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

NAVAL EVENTS, APRIL 1940 (Part 3 of 4)
Monday 15th-Sunday 21st

HMS Hero, destroyer (David Sutherland, click to enlarge)

on to APRIL 1940, Part 4

 

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

 

 

Monday, 15 April

 

Steamers SALERNO (870grt) and SALMON POOL (4803grt) were seized by German forces at Saudafjord, north of Stavanger, in Boknfjord. Twenty three crew from SALERNO were interned, and 34 from SALMON POOL, with four from SALMON POOL returned. They were renamed MARKIRCH and PUTZIG, respectively, for German service.

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Submarine SNAPPER sank German auxiliary minesweepers M.1701 (trawler H. M. BEHRENS, 525grt) and M.1702 (trawler CARSTEN JANSSEN, 472grt) at 0345/15th, north of Laeso Island in 57‑55N, 10‑53E in an attack on a northbound convoy. She also claimed damaging two merchant ships in the convoy. SNAPPER fired a total of four torpedoes.

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At 1418, submarine SHARK fired five torpedoes at German steamers ANGELBURG (3053grt) and AHRENSBURG (3200grt) escorted by German auxiliary minesweeper Sperrbrecher 1 (merchant ship SAAR:3261grt) in 57-55.5N, 10-08E. All torpedoes missed.

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Destroyers GRAFTON, FAME, DIANA arrived at Rosyth at 0700 from the Humber.

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French large destroyers BISON (Capitaine de Vaisseau J.A.R. Bouan), MILAN (Capitaine de Fregatte L.M.E. Plumejeaud), EPERVIER (Capitaine de Fregatte J.J.G. Bros) of the 11th Large Destroyer Division, which had departed Brest the evening of12 April, arrived at Greenock with troop carrying French armed merchant cruisers VILLE D' ORAN, EL D'JEZAIR, EL KANTARA, EL MANSOUR for duty off Norway. On 14 April, approaching Greenock in 54-12N, 5-02W, destroyer MILAN was in a collision with trawler GLAMORGAN COAST. The damage was repaired from 16 to 18 April. On this date, an advance French base was established at Greenock for Norwegian operations. This base was used until 8 May.

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Incomplete German heavy cruiser LUTZOW, which had been launched on 1 July 1939 and transferred to Russia on 11 February 1940, left Bremen under tow for Leningrad.

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 U.30 sustained some damage when she ran aground in the Trondheim aea.

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German auxiliary patrol boat Vp.811 (trawler HUGO HOMANN: 383grt) was lost in the North Sea. She was later salved and returned to duty.

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON joined light cruiser AURORA at Harstad and together went out to sea to meet convoy NP.1 with troopships BATORY (14,287grt), REINA DEL PACIFICO (17,707grt), MONARCH OF BERMUDA (22,424grt). The convoy arrived off Harstad the morning of 15 April escorted by battleship VALIANT and destroyers CODRINGTON, AMAZON, ACASTA, ARDENT, FEARLESS, BRAZEN, GRIFFIN, WITHERINGTON and VOLUNTEER. Despite attacks by U.38 on VALIANT and U.65 on BATORY, the convoy arrived safely off Harstad. FEARLESS and BRAZEN, patrolling ahead of the convoy, damaged U.49, on her third war patrol, in Vaagsfjord in 68‑53.5N, 16‑59.5E. U.49 surrendered after one depth charge attack. Many documents were recovered before the scuttling charge fired. The destroyers were able to pick up four officers and 37 of the submarine's crew. One rating was missing. The crew was embarked on VALIANT for passage to England. Four hours later, FEARLESS, screening VALIANT, made another attack on a submarine contact in the same vicinity. Since Harstad was not big enough to accomodate the liners, the troopships were sent to Bygden and the troops, the 24th Guards Brigade, were ferried to Harstad in destroyers.

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Destroyers FAULKNOR and ZULU reconnoitered the shoreward approaches to Narvik in Rombaksfjord in preparation for the allied landing.

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At 2242, U.47 sighted the British troopships and three Norwegian merchant ships at anchor at Bygden. U.47 fired torpedoes against these targets, but torpedo defects prevented any damage being done.

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British steamers NORTH CORNWALL (4304grt) and MERSINGTON COURT (5141grt) were scuttled by their German prize crews at Narvik. Seventeen crew from NORTH CORNWALL later arrived in England, while four were interned in Sweden. Twenty eight crew from MERSINGTON COURT were interned in Sweden, and eight later arrived in England.

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Dutch steamer BERNISSE (951grt) was scuttled by her German prize crew at Narvik. The crew was all rescued.

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Major General Carton de Wiart arrived at Namsos in a Sunderland flying boat during an air raid. The Sunderland was machine gunned and destroyer SOMALI, de Wiart's intended headquarters, was near missed by bombs. DeWiart was, however, able to assume command of the Namsos area as planned. SOMALI had also been reconnoitring the fjord, was heavily bombed during the day and expended all her HE ammunition before dark. The destroyer sustained no damage. Light cruisers GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD were in the area to provide support.

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Admiral Forbes off northern Norway departed that area with battleship RODNEY, battlecruiser RENOWN, destroyers HAVOCK, HOSTILE, HERO, ESK, ICARUS and IVANHOE. The three H's returned to Vestfjord. Forbes had detached battleship WARSPITE and aircraft carrier FURIOUS to operate off Vestfjord. RODNEY with destroyers GREYHOUND, ESK, ICARUS and IVANHOE arrived at Scapa Flow on the 17th and FORESTER and KIMBERLEY at 0600/18th. GREYHOUND was damaged by heavy weather and sustained structural damage en route. She departed Scapa Flow on the 19th for Sheerness, via Rosyth, and repaired in a month.

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Battleship VALIANT with destroyers FEARLESS, BRAZEN and GRIFFIN departed Vaagsfjord at 1900/15th and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100/18th.

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Destroyer JUPITER departed Scapa Flow at 1045 with repair pumps and equipment for light cruiser PENELOPE at Skelfjord. She arrived on the 16th and was then immediately sent on to Aandalsnes to support anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA. When it was found CALCUTTA would arrive first, JUPITER was ordered to continue to Skelfjord.

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Destroyer MACKAY arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900 escorting A.S.I.S. and other merchant ships, then departed that afternoon at 1500 and returned to Liverpool.

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Captain Pegram's destroyers MATABELE, MASHONA, AFRIDI and SIKH arrived at Lillesjona in 66‑14N, 13‑00E and joined Vice Admiral Layton and his two liners carrying the 146th Brigade. These destroyers were reinforced by destroyer NUBIAN, which arrived with oiler WAR PINDARI (5559grt), and destroyer SOMALI, which arrived with General de Wiart. General de Wiart transferred to destroyer AFRIDI and SOMALI, her ammunition exhausted after two days at Namsos, was sent home arriving at Scapa Flow on the 18th. The five other destroyers embarked troops from the liners and reached Namsos and Bangsund that evening.

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Light cruiser EFFINGHAM arrived at Scapa Flow after departing Portsmouth on the 13th for duty with the Home Fleet.

