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

NAVAL EVENTS, APRIL 1940 (Part 1 of 4)
Monday 1st Sunday 7th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HM S/M Thames (CyberHeritage, click to enlarge)

on to APRIL 1940, Part 2

 

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

Corrections with thanks to Donald Bertke

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

 


Background Events - April-May 1940
Invasion of Norway, Battles of Narvik, Blitzkrieg on Western Europe, Dunkirk evacuation starts


  

 

1940

 

 

This is the status of the destroyer flotillas in Home Waters on 1 April 1940. Some 44 destroyers were in dockyard hands less than a week before the start of the Norwegian campaign.

 

Home Fleet

 

2nd Destroyer Flotilla (Captain B. A. W. Warburton-Lee) - HARDY (Warburton-Lee)

Division 3, HOTSPUR (Cdr H F H Layman), HAVOCK (Lt Cdr R.E Courage), HERO (Cdr H W Biggs DSO), and HEREWARD (Lt Cdr C W Greening, repairing at Portsmouth)

Division 4, HYPERION (Cdr H St L Nicolson DSO), HUNTER (Lt Cdr L de Villiers), HOSTILE (Lt Cdr J P Wright), and HASTY (Lt Cdr L R.K Tyrwhitt, damaged at Scapa Flow, taken to Dundee for repairs)

 

3rd Destroyer Flotilla (Captain P Todd) - INGLEFIELD (Todd)

Division 5, ISIS (Cdr J C Clouston), ILEX (Lt Cdr P L Saumarez DSC), and IMPERIAL (Lt Cdr CA de W Kitcat, repairing in the Tyne)

Division 6, DELIGHT (Cdr M Fogg-Elliot DSO), DIANA (Lt Cdr E G LeGeyt), and IMOGEN (Cdr C L Firth MVO)

 

4th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain P L Vian)

Division 7, AFRIDI (Vian), GURKHA (CdrA W Buzzard), SIKH (Cdr JA Giffard), and MOHAWK (Cdr J W M Eaton)

Division 8, ZULU (Cdr J S.Crawford), COSSACK (Cdr R.St V Sherbrooke), MAORI (Cdr G N Brewer, repairing in the Clyde), and NUBIAN (Cdr R.W Ravenhill, repairing in the Tyne)

 

5th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten)

Division 9, KELLY (Mountbatten, repairing at Blackwell), KIPLING (Cdr A St Clair Ford, repairing in the Tyne), and KASHMIR (Cdr HA King), KELVIN (Lt Cdr J L Machin)

Division 10, KANDAHAR (Cdr W GA Robson, repairing at Hull), KIMBERLEY (Lt Cdr R.G K Knowling), KHARTOUM (Cdr D T Dowler, repairing at Falmouth), and KINGSTON (Lt Cdr P Somerville DSO, repairing at Falmouth)

 

6th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain R.S G Nicholson)

Division 11, SOMALI (Nicholson), ASHANTI (Cdr W G Davis), MATABELE (Cdr G K Whitmy-Smith), and MASHONA (Cdr W H Selby)

Division 12, BEDOUIN (Cdr JA McCoy), PUNJABI (Cdr J T Lean), ESKIMO (Cdr St JA Micklethwait), and TARTAR (Cdr L P Skipwith)

 

7th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain P J Mack)

Division 13, JERVIS (Mack, repairing in the Tyne), JANUS (Cdr J A W Tothill), JAVELIN (Cdr A F Pugsley), and JERSEY (long repairs at Hull)

Division 14, JACKAL (Cdr T M Napier, repairing at Blyth), JAGUAR (Lt Cdr J F W Hine, repairing at Dundee), JUNO (Cdr W E Wilson), and JUPITER (Cdr D B Wyburd)

 

8th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain A F de Salis) - FAULKNOR (de Salis)

Division 15, FOXHOUND (Cdr G H Peters), FEARLESS (Cdr K L Harkness), FURY (Cdr G F Burghard, repairing at Newport), and FORESTER (Lt Cdr E B Tancock DSC)

Division 16, FAME (Cdr P N Walter, repairing at Grimsby), FORESIGHT (Lt Cdr G T Lambert, repairing at Grimsby), FORTUNE (Cdr EA Gibbs), and FIREDRAKE (Lt Cdr S.N Norris, repairing at Cardiff)

 

20th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain J G Bickford DSC)

Division 39, EXPRESS (Bickford, repairing at Hartlepool), IVANHOE Cdr P H Hadow), and ESK (Lt Cdr R.J H Couch)

Division 40, INTREPID (Cdr R.C Gordon, repairing at Middlesbrough), ICARUS (Lt Cdr C D Maud), and IMPULSIVE (Lt Cdr W S.Thomas)

 

Rosyth Command

 

12th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain R.Kerr, Captain D Rosyth)

Division 23, ECHO (Cdr S H K Spurgeon DSO RAN, repairing at Leith), ELECTRA (Lt Cdr SA Buss, repairing at Rosyth), and ESCORT (Lt Cdr J Bostock, repairing at Rosyth)

Division 24, ESCAPADE (Cdr H R.Graham), ENCOUNTER (Lt Cdr E V St J Morgan), and ECLIPSE (Lt Cdr I T Clark)

 

Miscellaneous attached

 

Destroyer DUNCAN (Lt Cdr C Gwinner Rtd, repairing at Grangemouth)

 

Convoy C (Captain R.Kerr, Captain D Rosyth Escort Force)

 

Sloops AUCKLAND (Cdr J G Hewitt DSO), BITTERN (Lt Cdr R.H Mills), BLACK SWAN (Captain A L Poland), EGRET (Cdr D P Evans, repairing at Rosyth), FLAMINGO (Cdr J H Huntley), FLEETWOOD (Cdr A N Grey DSO), GRIMSBY (Cdr K J D'Arcy), HASTINGS (Lt Cdr A B Alison), LONDONDERRY (Cdr Sir Thomas L Beevor Bt), LOWESTOFT (Cdr A M Knapp), PELICAN (Cdr LA K Boswell DSO), STORK (Cdr A C Behague), and WESTON (Lt Cdr S C Tuke)

 

Escort ships/destroyers VALENTINE (Cdr H J Buchanan RAN), VALOROUS (Lt Cdr E Mack), VEGA (Cdr C I Horton, repairing at Rosyth), VIMIERA (Lt Cdr R.B N Hicks), VIVIEN (Lt Cdr W D G Weir), WALLACE (Cdr B I Robertshaw), WESTMINSTER (Lt Cdr A A C Ouvry), WHITLEY (Lt Cdr G N Rolfe), WOLSEY (Cdr C H Campbell), and WOOLSTON (Cdr W J Phipps)

 

Nore Command

 

1st Destroyer Flotilla (Captain G E Creasy)

Division 1, CODRINGTON (Creasy), GRENADE (Cdr R.C Boyle), Polish BLYSKAWICA (Cdr S Nahorski, ORP), GROM (Cdr A Hulewicz (Hulewiscowi ?), ORP) and BURZA (Cdr W Francki, ORP),

Division 2, GRAFTON (Cdr C E C Robinson, repairing at Hull), GREYHOUND (Cdr W R.Marshall-A'Dean), GLOWWORM (Lt Cdr G B Roope), GRIFFIN (Lt Cdr J Lee Barber), and GALLANT (Lt Cdr C P F Brown, repairing at Southampton)

 

Dover

 

19th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain D J R.Simson)

Division 37, KEITH (Captain D J R.Simson), BASILISK (Cdr M Richmond, repairing at Blackwall) Destroyer BEAGLE (Lt Cdr R.H Wright), and BOREAS (Lt Cdr M W Tomkinson, repairing at London)

