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

NAVAL EVENTS, MARCH 1940 (Part 1 of 2)
Friday 1st – Thursday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Argus, aircraft carrier (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

on to MARCH 1940, Part 2

 

Note: all vessels and aircraft are British 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

 

 

Friday, 1 March

 

Heavy cruiser YORK departed Scapa Flow on Northern Patrol.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK was on the WR station off North Cape to intercept German shipping.

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The flag of Cruiser Squadron 2 transferred to depot ship FORTH.

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Destroyers FAULKNOR, FAME, FURY, FORESTER, MOHAWK arrived back in the Clyde after escorting battleship MALAYA and armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA.

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Destroyer JAGUAR departed the Humber for Rosyth. On the 2nd, she was attacked by German aircraft off Longstones, but was able to drive the attack off without damage to herself, and arrived at Rosyth on the 2nd.

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After delivering Fleet Tenders A and B (decoy ships PAKEHA and WAIMANA) to Scapa Flow on the 1st, destroyer TARTAR departed Scapa Flow again that day.

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Destroyer KANDAHAR arrived at the Clyde.

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Destroyers FORTUNE and PUNJABI, returning to the Clyde after full calibre firings, investigated a submarine reported seven miles 254° from Ailsa Craig. Steamer CLAN MACNAUGHTON (6088grt) had reported sighting a periscope.

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Destroyer WILD SWAN, escorting convoy OA.100G, lost Probationary Midshipman R. R. Tett RNR overboard.

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Submarine THISTLE departed Rosyth and performed exercises in the Firth of Forth.

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The Northern Patrol from 1 to 14 March sighted 52 eastbound merchant ships and sent into Kirkwall twelve for inspection. Four German merchant ships were encountered and all four scuttled themselves to avoid capture. Armed merchant cruisers ASTURIAS and SCOTSTOUN arrived at the Clyde from Northern Patrol. Armed merchant cruisers WOLFE and DERBYSHIRE departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol. Air escort from Aldergrove was supplied for DERBYSHIRE.

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Sloop GRIMSBY was in a collision with Italian steamer EDERA (5254grt) while berthing in the Tyne, but sustained no damage.

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Anti-submarine trawler ASTON VILLA (546grt) was damaged in a collision with RFA PETRONEL at Aberdeen.

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Norwegian steamer VESTFOSS (1388grt) was bombed and sunk by aircraft of German KG26 (X Air Corps) twelve miles east by south of Copinsay, Orkney Islands. After an unsuccessful attempt to tow VESTFOSS, British steamer STAR OF LIBERTY (205grt) took off the 19 crew. Tug ST MELLONS had been dispatched, but was recalled. Part of the crew from VESTFOSS arrived at Oslo on the 6th. (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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Norwegian steamer BROTT (1583grt) in convoy FS.109 was machine gunned and bombed by German aircraft off Whitby, and the crew abandoned ship. The steamer waited in Bridlington Bay for tugs. Destroyer JUNO, escort vessel VEGA and sloop STORK were escorting the convoy, one of the escorts picking up a lifeboat from BROTT.

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Convoy MT.21 departed Methil for the Tyne. In convoy MT.20, Latvian steamers ELIZABETE (2039grt) was damaged by German bombers five miles east by south of Hartlepool Light Vessel and KATVALDIS (3208grt) off Scarborough, in 54-20N, 00-20W. KATVALDIS was struck by two bombs, one of which did not explode. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 2nd.

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Steamer DOMALA (8450grt) ran aground three cables east of Goodwin Knoll Buoy. Downs Guard Vessel GOODWIN, minesweeping trawler CALVI and a tug from Ramsgate stood by until she refloated herself without assistance at 1600.

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Convoy OG.20 was formed from two convoys - (1) OA.100G, which departed Southend on 28 February, escorted by sloop BIDEFORD from 28 February to 2 March and destroyer WILD SWAN from 29 February to 3 March, and (2) OB.100G, which departed Liverpool escorted by by sloop LEITH from 1 to 3 March and destroyer VENETIA from 1 to 2 March, with 31 ships. Both Liverpool escorts were detached to convoy HG.20. French destroyer TIGRE and escort vessel VIKINGS joined the convoy from 2 to 7 March. Destroyer ACTIVE joined on the 6th, and the convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 7th.

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U.20 sank Italian steamer MIRELLA (5340grt) in 52‑24N, 02‑02E; one crewman was lost. The survivors were rescued by destroyer WALLACE and anti-submarine trawler CAPE ARGONA (494grt). Patrol sloops SHEARWATER and MALLARD were patrolling nearby and were joined by sloops WIDGEON and SHELDRAKE to search for the submarine.

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Convoy HG.21F departed Gibraltar with 36 ships. French destroyer CHACAL and auxiliary patrol vessel CAPITAINE ARMANDE escorted from 1 to 6 and 7 March, respectively. Destroyers WHIRLWIND from convoy OG.21F and WITCH escorted the convoy from 7 to 10 March, when it arrived at Liverpool.

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Destroyer BULLDOG and Australian destroyer WATERHEN arrived at Gibraltar.

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Heavy cruiser SUSSEX departed Colombo 1 March to return to Home Waters. She reached Malta on the 10th, departed on the 12th, passed Gibraltar on the 14th, and arrived at Liverpool on the 17th. There she began a refit that continued until 18 May when she joined the 1st Cruiser Squadron operating with the Home Fleet.

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Steamer SOUTHGATE (4862grt) reported being under attack by a U-boat 150 miles northeast of San Juan in 19‑58N, 64‑00W. American destroyers of the 31st Destroyer Squadron, MACLEISH (DD.220, Flagship Commander Destroyer Squadron 31, Captain W.W. Bradley) and SATTERLEE (DD.190) and MASON (DD.191) of the 68th Destroyer Division were dispatched to assist. However, the submarine was not located and SOUTHGATE was not damaged. U.S. Coast Guard cutter UNALGA also searched in the area for the reported submarine. The U-boat, in reality, was one of the four French submarines based on Martinique.

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During the night of 29 February/1 March, light cruiser DESPATCH off Aruba in the Caribbean intercepted German steamer TROJA (2390grt) shortly after the German ship had put to sea. Rather than be captured, TROJA scuttled herself.

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Gunboats APHIS and LADYBIRD left Singapore escorted by light cruiser DAUNTLESS for Penang where they arrived on the 2nd. They departed on the 3rd, and arrived at the Nicobar Islands for refuelling. There, DAUNTLESS was relieved by Australian light cruiser HOBART which took them to Colombo. DAUNTLESS arrived back at Penang on the 8th. The gunboats departed Colombo on the 11th without an escort, and proceeded to Bombay, joined an RFA tanker and proceeded with her to Masirah. At Masirah, they refuelled from the tanker and carried on to Aden, arriving on the 27th, followed by calls at Port Sudan, Suez, Port Said. They arrived at Alexandria on 4 April.

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Convoy SLF.22 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MOOLTAN until 12 March. On the 11th convoy SL.22 merged with convoy SLF.22. On the 12th, sloops BRIDGEWATER, ROCHESTER and destroyers AMAZON and VENETIA relieved the armed merchant cruiser. The convoys arrived on the 15th.

 

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French heavy cruiser SUFFREN arrived at Singapore for docking, and was undocked on the 7th.

 

 

Saturday, 2 March

 

Destroyers KELLY and SIKH arrived at Greenock from Scapa Flow.

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Destroyer KHARTOUM arrived at Greenock from Scapa Flow.

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Battleship VALIANT, battlecruiser HOOD (Whitworth), and destroyers KELLY (D.5), SIKH and KANDAHAR departed Greenock at 1600, and destroyers FAULKNOR (D.8), FORESTER, FAME departed the Clyde to patrol and cover the progress of the ON/HN convoys at sea. At 1133/3rd off North Minch, FORESTER made a submarine contact in 58-27N, 5-46W and attacked it without result. FORESTER and FAME made further attacks at 1240, 1320, 1423, 1500 in the same area. FORESTER remained at the contact for 24 hours before rejoining the Whitworth force. At 2138/3rd, northwest of Foula Island in 61-06N, 03-58W, KELLY made a submarine contact, also attacking it without result. In a freshening gale, contact was lost and KELLY rejoined the Whitworth force.

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Battlecruiser REPULSE (above - Peter Siddall) with destroyers HARDY, HOSTILE and VIMY departed Portsmouth for the Clyde. The ships arrived during the afternoon of 3 March and VIMY immediately returned to Plymouth, via Liverpool.

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Liner QUEEN ELIZABETH (83,673grt) departed the Clyde at 0800 escorted by destroyers MOHAWK, PUNJABI, FORTUNE and FOXHOUND. As she was getting underway, MOHAWK was damaged in collision with steamer GARTBRATTAN (1811grt) off Greenock. However, this did not prevent her from joining the escort. Destroyer TARTAR was just arriving from Greenock in the Clyde for boiler cleaning when she received orders to join the outbound "convoy" - the lone QUEEN ELIZABETH. TARTAR relieved MOHAWK, which returned to the Clyde, TARTAR's commanding officer becoming the senior officer of the escort. The destroyers escorted the liner to 200 miles northwest of Rathlin Island before being detached. FOXHOUND and FORTUNE proceeded to Belfast to escort dummy aircraft carrier HERMES (decoy ship MAMARI) on the 3rd. All three left there on the 4th and arrived in the Clyde on the 5th. TARTAR and PUNJABI arrived back at the Clyde on the 4th. MOHAWK entered the Ailsa Shipyard at Troon on the 5th and was repairing until 19 March. QUEEN ELIZABETH arrived safely at New York on the 7th completing her maiden voyage.

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Light cruiser MANCHESTER departed Scapa Flow on Northern Patrol duties.

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

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Light cruiser ENTERPRISE arrived at Portsmouth from Halifax convoy escort duty to refit completing on 11 April.

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Destroyers FURY and KINGSTON proceeded to patrol off Pladda Island in case a U-boat sighted in 55-48N, 6-45W at 1300 was en route to mine the Clyde. The patrol was terminated at 1000/3rd.

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Light cruiser GALATEA departed Portsmouth to join the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, and arrived on the 4th.

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Convoy OA.102 departed Southend, and escorted by destroyer CAMPBELL, which accompanied the convoy on 3 and 4 March. On the 5th, the convoy dispersed.

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Convoy OB.102 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WALPOLE and VANOC, until they detached on the 5th to HX.22. The convoy dispersed on the 6th.

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Convoy FN.109 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VALOROUS, JERVIS and sloop HASTINGS, and arrived in the Tyne on the 4th.

