdr J R N Taylor, SO 5th Minesweeping Flotilla), sweeping with minesweeper SPEEDWELL, was bombed and badly damaged at 1030 by He111's of KG26 (X Air Corps) 15 miles north of Kinnaird Head. Three ratings were killed, forty five were missing, and one died of wounds. Three crew members were rescued with serious wounds. Those lost were Lt Cdr Taylor, Lt A H Nicholls, Temporary Lt A L Tessier RNR, Probationary Temporary S/Lt J S G Comfort RNVR, Commissioned Engineer F A Braham and forty one ratings. SPEEDWELL took SPHINX in tow, which parted at 1045, and she was unable to regain the tow for a time. After an unsuccessful attempt to tow was made by minesweepers SPEEDWELL and HARRIER, destroyer BOREAS went alongside and took off survivors but sustained damage to her hull forward in the process. SPHINX capsized in heavy weather early on the 4th and went ashore a total loss. Destroyers BOREAS and BRAZEN, minesweepers SKIPJACK, SPEEDWELL, HARRIER and tug WATERMEYER arrived at Invergordon on the 4th. The damage to BOREAS was repaired at Aberdeen completing on the 7th.

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Light cruiser PENELOPE departed Portland for Rosyth to arrive on the 5th, but was delayed by fog and did not arrive until the 7th.

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Destroyers KHARTOUM and KASHMIR arrived in the Clyde.

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Destroyer JAGUAR arrived at Rosyth from Scapa Flow.

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Destroyer ISIS departed Rosyth for the Clyde. Destroyer KANDAHAR was to have sailed in company, but had so many sick cases on board she was unable to leave.

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Armed merchant cruisers DERBYSHIRE and CIRCASSIA arrived in the Clyde from Northern Patrol.

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Minesweeping trawler FIREFLY (392grt) was damaged when a mine being hoisted inboard exploded near Dundee. Temporary Lt D B Johnstone RNVR (SO), Temporary S/Lt C Dodson RNVR, Temporary S/Lt N F Peat RNVR, Temporary S/Lt G W Vaughn RNVR and seven ratings were killed. Chief Skipper A Finlayson RNR, Temporary Lt A. M Maclean RNVR (who died of wounds on the 18th), and thirteen ratings were wounded. She was towed to Leith by minesweeping trawler WARDOUR (335grt) and arrived at Rosyth on the 4th.

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Convoy OA.83GF sailed from Southend on 30 January, escorted by destroyers WHITEHALL and BROKE, and OB.83GF from Liverpool on the 1st with destroyers VERSATILE and WINCHELSEA. On the 3rd, they merged as OG.17F with thirty ships, escorted by BROKE, VERSATILE, WINCHELSEA on the 3rd and sloop ENCHANTRESS from the 3rd to 7th. All four escorts detached to convoy HG.17F. OG.17F was escorted by destroyer VELOX from the 5th to 8th, and destroyer HERO from the 7th to 8th, on which day it arrived at Gibraltar.

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Convoy ON.10 was to have sailed, but was delayed 24 hours and then another 24, and did not sail until the 5th.

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Convoy TM, with an escort of the 1st Anti-Submarine Group, departed Newcastle, and arrived at Methil on the 4th escorted by the trawlers and destroyers ESCAPADE and JACKAL.

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Convoy FS.86, escorted by sloops FLAMINGO and WESTON, departed the Tyne supported by destroyer JUNO, but was forced to anchor in heavy fog. Convoy FS.88 joined them, FLAMINGO and WESTON proceeded to Rosyth and left destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop GRIMSBY to escort both convoys. WOOLSTON later had to detach to Sheerness as she was short of fuel. Both convoys arrived at Southend on the 9th. Convoy FS.87 was cancelled.

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Sloop DEPTFORD, escorting convoy OB.84, collided with American steamer ANTIGUA (6982grt). Other sources show the merchant ship as British steamer ANTIGONE (4545grt). The sloop sustained only slight damage.

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U.26 made an unsuccessful attack on a steamer in the North Sea.

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U.58 sank Estonian steamer REET (815grt), which departed Methil on 31 January for Gotenberg, in the North Sea. There were no survivors.

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Norwegian steamer TEMPO (629grt) was bombed and sunk by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) off Longstone Light, Farne Island in 55-59N, 1-35W. Five crew were lost, and the survivors rescued by tug BRAHMAM.

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Dutch steamer LAERTES (5825grt) was damaged by mining off Royal Sovereign Light Vessel in 50‑43N, 00‑35E, and tug BUCCANEER was to sent to assist.

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Steamer KILDALE (3877grt) was bombed and damaged by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) in 53‑47N, 00‑34E. Destroyer JACKAL was able to drive off further attacks, minesweeper trawler ST DONATS (349grt) took off the crew and she was towed to the Humber by tug YORKSHIREMAN.

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Steamer YEWDALE (823grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) four miles NNE of Scarborough.

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Steamer BEECHWOOD (4897grt) was bombed and damaged by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) three miles east of Smiths Knoll Light Vessel.

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Steamer HARLEY (400grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) eight miles SSE of Flamborough Head.

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Steamer NEW MINSTER (967grt) was damaged by German bombing in 54‑49N, 01‑03E.

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Trawler ROSE OF ENGLAND (223grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) five to six miles east of Scarborough Castle.

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Trawler NAIRANA (225grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) in 54‑00N, 02‑20E.

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Greek steamer ALEXANDRA (4355grt) was attacked and bombed by aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) six miles off Longstone, but was not damaged.

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Greek steamer NICOLAOU ZOGRAFIA (7050grt) was bombed and attacked by aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) in 55-25N, 1-23W, but not damaged.

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U.25 sank steamer ARMANISTAN (6805grt) from convoy OG.16 west of the mouth of the Tagus River in 38‑15N, 11‑15W. The entire crew were picked up by Spanish steamer MONTE ABRIL (2955grt).

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Light cruiser DELHI arrived at Gibraltar from Portsmouth to join the Mediterranean Fleet, and departed on the 4th, arriving at Malta on the 6th to relieve light cruiser GALATEA as flagship Vice Admiral Destroyers, Mediterranean. The flag was shifted on the 8th.

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Destroyers DECOY and DEFENDER departed Gibraltar to carry out an anti-subgmarine patrol off the Portuguese coast. At 2310, DEFENDER was detached to stand by steamer OREGON which had broken down in 40-57N, 10-42W. DECOY arrived back at Gibraltar on the 8th.

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French heavy cruiser TOURVILLE and destroyers VAUBAN and AIGLE arrived at Malta at 0700 from Beirut carrying out a contraband patrol in the Aegean en route, and departed Malta the next day for Toulon.

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French destroyers FORTUNE, SIMOUN and submarine PROTÉE departed Oran for Casablanca, passed Gibraltar on the 4th, and were sent to investigate an explosion near the Danish steamer JAVA (8681grt) in 36-34N, 8-55W.

 

 

Sunday, 4 February

 

Light cruiser AURORA arrived at Scapa Flow, and armed merchant cruisers ASTURIAS and CALIFORNIA in the Clyde, all from Northern Patrol.

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Light cruiser NEWCASTLE sailed from Scapa Flow, and armed merchant cruiser CARINTHIA from the Clyde, both on Northern Patrol.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO collided with steamer LULONGA (821grt) while entering the Humber. CAIRO was not damaged, but the steamer was beached to prevent her sinking.

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Destroyers EXPRESS, IVANHOE, INTREPID, ESK arrived in the Humber at 1255 after Minelaying Operation JB in the North Sea. The minelaying was screened by Motor Torpedo Boats 22, 24, 25 which arrived in the Humber at 1228.

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Submarines SEAL and NARWHAL exercised in the Firth of Forth. Afterwards SEAL set off on patrol, while NARWHAL was to have joined convoy ON.10. When the convoy was delayed, NARWHAL returned to Rosyth.