Division 38, BOADICEA (Lt Cdr G B Kingdon), BRAZEN (Lt Cdr Sir Michael Culme-Seymour Bt), and BRILLIANT (Lt Cdr F C Brodrick)

 

Portsmouth Command

 

16th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain T E Halsey)

Division 31, MALCOLM (Halsey), VENOMOUS (Lt Cdr J E H McBeath, repairing at Portsmouth) Destroyer and WIVERN (Lt Cdr W C Bushell),

Division 32, ARROW (Cdr H W Williams), ANTHONY (Lt Cdr N J V Thew), ACHATES (Cdr R.J Gardner), and ACHERON (Lt Cdr R.W F Northcott)

 

Western Approaches Command

 

9th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain E B K Stevens DSC), HAVELOCK (Stevens, repairing at Plymouth), HESPERUS (Lt Cdr D G F W MacIntyre), HAVANT (Lt Cdr A F Burnell-Nugent), and HIGHLANDER (Cdr WA Dallmeyer)

 

11th Destroyer Flotilla (Rear Admiral C H Little Rtd, Captain D Liverpool)

Division 21, MACKAY (Cdr G H Stokes), WALPOLE (Lt Cdr H G Bowerman), VANQUISHER (Cdr C B Alers-Hankey), WINCHELSEA (Lt Cdr WA F Hawkins, repairing at Liverpool), WALKER (Lt CdrA A Tait), and VANOC (Lt Cdr J G W Deneys)

Division 22, VERSATILE (Cdr T E Hussey Rtd), VIMY (Lt Cdr C G W Donald), WHIRLWIND (Lt Cdr J M Rodgers), WARWICK (Lt Cdr MA G Child), and SALADIN (Lt Cdr L J Dover)

 

15th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain C Caslon, Captain D Plymouth)

Division 29, BROKE (Cdr B G Scurfield), WANDERER (Cdr R.F Morice), WHITEHALL (Lt Cdr A B Russell), WITCH (Lt Cdr J R.Barnes), and VANSITTART (Lt Cdr W Evershed)

Division 30, WOLVERINE (Cdr R.H Craske), WITHERINGTON (Lt Cdr J B Palmer), VOLUNTEER (Lt Cdr N Lanyon), and VERITY (Lt CdrA R.M Black, repairing at Plymouth)

 

17th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain F C Bradley, Captain D Plymouth from 8 April)

Division 33, CAMPBELL (Captain F C Bradley, Lt Cdr R.M Aubrey from 8 April), MONTROSE (Cdr C R.L Parry), VISCOUNT (Lt Cdr M S Townsend OBE, DSC), WESSEX (Lt Cdr WA R.Cartwright, repairing at Milford Haven), and VIVACIOUS (Lt Cdr F R.W Parish)

Division 34, WAKEFUL (Cdr R.L Fisher), VESPER (Lt Cdr W F E Hussey), VANESSA (Lt Cdr EA Stocker DSC), and VENETIA (Lt Cdr B H de C Mellor)

 

18th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain D Plymouth)

Division 35, ACASTA (Cdr C E Glasfurd), ANTELOPE (Lt Cdr R.T White DSO), AMAZON (Lt Cdr N E G Roper), and ARDENT (Lt Cdr J E Barker)

Division 36, VETERAN (Cdr J E Broome, repairing at Plymouth), WREN (Cdr H T Armstrong, repairing at Plymouth), WHITSHED (Cdr E R.Conder, repairing at Plymouth), WINDSOR (Lt Cdr P D H R.Pelly), and WILD SWAN (Lt Cdr J L Younghusband)

 

Not assigned or undergoing long-term conversions

 

Grangemouth - SABRE (Cdr B Dean Rtd)

 

London - SARDONYX (dockyard control)

 

Chatham - WOLFHOUND (Lt Cdr J W McCoy DSC), VERDUN (dockyard control)

 

Sheerness - WORCESTER (Cdr J H Allison)

 

Portsmouth - AMBUSCADE (Lt Cdr A O Johnson), SCIMITAR (Lt F D Franks), WINCHESTER (Lt Cdr S.E Crewe-Read), SKATE (Lt Cdr R.A Fell), VICEROY (dockyard control)

 

Plymouth - VANITY (dockyard control)

 

 

Monday, 1 April

 

Destroyer ISIS, while transferring five torpedoes to submarine CLYDE after torpedo firings in Scapa Flow, lost her whalers and motorboat when they capsized in a heavy squall in Sandoyne Bay. All the men and the torpedoes were recovered.

_____

 

Destroyers SOMALI (D.6), MATABELE and MASHONA departed Scapa Flow at 1030 to pick up the Kirkwall convoy contingent and then join convoy ON.24. Destroyer SOMALI would become Senior Officer of the Escort. During the night of 1/2 April, a strong gale scattered convoys ON.24, HN.23A, and the Kirkwall contingent of convoy ON.24 all eastwards of the Orkneys.

_____

 

After repairs at Dundee, destroyer GRIFFIN departed Invergordon on patrol on 30 March and was already on Moray Firth patrol with destroyer JUPITER. At 1100, destroyer JUPITER attacked a submarine contact in 58‑31N, 0‑34W. Because of heavy weather, destroyer JUPITER proceeded to Scapa Flow, arriving at 1800/1st and destroyer GRIFFIN arrived at Invergordon on the 1st. Destroyer GRIFFIN departed Invergordon on the 2nd and destroyer JUPITER departed Scapa Flow on the 2nd to continue the patrol.

_____

 

Destroyer ILEX departed Scapa Flow at 0810 for anti-submarine patrol while two sections of Hoxa Boom were being repaired a half mile to the south of a line from Cantick to the Nev. Bad weather delayed work on the Boom and destroyer ILEX returned to Scapa Flow at 2015 to anchor north of Flotta on standby notice as the weather conditions were too bad to continue the patrol. The weather eased and destroyer ILEX commenced the Hoxa Sound Patrol at 0530/2nd. The work was completed on the Hoxa Boom at 1600 and destroyer ILEX returned to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

The 1st Destroyer Flotilla departed Harwich at 1300 and swept to twelve miles north of Smith's Knoll. The Flotilla then swept northeast across the mine barrier for forty miles. The 1st Destroyer Flotilla then swept eastward reaching Smith's Knoll at dawn on the 2nd. Destroyer CODRINGTON sighted a German aircraft at 0530/2nd, but was not attacked.

_____

 

Patrol sloop PUFFIN attacked a submarine contact off Yarmouth. The contact was later assessed as non-submarine.

_____

 

Submarine NARWHAL arrived at Blyth after patrol.

_____

 

Submarine SHARK arrived at Harwich after refitting.

_____

 

Mine destructor ship BORDE exploded two mines in the Sunk area. The ship sustained leaks forward and proceeded to Chatham for docking and repairs completed on the 28th.

_____

 

The Northern Patrol between 1 and 9 April sighted 34 eastbound ships and sent twelve into Kirkwall for inspection.

_____

 

Convoy OA.121 departed Southend escorted by destroyer ARDENT from 1 to 4 April, sloop WELLINGTON from 2 to 4 April, destroyers WINDSOR and VERSATILE from 3 to 4 April, when the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy OB.121 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WALKER and VANQUISHER from 1 to 4 April, when the convoy dispersed. The destroyers then joined inbound convoy SL.25.

_____

 

Convoy BC.31R with steamers BARON CARNEGIE, KERMA, LOCHEE, PEMBROKE COAST, SCHOLAR (Commodore) departed the Loire escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS. The convoy arrived in Bristol Channel on the 2nd.

