Background Events - September 1939-March 1940
Atlantic starts, 'Phoney War' on land,
Battle of River Plate
Friday, 15 March
HOOD with destroyers
HARDY (D.2), HOTSPUR and IMOGEN arrived in the Clyde from Scapa Flow.
NORFOLK ran several
runs over the D.G. range in the Firth of Forth. The cruisers then departed
Rosyth for Scapa Flow. The cruisers were designated for
Northern Patrol duties. DEVONSHIRE proceeded
directly to patrol in the Denmark Strait.
cruiser CALCUTTA arrived at
Destroyers HAVELOCK and HAVANT
departed Portsmouth for the Clyde, and
arrived on the 16th.
They left again on the 16th escorting submarine
TARPON to Portsmouth.
MATABELE arrived in the Clyde after refitting
AURORA escorted by
destroyers SOMALI, TARTAR and MATABELE departed
the Clyde for Scapa Flow where they
arrived at 0700/16th.
MASHONA escorting tanker WAR BHARATA arrived at Scapa Flow.
JERVIS and JANUS arrived at Rosyth.
departed Rosyth to act in conjunction with a Bomber Command exercise in the
Submarine CLYDE departed Portsmouth for Blyth,
joined convoy FN.122 on the 16th, and detached when the convoy
was abreast Blyth, arriving on the 18th.
boats BOUCLIER, FLORE and MELPOMENE under the command of C.C. J.J.M.J. Fourniere
arrived at Dover from Dunkirk for a courtesy
visit. The torpedo boats were retained to assist in covering the 10th
Minesweeping Flotilla operations between North Goodwin Light Vessel and Fairy
Bank Buoy on 17 and 18 March. The torpedo boats then returned to Dunkirk.
again carried away a 500 to 600 foot section of the anti-submarine nets at
Scapa Flow. Anti-submarine
trawler COVENTRY CITY went ashore at
Longhope. Destroyer KIMBERLEY commenced an
anti-submarine patrol off Hoxa Boom south a line from Cantick Head to Sandwick Bay, South Ronaldsay. At 1900,
KIMBERLEY was relieved by
destroyer FORESIGHT. At 0800/16th, FORESIGHT was relieved by
destroyer FEARLESS. The nets were repaired at 1100/16th and FEARLESS returned to
trawler PERIDOT (550grt, Probationary Skipper W. H. Burgess RNR) was badly
damaged on a mine off Dover in 51N, 1-35E,
while on station LD 6. Anti-submarine trawler SAON (386grt) on station LD 7
took off the crew of the trawler. There were no casualties. Destroyer
BRILLIANT took the trawler in the tow and transferred the tow at daylight at
0825 to tug LADY DUNCANNON (181grt). However, PERIDOT sank before arriving in harbour.
was instructed to order Train Ferry No. 1 (2683grt), en route from Calais, to pass three
miles southwest of the position where trawler PERIDOT was mined.
Convoy ON.20 of
nine British, eighteen Norwegian, seven Swedish, two Danish, two Finnish, two
Panamanian ships departed Methil escorted by destroyers ENCOUNTER, ESCORT,
ELECTRA, ESCAPADE. The convoy was joined at sea by destroyers KASHMIR and KIMBERLEY which departed
Kirkwall at 0715/16th
with a detachment of twelve ships for the convoy. These ships are included in
the Methil sailing breakdown. Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO, assigned to
this convoy, sustained sea damage and arrived at Scapa Flow. On the 17th,
CAIRO arrived at
Sullom Voe to repair the damage. Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed the
Tyne on the 17th and
provided close cover for the convoy. The convoy arrived safely at Bergen on the 18th.
Convoy MT.31 of
five ships departed Methil escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group,
destroyer VEGA and sloop STORK. VEGA and STORK detached at dark to escort convoy FS.122 which departed the
Tyne at 2100. Convoy
MT.31 arrived in the Tyne that night.
departed the Tyne at 1700 escorted by the 3rd
Anti-submarine Group and destroyer BRAZEN. Submarine SPEARFISH departed Blyth and joined the
convoy on passage to Scapa Flow. Once the
convoy was abeam Rosyth, BRAZEN took SPEARFISH on to Scapa Flow.
departed Southend escorted by sloops LOWESTOFT,
and destroyer VALOROUS. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 17th.
south of Needles, a civilian aircraft reported a submarine. Destroyer ISIS and
anti-submarine yacht ST MODWEN (237grt) were ordered into the area, later
joined by destroyers HERO and WILD SWAN. Destroyer HERO, en
route from Portsmouth to the Clyde, made an attack
on a submarine contact off the Needles Channel in 50-36.2N, 1-40.4W. Destroyers
ARROW, WILD SWAN and ANTHONY joined HERO in the search of Christchurch Bay and Poole Bay.
STELLA DORADO (416grt) stopped Belgian trawler IBIS (160grt) and
brought her to the Downs for
Patrol from 15 March to 31 March sighted sixty nine eastbound merchant ships
of which thirteen were sent into Kirkwall for inspection.
One German ship was intercepted in this period.
merchant cruiser KANIMBLA seized Soviet steamer VLADIMIR MAIAKOVSKY (3972grt)
in the Sea of Japan and took her into control because she
was carrying a cargo of copper from the United States to Germany. On the 26th,
near Hong Kong she was handed over to
French light cruiser LAMOTTE PICQUET, and taken to Saigon, arriving on 1
KANIMBLA also captured Russian steamer SELENGA.
Saturday, 16 March
NORFOLK arrived at
Scapa Flow from the Rosyth
at 1020 in preparation for sailing on Northern Patrol duties.
WARSPITE departed the
Clyde at 1400
escorted by destroyers HARDY, HOTSPUR, HOSTILE and HUNTER, and arrived safely
at Scapa Flow at 1600/17th.
ESKIMO and PUNJABI arrived at Greenock at 2200 after
being relieved of convoy NS 1 by destroyer WANDERER in North Channel.
AIR ATTACK ON SCAPA FLOW
Destroyer KASHMIR, escorting
convoy ON.20, reported the approach of a German air raid on Scapa Flow. In this air raid,
by Ju.88's of KG30, heavy cruiser
NORFOLK at anchor in
Scapa Flow was damaged at
1959. The bomb striking NORFOLK struck the
quarter deck near Y turret. The bomb passed through the upper, main, lower
decks and exploded near Y shell room. This blew a hole in the starboard side
below the water line. A fire was started and X and Y magazines were flooded. Midshipmen
J. W. Busk and R.C. Evans-Lombe, Paymaster Midshipman D.B.P. Pick, Warrant
Engineer J.F. Baxter RNR, were killed.
Midshipman R.H. Cooper, Gunners H.R. Richards and D.A. Holdsworth, Acting
Warrant Electrician M.A. Smith, three ratings were wounded.
In the same air
attack, old battleship IRON DUKE was near missed by three bombs. Two bombs
exploded astern of battleship RODNEY causing no damage. Heavy cruiser NORFOLK was the only
ship hit, but the Germans claimed hitting three battleships and one cruiser. Most
of the Home Fleet was at Scapa Flow at this time
and this prompted the Admiralty to order Forbes to take his fleet to sea
during the next moonlight period between 19 and 26 March. Gutter Sound was
closed due to the danger of magnetic mining from this air raid. Gutter Sound
was reopened at 1116/17th.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK departed Scapa Flow at 1630/19th,
attended by tug BUCCANEER and escorted by destroyers GURKHA, COSSACK,
IVANHOE, GALLANT. The tug was detached en route and returned to Scapa Flow. Destroyers
ESKIMO and PUNJABI escorting Tender C (dummy aircraft carrier HERMES -
special service vessel MAMARI) traded charges with Destroyers IVANHOE and
GALLANT near Cape Wrath. Cruiser NORFOLK arrived in the
Clyde at 2230/20th,
escorted by destroyers COSSACK, GURKHA, ESKIMO, PUNJABI. The heavy cruiser
entered the dockyard in the Clyde on the
27th, NORFOLK was repairing until 14
June 1940. After safely delivering the cruiser, destroyer GURKHA and
COSSACK returned to Scapa Flow.
cruiser WOLFE arrived in the Clyde from Northern
cruiser FORFAR departed the Clyde on Northern
BIRMINGHAM (above - Navy Photos) and destroyer
HERO departed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow and the Clyde, respectively.
HERO arrived in the Clyde at 1430 after
refitting at Portsmouth.
HYPERION arrived in the Clyde.
IVANHOE, INTREPID, GALLANT departed Invergordon to patrol in Moray Firth. On the 17th,
they were involved in operation HSM with air cooperation.
SALMON and STERLET arrived at Harwich on patrol.
and THISTLE on patrol in the Skagerrak were ordered to
exercise contraband control.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyer AMAZON from 16 to 18 March. The
convoy dispersed on the 19th.
departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer WHIRLWIND and
sloop ROCHESTER from 16 to 19 March.
departed Southend escorted by sloops LONDONDERRY and FLEETWOOD
and destroyer VIMIERA. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 18th.
departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers VEGA and
WOOLSTON and sloop STORK, from convoy MT.31. The convoy arrived at Southend
on the 17th.
departed Methil and arrived at the Tyne later that day.
departed the Tyne escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine
Group and destroyer VALOROUS.
Convoy BC.29 of
four steamers, including BARON KINNAIRD (Commodore) departed Loire escorted by
destroyer VIVACIOUS. The convoy arrived in Bristol Channel on the 18th.
drifter MAIDA (107grt, Temporary Skipper R. M. Utting RNR) was sunk on a
mine off Margate, ten miles east
of North Foreland. Utting and five ratings were lost. Six crew were picked up
by minesweeping drifter MARE (92grt) and taken to Dover.
SLAVA (4512grt) was sunk on a mine five miles south of Start Point, in
51-19-45N, 3-38-45W. One crewman was lost.
DELHI arrived at
Alexandria with CINCMED
destroyer WATERHEN departed Gibraltar for Malta.
Sunday, 17 March
and HYPERION departed the Clyde at 2015 with
RFA tanker PETROBUS (475grt) for Scapa Flow. En route, the
tanker was sent into Stornoway and HERO and HYPERION were ordered
to Scapa Flow with dispatch, arriving at 0724/19th.
INTREPID in an accidental collision in the Pentland Firth 50 miles
northeast of Kinnaird Head sank trawler OCEAN DRIFT (227grt). Eight
survivors were picked up and INTREPID proceeded to Invergordon with a damaged stem for emergency repairs, escorted by destroyers
IVANHOE and GALLANT. She departed on the 18th for Southbank near Middlesbrough where repairs
were completed on 28 April.
steamer BELLWYN (1670grt) collided with heavy cruiser SUFFOLK in Princess
Dock at Govan. The cruiser required docking, but there was no delay in
the ultimate completion date for the cruiser's repair.
EDINBURGH arrived in the Tyne for repairs.
arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700 with Submarine SPEARFISH.
departed the Clyde at 0800 for Portsmouth for escort
INGLEFIELD (D.3) and ILEX departed Scapa Flow at 0017 to join
destroyers IVANHOE and GALLANT on Moray Firth anti-submarine striking force
duties. After this, INGLEFIELD and ILEX arrived at Scapa Flow at 2000/18th.
At this time, the
Moray Firth Anti-submarine Striking Force was no longer operating.
IVANHOE and GALLANT joined the Home Fleet from the Orkneys and Shetlands
Command at 0730 and 0830/19th, respectively.