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Convoy FS.110 departed the Tyne escorted by destroyers WHITLEY, BOREAS and sloop EGRET. Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA travelled in the convoy, which arrived at Southend on the 4th.

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German steamer WOLFSBURG (6201grt) had departed Pernambuco on 5 February. Disguised as Norwegian AUST, she scuttled herself north of Iceland in 67‑20N, 22‑50W when intercepted by heavy cruiser BERWICK on Northern Patrol. BERWICK picked up the German crew of 11 officers and 43 men and sank the steamer with gunfire.

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Cable ship ROYAL SCOT with destroyers BRAZEN and WOLSEY was involved in mending cables in Largo Bay.

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Submarine TRIAD undocked at Rosyth.

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Destroyer BEAGLE went alongside destroyer depot ship SANDHURST in the Submarine Basin at Dover for boiler cleaning and degaussing, returning to service on the 7th.

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Destroyer KEITH arrived at Dover from Sheerness after repairs.

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After a report of a German submarine off the Dutch coast, two French destroyers departed Dunkirk that evening to sweep up the Belgian and Dutch coast during the night.

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U.17 sank Dutch steamer RIJNSTROOM (695grt) in 51‑36N, 02‑54E.

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U.32 sank Swedish steamer LAGAHOLM (2818grt) in 59‑34N, 05‑10W, 80 miles west of Kirkwall; one crewman was lost. Armed boarding vessels NORTHERN SKY and NORTHERN PRINCESS were sent to investigate. The 27 survivors were rescued by Norwegian steamer BELPAMELA (3215grt), fourteen were landed at Kirkwall on the 4th, and the remainder at North Ronaldsay. U.32 also attacked BELPAMELA, but torpedo malfunctions allowed her to escape undamaged. LAGAHOLM and BELPAMELA were both en route for contraband inspection at Kirkwall.

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Steamer ALBANO (1176grt) was sunk on a mine 7.6 miles 128.5° from Coquet Light, midway between Blyth and North Sunderland; nine crew were lost. The survivors were picked up by escort vessel WALLACE and armed patrol trawler STELLA CARINO (440grt).

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Dutch steamer ELZIENA (176grt) was bombed and sunk by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) five miles east of Coquet Island; two crew were killed. The survivors were picked up. (Sources show the rescue ship as Danish ZINE or Dutch SINE, but neither appear in LLOYDS).

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At 0500, steamer DOMALA (8441grt) was bombed and set on fire by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) 24 miles east of St Catherine's Point, I.O.W, between St Catherine's Point and the Owers. Dutch steamer JONGE WILLEM (1632grt) assisted and was machine gunned and bombed, also by He111's of German KG26. Four to five bombs were dropped, but no damage was done. At 1245, destroyers VISCOUNT, which was en route to pick up convoy OA.102, VENOMOUS and tug STALWART were standing by. Destroyer ANTHONY arrived from Portsmouth shortly after to assist in driving off further air attacks. Soon destroyer ACHATES, tug REVUE and anti-submarine trawler KINGSTON AGATE (464grt) arrived. VISCOUNT picked up 120 survivors, but sustained some damage to her hull while alongside. JONGE WILLEM picked up 51 crew and three dead from lifeboats and took them to Newhaven.

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Convoy BC.27 of steamers BALTRAFFIC, BARON GRAHAM, BOTHNIA, BRITISH COAST and MARSLEW (Commodore) departed Loire escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS, and arrived safely in the Bristol Channel on the 4th.

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Convoy HN.16 six British, eighteen Norwegian, two Finnish and two Danish ships departed Bergen escorted by destroyers ESCAPADE, ENCOUNTER, ELECTRA and ESCORT. When the convoy split into sections, destroyers INGLEFIELD and IMOGEN took over the seven ships of the west coast section. Convoy HN.16 and ELECTRA, ESCAPADE, ENCOUNTER, ESCORT and ECLIPSE arrived safely at Methil on the 5th. INGLEFIELD and IMOGEN arrived in the Clyde at 0630/6th after dispersing the west bound section of HN.16 at Cape Wrath.

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Rescue tug FAIRPLAY II (282grt, Temporary Lt H L Forster RNR) was wrecked on the Yorkshire coast.

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Convoy HX.24 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY, SKEENA and ST LAURENT, the latter returning to Halifax after dark. SAGUENAY and SKEENA turned over the convoy to battleship REVENGE on the 3rd, and they arrived back at Halifax mid-morning on the 4th. REVENGE detached on the 11th. Destroyers VERSATILE, WAKEFUL, WALPOLE and WOLVERINE escorted the convoy from the 14th to 17th, when it arrived at Liverpool.

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Light cruiser DUNEDIN intercepted German merchant ship HEIDELBERG (6530grt) 60 miles WSW of the Windward Passage in the Caribbean. She had departed Aruba the day before with German steamer TROJA, which had also scuttled herself to avoid capture.

 

 

Sunday, 3 March

 

The last German ship of the February Vigo group, steamer ARUCAS (3359grt), scuttled herself in 63‑20N, 14‑15W when she was intercepted by heavy cruiser YORK in 63‑08N, 14‑42W. The crew was rescued, but three died. YORK arrived at Kirkwall to land the 39 survivors on the 10th.

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Minelayer TEVIOTBANK and destroyers ESK, EXPRESS, ICARUS and IMPULSIVE of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla laid mines in Operation IE-1 in the channels through the German mine fields in the Heligoland Bight. The ships arrived back in the Humber on the 3rd. Operation IE 2 was postponed.

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Convoy ON.17 of three British, sixteen Norwegian, twelve Swedish, five Danish, two Finnish and two Estonian ships departed Methil at 1700 escorted by destroyers NUBIAN, DELIGHT (SO), DIANA, ILEX and GURKHA, with anti-aircraft support provided by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA. Destroyer COSSACK was assigned to the convoy, but was held back as unseaworthy for repairs to leaking seams. GURKHA arrived at Scapa Flow from Rosyth on the 2nd as her replacement. On the 4th abreast of Scapa Flow, DIANA and submarine NARWHAL escorting fleet auxiliary GREENAWN (784grt) were detached, with DIANA and GREENAWN arriving at Scapa Flow on the 5th and NARWHAL on the 6th after being delayed by gales. Light cruisers EDINBURGH and ARETHUSA, which departed Rosyth on the 3rd, gave this convoy, as well as ON.17 A and HN.17, close support. ON.17 arrived at Bergen on the 7th without event.

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Convoy MT.22 departed Methil, escorted by trawlers of the 1st Anti-submarine Group and sloops BLACK SWAN and GRIMSBY. Destroyer IMPERIAL travelled in the convoy en route to the Tyne for repairs. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Convoy FN.110 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloops PELICAN and FLEETWOOD, as far as the Tyne, and arrived in the Tyne on the 5th. Destroyer JAVELIN carried on to Methil.

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Convoy FS.111 departed the Tyne escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN, GRIMSBY and destroyer JERVIS, and arrived at Southend on the 5th.

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Destroyers BRAZEN and WOLSEY with cable ship ROYAL SCOT departed Rosyth for operations east of May Island. ROYAL SCOT then proceeded to Leith and BRAZEN to Rosyth, arriving on the 5th.

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Armed merchant cruiser CIRCASSIA departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol.

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Armed merchant cruiser MALOJA departed Liverpool for the Clyde.

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Battlecruiser RENOWN departed Plymouth for the Clyde escorted by destroyers ACASTA, KIMBERLEY and FIREDRAKE. Air support was provided from the morning of the 4th. The ships arrived in the Clyde at 1230/4th, and ACASTA, after refuelling, returned to Plymouth.

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Destroyers KHARTOUM and KINGSTON departed Greenock for repairs to weather damage to their hulls and refitting at Falmouth. During the evening of the 4th at 1903, WSW of Trevose Head in 50-31.21N, 5-24.4W, they attacked a submarine contact, assessed later as probably a wreck. After searching for another U-boat reported late on the 4th, KHARTOUM and KINGSTON arrived at Falmouth.

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Destroyers JERVIS, JUNO and JUPITER arrived at Rosyth for escort duty with convoy ON.17 A.

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Submarine URSULA arrived at Blyth after patrol.

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Submarine TRUANT arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

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Lt B E H Stranack, Lt (A) J D Stern and Naval Airman J W White of 816 Squadron were killed at Campbeltown when their Swordfish landed and collided with two stationary aircraft, a total of five aircraft being destroyed.

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U.29 laid mines off Newport. Two merchant ships were lost on this minefield, starting with steamer CATO (710grt) on the 3rd in 51‑24N, 03‑33W; of a fifteen man crew, thirteen were lost. The two survivors were rescued by auxiliary minesweeper AKITA (FY610).

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French light cruiser LA GALISSONIERE, escorted by destroyers RAILLEUSE and FORBIN, departed Oran. The destroyers were detached on the 6th at Gibraltar and the cruiser proceeded to Brest. RAILLEUSE and FORBIN then joined light cruiser PRIMAGUET, arriving from Brest, and escorted her to Toulon, which they reached on the 8th.

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS departed Singapore.

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Light cruiser DURBAN arrived at Penang.

 

 

Monday, 4 March

 

Light cruisers PENELOPE and AURORA arrived at Rosyth after covering convoys ON.15 and HN.15.

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol.

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Armed merchant cruiser PATROCLUS departed Liverpool on Northern Patrol.

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Armed merchant cruiser MALOJA arrived in the Clyde from Liverpool.

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Destroyers INTREPID, GALLANT and IVANHOE arrived at Aberdeen to patrol. INTREPID left to investigate a submarine reported at 0530 six miles NE of Aberdeen, and destroyers JUPITER and JUNO of convoy ON.17A were detached to assist. Trawler BEN CHOURN (197grt) reported an explosion in this area. It was first thought that convoy ON.17 was under attack. It was later ascertained that the submarine was the British NARWHAL, proceeding to Scapa Flow, and that the explosion was a depth charge fired by destroyer NUBIAN.

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Submarine TRIAD carried out special trials off Inchkeith.

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Destroyer VESPER departed Greenock escorting submarine TETRARCH to Portsmouth, where they arrived on the 6th. TETRARCH carried out equipment repairs, and then sailed on 13 April for a war patrol.

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Anti-submarine trawler NEIL MACKAY went ashore at Scapa Flow during a storm, but was later refloated.