_____

 

Convoy MT.42 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOLSEY, sloop AUCKLAND, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 3rd Anti-Submarine Group. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

_____

 

Convoy FS.135 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WOLSEY and sloop AUCKLAND. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 3rd.

_____

 

Norwegian coastal defense ships NORGE and EIDSVOLD arrived at Narvik from Horten.

_____

 

French armed merchant cruisers EL DJEZAIR, EL MANSOUR and VILLE D'ORAN departed Marseilles and proceeded to Oran, arriving on the 2nd. On the 4th, they departed, escorted by large destroyer BISON to return to Brest for operations off the Norwegian coast. The ships arrived at Brest on the 8th.

_____

 

Light cruiser ORION departed Bermuda on patrol.

 

 

Tuesday, 2 April

 

The 1st Destroyer Flotilla was transferred from the Nore to operate with the Home Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Destroyers Home Fleet. On the 2nd, destroyers GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM departed the Nore escorting steamer CYCLOPS (9076grt) to Rosyth. En route, destroyer GLOWWORM was detached to rescue a downed Spitfire pilot who was picked up by trawler SILVER LINING (40grt). Destroyer GREYHOUND and steamer CYCLOPS arrived safely at Rosyth on the 3rd and destroyer GLOWWORM arrived independently later in the day. At 1800/3rd, destroyers GREYHOUND and GLOWWORM departed Rosyth escorting steamer DEVON CITY (4928grt) for Scapa Flow, where they arrived at 1400/4th. On the 3rd, destroyer GRENADE departed Harwich for Rosyth where she arrived on the 4th. On the 4th, destroyer CODRINGTON departed Harwich at 0600 and Polish destroyers GROM, BURZA and BLYSKAWICA departed Harwich at 1200 for Rosyth. Destroyer CODRINGTON arrived at Rosyth at 0900/5th and the Polish destroyers arrived during the afternoon of 5 April.

_____

 

Patrol sloop SHELDRAKE on patrol in the English Channel made a submarine contact. An attack was not made as the contact was found to be non-submarine.

_____

 

Destroyers FORTUNE and FORTUNE (?) departed Plymouth at 1300 for the Clyde to participate in Plan R.4, the Norwegian operation. The destroyers attacked a submarine contact in 49-36N, 6-46W on the 3rd. The contact was later found to be a wreck. Both destroyers arrived in the Clyde at 2015/3rd.

_____

 

Destroyer FAULKNOR departed Scapa Flow at 1800 for the Clyde to participate in Plan R.4, and arrived in the Clyde at 1300/3rd.

_____

 

Destroyer BEAGLE on North Goodwins patrol made an attack on a submarine contact in 51-19.2N, 0-49.4E. Destroyer BRILLIANT joined to assist and both destroyers remained at the scene through the day. The contact was later determined to be "non-sub".

_____

 

Destroyers INGLEFIELD (D.3), IMOGEN, ISIS and JUPITER departed Scapa Flow at 0100/2nd to search in Moray Firth for a reportedly damaged German submarine. The destroyers made no contact and arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1900 that evening.

_____

 

At 2101 a report was received of an outbound German submarine in 59-10N, 1-40W at 2025. The Commander in Chief Home Fleet ordered destroyers to 57-23N, 4-55W by 0600/3rd. Destroyer MOHAWK was detached from convoy HN.23A. Destroyer JUPITER departed Scapa Flow at 0330/3rd to join MOHAWK. The destroyers were recalled to Scapa Flow for other duty at 1209/3rd.

_____

 

Destroyers HARDY, HUNTER, HAVOCK and HOTSPUR departed Scapa Flow at 1930 and arrived at Sullom Voe at 0700/3rd.

_____

 

At 2033, German bombers of II/KG30 raided Scapa Flow. Two to four bombs were dropped near destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH. There was no damage.

_____

 

Destroyer KASHMIR was damaged at Rosyth while coming alongside a tanker. The damage was repaired by 7 April.

_____

 

Submarine SPEARFISH arrived at Blyth from Scapa Flow.

_____

 

U.38 sank Finnish steamer SIGNE (1540grt), a straggler from convoy HN.23A, in 60N, 01E (Uboat.net - 58.52N, 01.31W). Destroyer SIKH, escorting HM.23A, reported an explosion at this time, which was probably SIGNE being torpedoing. On the 4th, trawler GOOD SHEPHERD found a raft with one body from SIGNE six miles NNE of Fair Island.

_____

 

Convoy OA.122 departed Southend escorted by destroyers VANESSA and ANTELOPE from 2 to 4 April. The convoy dispersed on the 5th. Convoy OA.123 did not sail.

_____

 

Convoy FN.135 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WHITLEY and WESTMINSTER. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 4th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.136 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WALLACE and sloop FLAMINGO. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 4th.

_____

 

On the 2nd, there was a reorganization of Minesweepers. 2nd Minesweeping Flotilla ABERDARE, HARROW and modified gunboat COCKCHAFER. 3rd Minesweeping Flotilla - HUNTLEY, ABINGDON, BAGSHOT, FAREHAM and STOKE. 4th Minesweeping Flotilla - NIGER, SALAMANDER, DUNOON, DUNDALK, FITZROY, SELKIRK, SUTTON and ELGIN. 5th Minesweeping Flotilla - GOSSAMER, LEDA, ALBURY, KELLET, LYDD, PANGBOURNE, ROSS and SALTASH. 6th Minesweeping Flotilla - HALCYON, SPEEDWELL, HUSSAR, HARRIER and SKIPJACK.

 

The 1st Minesweeping Flotilla operating with the Home Fleet was unaltered.

_____

 

German auxiliary Schiff 11/HANONIA (steamer ULM, 3071grt) departed Schillig Roads on 31 March disguised as the Norwegian steamer OREGON EXPRESS, and laid a minefield with 90 EMC and 84 contact mines southeast of Smith's Knoll on the 2nd. Submarine SEALION, which had departed Harwich on patrol on the 1st, pursued Schiff 11 in the North Sea for some time without success.

 

On 26 April, steamer CREE (4791grt) was damaged in this minefield in 52‑53N, 02‑19E. (Note: The Luftwaffe claims it was an aerial mine laid by the 9th Air Division).

 

On 30 April, Minesweeper DUNOON of the 4th Minesweeping Flotilla was sunk in the Schiff 11 minefield off Great Yarmouth. (Note: Again the Luftwaffe claims otherwise - aerial mines laid by I or II group of KGR126, 9th Air Division).

_____

 

Submarine depot ship MEDWAY and submarines PHOENIX, PARTHIAN and PROTEUS departed Hong Kong. They were at Singapore from 8 to 10 April and Colombo, Ceylon from 14 to 17 April before sailing for Aden. The ships departed Aden on the 26th and arrived at Suez on 1 May, left Port Said on 2 May and joined the Mediterranean Fleet. At the same time, the 8th Submarine Flotilla (ORPHEUS, ODIN, OLYMPUS and OTUS) was moving from the Indian Ocean. Submarine ORPHEUS departed Diego Suarez on 30 March and arrived at Aden on the 6th. She departed Aden on the 14th, departed Port Said on the 21st. ODIN departed Colombo on 31 March and arrived at Port Said on the 21st in company of ORPHEUS. On 26 April, they arrived at Malta and ODIN immediately commencing refit. Submarines OLYMPUS and OTUS departed Colombo on the 16th and departed Aden on the 26th. They arrived at Suez on 1 May, departing Port Said on 2 May, and arrived at Malta on 7 May. Submarine OLYMPUS immediately commenced refit.