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Aircraft of 816 and 818 Squadrons from aircraft carrier FURIOUS attacked German aircraft parked on a frozen lake in 68-35N, 17-35E. One aircraft with S/Lt (A) J Ball, Lt A.S. Marshall, Naval Airman R Pike of 816 Squadron was shot down. Destroyer ZULU's whaler rescued the crew. Four other aircraft were damaged. Midshipman (A) W.A.B. Bland RNVR, was wounded in one of the damaged aircraft of 816 Squadron.

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Convoy BC.34 with steamers BARON CARNEGIE, which arrived Nantes on the 17th, DUNKWA, GLOUCESTER CITY, KURFA and LOTTIE R departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer MONTROSE. The convoy safely arrived at Loire on the 17th.

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Convoy SA.37 of two steamers arrived at St Malo from Southampton.

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Convoy FN.146 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop PELICAN. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 17th.

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Convoy MT.52 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Convoy FS.147 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 17th.

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Steamers QUEEN MAUD (4976grt) and PORT HUNTER (8802grt) in convoy OA.129, were involved in a collision in the English Channel. Steamer PORT HUNTER was able to continue on her own to Southampton. Destroyer WILD SWAN screened QUEEN MAUD for a time until the steamer advised she could continue safely on her own.

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Australian troop convoy US 2, composed of troopships ETTRICK (11,279grt), NEURALIA (9082grt), STRAITHAIRD (22,284grt), DUNERA (11,162grt), departed Melbourne en route to Egypt escorted by battleship RAMILLIES and Australian light cruiser ADELAIDE. The convoy was joined on the 19th by Australian light cruiser SYDNEY. At Fremantle on the 22nd, troopship NEVASA (9056grt) was added to the convoy and ADELAIDE was detached. Australian troop convoy US 2 in the area of the Coco Islands on the 30th was joined by French heavy cruiser SUFFREN which relieved Australian light cruiser SYDNEY which was detached on the 28th for US 3 escort duties.

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French battleship PROVENCE, which had departed Dakar on the 11th, and destroyer TROMBE arrived at Oran on the 16th. Battleships BRETAGNE and LORRAINE departed Toulon on the 15th and arrived at Oran on the 18th. The three battleships departed on the 26th and arrived at Algiers the next day. On 29 April, they departed and arrived at Alexandria on 3 May.

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Convoy SL.28 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser BULOLO until 29 April. Convoy SLF.28 merged with convoy SL.28 on the 22nd. On 29 April, destroyers VESPER and WALPOLE joined the convoy and escorted it to Liverpool, arriving on 1 May.

 

 

Tuesday, 16 April

 

Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK (Captain J. W. Durnford) and destroyers HEREWARD, JANUS, JUNO and KIPLING departed Scapa Flow at 1700/16th for Operation DUCK, the bombardment of Sola airfield near Stavanger. The heavy cruiser launched two Walrus aircraft for spotting duties. Both Walrus flew to Scotland after the operation. Early on the 17th, this force contacted submarine SEAL which was acting as a beacon ship off Stavanger. From 0513 to 0602, SUFFOLK bombarded Sola airfield, following which she was ordered north to check for German destroyers at sea, reported late on the 16th. SUFFOLK and her destroyers began a high speed northbound sortie that took them away from their rendezvous with air cover for their retirement, and she was soon taken under German air attack at 0825 and subjected to seven hours of bombing.

 

SUFFOLK received heavy damage; the most serious was a hit at the base of X turret at 1037 by a 500 kilogram bomb. X turret magazine had to be flooded to prevent its explosion. SUFFOLK was wrecked by numerous near misses. Probationary Temporary S/Lt (E) F. H. Collins RNVR, and twenty nine ratings were killed and two ratings died of wounds. Lt J.K. Gardiner RM, Acting Warrant Engineer A.L.C. Walters, Paymaster Cadet M. Hay, and thirty eight ratings were wounded. Destroyer KIPLING was damaged by two near misses. Eight Skuas of 803 Squadron finally arrived at 1415, followed by nine Skuas of 801 Squadron and Sea Gladiators of 804 Squadron, but they were unable to prevent four more German attacks. Battlecruisers RENOWN and REPULSE proceeded through Fair Isle Channel to join SUFFOLK. Destroyers TARTAR, JAVELIN, GROM and BLYSKAWICA, which departed Scapa Flow at 1345/17th, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyer FURY, and destroyer ECLIPSE from escort duty, joined the battlecruisers. They were joined at sea by destroyers KIMBERLEY and FORESTER.

 

SUFFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow at 0545/18th with her quarter deck awash and steering by propellers, under tow of tug BUCCANEER, which joined off Torness. Tugs IMPERIOUS and HENDON joined the cruiser off Switha. RENOWN and destroyers HYPERION, which had joined from Sullom Voe, KIMBERLEY, FORESTER, FURY, KIPLING, JANUS, JUNO and HEREWARD, arrived with SUFFOLK. She was grounded at Scapa Flow until 3 May for temporary repairs, departed on 5 May and taken to the Clyde. Repairs began on 24 May and lasted until 24 February 1941.

 

Destroyer KIPLING departed Scapa Flow at 1510/19th for Southampton where she arrived on the 22nd, for repairing and refitting until 16 July.

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At 2140, submarine PORPOISE unsuccessfully fired six torpedoes at U.3 off Egersund in 58‑18N, 05‑47E. U.1, sometimes credited to PORPOISE in this attack, was probably lost with all twenty four crew, on a mine laid by submarine NARWHAL on 4 April in 57‑37N, 06‑35E.

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The 21st Anti-Submarine Group of trawlers DANEMAN, LADY ELSA, MAN O'WAR and WELLARD and the 23rd Anti-Submarine Group of trawlers INDIAN STAR, MELBOURNE, BERKSHIRE and RUTLANDSHIRE arrived at Namsos on the 16th. Both groups went on to Skelfjord arriving on the 20th.

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 U.65, which had been undergoing trials at the start of the Norwegian campaign, arrived in Vaagsfjord.

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 U.13 attacked a Tribal class destroyer north of the Shetlands.

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German minesweeper M.8 carried out an anti-submarine attack off Horten in Oslofjord. German minesweeper M.7 joined to assist.

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Destroyers MATABELE, MASHONA, NUBIAN, AFRIDI (D.4) and SIKH landed two battalions of British troops, which had been embarked from Layton's liners, at Namsos during the night of 16/17 April. The destroyers then re-embarked the landing parties from light cruisers GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD at 0400/17th. The destroyers joined the troopships which had put to sea from Lillesjona. Due to the threat of air attack, troopship EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA (19,665grt) transferred her troops to CHROBRY (11,442grt) and was sent home, with some 170 tons of stores still on board, escorted by destroyers VANOC and WITHERINGTON. The transport and her escort safely arrived in the Clyde at 0014/20th.