PRINCESS VICTORIA and TEVIOTBANK, escorted by minelaying destroyers ESK,
EXPRESS, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, departed the Humber for Invergordon
for minelaying mission PA 4. The ships arrived at Invergordon on the 19th.
Destroyer Flotilla was assigned to the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet at
TRIDENT and Polish submarine ORZEL arrived at Rosyth after patrol.
SUNFISH on patrol in the North Sea sighted two
large unescorted trawlers, but was unable to attack.
delayed twenty four hours by fog, departed the Tyne escorted by
destroyer WALLACE and sloop FLAMINGO. The convoy arrived at Southend on the
GUARDIAN departed Scapa Flow on the 16th for
Rosyth. On the 17th off Bell Rock, she was attacked by German
bombers of KG2, but was not damaged, and arrived at Rosyth later on the
trawler STOKE CITY (422grt) was
attacked by German bombers of KG26 off Girdleness, but was not damaged.
VERBANIA (6640grt) broke down in 60-54N, 08-52W. Armed boarding
vessel NORTHERN DUKE (655grt) stood by and tug WATERMEYER was
dispatched to take her in tow. Steamer CARIBOU (2222grt)
sighted the ship on the 21st and NORTHERN DUKE located her on the 22nd. Tug ST MELLONS was ordered to replace WATERMEYER on the 23rd,
while tug BRIGAND was also ordered to proceed. On the
27th, the Italian steamer in tow of BRIGAND and escorted by armed
boarding vessels NORTHERN WAVE (655grt) and
NORTHERN GEM (655grt) arrived at Stornoway.
steamer VESPASIAN (1570grt) grounded on west side of Copt Point near
Folkestone, but was refloated by tugs LADY BRASSEY and GANDIA
with no apparent damage.
submarines were ordered to positions to attack damaged British ships leaving
Scapa Flow after the 16 March
air raid. U.57 and U.19 in the North Sea were ordered to
the west side of Pentland Firth. U.21 and U.22 were ordered to the
east side of Pentland Firth.U.22 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 20th and
U.21 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 21st. On
the 22nd, U.22 was ordered to assist a German ship grounded on the southern
coast of Norway. On the 26th,
U.22 was ordered to Moray Firth. On the 27th,
U.22 was ordered to assist U.21 which had run aground. U.22 acknowledged none
of the changes of orders, and was apparently lost soon after her departure
from Wilhelmshaven around 23 March.
The submarine was lost with all twenty seven crew on the 27th.
U.38 sank Danish
steamer ARGENTINA (5375grt),
which had departed Copenhagen on the 13th for
Las Palmas, in the North Sea. There were no
survivors from the steamer.
departed Gibraltar with thirty ships, escorted by destroyer
BULLDOG, as local escort. French destroyer PANTHERE and auxiliary patrol
vessel MINERVE escorted the convoy from 17 to 23 March. Destroyers WINCHELSEA
and WAKEFUL came from convoy OG.23F and escorted the convoy from 23 to 26 March.
Destroyer WHITEHALL joined the
convoy on the 23rd and escorted the convoy until 26 March when the convoy
arrived at Liverpool.
Monday, 18 March
MANCHESTER departed Scapa Flow on Northern
HIGHLANDER (Cdr W. A. Dallmeyer) was completed. Following working up,
destroyer HIGHLANDER was assigned to the 9th Destroyer Flotilla operating
with the Home Fleet.
IVANHOE and GRIFFIN departed
Invergordon. Destroyer IVANHOE arrived at Scapa Flow later the same
day. Destroyer GRIFFIN arrived at
Aberdeen later the same
JERVIS, JAVELIN, JANUS departed the Humber for Scapa Flow. En route, the
destroyers were diverted to pick up convoy ON.21 off Rosyth and escort the
convoy to Norway.
COSSACK and GURKHA departed Rosyth at 1800 for Scapa Flow where they
arrived at 0930/19th.
ESKIMO and PUNJABI departed the Clyde at 1000 for
Scapa Flow escorting Tender C (dummy aircraft carrier HERMES - special service vessel
MAMARI). On the 19th, destroyers ESKIMO and PUNJABI joined the escort of
damaged heavy cruiser NORFOLK. Destroyers
IVANHOE and GALLANT were detached from cruiser NORFOLK and took Tender
C to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 20th.
BEDOUIN arrived at Scapa Flow during the
morning after refitting at Newcastle.
reported a defective anti-submarine transmitter.
and NARWHAL arrived at Rosyth after patrol. On the 19th, submarine NARWHAL
was docked at Rosyth for repairs to the muffler valves.
PINTAIL and SHEARWATER departed Harwich to establish an anti-submarine patrol
between Kentish Knock and a position 15 miles 130° from Kentish Knock.
departed Bergen with eight
British, twenty one Norwegian, nine Swedish, two Danish, three Finnish ships
escorted by destroyers ENCOUNTER, ESCORT, ELECTRA, ESCAPADE, KASHMIR, KIMBERLEY. Despite the
protection of anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO, on the 20th,
German bombers attacked convoys HN.20 and ON.21. When the convoy split into
sections, destroyers ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER left the convoy with the seven
ships of the west coast section. The west coast section dispersed off Cape Wrath. On the 20th,
anti-submarine trawlers SCOTTISH (558grt) and IMPERIALIST (520grt) departed
Kirkwall with three
steamers for the convoy. They were ordered that if the convoy was not
encountered to proceed independently to Methil. Destroyers ELECTRA and
ENCOUNTER arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500/21st. Convoy
HN.20 arrived at Methil the morning of 22 March escorted by destroyers
KASHMIR (SO), KIMBERLEY, ESCORT,
departed Southend escorted by destroyer WOLVERINE from 18 to 20 March and
destroyer VANSITTART from 19 to 20 March. The convoy dispersed on the 21st.
departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VIMY and VENETIA from 18 to 20 March.
The convoy dispersed on the 23rd.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WOOLSTON and VIVIEN and sloops VEGA
and PELICAN.This convoy contained 14 ships of cancelled convoy FN.124. The
convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 20th.
VIMIERA was damaged in a collision with steamer CLERMISTON (1448grt)
off Rosyth. There was only minor damage to both vessels. Escort vessel
VIMIERA was repaired at Rosyth from 25 to 30 March.
Convoy OG.22 was
formed with forty nine ships from convoy OA.110G, which departed Southend on
the 15th, escorted by destroyer WINDSOR on 15 and 16 March, destroyer WILD
SWAN joining on the 26th, destroyer BROKE joining on the 17th, OB.110G, which
departed Liverpool on the 15th, escorted by destroyer
VANQUISHER and sloop FOLKESTONE. The convoy was escorted by destroyers BROKE
and WILD SWAN from 18 to 20 March.French destroyer CHACAL and patrol vessel
CAPITAINE ARMANDE escorted the convoy from 18 to 24 March. Destroyer WISHART
joined on the 21st and destroyer WRESTLER on the 23rd and both continued to
Gibraltar. The convoy
arrived at Gibraltar on the 24th.
Convoy MT.33 of
twenty five ships departed Methil escorted by the 3rd Anti-submarine Group
and supported by sloops LOWESTOFT and HASTINGS
and destroyer VALOROUS. On arrival off the Tyne, the sloops and
the destroyer escorted convoy FS.124 from the Tyne.
departed the Tyne escorted by the 1st Anti-submarine Group
and destroyer JUPITER. Destroyer BRAZEN, which had departed Scapa Flow on the
17th for Rosyth, was ordered to relieve destroyer JUPITER which was required
at Scapa Flow. After being relieved, en route to Scapa Flow, destroyer JUPITER
was diverted to Rosyth to escort convoy ON.21.
escorting convoy OG.22F, attacked a submarine contact south of Cape St Vincent in 35-58N,
8-55W. Sloop FOWEY was in company escorting this convoy.
PROTINUS (202grt) was sunk by German bombers of KG26 off Ijmuiden near Middle
Rough Bank. Four crew were lost and submarine UNITY (Lt J F B Brown) rescued seven crew members on the 25th.
departed Halifax at 0800
escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY, SKEENA, OTTAWA. Destroyer
OTTAWA returned to
Halifax after dark. The
destroyers turned over the convoy to ocean escort Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN
at 1800/19th. The battleship was detached on the 27th. Destroyers ANTELOPE
and WARWICK joined the convoy on the 27th,
destroyers HAVOCK and VANESSA on the 28th, destroyer VIMY on the 29th.
Destroyers HAVOCK and WARWICK were detached on the 28th, destroyer VIMY and
VANESSA on the 28th, destroyer ANTELOPE on 2 April, when the convoy arrived
DAUNTLESS reported main condenser problems.
CERES and COLOMBO arrived at
Tuesday, 19 March
RODNEY, VALIANT and WARSPITE and destroyers HARDY (D.2), HERO, HUNTER, HASTY,
HOTSPUR, HYPERION, HOSTILE of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, FORESTER and
FEARLESS of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla departed Scapa Flow at 1500. Battlecruisers
REPULSE and RENOWN and destroyers INGLEFIELD (D.3), ILEX, DIANA, DELIGHT of
the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, BEDOUIN of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla, destroyer
FORTUNE of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla departed Scapa Flow at 1500. While
at sea, the Home Fleet would cover the movement of convoys HN.20 and ON.21
and the Operation DU activities.
submarine was sighted near Holm Sound between 1730 and 1800 about 250 yards
seaward of the blockships. Destroyers departed Scapa Flow between 2030
and 2100 to search. Destroyers FOXHOUND and FIREDRAKE searched the area to
seaward. Destroyer FOXHOUND attacked a submarine contact at 2135 off Grimness
in 58‑49N, 2‑46W. Destroyers SOMALI (D.6), MASHONA, MATABELE,
SIKH, FORESIGHT searched Scapa Flow with
anti-submarine trawlers. Destroyer FAME patrolled the
north end of Gutter Sound. The search was abandoned at 0030/20th. Destroyer
SIKH proceeded to the anchorage to cover ships anchored in Scapa Flow. Destroyer
FAME assigned a
station to cover the entrance to Gutter Sound.
NEWCASTLE arrived at
Scapa Flow from Northern
BIRMINGHAM arrived at
Scapa Flow from refitting.
cruiser soon departed on Northern Patrol.
destroyer JERVIS was involved in a collision with Swedish steamer TOR
(1052grt) northeast of Blyth, in 55‑35N,
01‑26E. Destroyer JERVIS suffered extensive damage to her hull, both
above and below the water line. Two crew were killed in the collision and
fifteen crew were missing. Destroyers JAVELIN and JANUS stood by until
destroyer JERVIS reached Newcastle. Destroyer
JERVIS was able to steam stern first under her own power to the Tyne. Tugs MALTA and WASHINGTON took her in tow
when she arrived off South Shields. Steamer TOR
was slightly damaged. Destroyer JERVIS was repairing into the third week of
reported minor upper deck damage due to heavy weather.
departed Harwich and arrived that day at Sheerness. The submarine was
refitting at Chatham from 21 March
to 7 May.