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At 2030, tanker CHARLES T. MEYER (10,516grt) of convoy HX.20 A, escorted by sloop FOWEY, struck a floating mine 15 miles south of Dungeness, in 50-21N, 0-18E. FOWEY continued on with the convoy. To assist the damaged tanker, destroyers BRILLIANT was ordered from Dover, BOADICEA from her patrol, and KEITH from Dover when ready. Tug LADY BRASSEY and French torpedo boats and trawlers proceeded to the area. BOADICEA located the damaged tanker at 0400. At 0500, BRILLIANT joined and soon after KEITH arrived. At 0600, BOADICEA took the tanker in tow escorted by BRILLIANT and KEITH. Tugs LADY BRASSEY from Dover and FOREMOST from Newhaven arrived at 0959 and took over the tow. BRILLIANT returned to her patrol at 0700, but KEITH remained as an anti-submarine screen. Tug CALSHOT departed Southampton at 1100 and Admiralty Salvage Vessel RECOVERY OF LEITH departed Dover. KEITH was released when the tow reached Sandown Bay, I.O.W. All units involved arrived safely at Castle Point, Cowes, at 0105/6th.

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Convoy ON.17 A of six British, sixteen Norwegian, eight Swedish, eight Finnish, three Estonian and one Panamanian ship departed Methil escorted by destroyers JERVIS, JUNO, JUPITER, JANUS and JAGUAR. One steamer was detached before the convoy crossed the North Sea. The convoy was joined by 17 ships from Kirkwall. These are included in the sailing breakdown from Methil. Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Sullom Voe on the 5th for anti-aircraft protection. Destroyer JERVIS made an attack at 0905/7th on a submarine contact northeast of the Shetlands in 61‑15N, 1‑20E. The convoy arrived safely at Bergen on the 8th, while CALCUTTA arrived back at Sullom Voe on the 9th.

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Convoy FN.111 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VEGA, GRENADE and sloop STORK, and arrived in the Tyne on the 6th.

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Convoy FS.112 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop FLAMINGO and destroyer WALLACE, and arrived at Southend on the 6th. Convoy FS.113 was cancelled.

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Convoy MT.23 departed Methil, and arrived in the Tyne the next day.

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Sloop LEITH, escorting convoy HG.20, attacked a submarine contact west of Scilly Isle in 49‑57N, 08‑15W. Destroyer VENETIA, also of HG.20, joined her in the hunt.

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U.29 sank steamers THURSTON (3072grt) 32 miles west of Trevose Head in 50-23N, 5-49W and PACIFIC RELIANCE (6717grt) in 50‑23N, 05‑49W. THURSTON had been involved in a collision with French collier S N A 1 (2679grt) which sank, and had just rescued the French survivors when she herself was sunk. Thirty four crew were lost on THURSTON, while one survivor each from SNA 1 and THURSTON was picked up by steamer MOYLE (1761grt). All 53 crew of PACIFIC RELIANCE were rescued by steamer MACVILLE (666grt) and tanker SAN FLORENTINO (12,842grt). U.29 also attacked SAN FLORENTINO but torpedo failures allowed her to escape.

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Steamer AUCKLAND STAR (13,212grt) reported she had sighted a submarine (U.28) in 49‑26N, 07‑27W. Sloop LEITH nearby, escorting convoy HG.20 was detached to investigate. On the morning of the 5th, destroyers WILD SWAN and VENETIA were ordered into the area to assist. Later on the 5th, another report of a submarine, led to destroyers WHIRLWIND, VOLUNTEER and VETERAN being ordered into the area.

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The German Navy began holding submarines in port for WESERUBUNG, the invasion of Norway, and cancelled all other naval operations.

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Convoy HG.21 of 34 ships departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyers VELOX, VIDETTE and ACTIVE, the latter detaching on the 6th. VELOX, which had joined from convoy HG.20F, and VIDETTE were detached on the 11th to Portsmouth and Devonport, respectively. Destroyer VIMY escorted the convoy from the 4th to 10th, when she detached to convoy HG.21 (?). Destroyer WINCHELSEA joined from the 11th to 13th in Home Waters for the Liverpool section. Merchant ships not going to Liverpool were escorted by destroyer WINDSOR which was with the convoy from the 11th to 13th. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 13th .

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Heavy cruiser CORNWALL departed Freetown on patrol.

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Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Freetown.

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Light cruiser DUNEDIN departed Kingston on patrol.

 

 

Tuesday, 5 March

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol.

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Destroyers HARDY, HOSTILE, PUNJABI, FORTUNE and FOXHOUND departed Greenock to screen armed merchant cruisers SCOTSTOUN, LETITIA and WORCESTERSHIRE for full calibre firings. SCOTSTOUN ten proceeded to her patrol area, while LETITIA arrived back at 1500, WORCESTERSHIRE at 1700, and the destroyers at 2010. WORCESTERSHIRE and LETITIA were returning from Northern Patrol at the time.

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Destroyer IVANHOE arrived at Rosyth from Scapa Flow, via Aberdeen, for boiler cleaning.

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Destroyers JAVELIN and WOOLSTON departed the Humber escorting base ship DUNLUCE CASTLE for Rosyth, arriving there on the 6th.

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Destroyer WANDERER arrived at Liverpool at 1030 with urgent defects, which were corrected and she was able to sail later that day. She attacked a contact in St Georges Channel in 52‑01N, 6‑27W, which was later determined to be non-submarine.

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Armed merchant cruisers SCOTSTOUN and MALOJA departed the Clyde on Northern Patrol. Both were given air escort.

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Submarine TRITON arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

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Submarine SEALION departed Harwich on patrol.

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Submarine NARWHAL arrived at Scapa Flow for direction finding trials.

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Submarine THISTLE and the Polish ORZEL departed Rosyth for patrol in the vicinity of Devil's Hole.

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Submarine TRITON was docked at Rosyth for reballasting.

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Convoy OA.104 departed Southend escorted by sloop FOWEY from the 5th to 7th.

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Convoy OB.104 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MACKAY and VANQUISHER from the 5th to 8th.

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Convoy SA.32 departed Southampton with two steamers, escorted by sloops FOXGLOVE and ROSEMARY, and arrived at Brest on the 7th.

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Convoy MT.24 departed Methil, and arrived in the Tyne the next day.

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Convoy OG.21F was formed from two convoys - (1) OA.103GF, which departed Southend with sloop ENCHANTRESS, and was joined by sloop SANDWICH the next day, and (2) OB.103GF of 48 ships, which departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WHIRLWIND and VOLUNTEER, which remained with the combined convoy from the 5th to 6th, when they detached to convoy HG.21F. SANDWICH and ENCHANTRESS were with OG.21F from the 5th to 11th, when they were temporarily attached to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla as replacements for destroyers WATCHMAN and VORTIGERN which proceeded to England for leave. Destroyer DOUGLAS joined on the 9th and remained with the convoy until its arrival at Gibraltar on the 11th.

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Convoy FN.112 departed Southend escorted by sloop EGRET and destroyer WHITLEY, and arrived in the Tyne on the 7th. Convoys FN.113 and FS.113 were cancelled.

______

 

Destroyer TARTAR was boiler cleaning and destroyer KIMBERLEY was shifting her asdic dome alongside destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH at the Tail of the Bank.

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Owing to reports of floating mines 15 miles SW and SE of Beachy Head, sloop ABERDEEN with convoy HX.20 was ordered southward of the area.

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Steamer SCALTSCAR lost her propeller and was drifting on shore 10 miles off Saltburn Pier. Destroyer VIVIEN stood by until a tug arrived.

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U.17 sank Dutch steamer GRUTTO (920grt) in 51‑41N, 02‑47E.

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U.52 and U.38 departed Kiel on the 2nd and Wilhelmshaven on the 9th respectively for patrol, but in the Atlantic were recalled, and with U.30, U.43, U.44, U.46, U.47, U.49, U.51 were ordered to stations on both sides of the Orkneys and Shetlands to operate against British naval units. U.30, U.46, U.47, U.51 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 11th, and U.43 and U.44 on the 13th, while U.49 departed Kiel on the 16th.

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Convoy HX.25 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers RESTIGOUCHE and ST LAURENT, which were detached on the 6th. Armed merchant cruiser LACONIA was in the escort and detached on the 18th. At 0650/7th, the convoy was joined by battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN, returning to Halifax after escorting HX.22. Destroyers ANTELOPE, MACKAY, VANESSA and WOLVERINE escorted the convoy from the 18th to 20th when it arrived at Liverpool.

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Cruiser HAWKINS departed Montevideo for Port Stanley. After a short refit, she departed on the 15th for the Plate area.

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Light cruiser COLOMBO arrived at Gibraltar from England, and sailed on the 6th for Malta.

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Convoy SL.23 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE. On the 19th, convoys SL.23 and SLF.23 merged and armed merchant cruiser JERVIS BAY joined the escort, relieving PRETORIA CASTLE. JERVIS BAY was relieved on the 20th by destroyer WHITSHED which was joined on the 22nd by armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY. The convoy arrived on the 22nd.

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Light cruiser GLOUCESTER arrived at Colombo.

 

 

Wednesday, 6 March

 

German steamer URUGUAY (5846grt), which had departed Pernambuco on 11 February, was sighted by trawler ST WISTAN (564grt) northwest of Iceland. This enabled heavy cruiser BERWICK on Northern Patrol to intercept her. Rather than be captured, URUGUAY scuttled herself in 67‑52N, 16‑08W; BERWICK rescued 14 officers and 40 men.

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Light cruiser DRAGON departed Portland for duty with the 3rd Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet. She departed Gibraltar on the 10th, arrived at Malta on the 12th for refitting, and reached Alexandria on 3 April.

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Armed merchant cruiser ASTURIAS departed the Clyde for Belfast for overhaul and refit.

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Armed merchant cruiser CARINTHIA departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol.

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Destroyer VENOMOUS was in a collision with tug SWARTHY at 0321 in Portsmouth Harbour, was under repair at Portsmouth until 29 April, and departed on 2 May.

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Destroyer JUNO arrived at Rosyth from convoy duty with defects, and departed on the 9th for repairs at Hull.

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Destroyer HOTSPUR departed Sheerness for the Clyde, arriving on the 8th.

______

 

Destroyer GALLANT arrived at Invergordon from patrol.

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Destroyer FURY departed the Clyde at 1600 for Milford Haven to discharge fuel prior to arriving at Newport for refitting. At 2334/6th, she attacked a submarine contact southwest of Chicken Rock, I.O.M., in 53‑47N, 5‑09W, which was later assessed as probably a wreck. On the 7th, she attacked another submarine contact in 53-48N, 5-06W, also a wreck, and reached Milford Haven on the 9th.

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Minesweepers BRAMBLE, BRITOMART, HAZARD, SPEEDY and HEBE departed Greenock for Scapa Flow.