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Heavy cruiser YORK, light cruiser EFFINGHAM, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, and destroyer ASHANTI departed Scapa Flow at 0300/16th. At 2200/16th they were sent into the Aandalsnes area to prevent the Germans from landing troops there and to cover CALCUTTA which was also reconnoitring in the area. Urgency was given this duty as the disabled destroyers HEINEMANN and ECKHOLDT were sighted off Stavanger at 1900 steering course 360. The destroyers were returning to Germany from Trondheim but the Admiralty decided that they might be en route to Aandalsnes to land troops. CALCUTTA sighted a U-boat on the surface three miles west of Aandalsnes, and proceeded to seaward having been unable to attack the submarine with depth charges due to proximity to the shore. Destroyer ASHANTI carried ashore a landing party from CALCUTTA early on the 17th to hold the area until the arrival of the PRIMROSE force in the night of 17/18 April.

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French steamers AMIENOIS (3715grt), CAP BLANC (3315grt) and SAUMUR (2915grt) departed Brest escorted by French destroyers CYCLONE (Capitaine de Vaisseau Y.F.C.A.M. Urvoy de Portzamparc) and MISTRAL (Capitaine de Corvette E.R. Lavene) and accompanied by tanker MEKONG. All arrived safely at Greenock on the 19th.

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Two Swordfish of 803 Squadron (Lt W.P. Lucy with Lt M.C.E. Hanson and Lt H.E.R. Torin with Midshipman T.A. McKee) attacked targets at Bergen during a reconnaisance. Lucy claimed sinking a patrol boat and Torin reported bombing a coastal submarine leaving port. Patrol boat TARANTEL N.B. 19 was near missed and had one crewman dead and nine wounded. U.57 did leave port that day and U.58 and U.59 arrived at Bergen on this date. U 58 was attacked, but sustained no damage.

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Submarine TRIDENT arrived at Rosyth after patrol. Submarine was attacked by friendly aircraft on the 15th in the sanctuary. The submarine was not damaged.

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Submarine CLYDE arrived at Blyth after patrol.

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Submarine SWORDFISH departed Blyth on patrol.

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French submarine AMAZONE departed Harwich on patrol

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 U.58 reprovisioned at Bergen.

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Norwegian torpedo boat BRAND and minelayer ULLER were placed in service by German troops as troop carriers at Bergen. Norwegian torpedo boats HVAS, HAUK, FALK, KJAEK and minelayer OTRA were placed in service as auxiliary patrol boats and renamed SEESTERN, KROKODIL, QUALLE, SCHILDKROTE and TOGO, respectively, based at Tonsbjerg.

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Swedish steamer MERTAINEN (4531grt) was sunk by German bombing off Trondheim, but the crew was rescued and landed at Kristiansund.

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Destroyers KEITH, BASILISK, BRILLIANT, BEAGLE, BROKE, CAMPBELL and VESPER carried out exercises south of Colbart Ridge.

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Convoy FN.147 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VALENTINE and sloop WESTON. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 18th.

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Panamanian steamer ALBA (3444grt) ran aground on the Goodwins, 3 miles 55 from Deal Coast Guard Station. Tug LADY BRASSEY and salvage vessel DAPPER proceeded from Dover to assist. After jettisoning cargo and the efforts of seven tugs, she was finally refloated at 1830/17th, brought to the Downs and anchored.

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French aircraft carrier BEARN, escorted by destroyer PANTHERE, passed Gibraltar en route from Brest to Toulon. The destroyer called at Gibraltar to refuel. Both ships arrived on the 18th and the destroyer began repairs.

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French steamer PROVIDENCE departed Marseille on the 16th, escorted by destroyer L'AUDACIEUX from Gibraltar. The steamer arrived at Brest on the 21st.

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French submarine REQUIN arrived at Gibraltar for anti-submarine exercises with the Gibraltar Force.

 

 

Wednesday, 17 April

 

German aircraft dropped mines in the Edinburgh Channel and off the Downs. On 20 April, steamer HAWNBY (5380grt) was sunk in 51‑32N, 01‑13E and steamer MERSEY (1037grt) near Midbrake Buoy in the Downs, in 51-17N, 1-28E. The entire crew of HAWNBY was rescued by MTB.4, while three crew were lost and eleven missing from MERSEY. Seven survivors were brought to Ramsgate.

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 U.13 sank steamer SWAINBY (4935grt) twenty five miles northeast of Muckle Flugga in 61‑03N, 00‑14W, but the entire crew was rescued. Destroyers BASILISK, BEAGLE, BROKE, ANTELOPE were ordered to the area to search.

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Battlecruiser REPULSE with destroyers HAVELOCK (D.9), HAVANT and FAME departed Scapa Flow at 0400 for Narvik.

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French submarines CASABIANCA (Capitaine de Corvette R.L.B. Sacaze), SFAX (Lieutenant de Vaisseau M.J.M. Groix), ACHILLE (Lieutenant de Vaisseau E. Michaud) and PASTEUR (Lieutenant de Vaisseau P.E.A.E. Mertz) of the 2nd Submarine Division arrived at Harwich escorted by sloop ROSEMARY and trawler BERBERIS for duty as the 9th Submarine Flotilla in patrols off Norway. PASTEUR was damaged while manoeuvring at Harwich and was unable to submerge, but the other three departed Harwich on the 18th for Dundee. CASABIANCA departed Dundee on patrol on the 21st for patrol off Karmsund in Selbjornfjord (Bergen area), SFAX on the 23rd for Flekkefjord and Egersund area, and ACHILLE on the 20th for Jaederens and the south entrance to Stavanger. On their next patrol, the submarines were deployed at the entrance of the Skagerrak on the longitude of Lindesnes.

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Destroyer HIGHLANDER, conducting anti-submarine patrol in Lillesjona Fjord, ran aground damaging her rudder, propellers and all projecting underwater fittings at 0130. She was able to proceed under her own power at reduced speed from Lillesjona on the 17th for Hull where she arrived on the 19th for repairs completed on 20 May. HIGHLANDER arrived at Scapa Flow on 23 May for duty.

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German steamers AFRIKA (6503grt), which had come from Narvik with a cargo of ore and captured by Norwegian forces on 9 April, and THESEUS (956grt), which had come from Trondheim, were at Hardangersfjord. On 17 April, AFRIKA (6503grt) was scuttled at Ulvik in Hardangersfjord by Norwegian torpedo boat STEGG.

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Swedish steamer BALTICIA (1986grt) was arrested at sea by a German torpedo boat and taken to Haugesand. On 13 May, sher was renamed GOTHIA for German service.

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Light cruisers GALATEA, ARETHUSA, anti-aircraft cruisers CARLISLE, CURACOA, and destroyers ARROW and ACHERON departed Rosyth with troops to be landed at Molde and Aandalsnes under operation SICKLE. GALATEA and CARLISLE landed troops of the 148th Brigade at Aandalsnes at 2000/18th, while ARETHUSA and CURACOA landed troops of the 148th Brigade at Molde, and the destroyers ferried them to Aandalsnes. There was no opposition to the landings.