Convoy ON.21 of
six British, twenty one Norwegian, seven Swedish, two Danish, three Finnish,
two Estonian ship departed Methil at 1700 escorted by destroyers JAVELIN
(SO), JUPITER, JUNO, ECLIPSE and
were joined by destroyer JANUS which left Scapa Flow. Submarine PORPOISE
departed Rosyth to sail with the convoy. Three more merchant ships were
detached prior to crossing the North Sea;one was
detached at Dundee and two at Aberdeen. British tanker
BRITISH TOMMY (1411grt) was to have proceeded in this convoy to salve oil
from the grounded tanker GRETAFIELD at Dunbeath. Anti-submarine trawler
ALOUETTE (520grt) was to meet the tanker at sea for escort. However, on the
19th, the tanker broke up and the attempt was cancelled. Destroyer IVANHOE
escorted base ship MANCHESTER CITY from Scapa Flow to Kirkwall. Destroyer
IVANHOE then left Kirkwall with fifteen
ships for convoy ON.21. The group joined the convoy at 1900. These ships are
included in the sailing breakdown from Methil. It was this portion of convoy
ON.21 that was attacked by German bombers on the 20th. Despite the protection
of anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO, on the 20th,
German bombers of KG26 attacked convoys HN.20 and ON.21. The convoy arrived at
Bergen on the 23rd.
ARK ROYAL escorted by destroyers ARROW, ISIS, SHIKARI departed Portsmouth for Portland.
BRILLIANT covered the minesweepers of the 10th Mine Sweeping Flotilla in
operations between North Goodwin Light Vessel and Fairy Bank Buoy.
completed her refit began on 17 January at Hartlepool.
STERLET departed Harwich for patrol.
departed the Tyne escorted by sloop LOWESTOFT, destroyer
VALOROUS, sloop HASTINGS. The convoy
arrived at Southend on the 21st.
Convoy TM.30 of
nine ships departed the Tyne escorted by the
3rd Anti-submarine Group and destroyer VIVIEN.
5-56.30W off North Rona at 0930, anti-submarine trawlers ASTON
VILLA (546grt) and GAUL (550grt)
attacked a submarine contact. Anti-submarine trawler CAPE PASSARO (510grt) later
attacked a contact at this location. At 1700, anti-submarine trawler ANGLE
(531grt) attacked a submarine contact off North Rona in 59-05N,
departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers WAKEFUL and
WINCHELSEA, merged with convoy OA.113GF, escorted by sloop LEITH, to form OG.23F
of forty ships on the 22nd.
WAKEFUL and WINCHELSEA were detached to convoy HG.23 F. Sloop LEITH escorted
the convoy to 23 March. The convoy was joined by armed boarding vessel
SAGITTA from 22 to 25 March and destroyers VELOX and VIDETTE Portsmouth and Devonport,
respectively, from 22 to 28 March when the convoy arrived at Gibraltar.
U.19 sank Danish
steamers MINSK (1229grt) in 58‑07N,
02‑39W, CHARKOW (1206grt) in 58‑07N, 02‑39W, VIKING
(1153grt) in 58‑08N, 02‑38W, and BOTHAL (2109grt) in 58‑08N, 02‑38W.
Eleven crew were lost on steamer MINSK. Destroyer ESK
rescued nine survivors of steamer MINSK. Steamer VIKING
was fifteen crew lost. There were two survivors. Steamer BOTHAL had fifteen
PANGBOURNE and ROSS departed Gibraltar for England for duty in
Wednesday, 20 March
EDINBURGH entered the dockyard at South Shields, Tyne, started an
extensive refit for structural defects which was not completed until 20 October 1940.
GLASGOW completed repairs at Glasgow begun on 24
February. Light cruiser GLASGOW departed Glasgow on the 22nd for
At 0130, armed
merchant cruisers CILICIA, departing the
Clyde, and CARINTHIA, arriving in
the Clyde, collided in 56‑11N, 08‑20W. CILICIA had serious damage to her stem and had trouble
steering. Tugs ENGLISHMAN, diverted en route to assist Norwegian
steamer ASTRA (2164grt) whose engines had broken down, MARAUDER, ST MELLONS,
and destroyer GALLANT, which was detached from Tender C escort, were sent to
assist her. 20th Anti-submarine Group and and two ships of 29th
Anti-submarine Group also proceeded to the area. CILICIA was taken to
Belfast for repairs,
arriving on the 21st. CARINTHIA arrived in the
Clyde on the 21st and
was taken to Birkenhead on the 24th for repairs, escorted by
protection of anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO, on the 20th, German bombers
attacked convoy HN.20 and the Kirkwall section of convoy ON.21 between 1840
and 1952. They damaged steamer NORTHERN COAST (1211grt) 18 miles
east of Copinsay in 58‑53N, 02‑00W, steamer THISTLEBRAE
(4747grt), tanker DAGHESTAN (5742grt), Norwegian steamers ERLING
LINDOE (1281grt) and TORA ELISE (721grt) 53 miles off Noss Head,
Norwegian steamer SVINTA (1267grt) in 59N, 2W, and Swedish steamer UTKLIPPAN
(1599grt) 59 miles east of Scapa Flow in the North Sea. UTKLIPPAN was hit by an incendiary bomb and the crew abandoned ship, but
she was later reboarded and continued with the convoy. She was
the only unit of the Methil section damaged.
THISTLEBRAE and DAGHESTAN were in convoy HN.20. The remainder of the damaged
ships were in the Kirkwall section of
convoy ON.21. TORA ELISE returned to Kirkwall. Norwegian
steamer CYGNUS (1333grt) stood by SVINTA until tug ST MELLONS
arrived and took her in tow. The damaged ships of the Kirkwall section of
convoy ON.21 returned to Kirkwall.
SOUTHAMPTON arrived at Scapa Flow from Northern
Sperrbrecher 12 (steamer ALTENFELS: 8132grt) was sunk by British bombing off Ameland.
Attache personnel in Oslo reported sixty
British warships had been sighted off Egersund. All German submarines
proceeding to sea were ordered to positions off the Norwegian coast. U.21 and
U.22, en route to Pentland Firth, were ordered
to patrol areas off Lindesnes.
of battlecruiser REPULSE's screen dropped three depth charges on a submarine
contact northeast of Muckle Flugga in 63‑27N, 00‑36E at 1822. U.44
generally credited to the destroyer's attack had already been lost.
ARETHUSA, AURORA, PENELOPE, GALATEA of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron with
destroyers SOMALI (D.6), MASHONA, MATABELE, SIKH, FAME, FIREDRAKE,
FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT departed Scapa Flow at 2330 on
Operation DU. Destroyer FIREDRAKE attacked a submarine contact east of
Duncansby Head in 58-48N, 1-07W. The contact was later evaluated to be non
submarine. The force was divided into two groups. Force B of light cruisers
AURORA and GALATEA and destroyers SOMALI, SIKH, FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND patrolled
between Lister and Osko Light during the night of 21/22 March. Force C of
light cruisers ARETHUSA and PENELOPE with destroyers MASHONA, MATABELE, FAME, FORESIGHT
patrolled the Danish coast between Tyboron and Hantsholm Lights during the
night of 21/22 March. On the 22nd, both Force B and C swept together off the
Norwegian coast northward. The only contact of the operation was at 0922/22nd
when destroyer SOMALI encountered small German steamer BUTT (736grt) near
Obrestad. However, BUTT was able to escape into Norwegian waters.
departed Leith after repairs for Rosyth, where she
arrived that day.
WINDERMERE (560grt) of the 10th Anti-submarine Striking Force was damaged at
1944 by German bombers of KG26 in Moray Firth, north of
Kinnaird Head. She was towed by whaler THIRLMERE (560grt) to Aberdeen escorted by
PRINCESS VICTORIA and TEVIOTBANK, escorted by minelaying destroyers ESK,
EXPRESS, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, departed Invergordon on minelaying mission PA 4
in Moray Firth. This operation
was completed during the night of 20/21 March. After the operation, the
minelayers, escorted by destroyers ICARUS and IMPULSIVE returned to Rosyth. Destroyers
ESK and EXPRESS were sent to hunt submarines in Moray Firth.
trawler LADY PHILOMENA (417grt) collided with trawler LOWDOCK (276grt)
five miles east of Todd Head. LOWDOCK sank immediately and
the anti-submarine trawler was able to rescue only one survivor.
departed Methil escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group, sloop LONDONDERRY, destroyer
VIMIERA. On arrival off the Tyne, sloop LONDONDERRY and destroyer
VIMIERA escorted convoy FS.125.
departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WALLACE and sloop FLAMINGO. The
convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 22nd.
departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop
LONDONDERRY from convoy
MT.34. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 22nd.
was covering the operations of the 10th Mine Sweeping Flotilla between the
North Goodwin Light Vessel and Fairy Ban Buoy. Destroyer BEAGLE also covered
the operations on the 21st.
arrived at Dover at 1252 after
repairs at Chatham.
SUNFISH in the North Sea sighted a darkened ship, identified
possibly as German training ship BREMSE. Attack was not possible.
Mine Sweeping Flotilla composed of minesweepers GOSSAMER, LEDA, HARRIER,
SPEEDWELL, SALAMANDER, NIGER arrived at
Dover from the Humber. Minesweeper
SKIPJACK followed later and joined the Flotilla.
PHOBOS (7412grt) was damaged on a mine five miles east of north of North
Goodwins Light Vessel. Destroyer BRILLIANT assisted PHOBOS. The
survivors of the tanker were rescued by steamer SERULA (1600grt) and
the Greek TASSIA (3034grt). Tugs LADY BRASSEY from Dover and FABIA and
VINCIA from Ramsgate towed the tanker to Little Downs arriving at 2020. On
the 21st, she was taken to Shellhaven.
BARN HILL (5439grt), formerly of convoy HX.25A, was badly damaged by German
bombers of KG26, three miles SSW of Beachy Head, in 50-34N, 0-02W. Destroyer
BRILLIANT was on patrol nearby. Five crew were lost, and the
steamer was towed towards shore and beached three hundred yards southeast
of Langney Point on the 21st. Tug LADY BRASSEY departed Dover at
0126/24th to attempt to salvage the steamer, but returned to Dover shortly before
midnight. Salvage vessel DAPPER proceeded to the scene at daylight on the 25th and remained
there until the fire was extinguished. The steamer's back broke on the
26th and she was declared a total loss.
ALBURY and SALTASH departed Gibraltar for England for duty in
Home Waters. SALTASH had arrived at Gibraltar on the 19th.
FOUGUEUX, sloop CHEVREUIL, anti-submarine trawlers AJACIENE and TOULONNAISE
attacked a submarine contact north, northwest of Cape Ortegal, 44-10N, 8-34W.
The French ships were joined by British warships, but nothing came of the
Thursday, 21 March
Base ship DUNLUCE CASTLE caught fire at
Scapa Flow, and
was beached in
Ore Bay until the fire
was brought under control.
cruiser CAIRO and destroyers
HOSTILE, DIANA, FORESTER arrived at Sullom Voe at 0700 to refuel. The
destroyers departed at 1835 to rejoin the Fleet.
cruiser CALCUTTA departed Sullom
Voe for duty as the anti-aircraft ship for the Norwegian convoys.
CURLEW arrived at Scapa Flow.
destroyer JUPITER, detached from convoy ON.21, arrived at Scapa Flow at 1200 with
condenser trouble. Repairs were carried out by destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH.
Destroyer JUNO arrived at
Scapa Flow after repairs.
She was dispatched to replace destroyer JUPITER in convoy ON.21.
reported her asdic gear was damaged.
ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER departed Scapa Flow at 2316/20th to
Skerry Sound to guard the harbour entrance to Scapa Flow after the Tower of Cliff battery fired
on a U-boat in Holm Sound. The destroyers took up patrol in Skerry Sound to
guard the eastern entrance to Scapa Flow. ENCOUNTER attacked a submarine contact in Stronsay Firth in 58‑57N, 2‑37W.