_____

 

Convoy HG.25F departed Gibraltar with twenty-three ships. French destroyer TIGRE, patrol vessel VIKINGS and British destroyer DOUGLAS escorted the convoy from 2 April. VIKINGS was detached that evening, DOUGLAS on the 5th and TIGRE on the 8th. Destroyers WITCH and VIMY joined HG.25F on the 8th and escorted the convoy until 9 April. Destroyer VISCOUNT and sloop ROCHESTER joined HG.25F on the 8th and escorted the convoy until 11 April when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

Minesweeper LYDD arrived at Gibraltar from Malta. On the 5th, the minesweeper departed for Plymouth.

_____

 

Convoy HX.32 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY and RESTIGOUCHE, which detached on the 3rd. Before joining the convoy, the destroyers escorted battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN to Halifax from her HX.25 duty. Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT escorted battleship MALAYA from Halifax. At 1800/3rd, the destroyers turned the convoy over to MALAYA, which detached on the 14th. On the 13th, destroyer VANQUISHER joined and on the 14th, destroyers VERSATILE and WILD SWAN.

 

VANQUISHER detached on the 15th, VERSATILE on the 16th, and WILD SWAN on the 17th, when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

French battleships DUNKERQUE and STRASBOURG, light cruisers GLOIRE and MONTCALM, destroyers MOGADOR, INDOMPTABLE, TRIOMPHANT, MALIN and TERRIBLE departed Brest. They arrived at Mer el Kebir on the 5th.

_____

 

French light cruiser EMILE BERTIN and large destroyer MAILLE BREZE departed Toulon on the 1st, then Oran to proceed to Brest for operations off Norway. The destroyer was a replacement for large destroyer VAUQUELIN which departed Brest for repairs at Toulon, where she arrived on the 10th. EMILE BERTIN and MAILLE BREZE arrived at Brest on the 5th.

 

 

Wednesday, 3 April

 

Destroyers FORTUNE and FORESTER en route from Plymouth to the Clyde conducted an anti-submarine search in 49‑36N, 06‑36W after a depth charge attack by destroyers WAKEFUL and VENETIA brought up oil. Destroyers FORTUNE and FORESTER arrived in the Clyde at 2015/3rd.

_____

 

Destroyers JAVELIN, JUNO and ECLIPSE departed convoy HN.23B after dark to proceed directly to Rosyth for duty escorting convoy ON.25.

_____

 

 

Heavy cruisers DEVONSHIRE and BERWICK (above - Navy Photos) and destroyers ZULU and KELVIN arrived at Rosyth in preparation for Norway operations. Destroyers ZULU and KELVIN had departed Scapa Flow at 1815/2nd.

_____

 

Destroyers ESK (D.20), ICARUS, IMPULSIVE and IVANHOE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0600 with minelayer TEVIOTBANK. The destroyers refuelled, departed Scapa Flow at 1100/3rd, and arrived at Sullom Voe at 1925/3rd.

_____

 

Destroyer DIANA departed Rosyth to take part in a Bomber Command Interception exercise. After the exercise, destroyer DIANA proceeded to the Humber to repair asdic direction gear. Destroyer DIANA arrived at Hull at 0645/5th.

_____

 

Destroyer BEAGLE brought the British CIGS back from Boulogne, arriving at Dover at 1730.

_____

 

Convoys OA.120G and OB.120G joined to form convoy OG.24 with fifty-four ships. On the 3rd, destroyer WAKEFUL detached to escort convoy HG.24, and destroyer MONTROSE detached on the 4th. French destroyer LYNX and auxiliary patrol vessel MINERVA escorted the convoy from the 3rd to 8th. The convoy was joined near Gibraltar by destroyer VELOX from the 6th to 8th, when the convoy arrived at Gibraltar.

_____

 

Convoy FN.136 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 5th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.43 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN, sloop PELICAN, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 23rd Anti-Submarine Group. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

_____

 

Convoy FS.137 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 5th.

 

 

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN

 

FIRST GERMAN SHIPPING MOVEMENTS

 

The German supply ships for the Norwegian invasion began to leave Hamburg. At 0200/3rd, steamers RAUENFELS (8460grt), ALSTER (8514grt) and BARENFELS (7569grt) departed for Narvik. At 2100/4th, steamer SAO PAULO (4977grt) departed for Trondheim. At 0200/5th, steamers LEVANTE (4769grt) and MAIN (7624grt) departed for Trondheim. At 0200/7th, steamer RODA (6780grt) departed for Stavanger.

 

German tanker KATTEGAT (6031grt) departed Wilhelmshaven for Narvik to refuel the German invasion Group I. German tanker SKAGERRAK (6044grt) departed Wilhelmshaven on the 4th for Trondheim to refuel German invasion Group II. In addition, German tanker JAN WELLEM (11,776grt) departed Murmansk during the evening of 6 April for Narvik.

 


 

Trawler GORSPEN (208grt) was bombed and badly damaged by a German He.111 of KG.26, and abandoned 31 miles northeast of the Outer Skerries, 20 miles east by south of Muckle Flugga. The entire crew was rescued. (Note: Luftwaffe records claim she was sunk)

_____

 

Trawler SANSONNET (212grt) was sunk by German bombing eighteen miles east by south of Muckle Flugga.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE was at Simonstown with defects. On 18 April, she was able to proceed to Devonport for refitting completed on 7 June.

 

 

Thursday, 4 April

 

Battleship WARSPITE with destroyers GRIFFIN, MOHAWK, HERO and JUPITER departed Scapa Flow at 0130 for the Clyde. JUPITER was relieved later on the 4th by destroyer DELIGHT . Destroyer ASHANTI departed the Clyde at 0400/4th to relieve HERO which returned to Scapa Flow arriving at 0600/5th. The force arrived at the Clyde without incident at 0600/5th. Upon arrival, GRIFFIN and MOHAWK returned to Scapa Flow. WARSPITE departed the Clyde on the 7th escorted by destroyers HESPERUS, HAVANT, MACKAY. She was due to arrive at Gibraltar on the 12th to return to the Mediterranean Fleet, but was soon recalled due to events in Norway.

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Submarine NARWHAL, which departed Rosyth on the 2nd,laid mines at 0413 in the Heligoland Bight area in 54-37N, 6-35E. This minefield, designated FD.1, had no confirmed victims, but may have been responsible for U.1's loss. German trawler DEUTSCHLAND (432grt) was damaged on this field on the 13th.

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Convoy HN.24 with three British, twelve Norwegian, five Swedish, fourteen Danish, three Finnish and three Estonian ships departed Bergen escorted by destroyers SOMALI, MATABELE, MASHONA and TARTAR. Light cruisers PENELOPE, SHEFFIELD and anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO provided close support. Destroyers CODRINGTON (D.1) and JANUS departed Scapa Flow at 1300/5th and were ordered to search for a German submarine reported in 59‑00N, 0‑52W. At daylight on the 6th, CODRINGTON joined destroyer KIMBERLEY, which had departed Scapa Flow at 1200/5th with anti-submarine trawlers MAN O' WAR (517grt) and LADY ELSA (518grt) to escort six ships of the west coast portion of the convoy. HN.24 arrived safely at Methil on the 7th. KIMBERLEY and CODRINGTON reached Scapa Flow at 0630/7th after the convoy dispersed off Cape Wrath.

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Convoy FN.137 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WOLSEY and sloop AUCKLAND. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 6th.

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Convoy FS.138 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop FLEETWOOD and HASTINGS. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 6th.

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Convoy MT.44 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WESTMINSTER and the anti-submarine trawlers of the 19th Anti-Submarine Group. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Blockship REDSTONE (3110grt) departed Rosyth at 1030 under the tow of tug IRISHMAN for Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers BRAZEN and ELECTRA. The ship was joined in heavy weather on the 6th by tug BRIGAND from Kirkwall. REDSTONE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1900/6th and was sunk as a blockship at Scapa Flow on 2 May.