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Destroyer ESCORT departed Lerwick after safely delivering destroyer ECLIPSE at 1130 and proceeding towards Scapa Flow. A submarine contact was reported by aircraft at 1233 in 59‑15N, 1‑30W, ESCORT attacked a submarine contact and summoned destroyers TARTAR and JAVELIN from Scapa Flow to assist. Further investigation proved this was the wreck depth charged by destroyer CODRINGTON on 5 April. All three destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow on the 18th.

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Submarine TAKU was stationed off Sulenfjord 20 miles from Aalesund to prevent German ships from entering the area. Uninformed of TAKU's presence and patrolling in the same area was destroyer ASHANTI. At 0342, TAKU fired four torpedoes at ASHANTI, which all missed. TAKU was then taken under attack by ASHANTI which dropped one depth charge before TAKU was identified. She only sustained a strained fore hatch.

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The sloops carrying the PRIMROSE detachment, arrived at Aandalsnes at 2200 17 April. By dawn on the 18th, disembarkation of the troops was completed. Sloop BLACK SWAN remained in the area to provide anti-aircraft support and the other sloops went off on other duties. BLACK SWAN remained on station until relieved on the 21st.

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At Harstad, the unloading of the convoy NP.1 transports was completed on the 17th and by 18 April the quays were cleared of cargos. The convoy, troopships MONARCH OF BERMUDA, BATORY and REINA DEL PACIFICO, departed Vaagsfjord escorted by destroyers AMAZON, VOLUNTEER and WITHERINGTON at 0300/17th. It arrived in the Clyde at 1045/20th, escorted by destroyers FEARLESS, FURY, HYPERION.

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During the night of 16/17 April, destroyers AFRIDI, MATABELE, MASHONA and NUBIAN met Polish troopship CHROBRY at sea and led her up Namsenfjord to Namsos supported by anti-aircraft cruisers CAIRO and CURLEW. Light cruisers GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD with destroyer SIKH remained at sea on guard. MATABELE and MASHONA ferried troops ashore from CHROBRY while AFRIDI and NUBIAN patrolled in the Fjord. At 0400/17th, MATABELE and SIKH re-embarked GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD's landing parties put ashore on the 14th. Destroyer SOMALI arrived at Scapa Flow at 2330/17th from Lillesjona. When CHROBRY left Namsenfjord early on the 18th, she was not completely unloaded and returned to Lillesjona. It was decided to send CHROBRY back to Namsos the night of 18/19 April to complete unloading as French convoy FP.1, en route to Namsos, was a day late and would not arrive until late on the 19th.

 

Destroyer MOHAWK had departed Scapa Flow at 1830/17th, and arrived at Namsos on the 18th with ammunition for the British ships. She then joined Captain Pegram's force. MOHAWK was ordered to join destroyer ASHANTI to patrol the Trondheim Leads until the 22nd when they departed to refuel at Scapa Flow. GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD arrived at Scapa Flow for refuelling on the 18th. After dark on the 18th, MATABELE was detached to refuel at Sullom Voe. CAIRO refuelled at Skelfjord, but returned in time to rejoin CURLEW escorting CHROBRY. Unloading was completed the night of the 18th/19th. CHROBRY returned to Scapa Flow escorted by Pegram's force which arrived at Scapa Flow on the 20th. AFRIDI arrived at Scapa Flow to refuel and embark ammunition at 1000/20th, while CHROBRY, escorted by SIKH and MASHONA, went on to the Clyde, arriving at 2250/21st. NUBIAN arrived at Namsos as an anti-aircraft guard ship on the 20th.

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German U-boats off southern Norway were ordered to withdraw.

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Submarines NARWHAL, UNITY and SPEARFISH arrived back at Blyth after patrols.

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The submarine base at Dundee was commissioned as HMS AMBROSE with Cdr J. G. Roper as S.9.

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Destroyers BASILISK, BEAGLE, CAMPBELL, BROKE, WREN, VANSITTART, ANTELOPE, WOLVERINE and WITCH departed Dover at 0600 for Scapa Flow. Destroyer VANSITTART has just arrived at Dover escorting a convoy. At 0900, they were diverted en route to search for a German submarine through positions 59‑00N, 0‑45E, 59‑50N, 0‑45E, 59‑50N, 0‑20W, 59‑10N, 1‑00W, and 58‑30N, 1‑00W. BASILISK, BEAGLE, BROKE and ANTELOPE were ordered at 0900/18th to search for the submarine sinking steamer SWAINBY, while WREN, WOLVERINE, WITCH, CAMPBELL and VANSITTART were sent to 59‑12N, 0‑15W to search for a German submarine reported by aircraft. They arrived at Scapa Flow at 0715/19th. Meanwhle BASILISK, BEAGLE, BROKE and ANTELOPE were sent at 2300/18th to search for the crew of a downed Whitley bomber. They rescued four crew and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1400/19th. Destroyers WILD SWAN, WHITSHED and VERITY arrived at Dover on the 18th to replace them.

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Two Skuas of 800 Squadron departed Hatston to attack German targets at Bergen. A Skua flown by Lt E.G. Finch-Noyes attacked German minelayer BREMSE without success. The other Skua flown by Captain R.T. Partridge RM, made no attack and on its return to Sumburgh crashed on the field and was a total loss.

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Old Norwegian torpedo boats GRIP, JO and RAVN were scuttled at Lyngor in the Namsenfjord-Molde area.

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Convoy OA.131 departed Southend escorted by destroyer VESPER from the 17th to 19th, and VENETIA on the 17th.

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Convoy OB.131 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop FOLKESTONE from the 18th to 20th, when she detached to convoy SL.27. The convoy dispersed on the 21st.

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Convoy BC.33 with four steamers, including steamer MARSLEW (Commodore) departed the Loire escorted by destroyer MONTROSE, and arrived in the Bristol Channel on the 18th.

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Convoy FN.148 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and VALOROUS. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 19th.

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Convoy MT.53 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WOLSEY and WESTMINSTER. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Convoy FS.148 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WOLSEY and WESTMINSTER.

 

The convoy arrived at Southend on the 19th.

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Convoy SLF.28 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE until 22 April. On 22 April, the convoy merged with convoy SL.28. On 29 April, destroyers VESPER and WALPOLE joined the convoys and escorted them to Liverpool arriving on 1 May.

 

 

Thursday, 18 April

 

Operation HAMMER, allied troop landings at Trondheim, was cancelled.

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Destroyers ESK, ICARUS, IVANHOE departed Scapa Flow at 0900 for Immingham where they arrived at 0600/19th.

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Destroyers JUNO, JANUS, HEREWARD, HASTY departed Scapa Flow at 1315 for the Clyde to escort aircraft carrier GLORIOUS from Greenock to Scapa Flow.

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Destroyers HASTY and JACKAL arrived at Scapa Flow at 0800 for duty with the Home Fleet after repairs. HASTY arrived at Scapa Flow with destroyer WHITLEY escorting tanker WAR NIZAM. WHITLEY then returned to Rosyth.

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Destroyer ESCORT departed Scapa Flow at 1240 for Lerwick with personnel and stores for damaged destroyer ECLIPSE.