The contact proved to be a wreck.
U.57 (U.22 -
Uboat.net; possibly U.22 - Axis Submarine Losses) sank
Norwegian steamer SVINTA (1267grt), which was in the tow of tug ST MELLONS after having been damaged in the bomber attack on convoy ON.21 on the
20th. SVINTA sank 4¾ miles 40° east of Copinsay. ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER were
diverted to SVINTA's position to search for the
WOLVERINE, VANSITTART, VIMY, VENETIA departed Plymouth to sweep prior
to meeting convoy HX.26 at 0745/24th.
departed Southend escotted by destroyer ANTELOPE from 21 to 23 March,
destroyer AMAZON from 22 to 23 March, destroyer WINDSOR on the 23rd. The
convoy dispersed on the 24th.
departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANOC and VERSATILE
from 21 to 24 March. The convoy dispersed on the 25th.
Convoy SA.33 of
one steamer departed Southampton, escorted by
sloops FOXGLOVE and ROSEMARY. The convoy arrived at Brest on the 23rd.
Convoy MT.35 of
eight ships departed Methil escorted by the 1st Anti-submarine Groups and
sloops FLEETWOOD and STORK. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.
Convoy FS.126 of
twenty one ships from the Tyne, four additional from Middlesbrough, seven
from the Humber departed the Tyne escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD and STORK from
convoy MT.35 and anti-submarine trawler LADY PHILOMENA (417grt). The convoy
arrived at Southend on the 23rd.
Due to increased
U-boat activity in Moray Firth, destroyer
IVANHOE and three trawlers on patrol in the Firth were placed under the
control of Vice Admiral, Orkneys and Shetlands. Destroyers ESK, EXPRESS,
IMPULSIVE, ICARUS of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla were placed under the orders
of Vice Admiral Orkneys and Shetlands to patrol within twenty miles of
58-08N, 2-28W between sunrise and sunset. The next day, these destroyers
patrolled within forty miles of 58-45N, 00-00E between sunrise and sunset.
Off Fro Havet
near Trondheim in 63N, 7E, destroyers
FEARLESS and HASTY entered Norwegian territorial waters to challenge German
steamer NORDLAND (1902grt), (or German liner ANTONIO DELFINO (13,589grt)) which
was travelling under the protection of Norwegian torpedo boat TRYGG. FEARLESS
was ordered away, but attempted again at Hustad, again unsuccessfully, to
intercept the German ship. This search continued from 0645 to 1415. Wartime
press reports and some postwar accounts identify this German ship as liner
EUROPA (49,746grt) which remained anchored at Bremerhaven from pre war
days throughout the war. German steamer NEUENFELS (8096grt) was challenged by
two Destroyers of Operation DU near Lindesnes on the 22nd and escaped into Rosfjord.
Submarine CLYDE departed Blyth for Scapa Flow. Submarine
CLYDE was joined off
Scapa Flow by
anti-submarine whaler BUTTERMERE (560grt) on the 23rd.Both ships arrived
later that day.
SNAPPER and SUNFISH were ordered to intercept German steamer CHARLOTTE CORDS (1779grt),
which was reported preparing to depart Rotterdam for Germany. Submarine SEAL
was ordered to intercept German steamer JOHANN BLUMENTHAL (1626grt) off
Arendal on the 23rd. Neither German ship was intercepted.
in the eastern Skagerrak stopped Norwegian steamer OTTAR JARL
(1459grt) for inspection, but she was allowed to continue. Shortly after
at 2146, eight miles ENE of Skagen, URSULA encountered German
steamer HEDDERNHEIM (4947grt) which had departed Haugesand on the 18th.
She fired three torpedoes, one of them hitting the German steamer, which sank in 57-48-40N, 10-53-30E. This was the first
sinking of a German merchant ship by a British submarine in the war. Submarine URSULA
was damaged by ice on this date.
BOADICEA took the Chief of the General Staff (CIGS) to Boulogne. The CIGS
returned to Dover on the 25th on
U.38 sank Danish
steamer ALGIER (1654grt) and CHRISTIANBORG (3270grt) in 60‑17N,
02‑49W. Five crew were lost from ALGIER and one from CHRISTIANBORG. The
eighteen survivors from ALGIER were
rescued by British trawler MANX KING and landed at Scalloway on the 21st. The
after part of CHRISTIANBORG was sunk by gunfire from armed
boarding vessel DISCOVERY II later the same day. The armed boarding vessel
landed the survivors at Kirkwall.
departed Halifax at 0900
escorted by Canadian destroyers OTTAWA and ST LAURENT. The destroyers
turned over the convoy to Armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA and French submarine
SIDI FERRUCH at 1745/22nd. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on 2 April.
Destroyers VERSATILE and WINCHELSEA escorted the convoy from 2 to 4 April,
when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.
with thirty six ships departed Gibraltar and was given
ocean escort by sloops SCARBOROUGH and WELLINGTON from 21 to 30 March.
In Home Waters, the convoy split and convoy HG.23A was escorted by the sloops.
In Home Waters, convoy HG.23 was joined by destroyers CAMPBELL and WALKER
from convoy OG.23 and destroyer VOLUNTEER from 27 to 30 March. The convoy
arrived at Liverpool on the 30th.
SIMOUN arrived at Gibraltar from Casablanca and sailed for
DANAE departed Singapore on patrol
Friday, 22 March
BARHAM was undocked at Liverpool.
ARK ROYAL, after deplaning at Portland, sailed from
Plymouth for the Mediterranean the afternoon
of 22 March escorted by destroyers IMOGEN and ISIS which returned to Portsmouth the next day. On
the 25th, ARK ROYAL was joined by destroyers ACTIVE and BULLDOG, which
departed Gibraltar on the 24th. Australian destroyer VOYAGER departed on the
25th and relieved destroyer ACTIVE in 36N, 7-30W. ARK ROYAL, BULLDOG and VOYAGER passed
Gibraltar on the 25th and
arrived at Malta on the 28th.
She soon joined Aircraft carrier GLORIOUS for flying off exercises for their air
cruisers MALOJA and DERBYSHIRE arrived in the Clyde after Northern
cruiser TRANSYLVANIA departed the Clyde on Northern
GLASGOW departed Belfast for the Clyde where she
arrived later that day.
Destroyers HAVELOCK and HAVANT
arrived at Plymouth.
after conducting a full calibre shoot in the Firth arrived at Rosyth.
escorting convoy SL.23, dropped depth charges on a submarine contact ten
miles south of Portland Bill. Destroyer HIGHLANDER, which had arrived at
Portland that day to
work up, departed Portland to assist.
However, with defective anti-submarine gear, destroyer HIGHLANDER was
recalled. Motor Anti-submarine Boats 2 and 6 also departed Portland to assist WHITSHED.
with seven British, eighteen Norwegian, five Swedish, four Danish, four
Finnish, one Estonian ship departed Bergen escorted by
destroyers JAVELIN, JANUS, ECLIPSE and submarine PORPOISE. Destroyer JUNO rendezvoused
with the convoy later that same day. Cover for the convoy was supplied by
light cruiser SHEFFIELD. Antiaircraft support was supplied by
anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA. At 2158/22nd,
SHEFFIELD attacked a submarine contact west of
Utvaer in 61-05N, 3-35E, and at 0215/23rd, a contact east of Muckle Flugga in 60-55N, 1-40E. The nine ships of
the west coast ships were joined by destroyers COSSACK (D.4) and GURKHA,
which departed the Clyde at 1200/21st,
at daylight on the 22nd. COSSACK and GURKHA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1730/24th
after the west coast section of the convoy had been dispersed off Cape Wrath. ECLIPSE, which had been separated in heavy weather, patrolled off Buchanness
until she could rejoin the convoy.
arrived at Methil at 1100/25th with JAVELIN, JANUS, JUNO, ECLIPSE and PORPOISE.
ELECTRA and ESCAPADE at 1050 were ordered to hunt a U-boat reported by air
near Sule Skerry in 59-12N, 4-36W. At 1830, another aircraft sighted a U-boat
in 59-26N, 3-54W. ELECTRA and ESCAPADE were ordered to this
position and arrived on station at 2000.
ESKIMO and PUNJABI departed the Clyde at 2200
escorting tankers WAR PINDARI (5559grt) and BELGOL (2648grt) to Scapa Flow. Tanker
PETROBUS joined the convoy from Stornoway. She had been at
Stornoway since 17 March when her escort was ordered post haste to Scapa Flow.
DELIGHT, HUNTER, ILEX, FEARLESS arrived at Sullom Voe at 1630 for refuelling.
They put to sea at 0740/23rd.
departed Blyth on patrol.
SEAWOLF departed Harwich on patrol.
TRIBUNE departed Rosyth for trials and exercises, and returned later in the day. Her engine trials were not satisfactory and she
was ordered to the Clyde for repairs.
Brest on the 17th and calling at Cherbourg, French submarine depot ship JULES
VERNE arrived at Harwich with 600 ton submarines SYBILLE, ANTIOPE, AMAZONE of
the 16th Submarine Division, escorted by French destroyer FOUDROYANT and
sloop AMIRAL MOUCHEZ. In the Downs, the French
escort was relieved by British destroyer CODRINGTON and Polish destroyers BLYSKAWICA,
GROM, BURZA of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla. These ships were formed as the
10th Submarine Flotilla to aid the British in the patrol of the North Sea.
BOADICEA was covering the operations of the 10th Minesweeping Flotilla
between North Goodwin Bank and Fairy Bank Buoy.
of the 5th Mine Sweeping Flotilla with Trinity House Vessel ARGUS laid three
light buoys along the North Goodwins-Wandelaar searched channel.
trawler LE TIGER (516grt) was damaged when she struck wreckage in 58-12N,
02-28W. Another trawler of the 10th Anti-submarine Group was sent to assist
and she safely arrived at Aberdeen later that day.
departed the Tyne escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine
Group and sloop HASTINGS.
departed Southend escorted by sloop LOWESTOFT and destroyer
VALOROUS. The convoy arrived on the 23rd.
Convoy BC.31 of
steamers BARON CARNEGIE, KERMA, LOCHEE, PEMBROKE COAST, SCHOLAR
(Commodore) departed Bristol Channel escorted by
destroyer VIVACIOUS. The convoy arrived at Loire on the 24th.
departed Freetown escorted by
armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY until 5 April. On
5 April destroyers HAVANT, VANQUISHER, WALKER, WINDSOR joined the
convoy and escorted it to its arrival on 8 April.
KENT completed her
refit at Colombo.
Saturday, 23 March
cruisers CIRCASSIA and LETITIA arrived in the Clyde from Northern
was damaged in a collision with trawler MANX ADMIRAL (219grt) ten
miles due north of Kinnaird Head. EXPRESS was taken to Hartlepool for repairs
arriving on the 28th.
At 1430, lookout
trawler LOCH ASSATER (210grt, Temporary Skipper G.D. Greening RNR) was sunk on a
British defensive minefield 61 miles north east of Kinnaird Head. The
entire crew was picked up by trawler STRATHTUMMEL
(210grt). LOCH ASSATER had only been hired on 24
BRILLIANT on patrol searched unsuccessfully
for the pilot of a downed
Hurricane southeast of Folkestone.
ship EDMUND HUGO STINNES IV (2189grt), en route to Copenhagen, was
intercepted by submarine TRUANT (TRIDENT - Seekrieg) at 2330 in the
Skagerrak six miles 306°
from Bovbjerg. The submarine fired five warning shots, but the German
steamer entered territorial waters, scuttled herself
and was finished
off by TRUANT with two torpedoes two miles 294° from Thors Minde Light House.