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Destroyer BRAZEN departed Invergordon to hunt for a submarine off Lossiemouth reported by aircraft, but was later recalled.

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Destroyers JERVIS and JUPITER departed Rosyth on the 4th, patrolled in the vicinity of Farne Island and then proceeded to the Humber. Destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop GRIMSBY, waiting for convoy FS.87, also patrolled the area.

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Destroyer COSSACK departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow, where she arrived on the 5th.

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Destroyer KANDAHAR departed Rosyth for the Clyde, where she arrived on the 5th.

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Destroyers KIPLING and KIMBERLEY departed Greenock for Scapa Flow with steamers KYLE FISHER (520grt) and FLORISTAN (5478grt). FLORISTAN arrived at Scapa Flow on the 6th.

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Destroyers BASILISK, carrying the Prime Minister, the War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff, and BRILLIANT departed Dover for Boulogne. Both ships returned to Dover that evening.

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Destroyers WHITSHED, HAVANT, ARDENT departed Plymouth for a position 40 miles 270° from Cape Finisterre.

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Destroyers WOLSEY, WINCHELSEA and sloop SANDWICH, escorting convoy SLF.18 west of Ushant in 48‑23N, 09‑27W, attacked a submarine contact.

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Submarines UNITY and H.34 accompanied convoy FS.85 on the 3rd and 4th, when they arrived in the Nore. They were then escorted by patrol sloop PUFFIN on to Portsmouth on the 7th.

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U.21 sank Yugoslav steamer VID (3547grt) in 58‑15N, 00‑48W with all hands.

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U.37 sank British steamer LEO DAWSON (4330grt) in 60‑10N, 00‑39W and Norwegian steamer HOP (1365grt), which had departed Bergen on the 3rd for Middlesbrough, in 58‑55N, 00‑14W. There were no survivors from HOP.

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Steamer BARON RUTHVEN (3178grt) ran aground off the Tees.

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Norwegian steamer JERNFJELD (1369grt) ran aground off Whitby Bay.

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French collier MARIE DAWN (2157grt) was damaged by a mine six miles NE of the Sunk with one crewman killed. She was abandoned by the survivors who reached Harwich, but then towed in by tugs.

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Convoy HXF.19 departed Halifax at 1400 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY and SKEENA, which detached on the 5th. Ocean escort was armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA which left on the 14th. The convoy was joined in Home Waters by destroyers VENETIA from convoy OB.89 and WITCH from convoy OA.89 from the 14th to 17th, when it arrived at Liverpool.

 

 

Monday, 5 February

 

U.41, on her third war patrol, attacked convoy OB.84 south of Ireland and sank British steamer BEAVERBURN (9874grt) in 49‑20N, 10‑07W and badly damaged Dutch tanker CERONIA (8096grt) in 49‑14N, 08‑34W. One member of crew was lost on BEAVERBURN and American tanker NARRAGANSET (10,389grt) rescued the 39 survivors. Destroyer ANTELOPE escorting the convoy was able to sink U.41 in 49‑21N, 10‑04W at 1313 with the loss of all 49 crew, and also claimed to have sunk a second submarine, although U.41 was the only one in the area. The second attack was at 1125 and was later determined to be the wreck of tanker SAN ALBERTO lost in December in 49-18N, 9-50W.

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Destroyer VANOC attacked a submarine contact near Morecambe Light Vessel in 53-53N, 2-29W.

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Armed patrol yacht SHEMARA (588grt) made an attack on a submarine contact off Portland Bill in 50-25N, 2-29W.

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Convoy ON.10 of seven British, ten Norwegian, seven Swedish, four Finnish and one Estonian ship departed Methil escorted by destroyers IMOGEN, IMPERIAL, ILEX, DELIGHT, TARTAR and submarine NARWHAL. DELIGHT was ordered to Scapa Flow with dispatch on the 6th, and TARTAR was relieved by destroyer KIMBERLEY at sea. On the 7th February, DELIGHT attacked a contact east of South Ronaldsay in 58-55N, 2-09E, and was joined by destroyers GALLANT and GRIFFIN. ON.10 arrived safely at Bergen on the 8th.

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Convoy FS.88 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop GRIMSBY, but before arrival, WOOLSTON was detached to Sheerness to refuel. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 9th with FS.86 after being considerably delayed by heavy fog. Convoy FS.89 was cancelled.

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Convoy MT.4 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers JACKAL, JAGUAR, sloop LONDONDERRY, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 3rd Anti-Submarine Group, and arrived in the Tyne on the 6th.

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Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA, escorted by destroyers ECHO and ECLIPSE, was to have departed Aberdeen on the 4th for minelaying operation LD 1 during the night of the 4th/5th, but was delayed by fog. The operation was finally conducted on the 6th/7th when 48 mines were laid.

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Convoy OA.86 departed Southend and was dispersed on the 8th. No escorts are listed.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE arrived at Gibraltar from Devonport to work up after conversion to anti-aircraft ship, departed on the 8th for Malta, and arrived on the 10th.

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Sloop FOLKESTONE arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.

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Minesweeper FERMOY departed Port Said to relieve minesweeper GOSSAMER at Gibraltar.

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French heavy cruiser TOURVILLE and destroyers VAUBAN and AIGLE departed Malta for Toulon.

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French armed merchant cruiser EL D'JEZAIR stopped Portuguese steamer GUINE (2648grt) in the North Atlantic and removed a German citizen.

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Steamer OREGON (6008grt), which had broken down on the 2nd with boiler problems, was located off Caesces, Portugal by destroyer DEFENDER. She had been attacked on 30 January in 45-40N, 11-36W while sailing with convoy SL.17. DEFENDER stood by and Danish salvage tug VALKYRIAN arrived to take her in tow. DEFENDER was relieved by destroyer VORTIGERN on the 8th, and OREGON arrived at Lisbon on the 10th.

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Convoy SLF.19 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MOOLTAN. Convoys SL.19 and SLF.19 merged on the 16th and SL.19’s escort, armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE joined MOOLTAN. Destroyers VERITY, VIMY, WALPOLE and sloop SANDWICH relieved the armed merchant cruisers on the 17th and took the convoys on to their destination on the 20th.

 

 

Tuesday, 6 February

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers ISIS, KASHMIR, KHARTOUM and KANDAHAR departed the Clyde for Devonport. ISIS called in at Falmouth for refitting, while REPULSE arrived at Plymouth for repairs and degaussing.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Scapa Flow, arrived at Rosyth on the 5th, then began repairs at South Shields on the 6th. These were completed on 15 March and she returned to duties with the 18th Cruiser Squadron.

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Light cruisers AURORA sailed from Scapa Flow and EDINBURGH from Rosyth, and rendezvoused to cover convoy ON.10.

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Armed merchant cruisers CALIFORNIA, escorted by destroyer GURKHA, and AURANIA arrived in the Clyde after Northern Patrol.

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Destroyer BOADICEA (D 19) carrying the Prime Minister, the First Lord, the First Sea Lord and other important personages, departed Dover escorted by destroyer BEAGLE for Boulogne. The two ships returned to Dover that evening.

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Heavy fog “completely disorganized” the east coast convoys. FN.86, FS.88 and FN.87 were postponed for 24 hours, and FS.89 and FN.88 cancelled. The escort for FN.88 was to proceed to Rosyth, unless required to augment FN.89.

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Estonian steamer ANU (1421grt) was mined and sunk between Number 2 and Number 1 Buoy at the entrance to the River Tay on a mine laid by U.13 on 12 December. Seven crew were lost.

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Steamer VERBORMILIA (3275grt) went ashore west of Fast Castle Point.

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Steamer HIGHCLIFFE (3247grt) went ashore on Fitful Head in the Shetlands, and one of her lifeboats went adrift. Destroyers GALLANT and GRIFFIN searched unsuccessfully for the boat.