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Minesweeping HUSSAR completed boiler cleaning at Dover. Minesweeper HALCYON went alongside depot ship SANDHURST in the Submarine Basin at Dover for boiler cleaning.

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German auxiliary submarine chasers UJ.125 (trawler JOHANNES KLATTE, 509grt), UJ.126 (trawler STEIERMARK, 446grt) and UJ.128 (trawler FRANKEN, 435grt) attacked a submarine contact in Karingoefjord. At one time it was thought this contact was the sinking of submarine STERLET, but it appears she was lost later that day. Submarine STERLET was sunk in the Skagerrak late on the 18th by German minesweeper M.75 which with old torpedo boat T.190 were escorting a southbound convoy. Lt Cdr G.H.S. Haward, Lt G.J. Wright, Lt Gilbert Wardle, Lt J.C. Paige RNR, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt J. S. Crone RNVR, Commissioned Engineer A.S. Sarfas, the thirty five ratings were lost.

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At 0100, submarine SEAWOLF fired two torpedoes at one ship and four torpedoes at another ship from a group of three merchant ships escorted by four trawlers. One torpedo struck and sank German steamer HAMM (5874grt), returning from Oslo, off the Skaw in 58‑09N, 10‑32E.

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In Groteintfjord near Tromso, aircraft carrier FURIOUS, escorted by destroyers ISIS and ILEX, was damaged by the concussion of a near miss from a single German Heinkel bomber attack. FURIOUS's hull was damaged and she stripped some turbine blades. Then on 24 April, she reported two propeller shafts out of action.

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A Swordfish aircraft of 816 Squadron from aircraft carrier FURIOUS crashed near Tromso when it struck a H/T wire stretched across the fjord, Lt (A) F Whittingham was killed in the crash, and of the two other crew, Lt O M Cheeke was seriously wounded and L/Air S F White slightly. Both injured airmen were rescued by a Norwegian guard ship, and destroyer INGLEFIELD unsuccessfully searched for Whittingham.

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Destroyer FORTUNE escorting tanker WAR PINDARI arrived at Tromso at 2200.

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Escort vessel WINCHESTER, which was working up, submarine H.28 departed Portland on anti-submarine exercises.

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Polish submarine ORZEL arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

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Submarine SEALION and French submarine LA SYBILLE arrived at Harwich after patrol.

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German minelayers HANSESTADT DANZIG, KAISER, ROLAND, COBRA, PREUSSEN and KONIGIN LUISE laid anti-submarine mine barrages in the Kattegat. The minelayers were escorted by torpedo boats GREIF, SEEADLER and MOEWE and motor minesweepers R 25 and R 27. GREIF was relieved by torpedo boat WOLF. The minefields were laid on the 18th.

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Swedish steamer EDDA (1587grt) was seized by German forces outside Larvik and renamed AXEL for German service.

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Swedish steamer KARE (1203grt) was attacked by German bombers, and the crew abandoned ship and went ashore. She was seized and named HELA for German service.

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Convoy OA.132 did not sail.

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Convoy OB.132 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer WARWICK from 18 to 21 April. The convoy dispersed on the 22nd.

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Convoy OG.26 was formed from convoys OA.130G, which departed Southend on the 16th escorted by destroyer VIVACIOUS and OB.130G, which departed Liverpool on the 16th escorted by destroyer VIMY, with 54 ships. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 25th, escorted by French sloop ANNAMITE and escort ship VIKINGS, which joined on the 19th from Lorient.

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Convoy FN.149 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WINCHESTER and sloop LONDONDERRY. Destroyer WHITLEY relieved the sloop, which on relief proceeded to Rosyth. On 19 April, WINCHESTER hit a submerged object 5.6 miles 037 from Tongue Light Vessel, but was able to continue with the convoy with damage to her asdics and propeller. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 20th with WHITLEY and WINCHESTER.

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Convoy MT.54 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VEGA and sloop HASTINGS. The convoy arrived at the Tyne later that day.

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Convoy FS.149 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VEGA and sloop HASTINGS. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 20th.

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Convoy HG.27F of twenty six ships departed Gibraltar. Destroyer VELOX escorted the convoy on the 18th, French destroyer CHACAL and torpedo boat BATAILLEUSE from the 18th to 24th, and sloops SCARBOROUGH and LEITH from the 24th to 27th. SCARBOROUGH arrived in the Downs on the 26th with the Thames section of the convoy, while the main convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 27th.

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Convoy HX.36 departed Halifax at 0800 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY, SKEENA and ST LAURENT, which were detached on the 19th. After screening the ocean escort, battleship REVENGE to sea, ST LAURENT returned to Halifax, with SAGUENAY and SKEENA arriving back on the morning of the 20th. The battleship was detached on the 26th. Destroyers VIMY and WAKEFUL joined the convoy on the 30th, with VIMY detaching on 2 May and WAKEFUL on the 3rd, when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

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The Italian destroyers, purchased by Sweden, departed Naples, but a collision soon occurred between PUKE and PSILANDER. Damage required the destroyers to call at Cartagena, where they arrived on the 23rd.

 

 

Friday, 19 April

 

Light cruiser EFFINGHAM was attacked early on the 19th by U.38, southwest of the Lofotens, but was not damaged.

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Light cruiser ENTERPRISE, arriving in Vaagsfjord during the evening of 19 April, was attacked by U.65. All the torpedoes exploded prematurely and no damage was done.

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German U-boats off Vaagsfjord, Vestfjord, Namsenfjord and Romdalsfjord were ordered to return to Germany.

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At 0700, destroyers FEARLESS, FURY and HYPERION departed Scapa Flow to meet homebound convoy HNP 1 and relieve escorting destroyers VOLUNTEER and WITHERINGTON, which then proceeded to Scapa Flow and the Clyde, respectively.

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A Swordfish of 818 Squadron from FURIOUS forced landed intact on a snowfield of Lake Skogsfjord, Ringvassoy, Lt S Keane, Lt A S Marshall, and Naval Airman F Clark were rescued uninjured.

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Polish destroyers GROM, BURZA and BLYSKAWICA departed Scapa Flow at 2130 for Harstad to relieve destroyers there. Destroyer ESCORT rendezvoused with them off Lerwick, but BURZA was forced to return to Scapa Flow with storm damage to her bow, arriving there at 1100/20th. Also on the 20th, U.9 attacked BLYSKAWICA northeast of the Shetlands and was counterattacked in return. The three destroyers arrived safely on the 21st off Harstad without further incident and were led into port by destroyer FAULKNOR.

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Battleship VALIANT and battlecruiser RENOWN, which were to embark special shells for the Trondheim bombardment, escorted by light cruisers GALATEA, ARETHUSA and destroyers VANSITTART, CAMPBELL, WITCH and WOLVERINE, departed Scapa Flow at 1700 for Rosyth. Destroyer GREYHOUND departed with the force and continued on to Blackwall for structural repairs.

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At 0530, submarine TRIAD fired four torpedoes at German minesweeper NAUTILUS in 58-18N, 10-48E, but all missed.

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Submarine SEAL arrived at Rosyth after patrol, but departed that day and proceeded to Blyth, arriving on the 20th.