 

 

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN

 

BRITISH TRANSPORTS FOR ALLIED LANDINGS

 

Admiral Sir Edward Evans (British commander of the Narvik operation) hoisted his flag on light cruiser AURORA which arrived in the Clyde on the 4th. AURORA and another light cruiser at Scapa Flow were to escort a large transport to Narvik. Another large transport with troops and supplies for Trondheim was also in the Clyde.

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ALLIED SUBMARINE MOVEMENTS IN ANTICIPATION OF NORWEGIAN OPERATIONS

 

Composition of the Submarine Flotillas in Home waters just prior to the start of the Norwegian campaign. Vice Admiral Submarines - Vice Admiral Sir Max K Horton.

 

2nd Submarine Flotilla (Captain G C P Menzies)

Depot ship FORTH

Submarines THISTLE (Lt Cdr W F Hanselfoot), TRIAD (Lt Cdr E R.J Oddie), TRIBUNE (Lt Cdr G P S Davies, refitting, Lt E F Balston from 8 May), TRIDENT (Lt Cdr A G L Seale, Lt Cdr G M Sladen from 18 April), TRITON (Lt Cdr E F Pizey), TRUANT (Lt Cdr C H Hutchinson, Lt Cdr H A V Haggard from early May), TRIUMPH (Lt J S Stevens, refitting, Lt E Bruce from 13 April), SEAL (Lt Cdr R.P Lonsdale), PORPOISE (Cdr P Q Roberts), Polish ORZEL (Lt Cdr Jan Grudzinski, ORP) and WILK (Lt Cdr Boguslaw Krawczyk, ORP) refitting

 

3rd Submarine Flotilla (Captain P Ruck-Keene)

Depot ship CYCLOPS

Submarines SALMON (Lt Cdr E O B Bickford DSO) refitting, SEALION (Lt Cdr B Bryant), SEAWOLF (Lt Cdr J W Studholme), SHARK (Lt Cdr P N Buckley), SNAPPER(Lt W D A King), STERLET (Lt Cdr G H S Haward), SUNFISH (Lt Cdr J E Slaughter)

 

6th Submarine Flotilla (Captain J S Bethell)

Depot ship TITANIA

Submarines STURGEON (Lt G D A Gregory), UNITY (Lt J F B Brown, Lt F J Brooks from 20 April), URSULA (Lt Cdr W K A N Cavaye), SPEARFISH (Lt Cdr J H Forbes), SWORDFISH (Lt P J Cowell), CLYDE (Lt Cdr R.L S Gaisford, Lt Cdr D C Ingram from 18 April), SEVERN (Lt Cdr B W Taylor), NARWHAL (Lt Cdr R.J Burch)

 

10th French Submarine Flotilla (Capitaine de Vaisseau F H R.De Belot)

Depot ship JULES VERNE

Submarines SYBILLE (Capitaine de Corvette A J R.Raybaud), AMAZONE (Lieutenant de Vaisseau R.H G Richard), ANTIOPE (Lieutenant de Vaisseau M A L Balastre)

 

Nineteen allied submarines were ordered to patrol areas in the Kattegat, Skagerrak and southern North Sea in anticipation of German military reaction to the British Norwegian operations. During the morning of 8 April the submarines were located as follows. French AMAZONE and ANTIOPE, which departed Harwich on the 4th, were on patrol off the Frisian Islands and Heligoland, respectively. SHARK and SEAWOLF, which departed Harwich on the 7th, were en route to patrol in the southwest North Sea, off Terschelling west of Jutland. UNITY, which departed Blyth on the 2nd, was in the Heligoland Bight off Horn's Reef. In the Kattegat or en route. TRITON, which departed Rosyth on 29 March, was north of Laeso. SUNFISH, which departed Harwich on the 2nd, was in the Kattegat north of Anholt. SEALION, which departed Harwich on the 1st, was in the Kattegat. SNAPPER, which departed Harwich on the 4th, was north of the German declared area in the Skagerrak. On patrol in the Skagerrak or en route. URSULA, which departed Blyth on the 8th, was west of the German declared mine area in the Skagerrak.

 

CLYDE, which departed Scapa Flow on the 7th, was en route to Egersund; she was being hindered by German aircraft and did not arrive until 0300/9th. SEVERN, which departed Portsmouth with new submarine TARPON on the 5th and joined convoy FN.39 for the passage to Rosyth. SEVERN was in the area of Hartlepool on passage to vicinity of 57-00N, 6-00E. TRUANT, which departed Rosyth on the 6th to relieve submarine TRIDENT, was off Egersund. TRIAD, which departed Rosyth on the 8th to relieve submarine TRITON, was on passage east of the Skaw. THISTLE, which departed Scapa Flow on the 7th, was west of the Skagerrak. SPEARFISH, which departed Blyth on the 5th to relieve SWORDFISH, was north of the German declared area in the Skagerrak off the northwest coast of Denmark. STERLET, which departed Harwich on the 8th, was on passage to the Skagerrak. TRIDENT, which departed Rosyth on 25 March, was in Bohus Bay off Larvik. Polish ORZEL, which departed Rosyth on the 3rd, was off Kristiansand. SEAL departed Rosyth on the 6th to patrol off the Norwegian coast between Egersund and Lindesnes. She was north of the German declared mine area in 56-00N, 5-20E on the 8th. After the loss of THISTLE on the 10th, she entered Stavangersfjord.

 

NARWHAL returned to Blyth from minelaying mission FD.1 on the 6th, briefly docked to correct leaks, proceeded to Immingham to embark mines for another minelay and set off on the 10th. PORPOISE arrived back from convoy duty at Rosyth on the 4th and after refuelling and repairs left on patrol on the 13th. SWORDFISH arrived back at Blyth on the 8th from patrol and again departed after refuelling and repairs on the 16th. French SYBILLE arrived at Harwich on the 5th after a six-day patrol in the North Sea. She departed on the 9th to patrol off Horn Reef. TARPON (Lt Cdr H J Caldwell) departed Portsmouth on the 5th in company of SEVERN for working up at Rosyth, but was ordered to patrol in the Heligoland Bight. TARPON was west of the Skagerrak on the 8th. TAKU (Lt Cdr V J Van Der Byl) departed Portsmouth on the 2nd for the Clyde escorted by destroyer MALCOLM. At 0730 next morning off Start Point, MALCOLM was relieved by destroyer FOXHOUND. TAKU and FOXHOUND arrived in the Clyde at 0600/5th. TAKU departed Greenock for patrol on the 11th to relieve submarine CLYDE off Egersund, but was diverted en route to Molde. TETRARCH (Lt Cdr R.G Mills) departed Portsmouth escorted by sloop FOXGLOVE on the 13th for working up at Rosyth, but en route was diverted off Flamborough Head on the 14th to patrol off Lister.

 


 

Destroyer SALADIN sustained damage to her hull plating while going alongside another ship in the Western Approaches Command.

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German fishing trawler FRIESLAND (247grt) was captured by destroyer HOSTILE in 70‑06N, 17‑01E, northwest of Tromso, Friesland. She was taken to Kirkwall arriving on the 10th. This was not the trawler FRIESLAND used for British service; that was a Dutch trawler (180grt).

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U.37 refuelled from German armed merchant cruiser ATLANTIS. The next day, U.37, which was unable to keep up with ATLANTIS in heavy seas, was detached from the escort of ATLANTIS in the Denmark Strait.