The Master was taken prisoner.
GALATEA, ARETHUSA, PENELOPE arrived at Rosyth after DU. Light cruiser AURORA
and destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, MATABELE, SIKH arrived off Scapa Flow, but were
unable to enter due to low visibility until early on the 24th. SOMALI, MATABELE, MASHONA, SIKH carried out an independent anti-submarine
sweep and entered Scapa Flow at 0900/24th. AURORA and destroyers
FOXHOUND, FIREDRAKE of operation DU arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100.
departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow.
arrived at Invergordon.
Sloop AUCKLAND arrived at
SPEARFISH and destroyer FAULKNOR were engaged in anti-submarine exercises
from Scapa Flow.
SUNFISH and SNAPPER arrived at Harwich after patrol.
ATHERSTONE was completed, the first of a large class of escort
destroyers. Following working up at Portland, she was
attached to the Home Fleet.
Convoy MT.36 of
thirty three ships departed Methil escorted by destroyers WHITLEY and WESTMINSTER. Destroyer
WESTMINSTER attacked a
submarine contact 6½ miles 135° from
May Island. The contact
was later found to be a wreck. After MT.36 arrived off the Tyne, destroyers
WHITLEY and WESTMINSTER escorted convoy
departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIMIERIA and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy
arrived at the Tyne on the 24th.
departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY and
WESTMINSTER. The convoy
arrived at Southend on the 25th.
At 1144, armed
boarding vessel NORTHERN REWARD sighted a submarine near wreckage and empty
rafts and attacked the submarine west of Foula Island in 60‑12N,
3‑50W. No damage was done to U.38. Contact was later lost in rain
squalls. Destroyers ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER and armed boarding vessel DISCOVERY
II joined to assist in the hunt. Destroyer FAULKNOR (D.8) departed Scapa Flow at 1500 to join
the search. At 1705, a British flying boat dropped bombs on a submarine
contact in this area in 60-16N, 3-22W. At 0600/24th, FAULKNOR
departed the search area for Kirkwall.
trawler ST KENAN (565grt) made an attack on a submarine contact in 59-04.20N,
06-00.04W of Salisker. Anti-submarine trawler ASTON VILLA (546grt) was also in
the area. Off the Butt of Lewis in 58-41.5N, 6-14W, anti-submarine trawler
ANGLE (531grt) made an attack on a submarine contact.
ALICE (527grt) made
an attack on a submarine contact in Liverpool Bay in 53-29.5N,
GERMAN MERCHANT SHIPS IN DUTCH EAST INDIES
Malaya Force was formed to watch German merchant ships in Dutch East
Indies harbours. Destroyers STRONGHOLD and TENEDOS departed Singapore on the 26th and
were stationed off Sabang to watch LINDENFELS (8457grt), MONI
RICKMERS (5272grt), SOPHIE RICKMERS (7033grt), WASGENWALD
(4990grt) and WERDENFELS (6318grt). Light cruiser DAUNTLESS patrolled off
Batavia to watch
NORDMARK (7750grt), RENDSBURG (6200grt) and VOGTLAND (6608grt). Light cruiser
DURBAN departed Singapore on the 25th, and patrolled off
Padang to watch
BITTERFELD (7659grt), FRANKEN (7789grt), RHEINLAND (6622grt),
(2191grt), and WUPPERTAL (6737grt). Light
cruiser DANAE departed Singapore on the 21st, and patrolled off
Surabaya to watch CASSEL (6047grt),
ESSEN (5158grt) and NAUMBURG (5878grt). Sloop
STASSFURT (7395grt) at Tjilitjap.
Submarines PERSEUS departed Singapore on the 27th and
RAINBOW departed Singapore on the 25th, and were stationed in
the Sunda Strait to guard the
German ships' escape route. These patrols were maintained until mid April. Some
six weeks later when Germany invaded Holland, all the
merchant ships, except SOPHIE RICKMERS which scuttled herself in harbour,
were seized by Holland for service
under the Dutch flag. Steamers BITTERFELD, WUPPTERTAL, RHEINLAND were
captured by boarding parties from Dutch cruiser JAVA in Padang.
German steamer SCHEER (8298grt) at Makassar and German
steamer FRIDERUN (2464grt) at Menado were taken over as MANGKAI and
Sunday, 24 March
BECHEVILLE (4228grt) reported she was attacked by a German submarine in
59-21.2N, 2-27W, northwest of the Orkneys. Destroyer FIREDRAKE made an attack
on a submarine contact in the Pentland Skerries in 58-42N, 2-45W. This
contact was later assessed as non submarine. Destroyers SOMALI (D.6),
MATABELE, SIKH departed Scapa Flow at 1330. At
1550, MATABELE attacked a submarine contact. Destroyers FOXHOUND, FAME, FORESIGHT
later departed Scapa Flow to hunt for the U-boat. FAME attacked a
submarine contact at 1900 east, southeast of Copinsay in 58-20N, 2-15W. Destroyers
ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER were searching for a submarine west of the Orkneys.
They were ordered to search for the submarine reported. Destroyers IVANHOE,
ESK, ICARUS from Moray Firth Patrol were also ordered into the area. MATABELE, SIKH, SOMALI,
attacked contacts off Auskerry in 58-58.5N, 2-17W. MATABELE remained on the
location of this attack. ICARUS and IVANHOE
patrolled the approaches to Stromsay Firth. FORESIGHT attacked a
contact at 1930 in 58-50N, 1-51W, east, southeast of Copinsay, but this was
later found to be a wreck. SOMALI, SIKH, FAME, FORESIGHT,
FOXHOUND searched the area 17° of 58-57N, 2-12W during the night.
destroyer FAULKNOR departed her anti-submarine patrol northwest of the
Orkneys to proceed to Kirkwall to escort the
Kirkwall section of
PUNJABI arrived at Scapa Flow escorting tanker PETROBUS from Stornoway.
rendezvoused off Rosyth at 1900 to escort submarine TRIBUNE as far as Scapa Flow.
and HOTSPUR arrived at Sullom Voe to refuel at 0900, and departed at 1900 for anti-submarine patrol west of Fair Island Channel.
IMPULSIVE arrived at Invergordon.
departed Blyth on patrol.
Convoy ON.22 of
five British, nineteen Norwegian, three Swedish, four Finnish ships (leader
Norwegian steamer BREDA (1260grt))
departed Methil at 1500 escorted by destroyers KIMBERLEY, KASHMIR, ESCAPADE, ZULU.
Three ships were detached prior to the convoy crossing the North Sea; British
steamers STRAIT FISHER (573grt) were detached for Scapa Flow and HARLAW
(1141grt) for Invergordon. The convoy was joined the next day by destroyers
FAULKNOR and TARTAR with a contingent of eight ships from Kirkwall. Light cruisers
AURORA and SHEFFIELD and anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO provided close
support for the convoy. At 1655/23rd, SHEFFIELD attacked a
submarine contact west of Foula Island in 60-16N,
3-22W. Convoy ON.22 arrived without event on the 27th at Bergen. On the 29th
SHEFFIELD arrived at Scapa Flow, AURORA at Rosyth, and
CAIRO at Sullom Voe.
OSTPREUSSEN (3030grt) ran aground five miles 224° from Hirsthals Light. Submarine
TRIAD was sent to investigate, but was not able to attack. The German steamer
was refloated on the 30th.
cruiser AURANIA departed the Clyde for Northern
cruiser SCOTSTOUN arrived in the Clyde after Northern
PROTECTOR arrived at Rosyth from Plymouth.
departed Southend escorted by destroyers WHITSHED from 24 to 26 March and
MONTROSE from 25 to 26 March. The convoy dispersed on the 28th.
departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WITHERINGTON from
24 to 27 March, VANQUISHER from 24 to 26 March, WHIRLWIND on the 25th. The
convoy dispersed on the 27th.
Convoy FN.128 of
eighteen ships departed Southend escorted by sloops FLEETWOOD and STORK and
destroyer JUNO. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 26th.
Convoy MT.37 of
eleven ships departed Methil escorted by sloops AUCKLAND and HASTINGS
and trawlers of
the 19th Anti-submarine Group. At 1237,
AUCKLAND off Berwick in
55-49N, 1-55W attacked a submarine contact. HASTINGS was detached to
stand by the contact and AUCKLAND rejoined the
convoy. Two trawlers were detached to assist HASTINGS in her search
which lasted until
1630 before rejoining the convoy. The contact was later assessed as non
submarine. After convoy MT.37's arrival in the Tyne, AUCKLAND and HASTINGS escorted convoy
FS.128 from the Tyne.
departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop AUCKLAND and HASTINGS. The convoy
became separated in fog. AUCKLAND with 15 ships
was able to proceed, but HASTINGS with 25 ships
anchored off Cromer Knoll. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 26th.
departed the Tyne escorted by 23rd Anti-submarine Group,
sloop LOWESTOFT, destroyer VALOROUS.
Convoy BC.30 of
seven steamers, including BARON GRAHAM (Commodore) and MARSLEW departed Loire escorted by
destroyer VIVACIOUS. The convoy arrived In Bristol Channel on the 25th.
In an air crash,
Surgeon Lt Cdr G.A. Lawson, MB, ChB and Surgeon Lt P.G. Stainton, MRCS, LRCP,
from heavy cruiser SHROPSHIRE, were killed.
She had just completed refitting at Simonstown begun in February.
destroyer VOYAGER arrived at Gibraltar for escort
duties with aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL.
Mid afternoon on
the 24th, French destroyer LA RAILLEUSE of the 5th Destroyer Division
departed Casablanca on patrol. In
the channel, LA RAILLEUSE was blown in two in an accidental explosion of one
of her torpedoes. Twenty eight
crew were killed and twenty four were wounded.
cancelled Finland operations,
armed merchant cruiser VILLE D'ALGER and troopship DJENNE departed Cherbourg, escorted by
destroyer CYCLONE, arriving at Brest on the 22nd. The
cruiser and troopship departed on the 24th with troopships PRESIDENT DOUMER
and CHAMPOLLION, escorted by light cruiser EMILE BERTIN and large destroyers
VAUTOUR, ALBATROS, BISON, CHEVALIER PAUL. Troopship DJENNE and destroyer
CHEVALIER PAUL arrived at Casablanca on the 27th.
The other three liners and the remaining escort ships passed Gibraltar on the 27th and
arrived at Oran on the 28th. The
troopship and destroyer departed Casablanca on the 30th to
return to Brest for Norwegian
operations. They arrived on 1 April.
French armed merchant
cruiser COLOMBIE departed Brest, escorted by
large destroyer TARTU. The destroyer
was detached off Gibraltar and the cruiser proceeded to Oran. TARTU arrived at
Casablanca on the 27th.
The cruiser arrived at Oran on the 28th. The
destroyer departed Casablanca on the 31st to
return to Brest for Norwegian
operations. TARTU arrived at
Brest on 2 April.
Monday, 25 March
GLASGOW departed the Clyde on Northern
YORK departed Rosyth
for Scapa Flow, where she arrived on the 26th in
preparation of setting out on Northern Patrol.