______

 

Sloops KINGFISHER and FOXGLOVE were searching for a submarine SSE of Portland Bill. FOXGLOVE attacked a contact in 50-10N, 2-12W, and destroyer ANTHONY relieved KINGFISHER in the hunt.

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Destroyer WOLSEY and cable ship ROYAL SCOT arrived back at Rosyth after cable mending all day.

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Convoy TM.20 escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group and destroyer VIVIEN departed the Tyne for Methil.

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Convoy FN.114 departed Southend escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN, GRIMSBY and destroyer WOOLSTON, and arrived in the Tyne on the 8th.

______

 

Convoy FS.114 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops LONDONDERRY and FLEETWOOD, and arrived at Southend on the 8th.

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Destroyer GURKHA attacked a submarine contact ENE of Sumburgh Head in 60‑00N, 00‑00W, which was later evaluated as non-submarine.

______

 

Anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN WAVE (655grt) attacked a submarine contact north of Kinnaird Head in 57-51N, 2-03W.

______

 

Shadowing submarine UNITY reported German supply ship ALTMARK departing Jossing Fjord escorted by two Norwegian destroyers, and was later ordered to take up a position ten miles north of Hantsholm. Submarine ORZEL was in a patrol area off Hantsholm, and both submarines were to intercept ALTMARK if she left Norwegian territorial waters. On the 7th, UNITY sighted three darkened destroyers two miles west of Hantsholm, but could not attack.

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Submarine STERLET arrived at Lowestoft from patrol for reballasting.

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Aircraft of German X Air Corps (He111's of KG26 or Ju88's of KG30) attacked tanker SHELBRIT 2 (695grt) off Girdle Ness, steamer ROYSTON (2722grt) 10 miles north of Hartlepool, steamer JACOBUS (1262grt) 10 miles south of the Tyne, and convoy TM.20. No casualties were sustained.

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Dutch submarine O.11 at Den Helder was sunk in an accidental collision with Dutch dockyard tug BV.3 (AMSTERDAM). She was raised on the 10th, but was still under repair when Holland fell in May.

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Latvian steamer LATVIS (1318grt) was seized in the Baltic by German warships, and renamed EDITH FAULBAUMS for German use.

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French battleship PROVENCE, heavy cruiser DUQUESNE, and British aircraft carrier HERMES with destroyers DECOY and DEFENDER patrolled off the African coast between 10W and 20W from the 6th to 16th. On the 14th, Portuguese steamer GANDIA (4333grt) was stopped and a German citizen removed, and on the 15th, Portuguese steamer MOUZINHO (8374grt) was also stopped and another German citizen removed.

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Light cruiser DANAE departed Hong Kong on patrol.

 

 

Thursday, 7 March

 

Completing patrol, battleship VALIANT and battlecruiser HOOD with destroyers FAULKNOR, FAME, FORESTER, KELLY, KANDAHAR and SIKH arrived at Scapa Flow at 1600 after dummy battleships REVENGE (decoy ship PAKEHA) and RESOLUTION (decoy ship WAIMANA) from Rosyth spent some time at Scapa Flow testing the base's ability to resist air attacks. After VALIANT and HOOD arrived in the anchorage, aircraft of German KG26 (X Air Corps) dropped mines in the main entrance to Scapa Flow.

 

Battleship RODNEY (C-in-C, Forbes) and battlecruisers RENOWN and REPULSE with destroyers HARDY (D.2), HOSTILE, INGLEFIELD (D.3), IMOGEN, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FIREDRAKE, PUNJABI and KIMBERLEY departed the Clyde at 1615/7th to arrive at 1600/8th. The ships were taken to the west of the Orkneys for 24 hours while the channel was swept. Winston Churchill was on RODNEY, and he transferred to KIMBERLEY, which carried him on to Scapa Flow, where he spent the night on HOOD. Destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER left Scapa Flow on the 8th and joined the Commander in Chief off Cape Wrath. RODNEY, RENOWN, REPULSE with destroyers HARDY, HOSTILE, INGLEFIELD, IMOGEN, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FIREDRAKE, PUNJABI, FAULKNOR and FORESTER arrived at Scapa Flow at 1000/9th.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow.

______

 

Armed merchant cruiser SALOPIAN arrived at the Clyde from patrol.

______

 

Destroyers WOLSEY, BRAZEN and cable ship ROYAL SCOT departed Rosyth to mend cables.

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Destroyers INTREPID, GRIFFIN and anti-submarine whalers BUTTERMERE (560grt) and WASTWATER (560grt) made attacks on a contact sighted by aircraft at 1448, ESE of Noss Head in 58‑17N, 02‑26W. INTREPID attacked at 1715 and 1744, and GRIFFIN at 1730. The two destroyers were joined by destroyers FAME at 1800/7th and SIKH at 1900. These two were ordered to join the hunt until required to escort base ship DUNLUCE CASTLE and three other steamers from convoy ON.18 into Scapa Flow. After GRIFFIN, SIKH and FAME detached, INTREPID was left to stand by the contact, later leaving for Invergordon where she arrived at 1300/8th. Destroyer GALLANT joined the search at midday on the 8th, but the search was unsuccessful. FAME buoyed the location on the 8th, and INTREPID and GALLANT returned to patrol the area.

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BRITISH SUBMARINE MOVEMENTS

 

TRIDENT arrived at Rosyth from patrol with a damaged asdic dome, and docked later that day. She undocked on the 11th.

 

SEAL was undocked at Rosyth.

 

SNAPPER arrived at Harwich after patrol.

 

URSULA was docked at Blyth to make good leaking glands, and undocked on the 8th.

 

TRUANT was undocked at Rosyth.

 

TRITON was docked at Rosyth for reballasting, and undocked on the 9th.

 

SEAWOLF departed Portsmouth under escort for Harwich.

 

SALMON departed Harwich on patrol.

 

 L.23 was undocked at Blyth.

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Convoy ON.18 of ten British, thirteen Norwegian, twelve Swedish, two Danish, four Finnish and two Estonian ships departed Methil at 1700 escorted by destroyers COSSACK (D.4), ESCORT, ECLIPSE, ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER. Destroyers KELLY (D.5) departed Scapa Flow on the 8th and KANDAHAR from Kirkwall on the 8th with a detachment of ten ships for the convoy. These ten ships are included in the sailing breakdown. They joined off Scapa Flow, relieving COSSACK which joined convoy HN.17. On the 8th, German aircraft attacked the Kirkwall section. Two bombs were dropped, but no damage was done. Base ship DUNLUCE CASTLE and three other merchant ships for Scapa Flow proceeded with the convoy. Light cruisers EDINBURGH, ARETHUSA and anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO provided near cover. CAIRO departed Sullom Voe on the 9th to join the convoy. Destroyers FAME and SIKH put out from Scapa Flow. The destroyers met four merchant ships from the convoy at 1300 and escorted them into Scapa Flow, arriving on the 8th. The convoy arrived at Bergen without event on the 10th.

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CONVOY HN.17

 

Convoy HN.17 of eight British, nineteen Norwegian, one Danish and one Finnish ship departed Bergen escorted by destroyers NUBIAN, DELIGHT, DIANA, ILEX and GURKHA. On the 9th when the convoy split, DELIGHT and DIANA were assigned the west coast section and were reinforced by destroyers KIMBERLEY, which came out from Scapa Flow at 1800/9th, and KELLY, detached from convoy ON.18. GURKHA obtained a submarine contact at 1412/9th southwest of Fair Isle in 59‑15N, 1‑08W and dropped six depth charge patterns in 59-07N, 0-44W. ILEX stood by the contact while the convoy continued. Destroyer FOXHOUND arrived from Scapa Flow at 0300/10th to relieve ILEX, which rejoined the convoy before it arrived at Rosyth. The submarine contact was later found to be sunken steamer SANTOS. At 0520/9th, KELLY reached convoy HN.17 in heavy weather ,collided with GURKHA, and GURKHA's propeller guard tore a thirty foot gash in her bow, requiring KELLY to leave the convoy for repairs. After emergency repairs at Lerwick and then from depot ship WOOLWICH at Scapa Flow, KELLY departed Scapa Flow on the 14th and was escorted by destroyer SIKH to Blackwall for repairs .

 

GURKHA was able to continue with HN.17 and was repaired at Methil in less than a week. After suspected enemy vessels were reported four miles NE of Kinnaird Head, destroyer COSSACK was informed and light cruisers EDINBURGH and ARETHUSA were advised to investigate. No contact was made and the vessels were later determined to be destroyers GALLANT and GRIFFIN. On the 10th, the convoy arrived at Methil with COSSACK (D.4), NUBIAN, GURKHA and ILEX.

 

DELIGHT and DIANA, after escorting the five ships of the west coast portion of the convoy to Cape Wrath, arrived at Scapa Flow. On arrival, DELIGHT reported a defect in her feed tank.

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Minelayer TEVIOTBANK escorted by destroyers ICARUS and IMPULSIVE departed the Humber for Invergordon, where they arrived on the 9th.

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Destroyer MASHONA departed Sheerness for the Clyde, arriving on the 8th.

______

 

Convoy TM.21 departed the Tyne escorted by the 3rd Anti-submarine Group, and supported by sloop EGRET and destroyer WHITLEY.

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Convoy MT.25 departed Methil escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group, supported by sloop PELICAN and destroyer VIVIEN, and arrived later that day.

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Convoy FS.115 departed the Tyne escorted by sloop PELICAN and destroyer VIVIEN, and arrived at Southend on the 9th.

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Destroyer BEAGLE completed boiler cleaning and degaussing alongside depot ship SANDHURST. Destroyer BRILLIANT went alongside SANDHURST for similar work and repairs which were completed on the 12th.

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British minefield DML 9 was laid by auxiliary minelayer HAMPTON, escorted by Polish destroyers BURZA and BLYSKAWICA from Harwich and destroyers KEITH and BOADICEA from Dover, in the English Channel, between 51-53N and 51-59N in a direction 20° east to 20° west. Minesweeper FRANKLIN had already laid the mark buoys. After the operation, the destroyers returned to Harwich.

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A submarine contact report by anti-submarine yacht MAID MARION (506grt) eight miles from Eddystone Light caused destroyers WILD SWAN, ESKIMO and VANESSA to be dispatched from Plymouth to investigate.

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ATTACKS BY 12TH ANTI-SUBMARINE STRIKING FORCE

 

The 12th Anti-submarine Striking Force, comprised of anti-submarine trawlers, was operating in Moray Firth in 57-55N, 02-15W.