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Convoy OG.17 was formed just from the 23 ships of convoy OA.85G (OB.85G did not sail), escorted by destroyers WOLVERINE and AMAZON. They were relieved off the Lizard by destroyer VIMY and sloop SCARBOROUGH, while the escort from the 6th to 13th was French destroyer TIGRE and escort ship MINERVE. The convoy arrived on the 14th.

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Convoy BC.25 departed Barry with steamers BARON CARNEGIE and BATNA escorted by destroyer MONTROSE, and arrived safely in the Loire.

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French auxiliary minesweeper VETERAN (253grt) was sunk in an accidental collision with British cable ship ALERT off Calais near Cape Griz Nez in 50-58-20N, 1-43-54E. There were no casualties and ALERT's bow was only slightly damaged.

_____

 

Convoy HG.18F departed Gibraltar with 33 ships. In the escort force was minesweeper GOSSAMER and submarine OTWAY which were returning to England for service in Home Waters. Both continued with the convoy until the 13th with OTWAY reaching Portsmouth on the 14th. Destroyer VORTIGERN escorted from the 6th to 8th, sloop FOLKESTONE from the 6th to 14th, sloop ENCHANTRESS from the 8th to 15th after detaching from convoy OG.17F, and destroyer VERSATILE from the 12th to 15th after detaching from OG.18F. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 15th, by which time FOLKESTONE had reached Portsmouth - on the 14th.

 

 

Wednesday, 7 February

 

Heavy cruisers DEVONSHIRE and BERWICK departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol and relieved sister ships NORFOLK and SUFFOLK.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruisers DERBYSHIRE and CIRCASSIA departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Destroyers COSSACK and SIKH were submarine hunting from Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyer JANUS brushed destroyer JUPITER while berthing in the Humber. The damage to JANUS required 48 hours to repair.

_____

 

Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA and minelaying destroyers ESK and EXPRESS, escorted by destroyers BRAZEN and BOREAS, departed Aberdeen for minelay LD 2 in the North Sea. The minelay was successfully completed and the ships arrived at Rosyth on the 8th.

_____

 

Submarine H.43 and destroyer VETERAN collided in Plymouth Sound. VETERAN was not damaged, but H.43 required three days to repair.

_____

 

Convoy OA.87 departed Southend escorted by destroyers VANESSA and WREN. VANESSA was replaced on the 8th by sloop WELLINGTON, and on the 9th, the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy OB.86 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WITHERINGTON and WALPOLE. WALPOLE detached on the 8th, WITHERINGTON on the 9th, and the convoy dispersed on the 10th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.87 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop ROCHESTER and destroyer WALKER from the 7th to 10th, when it dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy FN.86 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WHITLEY and sloop EGRET. In heavy fog, the convoy anchored for the night, and arrived in the Tyne on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.87 departed Southend escorted by destroyer VEGA, sloop STORK, destroyer JUPITER, and also arrived in the Tyne on the 9th. There was no convoy FN.88.

_____

 

Convoy FS.90 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers JAGUAR, WESTMINSTER and sloop LONDONDERRY, and arrived at Southend on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.5 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VIVIEN, JAVELIN, sloop PELICAN, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 1st A/S Group, and arrived in the Tyne on the 8th.

_____

 

Steamer CYPRIAN PRINCE (1988grt) departed Aberdeen, but due to an error, destroyers KIMBERLEY and KIPLING did not join her as escorts until later.

_____

 

Light cruiser AURORA arrived at Rosyth from Scapa Flow for repairs to her propellers and to undergo degaussing.

_____

 

Light cruiser CERES completed her refit at Belfast, and then proceeded to the Mediterranean for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet, arriving at Malta on the 22nd.

_____

 

Armed boarding vessel KINGSTON TURQUOISE (358grt), which had just left Kirkwall for the North Rona patrol, attacked a submarine contact off Sule Skerry in 59-15N, 4-40W. Destroyer SIKH joined her and tried to remake contact.

_____

 

Destroyers JAVELIN and VIVIEN patrolled in the vicinity of Farne Island during the night of the 6th/7th.

_____

 

Patrol sloop MALLARD collided with sister ship PINTAIL off Harwich. PINTAIL's damage was slight and she was able to continue on patrol, but MALLARD required docking. Temporarily repaired at Harwich on the 8th and 9th, she went on to Lowestoft to repair from the 10th to 22nd.

_____

 

Steamer MUNSTER (4305grt) was sunk near Mersey Light in 53‑56N, 03‑24W on a mine laid by U.30 on 9 January. All on board, 134 survivors in total, were rescued by steamer RINGWALL (407grt).

_____

 

Steamer ELDONPARK (5184grt) went ashore at Elwick.

_____

 

Polish steamer BUG went ashore at Rosehearty.

_____

 

German minelayer COBRA laid an anti-submarine mine barrier off Borkum.

_____

 

Convoy HX.19 departed Halifax at 0900 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY, SKEENA and RESTIGOUCHE until detached on the 8th. Ocean escort was battleship REVENGE, which was in collision with tanker APPALACHEE (8826grt) of the convoy on the 7th. The tanker was extensively damaged, and REVENGE required ten days to repair, although she was able to continue and did not detach until the 14th. The convoy was joined in Home Waters by destroyers WOLVERINE and VANOC from convoy OB.92 and destroyer VANESSA from OA.9 between the 19th to 22nd, when HX.19 arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

French sloop COMMANDANTE RIVIERE with submarines RUBIS, SAPHIR and NAUTILUS departed Oran, and passed Gibraltar on the 8th en route for repairs to the submarines at Brest. These ships joined convoy 9R of eight steamers, escorted by sloop SAVORGNAN DE BRAZZA, which left Oran on the 6th. The convoy passed Gibraltar on the 8th, and in the Atlantic, joined convoy 63 KS for the passage to Brest. 63 KS of eight steamers departed Casablanca on the 8th, escorted by destroyer CYCLONE, patrol vessel GROENLAND and submarine PASCAL.

_____

 

French light cruiser EMILE BERTIN departed Dakar to return to France in preparation for allied operations in Finland. She arrived at Casablanca on the 11th, left on the 15th, and reached Brest on the 17th. For the operations, the cruiser would be the flagship of Contre Amiral Derrien, Commander Force Z.

 

 

Thursday, 8 February

 

Destroyers GALLANT and BOREAS unsuccessfully searched for a submarine reported at 2057, nine miles 207° from Sumburgh Head.

_____

 

Destroyer GRIFFIN departed Aberdeen to search for a submarine SSE of Buchanness. Destroyers IVANHOE and ESCAPADE joined her to assist in the hunt.

_____

 

Destroyer KIPLING attacked a submarine contact in Shapinsay Sound in 59-01N, 2-51W.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawlers of the 17th Anti-Submarine Striking Force were searching for destroyer DELIGHT's contact of the day before – the 7th - NNE of St Abbs Head in 56-04N, 2-14W. LE TIGRE (516grt) attacked a contact and signalled CAPE WARWICK (516grt) which altered course to assist. CAPE WARWICK then struck a submerged object a glancing blow on the starboard side and dropped depth charges.

_____

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD arrived in the Tyne.

_____

 

Destroyer DARING rendezvoused with tanker BRITISH GOVERNOR (6840grt) and former German merchant ship ILSENSTEIN (8216grt) for escort to Scapa Flow, where they arrived safely on the 10th. ILSENSTEIN was sunk as a blockship at Scapa Flow on the 18th.

_____

 

Destroyers ESK and EXPRESS arrived at Aberdeen, and BOREAS departed

_____

 

Destroyers BRAZEN arrived at Rosyth, as did INTREPID and IVANHOE, and JAVELIN after dark.

_____

 

Destroyers KIPLING and KIMBERLEY arrived at Scapa Flow. KIPLING immediately departed again to hunt a submarine.