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French submarines DORIS and ORPHEE departed Harwich on patrol.

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Submarine SNAPPER and French submarine ANTIOPE arrived at Harwich after patrol.

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Submarine SUNFISH arrived at Harwich after patrol.

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French convoy FP.1, carrying the 5th Chasseur Alpins Demi Brigade, consisted of French armed merchant cruisers EL D'JEZAIR (5818grt), EL KANTARA (5079grt) and EL MANSOUR (5818grt), escorted by large destroyers BISON, EPERVIER and MILAN of the 11th Large Destroyer Division, and armed merchant cruiser VILLE D'ORAN (10,172grt), in a group arriving behind the first, escorted by large destroyers CHEVALIER PAUL, MAILL BRZ and TARTU of the 5th Large Destroyer Division, which departed Scapa Flow on the 20th for Namsenfjord. EL MANSOUR, EL KANTARA, VILLE D' ORAN, British troopship FRANCONIA, and TARTU, CHEVALIER PAUL, MAILL BRZ and EPERVIER had departed the Clyde at 0600/16th and arrived at Scapa Flow at 0800/17th. The convoys' passage was given close cover by French light cruiser EMILE BERTIN (Flagship Derrien) and heavy support by battlecruiser REPULSE and anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW. Enemy opposition to the convoys was considerable.

 

On the 18th, U.34 unsuccessfully attacked EMILE BERTIN, and on the afternoon of the 19th in 64‑44N, 07‑49E, U.46 launched torpedoes without success at MAILL BRZ, which counterattacked and drove her off. However, she lost touch with the convoy and did not rejoin until it had arrived at Namsos. The two groups and their escorts arrived off Namsos and were joined by anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO which came out from there. During the disembarkation, at 1800 EMILE BERTIN in Namsenfjord was hit by a German bomb which resulted in moderate damage, and as she withdrew, escorted by MAILL BRZ, she was unsuccessfully attacked by U.51. They were joined at sea by EPERVIER and British light cruiser MANCHESTER, and the group proceeded to Sullom Voe. Destroyers ANTELOPE and BROKE departed Scapa Flow at 0530 on 20 May and joined the French light cruiser for escort. After seeing her near to Scapa Flow, they returned to escort convoy FP.1 back.

 

VILLE D'ORAN was damaged by a near miss at 2200 while sailing up the fjord and fell behind. She was able to catch up and disembark her cargo, but had to go to Glasgow for repairs. After the disembarkation, the French ships left before dawn on the 20th with CAIRO and arrived at Sullom Voe at 1615/21st, escorted by the TARTU, CHEVALIER PAUL, MAILL BRZ, BROKE and ANTELOPE. Troopships EL D'JEZAIR, EL KANTARA and EL MANSOUR departed Sullom Voe at 1715/22nd for Scapa Flow escorted by BROKE, ANTELOPE, TARTU and CHEVALIER PAUL, and arrived at 0700/23rd, while VILLE D'ORAN departed Sullom Voe at 1800/22nd, escorted by EPERVIER, for the Clyde. CAIRO which had suffered some bomb damage from a near miss at Namsos arrived at Scapa Flow on the 21st, while CURLEW, which was supposed to go to Namsos as anti-aircraft guard ship, had insufficient fuel and had to return to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 20th. With no anti-aircraft protection, Namsos was heavily bombed by unopposed Luftwaffe forces and the port sustained heavy damage. Destroyer NUBIAN arrived on the 20th as an anti-aircraft guard ship, departing at 0200/21st.

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Battleship WARSPITE, departing Vestfjord for Rosyth escorted by destroyers HAVOCK, HOSTILE, HERO and FOXHOUND, was attacked by U.47 but the torpedoes prematured. The escorting destroyers subjected U.47 to a heavy depth charge attack, and WARSPITE was recalled to Narvik.

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Destroyer WREN departed Scapa Flow at 1630 for Lerwick to escort steamer ST ROGNVALD (1069grt) carrying troops from Lerwick to Aberdeen. WREN then arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1815/20th, but was ordered to the Clyde without entering harbour.

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Destroyer MATABELE on passage to Scapa Flow was diverted to escort minelayer TEVIOTBANK from Sullom Voe to Rosyth. Destroyer FORESTER departed Scapa Flow at 1900/20th, relieved MATABELE for the remainder of the voyage, and she and TEVIOTBANK arrived in the Humber at 1415/22nd. FORESTER went on to Hull for repairs.

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French large destroyers INDOMPTABLE, MALIN and TRIOMPHANT en route to Rosyth anchored in the Downs for the night, and at 0800/20th, continued on to Rosyth.

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French submarines CALYPSO (Lieutenant de Vaisseau J.M. Petit) and THETIS (Lieutenant de Vaisseau J.E.L. Lefeuvre) of the 13th Submarine Division arrived at Harwich at 1400/19th, escorted by sloop FOXGLOVE, to reinforce the 10th Submarine Flotilla for patrol in the southern North Sea.

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In operations by German naval auxiliary Schiff 18 and minesweeper M.1, which was part of the Egersund invasion force and had been left behind because of mechanical defects when the other minesweepers returned to Germany, five S-boats of the 1st Flotilla operated in Hardangersfjord, south of Bergen. Units of the 1st S-boat Flotilla sank Norwegian torpedo boat SAEL and one S-boat was damaged by two hits in the engagement at Anuglo.

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Convoy MT.55 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and armed patrol yacht BREDA. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Convoy FS.150 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and armed patrol yacht BREDA. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 21st.

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Destroyer KEPPEL arrived at Gibraltar from Malta on completion of her repairs from her January collision.

 

 

Saturday, 20 April

 

Anti-submarine trawler RUTLANDSHIRE (458grt, Chief Skipper J. Wilson RNR) of the 23rd Anti-Submarine Group was badly damaged by German bombing at Namsos, and was run aground to prevent sinking, breaking into three sections. The entire crew was rescued. It was long thought that she was salved by German forces and renamed Vp.6116 (trawler UBIER). However, UBIER, later Vp.6116, was a new whaler not completed until 1941. The wreck of RUTLANDSHIRE was located in Namsenfjord in November 2004. (Corrections thanks to Mark Viglietti)

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Sloop AUCKLAND was damaged by a near miss in the same bombing attack at Namsos.

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Light cruisers SOUTHAMPTON and ENTERPRISE were at Tromso.

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Destroyers FAULKNOR, ESCAPADE and JUPITER conducted anti-submarine operations in Vestfjord screening light cruisers AURORA and EFFINGHAM. At first light on the 20th, JUPITER was relieved for refuelling by destroyer GRENADE, and EFFINGHAM was relieved early on the 21st by light cruiser ENTERPRISE.

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Destroyers SOMALI (D.6) and TARTAR departed Scapa Flow at 1300 to establish a patrol in Kraakvaagford by dusk on the 21st. They joined destroyers ASHANTI and MOHAWK, already in the area, patrolling the Trondheim Leads, later departing on the 22nd for Scapa Flow for fuel and ammunition, where they arrived at 0900/23rd.