 

At 1500/7th, NORTHERN WAVE (655grt) made a submarine contact, which NORTHERN PRIDE (655grt) and NORTHERN SPRAY (655grt) attacked.

 

At 0026/8th in Moray Firth in 58-02.7N, 2-09W, NORTHERN DAWN (655grt) made a contact which was attacked by NORTHERN SPRAY.

 

At 1310/9th off Buchanness in 57-31N, 1-38W, NORTHERN PRIDE made a contact which was attacked by NORTHERN GEM (655grt) and NORTHERN PRIDE.

 

At 1940/9th, east of Kinnaird Head in 57-42N, 1-35W, NORTHERN DAWN made a contact which was attacked by NORTHERN SPRAY and NORTHERN DAWN.

 

At 0955/10th, ENE of Kinnaird Head, NORTHERN PRIDE made a contact which was attacked by NORTHERN GEM and NORTHERN PRIDE.

 

At 0100/11th, north of Kinnaird Head in 57-52.5N, 1-56W, NORTHERN WAVE made a contact which was attacked by NORTHERN WAVE and NORTHERN SPRAY.

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Patrol sloop MALLARD damaged her bows in collision with an unknown ship off Harwich, and was under repair at London from 9 March to 27 April.

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Minesweeping trawler CEDAR (649grt) was damaged in collision with the dockyard wall at Leith.

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Convoy BC.29 of six steamers, including steamer BARON KINNIARD (Commodore) departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS, and arrived in the Loire on the 9th.

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From 1940 to 2005, shipping in the Downs was attacked by German aircraft. Ramsgate guardship LORMONT and steamer DOVER ABBEY (958grt) were bombed by He111's of KG26 (X Air Corps), but no damage was done.

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GERMAN AUXILIARY SHIP MINELAYING OFF NORTH FORELAND

German naval auxiliary Schiff 11 (Estonian steamer HANONIA (2564grt)) which had been captured on 24 September 1939) departed Wilhelmshaven and on the 9th, disguised as a neutral ship, laid mines off North Foreland. Five ships of 14,152 tons were lost on this minefield.

 

On the 11th, Dutch steamer AMOR (2325grt) was sunk in 51‑24N, 02‑09E, eight miles NW of Fairy Bank Buoy; the entire crew was rescued by Irish steamer CITY OF BREMEN (903grt).

 

Greek steamer NIRITOS (3854grt) was badly damaged on the 11th in 51‑25N, 01‑45E; steamer KIRKPLEIN stood by and tug GUARDSMAN later brought the ship in to Small Downs.

 

On the 15th, steamer MELROSE (1589grt) was sunk in 51‑21N, 02‑13E; eighteen crew were lost and five rescued.

 

On the 17th, French steamer CAPITAINE AUGUSTIN (3137grt) was lost 2˝ miles 126° from Tongue Light Vessel; two crew were killed.

 

On the 17th, Dutch steamer SINT ANNALAND (2248grt) was sunk in 51‑23N, 02‑01E; the entire crew was rescued by Dutch steamer SCHIELAND (2249grt).

 

On the 18th, Italian steamer TINO PRIMO (4853grt) was lost in 51‑20N, 01‑42E; tug KENIA from Ramsgate took her in tow, but she struck two more mines and sank. One crewman was lost.

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German minelayers ROLAND and COBRA laid two anti-submarine mine barriers west of Heligoland during the 7th and 8th.

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U.32 laid mines north of Liverpool Bay, on which one merchant ship was lost.

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U.28 laid mines southeast of the Isle of Wight off Portsmouth.

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U.14 sank Dutch steamer VECHT (1965grt) in 51‑45N, 03‑05E.

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Belgian fishing vessel YOLANDE MARGUERITE (26grt) was bombed and sunk by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) off Noord Hinder.

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Dutch steamer CONFID (249grt) was bombed and damaged by He111's of German KG26 (X Air Corps) 6˝ miles 350° from Flamborough Head.

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Italian steamer AMELIA LAURO (5335grt) was damaged by German bombing in 52‑55N, 02‑19E. Italian steamer TITANIA (5397grt) rescued the 37 crew and took them to the Downs. Sloops PINTAIL and LONDONDERRY were also involved in the rescue. The steamer was taken to Immingham, and was still there on 10 June, when she was seized and renamed EMPIRE ACTIVITY for British use.

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French auxiliary minesweeper MARIE YETTE (286grt) was sunk in collision with French steamer SPRAMEX (2560grt) in the River Gironde.

 

 

Friday, 8 March

 

Heavy cruisers NORFOLK from the Clyde and BERWICK from Northern Patrol arrived at Scapa Flow.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA arrived in the Humber.

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Destroyer KANDAHAR developed structural defects.

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Destroyer VIMIERA departed Portland for Rosyth.

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Submarine SEAWOLF arrived at Harwich after patrol.

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Destroyer VIVACIOUS, escorting convoy BC.29 dropped depth charges on a submarine contact 15 miles from Ushant Island.

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Patrol trawlers CHILTERN (324grt) and CLOUGHTON WYKE (324grt) fishing in 58-12N, 9-18W, northwest of St Kilda were attacked by a submarine with gunfire. They drove her off with no damage to themselves or the submarine.

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Convoy OA.106 departed Southend escorted by destroyer VANESSA from the 8th to 9th.

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Convoy OB.106 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop ROCHESTER and destroyer VENETIA. On the 11th, when the convoy dispersed, they joined convoy SL.22.

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Convoy FN.115 departed Southend escorted by sloop FLAMINGO and destroyer WALLACE, and arrived in the Tyne on the 10th.

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Convoy MT.26 departed Methil escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group and supported by destroyer JAVELIN. Convoy TM.22 also departed the Tyne. When the two convoys crossed, JAVELIN detached to the north-bound TM convoy and escorted it to Rosyth. The south-bound MT convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 9th.

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Convoy FS.116 departed the Tyne escorted by destroyers VEGA, WOOLSTON and sloop STORK, and arrived at Southend on the 10th.

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Convoy AXF 1 arrived at St Malo.

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Armed boarding vessel NORTHERN REWARD (655grt) attacked a submarine contact SE of Munken Rock, Faroes, 110 miles 348° from Cape Wrath in 60-32N, 4-57W.

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Sloop ABERDEEN, escorting convoy HX.20, attacked a submarine contact SW of Portland Bill in 50-09N, 2-44W.

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Steamer COUNSELLOR (5068grt, Commodore HX.22) was sunk by a mine laid on the 7th by U.32 off Mersey Light Vessel in 53‑38N, 03‑23W. Destroyer WALPOLE unsuccessfully attempted to tow her to safety; the entire crew was rescued. (Note: Rohwer's "Axis Submarine Successes" lists her as COUNCILLOR, and confirms the mines were laid by U.32. UBoat.net reports they were laid by U.30, and that WALPOLE rescued 78 survivors.)

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Finnish steamer JULIETTE (1449grt) was brought into the Downs for inspection by French torpedo boat L'INCOMPRISE.

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German steamer HANNOVER (5537grt), which departed Curacao during the night of the 5th/6th, was captured early on the 8th by light cruiser DUNEDIN and Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE (Cdr E R Mainguy RCN) off Santa Domingo in the Mona Passage. DUNEDIN took her in tow for Kingston, and while on passage ASSINIBOINE had to fight a fire onboard after the crew attempted to scuttle her. HANNOVER arrived at Kingston on the 13th with DUNEDIN and ASSINIBOINE secured on either side. French light cruiser JEANNE D' ARC had also been involved in the search for this German ship and arrived at the same time. The captured ship was renamed EMPIRE AUDACITY for British service and later became HMS AUDACITY, the Royal Navy's first escort carrier.

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French light cruiser PRIMAUGUET after repairs at Lorient departed Brest on the 3rd and arrived at Toulon on the 8th. She departed on the 11th, escorted by destroyer LYNX and arrived at Casablanca on the 13th, after passing Gibraltar the same day. LYNX departed Casablanca on the 20th and arrived at Brest on the 25th, while PRIMAUGUET left Casablanca on 1 April and arrived at Fort de France on 10 April.

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French submarine REDOUTABLE, escorted by destroyer LA PALME, which departed Toulon on the 4th, arrived at Gibraltar. The destroyer continued on to Casablanca, but the submarine remained at Gibraltar for ten days for anti-submarine exercises with the British Gibraltar Force escorts, and then departed on the 18th, escorted by armed yacht ALPHEE, flying the flag of Vice Amiral Ollive.

 

 

Saturday, 9 March

 

Light cruisers NEWCASTLE and GALATEA, departed Scapa Flow on Northern Patrol.

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Destroyer JERVIS attacked a submarine contact 4.6 miles 102° from Bell Rock. Sisters ship JUPITER and JANUS hunted in the area until dark. Meanwhile JERVIS and JAGUAR, also sister ships, arrived at Rosyth after escort duty with convoy ON.17 A, with JUPITER and JANUS reaching there on the 9th.

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Destroyers KHARTOUM and KINGSTON arrived at Falmouth for refittings.

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Destroyer KANDAHAR departed Scapa Flow at 0745 for Hull to repair structural damage to her petrol tank compartment. On passage she attacked a submarine contact east of Berwick in 55‑04N, 1‑41W at 2042, and another one off Filey Brig in 54‑17N, 00‑09W at 0735/10th before arriving in the Humber on the 10th.

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Destroyer ESKIMO departed Portsmouth on the 8th after refitting at Southampton and arrived at the Clyde on the 9th.

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Destroyers HOTSPUR and MASHONA departed the Clyde at 1200 to provide escort for armed merchant cruiser LETITIA on a full calibre firings in the Forth of Clyde. Afterwards, the destroyers carried out their own full calibre firing. LETITIA proceeded to her station on Northern Patrol, and the destroyers arrived at Tail of the Bank.

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Submarine SEAWOLF departed Harwich for a special patrol in the vicinity of Outer Dowsing Light Vessel.

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Convoy FN.116 departed Southend with destroyer VIMIERA joining on the 9th for the voyage to Rosyth. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 11th.

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Convoy FS.117 departed the Tyne escorted by sloop EGRET and destroyer WHITLEY, and arrived at Southend on the 11th.

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Anti-submarine trawler CORNELIAN (568grt) on patrol near Bar Light Vessel in Liverpool Bay in 51-30.5N, 3-29W attacked a submarine contact. Destroyer WHIRLWIND and anti-submarine yacht VIRGINIA (712grt) searched the area on the 10th in daylight, but were unable to reestablish contact.