_____

 

Destroyers GURKHA and NUBIAN departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Netlayer GUARDIAN departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth, and from there was due to proceed to the Clyde for refitting.

_____

 

Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA and destroyers ESK and EXPRESS departed Aberdeen later that day on minelaying operation LD 3.

_____

 

Submarines TRUANT arrived at Rosyth from patrol, and SEALION departed on patrol.

_____

 

Submarine TRITON and minesweepers SEAGULL and SHARPSHOOTER departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth where they arrived on the 9th.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser ANDANIA arrived in the Clyde from Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser WOLFE departed the Clyde to relieve light cruiser NEWCASTLE on Northern Patrol Station 53 and allow her to proceed to Station 3.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser FORFAR arrived at Greenock from Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser CIRCASSIA investigated the report of a Fleetwood trawler about the sighting of a large merchant ship in company with a submarine.

_____

 

U.37 landed two agents in Donegal Bay, Ireland.

_____

 

Convoy HN.10 with two British, nineteen Norwegian, nine Swedish, two Finnish, six Estonian and one Panamanian ship departed Bergen escorted by destroyers IMOGEN, IMPERIAL, ILEX, DELIGHT and submarine NARWHAL. DELIGHT detected a submarine contact SSE of Copinsay in 58‑55N, 02‑09W, and destroyers GALLANT, GRIFFIN and anti-submarine trawlers of the 11th Anti-Submarine Group joined in the hunt. Destroyer GURKHA and NUBIAN departed Scapa Flow the same day on anti-submarine patrol and attacked a contact shortly after sailing. On the 10th, destroyers KIMBERLEY and NUBIAN took over the escort of the twelve ships of the west coast portion of HN.10, while destroyers KANDAHAR, KHARTOUM, KASHMIR and KINGSTON departed the Clyde, also on the 10th to meet this section. At dawn on the 11th, NUBIAN and KIMBERLEY left the convoy in 58-20N, 09-00W. (After her escort duties, destroyer GURKHA was to join.) On the 12th, a German submarine was located near the west coast portion of HN.10 and attacks by destroyers GURKHA and NUBIAN prevented any damage being done to the convoy. Meanwhile, the east coast portion of the convoy had arrived at Methil safely on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.91 departed the Tyne at 2300, escorted by destroyers VIVIEN and JAVELIN, and arrived at Southend on the 10th.

_____

 

Heavy cruisers DORSETSHIRE and SHROPSHIRE arrived at Buenos Aires and Montevideo, respectively, to refuel after escorting heavy cruiser EXETER.

_____

 

German steamers CORDILLERA (12,055grt) had departed Livinston, Guatemala, on 25 August and arrived at Murmansk on 10 September while PHOENICIA (4124grt) had left Curacao on the same day in August and reached Murmansk in mid-September. There, they were assigned respectively as accommodation and replenishment ships for German submarines to operate against British lumber and ore shipping out of Murmansk and Narvik. Both steamers departed Murmansk on 2 December 1939 for Zapadnaya Litsa Bay, which was to be known as Basis Nord, and fishing vessel SACHSENWALD (650grt) arrived there with supplies a day earlier. Her job was to serve as a dispatch vessel. At the end of November, U.36 and U.38 departed Germany for Basis Nord, but were reassigned for operations against British shipping off northern Norway. The base itself was never used, CORDILLERA almost immediately returned to Murmansk, and then completed her voyage home reaching Hamburg on 8 February

_____

 

German steamer KONIGSBERG (6466grt) departed Para, Brazi, but returned on the 16th after failing to break away from coastal patrol boats.

_____

 

On the 8th, a Berlin communiqué admitted the following merchant shipping losses - 13,196 tons captured in enemy harbours (steamers POMONA, CHRISTOPH V. DOORNUM and HAGEN in September 1939), 82,236 tons captured at sea by the enemy, and 141,525 tons scuttled to avoid capture. (See British list of 30 January).

 

 

Friday, 9 February

 

Battleship WARSPITE and battlecruiser HOOD with destroyers FAULKNOR, FAME, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FURY, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE and FORESTER departed the Clyde at 1130 on patrol. FAME and FORESTER refuelled at Sullom Voe on the 11th and returned to the force, FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE refuelled on the 13th, FURY, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE on the 14th, and FORESTER again on the 15th.

_____

 

Destroyers NUBIAN and GURKHA arrived at Scapa Flow from the Clyde.

_____

 

Destroyers KASHMIR, KANDAHAR, KHARTOUM departed Rosyth for the Clyde.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser CIRCASSIA escorting Norwegian steamer SOLFERINO (2580grt) requested a destroyer, and GURKHA was detailed to take over escort.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE brought in Norwegian steamer TRAFALGAR (5542grt) for investigation. She was later boarded and released.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruisers PATROCLUS and AURANIA departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW departed Rosyth to relieve sister ship SOUTHAMPTON on patrol off North Cape in Operation WR. SOUTHAMPTON was to proceed to Scapa Flow for a week and then relieve another sister ship NEWCASTLE, also on Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Destroyers KIMBERLEY and KIPLING departed Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyers GALLANT and BOREAS were patrolling in the vicinity of Rattray Head.

_____

 

Destroyer TARTAR was patrolling between Muckle Flugga and a position 20 miles north.

_____

 

The second half of Minelaying operation LD 1 was conducted when 42 mines were laid the night of the 9th/10th by minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA and destroyers ESK and EXPRESS.

_____

 

Destroyer GRAFTON of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla departed Harwich for Humber where she arrived later that day. She was attached to the Humber for patrol operations.

_____

 

Convoy AXS 12 departed Southampton escorted by sloop ABERDEEN, and arrived at Brest on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy ON.11 with seven British, thirteen Norwegian, one Swedish, two Danish, three Finnish and one Estonian ship departed Methil escorted by destroyers ECHO, ESCAPADE, ECLIPSE and ENCOUNTER. Three ships were detached and did not proceed to Norway, including blockship BRANKSEA (214grt) bound for for Scapa Flow in tow of tug PRIZEMAN. Submarine NARWHAL sailed with the convoy, but lost touch during the night of the 10th/11th February, and was ordered to patrol and then return to Rosyth. Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed the Humber on the 10th and joined the convoy in support on the 11th. ON.11 arrived safely at Bergen on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.89 departed Southend, escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD, BITTERN and HASTINGS, and arrived at Methil on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.90 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WOOLSTON, JANUS and sloop GRIMSBY, and arrived in the Tyne on the 10th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.6 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, JUPITER and sloop EGRET, and arrived in the Tyne the next day.

_____

 

Destroyer GRIFFIN departed Aberdeen and joined destroyers BOREAS, IVANHOE and ESCAPADE sweeping for a submarine reported one mile SSE of Buchan Ness in 57-34N, 1-42W. During the sweep, GRIFFIN dropped depth charges on a contact four miles NNE of Buchan Ness in 57-34N, 1-42W.

_____

 

Convoy OB.89 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA and VENETIA from the 9th to 12th, when they detached to join HX.18 and HXF.19 respectively. OB.89 dispersed on the 14th.

_____

 

U.9 laid mines off Tarbett Ness in Cromarty Firth during the night of the 9th/10th which accounted for one merchant ship on 4 May.

_____

GERMAN DESTROYER MINELAYING IN ORFORDNESS-SHIPWASH and CROMER KNOLL AREAS

During the night of the 9th/10th, German destroyers FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT, RICHARD BEITZEN and MAX SCHULTZ laid 110 magnetic mines in the Orfordness-Shipwash area. Destroyers WILHELM HEIDKAMP, THEODOR RIEDEL, HERMANN SCHOEMANN were at sea supporting this minelay as well as one off Cromer Knoll being laid at the same time (following). Six merchant ships totalling 28,496 tons were lost in the Orfordness-Shipwash field.

 

On the 11th, trawler HALIFAX (165grt) southeast of Aldeburgh in 52-06-30N, 1-59-40E. The entire crew was rescued by steamer IPSWICH (5671grt).

