Background Events - September 1939-March 1940
Battle of Atlantic starts,
'Phoney War' on land, Battle of River Plate
The Northern Patrol
sighted 49 eastbound merchant ships from the 1st to 14th and sent 21 into
Kirkwall for inspection.
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
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.
and JAVELIN arrived at Rosyth escorting tanker ATHOLLKNIGHT
SOUTHAMPTON departed the
Tyne for Scapa Flow after her
arrived at Rosyth escorting minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA, which had departed
Immingham at 0200/1st and joined convoy FN.83, escorted by FLAMINGO and sloop
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.
Destroyer JUNO, escorting
convoy HN.9B, made an attack on a submarine contact.
BERWICK (above - Navy Photos) and armed merchant cruisers TRANSYLVANIA and CARINTHIA arrived at the
Clyde after Northern
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.
Marines were lost at sea in light cruiser
CARLISLE, en route to
Gibraltar to work up.
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.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN, and arrived
in the Tyne on the 2nd.
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.
departed Methil, escorted by escort vessel/destroyer WESTMINSTER and sloop
STORK, and arrived in the Tyne on the 2nd.
and VESPER, on an anti-submarine sweep, attacked a submarine contact west of
Scilly Island, in 49‑56N,
Wilhelmshaven for, during
which she laid mines off Weymouth. No shipping
was sunk or damaged in this minefield.
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).
steamer ELLEN M. (498grt) in 52‑33N,
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
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.
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.
MANCHESTER departed Scapa Flow, and armed
merchant cruisers CORFU and
WORCESTERSHIRE from the Clyde, all for
DEVONSHIRE and armed
merchant cruiser ANDANIA arrived in the Clyde, and armed
merchant cruiser PATROCLUS at Liverpool, all from
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.
departed Liverpool for Rosyth after refitting.
BOREAS and BRAZEN departed Rosyth for anti-submarine operations off Kinnaird
and WREN attacked a submarine contact south of the Scilly Island in 49‑25N,
trawler KINGSTON CHRYSOBERYL (448grt) attacked a submarine contact off Owers
Light Vessel in 50-36N, 0-40W.
arrived at Sheerness to refit, and completed on 26 March.
arrived at Blyth after patrol.
THISTLE arrived at Rosyth after patrol.
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.
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.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN, and
arrived in the Tyne on the 3rd.
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.
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.
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.
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
cruiser VOLTAIRE arrived at Gibraltar from Portsmouth, sailed the
same day for Malta and arriving,
was in a collision with Danish steamer JENNY (843grt).
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.
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
PENELOPE departed Portland for Rosyth to
arrive on the 5th, but was delayed by fog and did not arrive until the 7th.
Destroyers KHARTOUM and KASHMIR arrived in the
arrived at Rosyth from Scapa Flow.
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
cruisers DERBYSHIRE and CIRCASSIA arrived in the
Clyde from Northern
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.
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.
Convoy ON.10 was
to have sailed, but was delayed 24 hours and then another 24, and did not
sail until the 5th.
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
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.
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.
U.26 made an
unsuccessful attack on a steamer in the North Sea.
Estonian steamer REET (815grt),
which departed Methil on 31 January for Gotenberg, in the North Sea. There were no
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
LAERTES (5825grt) was damaged by mining off Royal Sovereign Light Vessel in
50‑43N, 00‑35E, and tug BUCCANEER was to sent to assist.
(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
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.
(4897grt) was bombed and damaged by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps)
three miles east of Smiths Knoll Light Vessel.
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.
Steamer NEW MINSTER
(967grt) was damaged by German bombing in 54‑49N, 01‑03E.
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.
(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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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,
AURORA arrived at
Scapa Flow, and armed merchant
cruisers ASTURIAS and CALIFORNIA in the Clyde, all from
NEWCASTLE sailed from
Scapa Flow, and armed
merchant cruiser CARINTHIA from the Clyde, both on
CAIRO collided with
steamer LULONGA (821grt) while entering the Humber. CAIRO was not
damaged, but the steamer was beached to prevent her sinking.
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.
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.
departed Invergordon to hunt for a submarine off Lossiemouth reported by
aircraft, but was later recalled.
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.
COSSACK departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow, where she
arrived on the 5th.
Destroyer KANDAHAR departed Rosyth
for the Clyde, where she arrived on the 5th.
KIPLING and KIMBERLEY departed Greenock for Scapa Flow with steamers
KYLE FISHER (520grt) and FLORISTAN (5478grt). FLORISTAN arrived at Scapa Flow on the 6th.
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.
WHITSHED, HAVANT, ARDENT departed Plymouth for a position
40 miles 270° from Cape Finisterre.