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Trawler JUST REWARD sighted a light nine miles NE by E of Scarborough, and considering it to be a dan buoy, approached. However, on arrival at the light, the trawler found a submarine which dived immediately.

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Convoy BC.28 of steamers BARON CARNEGIE (Commodore), BATNA, KERMA, LOCHEE, PIZARRO and RAMON DE LARRINAGA departed the Loire escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS, and arrived in the Bristol Channel on the 11th.

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U.14 sank steamers BORTHWICK (1097grt) and AKELD (643grt) in 51‑44N, 03‑22E and steamer ABBOTSFORD (1585grt) in the North Sea. A Dutch coast guard cutter assisted in the rescue of the entire crew of BORTHWICK, but all thirteen crew on AKELD were lost, and there were no survivors from ABBOTSFORD.

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U.28 sank Greek steamer P. MARGARONIS (4979grt) southwest of Lands End.

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U.38 sank trawler LEUKOS (216grt) northwest of Tory Island.

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Steamer ASHLEY (1323grt) ran aground 1.4 miles 225° from East Goodwins Light Vessel. Destroyer BEAGLE was dispatched to assist, but returned to patrol when two tugs arrived. The steamer broke up on the tide on the 11th.

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Steamer MAINDY HILL (1918grt) was lost in collision with steamer ST ROSARIO (4312grt) three miles NE of Hartlepool. ST ROSARIO was able to proceed to the Tees.

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Belgian fishing vessel SANTA GODELIVIA (33grt) was lost to unknown cause in the North Sea. Later research attributes her loss to attack by aircraft of KG26.

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Convoy HG.22F departed Gibraltar with 30 ships escorted by French destroyer TIGRE, patrol vessel VIKINGS and British destroyer ACTIVE. The French ships detached on the 15th and arrived at Brest on the 16th. The convoy was escorted at sea by sloop LEITH and destroyer VANOC, and arrived at Liverpool on the 18th.

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French battleship PROVENCE, heavy cruiser DUQUESNE and British aircraft carrier HERMES with destroyers DECOY and DEFENDER departed Dakar for a sweep, returning on the 16th.

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Base ship EDINBURGH CASTLE arrived at Freetown.

______

 

Convoy HX.26 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY and SKEENA. Canadian destroyer OTTAWA also escorted the convoy at the start. At 1800/11th, the convoy was turned over to battleship MALAYA, which detached on the 22nd. Destroyers VANSITTART, VENETIA, VIMY and WOLVERINE escorted the convoy from the 24th to 26th, when it arrived at Liverpool.

______

 

Convoy SLF.23 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser JERVIS BAY, and on the 19th, merged with SL.23, the combined convoy arriving at Liverpool on the 22nd.

 

 

Sunday, 10 March

 

NORTHERN PATROL

 

Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON departed Scapa Flow on Northern Patrol.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol.

 

Armed merchant cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE departed Greenock on Northern Patrol.

 

Armed merchant cruiser CORFU arrived at Greenock after Northern Patrol.

 

At 1710, armed merchant cruiser WOLFE reported sighting nine vessels, believed to be warships, which were later determined to be ice.

______

 

Destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH escorted by destroyers TARTAR, ESKIMO and MASHONA departed the Clyde at 1000, and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1700/11th .

______

 

Monitor MARSHAL SOULT, towed by three tugs, was escorted by destroyers EXPRESS and ESK, from Sheerness to Portsmouth.

______

 

Light cruiser GALATEA departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth, where she arrived on the 11th.

______

 

Destroyer DELIGHT reported her feed tank leaking.

______

 

Submarine NARWHAL departed Scapa Flow escorted by anti-submarine trawler BUTTERMERE and two other trawlers of the Group for exercises in the Fair Isle Channel.

______

 

Submarine THISTLE arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

______

 

Submarine SUNFISH departed Lowestoft for Harwich, where she arrived later that day.

______

 

Convoy OA.107 departed Southend escorted by destroyer VETERAN from the 11th to 12th, although she was damaged in collision on the 11th (q.v.). The convoy dispersed on the 13th.

______

 

Convoy OB.107 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and WALPOLE from the 10th to 15th, when the convoy dispersed.

______

 

Convoy HN.18 of three British, eleven Norwegian, twelve Swedish, eight Finnish and two Estonian ships departed Bergen escorted by destroyers ENCOUNTER, ESCORT, ELECTRA and ECLIPSE. Submarine NARWHAL joined the convoy on the 11th. Destroyer KIMBERLEY departed Scapa Flow at 1800/9th for patrol and then joined the westbound section. When the convoy split into sections, destroyers FAME, which departed Scapa Flow on the 11th, and KIMBERLEY joined to escort the west coast section of ten steamers. NARWHAL joined the convoy on the 12th. Three steamers from the Orkneys joined for passage to east coast ports. The convoy of 25 steamers arrived at Methil on the 13th without incident, escorted by ENCOUNTER, ESCORT, ELECTRA and ECLIPSE. On the same day, FAME and KIMBERLEY arrived at Scapa Flow.

______

 

Convoy MT.27 of nine steamers departed Methil escorted by the 1st Anti-submarine Group, supported by destroyer JAVELIN, and arrived in the Tyne later that day. JAVELIN went on ahead to the Tyne to escort Norwegian steamer MIRA (1152grt) to Methil, where they arrived on the 11th.

______

 

Convoy FN.117 departed Southend escorted by sloop PELICAN and destroyer VIVIEN, and arrived at the Tyne on the 12th.

______

 

Convoy FS.118 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN and GRIMSBY, and arrived at Southend on the 12th.

______

 

Destroyer FORESTER attacked a contact east of South Ronaldsay in 58‑47.8N, 02‑45.9W at 1044, which was later found to be the wreck of sunken collier GIRALDA.

______

 

Destroyer FOXHOUND, after standing by the scene of destroyer GURKHA's submarine attack, was ordered to return to Scapa Flow. En route, she was diverted to Rosyth, where she arrived on the 11th.

______

 

Destroyer HASTY, which departed Devonport on the 9th en route to the Clyde after refitting, attacked a submarine contact at 0315, SW of Chicken Rock, I.O.M. in 53‑47N, 05‑16W. The attack was unsuccessful, and the contact was later assessed as probably a collier wreck. HASTY arrived in the Clyde at 1100/10th.

______

 

Destroyer KELLY, on passage from Lerwick, attacked a contact at 1230 off Stronsay in 59-00-07N, 2-18-09W, which was later determined to be non-submarine. She later arrived at Scapa Flow for temporary repairs.

______

 

Sloop FOLKESTONE on convoy duty SW of Milford Haven in 51-32N, 5-21W attacked a submarine contact, which was determined to be non-submarine, and rejoined the convoy. Later at 1925/11th, FOLKESTONE, ahead of her convoy of two ships, attacked a submarine contact in 55-29N, 4-56.5W off Holy Isle in the Firth of Clyde.

______

 

Anti-submarine trawler JUNIPER (530grt) attacked a submarine contact at 1700 in 57-15N, 7-00W off Ushinish.

______

 

Light cruiser DRAGON arrived at Gibraltar from Portland and departed the same day for Malta.

 

 

Monday, 11 March

 

Vice Admiral Battlecruiser Cruiser Squadron raised his flag on battlecruiser RENOWN.

______

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH arrived at Rosyth.

______

 

Heavy cruisers NORFOLK, BERWICK and YORK, after completing their practices, were to proceed to Rosyth where they arrived on the 13th.

______

 

Light cruiser GALATEA became flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron at 1600.

______

 

Light cruiser ORION, which arrived from the West Indies in the Clyde on 25 February, completed her refitting at Devonport, and departed for Bermuda on the 14th.

______

 

Destroyers HASTY and HOTSPUR departed the Clyde escorting tankers BACCHUS, PRESTOL and BRITISH LADY to Scapa Flow.

______

 

Destroyer VETERAN, en route from Portsmouth to Plymouth in convoy OA.107, was sent to search for steamer CLAN STUART (5760grt), which had been damaged in a collision. VETERAN was herself damaged in collision with tanker HORN SHELL (8372grt), also of OA.107, ten miles 176° from Start Point,. Her stern was damaged, maximum speed was restricted twelve knots, and she was taken to Devonport for repairs, completed on 17 April.

______

 

Anti-submarine exercises were conducted at Scapa Flow with all available destroyers participating under HARDY (D.2).

______

 

Submarine UNITY arrived at Blyth after patrol.

______

 

Submarine L.23 departed Blyth on patrol.

______

 

Submarine STERLET departed Lowestoft and arrived at Harwich.

______

 

Submarine TRIBUNE conducted her full speed trial, which was unsatisfactory, and docked at Rosyth later in the day.

______

 

Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, destroyers ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, and minesweepers SEAGULL and SHARPSHOOTER departed Invergordon on the 11th on minelaying mission PA 3 off Kinnaird Head in Moray Firth. The mines were laid on the 12th.

______

 

GGGgggConvoy OG.21 was formed from two convoys - (1) OA.105G, which departed Southend on the 7th, escorted by sloop ABERDEEN, and (2) OB.105G, which departed Liverpool on the 8th escorted by destroyers VIMY and WINCHELSEA, with 38 ships. OB.105G was delayed due to fog and diverted to Milford Haven, arriving on the 9th. WINCHELSEA escorted the convoy from Milford Haven, and destroyers BROKE and WILD SWAN escorted the OB.G section from Isle of Wight on the 9th. Destroyer VIMY from convoy HG.21 joined on the 11th. The convoy was escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA, VIMY and BROKE until the 11th March. French destroyer PANTHERE and patrol vessel MERCEDITE joined the convoy on the 10th and destroyer WISHART on the 14th. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 17th, escorted by the two French ships and the British destroyer.

______

 

Blockship JUNIATA (1139grt) departed the Tyne under the tow of tug KROOMAN, and escorted by the 1st Anti-submarine Group and destroyer JUPITER. The blockship arrived at Methil on the 12th. On the 13th, JUNIATA departed Methil escorted by anti-submarine trawlers IMPERIALIST (520grt) and ALOUETTE (520grt) for Scapa Flow. She was later deployed at Scapa Flow.

______

 

Convoy ON.19 of eight British, fourteen Norwegian, seven Swedish, two Danish, five Finnish, four Estonian ships for Norway and one ship for Aberdeen departed Methil at 1500 escorted by destroyers COSSACK, NUBIAN, GURKHA and ILEX. The convoy was joined by a section of 13 merchant ships from Kirkwall escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR and FORTUNE which departed Scapa Flow on the 12th. These merchant ships are included in the sailing breakdown from Methil. Destroyers FAULKNOR and FORTUNE relieved ILEX which returned to Scapa Flow. On the 13th, at 1715 east of Duncansby Head in 58-37N, 1-06W, NUBIAN attacked a submarine contact. The destroyer then returned to the convoy. Light cruiser EDINBURGH and anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO arrived at Scapa Flow on the 12th to provide close support for the convoy.