 

On the 13th, tanker BRITISH TRIUMPH (8501grt) from convoy FS.93, in 53‑06N, 01‑25E. Four crew were lost, sloop STORK rescued some of the survivors, and tanker BRITISH OFFICER (6990grt) sailing in company rescued the remainder as well as trying unsuccessfully to tow BRITISH TRIUMPH. Tug IRISHMAN was sent out instead, but the stricken tanker sank before her arrival.

 

On the 14th, Italian steamer GIORGIO OHLSEN (5694grt) in 53‑17N, 01‑10E. Seventeen crew were lost and steamer LOLWORTH (1969grt) rescued the sixteen survivors.

 

On the 17th, steamer BARON AILSA (3656grt) in 53‑17N, 01‑12E. Two crew were lost and minesweeping trawler BEECH (540grt) rescued the survivors.

 

On the 24th, steamer JEVINGTON COURT (4544grt) from convoy FS.103, 8¼ miles 161° from Cromer Knoll Light Vessel in 53‑08N, 01‑22E. The entire crew was saved by minesweeper DUNOON.

 

Also on the 24th, steamer CLAN MORRISON (5936grt) from convoy FN.102 in 53‑07N, 01‑22E. Survivors were picked up by minesweeping trawler NOGI (299grt).

 

The Cromer Knoll field of 157 mines was laid the same night by destroyers BRUNO HEINEMANN, WOLFGANG ZENKER, ERICH KOELLNER with three merchant ships totalling 11,855 tons being lost:

 

On the 27th, French steamer PLM 25 (5391grt) from convoy FS.106, 5 miles 302° from Cromer Knoll Light Vessel in 53‑19N, 01‑12E. She ran aground 3½ miles 150° from Outer Dowsing Light Vessel, sloop FLAMINGO took her in tow, but she struck a second mine and sank. Four crew were lost and escort ship WALLACE rescued the survivors.

 

On 9 March, steamer CHEVY CHASE (2719grt) in 53‑18N, 01‑13E. Trawler MONIMIA (374grt) rescued all her crew.

 

On 12 March, steamer GARDENIA (3745grt) in 53‑04N, 01‑33E. Again all her crew were rescued, by escorting anti-submarine trawler VIVIANA (452grt).

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Steamer CHAGRES (5406grt) sank on a mine 5½ miles 270° from Bar Light Vessel off Mersey Light laid by U.30 on 9 January, with the loss of two crew.

_____

 

Trawler AGNES ELLEN (293grt) sank on a mine sailing from Holyhead to Workington on the west coast.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawlers FORT ROYAL (550grt, Lt Cdr Edgar King Rtd), ROBERT BOWEN (290grt, Skipper J. Clark RNR), THOMAS ALTOFT (290grt) and OHM (302grt) were operating off Aberdeen when they were attacked and bombed by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps). FORT ROYAL was sunk with the loss of King, Temporary S/Lt R H Gill RNVR and five ratings, and ROBERT BOWEN with her entire crew  - Clark, Temporary S/Lt A S Wilson RNVR and twelve ratings. OHM was damaged by near misses, but she and THOMAS ALTOFT rescued survivors and returned to Aberdeen.

_____

 

Steamer BOSTON TRADER (371grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps (Note: He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30, also following) one quarter mile SE by S of Blakeney Bell Buoy.

_____

 

Hopper barge FOREMOST 102 (833grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps, four miles west of Bell Rock. Paddle minesweeper BRIGHTON QUEEN stood by, and the barge was towed to Dundee by minesweeping trawler EQUERRY (369grt).

_____

 

Steamer CLINTONIA (3106grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps, two miles east of Flamborough Head.

_____

 

Steamer LAURIESTON (1304grt) was bombed and damaged by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) seven miles east of Coquet Island.

_____

 

Steamer CREE (4791grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps, five miles east of Rattray Head. Steamer DALLINGTON COURT (6889grt) stood by and was joined by destroyer GRIFFIN as destroyer ACHATES headed for them to assist. Tug STALWART was sent to take the damaged ship in tow. During this time, GRIFFIN was herself machine gunned by aircraft of German X Air Corps three miles 137° from Buchanness, and two crew wounded.

 _____

 

Trawler LOWDOCK (276grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps, two and a half miles east of Scarborough.

_____

 

Paddle minesweeper PLINLIMMON was attacked by aircraft of German X Air Corps, four miles 330° from Bass Rock.

_____

 

Convoy HG.18 with 34 ships departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyer ACTIVE from the 9th to 10th, and French destroyer VALMY and French armed trawler VIKING from the 9th to 16th. The convoy split In Home Waters, with HG.18 being escorted by destroyer VISCOUNT and HG.18B by destroyer VANQUISHER, both from the 16th to 19th, when the convoys arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

On the 8th at 0800, Vice Admiral J C Tovey CB, DSO, transferred his flag as Vice Admiral, Destroyers, Mediterranean Fleet, from light cruiser GALATEA to light cruiser DELHI, and then to destroyer WRESTLER at sunset the same day. GALATEA then left Malta on the 9th to return England, called at Gibraltar on the 11th/12th and on leaving, was attached to Western Approaches Command to intercept German merchant ships which had departed Vigo on the 9th/10th (following). She arrived at Plymouth on the 15th after screening heavy cruiser EXETER on the final leg of her voyage back to England.

_____

 

During the night of the 9th/10th, German steamers ROSTOCK (2542grt), MOREA (1927grt), WAHEHE (4709grt), WANGONI (7848grt), ORIZABA (4354grt) and ARUCAS (3359grt) slipped out of Vigo to attempt to return to Germany.

_____

 

Polish troopship BATORY (14, 287grt) and French destroyer L'ALCYON arrived at Gibraltar from Marseilles, and left on the 10th to return to Marseilles.

 

 

Saturday, 10 February

 

Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK was in a collision with steamer MASIRAH (6578grt) off Little Cumbrae and was badly damaged abreast B-turret with three men killed, five  missing and eight injured, three of them seriously. The steamer was seriously damaged and anchored in Rothesay Bay. SUFFOLK arrived at Govan and began repairs on the 12th which were not completed until 10 April.

_____

 

Destroyer HAVELOCK (Captain E B K Stevens DSC) was completed, and after working up at Portland, joined the 9th Destroyer Flotilla.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruisers WOLFE and FORFAR departed the Clyde for  Northern Patrol, and armed merchant cruiser LETITIA arrived back.

_____

 

Submarines SEAL and TRIAD departed Rosyth on a special mission to investigate the courses of German iron ore ships off the Norwegian coast.

_____

 

Polish submarine WILK departed Rosyth on patrol.

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Convoy SA.29 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by sloops FOXGLOVE and ROSEMARY, and arrived at Brest on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.91 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WESTMINSTER, JAVELIN and sloop LONDONDERRY, and arrived in the Tyne on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.92 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, JUPITER and sloop EGRET. WHITLEY and EGRET attacked a submarine contact NNW of St Abbs Head, in 56-01. 5N, 2-14. 5W, and the convoy arrived at Southend on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.7 departed Methil, and arrived in the Tyne the next day. Convoy MT.8 was cancelled.

_____

 

Destroyer WINDSOR made an attack on a submarine contact south of the Scilly Isles in 49‑16N, 6‑19W.

_____

 

Armed boarding vessel NORTHERN ISLES (655grt) attacked U.53 north of North Rona in 59-58N, 5-43W.

_____

 

Destroyers COSSACK, SIKH and MOHAWK departed Scapa Flow to escort convoy HN.10B from the Norwegian coast.

_____

 

Destroyer GURKHA was involved in the escort of tanker ATHELKNIGHT (8940grt).

_____

 

Destroyers IVANHOE and GRIFFIN arrived at Aberdeen. GRIFFIN departed again that day to relieve destroyer BOREAS on patrol off the northeast coast, and BOREAS reached Aberdeen on the 11th.