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Destroyers BASILISK, BEAGLE and HESPERUS departed Scapa Flow at 0800 to operate an anti-submarine striking force east of the Orkneys and Fair Island. BEAGLE arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1900 for escort duties, and BASILISK and HESPERUS were ordered at 0535/21st to the Clyde for escort duties. They arrived at 2345/21st.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE at Aandalsnes was damaged by a near miss of German bombing, suffering a leak in her starboard condenser.

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Tanker BRITISH LADY escorted by destroyers HOTSPUR, PUNJABI and JUPITER departed Skelfjord during the forenoon for Scapa Flow, arriving at 2200/23rd with tug BRIGAND in attendance.

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Destroyers BEAGLE and VOLUNTEER departed Scapa Flow at 2100 with tanker ALDERSDALE for Skelfjord, where they arrived at 0300/24th.

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Submarines URSULA arrived at Blyth, and TAKU at Rosyth after patrols.

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French submarine CIRCE departed Harwich on patrol, but returned on the 22nd with her after planes out of action.

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Light cruiser ARETHUSA embarked RAF personnel and fuel at Rosyth and proceeded unaccompanied to Aandalsnes where the personnel and cargo were landed early on the 22nd.

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Liner FRANCONIA (20,175grt) arrived at Harstad escorted by battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers HAVANT, HAVELOCK, FAME. Congestion was so great that 1141 men of a labour force were sent back home without ever disembarking. However, wounded and prisoners were taken onboard for transport back to England.

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 Skuas of 800 and 801 Squadron from Hatston individually attacked Bergen. German motor torpedo boat S.22 was unsuccessfully attacked. Midshipman J R Crossley and Petty Officer M Hall were lost when their Skua of 800 Squadron crashed between Lerwick and the Orkneys in 59-81N, 1-19W.

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Steamer WESTERN PRINCE (10,926grt) was heavily machine gunned and damaged by German bombers near Edinburgh Light Vessel.

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Anti-submarine yacht MOLLUSC (627grt) attacked a submarine contact in 52-34N, 2-01E. Patrol sloop SHELDRAKE stood by the contact.

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In operations by German gunnery training ship BREMSE, naval auxiliary ship Schiff 18, minesweeper M.1 and S-boats in Hardangersfjord, Norwegian torpedo boat STEGG at Heroysund and auxiliary patrol vessel SMART (122grt) at Usekedel were sunk by BREMSE. Norwegian minelayer TYR was sent to assist STEGG, engaged Schiff 18 which was damaged and ran aground at Usekedel, near Bergen, but was captured later by German forces when the Norwegian crew went ashore during daylight hours. She was taken for German use. TYR with minelayer ULLER departed Bergen on the 30th to lay mines at the entrance to Sognefjord, where they were attacked by Norwegian aircraft and ULLER damaged and ran aground. The crew was taken aboard TYR which returned towards Bergen. On 1 May, she was attacked by a Norwegian gunboat and sustained many casualties to the German crew. TYR served no further use to the German forces, but was returned after the war to the Norwegians.

 

M.1 seized some 40,000 tons of merchant shipping at Haugesand and took them to Stavanger. Included in this haul was German steamer CLARE HUGO STINNES (5294grt) at Kinsarvik, which was seized at the start of the Norwegian campaign, and a number of Norwegian steamers - SAN MIGUEL (2380grt) at Ulvik, BLACK PRINCE (5039grt) and KONG OSCAR II (914grt), and VENUS (5407grt) at Stanghelle, near Bergen.

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At 0930, submarine TRIAD sighted a German convoy of three steamers and four escorts in 58-15N, 10-15E, attacked one of the steamers off Arendal and claimed to have sunk her, but no damage was done. At 1318, submarine SWORDFISH fired six torpedoes at the same convoy in Bohus Bay, which she reported as three freighters and four F-type escort ships. One of the torpedoes just missed German steamer SANTOS (5943grt) in 58-48N, 10-19E.

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Aircraft carrier FURIOUS intercepted German trawler RHEIN (254grt) at 1604 off North Cape, which was taken in prize and escorted to Harstad by destroyer IMOGEN.

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 U.61 refuelled at Bergen.

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After departing Brest on the 18th, French large destroyers ALBATROS (Capitaine de Fregate R.G. Lambert) and VAUTOUR (Capitaine de Vaisseau G.F.J.M. Reboul Hector-Berlioz) of the 7th Large Destroyer Division arrived in the Clyde escorting French troopships DJENNE (8790grt), FLANDRE (8503grt) and PRESIDENT DOUMER (11,898grt). The convoy was met at sea by destroyers FEARLESS, FURY and VANOC which escorted them into the Clyde.

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Destroyer VEGA damaged her asdic dome hitting a submerged object, docked at Chatham on the 22nd and was under repair until mid May.

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Destroyer KEITH completed boiler cleaning at Dover, while destroyer BRILLIANT began hers.

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French destroyer L'ADROIT escorted eight Norwegian merchant ships from Dunkirk to the Downs on the Dungeness route.

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Convoy FN.150 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WESTMINSTER and WOLSEY, and WOLSEY was machine gunned by German bombers in the area of Smith's Knoll. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 22nd. Convoy FN.151 did not sail.

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Convoy MT.56 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VALENTINE and sloop WESTON, and submarine SEAL took passage with them. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Convoy FS.151 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VALENTINE and sloop WESTON, and arrived at Southend on the 22nd.

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Destroyer VELOX arrived at Gibraltar escorting Norwegian whaling ship KOSMOS II (16966grt). The ship had departed Teneriffe and was captured by French sloop BOUGAINVILLE off Casablanca.

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French submarines PHOQUE, DAUPHIN, NARVAL and ESPADON departed Casablanca on the 19th, passed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyer TRAMONTANE, and were joined by submarine REQUIN which had been exercising at Gibraltar. They arrived at Bizerte on the 21st, along with submarine PROTEE which departed Casablanca on the 18th; she passed Gibraltar with destroyer TROMBE on the 19th.

 

 

Sunday, 21 April

 

Light cruiser EFFINGHAM was relieved by light cruiser ENTERPRISE on patrol off Harstad.

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Convoy AP.1 of small steamers ST SUNNIVA (1368grt) and ST MAGNUS (1312grt) departed Aberdeen at 0430/19th escorted by destroyers HESPERUS and JACKAL, which departed Scapa Flow at 1400/18th for Aberdeen. They were joined at sea by steamer CEDARBANK (5159grt) escorted by destroyer JAVELIN which departed Scapa Flow at 1100/19th. At that time, HESPERUS was detached and returned to Scapa Flow. The convoy arrived at Aalesund early on the 21st and completed unloading by 0500. Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA joined for anti-aircraft support on the 21st.