FURIOUS departed Plymouth at 1600/25th
escorted by destroyers ISIS, HAVOCK, IMOGEN arrived in the Clyde at 1800/26th. The
destroyers, joined by destroyer MOHAWK, went on to Scapa Flow.
arrived at Scapa Flow at 0015 for repair to her bow protection
arrived at 1700 at Scapa Flow with
tankers BELGOL and WAR PINDARI.
IMPULSIVE departed Invergordon to relieve destroyer IVANHOE on Moray Firth
departed Rosyth for exercises, and returned later in the day.
THISTLE and SEAL arrived at Rosyth from patrol.
TRIDENT departed Rosyth on patrol.
URSULA and L.23 arrived at Blyth after patrol.
Convoy OG.23 was
formed with fifty one ships from convoys OA.115G, which departed Southend on
the 23rd, and OB.115G, which departed Liverpool on the 23rd
escorted by destroyers WALKER, WANDERER, VOLUNTEER. Destroyers WAKEFUL and
VOLUNTEER escorted the convoy from 25 to 26 March and were then detached to
convoy HG.23. WANDERER also escorted the convoy from 25 to 26 March.
Sloop ABERDEEN escorted the
convoy from 25 to 27 March. Destroyer CAMPBELL escorted the convoy from 25 to
27 March. French destroyer TIGRE and patrol
vessel VIKINGS escorted the convoy from 26 to 31 March. Destroyer DOUGLAS
joined the convoy on the 31st. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar later on the
U.47 at 0600
sank Danish steamer BRITTA (1146grt) in 60‑00N, 04‑19W, off Sule
Skerry. Five survivors were picked up by Danish steamer NANCY (1153grt) which
was in company, but thirteen crew went missing.
ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER, returning to Scapa Flow, proceeded to
the location and ELECTRA stood by the rescue area. At 1241,
ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER were ordered to return to Scapa Flow where they
arrived at 1830. Destroyers HOTSPUR and HERO from Sullom Voe and SOMALI,
MATABELE, FAME, FORESIGHT, SIKH, FOXHOUND from
anti-submarine operations east of the Orkneys were sent to the area. Destroyers
COSSACK (D.4), ESKIMO, PUNJABI departed Scapa Flow at 0700. The
wreckage of BRITTA was later found eighteen miles from the reported
anti-submarine operations on 25 and 26 March, COSSACK, SIKH,
FOXHOUND, HOTSPUR, HERO were searching in the area 61N to 60N, 2W to 4W. They were joined by destroyer NUBIAN after escorting submarine TRIBUNE
and destroyer FIREDRAKE after repairs from destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH. Destroyer
FIREDRAKE was then ordered to join destroyers ICARUS and IVANHOE and the
anti-submarine trawlers on the Moray Firth patrol. In
anti-submarine operations on 25 and 26 March, destroyers SOMALI (D.6),
ESKIMO, PUNJABI searched the eastern half of a patrol area from 60N to 59N,
3W to 5W. MATABELE, FAME, FORESIGHT
searched the western half of this area.
NUBIAN, which had completed refitting and degaussing at Rosyth on the 24th,
rendezvoused off Rosyth at 1900/24th escorting submarine TRIBUNE. Both ships
arrived safely at Scapa Flow at 1400/25th. NUBIAN departed
Scapa Flow and joined the destroyers searching for
the U.47 which had sunk Danish steamer BRITTA. The hunt was unsuccessful and
NUBIAN damaged her asdic dome. TRIBUNE departed Scapa Flow on the 28th and
was joined off Switha Gate at 1400 by destroyer FIREDRAKE which departed
Invergordon at 0900/27th. FIREDRAKE escorted TRIBUNE to Greenock for the repair of
further defects, arriving on the 30th, and completing on 10 May. FIREDRAKE then went on to
Cardiff for repairs and
refit. Returning to Scapa Flow, NUBIAN brushed
destroyer MASHONA while changing berths requiring that NUBIAN go back into
the dockyard for repairs. NUBIAN departed Scapa Flow on the 30th for
the Tyne, and left the dockyard there on 11 April for
duty with the Home Fleet.
PRINCESS VICTORIA and TEVIOTBANK departed Rosyth for the Tyne, escorted by
sloop FLAMINGO and destroyer WALLACE. The ships arrived in the Tyne on the 26th and
joined convoy FS.130 for passage to Immingham. PRINCESS VICTORIA had
some damage to her mine chutes to be repaired at Immingham.
departed the Tyne at 2100 escorted by sloop FLAMINGO and
destroyers WALLACE and JUNO. The convoy
arrived at Southend on the 27th.
tanker DAGHESTAN (5742grt), en route from Scapa Flow to Sullom Voe
escorted by armed boarding vessel NORTHERN DAWN and anti-submarine trawler
BRONTES (428grt), nine miles 212° from Copinsay. She had been
lightly damaged on the 20th in the German air attacks on convoy HN.20.
ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, FIREDRAKE and the 19th and 21st Anti-submarine Striking
Forces were sent to search for the submarine. Tugs BUCCANEER and KROOMAN were sent to assist the tanker,
which lost three crew and one gunner. Nineteen survivors rescued by anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN
DAWN and six by anti-submarine trawler BRONTES.
left her convoy at 0800/25th to search for a submarine off Bude, and met
VIVACIOUS at noon on the 26th. ACASTA attacked a submarine contact off Bull Point in 51‑20N, 4‑55W.
trawler KIRKELLA (436grt) attacked a submarine contact at 1420/25th off Bull
Point in 51-19-48N, 04-20-20W. Anti-submarine trawler BANDOLERO (440grt) was
in company, and ACASTA and VIVACIOUS joined the trawlers at this
location. On 1 April, destroyer HAVANT searched a wreck at this location.
brought the British Chief of the General Staff (CIGS) back from Boulogne.
DRECHTDIJK (9338grt) went ashore on the Varne, and anti-submarine trawler
KINGSTON CRYSTAL (433grt) was sent to investigate. The steamer was refloated
under her own power before midnight, and tug LADY BRASSEY escorted her to one mile northeast of Folkestone Gate to anchor.
departed Gibraltar with twenty seven ships. French
destroyer CHACAL and auxiliary patrol vessel CAPITAINE ARMAND escorted the
convoy from 25 to 31 March. Destroyers BROKE and VANSITTART escorted the
convoy from 31 March to 3 April when it arrived at Liverpool.
departed Halifax at 0900
escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY, RESTIGOUCHE,
SKEENA, which were
detached on the 26th. Ocean escort for the convoy was battleship REVENGE. At
0950/26th, SKEENA was detached to
join battleship MALAYA at 0750/27th. The battleship was returning to Halifax after escorting
convoy HX.26. REVENGE was detached on 3 April while destroyers ACASTA,
VISCOUNT, WHITEHALL, WITCH escorted
the convoy from 6 to 9 April, when it arrived at Liverpool.
FORBIN stopped Portuguese steamer LIMA (3881grt) off
Lisbon. A German
citizen, accused of espionage, was taken off the steamer and taken into
Tuesday, 26 March
NEWCASTLE departed Scapa Flow for refitting
in the Tyne.
SOUTHAMPTON departed Scapa Flow on Northern
cruisers DERBYSHIRE, WOLFE, LETITIA departed the Clyde on Northern
Patrol, and were given air escort from the Clyde.
IVANHOE departed Invergordon to relieve destroyer ICARUS on Moray Firth patrol.
arrived at Rosyth after patrol.
was docked at Blyth for repairs of ice damage sustained on
escorting the Home Fleet, attacked a submarine contact at 0959 ENE of the Faroes in 63-33N, 4-56W. This contact was later assessed as
probably a wreck.
destroyers HERO and HOTSPUR, after a search for a German submarine, joined
the Home Fleet in 63-00N, 4-00W.
FIREDRAKE attacked a submarine contact ESE of Copinsay in 58-49N,
2-16W. The contact was found to be non submarine.
ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow at 1500 for a full calibre shoot
southwest of the Orkneys, and then proceeded to Rosyth.
Destroyer ESK, after repairs, departed
Scapa Flow at 1945 for a patrol
station between Copinsay and Brough Head, before joining the Moray Firth Patrol at 0800/27th.
departed Southend escorted by destroyer WHITEHALL on 26 and 27 March
and destroyer VANESSA on the 27th. The convoy dispersed on the 29th.
did not sail. OB 118GF departed Liverpool on the 26th and
merged as OG.24F (q.v.)
departed Liverpool on the 26th escorted by destroyers
VERSATILE and WINCHELSEA.
Convoy FN.129 of
21 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers WHITLEY and WESTMINSTER. The convoy arrived
in the Tyne on the 28th.
departed Methil escorted by the 1st Anti-submarine Group, sloop LOWESTOFT, and destroyer
VALOROUS. On convoy MT.38's arrival off the Tyne, convoy FS.130, which
included minelayers TEVIOTBANK and PRINCESS VICTORIA, departed the Tyne
escorted by LOWESTOFT and VALOROUS. The minelayers arrived at
the Humber on the 27th. The convoy arrived at
Southend on the 28th.
trawler LADY ELSA (518grt) at 1550 attacked a submarine contact off Grimness,
Ronaldsay in 58-47-24N, 2-46-12W. The contact was non submarine.
trawler DANEMAN (516grt) attacked a submarine contact at 2359/25th east of
Halero Head, South Ronaldsay in 58-45-30N, 2-48-42W. Anti-submarine trawler
MAN O' WAR (517grt)
also attacked the contact. At 1440, anti-submarine trawler MAN O' WAR attacked
a submarine contact off Burray Ness in 58-51N, 2-52W.
U.21 ran aground
off Oddknuppen Island in 58‑28N,
07‑20E, near Ryvinga, southeast of Mandel. U.1 was ordered
to assist, but was unable to locate her. U.22 was also ordered to assist,
but had already been lost. U.21 was
refloated by a German trawler and taken to Evjemoen in Mandalsfjord
where she arrived on the 27th. She was interned on the 31st, but was only in
Norwegian hands for a short time as she returned to German control on 9 April when
U.38 at 0100
sank Norwegian steamer COMETA (3749grt) 67 miles 315° from Noup Head in
60‑06N, 04‑36W. COMETA had been stopped earlier by armed boarding
vessel KINGSTON PERIDOT and a prize crew of one officer and four ratings put
on board for the passage to Kirkwall. The survivors were picked up by armed boarding vessel NORTHERN
DUNEDIN arrived at
arrived at Gibraltar escorting steamer SEVILLA,
carrying whale oil from Freetown.
DIAMOND covered cable ship MIRROR repairing the St Vincent to Bathurst cable five to
nine miles south of St Vincent Verde Island.
RODNEY, VALIANT, WARSPITE and destroyers FEARLESS, FORESTER, HUNTER, HASTY,
HERO, HOTSPUR, HARDY (D.2), HOSTILE, HYPERION arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100. Battlecruisers
RENOWN and REPULSE and destroyers INGLEFIELD, DELIGHT, DIANA, ILEX, FORTUNE,
BEDOUIN arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100.
From dawn on the
27th to 0900, destroyers SOMALI (D.6), ESKIMO, PUNJABI, FAME, FORESIGHT,
MATABELE swept southbound along the west coast of the Orkneys from Brough
Head, then westward along the coast of Scotland to 4-10W before arriving
arrived at Scapa Flow at 1600/27th. Destroyers COSSACK, SIKH,
NUBIAN, FOXHOUND remained in the northern area until ordered at 1322 to return
to Scapa Flow for shelter from heavy weather. They arrived at 1700.
cruisers SALOPIAN and WORCESTERSHIRE arrived at Greenock from Northern
cruiser MALOJA departed Greenock on Northern
YORK departed Scapa Flow on Northern
cruiser PATROCLUS departed Liverpool on Northern
departed Hartlepool after repairs for Scapa Flow, and arrived at
0845/28th. Flotilla Commander Captain D.4 transferred from destroyer COSSACK
back to AFRIDI.