_____

 

Destroyer INGLEFIELD departed the Clyde for Rosyth.

_____

 

Steamer HOUSATONIC (5559grt), escorted by destroyers DIANA and DARING, departed Muckle Flugga for Rosyth. Tanker BRITISH GOVERNOR (6840grt) joined them on passage and all four ships reached Rosyth on the 11th.

_____

 

Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA with destroyers ESK and EXPRESS departed Rosyth to lay 60 mines in minefield LD 2 during the night of the 10th/11th.

_____

 

Motor torpedo boats MTB.22, MTB.24, MTB.25 departed the Nore for Blyth to act under the command of Commander in Chief, Rosyth.

_____

 

Auxiliary minesweeper SALVO swept the first magnetic mine with an LL sweep off Sunk Light Vessel.

_____

 

Convoy OA.89 departed Southend escorted by sloop FOWEY. Destroyer WITCH joined the escort on the 11th, both warships detached on the 12th, and the convoy dispersed on the 13th.

_____

 

Blockship BRANKSEA (214grt) sank off Girdle Ness at 0500 for no apparent reason, and the mate of the tug was lost attempting to free the tow.

_____

 

U.37 sank Norwegian steamer SILJA (1259grt) in 51‑21N, 11‑32W with all hands.

_____

 

U.48 sank Dutch steamer BURGERDIJK (6853grt) in 49‑45N, 06‑30W, but her entire crew was rescued by Dutch steamer EDAM (8871grt).

_____

 

Trawler THERESA BOYLE (224grt) was bombed and sunk by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) 115 miles east by north of Aberdeen, and her survivors rescued by minesweeping trawlers BRABANT (240grt) and ALMANDINE (295grt) after they were located by British aircraft.

_____

 

Dutch steamer GALLIA (9974grt) was damaged on a mine off the Downs.

_____

 

Destroyers HASTY and HERO departed Gibraltar for England, screened heavy cruiser EXETER, after joining her on the 13th in 43-00N, 17-40W, and searched for German blockade runners before arriving at Plymouth and Portsmouth, respectively, on the 15th. Both destroyers joined the Home Fleet in mid-March after refitting.

_____

 

U.26, U.37, U.48 were deployed west of the English Channel to intercept warships ARK ROYAL, RENOWN and EXETER returning to England from the South Atlantic. This deployment continued until the 14th, without any contact being made.

_____

 

Destroyer DECOY departed Gibraltar for Freetown.

_____

 

Convoy SL.20 departed Freetown on the 10th escorted by armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY until the 25th, and SLF.20 departed Freetown on the 14th, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CHESHIRE. The two convoys merged on the 25th and were joined by destroyers VANQUISHER, VANSITTART, VERSATILE and VETERAN until the 28th, when they all arrived in the UK.

 

 

Sunday, 11 February

 

Convoy HN.10B with twenty Norwegian, seven Swedish and two Finnish ships departed Bergen on the 11th, escorted by destroyers COSSACK, SIKH, MOHAWK and TARTAR, with twelve of the ships being detached down the west coast of Britain. Next day, HN.11 with one British, fifteen Norwegian, ten Swedish and one Finnish ship left Bergen and were escorted by the same warships from HN.10B, but in this case, none of the ships were bound for west coast ports. Still on the 12th, COSSACK and GURKHA attacked a submarine contact northeast of Sumburgh Head in 60-12N, 00-22W, and on the 13th SIKH also attacked a contact, off Aberdeen in 57-15. 7N, 1-47W. That same day, the 13th, destroyer DIANA departed Rosyth to relieve destroyers COSSACK and GURKHA for operation DT. They reached Rosyth later in the day, as did the east bound section of HN.10B. Light cruisers EDINBURGH and ARETHUSA also arrived in Rosyth, on the 14th, and the later convoy, HN.11 safely reached Methil on the 15th.

_____

 

Destroyer GALLANT, leaving Aberdeen, damaged her propellers on a submerged object, and was docked for examination.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow from Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser ASTURIAS departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE intercepted Norwegian steamer BORGLAND (3636grt) and requested a trawler to take her in to Kirkwall.

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Destroyer EXPRESS attacked a submarine contact off Flamborough Head in 54‑13N, 00‑08E.

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Destroyer KINGSTON was submarine hunting 22 miles west by south of Dubh Artch.

_____

 

Destroyer GREYHOUND lost Acting S/Lt R A S. Brown RNR, a petty officer and five ratings when her boat capsized in the Humber.

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During the night of the 11th/12th, minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA with destroyers EXPRESS and ESK laid the 52 mines in minefield LD 3 (first half). After the operation, the minelayer anchored in Yarmouth Roads.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawler HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (399grt), escorting a convoy, attacked a submarine contact off the Smalls in 51-38N, 5-57W. Destroyer WINCHELSEA joined in the hunt.

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Convoy OA.88GF departed Southend on the 8th, escorted by destroyer BROKE which was relieved on the 10th by sloop BIDEFORD and destroyer VETERAN, while OB.88GF sailed from Liverpool, also on the 8th with 29 ships escorted by sloop LEITH and destroyer VERSATILE. On the 11th, they merged as OG.18F. Destroyer VERSATILE escorted the convoy on the 11th before detaching to HG.18F, sloops LEITH and  BIDEFORD were with the convoy from the 11th to 17th, and destroyer ACTIVE joined it in the Gibraltar approaches out of Gibraltar, where OG.18F arrived on the 17th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.92 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers JUPITER, VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN, and arrived in the Tyne on the 13th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.93 departed the Tyne at 2300 escorted by destroyers VEGA, JAGUAR and sloop STORK, and arrived at Southend on the 13th.

_____

 

U.9 sank Estonian steamer LINDA (1213grt) 100 miles west of Utsire in 58‑51N, 01‑54E. One member of the crew was lost, and the survivors rescued by Swedish steamer BIRGITTA (1363grt).

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U.37 sank trawler TOGIMO (290grt) in 50‑40N, 11‑02W with the loss of one crewman. Survivors were picked up by Spanish steamer MONTE NAVAJO (5754grt).

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U.50 sank Swedish steamer ORANIA (1854grt) 60 miles NE of the Shetlands. Fourteen crew were lost and ten survivors picked up by destroyer FEARLESS and transferred to FOXHOUND, which landed them at Lerwick. Four destroyers were searching in the area for the submarine.

_____

 

U.53 sank Norwegian steamer SNESTAD (4114grt) with the loss of two crew in 58‑40N, 13‑40W and badly damaged British tanker IMPERIAL TRANSPORT (8022grt) in 59N, 12W. The tanker broke in two, the forward section sank and destroyer KINGSTON tried unsuccessfully to tow the stern section, after which she stood by until tug BUCCANEER arrived. She tried three times, then other tugs arrived. On the 15th, destroyer FORESTER was detailed to join the damaged ship. She was relieved by destroyer MOHAWK, which departed the Clyde on the 20th, and she in turn was relieved by escort vessel GLEANER. FORESTER and BUCCANEER arrived in the Clyde on the 22nd and four more days later, on the 26th, under the tow of tugs ST MARTIN and ENGLISHMAN and escorted by escort vessel GLEANER, IMPERIAL TRANSPORT also reached the Clyde. She was beached in Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute and later rebuilt.