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French destroyer BISON departed Oran escorted armed merchant cruisers EL D'JEZAIR, EL MANSOUR, EL KANTARA and VILLE D'ORAN to Brest, arriving on the 8th for Norwegian operations.

 

 

Friday, 5 April

 

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN

 

PLANNED BRITISH MINELAYING OPERATIONS

 

The original British plan was to lay mines in Norwegian waters on the 5th and the first contingent of British troops for Narvik were to sail from the Clyde on the 8th. However, several factors caused the schedule to be put back three days.

 

Minelayer TEVIOTBANK (Cdr R. D. King-Harman Rtd) of Force WS with destroyers INGLEFIELD, ILEX, IMOGEN, ISIS departed Scapa Flow at 1930 to lay mines off Stadlandet in 62N, 05E between Aalesund and Bergen. This was the first of three minelays planned under operation WILFRED. Screening forces for these operations were battlecruiser RENOWN (Flagship Vice Admiral W. J. Whitworth CB, DSO, Capt C E B Simeon) and destroyers GREYHOUND, GLOWWORM, HYPERION and HERO sailing from Scapa Flow at 1830 with the TEVIOTBANK force. Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM, which had departed Scapa Flow on 31 March to search for German fishing vessels, was to have escorted the minelaying force, but on the 5th reports were received that all four Norwegian coastal defense ships were at Narvik. At the last moment, the Admiralty decided to send RENOWN and have BIRMINGHAM rendezvous with her off the Norwegian coast. However, BIRMINGHAM was unable to make the rendezvous due to bad weather.

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GERMAN SUPPLY SHIPS MOVEMENTS

 

German supply ship ALSTER (8514grt) and tanker KATTEGAT (6031grt), escorted by Norwegian torpedo boat STEGG, arrived at Kopervik at the pilot station. The station could not provide sufficient pilots and the German ships' progress north was delayed. The German ships spent the night at Kopervik and left the next morning towards Narvik. German steamers MAIN (7624grt) and BARENFELS (7569grt) experienced similar delays and spent the night of 6/7 April at Kopervik. German steamer SAO PAULO (4977grt) was forced to spend the night of 7/8 April at Kristiansand.

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UK-NORWAY CONVOY ON.25

 

Convoy ON.25 with nine British, sixteen Norwegian, nine Swedish, four Danish, four Finnish, one Estonian ship for Norway and two ships for Aberdeen, departed Methil at 1200 escorted by destroyers JAVELIN, JUNO, ECLIPSE, GRENADE and submarine THISTLE. Light cruisers MANCHESTER, SOUTHAMPTON and anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA provided close support. The convoy was composed of British steamers NYANZA (4974grt), MAGRIX (454grt), DALVEEN (5193grt), ORANGEMOOR (5775grt), CREE (4791grt), SWAINBY (4935grt), Norwegian steamers EROS (974grt), FORSVIK (1248grt), INGER (1409grt), ROY (1768grt), DIANA (1154grt), EINVIK (2000grt), SJOFNA (619grt), IBIS (1367grt), HJALMAR WESSEL (1742grt), VARD (681grt), VESTLAND (1934grt), Swedish steamers NORDOST (1035grt), CALEDONIA (1268grt),HAGA (1296grt), MAGDALENA (1265grt), FREY (1296grt), Danish steamers LOTTE (1420grt), METTE (1909grt), SOPHIE (945grt), Finnish steamers DELAWARE (2441grt), VELI RAGNAR (2158grt), ASCANIA (838grt), Dutch steamer HELDER (3629grt), and Estonian steamer BEGONIA (1591grt).

 

Off Aberdeen, submarine THISTLE was detached from the convoy with anti-submarine trawler COVENTRY CITY (546grt) and British steamer MAGRIX (454grt) for Scapa Flow. On the 6th, the convoy was joined at sea by destroyers JANUS, which departed Scapa Flow at 1300/5th and JUPITER, which had departed Scapa Flow at 0830/6th, escorting the ten ships of the Kirkwall section of the convoy. These steamers are detailed in the breakdown of the Methil sailing. Upon joining the convoy, destroyer JANUS remained with the local escort and destroyer JUPITER was ordered to search for British drifter SEABREEZE.

 

The merchant ships of the Kirkwall section were British steamers NORTH DEVON (3658grt) and IMPERIAL VALLEY (4573grt), Norwegian steamers STANJA (1845grt), SARPFOSS (1493grt), STAR (1531grt), ELNA E (1174grt), RINGULV (5153grt), SOLHAVN (1630grt), TOPDALSFJORD (4271grt), Swedish steamers C. F. LILJEVALCH (5492grt) and BULLAREN (5722grt), and Finnish steamer WAPPU (1513grt). On the 8th, the Admiralty recalled ON.25 due to German naval activity in the North Sea. Steamers DALVEEN, CALEDONIA, DELAWARE, ROY, DIANA, EINVIK, INGER, VESTLAND, HJALMAR WESSEL, ORANGEMOOR, FREY, CREE, BULLAREN, WAPPU, STAR and RINGULV arrived on the 9th at Kirkwall, NORDOST on the 10th at Kirkwall, SOLHAVN at Kirkwall and BERTHA at Methil on the 11th, TOPDALSFJORD at Kirkwall and NORTH DEVON at Methil on the 12th, HELDER at Kirkwall and NYANZA at the Tyne on the 13th, and IMPERIAL VALLEY at Methil on the 16th.

 

On the 10th, escort vessels VIVIEN, WOOLSTON and WOLSEY, which departed Rosyth on the 9th, escorted ON.25 from Kirkwall being joined en route by Sloop BITTERN. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 11th. Sloop BITTERN was detached en route to round up Danish fishing vessels in Moray Firth on the 10th. Steamers MAGDALENA, LOTTE, METTE, BEGONIA, EROS, SJOFNA, IBIS, VARD, ASCANIA, HAGA, SOPHIE, SWAINBY, SARPFOSS, C. F. LILJEVALCH and STANJA of ON.25 were lost or captured when the convoy was recalled on the 8th and twenty-four ships lost touch continuing towards Bergen. Steamers VELI RAGNAR safely arrived in the Kirkenes and FORSVIK at Gothenburg.

 


 

Destroyers CODRINGTON (D.1) and JANUS departed Scapa Flow at 1300 to search for a reported German submarine bombed by aircraft (presumably RAF Coastal Command) in 59-00N, 0-52W at 1020. The destroyers made six attacks on a submarine contact in 59-11N, 1-03W.

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Submarine UNITY at 0848 fired three torpedoes at U.2 in 56-02N, 6-35E. All the torpedoes missed.

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Convoy FN.138 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WALLACE and sloop FLAMINGO. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 7th.

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Convoy MT.45 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS, sloop LOWESTOFT, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 1st Anti-Submarine Group. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 6th.

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U.2, U.5 and U.6 departed Wilhelmshaven for patrols off southern Norway. U.4 had departed Wilhelmshaven on the 4th and U.1 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 6th. U.3 departed Wilhelmshaven on the 13th when U.2 left patrol with defects for Wilhelmshaven.

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German fishing trawler BLANKENBURG (344grt) was captured by destroyer FEARLESS northeast of North Cape in 71‑05N, 26‑49E. She was escorted by destroyer FEARLESS as far as North Cape, then departed under prize crew for Kirkwall arriving on the 11th. Trawler BLANKENBURG was renamed RECOIL for use by the Royal Navy as an anti-submarine trawler.

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Destroyers WALPOLE, WITHERINGTON and HESPERUS which were en route to meet convoy HX.30 and destroyer HAVANT, escorting OA.122 were ordered to hunt a German submarine reported in Dingle Bay.