WOLSEY, WINCHELSEA and sloop SANDWICH, escorting
convoy SLF.18 west of Ushant in 48‑23N,
09‑27W, attacked a submarine contact.
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.
Yugoslav steamer VID (3547grt) in
58‑15N, 00‑48W with all hands.
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.
RUTHVEN (3178grt) ran aground off the Tees.
steamer JERNFJELD (1369grt) ran aground off Whitby Bay.
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.
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
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,
attacked a submarine contact near Morecambe Light Vessel in 53-53N, 2-29W.
yacht SHEMARA (588grt) made an attack on a submarine contact off Portland
Bill in 50-25N, 2-29W.
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.
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
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.
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.
departed Southend and was dispersed on the 8th. No escorts are listed.
CARLISLE arrived at Gibraltar from Devonport
to work up after conversion to anti-aircraft ship, departed on the 8th for
Malta, and arrived on
arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.
FERMOY departed Port Said to relieve
minesweeper GOSSAMER at Gibraltar.
cruiser TOURVILLE and destroyers VAUBAN and AIGLE departed Malta for Toulon.
merchant cruiser EL D'JEZAIR stopped Portuguese steamer GUINE (2648grt) in
the North Atlantic and removed a German citizen.
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.
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.
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
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
AURORA sailed from
Scapa Flow and
EDINBURGH from Rosyth,
and rendezvoused to cover convoy ON.10.
cruisers CALIFORNIA, escorted by
destroyer GURKHA, and AURANIA arrived in the Clyde after Northern
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.
“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.
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.
VERBORMILIA (3275grt) went ashore west of Fast Castle Point.
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.
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.
departed Barry with steamers BARON CARNEGIE and BATNA escorted by destroyer
MONTROSE, and arrived safely in the Loire.
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
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.
departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol and relieved sister
cruisers DERBYSHIRE and CIRCASSIA departed the
Clyde on Northern
COSSACK and SIKH were submarine hunting from Scapa Flow.
brushed destroyer JUPITER while berthing in the Humber. The damage to
JANUS required 48 hours to repair.
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.
and destroyer VETERAN collided in Plymouth Sound. VETERAN was not damaged,
but H.43 required three days to repair.
departed Southend escorted by destroyers VANESSA and WREN. VANESSA was
replaced on the 8th by sloop WELLINGTON, and on the
9th, the convoy dispersed.
departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WITHERINGTON and
WALPOLE. WALPOLE detached on the
8th, WITHERINGTON on the 9th, and the convoy dispersed on the 10th.
departed Liverpool escorted by sloop ROCHESTER and destroyer
WALKER from the 7th to 10th, when it
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.
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.
departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers JAGUAR, WESTMINSTER and sloop LONDONDERRY, and arrived at
Southend on the 9th.
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.
PRINCE (1988grt) departed Aberdeen, but due to an
error, destroyers KIMBERLEY and KIPLING did
not join her as escorts until later.
AURORA arrived at Rosyth from
Scapa Flow for repairs to
her propellers and to undergo degaussing.
CERES completed her refit at
Belfast, and then
proceeded to the Mediterranean for duty with the Mediterranean
Fleet, arriving at Malta on the 22nd.
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.
JAVELIN and VIVIEN patrolled in the vicinity of Farne Island during the
night of the 6th/7th.
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.
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
ELDONPARK (5184grt) went ashore at Elwick.
BUG went ashore at Rosehearty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
KIPLING attacked a submarine contact in Shapinsay Sound in 59-01N, 2-51W.
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
SHEFFIELD arrived in the
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
BRAZEN arrived at Rosyth, as did INTREPID and IVANHOE, and JAVELIN after
KIPLING and KIMBERLEY arrived at
Scapa Flow. KIPLING
immediately departed again to hunt a submarine.
GURKHA and NUBIAN departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow.
GUARDIAN departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth, and
from there was due to proceed to the Clyde for refitting.
PRINCESS VICTORIA and destroyers ESK and EXPRESS departed Aberdeen later that day
on minelaying operation LD 3.
TRUANT arrived at Rosyth from patrol, and SEALION departed on patrol.
and minesweepers SEAGULL and SHARPSHOOTER departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth
where they arrived on the 9th.
cruiser ANDANIA arrived in the Clyde from Northern
cruiser WOLFE departed the Clyde to relieve
NEWCASTLE on Northern Patrol
Station 53 and allow her to proceed to Station 3.
cruiser FORFAR arrived at Greenock from Northern
cruiser CIRCASSIA investigated the report of a Fleetwood
trawler about the sighting of a large merchant ship in company with a
U.37 landed two
agents in Donegal Bay, Ireland.