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Trade negotiations between Germany and Russia which began in the latter part of 1939 were signed in Moscow. As part of the treaty, German handed over the incomplete heavy cruiser LUTZOW, plans for battleship BISMARCK, heavy naval guns, and about thirty aircraft including ME.109 fighters, ME.110 fighter bombers and JU.88 bombers. The sale of incomplete heavy cruisers SEYDLITZ and PRINZ EUGEN and turrets of two of the Z-programme battleships had also been discussed during the negotiations, but had been vetoed by Hitler on 8 December.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser RENOWN, and destroyers HASTY and HERO, which departed Gibraltar on the 10th to return to England, searched for the German ships which had escaped from Vigo (Operation VO). Other ships taking part included aircraft carrier HERMES which left Freetown at 1200/11th, light cruiser GALATEA from Gibraltar at 1800/12th, and French destroyers TRIOMPHANT and FOUGUEUX on patrol in 43-00N between 13 and 11W. Destroyer departures from Plymouth were KEITH, WAKEFUL and VETERAN on the 9th,  ANTELOPE on the 10th to join ARK ROYAL at 0900/12th in 45-00N, 15-00W, ACASTA, WHITSHED, VESPER at 1430/11th with ARDENT to sail as soon as possible, and WREN, WOLVERINE and HEARTY at 0830/12th. Aircraft from ARK ROYAL sighted several of the German steamers, leading to the capture of ROSTOCK and MOREA.

_____

 

German steamer ROSTOCK (2542grt), which left Vigo on the 9th/10th, was captured off the Spanish coast by French sloop ELAN. A prize crew was put aboard and she was taken into Brest arriving on the 14th. Renamed SAINT MAURICE for French service, she reverted to German service after the fall of France.

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Light cruiser GLOUCESTER departed Mombasa and arrived at Durban on the 21st.

 

 

Monday, 12 February

 

German fishing trawler HERRLICHKEIT (268grt) was captured near Tromso in 69‑56N, 16‑49E (68-24N, 11-05E in the Rosyth War Diary) by light cruiser GLASGOW. HERRLICHKEIT was in poor shape, capable of only four and a half knots and had to be towed part of the way by GLASGOW. She was forced to put into Fraserburgh due to heavy weather, and finally arrived at Aberdeen on the 21st. Taken over later by the Ministry of War Transportation, she was renamed EMPIRE FISHER for British use.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed the Humber for Sullom Voe, and arrived on the 13th.

_____

 

Light cruiser MANCHESTER arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser FORFAR departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Destroyer KIMBERLEY arrived at Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyers KANDAHAR, KASHMIR, KHARTOUM arrived at Greenock.

_____

 

Destroyer INTREPID relieved destroyer GRIFFIN on patrol in Moray Firth. GRIFFIN arrived at Rosyth on the 13th.

_____

 

Destroyer HARDY departed Portland for the Clyde.

_____

 

Steamer CYPRIAN PRINCE (1988grt) departed Stromness for Aberdeen.

_____

 

Submarines THISTLE and TRITON exercised in the Firth of Forth.

_____

 

Submarine SALMON and destroyer ESCORT exercised off Harwich.

_____

 

Submarine NARWHAL arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

_____

 

Submarines L.23 departed Blyth on patrol, and STURGEON for the Tyne to refit.

_____

 

Submarine SWORDFISH departed Dundee on trials to arrive at Rosyth on the 13th, but was diverted and arrived at Blyth on that date.

_____

 

Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA with destroyers EXPRESS and ESK laid 38 mines in operation LD 3 (second half) in the North Sea. After the minelay, the ships proceeded to the Thames.

_____

 

Destroyer VIMIERA completed conversion to fast escort vessel, and after working up at Portland, was assigned to Convoy C working from Rosyth.

_____

 

Convoy BC.26 with six steamers, including BARON KINNAIRD, DUNKWA (Commodore) and RONAN departed the Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer MONTROSE, and arrived safely in the Loire on the 14th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.9 departed Methil, escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD, BITTERN and HASTINGS, and arrived in the Tyne later that day.

_____

 

Convoy FS.94 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD, BITTERN and HASTINGS, which had just arrived from Rosyth with MT.9.

_____

 

Belgian fishing vessels O. H. BEWAAR ONS (62grt) was lost in the North Sea and STEUR (61grt) ten miles NW of West Hinder Light Vessel due to mining.

_____

 

Attempting to lay mines in the Firth of Clyde, U.33 was damaged by minesweeper GLEANER at 0440 halfway between Pladda Lighthouse and Ailsa Craig in 55‑25N, 05‑07W in a depth charge attack which seriously affected the minesweeper's electrical system and put asdic and searchlights out of action. U.33 surfaced, the crew surrendered and she sank after her scuttling charges went off at 0530. Twenty five of the crew were lost and 17 saved. Destroyer KINGSTON recovered 20 bodies.

_____

 

U.26 torpedoed Norwegian steamer NIDARHOLM (3482grt) in 50‑50N, 14‑10W. She was abandoned and broke in two with the fore section sinking on the 12th and the aft section later. Sloops WELLINGTON and ROCHESTER searched for survivors, and twenty five were rescued by Norwegian steamer BERTO.

_____

 

U.53 sank Swedish steamer DALARO (3927grt) in 56‑44N, 11‑44W with the loss of one crewman. Survivors were rescued by Belgian trawler JAN DE WAELE (324grt) and landed at Buncrana, Loch Swilly.

_____

 

Sloop ROSEMARY attacked a submarine contact ESE of Start Point. Sloop SANDWICH passed nearby at 0840/13th, joined ROSEMARY and carried out her own attack. Destroyer BROKE also joined in the search at 1030, and the operation continued until 1630 when ROSEMARY was ordered to return to harbour.

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U.54 (Kptlt. Gunter Kutschmann) set out from Wilhelmshaven on the 12th on her first patrol, which was to be off Cape Finisterre, and was never heard from again. It is now presumed that she was lost on the 12th/13th with all 41 crew, sunk by a mine laid by the 20th Destroyer Flotilla on the 9/10 January in 55-07N, 5-05E. On the 14 March, German patrol vessel Vp.1101 (trawler PREUSSEN, 425grt) found one of U.54's torpedoes, and later, on the 16 April, naval auxiliary ship Schiff 37 (trawler SCHLESWIG, 433grt) found another one in the Skagerrak.

_____

 

Belgian steamer FLANDRES (5827grt) was sunk in a collision with Belgian steamer KABALO (5186grt) in the Fairway of the South Downs.

_____

 

Convoy HXF.20 departed Halifax at 1400 escorted by Canadian destroyers FRASER and ST LAURENT, which detached on the 13th. Ocean escort until the 22nd when she left, was armed merchant cruiser LACONIA. On that day, the convoy was joined by destroyers ACASTA and VENETIA and escorted until its arrival at Liverpool on the 25th.

_____

 

Destroyer HASTY captured German steamer MOREA (1927grt), which had departed Vigo on the 9th/10th, off the Portuguese coast in 41‑42N, 15‑03W. MOREA joined convoy HG.17, arrived at Falmouth on the 17th, and was renamed EMPIRE SEAMAN for British service.

_____

 

French submarine ACHERON and British steamer SOMME (5265grt) exchanged gunfire around 1815, in 34-25N, 18-08W, each believing the other to be German. ACHERON was hit in the bow by a shell which did not explode.

 

 

Tuesday, 13 February

 

Destroyers KELVIN, KINGSTON, KANDAHAR and KHARTOUM departed the Clyde on the 13th to participate in Operation WR, and rendezvoused with armed merchant cruiser CIRCASSIA.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO arrived at Scapa Flow.

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Submarine TARPON was carrying out trials in Gare Loch.

_____

 

Convoy ON.12 of ten British, eight Norwegian, two Swedish, two Danish, four Finnish and one Panamanian ship departed Methil escorted by destroyers INGLEFIELD, ILEX, IMPERIAL, DELIGHT and submarine THISTLE. Light cruisers ARETHUSA and PENELOPE were originally to provide close cover, but had been assigned to Operation DT, and light cruiser EDINBURGH sailed from Rosyth to take over. Four ships were detached before making the North Sea crossing, including Norwegian steamer FERNMOOR (4268grt) which IMOGEN took into Scapa Flow on the 14th. IMOGEN left again on the 15th and joined anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA which had departed Sullom Voe the same day to provide anti-aircraft protection. ON.12 arrived safely at Bergen on the 16th.