 

At 0427 on the 21st, JACKAL attacked a submarine contact. However, at 0635, before CEDARBANK (5159grt) could disembark her cargo, which included anti-aircraft guns for area defence, artillery, mortars, transport and Bren carriers for troops of the 148th Infantry Brigade, she was sunk by U.26 in 62‑49N, 04‑10E. (The location was given in the Home Fleet Destroyer War Diary as 62-54N, 4-39W). Her crew of fourteen and one gunner was lost. Escorting destroyers JACKAL and JAVELIN were unable to inflict damage on U.26 which was returning from delivering supplies to Trondheim. ST MAGNUS and ST SUNNIVA arrived safely with their troops at Aandalsnes that evening.

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The 22nd Anti-Submarine Group of trawlers WARWICKSHIRE, HAMMOND, LARWOOD, BRADMAN, JARDINE arrived at Aandalsnes.

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At 0400/21st, a small coastal steamer of some 300 tons, escorted by German destroyer JACOBI, landed 400 troops at Kirknesvaag to reinforce German positions in Trondheimsfjord and outflank British troops at Stenkjer. A torpedo boat landed an infantry company at Verdalsora to secure railway and road bridges there.

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Battleship VALIANT with destroyers GRAFTON, ARROW, ACHERON departed Rosyth at 1900 and arrived at Scapa Flow at 0830/22nd.

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Destroyer NUBIAN departed Namsos at 0200, proceeded to sea and arrived back in the fjord at 1840 to find sloop AUCKLAND in harbour. AUCKLAND relieved her as anti-aircraft guard ship and as SNO Namsos, and NUBIAN departed Namsos at 1230/22nd, and arrived at Scapa Flow at 2230/23rd. AUCKLAND remained on station until relieved on the 24th.

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French armed merchant cruiser VILLE D'ALGER (10,172grt), sailing as a troopship, had departed Brest on the 15th, and arrived at Scapa Flow at 2000/18th escorted by French destroyers BISON and FOUDROYANT. Designated convoy FP1B, she departed Scapa Flow at 0100/21st, escorted by British light cruiser BIRMINGHAM and anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, BISON and FOUDROYANT, and joined destroyer MAORI and sloop AUCKLAND off Namsos that evening at 2030/21st. However, she was refused entry into Namsos that night. FOUDROYANT was detached on the 22nd for refuelling at Scapa Flow arriving at 1800/23rd. The force returned at dusk on the 22nd and the French troops were disembarked but the equipment was not landed due to a damaged dock and heavy snow storm. MAORI, which was there with steamer BLACKHEATH, ferried French troops to the pier, after which VILLE D'ALGER departed Namsos at 0530/23rd and was escorted back to Scapa Flow by BISON.

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Heavy cruisers DEVONSHIRE, BERWICK and destroyer INGLEFIELD (D.3) arrived at Scapa Flow at 1000.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA relieved sloop BLACK SWAN as anti-aircraft guard ship at Aandalsnes.

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Destroyers HYPERION, HEREWARD and HASTY departed Greenock with aircraft carrier GLORIOUS at 1100 for flying on and off. They departed the Clyde at 1800 for Scapa Flow. On 22 April, during flying on, a Skua of 803 Squadron crashed attempting to land, and while Lt A S Griffith was rescued by a destroyer, Naval Airman K A Brown was killed. Nine Sea Gladiators of 804 Squadron were flown onto the ship. Destroyers ARROW, ACHERON and BRAZEN departed Scapa Flow at 1415/22nd to join GLORIOUS during flying on and off west of the Orkneys, but where then detached at 1930 for Rosyth.

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Destroyer BRAZEN departed Scapa Flow at 2050/21st with minelayer ATREUS, escorted her as far as Cape Wrath, and arrived back at 0630/22nd.

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Destroyers ESCORT, BEDOUIN, FAULKNOR and the Polish BLYSKAWICA and GROM sortied into Rombaksfjord near Narvik to reconnoitre and harass German troop positions.

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Destroyers VETERAN and VISCOUNT departed Plymouth at 1200 for the Clyde, where they arrived at 0850/22nd to join the Home Fleet.

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Destroyer WALKER departed Workington at 1330 escorting A.S.I.S. HERON to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0800/23rd.

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Aircraft carrier GLORIOUS flew 812 and 825 Squadrons ashore to Prestwick, while maintaining nine Sea Gladiators of 802 Squadron, nine Sea Gladiators of 804 Squadron, and 11 Skuas of 803 Squadron. The detached Squadrons were employed in minelaying and convoy escort duties on the south and east coasts from shore bases. They then were employed around Dunkirk. 823 Squadron was temporarily disembarked to make space for the eighteen RAF Gladiators of 263 Squadron, which were flown for transport to Norway.

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French destroyer MILAN arrived at Scapa Flow at 1630 with French tanker LE LOT (4220grt).

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Sloops PELICAN and FLEETWOOD departed Rosyth at 0200 with military advance parties for Aandalsnes and Molde.

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At 1421, French submarine ORPHEE on patrol in the North Sea 70 miles SSW of Lister in 56‑58N, 06‑03E fired two torpedoes at U.51, which was being followed closely by U.19.

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Submarine SEVERN arrived back at Rosyth after patrol off Kristiansand.

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Convoy MT.57departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and VALOROUS, and arrived later that day in the Tyne.

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Convoy FS.152 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and VALOROUS, and arrived at Southend on the 23rd.

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German aircraft dropped mines off Ramsgate and North Foreland and in King's Channel. On the 23rd, steamer LOLWORTH (1969grt) was sunk 1/2 mile NW of Elbow Buoy near North Foreland; two crew were lost and 22 survivors rescued. On the 24th, steamer RYDAL FORCE (1101grt) was sunk 400 south of Gull Light Vessel; eleven crew were missing, and two survivors rescued by minesweeping trawler SARAH HIDE (162grt).(Note: trawler is referred to as SARAH HYDE in most lists). Then on the 25th, steamer MARGAM ABBEY (2470grt) from convoy FS.53 was sunk due north, nine cables, from East Knob Buoy, but the entire crew was rescued. Due to the minings, convoy HX.34, escorted by destroyer WHITEHALL, anchored in Dungeness Roads.

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Trawlers PENN (179grt) and HERCULES II (165grt) were sunk by German bombing in the North Sea.

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German steamer TOGO (5054grt) was damaged by a mine laid earlier in the month by submarine NARWHAL off Arendal, in 57-26N, 10-45E.

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German steamer JURGEN FRITZEN (4465grt) was lost after grounding southeast of Landsort.

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Destroyers DIAMOND and DAINTY arrived at Gibraltar on the 12th from the South Atlantic. After refuelling and some refit, they departed on the 19th for Malta, where they arrived on the 21st for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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Light cruiser CALYPSO was refitting at Malta from 21 April to 14 May 1940.

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Convoy HG.27 of 32 ships departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyers WISHART and ACTIVE from the 21st to 28th, after which they proceeded to Portsmouth to give leave. Sloops FOWEY and DEPTFORD from convoy OG.27 escorted the convoy from 28 April to 1 May. Convoy HG.27 A separated from HG.27 on the 28th. Section HG.27 A was escorted by sloop FOWEY only for five hours before the convoys split (?but escorted the section from 28 April to 1 May). Sloop DEPTFORD escorted convoy HG.27 from 28 April to 1 May when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

 
 

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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required