 

CAIRO after sailing from Scapa Flow was forced to return with sea damage. Antiaircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Sullom Voe on the 13th to provide anti-aircraft support. The convoy arrived safely at Bergen on the 14th.

______

 

Convoy MT.28 of twenty one ships departed Methil, escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group and covered by destroyers JERVIS and JAGUAR, and arrived in the Tyne the next day.

______

 

Convoy FN.118 of 27 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyer VEGA, sloop STORK, destroyer WOOLSTON, and arrived in the Tyne on the 13th.

______

 

Convoy FS.119 departed the Tyne escorted by sloop LOWESTOFT, HASTINGS and destroyer VALOROUS and covered by destroyers JERVIS and JAGUAR. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 13th.

______

 

U.28 was sighted late on the 10th in the area of convoy HG.21 being escorted by destroyers VELOX and VIDETTE. Destroyers BROKE, WILD SWAN and WINCHELSEA had departed OG.21 and were ordered to investigate the report. U.28 badly damaged Dutch steamer EULOTA (6236grt) in 48‑35N, 08‑22W; the entire crew, 42 survivors, was rescued by WILD SWAN.

 

WINCHELSEA continued on towards the contact area while BROKE and WILD SWAN assisted EULOTA.

 

BROKE sank the wreck with gunfire. The British ships were joined by French destroyer FRONDEUR and sloop CAPRICIEUSE from Brest.

______

 

U.31 was sunk at 1215 by RAF Bomber Command aircraft at Schillig Roads, in 53-58N, 08-05E. The entire crew of forty five and thirteen other naval personnel were lost. German dockyard personnel were able raise the submarine on the 19th, which was repaired and recommissioned on 30 July 1940.

 ______

 

French battleship BRETAGNE and heavy cruiser ALGERIE, carrying 147 tons of gold to be deposited in the United States, departed Toulon escorted by large destroyers VAUBAN, AIGLE, MAILLE BREZE. The ships passed Gibraltar on the 13th. Since the United States was still a declared neutral, the battleship and heavy cruiser proceeded to Halifax where the gold was unloaded and shipped to the United States. The destroyers were detached at sea and returned to Casablanca on the 17th. VAUBAN and AIGLE departed Casablanca on the 21st and joined armed merchant cruisers EL KANTARA, EL MANSOUR, VILLE D' ORAN and EL DJEZAIR which departed Brest on the 20th after the cancellation of Finland operations. Destroyers TARTU and CHEVALIER PAUL departed Brest with the cruisers, but were ordered to return for other duties. VAUBAN and AIGLE passed Gibraltar with the cruisers on the 23rd and arrived at Oran on the 24th. Destroyer MAILLE BREZE with steamer MEDIE II departed Casablanca on the 19th and passed Gibraltar on the 20th. They arrived at Marseilles on the 22nd with troops.

______

 

In night air accident, a Swordfish of 823 Squadron crashed at Hal Far. Lt T W G French, Naval Airman J O'Riley, and LAC G A Lawrence of 812 Squadron were killed.

______

 

German auxiliary cruisers ATLANTIS and ORION departed Kiel for gunnery exercises in the North Sea prior to departing on mercantile raiding missions. As the Kiel Canal was still icebound, ex battleship HESSEN, acting as an icebreaker, cleared the Canal for their passage to the sea. After these exercises, both returned to Kiel for final preparations and provisioning.

______

 

Light cruisers CAPETOWN, CALEDON and CALYPSO arrived at Alexandria after a short exercise.

______

 

U.30, U.46, U.47, U.49, U.51 departed Wilhelmshaven to take stations off Norway to combat British STRATFORD operations and later support their own WESERUBUNG operation.

 

 

Tuesday, 12 March

 

Light cruiser MANCHESTER arrived at Scapa Flow after Northern Patrol.

______

 

Destroyers HARDY (D.2), FIREDRAKE, HOSTILE, TARTAR escorted heavy cruisers BERWICK, NORFOLK and YORK of the 1st Cruiser Squadron on a full caliber shoot west of the Orkneys. After the shoot, the cruisers proceeded to Rosyth. The destroyers INTREPID and GRIFFIN proceeded 1931 to search for a submarine reported by aircraft at 1900 east of South Ronaldsay in 58‑49N, 02‑20W. Destroyers HARDY, FIREDRAKE, HOSTILE, ILEX, TARTAR were ordered at 2000 to join. At 2130, HARDY and FIREDRAKE attacked a submarine contact and at 2140, TARTAR attacked a submarine contact east of Copinsay in 58‑53.5N, 02‑15W.All the attacks were unsuccessful. The contact was later assessed as probably a wreck. HARDY, HOSTILE, TARTAR arrived at Scapa Flow after the hunt on the 13th. FIREDRAKE was detailed to patrol on a line south of Canntlick Head to Sandwick Bay, South Ronaldshay.

______

 

Destroyers ESKIMO, PUNJABI, MASHONA departed Scapa Flow at 0030 for the Clyde for escort duties, and arrived late on the 12th.

______

 

Convoy TM.25 departed the Tyne, escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group and supported by destroyer JAVELIN.

______

 

Convoy FN.119 departed Southend escorted by destroyer JERVIS and WHITLEY, sloop EGRET, and arrived in the Tyne on the 14th.

______

 

Destroyer WREN was damaged in a collision with steamer LACKLAN (8670grt) 16 miles 180° off the Lizard. The stern of the destroyer was damaged. The steamer proceeded to Falmouth. WREN was repaired at Plymouth completing on 13 April.

______

 

Destroyer WOLSEY was slightly damaged when she grounded alongside an oiler in the Firth of Forth.

______

 

Anti-submarine trawlers LE TIGER (516grt) and COVENTRY CITY (546grt) attacked a submarine contact off Aberdeen in 57-13N, 1-56W.

______

 

The 1st, 7th and 12th Destroyer Flotillas and the I's of the 20th Flotilla were placed under the control of the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet.

______

 

Destroyer BRILLIANT completed boiler cleaning and degaussing alongside depot ship SANDHURST at Dover. Destroyer BOADICEA went alongside SANDHURST for similar work.

______

 

Destroyers ILEX, GRIFFIN, INTREPID were submarine hunting in Moray Firth after a report by a British aircraft. INTREPID was joined on the 13th by destroyers FOXHOUND and IVANHOE.

 

FOXHOUND and IVANHOE had escorted steamers DEVON CITY (4928grt) and SPANKER (1875grt) from Methil departing at 1200/12th and arriving at Scapa Flow on the 13th.

______

 

Submarines NARWHAL and SWORDFISH departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth and Blyth, respectively. Anti-submarine whaler BUTTERMERE (560grt), escorting the submarines in Moray Firth in 58-16.5N, 2-22.2W made attacks on a submarine contact. The contact was probably a buoy laid by minesweeper NIGER after her submarine attack on 21 February. NARWHAL arrived at Rosyth on the 13th. SWORDFISH continued on to Blyth where she arrived later on the 13th.

______

 

Destroyers WOLSEY, BRAZEN and cable ship ROYAL SCOT arrived at Rosyth after completing the work of repairing the cables.

______

 

Destroyer VENETIA, escorting convoy OB.106, attacked a submarine contact west of Ushant in 48‑10N, 09‑14W at 1910. Sloop ROCHESTER was in company and reported an underwater explosion at 1940.

______

 

Submarine PORPOISE departed Portsmouth for Rosyth, and on the 13th, left Southend in convoy FN.120 for the passage north.

______

 

Submarine URSULA departed Blyth for patrol, and on the 14th, was ordered to the vicinity of Gotenburg to attack German destroyers reported operating in the area.

______

 

Submarines TRITON, TRUANT and SEAL departed Rosyth on patrol.

______

 

Lt P.G. Philcox RNVR and Able Seaman D. Lewis were killed when their Proctor of 758 Squadron crashed near Worthy Down.

______

 

Steamers MACGREGOR LAIRD (4015grt) and LOMBARDY (3379grt) arrived at the Clyde from the south, leaving there on the 16th to return to Newport.

______

 

French fishing vessel ROSE EFFEUILEE (35grt) was lost on a mine laid by German minelaying Ship 11 in the North Sea in 51.25N, 01.45E; the entire crew was rescued.

______

 

A peace treaty between the USSR and Finland was announced and signed on the 13th. British operation STRATFORD, and Plan R 3, the proposed landing of troops at Narvik and Trondheim on the 20th to be followed shortly by landings at Stavanger and Bergen to relieve Finnish troops, was cancelled. The ships of the operation were released on the 15th. Heavy cruisers of the 1st Cruiser Squadron returned to Northern Patrol duties. Light cruisers GALATEA and AURORA with destroyers of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla departed the Clyde to return to Scapa Flow.

______

 

Convoy HG.22 of thirty nine ships departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyers WATCHMAN and VORTIGERN from 12 to 19 March. WATCHMAN and VORTIGERN were detached to Devonport and Portsmouth, respectively, for leave. Destroyers VANQUISHER, WITCH, ACASTA escorted the convoy in Home Waters from 19 to 21 March. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 22nd.

______

 

Destroyer WRESTLER arrived at Gibraltar after repairs at Malta.

______

 

French large destroyers MILAN and ÉPERVIER collided during preparations for the Finland operations. MILAN was repaired at Cherbourg completing on 4 April and ÉPERVIER at Brest, completing on 12 April.

 

 

Wednesday, 13 March

 

Light cruisers ARETHUSA and PENELOPE departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow, and arrived on the 14th.

______

 

Light cruisers GALATEA and AURORA departed Rosyth for the Clyde, and arrived on the 14th.

______

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH arrived at Rosyth after practices.

______

 

Armed merchant cruiser FORFAR arrived at Greenock after Northern Patrol.

______

 

Destroyer KEITH was damaged in a grounding near South West Goodwin Buoy. Damage was limited to her asdic dome, and she was taken to Chatham on the 15th for repairs completed on the 20th.

______

 

Destroyers HOSTILE and TARTAR departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde, and arrived at 1630/14th.

______

 

Destroyer SOMALI departed the Tees after refitting at Middlesborough for Scapa Flow to conduct a high speed trial en route. She arrived in the Clyde at 1400/14th being diverted en route.

______

 

Destroyer JAGUAR arrived at Dundee.