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Convoy OA.91 departed Southend escorted by destroyer VERITY from the 13th to 16th, when it dispersed.

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Convoy OB.91 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WALPOLE and VIMY from the 13th to 16th, and dispersed on the 17th.

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Convoy FN.93 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, JACKAL and sloop EGRET, and arrived in the Tyne on the 15th.

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Convoy FS.95 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WOOLSTON, JANUS and sloop GRIMSBY, and arrived at Southend on the 15th.

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Convoy MT.10 departed Methil, escorted by anti-submarine trawlers of the 19th Anti-Submarine Group, and arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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U.25 sank Danish tanker CHASTINE MAERSK (5177grt) in 61‑30N, 02‑00E. Survivors were rescued by Norwegian steamer HILDA (1237grt).

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U.50 attacked Norwegian tanker ALBERT L. ELLSWORTH (8309grt) in the North Sea, NW of the Shetlands in 61-10N, 07-15W, but the attack failed due to torpedo malfunctions.

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German steamer NAHALT (5870grt) was damaged in a collision in the North Sea, and was assisted by German steamer KONIGSBERG PREUSSEN (2530grt).

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Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE’s seaplane sighted German steamer WAKAMA (3771grt) off Cape Frio at 1615/12th. DORSETSHIRE intercepted her next day in 22‑42S, 41‑38W, and WAKAMA which had departed Rio de Janiero on the 11th scuttled herself rather than be captured.

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ALLIED HUNTING GROUPS

 

Allied Hunting Groups were reorganized as follows:

 

Force G - Heavy cruisers HAWKINS and DORSETSHIRE

 

Force H - Heavy cruisers CORNWALL and CUMBERLAND

 

Force I - Aircraft carrier EAGLE, heavy cruiser SUSSEX, Australian light cruiser HOBART

 

Force M - Heavy cruiser KENT and the French SUFFREN

 

Force X - French heavy cruisers FOCH and DUPLEIX

 

Force Y - French battleship PROVENCE, heavy cruisers COLBERT, DUQUESNE,and light cruiser EMILE BERTIN

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Destroyer DEFENDER departed Gibraltar for Freetown.

 

 

Wednesday, 14 February

 

German supply ship ALTMARK (10,847grt) was sighted by RAF Hudson's of 220 Sqn off Trondheim as she was being escorted to Bergen by Norwegian torpedo boats TRYGG and GARM for contraband inspection.

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Light cruiser ARETHUSA (Captain Q  D  Graham), with Rear Admiral Destroyers (Rear Admiral R  H  C  Hallifax) aboard, destroyers COSSACK (Captain P  L  Vian), SIKH (Cdr J  A  Giffard), NUBIAN (Cdr R  W  Ravenhill), INTREPID (Cdr R  C  Gordon) and IVANHOE (Cdr P  H  Hadow) departed Rosyth at 2300 on Operation DT.  Light cruiser PENELOPE (Captain G  D  Yates) also began the sortie, but ran onto the submarine baffles at Rosyth, and with damaged propellers,  was forced to remain in port for repairs. Orders on this sortie were to sweep up the Norwegian coast from Kristiansand and intercept enemy ships returning to Narvik. ARETHUSA, INTREPID and IVANHOE were assigned to one group and the Tribal destroyers to the other. Rear Admiral Destroyers normally flew his flag on light cruiser AURORA, and men from AURORA were sent to augment the crews of destroyers MAORI and COSSACK.

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After destroyer GURKHA attacked a submarine contact in Moray Firth in 58-22N, 1-40W, destroyers KASHMIR, KIPLING and BOREAS joined in the search, KIPLING sailing from Scapa Flow on the same day. The search was unsuccessful and was abandoned at 1600/15th.

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Anti-submarine trawler LORD HOTHAM (464grt), escorting tug BRIGAND and a battle target off Cape St Vincent in 36-50N, 9-46W attacked a submarine contact.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY departed Sullom Voe for repairs at Chatham, arriving en route in the Humber on the 15th.

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Armed merchant cruiser SCOTSTOUN departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.

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Destroyers BRAZEN and DIANA departed Rosyth and BOREAS was detached from submarine hunting off Rattray Head. All three reached Invergordon on the 15th and left again later that day to escort the collision-damaged destroyer DUNCAN under tow by tugs ST MELLONS and NORMAN from Invergordon to Rosyth for repairs following the collision of 17 January. BRAZEN and BOREAS were last minute replacements for SIKH and NUBIAN which were needed for DT.  DUNCAN repaired at Grangemouth completing on 22 July 1940.

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Submarine TRIDENT arrived at Rosyth from patrol.

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Submarine TRIBUNE was exercising in the Firth of Forth.

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Convoy FN.94 departed Southend escorted by destroyers VEGA, JAGUAR and sloop STORK, and arrived in the Tyne on the 16th.

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Convoy FS.96 departed the Tyne (to be checked) escorted by destroyers WESTMINSTER, JAVELIN and sloop LONDONDERRY, and WESTMINSTER and LONDONDERRY attacked a submarine contact north, NNW of St Abbs Head in 56‑04N, 2‑14W. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 16th.

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U.26 sank steamer LANGLEFORD (4622grt) 70 miles NW of Fastnet in 51-40N, 12-40W with the loss of four crew.

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U.48 sank steamer SULTAN STAR (12,306grt) at 1645, southwest of Ireland in 48‑54N, 10‑03W with the loss of one member of crew. At the time, destroyers WHITSHED, ACASTA, VESPER were joining the screen of heavy cruiser EXETER and witnessed the torpedoing on the horizon. WHITSHED was detached to assist, and since the survivors were already in lifeboats, carried out the first attacks, and was then joined ACASTA and VESPER resulting in the claim that U.48 had been sunk, although she escaped. Seventy two survivors were picked up by WHITSHED, half were later transferred to VESPER, and she remained in the vicinity during the night making further attacks.

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U.53 sank Swedish steamer NORNA (1022grt), which had departed Gibraltar on the 7th for Stockholm, in 55‑30N, 11‑00W with all hands, as well as Danish steamer MARTIN GOLDSCHMIDT (2095grt) in 55‑53N, 12‑37W.  Fifteen of her crew were lost and five survivors rescued by Norwegian BERTO, the same steamer that had picked up the survivors of the Norwegian steamer NIDARHOLM (3482grt) sunk on the 12th.

 

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U.57 torpedoed tanker GRETAFIELD (10,191grt) east of Wick in 58‑27N, 02‑33W as she was straggling behind convoy HX.18. One Marine was lost and 31 survivors rescued by trawlers PEGGY NUTTEN and STRATHALLADALE. To search for the submarine responsible, destroyers BOREAS and GURKHA were detailed to search off Rattray Head, while destroyers KIPLING and KASHMIR were already hunting in the area. GURKHA made an attack on the 15th in Moray Firth in 58‑32N, 2‑30W, and was then advised with KASHMIR that if no further contact was made, they were to join in operation WR. Still on the 15th, destroyer KINGSTON was ordered to stand by the still floating tanker for anti-submarine protection, but she run aground at Dunbeath. GRETAFIELD broke in two on 19 March and was declared a total loss.

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Convoy HG.19F departed Gibraltar with 25 ships, escorted by destroyer WISHART from the 14th to 16th, French destroyer TIGRE and auxiliary patrol ship MINERVE from the 14th to 21st, and destroyer WREN from the 21st until the  23rd,  when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

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Convoy SL.20 departed Freetown on the 10th escorted by armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY until the 25th, and SLF.20 on the 14th, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CHESHIRE. The two convoys merged on the 25th when they were joined by destroyers VANQUISHER, VANSITTART, VERSATILE and VETERAN, all the escorts remaining with the convoys until its arrival on the 28th.

 

 

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revised 7/4/12
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