ELECTRA arrived at Rosyth from Scapa Flow.
Destroyer GRIFFIN departed Dundee after repair
for the Moray Firth Patrol.
departed Leith and arrived at Rosyth after refitting.
IVANHOE, IMPULSIVE, FIREDRAKE, ESK on Moray Firth Patrol proceeded to
Invergordon for shelter from heavy weather, arriving at 1930.
ISIS, HAVOCK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1545 from
arrived at Scapa Flow at 1900 after repairs from her collision
in the Clyde on the 2nd.
STERLET and SEAWOLF were reassigned billets in the North Sea after a report
of two German K cruisers being at sea.
with four British, nineteen Norwegian, ten Swedish, three Danish, four
Finnish ships departed Bergen escorted by
destroyers KIMBERLEY, KASHMIR, ESCAPADE,
ZULU, FAULKNOR, TARTAR. The six ships of the west coast section of the convoy
was escorted by KIMBERLEY and
KASHMIR. After the convoy was dispersed off Cape Wrath, KIMBERLEY and KASHMIR arrived at
Scapa Flow at 1800/29th. On
the morning of 30 March, convoy HN.22 arrived at Methil, escorted by
FAULKNOR, ZULU, TARTAR and ESCAPADE.
with six British, eleven Norwegian, four Swedish, two Danish, two Finnish
ships for Norway and one for Aberdeen departed Methil at 1400 escorted by
destroyers JAVELIN (SO), JANUS, JUNO, ECLIPSE and
submarine PORPOISE. Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Sullom
Voe on the 29th and provided anti-aircraft support for the convoy. At
0130/29th, destroyers ESKIMO, PUNJABI, BEDOUIN (took over as SO) departed
Kirkwall and joined the
convoy with the two ships of the Kirkwall section. These
two steamers in the sailing breakdown from Methil. Destroyer JANUS was
detached for boiler cleaning and repairs. Light cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA
departed Rosyth on the 28th and provided close cover for the convoy. On the
28th, anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO departed Sullom
Voe to assist when German aircraft began to shadow the convoy. On the 31st,
convoy ON.23 arrived at Bergen.
Sloop ROCHESTER was damaged in
collision with steamer LONGFORD (1913grt), and was repaired
at Liverpool, completing on 27 June.
departed Southend, escorted by sloops AUCKLAND and HASTINGS. The convoy
arrived in the Tyne on the 29th.
Convoy FS.131 of
thirty one ships departed the Tyne escorted by
sloop PELICAN and destroyer VIVIEN. The convoy arrived at Southend on the
destroyers FOUDROYANT and BOULONNAIS arrived at Dover with General Gamelin and Amiral Darlan, the heads of the French Military and Naval Missions
respectively. After conferences, FOUDROYANT left on the morning of 29 March with Amiral
Darlan and his party, and BOULONNAIS that afternoon with General Gamelin and his party.
CERES and COLOMBO departed Colombo for Australia, reached
Fremantle on 12 April, and then Singapore on the 31st
both were held for convoy duty from that port.
TROCAS (7406grt) was disabled off the Italian coast with a broken propeller
shaft, and taken in tow by Australian destroyer STUART which was
relieved later in the day by tug RESPOND. The tanker was safely taken
trawler VICTORIA and submarines ESPADON and FRESNEL departed Casablanca on the 26th and
arrived at Gibraltar. The trawler departed Gibraltar on the 29th to
return to Casablanca. FRESNEL carried
on escorted by destroyer SIMOUN, arrived at Gibraltar that day and
reached Toulon on the 30th.
Meanwhile, ESPADON remained at Gibraltar until 4 April
for anti-submarine exercises.
HUNTLEY arrived at Suez for duty with
the Mediterranean Fleet, and remained until May when she was transferred to
the East Indies Command.
Thursday, 28 March
HOOD departed Scapa Flow at 1200, escorted by destroyers
FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE for the Clyde. Destroyer
FORESIGHT departed Scapa Flow with the HOOD,
but was storm damaged on the 28th with damage to her gun shield and
forecastle, and had to return to Scapa Flow. On the 30th,
she departed Scapa Flow for Grimsby where she was
under repair until 1 May. En route on the 28th, FORTUNE made a
submarine contact off North Minch in 58‑11N,
05‑43W, but the search was unsuccessful. The battlecruiser and her escorts
arrived in the Clyde at 0700/29th. Destroyer KELVIN arrived
in the Clyde at 1800/29th after completing repairs at
Liverpool, and was ordered to escort HOOD to Devonport. The
ships departed at 0340/30th for Devonport arriving at
1100/31st. However, defects delayed KELVIN and she did not leave
until 1430 and then for Scapa Flow. After
retubing, HOOD was to be deployed in the Mediterranean,
but she was refitting until 27 May when she sailed for
Liverpool for final
repairs ending on 12 June 1940.
DEVONSHIRE arrived in the
MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM arrived at
Scapa Flow from Northern
FIREDRAKE going alongside destroyer ICARUS at Invergordon was damaged, with ICARUS
receiving superficial damage. FIREDRAKE was seaworthy except in
heavy seas. Submarine TRIBUNE departed Scapa Flow on the 28th and
was joined off Switha Gate at 1400 by FIREDRAKE which departed Invergordon at 0900/27th,
and escorted her to Greenock for repairs of
further defects. Arriving on the 30th, the submarine's repairs were
completed on 10 May. FIREDRAKE went on to Cardiff for repairs and
departed Scapa Flow at 2015 to pick up the crew of a Skua
aircraft 14 miles 132° from Copinsay. They were picked up at 2200 and HASTY
returned to Scapa Flow.
Destroyer GRIFFIN arrived at
Invergordon from Moray Firth Patrol.
IMPULSIVE, ICARUS, ESK departed Invergordon for the Humber, where they
arrived on the 29th.
NUBIAN, DIANA, FAME reported damage
from heavy weather.
IVANHOE departed Invergordon for conversion to minelayer at Chatham.
arrived at Rosyth after patrol.
was undocked at Rosyth.
was formed with 28 ships from convoys OA.118GF, which departed Southend on the 27th escorted by destroyers WAKEFUL and BROKE,
which departed Liverpool 26 March with destroyer MACKAY and sloop
FOLKESTONE. The convoy was escorted by destroyers VORTIGERN and WATCHMAN,
from Portsmouth and Devonport,
respectively, from 29 March to 4 April. On 2 April, destroyer WISHART joined
the escort. The convoy
arrived on 4 April at Gibraltar.
Convoy FN.131 of
25 ships departed Southend escorted by sloop FLAMINGO and destroyer
WALLACE. German aircraft attacked convoy FN.31 at 1950/29th in 54-25N, 00-23W. FLAMINGO was struck by machine gun fire but sustained no casualties or damage.
Convoy MT.39 of
17 ships departed Methil escorted by the 23rd Anti-submarine Group and
destroyers VEGA and WOOLSTON. On the convoy's arrival off the Tyne, the destroyers
escorted convoy FS.132, departing later that day. WOOLSTON attacked
a submarine contact on the 29th off Spurn Point in 53-48N, 1-30E, which was
later assessed as non submarine.
conducted I.F.F. trials in the Firth of Forth.
VALENTINE was completed as a fast escort vessel. Following working up at
Portland, she joined
Convoy C at Rosyth.
HAVANT and WILD SWAN investigated a submarine contact in 50‑45N, 07W.
boats LA CORDELIERE, BRANLEBAS, L'INCOMPRISE of the 11th Destroyer Division
were bombed by German aircraft north of Ostend, but were not
steamer BURGOS (3219grt),
formerly from convoy HN.21, in convoy FS.31 was sunk by a German
destroyer-laid mine in 53‑18N,
01‑09E. Sloop PELICAN
rescued the entire crew.
PRINCESS ROYAL (213grt) was damaged by German bombing 40 miles SSW of Bressay Light, Shetlands.
departed Gibraltar with 40 ships, with
ocean escort provided by sloops SANDWICH and ENCHANTRESS
from 28 March to 7 April. Destroyer WAKEFUL escorted the convoy from 4 to 7
April and destroyer VENETIA on 7 April. The convoy arrived at
Liverpool on 7 April.
submarines DORIS, THETIS, CALYPSO,and CIRCE departed Oran with convoy
17.R, escorted by auxiliary patrol vessel CYRNOS. The submarines passed Gibraltar on the 29th and
proceeded to Brest for operations
Friday, 29 March
cruiser FORFAR arrived in the Clyde after Northern
cruiser SCOTSTOUN departed the Clyde on Northern
cruiser TRANSYLVANIA on Northern Patrol in the Denmark Strait intercepted
German merchant ship MIMI HORN (4007grt) which had departed Curacoa on 5/6 March
with German steamers HANNOVER and SEATTLE. Steamer MIMI HORN scuttled herself
in 65‑50N, 28‑30W,and 41 crew were picked up by the British
AFRIDI (D.4), MOHAWK, SIKH departed Scapa Flow for Bergen at 1930 to pick
up convoy HN.23 A. Destroyers GURKHA and ENCOUNTER were delayed, but were
able to follow at 0200/30th.
INGLEFIELD (D.3), ILEX, DELIGHT, ISIS, IMOGEN,
ENCOUNTER and submarine SPEARFISH were engaged in anti-submarine exercises
from Scapa Flow.
departed Scapa Flow at 1230 to reinforce destroyer GRIFFIN on Moray Firth
patrol after an aircraft sighted a periscope in 58-00N, 2-30W at 0725. The
search was unsuccessful and HAVOCK returned to Scapa Flow at 2000.
GRIFFIN returned to Invergordon arriving
at 1740 with a leak at her rudder head.
Destroyers JANUS arrived at
arrived at the Clyde from Liverpool.
arrived at Rosyth, landed the survivors of the Dutch trawler PROTINUS and
departed later in the day with submarine TRITON. Submarine TRITON proceeded
on patrol and UNITY headed for Blyth, where she
arrived on the 30th.
departed Blyth for Southend, and on the 31st, left for
ORZEL was docked at Rosyth.
MALCOLM completed her refitting at Cardiff.
departed the Tyne escorted by sloops AUCKLAND and HASTINGS,
destroyer BRAZEN, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 23rd Anti-submarine Group.
departed Southend escorted by sloop LOWESTOFT and destroyer
VALOROUS. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 31st.
Convoy SA.35 of
two steamers departed Southampton, escorted by
sloops FOXGLOVE and ROSEMARY. The convoy arrived at Brest on the 31st.
vessel KINGSTON BERYL (356grt) attacked a submarine contact off Brough of
Birsay in 59-15.5N, 3-18W.
NORTHERN COAST (1211grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles north,
northeast of Kinnaird Head.