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.
departed the Tyne at 2300, escorted by destroyers VIVIEN
and JAVELIN, and arrived at Southend on the 10th.
SHROPSHIRE arrived at Buenos Aires and Montevideo, respectively,
to refuel after escorting heavy cruiser
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
departed Para, Brazi, but returned on the 16th after
failing to break away from coastal patrol boats.
On the 8th, a
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
WARSPITE and battlecruiser
HOOD with destroyers FAULKNOR,
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
NUBIAN and GURKHA arrived at Scapa Flow from the Clyde.
Destroyers KASHMIR, KANDAHAR, KHARTOUM departed Rosyth
for the Clyde.
cruiser CIRCASSIA escorting Norwegian steamer SOLFERINO
(2580grt) requested a destroyer, and GURKHA was detailed to take over escort.
DEVONSHIRE brought in
Norwegian steamer TRAFALGAR (5542grt) for investigation. She was later
boarded and released.
cruisers PATROCLUS and AURANIA departed the Clyde for Northern
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
Destroyers KIMBERLEY and KIPLING
departed Scapa Flow.
GALLANT and BOREAS were patrolling in the vicinity of Rattray Head.
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
GRAFTON of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla departed Harwich for Humber where she
arrived later that day. She was attached to the Humber for patrol
Convoy AXS 12
departed Southampton escorted by sloop ABERDEEN, and arrived at
Brest on the 11th.
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.
departed Southend, escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD, BITTERN and HASTINGS, and arrived at
Methil on the 11th.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WOOLSTON, JANUS and sloop GRIMSBY, and arrived in
the Tyne on the 10th.
departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, JUPITER and sloop EGRET, and
arrived in the Tyne the next day.
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.
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.
DESTROYER MINELAYING IN
ORFORDNESS-SHIPWASH and CROMER KNOLL AREAS
During the night
of the 9th/10th, German destroyers FRIEDRICH
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
On the 11th,
trawler HALIFAX (165grt) southeast
of Aldeburgh in 52-06-30N, 1-59-40E. The entire crew was rescued by steamer
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).
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.
AGNES ELLEN (293grt) sank on a mine
sailing from Holyhead to Workington on the west coast.
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.
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.
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).
CLINTONIA (3106grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps,
two miles east of Flamborough Head.
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.
(276grt) was bombed and damaged by aircraft of German X Air Corps, two and a
half miles east of Scarborough.
minesweeper PLINLIMMON was attacked by aircraft of German X Air Corps, four
miles 330° from Bass Rock.
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.
BATORY (14, 287grt) and French destroyer L'ALCYON arrived at Gibraltar from Marseilles, and left on
the 10th to return to Marseilles.
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
cruisers WOLFE and FORFAR departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol, and armed merchant cruiser
LETITIA arrived back.
and TRIAD departed Rosyth on a special mission to investigate the courses of
German iron ore ships off the Norwegian coast.
WILK departed Rosyth on patrol.
Convoy SA.29 of
two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by
sloops FOXGLOVE and ROSEMARY, and arrived at Brest on the 12th.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WESTMINSTER, JAVELIN and
sloop LONDONDERRY, and arrived in the Tyne on the 11th.
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
departed Methil, and arrived in the Tyne the next day.
Convoy MT.8 was cancelled.
WINDSOR made an attack on a submarine contact south of the Scilly Isles in 49‑16N,
vessel NORTHERN ISLES (655grt) attacked U.53 north of North Rona in 59-58N,
COSSACK, SIKH and MOHAWK departed Scapa Flow to escort
convoy HN.10B from the Norwegian coast.
was involved in the escort of tanker ATHELKNIGHT (8940grt).
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.
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.
PRINCESS VICTORIA with destroyers ESK and EXPRESS departed Rosyth to lay 60
mines in minefield LD 2 during the night of the 10th/11th.
boats MTB.22, MTB.24, MTB.25 departed the
Nore for Blyth to act under the command of Commander in
minesweeper SALVO swept the first magnetic mine with an LL sweep off Sunk
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
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.
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).
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.
GALLIA (9974grt) was
damaged on a mine off the Downs.
and HERO departed Gibraltar for England, screened heavy
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
U.26, U.37, U.48
were deployed west of the English Channel to intercept
EXETER returning to
England from the South Atlantic. This
deployment continued until the 14th, without any contact being made.
departed Gibraltar for Freetown.
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
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
ARETHUSA also arrived in Rosyth, on the 14th, and the later convoy, HN.11
safely reached Methil on the 15th.
GALLANT, leaving Aberdeen, damaged her
propellers on a submerged object, and was docked for examination.