______

 

Due to damage to the anti-submarine nets at Scapa Flow, destroyer FIREDRAKE was detached from a U-boat search and began anti-submarine patrol at daylight in the approaches to Hoxa Sound. At 2000, destroyer IMOGEN relieved FIREDRAKE on this patrol station. At 0800/14th, destroyer FOXHOUND relieved IMOGEN. The work on Hoxa Boom was completed at 1900/14th and FOXHOUND returned to Scapa Flow.

______

 

Destroyers ESKIMO (escort SO), PUNJABI, MASHONA departed the Clyde with convoy NS 1 for Plan R.3. At 0233/15th, the convoy was ordered back to the Clyde with ESKIMO and PUNJABI, while MASHONA continued to Scapa Flow escorting tanker WAR BHARATA.

______

 

Destroyer HUNTER arrived in the Clyde at 1935 on completion of her refitting at Falmouth.

______

 

Submarines NARWHAL, TRIAD, THISTLE and TRIDENT departed Rosyth on patrol.

______

 

Submarine SPEARFISH departed Newcastle and conducted diving trials off Blyth, escorted by a trawler, before arriving at Blyth.

______

 

Submarine TRIBUNE undocked at Rosyth.

______

 

Patrol sloop GUILLEMOT was damaged in a collision with an unknown ship off Southwold, and patrol sloop WIDGEON stood by. She was repaired at Great Yarmouth from 18 March to 19 April.

______

 

Convoy OA.109 departed Southend escorted by destroyer WHITEHALL. The convoy was joined on the 14th by destroyers ANTELOPE and ACASTA, with ANTELOPE being relieved on the 15th by destroyer VANESSA. The convoy was dispersed on the 16th with ACASTA and VANESSA in the escort at that time.

______

 

Convoy OB.109 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MACKAY and VOLUNTEER from 13 to 16 March, when they were detached to convoy HX.25.

______

 

Convoy MT.29 of six ships departed Methil at 0800 escorted by the trawlers of the 1st Anti-submarine Group, sloop FLEETWOOD and destroyer VIMIERA. The convoy arrived later in the day.

______

 

Convoy FN.120 departed Southend escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN and GRIMSBY. The convoy included submarine PORPOISE on passage to Rosyth. PORPOISE was detached at 0200/15th and arrived on the 16th. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 15th.

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Convoy FS.120 of 29 ships and an additional five ships from Middlesborough and five from the Humber departed the Tyne escorted by sloops LONDONDERRY, FLEETWOOD and destroyer VIMIERA. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 15th.

______

 

Convoy SA.33 of two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by sloops FOXGLOVE and ROSEMARY, and arrived at Brest on the 15th.

______

 

Convoy AXF 2 of one steamer arrived at St Malo.

______

 

U.44 was lost on a mine in 54-14N, 05-06E in a minefield laid by destroyers EXPRESS, ESK, ICARUS and IMPULSIVE on the 3rd. Her entire crew of forty seven men was lost.

______

 

U.30 on patrol encountered a British submarine.

______

 

German merchant ship LA CORUNA (7359grt), which had departed Rio de Janiero on 3 February, was intercepted east of Iceland in 63‑00N, 10‑20W by armed merchant cruiser MALOJA on Northern Patrol. The German steamer, disguised as Japanese steamer TAKI MARU, set herself afire when she was unable to escape. The British ship rescued the 18 officers and 50 ratings of the German crew.

______

 

Convoy HX.27 departed Halifax at 0700 escorted by Canadian destroyers RESTIGOUCHE and ST LAURENT. At 1500/13th, RESTIGOUCHE was ordered by armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA to assist French submarine SIDI FERRUCH which was having trouble getting through the ice area. At 1340/14th, the convoy was turned over to the ocean escort armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA, which was detached on the 25th. Destroyers AMAZON, VANOC, VERSATILE and WINDSOR escorted the convoy from 25 to 28 March, when it arrived at Liverpool.

______

 

Steamer ROSSINGTON COURT (6922grt) and tanker ATHELVIKING (8779grt) of convoy HX.26 collided six hundred miles east of Halifax. The tanker had to return to Halifax.

______

 

German steamer ESCHERSHEIM (3303grt) was lost near Loenstrup and Hirtshals off the coast of Jutland after hitting a submerged wreck. Flooding became uncontrollable, and she was run aground in 57-36N, 09-57E to prevent sinking.

______

 

Armed merchant cruiser RANPURA, cable ship MIRROR and A.S.I.S. PHILOMEL departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyers ACTIVE and WRESTLER until dark on the 15th. The armed merchant cruiser and A.S.I.S. ship headed for Freetown, via Dakar and the cable ship for St Vincent, Cape Verde Island, for cable repair. ACTIVE arrived back at Gibraltar on the 16th after escorting the cable ship, and WRESTLER arrived back at Gibraltar on the 17th after escorting the Freetown ships.

 

 

Thursday, 14 March

 

Battlecruiser HOOD departed Scapa Flow at 1515 escorted by destroyers HARDY (D.2), HOTSPUR and IMOGEN for the Clyde.

______

 

Armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA departed Greenock on Northern Patrol.

______

 

Armed merchant cruisers CILICIA and TRANSYLVANIA arrived at Greenock from Northern Patrol.

______

 

Destroyer KELLY departed Scapa Flow at 0400 for Sheerness to repair her collision damage of 9 March at Blackwall.

______

 

Destroyers KASHMIR and FORESIGHT departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow.

______

 

Destroyer INTREPID arrived at Invergordon from patrol.

______

 

Destroyer IVANHOE departed Scapa Flow at 0715 for Moray Firth Patrol.

______

 

Minelayer TEVIOTBANK and destroyers ICARUS and IMPULSIVE arrived at the Humber to load mines.

______

 

Submarines STERLET and SNAPPER departed Harwich on patrol.

______

 

Submarine SEAWOLF arrived at Harwich from patrol.

______

 

Polish submarine WILK was undocked at Dundee.

______

 

Convoy OG.22F was formed from two convoys - (1) OA.108G, which departed Southend on the 11th escorted by destroyer WITCH, and (2) OB.108G, which departed Liverpool on the 11th, escorted by sloops BIDEFORD and FOWEY, of thirty ships. BIDEFORD joined the convoy on the 12th and FOWEY on the 13th. Destroyer WRESTLER joined on the 19th. Both sloops and the destroyer travelled with the convoy to Gibraltar where it arrived on the 19th. The sloops were temporarily assigned to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla to replace sloops SCARBOROUGH and WELLINGTON.

______

 

Convoy MT.30 of twenty three ships departed Methil escorted by the 3rd Anti-submarine Group, sloop PELICAN, destroyers VIVIEN and JAVELIN. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later in the day.

______

 

Convoy FS.121 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop PELICAN and destroyer VIVIEN, and arrived at Southend on the 16th.

______

 

Destroyer JANUS and the 1st Anti-submarine Group escorted convoy TM.26 from the Tyne.

______

 

After a steamer sighted a periscope one mile southwest of Elie Ness, escort vessel WHITLEY and sloop EGRET were dispatched to investigate. They were joined by destroyer BRAZEN, escort vessels VEGA, WOOLSTON, sloop STORK, and the 19th Anti-submarine Group. WHITLEY and STORK made attacks but further investigation showed this contact to be non submarine.

______

 

Convoy HN.19 of three British, sixteen Norwegian, seven Swedish, four Finnish and five Estonian ships departed Bergen escorted by destroyers COSSACK, NUBIAN, GURKHA, FAULKNOR and FORTUNE. The convoy was covered by light cruiser EDINBURGH. At 0824/16th, EDINBURGH made a submarine contact in 59-07N, 00-57W, southeast of Fair Isle, and she and COSSACK attacked the contact. At 1330/16th, COSSACK attacked a contact east of Duncansby Head in 58-36N, 1-35W.This contact had been earlier attacked by aircraft. At 2330, EDINBURGH made an attack off Tod Head in 56-54N, 2-13W. When the convoy split into two sections, FAULKNOR and FORTUNE escorted the west coast section of 15 ships to Cape Wrath where the convoy was dispersed. The destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow on the 17th at 0700. Destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER anchored in Longhope pending the clearance of Gutter Sound. The convoy of 20 ships arrived at Methil without incident on the 17th. COSSACK, NUBIAN and GURKHA arrived at Rosyth at 1700/17th.

______

 

Convoy BC.30 of seven steamers, including BATALLINN, BARON GRAHAM (Commodore), EILDON, MARSLEW departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS, and arrived in the Loire on the 16th.

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U-BOAT OPERATIONS AGAINST ALLIED SUBMARINES

 

An unsuccessful operation was mounted by German submarines to hunt down British and French submarines in the North Sea. Submarines deployed were U.7, U.9, U.19, U.20, U.23, U.24, U.56, U.57, U.59.

 

U.1, U.2, U.3, U.4 were positioned off southern Norway. On the 16th, U.1 departed Kiel for operations south of Lindesnes. On the 16th, U.2 departed Kiel for operations off Lister. On the 18th, U.3 departed Wilhelmshaven to operate in the North Sea against British submarines. On the 18th, U.4 departed Wilhelmshaven to operate in the Skagerrak.

 

On the 20th, U.22 departed Wilhelmshaven to operate off Pentland Firth. On the 20th, U.21 and U.22 were ordered to patrol south of Lindesnes. On the 21st, U.21 departed Wilhelmshaven to operate off Pentland Firth.

 

On the 22nd, U.1 was moved to a position outside the three mile limit off Egeroy. On the 22nd, U.2 sighted what was identified as either a heavy cruiser or an aircraft carrier with five destroyers in 57-46N, 07-18E. The submarine was unable to gain a firing position. On the 23rd, U.3 and 4 were ordered to area of Lindesnes and Revingen, respectively, to attack warships and transports. On the 27th, U.4 was moved to area of Lindesnes. U.1, U.2, U.3, U.4 returned to Wilhelmshaven on the 29th.

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Minesweepers PANGBOURNE, ALBURY, and ROSS arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.

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Aircraft carrier EAGLE in the Bay of Bengal near the Nicobar Islands was damaged at 0730 when a 250 pound bomb exploded in the bomb room in an operational mishap. One officer, Gunner R.R. Keech, MVO and twelve ratings were killed. Five crew were wounded, one dying of wounds at Singapore. EAGLE proceeded to Singapore for repairs and completed these and a refit on 4 May. She left Singapore on 9 May for the Mediterranean.

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Convoy SL.24 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CHESHIRE until 29 March. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 31st.

 

 

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revised 7/4/12
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