U.30 rescued the
crew of a downed German aircraft.
cruiser CARLISLE arrived at Gibraltar after working
up in the Mediterranean, and left on the 29th
for duty in Home Waters.
battleship BRETAGNE and heavy
cruiser ALGERIE departed Halifax escorting
French merchant ships LOUIS L.D. (5795grt) and WISCONSIN (8062grt). The
merchant ships were carrying aircraft to France. French
destroyers VAUTOUR, ALBATROS, AIGLE departed Oran on 1 April to
escort the French ships, and destroyers VERDUN and VALMY came
from Brest. The five destroyers departed
Casablanca on 4 April and
joined on 6 April. Destroyers LA PALME, LE MARS, FORBIN departed Casablanca on 5 April and
joined on 7 April. The steamers and VAUTOUR, VERDUN, VALMY,
ALBATROS proceeded to Casablanca. The steamers
subsequently proceeded to Brest departing in
convoys 90 KF on 20 April and 89 KF on 17 April, respectively. The
battleship, heavy cruiser and destroyer AIGLE departed Oran on 9 April and
arrived at Toulon on 10 April.
ORAGE was damaged in a collision with tug TABARCA at Sidi Abdallah, but repaired and returned to service on 8 April.
departed Halifax at 0800
escorted by Canadian destroyers OTTAWA and ST LAURENT, which were
detached on the 30th. The two destroyers arrived back at Halifax at 1135/30th. The
ocean escort for the convoy was armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA, which detached on 9 April. Destroyer WARWICK and sloop FOKESTONE joined the convoy
on 9 April and destroyers CAMPBELL and VESPER on 10 April. VESPER
and WARWICK were detached on 11 April, FOLKESTONE on 12 April,
and CAMPBELL on 13 April, when the convoy
arrived at Liverpool.
Saturday, 30 March
NEWCASTLE, which arrived
on the 26th, began a refit and repairs in the Tyne lasting until
29 May 1940. She left on 3 June to
rejoin the Home Fleet.
NUBIAN, FAME, FORESIGHT departed Scapa Flow at 1745 for
repairs - NUBIAN to repair her asdic gear in the Tyne, arriving on
the 31st, FAME to repair her
asdic gear at Grimsby, and FORESIGHT for refitting at
Grimsby, her repairs
continuing until 1 May.
HOTSPUR, HERO, HYPERION, HUNTER, HOSTILE, HASTY, JUPITER and submarine CLYDE were engaged in
anti-submarine exercises from Scapa Flow.
Destroyer GRIFFIN departed
Invergordon for Moray Firth Patrol.
departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow.
arrived at Rosyth.
NARWHAL departed Rosyth for a dummy minelay and then proceeded to Blyth.
SPEARFISH departed Blyth, unescorted,
for Scapa Flow.
Convoy HN.23 A
of one British, twelve Norwegian, seven Swedish, six Danish, eight Finnish,
one Latvian, four Estonian ships departed Bergen escorted by destroyers
GURKHA, AFRIDI, SIKH. Antiaircraft cruiser CALCUTTA accompanied the convoy for
anti-aircraft protection. Destroyer COSSACK departed Scapa Flow on the 31st at
0540 to join the convoy escort. En route, she stood by the disabled trawler
SOPHOS (217grt) from 1130 to 1415 until another trawler arrived to take her
in tow. At 0021/2 April, U.38 attacked the convoy, but was driven off by
COSSACK. Destroyers ENCOUNTER and MOHAWK escorted 14 ships of the west coast
section of the convoy. ENCOUNTER arrived at Scapa Flow at 0420 on 3
April and MOHAWK was detached in the evening of 2 April for an
anti-submarine hunt. The 26 ships of convoy arrived at Methil at 0900 on 3
April, escorted by AFRIDI, SIKH, GURKHA, COSSACK, after being
divided in heavy weather.
departed Methil escorted by the 19th Anti-submarine Group and destroyer
WOLSEY. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.
Convoy FN.133 of
twenty nine ships departed Southend escorted by sloop PELICAN and destroyer
VIVIEN. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on 1 April.
departed the Tyne escorted by destroyers WHITLEY and WESTMINSTER. The convoy
arrived at Southend on 1 April.
on convoy escort attacked a submarine contact in 49-28.5N, 3-58W. The contact
was later determined to be non submarine and she rejoined the convoy.
SUTTON of the 4th Minesweeping Flotilla from Grimsby was mined and
badly damaged off Cromer Knoll. She was able to return to
Immingham, and was repaired at Grimsby, completing on 21
Convoy BC.32S of
steamers BARON KINNAIRD, DAVID LIVINGSTONE, JOHN HOLT (Commodore),
PIZARRO departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS.
The convoy arrived at Loire on 1 April.
destroyers LA PALME and FORBIN, having arrived that day on respective escort
duties, departed Gibraltar westwards.
departed Freetown escorted by
armed merchant cruisers DUNVEGAN CASTLE and RANPURA
until 12 April. On 12 April, sloop LEITH joined the
convoy and destroyer VANSITTART joined on 13 April. The convoy arrived on 15
Sunday, 31 March
departed Scapa Flow at 0100 with tanker WAR BHARATA
(5604grt). Destroyer HOSTILE was detailed to escort the tanker also, but
fouled the buoys of the new torpedo baffle inside Switha Gate. Destroyer
FEARLESS replaced HOSTILE and departed Scapa Flow at 0400 to join.
HASTY, FEARLESS and WAR BHARATA arrived at Sullom Voe at 2205. HASTY was
damaged in berthing with WAR BHARATA in a gale. On 2 April, after emergency
repairs, HASTY departed Sullom Voe at 1600 with WAR BHARATA, arriving at
Scapa Flow on 3 April at
1330. On 3 April at 2015, HASTY departed Scapa Flow for Dundee arriving on 4
April at 0800 for repairs lasting until the third week of April.
BIRMINGHAM and destroyer
FEARLESS departed Scapa Flow on Operation DV
to capture German fishing vessels off the Norwegian coast and to cover British forces laying mines in early April. Destroyer HOSTILE departed
Scapa Flow later in the
day at 1350 as a replacement for destroyer HASTY. HOSTILE refuelled at Sullom
Voe and joined BIRMINGHAM and FEARLESS 12
miles 310° from Muckle Flugga at noon on 1 April.
JUPITER departed Scapa Flow at 0700 to reinforce destroyer GRIFFIN on Moray Firth
Patrol. The two destroyers were to rendezvous at 1400 in 58-45N, 0-00E.
cruiser CALIFORNIA arrived in the
Clyde after Northern
cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE departed the Clyde on Northern
with one British, thirteen Norwegian, one Swedish, five Danish, one Finnish
ships departed Methil at 1200 escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR (D.8), TARTAR,
ZULU, ESCAPADE. British steamer CREE (4791grt) with
engine trouble had to put back. The convoy was held up in heavy weather and
was joined off Kirkwall on 2 April by destroyers SOMALI (D.6),
MATABELE and MASHONA. Three merchant ships from Kirkwall joined the
convoy. When the two groups met at 0900 on 2 April, FAULKNOR, ZULU, ESCAPADE
proceeded to Scapa Flow. Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO from Sullom Voe
provided anti-aircraft protection. The convoy was unsuccessfully attacked by
German bombers which dropped four bombs during the afternoon on
2 April. At 1140 on 3 April, the convoy was attacked by six German bombers,
again with no damage. Convoy ON.24 arrived safely at Bergen on 4 April.
Convoy HN.23 B
departed Bergen escorted by
destroyers JAVELIN, JUNO, ECLIPSE. Twenty
two of the original 37 ships returned to Bergen. Only 12
ultimately sailed. These escort was joined by destroyers ESKIMO,
PUNJABI, BEDOUIN after they escorted convoy ON.23 to Bergen. On 1 April,
light cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA were relieved as close support by light
cruisers SHEFFIELD and PENELOPE, which departed Rosyth on 1
April. Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA maintained
herself in a position to cover both convoys HN.23A and B. HN.23 B with 34 ships, escorted by BEDOUIN, ESKIMO, PUNJABI, arrived at Methil on 4
April at 1300. SHEFFIELD and PENELOPE reached Scapa Flow on 5 April.
FORTUNE, FORESTER, FOXHOUND departed Plymouth at 1400 after
escorting battlecruiser HOOD. They were soon recalled and arrived back at
Plymouth at 1955.
Destroyers KASHMIR and DIANA
departed Scapa Flow at 2345 escorting steamer DEVON CITY (4928grt) to
STERLET and SEAWOLF arrived at Harwich after patrol.
NARWHAL arrested trawler POLAR PRINCE (194grt) fishing in the East
Coast mine barrage and escorted her to Methil.
SYBILLE of the 10th Submarine Flotilla departed Harwich on patrol. After a
brief patrol off Terschelling in the North Sea, she arrived
back at Harwich on 5 April to refuel prior to the start of the Norwegian
BOADICEA carried the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) to
Boulogne. The CIGS
returned on 3 April on destroyer BEAGLE.
departed Southend escorted by destroyers CAMPBELL and WOLVERINE. Submarine
L.23 departed Southend for Portsmouth in this convoy,
and arrived on 2 April. Convoy
OB.120G departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers MONTROSE and WAKEFUL and
from Milford Haven on 1 April, by French destroyer VERDUN and anti-submarine
trawler LEEDS UNITED to 3 April. WAKEFUL
was detached on 3 April to escort convoy HG.24.,and MONTROSE on 4
April. The convoys merged to form convoy OG.24 on 3 April.
Convoy FN.134 of
25 ships departed Southend escorted by destroyers VEGA and WOOLSTON.
The convoy arrived in the Tyne on 2 April.
Convoy MT.41 of
27 ships departed Methil escorted by sloop LONDONDERRY, destroyer
VIMIERA, anti-submarine trawlers of the 1st Anti-submarine Group. On the
convoy's arrival off the Tyne, the destroyer
and sloop took over convoy FS.134, which departed later that day. The convoy
arrived at Southend on 2 April.
RHODORA (709grt) made an attack on a submarine contact off Bull Point in
destroyers FOUDROYANT, BRESTOIS, BOULONNAIS arrived at Cherbourg from the Dunkirk-Boulogne area for
operations off Norway.
ARK ROYAL and GLORIOUS with destroyers
BULLDOG, WESTCOTT, VOYAGER departed Malta for Alexandria where they
arrived on 4 April.
cruiser PERTH was refitting
at Sydney from 31 March to 15 April.
After a submarine report
from a French steamer, destroyer ACTIVE and a flying boat were sent to
investigate. ACTIVE, joined by destroyers DOUGLAS and WRESTLER,
sweeping 50° WSW of Cape Trafalgar in 36‑01N, 07‑02W made a
contact at 1828, but the attacks were unsuccessful. French
destroyer MISTRAL, three French trawlers, and aircraft also searched for
the contact, which was later determined to be non submarine and the
search was abandoned at 1908.
merchant cruiser ATLANTIS departed Kiel to raid in the
South Atlantic. She was escorted by torpedo boats LEOPARD and WOLF in the
Skagerrak and by U.37 as
far as the Denmark Strait.
U.43 on patrol
lost a crewman overboard in heavy weather.
submarines for the WESERUBUNG operation began to depart German ports. By 6
April, the entire HARTMUTH force (the submarine deployment of the WESERUBUNG
operation) was at sea.
British destroyers continued their patrol off
Cadiz and Huelva to watch German
merchant ships anchored there:
3 and 4 March WISHART
12 March ACTIVE
14 and 15 March
19 March WISHART
20 March BULLDOG
submarines AJAX and ARCHIMEDE
of the 6th Submarine Division and SIDI FERRUCH and BEVEZIERS of the 8th
Submarine Division arrived at Halifax in mid-March
for duty protecting allied convoys in the same capacity as the French and
British submarines had performed in December 1939.
FERRUCH and BEVEZIERS departed the Antilles on 28 February.
Submarines AJAX and ARCHIMEDE
left from Brest.