NORFOLK arrived at
Scapa Flow from Northern
Armed merchant cruiser
ASTURIAS departed the Clyde on Northern
Norwegian steamer BORGLAND (3636grt) and requested a trawler to take her in
EXPRESS attacked a submarine contact off Flamborough Head in 54‑13N, 00‑08E.
Destroyer KINGSTON was submarine
hunting 22 miles west by south of Dubh Artch.
GREYHOUND lost Acting S/Lt R A S. Brown RNR, a petty
officer and five ratings when her boat capsized in the Humber.
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.
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.
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.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyers JUPITER, VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN,
and arrived in the Tyne on the 13th.
departed the Tyne at 2300 escorted by destroyers VEGA,
JAGUAR and sloop STORK, and arrived at Southend on the 13th.
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
trawler TOGIMO (290grt) in 50‑40N,
11‑02W with the loss of one crewman. Survivors were picked up by
Spanish steamer MONTE NAVAJO (5754grt).
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
GLOUCESTER departed Mombasa and arrived at
Durban on the 21st.
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.
CALCUTTA departed the
Humber for Sullom Voe,
and arrived on the 13th.
MANCHESTER arrived at
Scapa Flow after Northern
cruiser FORFAR departed the Clyde on Northern
Destroyer KIMBERLEY arrived at
Destroyers KANDAHAR, KASHMIR, KHARTOUM arrived at
INTREPID relieved destroyer GRIFFIN on patrol in
Moray Firth. GRIFFIN arrived at
Rosyth on the 13th.
Destroyer HARDY departed
Portland for the Clyde.
PRINCE (1988grt) departed Stromness for Aberdeen.
THISTLE and TRITON exercised in the Firth of Forth.
and destroyer ESCORT exercised off Harwich.
NARWHAL arrived at Rosyth after patrol.
departed Blyth on patrol, and STURGEON for the Tyne to refit.
SWORDFISH departed Dundee on trials to
arrive at Rosyth on the 13th, but was diverted and arrived at Blyth on that date.
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.
completed conversion to fast escort vessel, and after working up at Portland, was assigned
to Convoy C working from Rosyth.
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.
departed Methil, escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD, BITTERN and HASTINGS, and arrived in
the Tyne later that day.
departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD, BITTERN
and HASTINGS, which had just
arrived from Rosyth with MT.9.
vessels O. H. BEWAAR ONS (62grt)
was lost in the North Sea and
(61grt) ten miles NW of West Hinder Light Vessel due to mining.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
FLANDRES (5827grt) was sunk in a
collision with Belgian steamer KABALO (5186grt) in the Fairway of the South Downs.
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.
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.
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.
KELVIN, KINGSTON, KANDAHAR and KHARTOUM departed the
Clyde on the 13th to
participate in Operation WR, and rendezvoused with armed merchant cruiser
CAIRO arrived at Scapa Flow.
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
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.
departed Southend escorted by destroyer VERITY from the 13th to 16th, when it
departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WALPOLE and VIMY
from the 13th to 16th, and dispersed on the 17th.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, JACKAL and sloop EGRET,
and arrived in the Tyne on the 15th.
departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WOOLSTON, JANUS
and sloop GRIMSBY, and arrived at
Southend on the 15th.
departed Methil, escorted by anti-submarine trawlers of the 19th
Anti-Submarine Group, and arrived in the Tyne later that day.
U.25 sank Danish
tanker CHASTINE MAERSK (5177grt)
in 61‑30N, 02‑00E. Survivors were rescued by Norwegian steamer
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
German steamer NAHALT
(5870grt) was damaged in a collision in the North Sea, and was
assisted by German steamer KONIGSBERG PREUSSEN (2530grt).
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
ALLIED HUNTING GROUPS
Groups were reorganized as follows:
Force G - Heavy
Force H - Heavy
Force I -
EAGLE, heavy cruiser
SUSSEX, Australian light cruiser
Force M - Heavy
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
DEFENDER departed Gibraltar for Freetown.
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.
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
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.
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.
trawler LORD HOTHAM (464grt), escorting tug BRIGAND and a battle target off
Cape St Vincent in 36-50N,
9-46W attacked a submarine contact.
COVENTRY departed Sullom
Voe for repairs at Chatham, arriving en
route in the Humber on the 15th.
cruiser SCOTSTOUN departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.
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.
TRIDENT arrived at Rosyth from patrol.
TRIBUNE was exercising in the Firth of Forth.
departed Southend escorted by destroyers VEGA, JAGUAR and sloop STORK, and arrived
in the Tyne on the 16th.
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.
U.26 sank steamer
LANGLEFORD (4622grt) 70 miles NW
of Fastnet in 51-40N, 12-40W with the loss of four crew.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.