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The 6th Mine Sweeping Flotilla was formed with minesweepers HALCYON, SPEEDWELL, SKIPJACK, HARRIER (SO) and HUSSAR at Dover. Minesweeper HARRIER was boiler cleaning on the 5th. The minesweeper completed boiler cleaning on the 6th.

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Minesweepers GOSSAMER, SALAMANDER and NIGER spent the night of 4/5 April in the Downs. On the 5th, minesweeper NIGER proceeded directly to the Humber. The other two minesweeper stopped at Harwich for work in connection with a minelaying operation off Dover. Following the operation, minesweepers GOSSAMER and SALAMANDER proceeded to the Humber. Minesweeper LEDA was to proceed to the Humber after boiler cleaning.

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Convoy HG.25 with thirty-seven ships departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyer WATCHMAN from the 5th to 7th. The ocean escort was sloops FOWEY (escort SO) and BIDEFORD which escorted the convoy from the 5 to 15th. Destroyers VERITY, VIVACIOUS and BROKE joined the convoy in Home Waters on the 12th and escorted the convoy until the 15th, when it arrived at Liverpool.

 

 

Saturday, 6 April

 

Destroyer TARTAR arrived at Scapa Flow at 1200 to land a medical case. Destroyer TARTAR then proceeded to Rosyth.

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Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA escorted by patrol sloops SHELDRAKE, SHEARWATER, PINTAIL and PUFFIN laid a minefield eight miles, 10 from 51-34. 2N, 02-28E in Operation PB.

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Minesweepers SKIPJACK and HUSSAR arrived at Dover to join the 6th Mine Sweeping Flotilla.

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Minesweeper HARRIER completed boiler cleaning at Dover. Minesweeper LEDA went alongside depot ship SANDHURST for boiler cleaning prior to proceeding to the Humber.

 

 

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN

 

BRITISH MINELAYING OPERATIONS

 

Minelaying destroyers ESK (D.20), IMPULSIVE, ICARUS and IVANHOE of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla escorted by destroyers HARDY, HUNTER, HOTSPUR and HAVOCK of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla departed Sullom Voe at 0515 as Force WV to lay mines in Vestfjord off Hovden in 67‑24N, 14‑36E. At sea, Force WV rendezvoused with battlecruiser RENOWN and her escorts which had departed Scapa Flow the day before. Destroyer GLOWWORM was detached from the RENOWN screen to recover a crewman lost overboard in heavy weather. GLOWWORM lost sight of RENOWN even as she turned, but the crewman was rescued. Destroyers HYPERION and HERO, also of the RENOWN force, were detached to refuel at Lerwick prior to operating as Force WB, a simulated minelay off Bud in 62‑54N, 06‑55E. They arrived at Sullom Voe at 1545/6th and departed at 0615/7th. If they encountered GLOWWORM, the destroyers were ordered to tell her to meet RENOWN off Vestfjord.

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GERMAN SHIPPING MOVEMENTS

 

German gunnery ship BRUMMER and torpedo boats FALKE and JAGUAR departed Cuxhaven at 0700/6th with steamers MENDOZA (5193grt), TIJUCA (5918grt) and TUBINGEN (5453grt) for Stavanger. German tanker DOLLART (233grt) departed Brunsbuttel on the 9th for Stavanger.

 


 

Drifter SEABREEZE in difficulty in heavy weather was spoken to by destroyer JANUS at 0710. When it was ascertained that the drifter was making for a lee in the Shetland Islands, JANUS continued on her way. Destroyer JUPITER was later ordered to search for the drifter when she made an SOS, but at 2200, JUPITER returned to Scapa Flow when SEABREEZE was reported in the company of a trawler.

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German armed merchant cruiser ORION departed Kiel for operations in the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. She was escorted in the Skagerrak by torpedo boats SEEADLER and LUCHS, and through the North Sea by U.64 which was then detached for Narvik operations.

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U.59 sank Norwegian steamer NAVARRA (2118grt) in 59N, 04W, with the loss of ten crew and two passengers. Fourteen survivors were picked up by Finnish steamer ATLAS (1098grt). By the 7th, Norway had lost 54 ships (117,208grt) and 392 men of her merchant shipping fleet. One ship was sunk by pocket battleship DEUTSCHLAND, 39 by submarine attack, 12 by air attacks and air or destroyer mining, and two by unknown causes.

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French light cruiser EMILE BERTIN (Flagship Contre Amiral Edmond L. Derrien, Commander Force Z, Capitaine de Vaisseau Robert M.J. Battet) and large destroyers MAILLE BREZE (Capitaine de Fregate H. M.E. A. Glotin) and TARTU (Capitaine de Fregate J. M.Chomel) of the 5th Large Destroyer Division departed Brest for Scapa Flow.

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Convoy OB.123GF departed Liverpool on the 4th escorted by destroyer VIMY and sloop ROCHESTER, while convoy OA.123GF departed Southend escorted by sloops WELLINGTON and ABERDEEN. The convoys merged as OG.25F with fifty-seven ships. ROCHESTER escorted OG.25F from the 6th to 7th when she detached to convoy HG.25F. VIMY, WELLINGTON and ABERDEEN escorted the convoy from the 6th to 12th, and it was joined near Gibraltar by destroyer WISHART which joined the escort from the 9th to 12th, when it arrived at Gibraltar. WELLINGTON and ABERDEEN were temporarily attached to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla to replace destroyers DOUGLAS and WRESTLER which were proceeding with convoy HG.26 to give their crews leave in the UK.

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Convoy OA.124 departed Southend escorted by destroyer WILD SWAN on the 6th and 7th, destroyer VESPER on the 7th, and destroyer CAMPBELL on the 8th and 9th. The convoy was dispersed on the 9th and destroyer CAMPBELL joined inbound convoy HX.31.

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Convoy OB.124 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer WARWICK and sloop FOLKESTONE from the 6th to 9th, when they were detached to convoy HX.31. Convoy OB.124 dispersed on the 10th.

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Convoy SA.36 with one steamer departed Southampton, escorted by destroyer ACHERON, and arrived at Brest on the 8th.

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Convoy FN.139 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN, and arrived in the Tyne on the 8th.

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Convoy FS.139 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS and sloop LOWESTOFT, and arrived at Southend on the 8th.

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Convoy TM.39 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WALLACE, sloop FLAMINGO, and anti-submarine trawlers of the 19th Anti-Submarine Group. The convoy joined convoy FN.138 on the 7th.

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Convoy HX.33 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers OTTAWA, RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA with RESTIGOUCHE returning to harbour after dark. At noon on the following day, the destroyers turned the convoy over to the ocean escort, armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA and French submarine BEVEZIERS, which detached on the 15th. Destroyer WHITEHALL and sloop ROCHESTER escorted the convoy from the 18th to 20th, when it arrived at Liverpool.

 

 

Sunday, 7 April

 

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN

 

The German invasion of Norway, WESERUBUNG (Exercise Weser), was originally set for 20 March. However, like British operations, various delays postponed the operations and the invasion was finally set for 9 April.

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GERMAN NAVAL MOVEMENTS

 

German naval forces for the Narvik and Trondheim occupations put to sea at midnight on the 7th. The Narvik group was composed of destroyers WILHELM HEIDKAMP (Flagship Commodore Bonte), GEORG THIELE (Leader of 1st Destroyer Flotilla) of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, HANS LUDEMAN (Leader of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla), HERMANN KUNNE, ANTON SCHMIDT, DIETHER VON ROEDER of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, WOLFGANG ZENKER (Leader of 4th Destroyer Flotilla), BERND VON ARNIM, ERICH KOELLNER and ERICH GIESE of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, each destroyer carrying 200 troops of the 139th Gebirgsjager Regiment (mountain troops), departed Wesermunde at the mouth of the River Weser at 0000/7 April. Additionally, destroyer RICHARD BEITZEN of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla was in the Weser as a reserve destroyer for this force, but was not required.

 

The Trondheim Group was composed of heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER and destroyers PAUL JACOBI (Leader of 2nd Destroyer Flotilla), THEODOR RIEDEL and BRUNO HEINEMANN of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla and FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla carrying troops of the 138th Gebirgsjager Regiment. This group departed Cuxhaven at 0000/7 April. Two destroyers of the Trondheim force were designated to remain at Trondheim after the landings for harbour defense duties. The Narvik Group and the Trondheim Group rendezvoused in Schillig Roads and proceeded north in company. At 0200 southwest of Heligoland, these destroyer groups joined German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU under Admiral Lutjens which departed Wilhelmshaven early on the 7th.

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At 0848 and 1342, Allied aircraft reported German naval forces east of the German declared minefield steering northwest. The force was later identified as one battlecruiser, one pocket battleship, three LEIPZIG class cruisers, twelve destroyers. This set British Home Fleet operations in motion.

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HOME FLEET OPERATIONS

 

Admiral Forbes (C-in-C Home Fleet) in battleship RODNEY with VALIANT, battlecruiser REPULSE, light cruisers SHEFFIELD, PENELOPE, French EMILE BERTIN, destroyers ESKIMO, PUNJABI, BEDOUIN, KIMBERLEY, JUPITER, CODRINGTON (D.1), GRIFFIN, BRAZEN, ESCAPADE and ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow at 2015/7th. Destroyers TARTAR, SOMALI (D.6), MATABELE and MASHONA, which had departed Rosyth on the 7th at 2330, joined Forbes at sea. Forbes proceeded with his fleet to cover the minelaying operations soon to commence off the Norwegian coast. French cruiser EMILE BERTIN lost touch with the Fleet and returned to Scapa Flow arriving at 0800/8th.

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ALLIED TROOP-LANDING PLANS

 

In conjunction with the minelaying of operation WILFRED, troops were to be landed at Stavanger, Trondheim, Bergen, Narvik under operation AVONMOUTH (plan R.4). These troops were already embarked in British naval vessels. At Rosyth were heavy cruisers DEVONSHIRE, BERWICK and YORK of the 1st Cruiser Squadron and light cruiser GLASGOW, which had just completed refitting, of the 18th Cruiser Squadron each with 90 tons of stores in addition to the troops embarked. These cruisers were to land troops at Stavanger and Bergen but only if it became apparent that Germany intended to violate Norwegian territory. Destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, SIKH, MOHAWK, ZULU and COSSACK of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla were at Rosyth to escort these cruisers. In the Clyde were troopships CHROBRY (11,442grt) and BATORY (14,287grt) with troops to be landed at Trondheim and Narvik to be escorted by light cruiser AURORA and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER and FORTUNE which arrived at the Clyde on the 3rd, destroyers DELIGHT, ASHANTI and FOXHOUND, which arrived at the Clyde on the 5th, destroyer MAORI which completed repairs at the Clyde on the 3rd.

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OTHER ALLIED NAVY MOVEMENTS

 

Additionally at Rosyth were light cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA. Convoy HN.24 had just arrived at Rosyth with destroyers SOMALI, MATABELE, MASHONA and TARTAR. The destroyers immediately put back out and joined Adm Forbes at sea. Convoy ON.25, which had put to sea on the 5th, was recalled at 1851 on the 7th and her escort of light cruisers MANCHESTER, SOUTHAMPTON, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, and destroyers JANUS, JUNO, JAVELIN, ECLIPSE and GRENADE were ordered to Scapa Flow. Convoy ON.25 was at that time in 61-20N, 1E. The convoy was ordered to reverse course and remain west of the Shetland Islands until further notice. CALCUTTA arrived at Sullom Voe and GRENADE at Scapa Flow at 1230/9th for refuelling. Destroyers JANUS, JUNO, JAVELIN and GRENADE were reassigned en route, but later arrived at Scapa Flow at 1820/9th for refuelling.

 

French light cruiser EMILE BERTIN and destroyers MAILLE BREZE and TARTU arrived off Scapa Flow at 1700/7th for operations with the Home Fleet. The light cruiser was met outside Hoxa Sound and was lead into harbour by destroyer JUPITER.

 

Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM on patrol since 31 March was ordered to join the RENOWN group off Vestfjord. However, in heavy weather, she was unable to make the rendezvous and later arrived at Scapa Flow on the 11th after refuelling at Sullom Voe on the 10th. Destroyer FEARLESS of the group had been detached for refuelling after the capture of German trawler BLANKENBURG on the 5th, proceeded to Sullom Voe and departed after refuelling on the 7th. On the 7th, destroyer FEARLESS captured German auxiliary patrol boat Vp.411 (trawler NORDLAND, 392grt) in the North Sea, proceeded with her to Sullom Voe, arriving on the 10th, and went on to Kirkwall the next day arriving on the 11th. Destroyer HOSTILE of this group had been detached to escort trawler FRIESLAND to Scapa Flow and later joined the British forces off Vestfjord.

 

Light cruisers ARETHUSA and GALATEA (CS.2) departed Rosyth at 2130 with destroyers AFRIDI (D.4), GURKHA, SIKH, MOHAWK, ZULU, COSSACK, KELVIN and KASHMIR, plus Polish destroyers GROM, BURZA and BLYSKAWICA, sailed for a position 80 miles west of Stavanger to arrive at 1700/8th from whence they would sweep north.

 


 

Destroyers ESCAPADE and ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow at 1030 to escort base ship MANCHESTER CITY to Kirkwall. The ships safely arrived at 1415 and the destroyers returned to Scapa Flow.  

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Minelayer TEVIOTBANK was recalled at 2251 on the 7th before the WS minelay was accomplished. She was ordered to cancel the minelaying and steer to the northwest. Minelayer TEVIOTBANK arrived at Sullom Voe at 1100/9th. Destroyers INGLEFIELD, ILEX, IMOGEN and ISIS arrived at Sullom Voe at 0830/9th. The destroyers were placed at the disposal of Admiral Forbes. The four I-class destroyers, HERO and HYPERION, after refuelling, departed Sullom Voe at 0300/10th and joined Forbes at 1100/10th.

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Steamer ULSTER MONARCH (3791grt) reported sighting a U-boat 37 miles NE of Cape Barfleur, . Destroyers WILD SWAN escorting convoy OA.124 and WINDSOR escorting convoy SL25A were detached to investigate.

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Estonian steamer MARE (1217grt) was seized by German forces, and renamed BUG for German use. The Estonian crew was returned to Estonia via Stockholm.

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Convoy BC.33 six steamers, including ATLANTIC COAST, BATNA, BRITISH COAST, CITY OF LANCASTER and MARSLEW (Commodore) departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer MONTROSE. The convoy arrived at Loire on the 9th.

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Convoy FN.140 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VEGA and WOOLSTON, and arrived in the Tyne on the 9th.

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Convoy MT.46 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA, sloop BLACK SWAN and anti-submarine trawlers of the 23rd Anti-Submarine Group, and arrived later that day.

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Convoy TM.40 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN, sloop PELICAN and anti-submarine trawlers of the 1st Anti-Submarine Group, and joined convoy FN.139 at daylight on the 8th.

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Convoy FS.140 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop BLACK SWAN, and arrived at Southend on the 9th.

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Convoy SL.27 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MOOLTON until the 21st, when sloop FOLKESTONE and destroyer VENETIA joined the escort. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 24th.

 

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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

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